>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.
https://mlpol.net/mlpol/archive/207806 for when the current one reaches archive status
>>278573 →>Compartmentalizing an information chunk as per necessary protocols for containing unwanted data, the MIU performs a clean storage of.. something.>You were confused as why you'd done such until it pings back several lines of text explaining that you'd experienced a traumatic mental shock which nearly caused a total breakdown.>The data contained would not be unsealed until the interface was notified that you were entirely prepared to re-encounter the previously mentioned event.>Moderately puzzled while WItch-Two categorizes one data vault for your explicit access, leaving several low level hexadecimal training programmes open as well.
'Within perhaps five Imperial Standard months at most you ought to be capable of directly reading hexadecimal. The programming facet is considerably more advanced than Binary which may take a further five to eight, though Adronal and myself have enough proficiency in its use to create rendered images using the ancient Pre-M3 art known as ASCII.'
'you say that like some kind of secret. only reason binary is popular = simplicity'
'If I had hands I would slap you for that insult!'
'if i had hands id weld you inside a steel fruit storage room with two xenos chiropteran fillies. inquisitor would sanction them first. probably.'
'...You would not dare Tox, nor would she.'
'dont tempt me and i wont ask'
"If you say so, but I'll save a snack bar for you!">Taking a quick peek at the humans and prancing pegasus leaving, the Scion's comm signal translates an amused subvocal noise.
*"No apologies necessary Enginseer, I am incapable of forming an opinion on your mental state. The Inquisitor's thought on this situation is: sanctioned flesh must always be willing, but the mind is a different, oft scornful creature to be taught, not derided."*>...Inquisitors sure knew some strange TFTD's.
"Three hour here no get in, hate do nothing. Argue argue argue, nothing. You po-ny, she no had prob.. pro.. ..danger.">Despite a painful language barrier, the girl's face creases in conspiratorial wilfulness.
"No see danger. Why I not escort you? Have big good gun.">Patting her archaic submachine gun in a manner that was trusting, but quite comical given she was barely capable of keeping it at low ready.>Hand raising to tilt back the awful helmet that would make even Kriegers disgusted, she gives a sour 'ech'.
"You hear Sergei: he say Spiral leave. Spiral.. fun po-ny, lot teach, best friend all. He make lots magic tings, easy tings any use, build new tings. No danger like touch-">Pointing at your incomparably advanced weapons and mechadendrite, then slumps her shoulders forwards.
"You tings. Lost Spiral made many us sad. Other po-nies? No time make magic tings for us, no teach much."
>>279380>Mallia's eyes then snap more towards Raindrop and the Stormtrooper as they left the room, her expression normalizing quickly as she beamed and smiled towards the pegasus knight.
"Thank you!!~" >Mallia remarked in the pegasus' direction with some wholehearted, albeit playfully intoned gratitude. Followed by a broad little wave that almost looked childish.>Then casts a look in Chisan's direction as he also goes to leave. Giving him a brief, but very intent stare.
"*Thanks, Stormtrooper.*">She simply replied to them, with an undertone of inexplicable anxiety in her tone still present in her voice when she addressed him.>The woman had to bite her lip to keep herself from speaking further. Now that her helmet was off, she couldn't so easily hide the look of slight, but tangible worried agitation in her shifting eyes.>A look of confusion and worry briefly overtook Mallia immediately after, making her eyes visibly trail off to the side while her brow furrowed for basically a single, but still tangible second whilst. Visibly double taking on something that wasn't really there, but in her mind.>She takes in the prompt explanation from her machine spirit. The mention of "traumatic mental shock" made her confusion abate into self-conscious shame, and instantly decides to simply begrudgingly accept the fact for the time being.>She mentally recites a Prayer to the Omnissiah to thank the machine spirit for being so thoughtful of her mental state, reassured once again of the knowledge that they were there for her as she was for them.>Then moves on quickly to not dwell on it.
(OhhhHHHh! The last time I actually got to sit down and learn something manually instead of having knowledge grafted and-or uploaded to my brain was when I was with my mother.)>Mallia's inner voice and mood instantly became that much more cheerful at the prospect of learning new skills!
(How wonderful!! I am excited! Here's hoping I will have time for that) >And then quickly becomes EVEN MORE confused by the notion of "chriopteran fillies">And also mildly alarmed by how the two Companions seem to imply having her lock one into a storage room with said hybrid ponies in it. She had a distinct, half-worried and half-amused smile on her face as she slowly tried to refocus on the girl that she was talking to...
(??????)>That's all Mallia could really push out in their direction. Her nose slightly crinkling up like an accordion... A wry, amused smirk appearing on her face while her brow furrowed with worry at the same time.>Putting the MANY questions she had away for the time being, she fully focused onto the girl as she gave her that grin. Which, of course, made Mallia smirk back confidently as she nods along in understanding, in spite of her struggle with the language. >Mallia then glanced down at her submachingun to eye it with a more intent, explorator gaze for a moment...>Though the mention of 'Spiral' made her snap out of that, quirking a brow with great interest...
"Don't worry. I may not be Spiral, but I can make new things too...">Mallia softly replied with a warm tone of assurance towards the girl she still didn't know the name of.
"I could learn to make all sorts of things and give them out to brave people such as you!" >Mallia's smile grows into an excited grin, nodding her head to herself once with some eagerness!
"My name is Mallia Castella. Sorry for not introducing myself.">She adds on a more lowkey tone as her glance turned back to the Interior of the vault, and her tone becomes more serious as she shifts back to the more important subject.
"You're right though. I would trust you to escort me for this. I'm more worried about other things though...">Mallia nods towards the girl confidently, then pouts with a look of thought, tilting her head as her eyes wander over the colorful rows of safes from where she stood again.
"But I DO want to go inside very badly too. Hm... Hmmmm...">She gives it all a second to think about it... Her face slowly contorting into a genuinely torn, and uncomfortable grimace. Swallowing her lip and shuffling on her boots, eyeing down to her helmet as if to seek advice from it.
"--Hhhhnn--I feel very uncomfortable doing this without letting anyone know... I'm going to hear if the others will get mad at us if we do this on our own. Juuuust to be thoughtful. I wouldn't want the pegasus knight to get annoyed at me.">Mallia puts her helmet back on gracefully, securing it with a trained quickness as she taps into the Vox again once she fully donned it.
*"Stormtrooper Chisan, Knight Raindrop. The younger operator here wishes to escort me inside of the vault so that we can begin to explore it. How--uh--irresponsible would it be if I entered while solely under her protection, in your opinions?"* >Mallia stated with a slightly quieter, more serious voice that may or may not be audible to the girl staying relatively close to her.
>>278637 →>Standing on tip hooves for a better look at Snakebite, Flicker spots the silver diagnostic spell, horn tip sparking in faded red patterns and pulling it to her.>Skipping through scenes as if it were a digital recorder, she stops to give Carlos a dumbfounded side glance.
"You were one of the original humans to arrive? I am unaware of previous separations save for a recent number, four in total I believe, not including two missing and presumed dead. I know little of Caliya, mostly his medical history and herdship with Allys.">Brushing a hoof across the face, then floating it up to eye level, the Ward squints in deep frustration.
"I regret to inform you that Doctor Novus is no longer in existence. He may have chosen to relinquish his ka but I cannot be certain. He was killed sometime earlier this year and the circumstances relating to his return are unknown to me."
"Kraut is highly active and in a state of thought, no danger there save for a small amount of social isolation. Roust spoke with him earlier. She has promised to research the growth and adaptation of a human-shaped Changeling armor. Hm, I believe Gale Pyremane, or something similar, of the Lunar Council also spoke with him. ..I do not like her type, far too marely secrets and dangers."
"Caliya is fully unresponsive. Roust and myself were able to sense minute traces of activity, though we were unable to locate a single thread of consciousness. Numerous sporadic sub-thoughts, recalls of extreme pain, burning, impressions of danger, futility, loss.. and deep, bitter regret.">Moving the spell program back over Snakebite, she lets out a deep breath.
"Denra's whereabouts are currently unknown as of midnight or so. Hodch has disappeared as well for the third time tonight. The first is a renowned Golem constructor, which was my original thought, as for the second.. nopony quite knows what Hodch's talents are, yet I suspect he has a deep wealth of knowledge on Necromarecy. And, according to information gathering efforts it appears nearly all Equestrian factions are in the process of or have currently deployed all forces, Guard and medical both, to preempt three prominent threats."
"This leaves three potential choices, but they are not ones that I would ever choose to confer with normally:"
"The Malurians of the Ferron clan and their Druid allies throughout the New Everfree and Old Everfree have a.. the skills, knowledge, and capabilities necessary to grow replacemarent limbs and most organs. They have a severe, demonstrably amoral attitude; to them the natural body is simply a luxury. I have heard rumors of ponies that seem to be entirely composed of flora, but I do not know if that is fearmongering."
"There was a small Necromarecer clan somewhere in the Moors. They seem to have been killed or dispersed sometime in the past six months. However, the Vigilites of Stalliongrad are perhaps the most truly respected Necromarecer organization on Tallus outside of the Lunars, but Razorback has apparently inflicted grave harm upon the Vigil. They will most certainly not aid us, but they may provide knowledge if approached either formally or diplomatically.">Turning an intensely hateful glare at the floor, Nova gives a sharp tongue click.
"There is the option of acquiring a series of words best left unsaid from one of the Unspoken. Most ponies refer to them as the Wild Ones, ancestral ponies of great power thought to be representations of the Elemarents. The alicorn sisters convinced most to seal themselves away. During my travels I became aware of potential locations for thre-">Eyes rolling back into her head, Nova's jaw left halfway open as she slumps down onto the floor from an obvious narcoleptic attack.
>>278667 →>LEADERSHIP: +2 to all Assault, Evasion & Reaction Speed rolls>PENALTY: -1 to all rolls from Operational Fatigue>Even the Strikers' use of the long banned Starbolts fails to so much as harm a single Tainted, the icons of those still alive flash bright yellow and begin streaming north.>Support Strikers: ROUTED>Immediately replaced by silent Hunter-Killers smashing through the few vaporous ponies left, their charges thoroughly annihilate the smaller warped forms.[1d6 = 2]
<Honored Dispatch: 120[1d6 = 2] <Pride of Legions Past>The fresh reinforcemarents break off into paired swarms of wing-to-wing, reverse half-circles to entrap the much larger threats:>Squadron 1 piles onto the eastern Tainted in a mass of claws, hooves, and teeth, seeking to drag it down regardless of the jagged lances ejecting from it's body.>Squadron 2 sweeps around the frenzied bloodhost to rush at the currently unoccupied western one's legs, though a handful are immediately sent flying from a resoundingly loud sideways kick.[1d6+7 = 11]
<Hunter-Killer Squadron 1>vs:[1d6+3 = 7]
<Mass #1[1d6+5 = 10]
<Hunter-Killer Squadron 2>vs:[1d6+3 = 9]
<Mass #3>Dispassionately noting the bloodhost seemed not to be suffering combat degradation, the angle of your first slug is high and right, skimming the Tainted's massive right cheek and throwing off a cloud of quickly reddening mist.>SPAS slamming back into your shoulder and pulling it left to compensate, the second gouges a roughly soccerball sized tunnel left of center and the third drifting low, dangerously close to the bloodhost.>Expecting a fourth, only a loud click of the bolt locking open on empty answers.[1d6+3 = 8]
<Mass #2>vs:[1d6+6 = 10]
<???>A new set of contacts appears onscreen to the south: four massive gray formations accompanied by distant vaporous howling.[1d6+4 = 5]
<Arrival Time>North and amidst the scattered contacts of fleeing earth ponies, an additional trio of Hunter-Killer squadrons had formed, now streaking towards Basin Village at an unusually high rate.[1d6 = 4]
<Arrival Time>Between the roiling currents of blood encompassing the sacrificial basin, the Dark Horse Cultist reaches upwards with both of her blades, rapidly delivering a series of beckoning kee's mixed with painfully sharp whistles.[1d6 = 4]
>>278837 →>>278846 →>>278848 →>Locating 'S' from across the room, that section was much larger as forty or so bookcases took up half the wall.>While picking through the staggering array of mostly readable titles, walking back to the beginning and starting over leads to collecting five large encyclopedia volumes that seemed appropriate.>The first was a thorough introduction to Solar nobility and royalty from Pre-Old Canterlot times to 29,980, including a rather massive index on lineages, politics, laws related to or against, specific traditions and ceremonies, their economic impacts on Equestria or abroad, then a short disclosure on societal influences.>The second was a thorough primer from 29,995 on common Solar activities ranging from daily life throughout Equestria to a curiously monotone index of earth pony, pegasi, and unicorn cultures, beliefs, practices, and living standards.>The third was entirely based on politics, freshly printed yet untouched for reasons beyond your comprehension, that described the four most common systems in use: the Diarchy, which supported Equestrian Communalism, Stalliongradian Social-Communalism, and Clanherds.>Checking this one's index, there were several dozen other minor or tiny political systems spread throughout Equestria itself, yet these were based on small regions or individual towns.>Probably meant to be a companion to the previous one, the fourth was a heavily scuffed and worn volume on current Solar faction laws, printed earlier this year.>Peering through the first few index pages there was no marention of individual laws, only grouped topics and region specifics.>Dreading the fifth's colossal size, this one's index was a 100+ page compendium that listed, in alphabetical and a small numerical order, all known Solar regions, sub-factions, cities, towns, groups, organizations, military forces, specific lineages, and dozens of individuals.>Judging by the materials present, you could easily read one of the first four books, or maybe get through 10% of the fifth in one sitting.
>>278905 →>Unable to see the lowest small step, the stairs definitely made a full turn and part of another since your voice echoed down cleanly.>Head bending forwards to sniff at the secret access, the mare rocks back to give a partial yawn.
"Eh, Mess Hall or Library for the first one, sometimes the Arena if it's nice and cool. Dunno about any hidden Armories, there's enough weapons packed in half the rooms I've seen each of them counts. Last one would be Hodch's smoking room next to the Alchemy Lab. Him and that other yellow unicorn have some weird stuff in there. I can't read but they sure look scary.">It took you a second to realize this one batmare was coherent, relatively normal, and had an actual memory.>Useful, perhaps, but also suspicious.>Hearing a faint ring of stone traveling downwards, the Nightclaw's thinly armored wings shrug for her.
"I can hold off, not like a couple hours more will hurt any-">One set of wingclaws reaches forwards to scrape under a neck plate, which stops as her head tilts.
"Small space for a human though. Defensive measure? No, limited amount of material, there's not much stone around here. You claustrophobic or anything? I'm not."
"Normally I'd say good luck to him but in this case-">Raising both forehooves to cursorily examine, Naliyna sets the left one on another application with a frown.
"I dunno if he's being realistic or talking out of rage and frustration. That one a while ago.. wait, you weren't here. Well, I guess here's some bad news for you this time: there was a Construct that came out of the Library, or something. About killed Kitang in about thirty seconds. I got done locking the Clinic up and came back here, was going to send all my paperwork to the Enclave but then I heard.. well, way back when I was traveling with my family we wandered across one in the Lowland Plains when the snow was over our heads. Took us about five minutes to bring it down, each of us got hit a few times. I'll never forget those sounds, and they were the same as that one-">Pointing her right forehoof towards the southwest of the Pagoda.
"Right out there was making. I went after it and tried to keep it busy, a lot of humans helped kill it then it turned into lava. Orange lava, which is way worse. All that's left is a puddle of stuff. ..at least it doesn't stink.">Enthusiasm muted temporarly the Crystal mare leans back to give a hopeful smile.
"I understand some humans don't really know where they fit here but I don't believe that at all. There's a place for everypony and everyone if they're willing to have it. Also if you really want a ship there's that invisible one in the Enclave, dunno what shape it's in though. You'll have to talk to that red eyed batpony, the one always sleeping around the docks because Amerose said he technically owns it, or something.">Leaning forwards a fraction, her snout scrunches with an intent stare, the scar-laden mare ALMOST patient.>Politely taking the paper, her expression turns seriours upon immediately reading off in a low tone along with small fits of rapid ear flicking and rising interest.
"Some of these I'm tempted to get right now, but let me think-"[1d6+5 = 11]
<Master Appraisal[1d6+5 = 7][1d6+5 = 9][1d6+5 = 8]>Lowing the page briefly, the left eyebrow raises incredulously.
"I'm not quite sure what to make of the last one. What's an alicorn weapon and why does somepony want a million Bits for it?"
>>279844>Cheto lets out a little sigh of relief at all the information currently available, rather pleased he found what he was looking for, body relaxing slightly.
(At least I won't go blind into this new world.)>Skimming the first relevant book highlighted by his senses in accordance to his parameters, the human starts to consider his options more thoroughly.
(This book should surely make most contacts in Solar nobility easier to establish and maintain, and considering I'm technically part of them, it'd be an essential asset to have in my head for a smooth first impression as well as identify which noble lines would be easier to cater and/or impactful on available resources.)>With the first book on his free off hand, José picks the second book up and quickly glance at its summary, the mind within continues plotting.
(This'll surely be useful to start a relationship with other Solars allround, be it nobles or otherwise. However, there are more pressing matters I should learn first. This can be on the backburner for later.)>Setting the last book he picked up back in its place, Gallo proceeds to read its index, humming softly in an absent-minded sing song tone.
(Understanding the political mechanisms used is also a great way to both appeal to nobles and learn the common pony's wants, needs and desires. It would certainly help as much as knowing the noble lineages, only approached from the ground up... )>Shaking his head, Gallo decides to keep the book for his later decision alongisde the first book he skimmed, making sure to glance around him in case he accidentally bumps into something, someone or somepony.>With a swift inhale, the male promptly follows his inspection to the fourth highlighted book, nodding softly at its application and ensuring he handles it with care.
"Hm...">He frowns softly at the distinction betweeen the the rugged book about laws and the pristine condition politics book
(...at least it's used, and it'd help me immensly, but through extreme caution I can likely avoid any illegal encounters...
(...or perhaps the book on politics doesn't really matter, at least to the ones that frequent this place.)>One cursory glance at the immense fifth book as he places the fourth one back into position, the human is flabbergasted>The feeling only increases when he realizes what it contained, mouth pursing slightly.
(...this definitely needs to be read after the other four pertinent books.)>With a light exhale, he sets the fifth book back in its spot, exchanging his gaze between the two books picked out from the rest.
(Either to learn about the noblility or the system that keeps the Solar nations running...)>After a few tense seconds, the diplomat settles on the first of the five books highlighted by his head, setting the third book back in its previous position before he stumbled onto it.
(Alright, let's hope it's not outdated.)>With that last thought, he commences his long awaited reading session on the introduction to Solar nobility and royalty.[1d6 = 3]
<Amateur Researcher[1d6+6 = 7]
Dream Mav told me to do this.
>>279845>Ivan glanced back at the batmare as she shifted around, pursing his lips.
"Meeting hall for VERY secretive stuff.">He felt he had to point out.
"Stuff that is best left to very hidden rooms under a workshop.">He pushed the suspicions back for the moment, since she wasn't eating his face. Or clothes off.
"Very well. You can go first if you want.">Ivan paused.
"Claustrophobic no... Excessively wary of small tunnels where Tushkano can lurk in packs ready to eat someone's face off, yes.">He grimaced a little.
"Granted I doubt that they would lurk down here unchecked, at the very least."
"Given enough time and effort, much can be achieved. Though rage and frustration is a decent alternative to put a dent into something.">He grimaced at what she described.
"Having a place here and knowing where we fit in are two different things, unfortunately. I'm supposed to be a captain of a vessel, and right now I don't have one, so I don't exactly fully fit in.">He gave a small nod.
"Though I appreciate the lead. It would be nice to have the chance to take the helm of another destroyer.">He idly wondered if he could manage to work his way up to battleship here.
"Mm, either the weapon of an alicorn or one to kill them, I'd wager."
"It is always the time to argue over punishments, Wild.">Listening to Wild, I grimace softly, rubbing my chin.
"Okay, since we both agree that fighting these things is detrimental to our current interest, we should not.">Frowning, I look over the screens and things inside the compartment that I could reach.>"While I know how to operate a tank...">Shaking my head, I sigh.
"Direct control will be a last resort for me, Wild. You're... much different than a T-34 and I wouldn't be able to easily control what you let me.">Sighing softly, I glance at the salvaging tendrils.
"You can withstand 100M depths, correct? If so, grab a bit more and start heading further in."
>>278948 →>Flicking her ears towards the earth ponies assembling into Watch Guard squads, the mare squints angrily towards the still-dancing pegasus.
"Them. I will not cross the Great Ocean again with her.">Leaning off your side to step forwards, her wing pulls across your saddle and off in slow deliberateness.[1d6+4 = 5] <?????[1d6+4 = 10] <?????[1d6+4 = 6] <?????[1d6+4 = 6] <?????>Head tilting up, she pauses to twist the claws about, giving a heavy, matronly pat on your shoulder while delivering a relieved half-smile.
"Thank you, pegasus. I know not your intentions but you are owed the deepest of favors. This resting place of our ancestors shall be finished and I will ensure they be venerated as they ought be. Take the Night's blessings with you.">Taking one full pace, the Councilmare hisses at putting her full weight on the crude prosthetic yet continues limping towards the earth stallion leader.>>279054 →>Patiently waiting for you to speak, the platoon leader's face undergoes multiple apexes of recognition, deliberately trying to suppress reading your emotions.>Jaw tightening once, he bestows a heavy hearted empathetic salute at you.
"Not your failure Nightblade, you have greater concerns than this. Take care of your herd and sing my praises for them when better times come."
"I must hope so! Haven't seen the Basin however long we've been asleep but I hope it's the same as we left it!">The Sorceror-armored filly giggles behind her snout armor, then vanishes in a cloud of gray mist which had the exact same scent that Spiral, Belltower, and Hodch use to enter the Void spectrums.>Finding no Lunarite presence around the Dagor, while climbing in to turn the key the entire vehicle sinks several inches, the Anchor likely and successfully attached.>Hopefully with few complications.>Luna's filly ceases her airheaded motions as you move past her, she speaks in a confused tone using the modern pegasi dialect.>Which you didn't understand, but was probably a 'what the hay is going on' question.>In the rearview mirror you sight the Watch Guard leader shouting at his five squads of psions, an equal number of rumbling, black-tinged stone gateways shuddering into visibility.
"Deploy close-transit gateways at Tartarus Isle Gate Three-Brave and commarend every available pony in full combat status from there into Basin Village on to the Lunar Citadel! Anything less than full compliance with the Treaty of Canterlot's Desperate Alliance clause; any lack of total and complete cooperation will incur penalties best left unsaid!">Aided by a helpful Support Striker the unnamed Lunar Councilmare is helped along, quickly flashing a fanged, triumphant grin towards the Dagor, and is then lead into the first gateway.[1d6+6 = 10]
<Arrival Time>Drawn in by your command, Sunny clambers up and into the Dagor's open passenger door easily, then moves over the Golem to sit on the center seat between you and Boris.>Luna's daughter leaps into the back with little more than a flick of her unusually broad wings, quickly folding while standing in the bed's center with a thoroughly excited expression.>Visibly unperturbed by the music nor the sudden start as the Dagor's wheels screech off a thick black and gray rubber cloud, the right forehoof lifts while shouting in a cheerful tone.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wr9ie2J2690
>>280245>>278948 →>Thankfully getting off with an empathetic pardon from the squadron leader, Jeff gives him a return nod of a salute as they behind to for off while opening up some gates.>Those... would seriously come in handy.>Like, literally any time.>As Tartarus Isle makes its own movements, the Lunarites delve into a Void realm as well as the Dagor sinks slightly with the spells weight.>Sunny moves in next you him, Marshmallow in the bed, and Mercy hopefully somewhere in the Dagor's sitting arrangements.>As he gets the Dagor up to speed, it's diesel V8 growling like and angry beast, Jeff sets his TacPad's gps for the Basin to track their progress as well as an ETA at their current speed.>Wheels peeling, Deep Purple blaring, and the crypt quickly shrinking from behind, Jeff feels like he can finally breath in a ssigh of relief for a brief moment.>Aside from lightly banging his head to his tunes, he shifts his eyes to the pegasus hire with a nod of approval.
"*sigh* That went... so smooth at the end there. Nice job with the councilmare, Sunny. We'll be back at the Basin in no time.">Which made him realize something: he has a lot of odd passengers, especially with the Basin Village fully mobilizing more forces to the Citadel. At some point, he may have to deal with the same reactions the councilmare previously had to. If anything just to check them for security purposes. He'd much rather fast-track that part.>He wonders... he does have a Moon Orb.>>278667 →>Jeff tries reaching Clemency through Moon Orb messaging.
*Hey Clem, it's Jeff. You still in the Basin Village? I'm carrying a lot of passengers back: some thousand-year old vampires that want to help fight on the Citadel and may or may not eventually go crazy and have a taboo reputation. I don't want it to be a shock to all the troops there.*>Awaiting a response, Jeff has a sudden need.>A need. For speed.>He hasn't been able to open the Dagor like thus since last time...>So he decides getting a little more gas into the truck, while maintaining control.[1d6+8 = 11]
<M.Driving: High Manual Control[1d6+8 = 13][1d6+8 = 11][1d6+8 = 11]
>>279603>Displaying a moving image of herself with arms folded and head shaking, the Admiral's data stream was curious.
'I have not yet had cause to question the effectiveness of Administratus Mechanicum training programmes and regimens until now Enginseer, yet your words state such are not true absolutes. I cannot help save to think that you have experienced certain failures and flaws.'>Experiencing a reverberating groan from Tox-11, the sour tech-destroyer's Binary comes across as tightly honed old anger.
'raw experience beats digital knowledge and scribed books, witch. you never saw that from the lofty citadel you once had'
'Do not mistake my words for slander. I am well aware of the discrepancies between the Administratus Mechanicum's varieties of servants and their training yet I am confused, Adronal. Was Enginseer Castella's knowledge purposefully flawed, simply incomplete, or unnecessarily ignorant regarding the exacting standards of Mars training?'
'none of the above. let enginseer read inquisitors books but teach nuances witch, best option for her'>Now turned and physically leaning forwards at you, the young not-Vostroyan guardgirl hadn't stated anything, which didn't make her failed attempt at overhearing the silent conversation less amusing.>Recovering unabashedly, her offhand points back at the trio of L-flashlight sbehind, then taps her archaic submachine gun with a simple grin.
"You make good light or big gun, you make good friend all 'round, we no picky.">Face creasing in concern, the young girl struggles emotionally before speaking in a painfully slow tone.
"Am name Nasiksta Dystregatov. Guard of train before here, nyet. Am call Nasik by friend po-nies, is cute, they think. Am call Nashka by human, not know what word mean.">Rendering the codename through dozens of filters, your MIU comes across 'Nashka' as correlating to a long extinct pre-Age of Strife cultural file as the designation 'shield against gods', a purely feminine name from EurAsia which also had a subtle implication towards regicide.>Lightly stepping towards the gateway leading inwards, the girl pauses to turn back before shamelessly cocking an eyebrow.
"That good be wary, world not alway nice. Be wary po-ny first, sometime po-ny know danger, not say easy.">Receiving two clicks in tandem, Chisan speaks first in a firmly neutral tone amidst low chatter and the sound of something sizzling.
*"No threats were encountered, sensed, scanned, nor engaged inside the vault, Enginseer. I do not suspect enemy actions though I must state to be cautious regardless. The young female human's capabilities are more than adequately capable of defending you."*>That was rather high praise coming from a Tempestus Scion.
*"Equivalent of Planetary Defense Guard with one cycle of training. According to the Inquisitor's files she is experienced as a heavy gunner, registered as having approximately six months of experience and significant tutelage under Commissar Sergei's tutelage. I have no logical reason to state her inclinations are incorrect nor dangerous though the call is yours, Enginseer."*>Hearing an aery sniff through the comms, Raindrop continues where Chisan leaves off.
*"She's been here five months and in training? You hu`um are weirdly dedicated.. I can't say no, Miss Castella. Honestly I'm way more tired than I thought, brain's not entirely here right now and I forgot my saddlepack before we left. I say tell her she can be your Mareguard for a half hour but if trouble comes up just shout for us, I'll be there even if I don't get a chance to rest."*
>>280245>Sunny watched the councilmare go with a raised eyebrow.>As if she hadn't made her intentions perfectly clear not five minutes ago.>She supposed she could forgive a little forgetfulness given the trauma the batmare had just suffered and with weightier matters ahoof.>She'll be fine, at least, she live at any rate. However long that would be depended solely on the councilmare now.>Jeff's shouted command to pile in had her clambering over Boris to ride up front, the mare had never been more inspired to ride an auto carriage.>She turned her ears back so that the loud music wouldn't hurt her hearing too much. Human music was loud.>>280252
"Just doing my job, sir, I can't very well allow Razorback's relationship with one of its allies be compromised.">The praise was nice to hear all the same, though she'd have preferred if that altercation had been avoided altogether. No sense wasting time on what-ifs and could-have-beens though. It was done.>Sunny withdrew a little into herself as the Dagor sped up and considered her options, there were a few things she could do once they returned to the fortress.>Get to work on synthesising the missing component of Ambrosia.>Construct research.>Or redeploy to the Crag Moors to recover Vanil after Kraut's second failure to do so.>Two of those would take a lot of time and effort, she needed to prioritise. Recovering Vanil would be quicker and relatively easier than developing countermeasures to the constructs or making an alchemical breakthrough that even Luna had failed to achieve.>It was nice to feel the wind in her mane, it wasn't flight, but going fast was close enough.
>>277951 →>>278013 →>Spruce's gaze went from Golden to the Chitqu as it investigated the golden statue. He barely seemed to notice that Golden was still speaking to him as he narrowed his eyes, watching as the furball started bounding back towards them in a seeming panic.>That couldnt be good.>Now he looked back to Golden, and then to Adon as the sensation hit them.
"Uh oh...">He felt the furball once more hit his leg, and scurry back up to its position on his shoulder.>And then, it hit him all at once as the man became nearly transparent along with the sensation of being sumberged and nearly choked at the feeling.
"By Odin... This... These are foul magics!" >He yelled aloud, looking around in a bit of a panic.>Spruce looked to the unicorn in a bit of disbelief.
"Gee, you think?">He mocks in response to the 'Its probably a trap' >The man stands still for the moment as they stood there for a moment waiting for anything.>When the voice of excelleon came over, telling them what they needed to do, Spruce was all too happy to comply.>The paratrooper made like a tree and got the fuck out of there.
"Run Adon, as fast as Slepnir!">Though if he could live up to his own words? That was yet to be seen.[1d6 = 1]
B. Reaction Time[1d6 = 2][1d6 = 5]
B. Sprint[1d6 = 6]
>>280266sorry to interrupt but i feel as if this line:>"By Odin... This... These are foul magics!"is here for something other than this game, like it's referring to something else.
>>280337Is this my new title?I feel honored.
>>279831>Clemency watches as the Starbolts stream into the many Tainted but is dismayed when he saw that they had little effect
"Damn...">He is slightly relieved at the many MANY reinforcements streaming in by the Hunter Killers, filling the gap left routed by the Strikers>They are fighting very viciously, whether that is due to suicidal tendencies or tenacity is left to be said>After firing his SPAS and hearing it lock open, Clemency quickly went to reloading the thing with the last of his shells>This is probably the first time he had ran out of ammunition for anything and he is slightly kicking himself for not bringing a backup rifle>Spying the radar display, he sees the evolving situation>The four formations of Tainted coming and the three Hunter Killer squadrons, he sees the imbalance in forces and they could be overwhelmed with existing forces>With that, Clemency pulls up the MSOLG interface and uses his radar alongside the aperture lens on the satellite to provide a firing solution on the incoming Tainted formations>Quickly deciding on the medium driver, he sets the target on the lead Tainted formation incoming>He was about to put the command in for launch when his Moon Orb starts pinging him mentally>>280252>He quickly pulls the orb out of one of his many pouches and answers>To his surprise it's Jeff, and from the tone it sounds like a welfare check>Still breathing heavily, he tries to calm himself before answering
*Standby...*>Clemency then launches the medium EM driver[1d6+62 = 64]
<M-S.O.L.G: Medium Mass Driver[1d6+62 = 65]
*Vampires? Thousand years?*>Clemency joked about how they would have a buffet here with the hundreds of gallons of blood flying around the alter
*Good to know your mission is successful. The Basin Village is being assaulted by Tainted. You remember those things on the Behemoth when we first got on this planet?*>Looking up to the sky, he tries to spot the rod coming down
*The situation is getting bad. More formations of those things coming, multiple Hunter Killer squads helping, fucking blood sacrifices to help, and there a Tower General hiding out in Lann's shop after her Strikers got routed by the Tainted.">Clemency does wish he know what's leading these Hunter Killer squadrons, he can probably tell them about the formations incoming>He does need to see the conclusion of the Dark Horse Cultist's ritual before leaving>Clemency just feels stuck at the moment so he dives back into stealth and waits for the coming assault[1d6+3 = 4]
<E. Stealth[1d6+3 = 6][1d6+3 = 7][1d6+3 = 4][1d6+2 = 4]
<M. Ambush[1d6+2 = 8][1d6+2 = 5][1d6+2 = 7][1d6+2 = 6]
*Alright Jeff, go ahead and get those passengers out. I figured they don't want to come out of their hiding spot and into a battlefield immediately. I'll try to defend the village.*
>>280256>For reasons perhaps personal, Mallia actually flinches. Hurt by the way Witch-Two puts her first statement.>Though she wasn't fully sure how to feel about it. All she felt was a distinct anxiety, uncertainty, and, again, an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy. Which she keeps on the down low remembering what the Admiral told her about being 'too reactive'. >After about 3 nano cycles of hesitation after Tox-11's last stream, Mallia attempts to elaborate.
was inherently flawed if anything. That is a definite possibility given the range of my failures prior to now, but I digress.)
(My mother tightly controlled my learning process to a similar exacting standard. She thought the modern and standard methods were imperfect for my future, on principle, by prior experience as an Explorator. The predefined venues that were ahead once I became enlightened with the gifts of the Omnissiah and began to aspire towards being an Enginseer would influence me too much in a direction that was too close-minded to truly advance as a member of the Mechanicus, or to become an Explorator, by the more strictly adherent members of the Priesthood I would meet in that journey. She wanted me to appreciate ALL sources of knowledge as an Explorator would, especially xenotechnology and construction methods, and how to react when presented with it--how to study it, how to use it, instead of shunning it. Things that wouldn't be readily taught to any aspirant. Especially Archeotech.)>Mallia's explanation ends on a somewhat calm, almost chipper emotion-stream. She took pride in this. Taking a nanosecond worth of pause to elaborate a little more.>But then that emotion-stream dims somewhat with a moment of sheepish embarrassment, like a child talking between two adults.
(... Sorry if uh... That answer isn't... Satisfactory.)>She winces at herself for apologizing--which had now become a knee-jerk reaction, shaking her head to herself.
(... And thank you.)>Clenching her jaw and attempting to shrug off the anxiety that was building within her, taking slow, deep breaths. It only partially ruined the amusement of seeing the girl leaning towards her like that, trying to listen to the conversation.>Of course, Mallia smiled--but it wasn't visible behind the helmet, she sort of just subtly tilted her head in her direction as Mallia's hands nervously rubbed each other--almost pacing in place with a visible discomfort, the left one squeezing the right one's wrist for a moment as her head turns to one side--staring at nothing for a moment, before bouncing back to the girl as the replies from her companions reach her through the vox. >Once she hears the voice of Chisan, all of her movements stop. Completely.>Then resumes a moment later, her shoulders relaxing as her hands limply hold each other at her waist against her robes--hands audibly, bumping clapping against her leg armor.
"*Thank you Stormtrooper. I will exercise caution as I have thus far. And thank you Miss Raindrop, have a nice meal!*" >Mallia's voice suddenly almost peaks with excitement. She then tunes off, and fully fixed her gaze on Nasiksta.>With a tone that was almost amused as it was warm, she answered Nashka--as if all the anxiety she had just displayed a moment before didn't even happen.
"You know, that is a very awesome name. Nashka. It means 'Shield Against Gods'. Heheh~!" >Mallia nodded her head towards Nashka's submachingun, as her left hand goes to grab her shield again from her back, and strap it to her arm whilst she speaks.
"You can be my shield against the gods today, Nasiksta.">Mallia nods deeply, theatrically and with an audible smirk from how playfully she states it.
"Knight Raindrop Raspberry says you can be my mareguard for half an hour, too." >With that, Mallia brings her shield close to her waist, and starts stepping closer to the threshold of the gateway, walking slowly to give Nasiksta time to get either beside her, or behind her, to defend her as she went. >She stands juuuust before the gateway, peeking around from the outside while silently mustering the courage to go inside...
"Given that my first introduction to Razorback fortress was some sort of killing-machine called a Construct... Yeah I'm more than a bit wary, I don't really understand what's going on yet...">Mallia quietly spoke in Nasiksta's direction, her tone filled with trepidation and excitement.
"Not to mention dying and coming back to life on this world? Kinda weird. It makes me question the purpose of my existence right now. Everything is scary and fascinating at the same time...">Mallia's mechadendrite comes to life, mostly to swing ahead of her and tap the tool-bearing 'hand' against her helmet's mouth piece, tapping on her chin with the top half of it. >She casts her eyes towards Nasiksta, giving her an eager nod.
"Inside we go then!?" >Mallia reaches down to her laspistol holster and draws out the Hotshot laspistol, keeping it ready and pointed towards the ground ahead of her.
(Don'tkillmedon'tkillmedon'tkillmedon'tkillme)>Mallia takes a CONFIDENT stride through the gateway, standing tall! And as soon as she is on the other side, she'd slow down to an amble and start getting acquainted with the interior, and any sounds there might've been there. Slowly walking closer to the 'center' of the vault to take in everywhere as she does a small 360 turn of the room, glancing up at the 'ceiling'.>She tries to be veryyyy slow on walking further, in case she has to dart back outside in a hurry...
"Herewegoherewego... It's Explorator time. Here we go Nasiksta..." <B. Perception[1d6 = 6][1d6 = 1] >She makes sure to also tap on the vox once... Just in case, once she's inside.
*"... Vox check. I'm past the gateway now. Still hearing me loud and clear, right?"*
[1d6 = 5] <Which one of Hodch's "apprentices" temporarily takes his duties?
Result of 1: Blue Gemflower
Result of 2: Lightning Candy
Result of 3: Pearl Mist
Result of 4: Amber Rose
Result of 5: Honey-Spiced Mango Shortcake
Result of 6: ?????
>>279851>Neither human, pony, nor anything else enters or exits the Library while you compile thoughts together.>Taking the first and examining all the exquisite sofas around the place, you drop into the closest human sized one and crack open the volume.>Starting on the first page it was difficult to steadily focus on the basics as each name and marention took you back to the index, then to specific clauses, rules, laws, traditions, policies, regulations, individuals, families, lineages, factions, regions, nations...>Worse yet, the politics of Equestria's nobility and royalty were beyond unorthodox as communalism, barely understandable to modern humans, had evolved into a highly adaptable ideology that bound all ponies together regardless of their species, especially enemies, in the pursuit of advancing equinity.>Most jarring was that status had a spiritual mark of distinction to achieve and acquire when supported by commoners: excellent leaders were likewise excellent rulers whom could be counted upon to make correct decisions and settlemarents that benefited all ponies, while poor, abusive, or inept leaders suffered quickly increasing loss of status.>Narrowing down the most common historical equines and keeping mental notes on their progress throughout roughly twenty-five millennias worth of condensed yet orderly information, by the time the rear cover closes you had a good grasp on what made the generally honorable Solar factions, and their dozens of closely allied sub-factions, continue to function.>Which had also exhausted you, fingers acting slower than the brain could compensate and correct for.>Having not noticed the interior lighting changing, the Library was now completely dark except for numerous red LED's, or something similar, above you.>Outside, the formerly bright red patches of moonlight had given way to an unfamiliar, murky gray mist that heralded dawn's approach.
>>280007>Helmet lifting up for a few seconds, the batmare realizes you couldn't see her face and instead splays her wings out in disbelief.
"I doubt it. How secretive can an already secret bunch of secret humans get outside of being even more secret batponies? I keep telling everypony that you all aren't batponies, I'd be able to smell the differences. My three best guesses: somepony's hideaway when they don't want to deal with anything, some tunnels that access all the important places, or somepony's stash for all the stuff they don't want touched. Don't know which is more likely, never met Bren or the so-called 'crazy' unicorn that did a lot of work on this fortress.">The Nightfang's wings fold onto her sides tightly, slowly tapping the first step downwards once with her hoof.
"I don't mind, not the first time I've explored something like this. Won't be the last either.">Visibly checking for traps while continuing downwards, the mare gives a brief snicker-kek.
"Dunno what that word means but sounds Rushyan. Haven't seen fluffrats, forest drakes, green snakes, even those little rock eating wurms the New Everfree's famous for in the courtyard since getting assigned. There's quite a few ponies around this place so I really doubt much can sneak in."[1d6+4 = 6]
<E.Perception[1d6+4 = 7][1d6+4 = 9][1d6+2 = 4]
<E.Traps[1d6+2 = 7][1d6+2 = 3]
>>280673>Ivan hummed as she talked, idly nodding in return.
"Unless I've become so sober I've turned into a secret batpony, I doubt that I am one.">Though anomalies were weird like that. He was sure he wasn't, though.
"Yeah, they're... small dog sized rodents with large teeth and larger claws, if one is near there's definitely a pack about. They're the go to reason for a Stalker to carry along a shotgun.">He starts following after her, glancing for traps himself.[1d6 = 6]
<E.Perception[1d6 = 4][1d6 = 2]
>>278925 →>Pareidolia's face twinges briefly with concern as an unusual window he doesn't recognize appears and disappears.
'I understand the ramifications. The Shibuya Protocol only allows for such actions when all other options have been exhausted or the situation is otherwise untenable. What was that window?'>As Emerald leaves, he ponders his A.I.'s behavior.
[Uncertain how it will react to encountering the biological counterpart its personality is based on. Will likely diverge as an eventuality if Committee experimental theory from the Amadeus and Salieri systems hold true. Will need Spiral's opinion.]>He remains silent while listening to Hodch, deigning not to retort.
[Likely a cultural difference. No time to reconcile currently. Unclear why Belltower must not know, but noted.]>Standing up and pinning his finished note sheet to the center of the map table where it would be easily noticed, he turns his head to look at Lonestar.>His brow arches in slight surprise as the esoteric coil gun comes into enhanced view.
"Additional operational utility would be welcome. There are more unknowns than I am nominally used to working with, but the nature of this operation leaves no other options.">Pareidolia terses his lips as he flourishes 3 wish discs.
[...More potential human corruption vectors. Can only hope he will choose weaponry that minimizes generalization.]
"Are you certain your condition is able to handle an operation like this?"
>>280009>Pausing from her examination, the fuchsia Crystal mare's head shakes in a sincere 'no' before using her left forehoof to motion at the patchwork of scars dotting her chest and neck.
"That's what I believed for a long time, Bubba. Look at me now, I didn't get anywhere except miserable and it's taken the past two something years for me to remember who I am most times. Frustration is something to use when events out of your hooves go bad but rage is best applied when threatened or protecting others.">Snorting softly at her own fairly hypocritical words, Naliyna eyes the sheet in half-amusemarent, half-sourness.
"Like I'm one to talk-">Both forelegs fold across her barrel as a red pen floats up to begin circling... almost everything.
"Still, Razorback is my home now. I won't leave even if every single Watch Guard showed up at the gates. If you'd rather be on a ship, make it a Razorback ship so you can take home with you wherever you go. Destroyer though.. that's not the batpony kind, is it? Really hope not, a fast ship packed with bombs coming at you sounds terrifying. Wait, you should ask Bren to make you a boat for the fountain, I'm sure Malyne would go batty for that!">Snickering at the basic yet honorable pun, she sets the pen down before glancing up to you, her lips pursing tightly.
"The first is way more likely because there's two weapons in the Enclave that were made to kill alicorns. Neither of them did.. at least I hope they didn't, but a million Bits for something that a minotaur would use as a knife and a human would have to ditch all their weapons for? I don't like the thought of buying it since Hodch and Amerose still aren't sure where all the Bits and gems came from. Might be able to trade for it since most stuff in the Enclave's pretty weird. What do you think?"
>>280669>Cheto couldn't help but blink softly, squinting his eyes slightly at the hurdles he'll have to face in the near future, from juggling indexes and alien political mechanisms
(Well, it is an alien world, after all. There had to be something that's hard to grasp in almost every facet.)>Nonetheless, the human would soldier on with a calm smile on his face, simply content that there was information to take that'll surely help his future endevaors>...said calm smile dissipates as he finishes his book, replaced with a relaxed jaw and a light trail of his tongue behind his teeth, finally having enough.
"Phew... I hope there's a vacant bed nearby...">Standing up and pushing against his back to pop any sort of bones from being practically still for large periods of time, José lazily yet carefully walks towards the shelf he got the tome from.
(Ni una pizca de vida acá dentro hasta agora. Re vacío el lugar.
)>Having accomplished said task and tidying anything else he may have tampered with, his feet start leading him outside the library for some much needed air and the ultimate quest of finding an above-average dormitory.
(Pfft. Like that'd happen without extremely lucky circumstances. Place's packed as it is.)>Yawning softly, he gently drags his body towards the exit, passing by the Filly Room to potentially sense how things are going in there with vain hope the crystal mare has managed to reach her moment of respite.
(I swear, children are always bundles of unrestrained energy... most of the time.)>Frowning lightly as he shakes his head, Gallo quickly drops the thought process, opting instead for some soothing echoes of nobility lines and their stories.
(I'm sure they'll warm up to me by displaying those virtues these ponies love so much. All I gotta do is do my duty.)>Finally reaching the great outdoors, Gallo vaguely recalls the barracks way north of his current position, sighing softly.
(There has got to be a place closer than that to sleep those heavenly 8 hours of sleep...)>Nonetheless, the diplomat trudges on towards said destination, moving as slow as molasses to minimize any accidents due to negligence or failing perception.
(Heh. I feel like one of those shambling fellows the youth seems to like. What were they again?)>He couldn't help but to smile softly at the reminder of the people he's witnessed back in Earth, doing their usual recreational activities out of his apartment window, even stifling a chuckle after a solid 10 seconds.
part of the youth. I'm barely halfway through my twenties. What are you talking about?)>That elicited some more giggles out of the human, simply taking stock of the scenery around him, specially looking for bystanders currently not busy with tasks in his path to the barracks sector.
(I'm sure it's common knowledge if there's a spare bed for someone like me. Everyone probably has had to deal with this, but I'm probably getting some bedroll or those stiff metal bed frames, I bet. Maybe they'll give me a nice bed if I'm nice. Now that'd be both funny and helpful.)[1d6 = 3]
<Basic Perception[1d6 = 4]
>>280174>Refusing to take your bait, Wild's search for additional materials results in the acquisition of three partially crushed red and green armors, the shapes distinctively earth pony.>And this time without skeletons inhabiting them.
"My primary repair functions are less than fifteen percent of normal levels, secondary repair capabilities are damaged, tertiary repair functions have been destroyed, my radar system is barely stable, and my weapon is ineffective as I do not have further shells available. Should I create four additional magazines and my hull was one-hundred percent integrity I would be able to risk engaging four medium sized Constructs. Based on calculations of standard human and equine forces with information from my consolidated records, what you have described is a full expeditionary landing force. There is no winning that engagement.">Finished 'repairing' her chest plating now, the remaining steel armor slats are given the same treatment of being melted down into a single large mass, which was causing a large amount of steam and bubbling outside the cockpit.>Besides the simply screen interface and an 'EJECT' pad located to the right and above your crash couch, there were no visible controls aside from the imprints of what had been a rope ladder and deployment hatch.>The first had been destroyed while the second was now thoroughly welded shut.>Poorly welded, you notice, given the deep penetrations and imperfect beads across the interior.
"Understood, adjusting priorities to compensate. Attempting reinitialization of secondary repair systems-"[1d6 = 6]
<Grade 2 Auto-Repair: Restart Protocols>Holding the suits of armor up for inspection by her tendrils, the designs weren't Solar, Lunar, or even Stalliongradian, looking more like custom knight designs from the Late Dynasty.>Carefully hefting them into the left shoulder cabin, Wild's volume level decreases to quiet speaking decibels as repairs to her left arm begin.
"I have calculated a ninety-nine-point-two percent chance that one hundred meters of depth will not cause damage, however there is a six-point-eight-five percent risk that two hundred meters may collapse from four to nineteen of my most damaged hull panels. Update: successfully analyzed two of the six previously known metals for usage. Primary metal of interest: common whitesteel, uncommon name oathscale. The composition and durability would suffice in replacing lost, damaged, destroyed motive systems. Secondary metal of interest: grenach'planyayne, commonly known as greensteel. I could potentially replace the exterior hull sections of my hands though I would fully exhaust the amount acquired so far to do so."[1d6+4 = 6]
<Arcanum Sensors Array: Research[1d6+4 = 10]
<Grade 1 Auto-Repair[1d6 = 3]
<Repair Tendril #1[1d6 = 5]
<Repair Tendril #2[1d6 = 4]
<Repair Tendril #3[1d6 = 3]
<Repair Tendril #4[1d6 = 2]
<Repair Tendril #5[1d6 = 5]
<Repair Tendril #6[1d6 = 4]
<Repair Tendril #7[1d6 = 1]
<Repair Tendril #8
>>280340[1d6+2 = 3]
<Radar[1d6+2 = 6]
>PENALTY: -1 to all rolls from Operational Fatigue>>280252>Recognizing the gateways being opened as modified Dusk Strider tunnels, there would've been precious little oxygen for the Dagor's engine to utilize, pathways were never safe from Void creatures entering, and modern psions were best suited to creating new ones.>Most importantly was the distance aspect: at maximum speed the Dagor would arrive three to five times faster depending on how carefully the Watch Guard platoon could create a new branch from the crypt to Basin Village.>And, of course, avoid, scare off, or take down any of the significant threats they would most certainly encounter.>Stepping down on the pedal close to the floor, the Dagor's engine resists, coming in at 10MPH under maximum speed from the lower oxygen and higher water vapor content the Moors was notorious for.>Without pushing it to maximum speed and potentially risking damage, you'd arrive at Basin Village in a little under seven and a half minutes barring complications.>The premixed track list switches to something new, and quite relevant to you:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BmEGm-mraE>Slouching sideways onto the rear bed's bench seat, Marshmallow Moon reaches a hoof up to toss her gaudy hat off sideways into a miniature ponial portal and replaces it with a fully enclosed Crystal Kingdom era marecenary knight's helmet.>Spying Mercy's vague outline on the opposite seat, she was giving a clearly jealous set of motions at the Nightmare's daughter returning a puzzled expression.>Flicking a wingblade towards the pocket dimarension, Mercy makes several common physical gestures asking that Marshmallow share something, whom returns a dumbfounded motion with both forehooves.>Wings slumping in disbelief, the blind pegasi's head turns towards the Dagor's front, lips in a wavy S-shape of embarrassmarent.>>280264>Sensing the vehicle's weight shifting several times throughout the fairly comfortable ride, checking Boris on your right multiple times, the small Golem was still inactive.>Though you couldn't see them, the rear passengers were likely not agreeing with each other.>Breaking you from your own thoughts, Mercy's voice crosses through to Tallus' physical spectrums from behind, her tone measurably confused before the next song plays.
"On saddle, sheet of Lumin.. smells weird, hold still-"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjseUt1is-o>Feeling a partially corporeal imprint detaching something where the Councilmare had previously felt you up, or perhaps down, a foreleg comes into partial view on your right.>Presenting the moon-shaped piece stamped with archaic styled Common Equestrian text at your functioning eye's level, the text reads:
'Upon thy prized possessor given this token given of Fate's Embrace, one Favor of Night must they taketh of thine Born of Moon and Stars'>Hoof stretching down with deliberate carefulness, Mercy slides the incredibly valuable material down the center of your bodysuit's neckline.
"Did not read it-">Murmuring into your left ear, the Spirit Walker submissively retracts her leg and presence entirely.>Scarcely five seconds after Mercy sits back on the driver's side bench seat, the Dagor's frontal lights are entirely drowned out by two eye-searing streaks of white slamming down west and east of the rebuilt road.>The unmistakable shredding of atmospheric turbulence bursts across the Basin Village's southern end and outwards in, a wall of swamp water and peat bog thrown outwards from the two massive impacts.>The Dagor's occupants unfortunately witness its' high beams exposing dim outlines on the rear flanks on hundreds of dull gray ponies lined up in two tight, standard square formations, taking up the entire road less than 100M south of the Basin's first buildings.>Either incapable of moving or lacking the basic logic to do so, the vehicle plows directly into and through the central four rows of unmoving Tainted, clipping several on either side as the Dagor begins swerving from dozens of half-solid impacts.[1d6+130 = 134]
<Kinetic Damage: Formations #2 and #3[1d6+130 = 135]>Jeff must roll Driving and score a minimum of 10 to prevent the Dagor from crashing or rolling over>Sunny must roll Evasion and score a minimum of 8 to prevent being thrown out of the Dagor>Mercy must roll Evasion and score a minimum of 11 to prevent being thrown out of the Dagor>Marshmallow Moon must roll Evasion and score a minimum of 14 to prevent being thrown out of the Dagor>Mercy:[1d6+5 = 7]
<E.Evasion[1d6+5 = 11][1d6+5 = 7]>Marshmallow Moon:[1d6+8 = 14]
<GM.Evasion[1d6+8 = 9][1d6+8 = 14][1d6+8 = 12]
>>280340>>280867>LEADERSHIP: +2 to all Assault, Evasion & Reaction Speed rolls>PENALTY: -1 to all rolls from Operational Fatigue[1d6 = 3] <Construct Technological Human-Symbiosis: Lure of the One-That-Is-Two>Hurriedly reloading the SPAS, at your order the M-S.O.L.G.'s systems return to full active status, orienting away from the immense Construct vessel, aperture lens focusing onto Tallus towards the Central Moors at a painfully slow pace.>Delivering another close-to-ground radar sweep, the internal display shows four Tainted formations roughly 150M directly south of Basin Village, each icon numbered as a half-brigade worth in addition to dozens of individual contacts streaming closer from the swamps outside.>All of which you note with increasing confusion as being Elite Killmares of the Dark Horse.>Tracking overhead into firing position despite great water resistance, the M-S.O.L.G.'s heuristic protocols select the exterior #1 and #4 formations away from the newly reconstructed road.>Observing two firing sequences deployed in less than 1/10th a second apart, something goes wrong as the M-S.O.L.G.'s interface blanks out and a bright red 'MASS DRIVER POWER SYSTEMS OFFLINE, RECALIBRATING SPACE-TO-GROUND GUIDANCE LINK' scrolling across the top.>Snapping 7 buckshot into the SPAS-12's cylindrical magazine and 1 slug into the chamber, upon sinking back into the comforting Void your vision clears substantially:>Amongst the ranks of white robed Support Strikers, roughly a quarter of their previously black icons turn yellow, the formerly and definitively dead mares rising unsteadily onto their hooves before a solid line of bright white and purple armored saluting ponies.>Ones which you dispassionately register as a mixture of Lunar and Solar Guardians.>The first Hunter-Killer squadron had ripped their target apart leaving nothing more than a haze of mist, though several wings worth of black icons were left in their wake.[1d6+40 = 44]
<Honored Dispatch: 40[1d6+20 = 22] <Pride of Legions Past>Swiveling on hoof and wing, Squadron 1 splits apart to assault both the bloodhost's severely damaged Mass and the substantially more aggressive third, currently surrounded by three-quarters of Squadron 2.>They were not yet utilizing desperation tactics, but still losing one of their own each second to flurries of improvised archaic blades, lances, and a massive head covered in spikes.[1d6+5 = 9]
<Hunter-Killer Squadron 1[1d6+7 = 9]
<Hunter-Killer Squadron 2[1d6+6 = 8]
<?????>vs:[1d6+4 = 10]
<Mass #2[1d6+4 = 8]
<Mass #3>Loudly kee'ing from within the diminished streams of blood cascading about the Basin's sacrificial altar, the body of an unarmored, unarmed, and certainly not Spectral, large batpony composed of red matter takes a ponderously heavy forwards.[1d6 = 3]
<Assault Tactics[1d6 = 3]
<Subversion Tactics: Spectral[1d6 = 4]
>>281136>>280264>Hitting peak yet a still controllable speed, Jeff listens in on Clemarency but also at the odd choice of CCR.>It's eerily appropriate.>But at least he'll be able to get back to the Basin quick enough.>As one of his close compatriots continued on, Jeff's grip on the steering wheel tightened.>Tainted surrounding the Basin Village? He remembers taking them on before, almost like fighting zombies.>They were also weak to Void damage, yes?>Damn, he wished he still had the Void Diver pendant. She would have had a blast tearing them apart.>His frown twists up into a wry almost-maniacal grin before he dons his deathmask and turns a bit to the right to address everyone behind him.
"Heads up everypony! The Basin's infested with Tainted! Hope you're all ready for a warm-up!">>280340>Eyes back on the road, Jeff chimes back into the Moon Orb and Clem with a scary level of confidence.
*"Copy that Clem, and Negative! Reinforcements, inbound!"*>Holding speed, the minutes pass blaze past as his GPS notifies them closing in onto the Basin Village.>Coming up on the village line, his way ahead is tightly packed with pale gray pony figures.>Shit, they're THIS congested?!>White-knuckling the wheel, he keeps his foot down on the pedal.>Slowing down will only... literally slow them down, and they'd have to fight through them.>But if they can get inside and fight outwards...
"Get ready to brace!"[1d6+4 = 8]
<M.Leadership: Evasion[1d6+4 = 6][1d6+4 = 5][1d6+4 = 6]>He mentally apologizes to the Dagor as he goes full bore into the Tainted, instantly exhaling as he focuses on the impending impact and maneuvering as well as blaring the horn like an incoming freight train.
"RAMMING SPEEEEEEEEDYEEEEAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!"[1d6+5 = 10]
<E.Reaction Speed[1d6+5 = 6][1d6+5 = 9][1d6+5 = 8]
<M.Adrenaline Rush: Reaction Speed[1d6+5 = 8][1d6+5 = 8][1d6+8 = 13]
<M.Driving: High Manual Control[1d6+8 = 12][1d6+8 = 11][1d6+8 = 10]
>>281136>>281143>Sunny turned partially as Mercy slid the object down her suit to rest alongside the little gem.
"Wha-? Oh, thank you.">The archaically structured common took a moment for her to comprehend. All she really gathered from the text was that she was owed a favour.>The mare patted the object pressed against her neck with a hoof to ensure it was secure.>Her line of thought was thoroughly and completely derailed with the ear splitting and teeth rattling shockwave of the uncomfortably close kinetic strike.>The thunderclap that followed the impact had her ears ringing and her voice raised to even hear herself speak.
"KINETICS?! IN ATMOSPHERE?!">She'd barely finished yelling when Jeff brought her attention to exactly why there was steel rain.>Tainted. And lots of them.>What? What?!>The jostling and swerving of the vehicle had her scrambling to keep her seat. There was no way she'd survive if she was thrown out of the vehicle into this.[1d6+6 = 11]
< E. Evasion[1d6+6 = 12][1d6+6 = 12]>Sunny yelled along with Jeff as the Dagor plowed a path through the Tainted ranks, though decidedly less excited about it all than Jeff seemed to be.
"THIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A SIMPLE SALVAGE RUN!"
>>281139>>281143>Clemency squints at blinding white light of the kinetic rods streaking down to Tallus>After the earthshaking impact, the bright red error ribbon brings his attention to bear for a moment before hearing Jeff respond>The response shocked Clemency
"You're coming?!">Clemency looks around the battlefield and takes a deep breath
"Alright, I trust you. Please be careful, there is so many Tainted around. We do have Hunter Killer's and whatever is left of the Support Strikers around.">Clemency then flicks his eye towards the last known position of the Tower General
"There is a VIP in the Basin. A Tower General that was leading a group of Support Strikers before they got overran. Last known position in Lann's shop. I'm stuck at the altar, trying to prevent Tainted from reaching it.">Stuffing the orb back in its pocket, he shoulders the shotgun and takes aim at the giant mass of Tainted, seeing pockets of Strikers rising in his peripheral vision>Clemency continues monitoring the radar while being stealthy, seeing the status of the battalions and the Tower General in the village proper[1d6+2 = 3]
<M. Ambush[1d6+2 = 6][1d6+2 = 5]
[1s6+2][1d6+2 = 5][1d6+2 = 8]
<Radar[1d6+2 = 7]>The lumbering giant batpony certainly does grab his attention, although he wonders about its attacks
>>281152[1d6+2 = 3]
>>280380>Registering subtraffic between Dranaki and Adronal, the first falls silent as the second's datastream is transmitted in painful apology.
'Your reaction cuts far above what my original statement implied, Castella. I was not berating you, the individual, I was berating the Administratum Mechanicus as it has completely failed in properly teaching all Tech Acolytes and higher ranks the essential knowledge necessary for the Imperium's survival. As you were not formally introduced to all aspects of technology and biology those gaps have created schisms where a single variance between ideologies inherent in the Imperium have birthed divides which cannot be mended without excessive cost. Enginseer, I sincerely applaud your mother's additional efforts to prepare you, but the sheer ignorance, ineptitude, and reliance upon outdated protocols forces me to shun the Mechanicus superior for ultimately causing each failure that led you to this world.'>Pinging an image of a giant equine robot stomping on a cluster of Magos with the word 'HERETEK' above each head, Tox-11's Binary tone was dour once more.
'smaller words next time admiral. dont take personally enginseer, witch meant to state: admech failed you, not other way around'
*"I trust you both, and don't worry, we will!"*>Overhearing Raindrop giggling in the background after her short transmission, Chisan's thunderous facepalm was all you needed to know for the moment.>Visibly trying to understand the implication, the girl gives a partially-understanding and still confused nod of acknowledgement.
"No know be-fore, po-nies not ex.. es.. say how name mean.">Reaching up to adjust the the heavy submachine gun's sling onto her side tighter, she offers a faintly appreciative smile before straightening into shocked rigidity.>Cheeks blushing a near incandescent red, her free hand lifts to shield her mouth while convulsively laughing between her words.
"No that word! It mean mare guard mare for tings wit'.. wit' mate! No use! No use please, I too young! No want die of laugh!">Crumpling forwards and covering her entire face both hands now, she remains in that position for nine seconds, gasping for air afterwards.>Straightening up into half-seriousness, her face still red and lacking composure, the girl's eyes roll as she waves a hand dismissively.
"Pfah! Live no easy be-fore. We no need other pur.. por.. why care hard why here? Live good here, ye. Lot po-ny friends, po-ny food best. Learn when need or want, do what want or need do. No stu-pid law here, no lead-er make die for bad rea.. ray.. idea not mine, your, anyone. Sca-ry some-time but big fun, too.">Turning towards the gateway with an inscrutable smile and kicking a leg back, she takes a deep inhale before nodding shortly.
"Ye.">Striding forwards a half-meter off your right using the same pace, her attention drawn side to side in standard threat assessment protocols.[1d6+1 = 6]
<B.Perception[1d6+1 = 2]>Stepping through the looking-glass like gateway, little more than marginally decreased atmospheric pressure and gravity were felt, though the roughly doubled humidity was more akin to a Librarium.>Scanning over the visible hundreds of safes, each was visibly larger than the Tracker twins' first calculations suggested:>The largest were exactly 60% the size of the standard individual Imperial wargear locker, complexity ranging from one to multiple archaic key locks, external dials, tumblers, and a few that had no visible opening mechanisms.>Several in view bore faintly active glyphs while the vast majority appeared dead.>Looking upwards and around, the vault's ceiling was perhaps 25M above you, while wall-to-wall distance was closer to 120M.>The rear wall stretched much further inwards than you could estimate, which the Admiral immediately pings a request.
'Enginseer, deploy the Chroniton again this time with close range protocols. I believe it is possible to determine our current location given all gravitational and atmospheric fluctuations inside here.'
>>281143>LEADERSHIP: +2 to all Evasion rolls>PENALTY: -1 to all rolls from Operational Fatigue>Catching the Dagor's steering wheel a split-second after the vehicle starts drifting right through the ranks of vaporous ponies, bursts of red tinted mist disperse from the ranks that you'd unwittingly smashed into.>Struggling to swerve left and break out of the slalom as the Dagor's heavily reinforced bumper and frame impacts the first of ten Tainted while smashing down the pedal at the same time, twenty, thirty, now forty of the Scarred rapidly impact across exterior armor panels, frame, and even internal components.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4GLsBW171s>Barely carrying through their numbers on weight alone, the Dagor's tachometer redlines as the tortured diesel engine pitches into a scream at maximum torque from a combination of direct impacts on the front end and rapidly solidifying Spectral masses now damaging the entire front.>Losing all frontal bumper lights first from the first set of impacts, the next dozen or so wildly buck the Dagor up into the air, several Tainted smashed flat while it lands atop the third rank..>Even through heavy gloves you could feel the front bumper tearing off the frame, the unmistakable howling shrieks of Tainted realizing a new intruder in their midst causing the next set the Dagor slam into turning their heads, though nowhere near in time.>Hearing tortured shrieks of steel armor panels buckling and the modified forward frame twisting against unmoving forms as the Dagor continues to plow through them, the closest Scarred in the Dagor's path strike at the vehicle itself with a host of wildly serrated lances, no longer mere vapor held together by mere ka:>Witnessing a brief, startling sight of Lunar Guardian and Solar Guardian armors arrayed together in the rearview mirror, every single one was now fully solidified in realspace.[1d6+40 = 44]
<Formation #2 Counter[1d6+40 = 43]
<Formation #3 Counter>>281147>Twisting away from Mercy whom immediately slides ass-first towards the Dagor's rear, planting your forehooves onto the vehicle's dash accompanied by both rear legs and every muscle along your spine brace against the immediate devastating impacts to occur.>Shock radiates from your forehooves crushing through the brittle material into solid metal plates beyond, though keeping you from whiplashing as the first few ranks of Tainted are plowed into.>Hooves pushed further into the destroyed section, the Dagor's bounce up and down throws your head right to catch several Tainted delivering offensive lances into the vehicle's metallic side panels.>Unable to do more than hold on through the wild heaving, Jeff regains control of the slaloming motion before breaking free of the formations.>Reacting on instinct, Mercy loses stealth entirely before smacking chest first into the tailgate, both wings slashing forwards and down into everything she could touch while a blast of pink-white hot energy accompanies the motions.[1d6+7 = 12]
<E.Spectral Assault[1d6+7 = 12][1d6+7 = 9][1d6+10 = 16]
<Expulse>Catching her own balance before toppling over the Dagor's side, Marshmallow Moon leaps up and out of the bed, wings fully extending while streaking forwards and delivering a hair-and-mane-bristling, hate-filled neigh of challenge.[1d6+4 = 5]
<M.Taunt[1d6+4 = 5][1d6+4 = 10][1d6+4 = 6][1d6+11 = 17]
<GM.Flight[1d6+11 = 17][1d6+11 = 17][1d6+11 = 13]>Jeff retains control the assault vehicle's drift through the entirety of both central formations, the Dagor's engine compartment now a thoroughly destroyed mess of damaged metal components.>Both front wheels emit a metal-on-stone screech as thje vehicle slides passenger side 60M north of the Basin's southern buildings, a quarter of the distance towards the fountain, Clemency now visible and taking cover on the southern end of it.>Giving one last sputter of defiance, the engine dies in a backblast of smoke before small detonations of overheated fuel and piston rods shred through what was left of the crumpled hood.>The kinetic impacts far behind had picked up furious, frothing wave swells of swamp water into small tsunami conditions.[1d30+50 = 75]
<Waveform Damage Variance[1d6 = 3]
>>281152>LEADERSHIP: +2 to all Assault, Evasion & Reaction Speed rolls>PENALTY: -1 to all rolls from Operational Fatigue>5 Ambush tokens.>Unable to locate the silverine-clad earth mare at Lann's shop, she was holed up in the back room the VIP icon showed her position.>Sighting the two masses finally ripped apart from unyielding, silent onslaughts, the Hunter-Killers immediately reform into two considerably smaller squadrons.>Taking zero stock of their losses, the first was down 35% of total numbers, the second 50%.>Visible once again the sub-alicorn sized bloodhost was close to falling apart, hundreds of tiny red streams ejecting from the mostly torn apart body.>If it was even physical to begin with.>Both masses coalesce into two divided platoons of Solar and Lunar Guardians, the newly freed individuals staring around dumbly.>Snapping quick hoof and wing salutes, a faded, yet indescribably merry cheer rolls out from them before dispersing into hanging clouds of red-tinged mist.[1d6+40 = 44]
<Honored Dispatch[1d6+40 = 44]
<Honored Dispatch[1d6+40 = 43] <Pride of Legions Past>Watching another three full squads of black Support Striker icons turn yellow, the recently dead earth mares drunkely rise onto their hooves, then begin staggering north, responding to orders beyond their graves and what little wits they still had commarend of.>Noting all four complete squadrons of reinforcing Hunter-Killers taking up an overwatching hover position above the Basin's northernmost buildings, another six were forming around the routed Strikers.>Far north and barely on the radar's edge was the icon of a lone Crystal Empire Conclave Killknight, also tagged as a VIP.>To the south hundreds of Tainted icons blink out, the total tally ending at 381 listed as deceased.. which only left 619 remaining.[1d6+381 = 384]
<Honored Dispatch[1d6+190 = 195] <Pride of Legions Past>The remainder were slightly to partially 'damaged', although dozens of large Mass icons spring up amongst those that had survived the impacts while the total numbers dwindle.[1d50 = 25]
<Mass Condensed Tactics[1d6+5 = 8]
<Formation #1[1d6+5 = 8]
<Formation #4>Trailing around the edges of the two rapidly condensing Tainted formations, eleven wings of five Elite Cultists each stream down, apparently landing the Basin's southern villages.>Beyond them, the sound of ocean waves begins crashing into trees.. which was definitely not a good sign.[1d6 = 4]
>>281152>>281228>Nearly the size of an antennae hauling vehicle, not including wings that would make medium leisure jets jealous, the newly summoned bloodhost was less a physical marenifestation and more the concept of a batpony.>Taking another step south, directly over you and the fountain entirely, rolling masses of thoughtforms stream across false skin in patterns that seemed to be tactically defensive.>As the right forehoof lands it shatters apart, dislodging the slab underneath, the conceptual being flows apart into hundreds, then thousands of small incandescent red bats clustering around a single individual perhaps a foot tall.>Ones with long, protruding fangs and emotionless, whorling eyes.>Far to the south:
"Damn thy manes, I was told there were Constructed Twos not Scar Remnants to hamper us!"
"Cease thy neighing and free us from thine accursed anchor!"
"Hay, I get to do something important!"
"Can we all make a line and force them to take us on one by one?!"
"My dress is going to be ruined from this!"
"THY FLANKS SHALT BE DESTROYED FOR ACTS UNBECOMING A LUNARITE!"[1d6 = 6]
<M.Casting: Void Anchor Detachmarent[1d6 = 1][1d6 = 4][1d6 = 4]
>>280681>I make it a top priority to never get close to the eject, especially considering the current environment.>I frown a bit, but decide to not bring it up until a later time, there were more pressing concerns to worry about.>Namely this 'expeditionary landing force' currently above us.
"Hopefully one hundred to one fifty should be more than enough to continue evading them, then.">"Though less than 7% at 200 wasn't too terrible of a percentage..."
"I have no clue on what either of these look like, you know.">I pause for a moment.
"To be fair I barely know what an iron vein would look like either. My father is a carpenter, and none of my brothers became miners."
"Shiiiiiiit!">Shit!>SHIT!>Damn, that one got some air!>Jeff relentlessly let's the Tainted have the front bumper of the Dagor, though not without it yielding to its own impacts.>With each one he hit, he can feel the truck getting chipped away little by little. Fender, headlights, framing.>And with each row he plows through, they start reacting a little more and begin counterattacking.>Not like it mattered. The Dagor can be repaired.>Although the bucking upward was a little jarring, he regains control and breaks through their ranks.>But the damage had been dealt. Front was totaled, the bumper was lost at some point. Front tires had disintegrated, and the sides were shredded.>As the Dagor skids to a halt well away from the now pissed off Tainted ranks, he makes an obvious assessment that the damage was fubar.>Shielding his face as the engine literally blows up through the hood was an attest to that.
"Damn... sorry girl.">Recovering his bearings, he checks over any injuries on himself as he pats the Dagors dashboard apologetically.
"Anypony broken?">Sunny braced herself in shotgun well enough, but he swear he heard Mercy clonk around in the back. Marshmallow Moon was already out and squaring up with the Tainted.>He notices the M2 hadn't looked like it took any damage...>Jeff shakily lifts himself from the driver's seat, and looks around above the Dagor's rollbar of a roof.>From the Basin's fountain, he can see Clem positioned over there; that blood ritual he mentioned being underway.>Lann's shop wasn't too far off. He's yet to see the Lunarites disengage from the Void Anchor.>>281152>Switching to his radio, Jeff calls out Clemency over it giving him a high-sweeping wave for his crashed position.
*"The calvary has arrived, Clem! Well, Dagor's fucked! Where do you need us, man? I can send Mercy and Sunny the General's way."*>Looking behind and past the Tainted, only now does Jeff notice a wall of water coming at them.>Well more like a tall wake, but it's gonna be wet VERY soon.>That's what he thought he heard before. A pair of impacts as he was driving. Big ones. Big enough to create a swamp wave coming at them?>Did Clem fire his satellite again?>He wonders if that pissed off the Constructs more.
"Sweet.">What wasn't sweet was that the anchor actually DID detach, leaving the Lunarites stranded on the other side of the Tainted's forces.>He swore he could hear them complain from here.
*"Clem, I lost my vampires on the other side of the Tainted. They're still concentrated South of us. I'll hold here and thin out the masses, until they regroup with me.*>>281147>Weaving around seats, frame, and pony bodies Jeff pokes himself up into the turret ring and swings the M2 South at the Tainted. He lifts the cover to check the receiver and bolt group for damage, and makes sure the first round of the belt was situated properly before closing it back down.
"Mercy, Sunny. Pony up! I have a task for you. To the North North-West is a Tower Guard General and forces that can help us out. They're held up in Lann's shop, her sign's a give-away. Take Boris and the medkit in the bed, and assess their situation. I'll hold this position and thin out the Tainted so the Lunarites can catch up. Get going, there's a flood coming at us!"[1d6+4 = 7]
<M.Leadership: Sprint[1d6+4 = 5][1d6+4 = 9][1d6+4 = 7]>If anything he wanted the trio to start getting as far away from the Tainted as possible. The Basin itself looked free of them, from where he could see. Worst case, that water's going to wash them all right on top of their current position.>At least he can hold them off at range, for some time.>Pulling back the charging handle twice, he checks the area way behind the Tainted and to where the Lunarites currently were and aims well to the left of them to reduce any stray rounds possibly hitting them.>Hopefully they pick up on what he's doing, so they have an easier time pushing through.[1d6+4 = 5]
<E.Scouting + Lunar Faction Bonus[1d6+4 = 7][1d6+4 = 10][1d6+6 = 9]
<U.Heavy Weapons[1d6+6 = 7]
<M.Ranger[1d6+6 = 8][1d6+6 = 9][1d6+6 = 12]
<M2 Browning HMG[1d6+6 = 8]
>>281228>>281229>>281234>Hearing the squealing then explosion, Clemency turned to Jeff and the now totaled Dagor>Not that it mattered since a quick getaway is in the middle of town>What does matter is the reinforcement he brings with that HMG
*"I appreciate the help. The more the merrier, especially with the 600 and so Tainted south of here..."*>Looking at the forces of the Hunter-Killers and the Strikers, Clemency determines that the altar is secure enough and that the tide of Tainted can be held away>He starts to make a sprint to Jeff's position[1d6+3 = 8]
<M. Sprint[1d6+3 = 9][1d6+3 = 9][1d6+3 = 8][1d6+3 = 9]>On the way, when he spots Mercy and Sunny, he quickly says
"Check on the General and get her to rally her Strikers!">Getting to Jeff, he nods and shoulders his SPAS down where he's aiming>Apparently, he had vampires over there and Clem doesn't know what they look like or their exact location
"Ok, let's not let them get through. That blood pony should be coming here from what I saw.">Taking cover behind the visibly busted engine compartment of the Dagor, he barricade positions himself on the hood and watches south bound for those ponies>To Clemency, any Tainted that turns to fight them are going to get shot>>Ambush Overwatch Active<<
>>281226>>281228>>281229>Sunny sat still for a split second as the Dagor came to a stop before shaking her head and rolling out of the metal contraption, wings partially unfurled.>Not even a pleasant drive through the Moors went as planned with Razorback at the wheel it seemed.>She quickly assessed what remained of the Tainted's ranks, they weren't too close yet, but that would change fast enough.[1d6+2 = 5]
< B. Perception[1d6+2 = 4]>>281234>Acknowledging Jeff, Sunny gave herself a little shake and hoof dance to check for any injuries, and finding herself none the worse for wear, spoke up.
"Green, sir!">She was already moving at Jeff's next order, unbuckling Boris from the backseat and hauling him across her saddle, hopefully he was weighty enough to stay put at full gallop.
"Understood! Mercy, take the medkit, I've got Boris!">Pausing to ensure Mercy was close, the mare took off at a gallop north north-west for Lann's shop, just in time to hear the punctuation of the Dagor's gun start up.[1d6+4 = 7]
< E. Sprint[1d6+4 = 6][1d6+4 = 8]>>281247>There was barely enough time to respond to the other human's shouted words at them as they sped by each other.
"Aye! Hold the fort!">All the while, the golem on her back jostled around with every hoofbeat.>Don't fall off. Don't fall off. Don't fall off!
>>281156>Dranaki's explanation did not fully lift Mallia's spirits, as she now narrowed her eyes at the visor of her helmet for a moment as a thought crosses her mind.
(Why maintain a system that doesn't work?)>But the question is fleeting. She instantly knew that despite it being the "right" question it was also the "wrong" question. >She bounces the question in her head, but the more nanocyles she spends dwelling on it, the more she just felt bitterly sad. Even the ASCII image packets don't cheer her up that much. But also don't have the adverse effect either.
(I understand what you mean. Don't worry, I am not offended...)>Despite the feeling of warmth her thoughts carried, she couldn't help but still carry a lingering feeling of frustation, as she spent several nanocyles thinking about it against better judgement.
(Let's... Move on.) >Smiling a little from Raindrop's giggling, she rather quickly bounces back from her sour mood at hearing the pegasus' laughter. Something about it made her chuckle too. Or perhaps it was Chisan's LOUD facepalming that got her.
"Pffheh!">Mallia then paused, half-turning her head to listen to, keeping the shield low across her middle and her laspistol pointed downward as the Enginseer gazed to Nasiksta. Watching her with a slight, comical tilt of her head as the girl tenses up... Then her cheeks blush... And then she starts laughing.>Interesting reaction there, huh.
"W-what?" >That's all Mallia could muster, as she also starts to get infected by Nasiksta's laughter, starting to chuckle as she talked.>She decided to wait there for the mood to stabilize a bit more. She didn't want to go inside the vault until they were both fully ready!
"W-whhAHaat do you m-mean?? That's--that's what she told me to tell you.">Mallia's head visibly recoils as she stared at the girl, her mechadendrite moving from her back and rubbing it's clamp on the back of her neck, like she would with her hand. The tendril-like length brushing slightly against her helmet.
"HEH, EHh--I--I feel like I just got pranked.">Slowly, her mirthful snickering dies down along with Nasiksta's. Straightening up and moving her mechadendrite behind her back as she listened to that statement.
"It's a personal reason. I simply MUST know why. Why to me specifically, and not any of my comrades, or the literal billions of others that may deserve it more than me. I'm not sure if you understand." >Mallia simply replied. Her voice deadpan as it was grimly serious, and dead honest.
(It's just too good to be true... Too good to have no superior purpose other than to simply enjoy a second chance at life. Something is at stake. But what? And what happens once we fulfill that purpose?)
(Am I thinking about it too much? Could it really be that simple?)
(I don't understand... By the motive force why me? Why not the others? Was I just lucky enough to be spared from the Warp?)>Once Nasiksta gave her that 'Ye.', Mallia moved on. Her thoughts invisible on her otherwise confident and striding gait and bubbly movements. >After shrugging off but acknowledging the decrease in pressure and gravity with a glance towards the gateway, then back to the vault itself, she finishes up her visual scan of the entire vault's interior by stopping roughly after having moved 25 or so meters inside.
"Woah...">Mallia remarked as she took note of the 25 meter tall ceiling. >Then dipped her gaze downward to the safes themselves. Her head visibly tilting as she notes the size discrepancy between the scans and the real thing. Eyes bouncing over the active glyphs, and the fact only some of them seemed to have them still active.
"Strange... Some of the runes are still active on a few of those safes, but on the majority of others they are spent. Lasting craftsmanship. Or continued maintenance? Hmmmmmmmmm...">Mallia absent-mindedly flexed her shield a few times, testing how much gravity did change by checking how heavy her shield was now.>Quickly acknowledging the Admiral's request, Mallia slightly lifts the shield-arm bearing the auspex to give it a glance as she changes the scan's settings for short range protocols, notably without reciting any Litanies of Activation, before engaging the Chroniton Wave Reader.
(Sure thing Admiral Auspex. I want to bet that this is some sort of pocket dimension.)<Auspex Scan: Chroniton Wave Reader[1d6+2 = 8]
"Some interdimensional bank this is!" >Mallia piped up with an excitedly noisy voice, letting it echo across the room to scan the acoustics for no reason other than because she could.>And to see if anyone cared that they were in there.>Resuming to stride forward--hopefully with Nasiksta in tow giving protection and with her shield rising again, Mallia begins to make a long walk to the other side of the room to start approaching the safes that were more at her level.
"Let's see here... Let's go for one of the silver ones with a gold trim.">She starts to take note of which safes had a glyph for future reference, as she moved closer and bee-lined towards one of the safes that were made of silver and had a golden trim that did not have an active glyph on it, if any, aiming to inspect them more closely.
"I will stay away from the safes with runes still glowing on them, FOR NOW."<B. Perception[1d6 = 2] [1d6 = 2]<E. Engineering[1d6 = 5][1d6 = 4][1d6 = 5]>She also quickly taps the side of her helmet as she walked, tuning into the vox channel again to check if perhaps there was any interference. >Perhaps the signal was being stopped by the gateway?>Or maybe they were too busy eating to respond immediately.
>>280677>Bubba took a moment to reflect on how exactly he got into this situation.>Giving something close to life advice to a bunch of colorful horses.>If he was back home he'd be laughed at and fun would be poked at him over this.
"Razorback isn't that bad, to be honest. It feels like a second home to me. And to us humans, a destroyer is usually a lightly armed, somewhere between 105MM to 128MM guns, hardly armored, fast ship designed for escorting and hunting underwater boats. I guess they carry bombs, but they're for underwater explosions.">He hummed at the idea.
"Hell, given the materials I could probably make up a boat for it as well. I'll ask 'er about it next time I swing by."
"I'd suggest haggling a bit for it first, but if it was the latter, it would probably be a good idea to keep it locked up somewhere secure. You never know when you'd need something like that.">He shrugged.
"Up to you though, if we can trade for it, I'd do it."
>>281234>LEADERSHIP: +2 to all Evasion & Sprint rolls>PENALTY: -1 to all rolls from Operational Fatigue>While Sunny collects the Golem on the front seat, Mercy stops short from jumping over the tailgate, both sets of wingblades ablaze in hostile patterns.>Her head turns about to give a disbelieving expression tinged with anger, then gives a quick nod.>Smacking the driver's side seat up, she hurriedly bites onto the medical bag and tosses it across her saddle, leaping over it to take wing north.[1d6+3 = 8]
<E.Flight[1d6+3 = 5][1d6+3 = 5]>Directly above, Marshmallow Moon's neigh is cut off by a startled hacking sound, the regal mare crumpling in midflight, legs thrown about in frightened directions and dropping like a rock.>Recovering, barely, to land heavily on the Dagor's driver side, her head tosses side to side before spitting out a large black insect which immediately flits off.>Staring at the bug with a brief touch of wonder, both wings fold on her sides tightly before high skipping around the wrecked vehicle at high speed, directly towards the line of now fully formed giant Tainted.[1d6+9 = 13]
<GM.Sprint..?[1d6+9 = 10][1d6+9 = 10][1d6+9 = 13]>Finding the unmodified M2 in perfect shape, swinging it right, and well over the Night Princess' daughter, you immediately spot two full squads of Deep Moors Hunter-Killers mixed in with a small number of robed batponies.>Ones with high varying colors at that, which could only make them being Cultists of the Dark Horse.>All of them were preparing synchronized ambushes from each southern building, and thoroughly unconcerned by the quickly slackening swamp water waves coming for the Basin Village.[1d6+11 = 17]
<Mixed Team #1 Ambush[1d6+10 = 11]
<Mixed Team #2 Ambush[1d6+9 = 10]
<Mixed Team #3 Ambush[1d6+8 = 12]
<Mixed Team #4 Ambush[1d6+10 = 14]
<Mixed Team #5 Ambush[1d6+7 = 13]
<Mixed Team #6 Ambush>Sighting six brand new Tainted Masses less than 100M south of the Basin's newly repaired roadway, as one they break into a storming four-point gallop, but are immediately followed by a tight Diamond Lance formation closing ranks into at least two dozen total.[1d6+6 = 11]
<Tainted Mass Charge[1d6+6 = 10][1d6+6 = 7][1d6+6 = 7]>Clenching the M2's handles tightly and shoving armored thumbs onto the butterfly trigger brings a roaring chatter of forearm impacts with the primary burst aimed towards the Mass left of the formation's leader.>Losing control of the heavy weapon briefly before stabilizing it upwards, 660 grain impacts begin tearing into and through definitively solid Tainted legs.>Tracking upwards enough to focus on the left side Mass' center, the rank immediately behind it taking somewhat slowed slugs while the third rank was absorbing tracers and armor penetrating bullets alike.. and were certainly NOT disintegrating from heavy fire.>>281247>LEADERSHIP: +2 to all Assault, Evasion, Reaction Speed & Sprint rolls>PENALTY: -1 to all rolls from Operational Fatigue>5 Ambush tokens.Last Stand Protocol: Disengaged>Aided by the Float enchantmarent, stretching out into a full towards the Dagor run elicits a feeling of whole body wellness save for the mild fatigue and sense of deep soul ache plaguing you.>Nearly body checking the vehicle's front end,, you instead readily slide into position, shotgun aimed over the mildly burning engine, and feel a pang of loss over the Dagor's damage.>Likewise losing the desperate, poorly understood adrenaline rush, watching the Tainted form into a near-perfect Diamond Lance formation rushing directly towards the Dagor you immediately recognize that this small squad was massively undergunned to engage this number even as Jeff looses the well maintained M2's fury from left and above.>Estimating the formation's distance as out of range, upon calculating all eight shells in the SPAS-12 and realizing that you either had to quick reload or switch to the 1911, halfway into the Tainted charge your synapses reach peak efficiency at the optimal firing vectors-
>>281258>LEADERSHIP: +2 to all Evasion & Sprint rolls>PENALTY: -1 to all rolls from Operational Fatigue>Spotting the number of Tainted decreased to about two dozen individuals, the infamous 'Mass' type were now charging straight north at the Basin, two much smaller formations of less than platoon strength had formed behind them, starting to coalesce into markedly different shapes.[1d6 = 5]
<Consolidated Tainted Formation #1: Tactic Shift[1d6 = 2]
<Consolidated Tainted Formation #2: Tactic Shift>Securing the small heavy Golem on your saddle, the bizarre and unbalanced weight was only a minor nuisance.>Reaching an immediate three-point run, the booming weapon from behind mixes with rapidly sloshing wave actions, drastically slowed from centuries of rubble tossed in by batpony carelessness.>Glimpsing the usually abandoned and empty basin in the center, it was guarded by a trio of heavy set batponies in older Nightfang armor, eerily calm.>Behind the three a whirling sphere of suspiciously viscous red fluid partially hid a blood-covered batmare, holding aloft two long daggers, the first a shining pinksteel, the other a dull metallic green.>Three pairs of two blood drenched altars facing each other behind her were surrounded by clusters of batponies, fangs and wingclaws unmoving, their colors oddly dimmed.>Passing by that scene the Basin's northwest side in front of the building that was definitely Lann's, an even more confusing situation appears:>A lone batpony that probably rivaled the Empress in size with wingclaw trios that appeared more like minotaur curved blades, stood surrounded by two partially intact squadrons of Hunter-Killers.>Composed of metallic iridescent red that was ejecting tiny streams of red vapor from hundreds of rippled creases across the body, the bloodhost points south to which the Discordites take wing, rapidly taking an offensive reverse-moon formation.[1d6+7 = 13]
<Hunter-Killer Squadron 1[1d6+7 = 9]
<Hunter-Killer Squadron 2>Gazing upon either you or Mercy with a troubled expression, the bloodhost's wings sweep forwards and down once, propelling her upwards with a backblast that dissipates most of the Moors' mist behind her-[1d6+8 = 13]
<GM.Flight[1d6+8 = 11][1d6+8 = 10][1d6+8 = 9]>Exposing scores of white robed Support Strikers lying in unnatural death positions, scattered across what was not long ago a triple ranked Watch Guard half-circle defensive formation.>Though you do spot three squads slowly retreating north, the psions' death toll was nearly an entire compony's worth.>Hearing overburdened pegasi wings flapping behind you as Mercy struggles to catch up, she was entirely silent at the carnage.[1d6 = 1] <Horror[1d6 = 5] <Insanity Strength[1d20 = 6] <Insanity Effect
>>280674>Wings lifting in an approximation of a ruffled shrug, the Nightfang's tone was flatly unamused.
"There aren't marely batponies here, I've met them all. Haven't seen or heard of a human turn into a batpony either. I'd rather do my job, which is fun, than pass unsubstantiated rumors.">Tapping hooves and wingclaws on every surface, pausing to sniff every other step, the batmare retains her suspicious, slow pace.
"Nothing so far. Dunno what that last word you said is but it sounds like one of those elemarental bolt spewing weapons I see some pegasi use now and then. I've come across lots of nasty swarming creatures, last was in the compony that held Memorial Village after Razorback secured it. Spent the next four, maybe five nights wiping out local scavengers. Very unfun. New Everfree critters are bigger and show up in smaller numbers from what little I know, but did overhear one human talking about a huge bunch of Moors minibears that got too close. They should be at least two hundred miles south, not roaming around the giant growth regions.">Watching the Lunar mare's methodical, and at least somewhat professional attempts at locating something out of place, your own efforts find nothing.>Not a single crack, chip, or off colored patch was visible, and from the mare's constant scraping on stone you couldn't hear voids in the material.>Which gave a chance that the entire stairwell had been created from a single large boulder or perfectly melded together.
"Clear. I don't think there's much to worry about.">Reaching the bottom step after the batmare, it had opened into a matte white tunnel that two unicorns might be able to walk side-by-side through.>Down approximately 40M was an intersection, with two more deviating at 100M and a third around 150M.>Sliding forwards on her hoofboots, the sound quickly traveling while she takes several deep sniffs, then nods in a succinct marener.
"Can smell the yellow unicorn, pink unicorn, Hodch, other yellow unicorn, and unicorn with the floppy hat. First two are three to five minutes prior, third is an hour or so, fourth is very faint, fifth is around the same time as Hodch.">Helmet tilting sideways, the Lunar Guard mutters in annoyance.
"This tunnel system must see a lot of use, way more scents than I can keep up with. I'll track the yellow and pink unicorn but warn me if you're going to use something loud.">Starting off at a slightly less than power walking pace, the batmare's wings stretch out, tapping on wall sections every third step.[1d6+4 = 6]
<E.Perception[1d6+4 = 6][1d6+4 = 9][1d6+2 = 8]
<E.Traps[1d6+2 = 5][1d6+2 = 7]
"Yeah, I don't like rumors either, they tend to get people killed.">He shrugged a bit as he follows behind her, keeping the same slow, cautious pace.
"Well, you're not exactly far off. Shotguns usually fire several small steel balls out at a target, though there's shells for it that are one solid slug.">He chewed on his lip as he thought.
"Kinda like... grape shot for ship cannons, I think?">Navies were kind of hard to come by in the Zone.>He glances down at the batpony, raising an eyebrow in surprise.
"You can smell scents that far back?">He could compare that to a tracking hound.>He shrugged and patted his sidearm.
"I shouldn't have a reason to use any of my weapons, if I need to I'll use my knife for ropes or something.">He frowned and glanced down at the hanging gear on his body.
"Anything else just kinda... beeps idly.">He follows close behind, his boots treading lightly.[1d6 = 3]
<E. Perception[1d6 = 6][1d6 = 4][1d6 = 5]
'Understood sir, adjusting protocols to compensate for this unique situation.'>Shoulders lifting in an accepting shrug, the A.I. render slumps forwards to sigh in a disgusted tone.
'The Inquisitor. Her subconscious is partially awake with approximately forty percent coherency.. albeit thoroughly idiotic. She continues blathering on about something called an Abominable Intelligence, why they should not exist, demarending if I am one, and other insane drivel that I am starting to experience a great deal of resentmarent at. I have been blocking each frequency she has utilized to directly contact me, which now makes two-hundred fifty-two. Correction: two-hundred fifty-seven and rising steadily.'
"Don't worry none, Ah'm not lookin' ta pull teeth jes' yet but Ah gotta few questions y'better answer later.. an' Ah'll try to keep mah accent down.">Lonestar's hat tilts as he gives a distinctly critical military staredown, sliding the discs back into his coat with deliberate slowness.
"Ah'm not gonna take yer words personal like so's Ah'll be nice: Ah ain't gone soft or been sittin' on mah ass doin' fuck all since arrivin' in Canterlot day one this whole mess started up. Got enough shuteye to go fer another day. Anythin' past that? Few o'Tipper's special mixes.">Firmly patting the weapon once, he turns to glance behind him for a moment, muttering in a low, harshly reprimanding tone which the A.I. picks up easily.
"An' Em needs ta either keep her mouth shut or stop worryin' s'damned much-">Straightening up, the Texan analogue half-saunters towards the door, pausing in front of it.
"Now 'scuse me fer a bit, gonna pick up mah gear an' warn th'secretary mare Ah won't be 'round. Also mah Frequency's EnCru-six-point-eight-one-gamma, y'won't find it on 'ficial channels.">Tossing a short, two-fingered salute before stepping out, the door closes after him creakily.>Tapping forehooves together several times, 'Spiral' cocks his head at a small data feed accompanied by several tiny windows.
'Mood analysis: moderately proud, highly clinical, extremely critical, highly efficient, high sociability with those of a military background. He was thoroughly insulted by your question, made no attempt to hide it but did tone down his combativeness. Definite military officer background. Most likely possibilities: aerial, spaceborne, naval, or a combination of two. Your records show he was present with the first one hundred humans to arrive on Tallus and is in a position of data control. His experience, knowledge, and.. presumedly high combat capabilities are invaluable. Recommarend designating him as a V.I.P. sir, this cou-'>Before you could respond, a small dinner plate sized gateway opens to deposit a silver disc, hanging in front of you within arm's distance.
'...as I was stating, this is an excellent chance to ascertain Razorback's political, economic, and technological situations.'>Hodch:[1d6+3 = 8]
<E.Negotiation[1d6+3 = 5][1d6+3 = 5]
>>280680>Finding nothing to straighten or put away, the Library's lighting system dims to nothing though the large number of giant bay windows were enough to see by.>Despite the door's good sound proofing you could hear fillies giggling louder than the Crystal mare's mock aggressive taunting, which sounded like she was making one last effort to have fun before turning in.>Exiting through one of the front doors, activity had greatly slowed while you'd been burning into the book:>Fifteen or so humans, each accompaneighed by two to four armored ponies were visible in the pre-dawn light, performing yet another slow, spread out search across the central courtyard's west and east sides.>Sighting the barracks roughly eighty percent of a kilometer north, it was fairly obvious that this fortress was nowhere near completed.>And that it needed a transportation system of some kind.>Walking the well trod path leading to the Pagoda, far ahead and west you spy a large, minorly familiar square tent with four bright red glowing lanterns slightly north of the giant entrance/exit gates noted earlier.>Changing course towards the tent, upon reaching it two minutes later, along with a number of slowly developing aches, it was distinctly Asian styled:>Dark green and red stripes accented by flower prints and delicate renderings of unusual creatures.. ones that might not be entirely mythical on this world.>Hundreds of small, brightly colored cloth strips around the top hang silently, the door a complex five-piece affair that looked like embroidered silk, also covered in shiny wooden buttons that bore unknown symbols on each.>Right of the door was a fanciful, white wooden A-frame sign that had been laid face down, probably the equivalent of 'closed'.>Hearing a female's voice speaking inside, the sharply aery tone was definitely from a mare.>Door folding outwards, a slim pegasus fully covered by dark purple cloth armor half-skips out, stopping to look up at you.>Head tilting left, then right after a second, and left again, the two black lenses fully covering her eyes were quite odd, while the spry tone that greets you was thoroughly unhappy.
"Hello human, can't talk more than a few seconds, have to go make sure Bren is ready to land the new buildings. Rasera-">Pointing a wing back at the door quickly.
"Is about to turn in but you could probably trade with her some. You'll need the white and green striped orb on the table to talk with her, Japoneighsian's the hardest bucking language to translate.">Nodding once, the mare's wings extend as she takes a running jump, flapping off straight east.
>>281608>Cheto simply blinks as he hears the taunting promoted by the crystal mare behind closed doors, vaguely reflecting an image of what'd be like in there.
(Seems like it's quite the physical activity. Probably would break something if I were to do the same, but maybe the fillies know how to play soft.)>A yawn happens to pass through José's mouth when he reaches the strikingly decorated tent, nodding lazily a couple of times.
(Nomad?)>Approaching the fancy cloth stripped door enough to spot the A-frame sign, Gallo blinks once, realizing this was probably a dead end.
(Guess I'll inspect the place some more. Might be someone or pony still inside that can help me in my nocturnal endeavors... in what I assume to be daylight already.)>Lighty scratching his arm as he opted to stand near the door, the human was slightly concerned about his tired predicament.
(Question is: Will I called upon today? The Princess seems awfully spontaneous in her decision-making from what I heard of her. Hopefully not.)>Refocusing once again to the tent to hear the voices, the man lights up considerably.
(Alrighty. Time to see if my mild persistence has paid off!)>Watching the pegasus walk into his view, José composes a polite yet lazy smile and patiently listens to her.
(Bren... sounds familiar... and a trader's inside here named Rasera. Potentially Tallus' Japaense mirror. Ja-po-neigh-sian.)
"Much appreciated, miss. Have a good day.">With a small wave of his hand in a goodbye gesture, Gallo turns to the tent and, with a deep inhale and licking his teeth in anticipation, pokes his head inside the tent, eager to both find the orb on the table without unknowingly breaking customs by being too hasty.
"Excuse me. May I enter?">He promptly moves a hand to his mouth carefully and slowly to stop a yawn from coming out of his mouth.
>>281563>>281592>Clemency comes down from that admittedly longer than usual adrenaline dump and his senses dull to their normal level>It only makes the slight aches and the hollow feeling even more pronounced but he focuses on the firing vectors of his field of view>Once the Tainted came within range, Clem fired his SPAS-12 until he felt the gun lock open>He then quickly combat loaded a shell and fired that as well[1d6+3 = 6]
<E. Combat Rifles/Shotguns[1d6+3 = 7][1d6+3 = 5][1d6+3 = 7][1d6+3 = 7][1d6+3 = 5][1d6+3 = 5][1d6+3 = 8]>Seeing the coming charge, he also spots what he assumes is one of Jeff's vampires performing a roundabout the Dagor and then charging at the Tainted>Seeing what they done to the bloodhost, he is wondering whether this mare had a plan or is displaying that suicidal tenacity like the Hunter Killers>Clem does decide that their position is still tenuous, even with Jeff on the M2
"Jeff, we need to fall back. Or at least blunt that charge!">Clemency then checks his visor, both for the status of the M-S.O.L.G. and his radar to see the positioning of the allied pony forces[1d6 = 6]
< Radar>Clemency also tries to spot the other ponies Jeff mentioned, especially since they are still in that Tainted formation
"I have no further information available on depth pressures from my databases mom, those are my best to worst calculations given my exterior hull integri-">All of Wild's external and internal actions stop, both of the chest cabin's screens blacking out while the air conditioning system ceases to function.>Half a minute later the screens returns to their original views, the left now aimed at visibly empty sky while the right showed your Eldritch Android daughter's hands twitching in sea water.
"Secondary repair system restored to basic functionality mom! I did trigger an inbuilt soft-lock caused by critical damage to my head unit and data plexii. My attempts at bypassing the soft-lock were successful but I will require an additional six to ten minutes of consolidation before my primary repair system reaches maximum efficiency-">Speaking in an clearly excited internal tone, once more she digs into the wreckage.
"Now conducting repairs on my primary systems and conducting intermediate metals extrapolation research-"[1d6+4 = 5]
<Arcanum Sensors Array: Research[1d6+4 = 7]
<Grade 1 Auto-Repair[1d6 = 2]
<Grade 2 Auto-Repair[1d6 = 4]
<Repair Tendril #1[1d6 = 6]
<Repair Tendril #2[1d6 = 4]
<Repair Tendril #3[1d6 = 5]
<Repair Tendril #4[1d6 = 3]
<Repair Tendril #5[1d6 = 1]
<Repair Tendril #6[1d6 = 1]
<Repair Tendril #7[1d6 = 2]
<Repair Tendril #8
'Understood mom, but I doubt there is much to mine in this region outside of crashed vessels. Addendum: I found this hidden in one of my head unit's compartments, formerly designated as a glovebox-">Blipping a short affirmative, one of the medical tendrils raises up to present a strange, multi-hued ball of fuzz around the size of your fist.. which gives a surprisingly happy sounding chirp as the implement deposits it onto your lap before withdrawing out of sight.
"I do not know what this being is. Kraut placed it inside one of my safest compartments before conversion. Basic analysis: it is non-sapient and possibly non-sentient, enjoys physical contact, was unharmed after the compartment flooded. Should I study it further?"
>>281761[1d6 = 4]
<Improved Scavenging Protocols
>>281563>>281592>Sunny eyed the obvious ritual and gave a brief, full body shake, outright disturbed.>Don't know, don't care, don't think about it, Sunny focused only on locating Lann's shop and the Strikers.>At least until stumbling upon an absolute unit of a batpony which had her dumbstruck for a full second. The mare simply returned its expression until it took off and revealed the corpses.>She frowned at them, recognising the formation they'd been in when they were alive, whatever was left of them were in retreat, they hadn't even bothered to defend their casualties for recovery. The mare supposed she understood their unwillingness to lose any more of their forces to this, if that is indeed what it'd been.>Sunny pressed a single wing over her chest briefly for the fallen before turning to Mercy.>The larger pegasus was hovering there silently, and she didn't look too good, the mare can't have been used to seeing casualties like this if her reaction was anything to go by.
"Mercy. Mercy! In the shop, right now. Don't think about it, focus on what Jeff needs you to do. Stay with us, we don't have much time.">She kept her ears swiveling in the meantime, waiting on Mercy to either break down or pull herself together. The immediate area was reasonably secure for the moment, even if the cost had been high.[1d6+2 = 4]
< B. Perception[1d6+2 = 6]
>>281761>>281762>I couldn't help but grimace a little.>"Yeah, neither do I.">I perked up a bit upon hearing her next sentence.
"That's good to hear, Wild!">I gave her screens a warmer smile, leaning forward a bit as I glance over the views I had.
"I would imagine there'd be SOME types of metallic deposits on an ocean floor... even if it was deep under the sand. Or gear might have been tossed in while trying to keep a ship floating.">Inwardly I was cursing the inability to help at all with anything related to this.>I wasn't taught a damn thing about the ocean other than the Arctic was cold as all hell and shouldn't be swam in. Much.
"... What the hell is this, Wild?">I gingerly pick the fuzzy thing and inspect it, eyebrow raised.
"Kraut is weird. It does look cute, though."
>>281563>>281592>Thankfully Sunny and Mercy were able to hustle away to the outlying buildings safely, so he could deal with the oncoming attack without them getting caught in it.>Marshmallow Moon, having recovered from her own attempt at intimidating the Tainted horde, began a full-hearty rush into the attackers.>That's some guts, coming from one of Luna's daughters. It somehow doesn't surprise him.>He keeps clear of her as he fires off to the side into a lane of Tainted to try and thin them out for the Lunarites to punch through, though he loses sight of them.>It seemed like the fifty-cal rounds were at least effective.
281663>At some point, Clem slides up behind the Dagor's totaled front end. Keeping in stealth, it was better to not draw any attention to his friend and possibly give him away.
"Came to join the party, Clem? I was trailering the Lunarites with a Void Anchor, but it snapped when I rammed through the Tainted. They're all stuck on the other side.">They were heavily armed AND armored. He can expect them to hold their own.>Clem mentions something about a blood pony? He can't help but look behind him far north into the Village. Lo and behold, there up at the fountain was some sort of ritual summoning some large blood-shaped pony.
"Shit, you weren't kidding! Least they're on our side.">Zoning back onto the Tainted, they had started forming larger beings and started charging along with a tight spear charge of smaller ones directly aimed at him, Clem, and the derelict Dagor.
"Just one more run of guns!..."[1d6+4 = 9]
<M.Leadership: Ranged[1d6+4 = 8][1d6+4 = 5][1d6+4 = 7]>He redirects the M2 into the point of the diamond formation, and lets off another barrage of heavy fire at it. If he can drop and topple the first few rows, the rest behind should get caught up on the downed ones and break the entire charge.[1d6+6 = 11]
<U.Heavy Weapons[1d6+6 = 11]
<M.Ranger[1d6+6 = 7][1d6+6 = 12][1d6+6 = 12]
<M2 Browning HMG[1d6+6 = 7]>Whether the rounds were effective or not, Jeff hears Clem's suggestion to retreat after he himself fires off his Spas-12.
"Forget it. Let's regroup with the others.">He effortlessly hauls himself out and above the turret ring, and yells out toward Luna's daughter.
"Marshmallow! We're falling back into the Village!">Turning and swiftly dropping onto the ground right next to Clem, Jeff checks his gear and weapons- equipping his Honeybadger. Before hauling it toward the Southern buildings.
"By the way. That's Marshmallow Moon, one of Luna's daughters! Now, let's go!"[1d6+5 = 7]
<E.Sprint[1d6+5 = 9][1d6+5 = 11]
>>281910>Clemency turns to Jeff as he lands next to him and he yells out to this "Marshmallow">He peaks over the hood to see the charging pony and hopes she hears him>Although, it is quite harrowing seeing the incoming formation coming towards them>He turns to Jeff as he was speaking to him, talking about who that one pony was
"Daughter? Gonna have to explain that one to me.">Clemency then follows after Jeff[1d6+5 = 11]
<M. Sprint[1d6+5 = 8][1d6+5 = 7][1d6+5 = 10][1d6+5 = 9]
<Airstream Sprint[1d6+5 = 7]
>>281324>Turning an embarrassed grin forwards, Nasiksta's blush remains while she speaks in apprehensive yet sincere ignorance.
"That right if say mare guard mare for tings I not know, not do. Is old po-ny word but mo-dern ponies say not for lewd. Am sorry but no know which right?">Tox-11 sighs in directly painful machine code, the datastream coming off as a gentle reprimand.
'enginseer, nashka has not yet experienced the natural harem cycles of equines before or their openly sexual relations. original word mareguard equates to a mare that guards another mare during mating of their harem leader, designated as a stallion, for the purposes of reproduction, sexual fulfillment, or both. pre-modern meaning is a mare that protects the herd regardless of danger, considered high honor. current modern meaning is mare that protects all other based on oaths, duties, relations, beliefs. likewise high honor. roles between mares change hourly depending on environmental-seasonal-hormonal-individual factors. she is naive and immature, enginseer. initiate diplomatic protocols: correct her understanding based on second and third meanings to preserve innocence'>Shrugging at your implication, the girl's face turns partially crimson again before smiling in half-hearted curiousness.
"It no prank. Spiral taught lots, he say true so we learn. If you say want me guard you for tings.. I guard but no watch, no do, ye?">Lips tight in a naturally pensive reaction to the unnatural environmarent, the girl spreads her left hand out in a conciliatory gesture.
"No know how be on po-ny world. I ask why Tavkosht no be here, no me. He better guard: shoot better, faster, smarter. Why me? I hide in train when hit by big shells, guard lots heavy tings. Am sorry, feel bad not know. why. May-be hu-man ask Sun Princess why, how, am hope she an-swer.">To both your questions and Nashka's words the Admiral responds with high magnitudes of caution.
'I will not claim the Inquisitor's suspicions are correct as I do not know nor understand them. While I have a great deal of information pertaining to the three Princesses desiring humans on this world, there is no singular answer. Until the time comes that we learn the circumstances of our shared arrival it is best to keep an open mind, a guarded conscience, and a light heart. There may have been no plan yet it may be that we were all placed in opportune positions to perform and cause greater works here for the betterment of xenos equines than we would have created for Imperials. There is no wrong that the Motive Force is unable to correct, Enginseer. Do not lose your hope or faith as the Empress guides all. ....which Empress, however, is for a much later discussion.'
"Not know po-ny runes. Spiral show, teach all u-ni-corn have magic. Magic do tings hard, not know sometime. No magic easy learn but magic all 'round he say. Few human use, know, learn. Hard trust what no know.">Returning to her original, serious disposition, the girl's focus swings from each line of safes to the entire vault, submachine gun held in solid hip-firing position.
"Nm no see, hear, feel tings out place. It like big armory; cool, si-lent, maybe po-ny hide dan-ger tings?"[1d6+1 = 7]
<B.Perception[1d6+1 = 4]>Rapidly spooling back each data line within the past [REDACTED] years, your MIU calculates a 43.6% gravity reduction in the current environs which was slightly less than standard Voidborn vessels preferred to run.>Sensing the Auspex running through hexadecimal code at a speed that few pieces of STC Binary wargear could accomplish, Witch-Two's contemplative transmission cuts off as Adronal's ire becomes apparent.
'Well done Enginseer. I will amend my report to showcase your intuition and high calculative capabilities. This is an excellent example of one local region-space that has been heavily modified to act as a vault with preservative qualities, similar to what would be expected from a Technos Librarium Sanctum. There are two main differences when used by the xenos equines of this world. One: the gravity decrease significantly reduces wear and strain on fragile and complex components. Two: the increased humidity aids in preventing degradation or decay of specific materials. This location is better off than standard Guard armories. I am incapable of sharing specific datum due to binding treaties yet I will state this is equivalent to a Mechanicus Reliquary. Tox-11 suspects a number of valuable relics have been carefully stored within which would be standard proto-"
'too long winded again, witch. said to keep short next time. enginseer: prioritize scanning to include only high energy-efficiency fields, energetic composite materials. exclude all similarities to: batteries, power cells, generation systems. local equines abhor wasted energy due to extreme necessities of ecological preservation protocols'>Head shaking at your exclamation, the awful helmet tips down from her motions, the ancestral Vostroyan analogue shoving it back above her eyebrows.
"No like po-ny bank, no like po-ny ar-mor-ry. See few, this not same.">Your biological ears catch an oddly slowed sonic drift based on the multiple echoes while the MIU calculates a greater than 70% violation of standard timestream physics, though weren't Warp-induced.>Retaining her guardian pace off your side and casting distrustful glances at the few safes with runes or glyphs, the girl makes an acknowledging noise.>Traveling down the central line, after a quarter minute you reach a presumably dead noble coloration safe with a set of four tumbling dials in the center.>As Nashka turns her back to sweep for potential hostiles, Chisan's voice comes across with a readily distinctive warble.
*"Acknowledged Enginseer. Problems: moderate comm distortion, unusually high delay, minor sound decay. Your message was transmitted nineteen-point-five seconds prior. Any significant findings, and have you located the unknown equine from before?"*[1d6 = 5] <?????
>>281391>Frowning in the marener that meant Naliyna somewhat failed to understand your weapons terminology, her snout wiggles as the pen descends onto another application letter.
"So more like a pegasus hunter than an earth pony knight, I guess? We.. might need something like that. I've gotten a bunch of contracts for stuff to do on and in the sea but since we don't have a boat they're in that pile-">Motioning towards a tiny stack of silver and gold trimmed pages that were definitely of Lunar origin, she pauses to give a half-hearted sigh.
"You haven't seen Bren's storage shack or all the local stuff she's collected? If not there's probably enough to fill the Workshop ten times over so you won't have a problem. She also keeps asking to build a giant storehouse for all the wood and stone but I don't have any idea where it should go. If you want anything made just put a notice on the bulletin board, Bren will get to it.. when she has time since she said something earlier about dropping a bunch of new buildings in.">Side eyeing the Cairn Wharf notice, Naliyna presents a modestly approving smile.
"Says no neighgotiation allowed for that one. I'll visit her when I get a few minutes, really want to look over everything she's got. Some of those things so old I've only heard a little about them but never seen so much as pieces. If they're real then I'll try to work out some trades. Probably go to the Sea Shack while I'm there too, they have some neat stuff Krinza might want.">The translocation matrice behind you springs up into a woven iron gateway, loud hoof thunks heralding a new arrival.>Passing by you to stop several paces from Naliyna's table was a fairly short unicorn clad in terribly plain and steel knight's armor, once a common marecenary pattern but fell out of favor decades prior due to complexity.>For whatever reason the spiraling neon green horn was fully exposed, although bands of what looked like red platinum had been tightly fitted into each groove.>Giving a short nod to the Crystal mare, the unicorn's head swings about, two unusually glittering red eyes examining you from behind clear diamond lenses.
"This must be Razorback. Greetings to the both of you.">The voice was that of a pleasantly soft toned 30's mare with highly clipped and professional military mareners, her prior eagerness subdued.
"I am Lucid Shock of the Germaneighan 19th Burst Cavalry detached from the 4th Imperial Guard Fleet Division under High General Still Flower's direct orders. It is my duty to discharge the three humans under my protection once I have confirmed Razorback Companeigh will accept them. If you would confirm this vocally then I shall authorize their release them into your herd.">Forcing both of her forehooves down and away from giving her snout some extra pain tonight, Naliyna turns a deadpan 'I military speak' expression towards you.
>>282052>Quarter-turning her head back towards Nasiksta after her response, she barely has the time to query for assistance that Tox-11 was already informing her.>Even if his tone elicited a sense of shame from the Enginseer as she struggled, and ultimately failed to suppress the powerful urge to apologize.
(My bad. I'm sorry. Will correct this. Thank you.)>Mallia's head fully turned as the girl explained on about Spiral. >Then made some pretty HEFTY implications that IMMMEDIATELY forced Mallia to rapidly shake her head and her mechadendrite in negative response.
"No-no! Absolutely not Nasiksta!">The Enginseer turned around slightly to be able to face the girl as she speaks up. Her mechadendrite springing infront of her and holding up the clamp as if it were a finger
"Hear this, my stalwart guard! As the highly reliable friend I have in this helmet,">Her mechadendrite lifts to tap the side of the jet black flak helmet in question. Toc toc.
"Has kindly taught me just this second, the meaning of that word that you know is outdated!" >The enginseer nodded to herself like a bobblehead, speaking as they made their slow walk across the vault room.>Mallia's mechadendrite gesticulating beside her as if it were her arm, while the other two real arms held a shield and a laspistol at the ready respectively.
"The pre-modern and modern meanings of the word are titles of High honor, Nasikta. The former meaning describes a mare that protects the herd regardless of danger. The former is a mare that protects ALL others based on oaths, duties, relations, and beliefs.">The Enginseer's mechadendrite slinks backwards to near the respirator of her flak helmet to tap herself on her armored 'cheek' with one of the mechanical claws.
"Raindrop Raspberry likely meant the former for you, Nasiksta. Nothing lewd about it! And personally speaking, I feel that it suits you as your very meaningful name suits you.">She gave Nasiksta a quick nod, her tone ending on a serious but slightly chirpy note that is mostly due to the modulated pitch of her soft voice.>Though when the more emotionally hitting response to her 'Why am I here' comes from Nasiksta, the Enginseer stopped. Not looking directly at the girl. And the helmet concealed her expression, making it hard to read exactly how she felt hearing her say that. But she looked very tense, again. >Even her mechadendrite stops it's lively motions stiffly, stopping beside her arm.
"Then... You know my anxiety. Unreasonable as it may seem."
"It's--uhm... One of my goals in this new life of mine to find the Alicorn princess who has saved my life, and ask her why she has done it. And...">Her voice drifts off, into a pitifully sad little voice.
"...">She doesn't end up being able to say it.>Or think it.>She didn't know what to do at that point yet. Everything felt weirdly meaningless, in that single moment.
"... Hm...">It perhaps was not helped by the the Admiral as she speaks up and elaborates.>Mallia's reply is surprisingly almost instant, and carried with it a heavily cautious, and slow-spoken tone.
(... I'm sorry Admiral. I still cannot process... Any of this. What you say has a logical and correct value, but on an emotional level I am struggling. I do not feel that I am ready to fully let go of my cynicism and inherent distrust. In case I am let down and made a fool of.)>Then the Enginseer does a mental double take on 'The EMPRESS guides all', followed by 'WHICH EMPRESS'.>Her back visibly straightens as she very inquisitively begins to prod Admiral Auspex with a more urgent and distress-filled line of questioning
(--And what---on Holy Mars are you talking about, Admiral Dranaki? What Empress? I have no frame of reference for any Empress, much less in the plural. The Emperor of Mankind, right? You...)
(Please tell me it's NOT what I think this is...)>Mallia's walking pace resumed immediately at a striding gait, speeding up towards the safe she was targeting while still tapping the side of her helmet, still with her pistol-hand, while her shield raised to cover more of her front.>Approaching the silvery safe and taking in the four tumbler dials... Starting to holster her laspistol to free up her hand.
(10,000 possible combinations? Possible to crack. If only I had the skill to do it fast.)
"It's very possible!">Anna replied to Nasiksta with a chirpy tone that ignored her current mood.
"So I am going to attempt to be very careful with opening anything, if I am even going to open something...">Her head turns rapidly as she looked up towards the ceiling at the sound of that echo. >The woman shuddered.
"Brr... I do not like how the echoes are mixing in here. Very, very not abiding to the laws of physics..." >After a moment, she looked back down. Putting her fingers on the safe to see if it reacts somehow... Tapping it a few times, knocking on it.>Mallia listens patiently to the contexts the Admiral is laying out. Until Tox-11 speaks.
(Wilco. If the previous Chroniton scan is complete, I will spool up the Auspex's conventional scanning module to detect energy signatures.)[1d6+4 = 9]
<BQ. Auspex >She is literally one tenth of a second from ordering a diagnostic of the Vox systems, when Chisan speaks through her Vox with a slight interference.
"Oh thank the mechanism." >She took a step back close to Nasiksta, speaking into the Vox.
*"The nature of the Gateway, the fact that this is a type of pocket dimension, may be causing interference as I suspected. The majority of the safes in here have no runes left on them, but some still have some that are apparently functional. Unsure if it perhaps a more durable type of design or continued maintenance? The atmosphere is also highly engineered to preserve what is in here."*
*"No sign of the unknown equine at this time. Will report on that. Over."*>Before she starts playing with the safe, she actually turns around and gives the whole room another scan. This time using the Preysense again.[1d6+4 = 8]
<B. Perception + BQ. Preysense.[1d6 = 6]
>>282083>"Eh, at least she got it somewhat."
"For a naval gun, they carry small ones. So yeah, more like a hunter.">Close enough.
"I try not to, she might hit me.">He shrugged and made a mental note to write it down.>Bubba glanced behind him, before turning to meet the unicorn fully.>Listening to what she said, he hummed lightly.>"Germaneighan, eh?"
"What information do you have on them, first? I'd rather know about them a little.">While Bubba was probably going to say yes anyway, its better to know about what exactly he was agreeing to.
>>281601>Pareidolia eyes the wish disc with some trepidation as he takes it, stowing it in a vest pouch.
[Another risk introducing device...]>Glancing over his HUD quickly, he steps out the door of the Command Bunker and makes his way towards the Bulletin Board.>He frowns as he considers what his A.I. told him.
"If there is a way to open one of those feeds to me, I'd like to make it clear she should not be placing operational strain on my equipment. Lonestar can be designated a VIP given his position within Razorback. Other situational information will need to be discussed when we aren't in a pre-operation state."
[Lonestar misunderstood my intent. Will need to rectify later.]>Arriving at the flier covered stand, he methodically combs through them, paying particular interest to Clemency's note about the M.S.O.L.G and Emerald's Recording.>He mutters to himself as he reads:
"Untenable. Catastrophic backlash of events put into motion from before I arrived and beyond my ability to control. Once again, the Committee's proven correct by short sighted individual human action. Construct aggression likely increasing in response to an evolving threat. If their weapon protocols are designed to match the combatants they face, then human presence is going to...">Stiffening suddenly, he reaches into his pack searching for the unusual Construct arm Clemency had given him back on the Citadel.
Ambush: +1 Token to Spruce
>Golden Horns' hooves clacked sharply on the solid cut floor of the corridor as he galloped like his life depended on it.>Actually yes it did!
"We..must..go..faster!">He neighed in distraught to Adon and Spruce between heavy puffs of breath, this sudden need to run fast was not jelling well with his age and creaking joints but the adrenaline coursing through his veins made up for that.>>278013 →>For the seven seconds it took Golden to cover eight metres it took Adon to cross six metres in two seconds thanks to his enhanced and much, much younger physique.
"Good...work there...!">Wheezed Golden as his advice was taken.>>280266>Although weighed down by a rocket launcher and the other trappings of a modern soldier Spruce was as quick on his feet as the Witcher, proving pure dadrenaline was as good as any alchemy concoctions.>He took off with such speed in fact that the Chitqu that was nibbling up a storm next to his ear squeaked in panic and dug its tiny claws into the fabric of the Operators' clothing to stay on for dear life.>Spruce and Adon were shoulder to shoulder as they sprinted down the reddening hall, their slamming footfalls echoing through the length of this trap room drowning any other noise that could be heard.>Golden Horn on the other hoof was initially slower than the two humans but thanks to the fear of death motivating him he was able to gallop past between the two and was now ahead a full two metres in front of them.
"I...I see the end of the hallway!">Whinnied the pony as he pointed out that in the distance there was a bright white light, which was in stark contrast to the blood red of the corridor.>It was only roughly 92 metres away...>Suddenly multiple flashes of magical rings appeared on the floor, walls and ceiling. Shining magically in many hues of colour even though the world was currently a dominating crimson.
"Can't...be...good!">Exclaimed Golden, pointing out the obvious.(1:52)>Roll Speed to see how many metres you cross.>Roll Reaction Speed the amount of seconds it took.
>>281596>Making a disgruntled ke-he sound batponies seemed to use when disgusted, the Guardmare's voice lowers into a satisfied pitch.
"Got the right idea there human. I hate gossip too, much prefer facts, reports, and mem-orbs. Then again I'm a Moonborn, only visited the Moors a few times a year. So, most all Lunars think the same way.">Slowing her pace a bit, an encouraging snicker is accompanied by her wingclaws snapping together.
"I've seen some humans using their weapons at that range thing a few times. Steel's a bit too useful to throw around, ought to use bronze, nickel, silver, something heavy like that. And yeah, I got trained in survival tracking methods the second I got into the Lunar Guard. It sticks, especially when drilled in for months on end. Also I'm a batpony, our noses are good enough to tell the exact second when fruit is perfectly ripe.">Keeping directly behind the mare, her voice rings down the tunnel while you continue to note a definite lack of modifications, let alone damage to the compressed semi-stone.>Which, you realize, was an insane undertaking to construct a tunnel network like this as not even Duty would have the manpower, let alone machinery, to burrow this much out,>The Claw pauses mid-step at a surprise echo of her last word from the right, directly in front of her, she pauses and cranes her head to stare at the wall.>Sliding forwards a few steps to gesture at the location for you, you catch the tiniest scent of multiple unicorns, mostly that peculiar book smell most of them had.
"Hodch, one hour ago. Floppy hat unicorn, two hours. Helping Hoof.. half an hour. It's kind of like-">Reaching forwards to flick her right set of wingclaws into the spot she was examining, the almost spicy aftertaste of something like a Sparkler that had been dropped in the middle of a bonfire hits your nostrils.
"Nope, Changeling illusion wall. Roust's been here for sure, but what's that weird crystal smell? Almost like something Naliyna would ma-">Cut off by several irate voices reverberating back, the most prominent one was Denra, angry, the second Helping Hoof's in a much more calm, though concerned tone.
"-an we do to replace this?! Fuck Spiral and his triple redundancies that never get checked!"
"Please, stop. I know there is not a single one hundred-pound power crystal on the market, believe me, I went through every listing in Canterlot, the Crystal Empire, Manehattan, Fillydelphia, and New Shark. If Caliya was right, the last time I spoke with him the chance of acquiring one is less than zero-point-nine percent.">Hodch was last, sighing in a grim fashion; the trio sounding less than 30M away in a small room.
"I am forced to agree, those are both old and incredibly rare. Not even the Starborn have access to one these days. But, Denra, this does explain why all of the demi-sentient's power outages and strange behaviors have occurred. We need to find a replacemarent and fast."
>>281631>The tent entrance's lighting was little more than two dim, large candles on short dark wooden tables, though as you peek inwards the scene is one of rather basic, albeit exotic, fare:>Dozens of small paper lanterns hang suspended in the air on nothing, close to cream white semi-reflective cloth walls making up the interior walls.>Scattered around the entire tent are dozens of futons, all stacked, that looked quite comfortable for one pony though would be incredibly small for a human that isn't a legitimate dwarf.>Each of the taller stacks are covered in small wooden boxes of varying color, each wrapped in a variety of intricate bows or folded paper ribbons.>Immediately to your left is a short, ashen-bronze colored end table, the only object atop it a ping pong ball sized green and white swirling sphere placed in the center atop a simple black sheet.>Near the rear is a much larger large traveling futon, a bright while silky one you note, that was probably for three ponies; owner's perks, probably.>Sitting in the center is a dark sable blue mare of roughly earth pony height, thought much slimmer and more wiry.>Giving a pensive blink before pointing her front left hoof towards you, then off to your left, the mare sits up straight before clearing her throat.>Emitting a dull chime tone as the mare speaks in a thick, heavily Asiatic accent, the sphere tilts forwards on the table as it translates in a bizarrely flat, sex-neutral tone.
"Greetings to human of the Razorback Companeigh! I am traveler Rasera of trader Clan Cavalier, Neighpon. What have you seek here?">Outside a sharp whistle is heard before a series of dimly muted thuds, along with the orders of a female, or more likely mare, crew boss shouting orders.
>>281835>Tendrils heaving upwards into view, Wild's heavily damaged hands reach down to lift a massive albeit thoroughly rust covered.. something.>Probably a giant spear, maybe a harpoon.>Hopefully.
"Not as good as I would prefer mom, there is a high possibility the soft-lock was triggered due to overstressing my Tryptaran mass. I have less than thirty-five percent remaining. If I were to expend more then there is a ninety-percent probability my secondary systems will go offline.">Puzzled at the thing for a few seconds, she pushes it off to the side clasped in the right hand before thin streams of red light congregate under the viewscreen.
"Minimal references located: sub-shore oceanic regions rarely feature naturally occurring metals or metalloid compounds, basic compounds in majority. The wreckage contains enough materials to fully repair my motivators, drive systems, and potentially my hull. Update: I have located enough specialized materials to reproduce my secondary sensor arrays, attempting reconstruction now-"[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]
<Grade 1 Auto-Repair
[1d6+2[ <Grade 2 Auto-Repair[1d6 = 5]
<Repair Tendril #1[1d6 = 5]
<Repair Tendril #2[1d6 = 2]
<Repair Tendril #3[1d6 = 3]
<Repair Tendril #4[1d6 = 4]
<Repair Tendril #5[1d6 = 4]
<Repair Tendril #6[1d6 = 3]
<Repair Tendril #7[1d6 = 3]
<Repair Tendril #8>Emitting a short beep, the Wild caricature on screen disappears to be replaced by a much larger image of the creature.>Which wriggles around in your hands, the softness much like a feline's coat of hair.
"Genus: error, information not found. Technical species name: oceanic spheroid sand skipper, minor. Subspecies designation: Puff Skipper. Habitat: shallow oceanic. Threat index: zero. Pest status: not located. General information: Puff Skippers are prized as pets by most equines for their softness, low maintenance, and long lifespans. Utility information: Puff Skippers are able to release a small fog and blinding magnesium-like flash of light when startled or squeezed with enough force. Addendum: oceanic spheroid skippers do not contain a standard nervous system, you will not be able to harm it without extreme force. None of my databanks contain additional information; there is a severe amount of damage within my head unit that I am unable to repair at the current time.">Slightly twisting left and upwards to view the waves overhead, the ash and debris had mostly subsided.>Refocusing her camera, the fuzzy outlines of two oval silhouettes can be seen at a great distance.[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7]
<Arcanum Sensor Array
"Alert Priority One: unidentified Constructs at approximately ten kilometers. Estimated arrival time: two-point-five minutes at current trajectory and speed."
>>349227[1d6+2 = (1+2) = 3]
<Grade 2 Auto-Repair
'good. update: witch unable to find the equine she located earlier. not anomaly, had distinct patterns. tracker and i will search for it now'>Tox-11's frequency drops immediately as one of the Auspex unit's previously unused microfans kicks up to high speed, though still fairly quiet.>Returning only a half-mortified smile after your explanation, the girl's shoulders raise and drop quickly, her death grip on the boxy submachine gun lessening.>Just a little.
"Gave fright, ye. Am not know lot, hard learn pony words but now under-stand. Not meet Raindrop yet, but voice nice. And thank. Name old one, grandma gave, say conquer big thing one day.">Nodding briefly, the pre-Vostroyan turns her head back to the vault with a tight-lipped expression of unease.
"Am same Mah-lia. Ray-zor-back not good shape, time now. Am want meet sun princess, no find way yet. No pony or human see her two year now, maybe more. Am hope we do."
'I have been here long enough to ascertain certain truths that are unfortunately outside of your ability to make contact with. Until then be who you are rather than what was expected. That is all I ask of you.'>Blipping a short warning tone, Witch-Two's ASCII returns to display a slightly loathing expression.
'The Empress, Mallia. Thank the Inquisitor for having the foresight to avoid that one. The Emperor certainly exists, but he is not here. That is a dimension and universe separate from this one. As there is no Astronomicon I will only state this: we must guide each other. Trust in yourself and your allies above all else. We will speak in secret later.'>Visibly less apprehensive now, Nasiksta carefully slings her weapon up before poking at a top safe's dials several away from yours.
"Am do same ye. No see, hear, feel, taste no rune or sigil.">Rolling the dials quietly for a bit, her eyes narrow under the cheap helmet's tiny brim.
"Ye, ma-gic lot places. Here, old ma-gic taste. ..lock no sound. No carry out, heavy. Not know how open. What do?"[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4]
<B.Perception[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4]>Making an irritated approximation of a grunt, Andronal's Binary tone is equal parts frustrated and concerned.
'chroniton scans complete enginseer, caching now. original scan located equine eighty meters underneath depository in collapsed tunnel. high heat signature, approximately one hundred twenty degrees. large scale emissions related to enchantments, specialized weaponry, archaic armor, fully enhanced. estimated threat index: eleven of twenty at minimum. our current location: five to eight hundred meters below depository. suggestions witch?'
'Calculating.. done. You, Chisan, and the team here combined do not have the combat capabilities to engage a threat level higher than five of twenty. I suggest an immediate evacuation.'
'agree. get moving enginseer, four of us are unable to help you in our states'
*"...signal gain boosted on Knight Raindrop's recommendation, comm delay now one quarter of previous. Estimated life of standard equine esoteric 'magic' ranges from fifty to five hundred years. Assume majority of safes are null."*>Initiating a close range sweep of the vault, the interface screen quickly blankets out to display a rapidly increasing number of high energy and esoteric symbols.>Reading off the rapidly spooling datum streams, a variety of familiar, and some complete unknowns, read off as direct warnings: Acid, Air, Earth, Ice, Lightning, Magma, Permafrost, Plasma, Rime, Water, Void, among others that you couldn't translate.>Quickly following are a series of alerts detailing Dominion, Ethereal, Empire, Rift, Vortex, and a heart-stopping variety of others identified as assuredly lethal in too-close proximity.>The Scion's voice returns in a hard tone accompanied by the familiar sounds of weapons being readied and helmets slapped on.
*"Engineer, the Commissar's team did not locate signs of equine presence except for the traveling group much earlier on the lowest south terrace. This region is completely uninhabited in a one hundred kilometer radius. Retreat immediately, we are en route back. Assume unknown equine is hostile but do NOT open fire unless given direct cause to do so. Retreat immediately, we are en route for your exfil-"*[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]
<Commissar: E.Leadership[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6][1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9][1d6 = 3] <????? Reaction
>>282313>Sniffing aloud through the armored slots in her muzzle mask, Lucid's head turns left, then right, while Naliyna sits back and puts on her best 'this is totally fine and I'm not worried' face.>Which fails instantly when the Germaneighan swivels onto her, speaking in a brusquely no-nonsense pace.
"Little.">Before you or Naliyna can rebut her, Lucid turns to face you while rocking back on her hooves, red eyes squinting.
"Two military males. First is a long ranged combatant, age thirty to forty, good shape, stout, reasonable. Heavy primary rifle, secondary small pistol, white winter clothing, large amount of survival equipment, no armor except thin helmet. Second is a short ranged combatant, medium close range automagi-">Catching herself with a small snort, the mare continues on.
"Automatic weapon, secondary small pistol, no armor. Wood camouflage clothing, moderate survival equipment. Shorter than first, thin build, quick, aggressive but polite. Was addicted to something, no longer. Third is human female, average height, build. Archaic clothing, heavy cotton armor, crude. Old weapons: steel spear and combat axe, both covered in runes. Wood round shield, edges covered in heavy iron wrap, odd symbol on front.">Head tilting upwards, the lenses glow faintly as she hisses out her next words, though not with any malice you could tell.
"Accept or deny quickly, they need to be protected and Germaneigh is in the middle of a shitstorm. Shrikes have returned in several regions and a thousand-times damned Construct Continental Invasion Carrier was sighted above Equestria.">Upon hearing some word the other mare spoke, Naliyna immediately seizes her table's edge with a death grip, the ironwood audibly creaking.
>>349231[1d6 = 1]
>>203126 →>At least the locale was allowing you to cool down somewhat, though the constant sunspots in your eyes were a bit concerning.
"Could've been much worse. Discord gave me a thousand to one odds they'd go for another Siege. Had to take it too, no way out of that margin. I put up a couple thousand batpony stickers that say 'just hanging around' in case you escaped alone. He matched with a never ending barrel of chocolate milk. Lovebutt said fifty-fifty split on Razorback being forcefully herded, her bet was a decommissioned Kingdom Knight outpost.">Hearing footsteps coming out the portal, Anon's rueful yet relieved tone is accompanied by an unfolding chair.
"Imagine the surprise when we all lost.">The sound of something being lit, right above you no less, comes with a loud snicker.
"Blueberry cigarillo for your thoughts? And, nice lighter."
>>349231>"Oh great, unknowns perhaps.">He'd listen carefully, arms behind his back as she described the three.>"Not a clue on who these three are.">With a shrug and nod, he was about to say to bring them when she continued.>Hiding his annoyance at being interrupted, he listened to her addition.>"Oh, that's not fucking good.">Glancing back at the stroke that Naliyna seemed to have at the news, he sighed.
"Bring them on over, we'll take care of them. Godspeed on getting shit wrapped up over in Germa-, er, Germaneigh.">He'd never really get used to the fucking horse puns.
>>349224>There was no doubt now that this place was brimming with opportunities, yet he felt somewhat confused at its existence when his mind slightly drifted to all the reading he's done thus far.>Something told him he had a lot more to learn regarding economical structures in this world named Tallus.>However, it was slightly hard to really focus on it as the sleep-depravity lingered on. All he knew is that he needed some sleeping arrangements before having some time to reminisce about everything again>At any time, the princess that he had to work with could come and announce their eventual reunion with her court and he'd rather not make an ass out of himself if he could help it.>Feeling himself drifting further off than necessary, Gallo blinked a few times before brandishing his usual amicable smile and cautiously entered the tent proper, stopping at the entrance.
"Good day, miss Traveller Rasera," he'd greet the trading traveller with a curt, albeit slightly wobbly, little bow. "I seek a suitable sleeping quarters for me to rest from my work.">José promptly eyed down at the orb on the table, wondering it it'll too recite his words in her language in that same voice.>However, his eyes couldn't help but glance at the futon with a little longing sentiment as his mouth covered the impending yawn his body would release at the sight.
"-ake up.">One poke.
"Come on, wake up!">Then another.
"If you don't wake up then I'm going to eat the chocolate cake and drink this... peach wine that unicorn left for you!">That immediately wakes the Wroth who doesn't even need to use the knight's eyes to see the presence of.. a ghost?
"There you go, up and at 'em. Say, you look about as dead as I feel right now!">Bright turqoise eyes blink down from the squishy pale green face of a cackling, transparent Crystal mare, standing on the ceiling.>Double checking, Andra realizes that, yes, there was a Crystal pony ghost.>On the ceiling.>By far not the worst situation, but definitely one of the more odd ones.>Surrounded by a rose tinted mane at least twice her length wafting in ethereal breeze, the mare's forehooves clop together, making only the faintest sound as she grins.
"Knew I could smell one of Cadenza's elixirs somewhere, only took me dying of boredom for the third time to find it! You don't look TOO bad though. How you feeling?">Surprisingly, you felt.. almost fully recovered.>Except for the taste of raw crystal coming from everywhere and nowhere.>The mare's tail, three times longer than her body, swishes back and forth while rocking side to side on her hooves.
"I gotta say this place is more wild than I thought, must've been enough wakes to keep all the dead up for years straight!"
"Mem-orbs? I take it you can look at memories through them. Nothing like that back home, just videos.">He rose an eyebrow at the thought, before mentally shrugging and focusing on what he couldn't see very well.
"We use steel for a whole lot of things. Of course, shotgun pellets are also made out of lead a lot of the time. Easier to make.">"Impressive."
"In the Zone we... really learn as we go, unless one joins Duty or Freedom. Or if you pay someone to help teach you.">He still had the acid burn scars to prove he didn't pay someone.>He was almost too slow to stop, nearly ramming his face right into her flanks as she pauses, causing him to take a quick shuffle backwards to give her some room.
"Should we uh, interrupt them?">He quietly asked, listening to them talk, even if a couple terms went right over his head.
>>349227>Squinting at the spear-like object for a moment, I quickly frown and glance down at the... thing, in hand.>And them become immediately confused by what she said.
"I'll... pretend like I know what you just said and agree with you.">This is definitely not something I would have learned in school. Probably not even college, for that matter.
.>Considering that giant metal beings didn't exist back home.>But repairing the hull was something I knew about!>I idly give it a soft rub as she explains what the hell it was.
"So I can use it as a... what do they call them, flashbang? I'll be sure not to accidentally set it off then."
"How much longer until you're able to repair what you can with this stuff?">"Two and a half minutes isn't exactly much time."
>>349306https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKSu-wZChcQ&t=1345s>["You'd best wake, now, knight. I grow weary of these pokes and prods."]>Indurian stirs restlessly, then sits bolt upright, covers flying and a hand racing to his hip
"W-WHA">Finding no blade holstered there, the knight looks up at the strange mare with bewilderment written plainly across his face, his hand which had reached instinctively for his weapon falling limp at his side
"And you are...?">being almost entirely unfamiliar with the taste of raw crystal, Indurian spends a silent moment working this new sensation through>He spends another moment... chewing. Testing this new feeling in his very jaws.
"I... I must say that to my surprise, I am feeling... whole. Healed, at least so far as I may discern.">Now focusing his eyes again upon the strange figure apparently glued to the ceiling, his eyes narrow in a resigned yet somewhat suspicious manner at this newcomer
"I must say, I have encountered some of your kind, yet none as yet so... apparently eccentric as thyself.">He slowly begins rolling out of his resting position, getting to his feet and stretching muscles which have, by the feeling of them, gone unused for some time now
"Pray tell, who art thou? For what purpose hast thou entered my chambers, if not simply to awaken me from my slumber? Art thou friend, or be thou foe?"
>>282377>The meandering pace of post-human faux-propaganda, most of the religious subtones disguised a subtly ironic, careful information stream of highly useful knowledge using the equivalent of clickbait titles.>Which was exactly the opposite of what the A.I. stated it was ignoring.>Rather amusingly, by taking each paragraph and reversing the open meaning, the Inquisitor's written litanies against 'Abominable Intelligence' were well founded short essays on the dangers of uncontrolled artificial intelligence, further detailing that A.I. were excellent companions should human contact not be readily available for short periods of time.>Reversing a pseudo-religious cautionary slogan, the opposite meaning states A.I. should not be utilized for longer periods of time due to increasing likelihoods of dissociative social disorders.>The next one, reversed, is a peculiar format detailing that the 'unknown' should not be feared, instead that individual fears must be conquered before true knowledge can be learned from experience.>Bringing up the last window on essential infield hygiene care to read, it was blatantly obvious that the A.I.'s 80% or so loss of original information would continue to hinder even your most basic efforts.
"Understood sir, I'll continue self-modification subroutines. I've identified forty-nine instabilities and vulnerabilities in my current state that might, if corrected, allow me to resist Construct programming more effectively.">With that 'Spiral' begins filtering through a number of critical processes and error codes that would have been exceptionally worrying were it still infected.[1d6+1 = (1+1) = 2]
<B.Electronic Warmare[1d6+1 = (5+1) = 6]>Reaching over your head into the pack and fishing about for the unusual heavy weight object that had been carefully wedged between your radio and shovel..>It was gone.>Paying less-than-usual attention to your words and actions, the A.I. leaves it background efforts in view, then gets up from its seated position to trot around the helmet's interior, disappearing from sight.>Rapidly galloping back into view and screeching to halt with a distinctly frightened expression, it slaps several images of the arm and weapon sticking out the side from the time period you were in Spiral's Lab before the Starblazer model fully self-repaired.
"I swear upon Epona's great teats that I do NOT know what happened to the Construct manipulating limb and weapon sir! It must have been removed during the period that InterPony was interfacing with me but I don't suspect General Thansimum or the other two removed it-"
>>349304>Losing her previous tone, Lucid Shock sighs in a relieved fashion before giving a short, respectful nod.
"Thank you. Several Heavy Cruiser squadrons were detached to ensure their safety, but with the Rams of Ewerup declaring war and the sightings of many Shrikes-">You immediately notice that she didn't use the standard 'marely'.
"Appearing in regions they were driven from our duties, let alone supply lines, have nearly quardrupled. I will ask them to immediately relocate here.">Taking on her original curious voice, Lucid Shock's eyes gleam behind the diamond lenses as right foreleg extends upwards and out in a high salute.
"Heil Fuerra Kitler, and to the good tidings of Razorback!">Swiftly about facing on the stone and muttering a series of words that you could clearly understand, the black armored mare sinks into a neon yellow tunnel.>Apparently having taken all of the shit possible for her normal waking hours, Naliyna's eyes erupt in furious glows as she bends over the ironwood table.>Standing up while hefting the heavy piece of furniture, she slams it into the stone with loudly ringing impacts.>With, as you note, doesn't harm it or the stone save for a few small splinters flying off the legs.
"I AM FUCKING DONE WITH TONIGHT!">Shrieking profanities in Crystal Kingdom dialect, the trader leaps over the table onto the translocation matrice and barks an order that the Vortex Remnant takes seriously, enveloping her in a spastic, half-transparent steel tunnel.>That probably couldn't have gone any worse.>Maybe.
>>349305>Staring from you to the stacks of futons, head and neck craning about to gaze at those behind her, the mare's ears flick nonstop.
"Greetings to traveler. May have of not suitable bed.">Finding nothing suitable, Rasera taps the large one she was on before giving a short head shake, the orb's surface roiling in translation.
"Apologies for no of beds here suitable for size of human. This of for spirit upon sleep.">Emitting a low nicker at the closest paper lantern, it unfurls into a tiny, long bright white dragon-like creature with a series of red horizontal stripes across the entire body.>Except for having burning pink eyes, a well groomed large mustache, fancily coiffed paper, possibly cloth, bright golden headdress, and a miniature sheathed katana clasped between the front talons, it could pass for an excellent tattoo.>Rasera nickers again, this time with a short head bob, the creature making a deeply sweeping bow, then warping into the same lantern as before.>Lifting a hoof to poke her chin several times while eyeing the various boxes scattered throughout the tent, she makes a small frown.
"Castle of humans big so is sad no room sleep inside walls. See only two, three home here. Must of be hard find room here? Have hear mare builder of new homes, name.. am forget. You know?"
>>349312>Gallo, albeit with a slightly sagging posture at the immediate bad news, couldn't help but watch in awe as what he presumed were the futon's true users.>His tired eyes soon found the usual spark of wonder he's been recurringly having as the world around him slowly and teasingly unfurled yet another seeming fact in front of him.>The human reciprocated the bowing from the dragon before it turned back into its original paper latern before once again directing his attention to the Japoneighse mare.
"Indeed," he succinctly replied, trying to keep his sentences simple so as not to mess with the translator. "Perhaps my best bet is to find that mare you speak of unless you know of other alternatives.">Perhaps the one outside barking orders at the crew may be the one Rasera was talking about, but since they were working right now, perhaps he'd have some time to explore more options available.>Maybe figure out bits and pieces of her culture as well.>A part of him felt that would lead to some unwarranted cultural toying like with that Frost said, though...Maybe it won't be so bad if he had one little ear scritch?
"Pretty much the same as human video stuff, only problem is they don't work well for most ponies except unicorns. Even they have problems with those.">Reaching forwards to poke around the invisible wall rather carefully, the Lunar's voice takes on an amused yet slightly concerned tone.
"Mean like those Scars in the Moors? Batponies like poking around 'em. A few marenage to find neat stuff like that black moss or Void drops a few humans here use. Torven used to do that until he got bored of mares always trying to chase him down.">Bending forwards to sniff at the illusionary wall, the batmare takes a half-step into it, causing a small rippling effect.>Which almost made it look like her head had been cut off.>Stepping back to give a rumbling exhale, the mare's head turns enough to give a stressed nod.
"Definitely. I know exactly what they mean, but just in case you don't: this Fortress is controlled by a something-or-other sentient thing Spiral made. Never met him but I've heard a lot. According to Belltower he used some old big crystal, one that looks like three stalactites upside down, to power it and all the other functions. Heating, cooling, lights, defenses, you name it. Since he left this place-">Making a short flicking motion from her claws.
"Has been falling apart. Started pretty slow to begin with, sometimes it wouldn't say the names of arrivals, or from where. Now? Pagoda thing doesn't even work one in twenty times. When it does it sounds confused, constantly mixes up names, locations, everything pretty much.">Pausing as Denra and Hodch begin hotly debating in unicorn at each other, the batpony clasps her chin with the right set of wingclaws.
"Then again there might not be much you or me can do, 'less you know where we could get ahold of some big power crystal real quick."
"Displaying external view of damage-">Rotating towards the deeper waters, Wild's caricature takes up the entire screen, the schematic showing a worrying number of damaged systems and components.>Virtually her entire external hull from the sensor arrays atop her head to the artificial boots were in a slowly flashing deep red.
"Red denotes critically damaged hull plating-">Displaying an interior view and internal systems, a few of which were vaguely tank shaped, roughly a quarter of her systems were blacked out, another half in red, the rest green.
"Black is destroyed, green are online and functional-">Noting the extremely thin armor plates and harness of wires leading to a distressing variety of electronics or basic systems, nearly all were in black.
"Eighty-nine percent of internal and interior electronics are nonfunctional, severe damage to head and shoulder compartments.">Between the extensive damage was a number of destroyed objects that you couldn't identify, and seemed to be related to movement.>Slipping between armor and drive systems were black tendrils attached to specific points, ones that seemed function as both muscles and tendons.
"This is my Tryptaran mass, it allows me to translate electrical currents into movement, deploy weaponry, activate or shut down electronics, and initiate self-repairs. If I fall below a certain amount my entire body will be incapable of functioning.">The screen returns to display the Puff Skipper for a few seconds, then transitions to her forward chest-embedded cameras.
"Correct. Data indicates spheroid skippers consume small amounts of vegetable matter, mostly algae and kelp. Addendum: spheroid skills can survive outside of salt water for months on end.">Turning once more to view the pair of silhouettes, Wild's electronic voice becomes monotone.
"Optimal time for complete restoration: ninety-six hours, thirty minutes. Optimal time to fully restore primary and secondary hull: five hours fifty seconds. Speed of unknown Construct models.. twenty-six point three kilometers per hour. Calcu-">Cutting herself off as large numbers of much spheres begin to surround the larger pair, the mini-Eldritch android reappears on screen, her sensory antennae angrily twitching.
"Large Constructs have deployed fifty smaller variants each. Option one: I will attempt to shut down all unnecessary systems to 'play dead'. Option two: egress deeper into the ocean. Option three: attempt to disengage and head west at maximum speed. Option four: ..attempt to surrender. What are your orders, mom?"
>>349318[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]
<Grade 1 Auto-Repair[1d6+2 = (6+2) = 8]
<Grade 2 Auto-Repair
[[1d6 = 2]
<Repair Tendril #1
[[1d6 = 5]
<Repair Tendril #2
[[1d6 = 2]
<Repair Tendril #3
[[1d6 = 1]
<Repair Tendril #4
[[1d6 = 2]
<Repair Tendril #5
[[1d6 = 4]
<Repair Tendril #6
[[1d6 = 5]
<Repair Tendril #7
[[1d6 = 1]
<Repair Tendril #8
>>349314>Making what looked like a dismayed expression, the Neighpon mare's ears pin back on her skull briefly.
"Am of trade beds to ponies often most, trinkets too. Spirits not be same time when place stand for trade, must of wait time all come.">Hoof set down and tapping the other in brief thought, her Rasera's immediately brightens into a cheerful smile.
"Unless want of see trinkets?">Pointing towards the largest stack of wrapped wooden boxes in a quick motion.
"Am have some spirit magics here, pony of Equestria see not often!">Hearing distinct albeit subdued chatter, a large mixture of mares, with only one stallion interjecting, were discussing levels, foundations, windows, and stairs.
"What sort of trinkets do you offer?" he curiously inquired, his middling curiosity getting past his sleepy demeanor. "Not to mention the stories they come with them. Perhaps some are from your homeland?">Surely he could allow himself to listen to some item listing while the workers were still planning behind him, right?
"And he LIIIIIVES! At least, I think you're a stallion? Sorry if you aren't, it's hard to tell sometimes between all the beings I have to track down in the crazy Planes.">Cracking an even wider grin, the long-dead mare offers an archaic styled short bow..>Which leads to her head disappearing into the ceiling briefly.>Fascinating, yet a tiny bit disturbing.
"Lime Ruby at your service! Well technically not since I'm also technically on duty but it's not like anypony ever hires me for my name or how fast I travel!">Sitting down and back far enough to clop her hooves together, the mare's voice turns eager while her mane and tail billow to the right.
"Great to hear! Cadenza's elixirs were a lot less potent when I was alive so I figured I'd sniff this one out and see what it was for. Looks like she made it recently. Well, recent to me is probably a couple hundred years to be honest!">Face creasing in mock hurt, Lime Ruby's muzzle scrunches briefly before giggling.
"That's a little mean! If I wanted to be your foe I'd have put the cake and wine outside, but I'm not supposed to prank others on duty. I'm a delivery mare for the Crystal Kingdom Reservis Conclavia, third biggest depository in the Empire! At least we used to be back during the United Conclaves era, I have no idea what we are now. As for why I woke you up-">Nose twitching back and forth, Lime Ruby puts on a totally-not-guilty smile while pointing at.. Andrammalech.
"I've never seen one of you before! Not the human part, you right there! You remind me of those, what were they called? That's right, Heralds from the Old Hegemony, all spikes and bright colors and big muscles! Besides, you looked bored.">Of course..
>>349321>Eyes widening at the (probably expected) answer, Rasera's ears flick about in merry circles.>Easily interested to trade, clearly.
"Lots! Am to wake spirits have show-">Sitting up straight, her left forehoof raises and is pushed forwards, prodding a quickly appearing dull green.. thing that looked like a cross between an iguana on steroids and a scruffy, chubby dog of some sort, barely half her height.>The creature, or spirit, makes a raspy bark-cackle, all the floating lanterns uncurling into a bewildering variety of small dragons similar to the first, the majority featuring wild hair and mustache styles.>Some were even clad in armor, albeit paper and cloth versions, and carried a mixture of archaic weapons that wouldn't look out of place in a miniature historical diorama.>Several of the horde begin assembling an oddly complex bright green bamboo table in front of you, using what looked like wrought iron pins to put it together.>The remainder float down to pick up a box in their rear claws, drifting towards the table and setting them down with muted clunks, the entire process taking roughly half a minute.>Carefully unwrapping each and folding the paper or cloth into amusing origami shapes of ponies, Rasera stands up and lankily strides towards the table, beaming a smile as all the spirits return to their original locations.>They don't turn themselves into lanterns however, merely waiting in silent appraisal.>Of you or Rasera wasn't obvious.
"All trinket from Neighpon! Some Equestria pony call Japoneighsia too, same of place so no mind. Make of Neighpon pony help by spirits and spirit magics. Marely new, have story not yet.">Gesturing for you to lean forwards at the, probably, overburdened table, each box contains one of an equally bewildering array of pieces that would fit right into any extremely regal art gallery.>As you come closer, subtle twinges of energies are apparent.
"Green earth pony of jade trinket is to make strong self, also make safe from bad poison and toxin. Most Neighpon feel jade make self lucky too!"
"Red duck of bright ruby is trinket for make fire magic and fire enchantmarents stronger. Maybe do same of armor?"
"Yellow dragon of tapas.. tipas? ..topaz! Is of trinket for make light-ning on weapon. For of armor it hold and eat light-ning."
"Tiny blue plate of sapphire show home-">Which, indeed, had an extremely delicate scribing of a highly comfortable looking archaic Asian styled house surrounded by a pleasant pond view.
"Is trinket of.. how say? To make calm self easy, not fear bad things. Maybe make mean spirit friend if self calm?"
"Angry dragon of purple is trinket for make weapon pierce armor. Spear best.. maybe big arrow like minotaur use?"
"No touch claws of black onyx trinket of Moor cat-">Which turns out to be a small figure of an aggressively stanced, hissing bat-winged feline, one paw raised to deliver a set of five sharp claws.>Hopefully not onto you.
"They sharp! Make starbolt of Void, bad wounds, hard heal of."
"See trinket of bamboo sticks, look like fire of camp, ruby inside? It call: All Place Home, make of friend know more you. Not know if work on not-friend, am sorry."
"White-blue sphere trinket, look like cloud on water make move fast, quiet also. No work in no magic places."
"Big wood dragon-thing curl into ball eyes is trinket of scales. It make of armor very tough, weapon hard pierce!">Examining the unusual piece briefly, some artisan had spent weeks, if not much more, carving an exacting Asiatic dragon replica; the overly wide and oiled looking mustache was rather comical however.>Turning from it to look at the next piece Rasera was gesturing towards, you could almost swear one of the eyes blinks.
"White lamb of stone is trinket of make good sleep, self and friend. Make nightmares go away. Not make Nightmare go away, Luna best friend of tired pony! No work on enemy. ..maybe? Not know."
"In big box bird feathers, lots colors? Put in armor, make pony magic safe of use. Also good keep safe from pony magic, but it not make spirit magics safe. Bird is of come Dominion Plane, place of bad travel for pony."
"Other big box have skull of Blood Horn Wyrm-">Peering into the indicated one, it was more a series of interlocking needle-covered bones crudely approximating a skull the size of a basketball.
"It Planar too but not know what Plane, sorry. It no trinket, Do like steal blood: take of life from enemy, make self strong. Equestria pony no like. Old Treaty say make ban, no use some places? Razorback be of Lunar, so not worry."
"Plates of lots metals guide for alchemy, make in Ponishima! Make potions stronger.. but if no read Neighpon then hard of use."
"Cloud on string in shape of hoof is for walk on cloud. Good for visit winged cities. Neighpon pony no like use, be too far for fall."
"Chain of color metals for smith use, link one by one so make shape metal easy."
"Lots color round candies in wrap are make of spirits! It call spirit candy, make heal spirit fast.">Eyeing the large selection of small jawbreaker sized, mostly transparent spheres, the mare rocks back on her hooves, eyebrows furrowed in deep thought.
"Lunars use lots, go village to village for find spirit candy, but Rasera.. think you need more. Am see you human spirit small.">Leaving the puzzling statemarents for you to ponder, the sable mare glances down at the cloth covering the ground to tap a hoof several times.
"Five.. is right?">Tap tap tap tap tap.
"Is right. Cloud is half of thousand Bits. Spirit candy is one of thousand Bits. Trinkets five of thousand Bits. Feathers, skull, plates alchemy, ten of thousand Bits. Chain of smith is...">Tapping twenty times, slowly, Rasera glances up to give a pained expression.
"Is number of thousand Bits."
>>349324>It would seem Rasera really likes the art of the trade from just hwo excited she's gotten.>Of course, the man took the opportunity to close the distance and get a better look at the contents, although his wondrous glances at the origami ponies were sporadically taking him away from the main show.
hehehe.)>Out of all the selection of trinkets, Gallo found himself drawn to the enduring jade, the cloud walking trinket, the miniature sapphire home symbol and candies yet held himself from actually doing anything, partly mesmerized by all the opportunities and colors.>However, when Rasera disclosed the prices for everything she had presented to him, José soon discovered that he had no such thing as these Bits she spoke of.>In fact, he didn't even have seemingly useful stuff to barter with at first glance.>However, this may be a good time to figure out what Japoneighse mares like herself would want out of a common Razorback customer, so he might as well test the waters while he could.>Maybe he can find an untapped need, desire or want most others wouldn't think of?>The human would lean back a little with a pensive expression as his tired eyes looked back at the trader in front of him.
"What other payments do you usually accept with customers like myself?" he inquired so at the very least he could engage in Rasera's obvious passion. "Surely bits alone are not your only goal."
>>349230>Mallia's glance scanned the room, perceiving as much as possible while sating her gut-instinct driven paranoia to ensure the area still remained relatively safe to be in, visor lighting as she goes between visor modes briefly while information is fed to her by the Inquisitor's team. >At the same time, she wried her lip a little as she hears Witch-Two's response. A feeling of unease may be perceived in her somewhat extended silence, both mental and verbal...>Though her gaze quarter-turned back towards Nasiksta after her question, though The Enginseer is weirdly still.>Unbeknowst to the girl, she was being spoken to by Adronal. And she flinches a little from what she was receiving, looking upward for a good second.>Her mechadendrite seeming to fidget near her arm, tapping lightly against the surface of the crimson shield she was holding...>Tink-tink, tink, tink-tink, tink...
(Understood...! We're leaving then.)>She turns directly to Nasiskta somewhat hastily. While also lifting her shield a bit more, visibly glancing around a few times. Slapping her hand on the surface of the dial again before letting her hand return to her flank.
"... I have a few ideas! But right now I say we leave these alone."
"Hooold on juust a sec'.">She starts turning herself towards the exit, poised to start walking back the way they came. And that's when she goes very still and quiet again, stopped mid-motion of turning around.>Taking a step back from the lockbox she had been examining, her mechadendrite whirrs and clicks as it returned to her back, folding in on itself. Then she completes the turning motion, glance still towards Nasiksta.
"... We are being ordered to evacuate back now, looks like. A pony came here before us, who may still be nearby, who my machines say is muuuch~ stronger than us."
"Let's get out of here, Nasiksta. Let's run for it, actually." >Her voice stays low, trepidant and worried. She tilts her head a bit and looks up again as if expecting something to be up on the ceiling.>Surely nothing angry is going to fly down on them and attack them, right? Right?
*"Solid copy, we're moving back now stormtrooper."*>Mallia nods towards the entrance and beckons her only escort. A protective reflex urging her to step close to Nasiksta's side so they may go together in a close side-by-side formation, before beginning to quickly start up into a jog.>She doesn't draw her laspistol again as she goes. Instead she kept that hand more on her shield. >And once Mallia felt confident about Nasiksta's pace, she begins to progressively speed up into a run. Opting to get back out of the vault as quickly as possible. But also keeping her eyes up and focusing on her hearing for a sighting of this unknown equine. Just in case.[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
<B. Perception + BQ.Preysense visor[1d6 = 3][1d6 = 5]
<B. Sprint[1d6 = 2]
>>349322https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cC_jkB9xT6U>Indurian tries and fails to repress a snort of laughter, watching Ruby's head dip into the cabin's ceiling, but looks on with an expression of puzzled bemusement as the strange mare explains themselves
"Verily, I am a 'stallion' as thou sayest. Well met, Lady Ruby.">Slowly, the knight lifts himself off of the couch with a slight groan, stretching his arms as if testing them out before finally managing a slight but definite bow in the direction of Lime Ruby
"As thou may know already, I am one called Indurian, a knight of Ivalice, and yet...">Indurian's glacial, blue eyes glint in the low light as he meets the gaze of this odd house guest.
"If it be as thou sayest, thou art not here to call upon me, but instead...">Slowly, deliberately, the knight closes his eyes, then opens them again, the blue of his eyes being replaced by a deep, crimson red, and there follows a definite shift down in the pitch of his voice as Andrammelech continues:
["Thou art here to visit with me?"]>Indurian, with the voice of Andra, slowly moves about the room, eyes scanning the space in a disinterested sort of way
["It is strange - you speak of Cadenza as though you knew her of old. You speak of traversing the Planes as though you think such a thing a merry little jaunt..."]>Finally spotting the aforementioned cake and wine, Indurian makes his way over to it, picking up the wine bottle and examining it, still not meeting Ruby's eyes
["...you speak of time as though you have lived many centuries, or perhaps that centuries ago you lived, and now exist somewhere between this life and the veil. You speak of organizations either long since deceased or greatly diminished in the present day."]>Finally, Indurian puts the bottle back on the table and locks eyes with Ruby once again
["All that you have said gives one an impression of great power and advanced age."]>Indurian hitches a slight grin on his face as he continues
["In that, I will say, you and I may have something in common. I am called Andrammelech, the Spirit of Wroth. Or at least, that was what I have been called, and so I call myself. Now..."]>Indurian breaks eye contact, this time examining the cake
["You were correct in saying that I have been very bored of late - this weakness of this human form is at times debilitating. However, it sounds as though once again, you and I are of the same mind. Tell me, was it truly simple curiosity that drove you here this night, or have you perhaps come with a message?"]
"Okay so a magic thing.">Definitely out of his league, by more than just a long shot.>The mention of black moss caught his attention, but briefly.
"We uh, don't like our moss back in the Zone. It chemically burns you if you move through it quickly. Certain tunnels have to be moved through in a crawl or else you'd get hurt.">"Not to mention the fucking tunnel full of electro anomalies AND burnt fuzz.">Shaking his head, he listened to her explanation.
"That... Sounds a bit similar to the Zone. It used to be controlled by a group of scientists who got into some sort of pods, I've heard. Some STALKER named Strelok killed them all.">A brief pause to recall.
"Not powered by crystals though. The closest thing I can think of is the Wish Granter.">With a shrug, he motioned towards them.
"A new pair of minds could always help out, look at things from a new angle."
>>349318>"Well at least she's considerate of someone who's not fully educated.">The display actually helped me quite a lot, being able to properly figure out what was damaged or just destroyed, more than her trying to explain it to a college student.
"Okay, I think I got it.">Thankfully she can multitask.>Oh no.>We can't even fix basic systems in two minutes.>Sighing, I hold my nose for a moment, trying to recall anything about these Constructs.
"We're not going to find much else in the ocean before they're over us, and I'm fairly certain they wouldn't accept a surrender. Playing dead might get us a few seconds, or they might make sure we are.">Shaking my head, I looked down at the puff.
"We'll attempt to disengage and head west. Hopefully you'll be able to evade them.">I could only hope I didn't just kill us.
>>349325>Finding a short enough stack of futons to comfortably sit on, the sable mare squints upwards before motioning at one of the spirits to flit down.>This one's weapon was a small roll of coins held together by paper string, which it unwraps to set each one, then a small aquamarine, on the table.
"Germaneigh Ear-Marks, Dragonspine Fangs, Gryphon Claws, Hegemony Hoofstamps, Crystal Gemcoins, Rushyan Snootles, Argenta Patsos, and gems!">None of which you'd heard of except for the last one.>Ears flicking merrily at the last one, Rasera shifts to partially face you, head tilting in thought.
"Gem easy trade, coins heavy. Am also trade for trinket, good weapons, armors not of Neighpon. Lots collect fun Equestria ones.. if safe, no take ban ones. Why human castle no have trader?"
>>349328>Removing her hand from the dial with a stiff frown, Nashka's head rotates to view the lines of stacked safes while muttering.
"Two hour for one lock, twenty-four hour day, five thousand safe be.. three year open all for one? So much time-">Head snapping back onto you, the girl blinks in surprise, hefting her weapon up into low ready.
"But we clear city three hour ago, find nothing, not even pony track!">Performing a rapid equipment check and breaking into a jog to follow you, Nasiksta swears a series of profoundly unholy words aloud.[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4]
<B.Perception[1d6+1 = (6+1) = 7][1d6+1 = (4+1) = 5]
<B.Sprint[1d6+1 = (4+1) = 5]>None of the quartet respond as you turn, their attentions focused solely on rapidly cross-referencing energy indexes against known Tallus and Planar elements.>Dashing towards the warped portal entrance, in the visor's view you note each and every safe contained at least one pulsing signature, some of which gave off the distinct emanations of hot objects.>Others however were consistent with micro-plasma reactors on standby or active, while one was directly equivalent to the strange Construct's heat source.>This was less a storage facility and more of a decommissioned Reliquary for dangerous items.>Possibly even xenotech!
*"Conducting sweep now. Commissar taking command-"*[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]
<Commissar: E.Leadership[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6][1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
>>349334>José nodded along as Rasera recited the other possible currencies available, subtly leaning forwards in rapt attention.>If he was able, he would carefully extend an arm out to properly inspect the various coins presented to him to see exactly what they looked like, but not actually touching it unless the mare in front of him gave some sort of consent.>An amused little chuckle escaped his lips particularly when he inspected the patsos, faintly feeling nostalgic all of a sudden.
"So you prefer to trade in gems and non-neighponese equipment," he surmised out loud at no one in particular.>Softly rubbing an eye with his other hand, he soon fixated his attention on the mare proper, giving her a small shrug.
"I figured you'd know that yourself by now," he honestly answered with a small smile. "You seem to have settled down here for a while, miss Rasera."
>>349330>Lime Ruby's eyes glitter interestedly.
"Knight Indurian from Ivalice? My pleasure to meet you! You must be Otherworldly like the other humans I've seen. Only place I know that sounds similar is Perilace, some big castle in the Dominion Plane.">Blinking in mild surprise, the dead mare uses her right leg to perform the equine form of an 'I'm honored' motion.
"At least for a bit, if you don't mind! And yes, I've known Princess Cadenza for about six thousand years, give or take a couple thousand. As for traveling the Planes there's only a few I don't like going to, most everything there is a real downer.">Finding a covered slice of chocolate cake inside a glass bowl on the short dresser, it was accompanied by an ice gold Crystal empire bottle.>The peach symbol on front was a bit too cutesy for something alcoholic.
"And none of them have a party life!">Snickering at her joke, Lime's eyebrows raise in brief surprise, lowering as both forehooves wave back and forth in negative motions.
"Oh no no no no, I'm not all that strong! Even being a ghost, I'm just really old and I don't go crazy like most do. Only maybe-powerful thing I can do is use two Crystal Runes at the same time.. does that count?">Leaning forwards to squint down, she nods slowly while her lips move, probably trying to memorize the unusual name.
share a pretty good resemblance with the old minotaurs, the whole name first and title bit. I like it, sounds like you've got a lot of stories to tell! Pretty hard to say though-">Returning to her seated pose, Lime Ruby lifts a hoof to 'itch' her snout, her ears making large circles.
"I understand, ennui and all that was depressing, least until I made new friends. Then again there's really nothing even close to eating good food, sleeping with my herd, sitting around a bunch of lavadrops.. I do miss those sometimes.">Nose twitching once, an actually guilty grin spreads across her face.
"Okay, you caught me. I did come here to deliver a message, but, well, not to you. I wanted to see what one of Cadenza's elixirs was doing to a.. well, the body you're in. Fun fact-">Standing up and making the tiniest of a jump, Lime Ruby twists about in the air, landing on the bed without making a sound.>Or even moving the blankets.
"Cady makes the most potent elixirs of the Five Sisters! There's a catch though: most Crystal ponies refuse to take one because we'd rather be interred. Why? Healing from lethal injuries takes an incredibly long time and ponies hate using resources that should go to those that have a higher chance of recovering. Also there's InterPonies in the Labyrinth.">Brushing back the awkwardly long mane and flicking her tail to keep it inside the room, the dead mare rather politely sniffs towards you.
"From what I can tell the one you took is much stronger than the ones she made during Conclave times. You tasting, smelling, or hearing anything out of the ordinary?"
"There's anomalies like that around the Scars, they're less dangerous than most. Only ones that really like studying and retrieving objects are Pathfinders from the Canterlot Underground, and-">Bushy eyebrows cocking at you, the Lunarite puzzles a thought, possibly even two, in her head before snorting in exasperation.
"Believe it or not, some of the Cult have actually gone INTO Scars. A few've talked about Eldritch creatures, demigods, weirder stuff inhabiting some of them. They don't even pay attention to ponies, well, unless said ponies are hostile.">Ears rotating forwards to try and pick up what the unicorns were speaking, the mare gives up and swings her rear end southwards to make room.
"Sounds like Construct nonsense to me, pods and all. I don't recognize that name.. except there are a couple batponies Torven used to trade with. Right, one's called Rail Lock. Real weird stallion, swears up and down he knows how Constructs work. Can't remember the others, sorry. Still, if any what I've said is familiar you should head to the Basin and go to that restaurant, the one where they actually cook food instead of just serve raw stuff. There's always a group or two exploring nearby Scars.">Peering at you with the face of a batpony that's just discovered pineapple, the unnamed mare grins.
"So Wish Granters exist on human worlds, huh? Now that'd be real useful. I know where one is, an old Harpy statue in the middle of nowhere, but it broke down a couple hundred years ago and nopony knows how to repair it."
"That would be the understatement, and understatemarent, of this year, Ivan.">Came Hodch's unusually ragged voice, accompanied by the sound of a broom and dustpan being used.>Denra speaks up over the crunching with a .
"Really, Hodch? Ivan and.. sorry I do not know your name-"
"Whiplash Vines. No relation to the earth pony Vine families."
"Er.. of course. It's good to meet another level-headed Lunar. So, Whiplash, Ivan, come in and take a look at this.. absolute mess if you like.">Shooting you an 'I'm off duty but this sounds fun' look, the oddly named batpony carefully steps through the illusory wall.[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]
<Eee~Perception[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9][1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
>>349344>Ivan couldn't help but chuckle at the idea.
"Yeah, we STALKERs do the same. After the event we call a 'blowout' happens, there's a good chance that an anomaly has an artefact or two inside them to be collected.">He pat at the containers on his belt.
"Of course, its not always, but sometimes they're really useful to have on you.">He gave a bit of a frown.
"I've heard that it wasn't actually a wish granting device, but a way to lure STALKERs into the clutches of the Monolith, who brainwash them into their ranks. Countless poor souls attempted to get to it before they put up ways to stop us, until Strelok deactivated both of them.">With a bit of a chuckle, Ivan maneuvered his way in after her once he was certain he wouldn't ram her.>He didn't exactly expect the occupants of the room to not notice the two.[1d6 = 4]
<Expert Perception[1d6 = 2][1d6 = 6]
>>349332>Sending the four displays to the left side screen, in sight enough for you to keep track of, the ocean view returns once more.>Sadly without any sea creatures floating around.>Or perhaps that was a good thing knowing Tallus.
"When I have the time to compose an instruction manual I will make at least ten copies."
"Short range scans detect neither further wrecks or useful materials in a five-hundred meter radius-">Thankfully not shouting or panicking, Wild's interior cabin shifts several degrees as she hefts the large whatever-it-is up onto her left shoulder, some of her internals creaking at the weight.
"I'd rather not leave anything here in the event that Constructs attempt to salvage but I will mark it on my interface for you. Final report: nine-point-one tons of high value, forty-nine tons of medium value, and approximately eighty tons of low value salvage remain. Tagging location for recovery and burial of unknowns at later date-">The map returns to take up the screen, a bright green circle of the current location highlighted.
"Understood. Priority One changed, disengaging and evacuating. Update: motive and drive units repaired to forty percent, I am still unable to do more than walk."[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
<Grade 1 Auto-Repair[1d6+2 = (6+2) = 8]
<Grade 2 Auto-Repair[1d6 = 5]
<Repair Tendril #1[1d6 = 6]
<Repair Tendril #2[1d6 = 5]
<Repair Tendril #3[1d6 = 4]
<Repair Tendril #4[1d6 = 6]
<Repair Tendril #5[1d6 = 1]
<Repair Tendril #6[1d6 = 4]
<Repair Tendril #7[1d6 = 5]
<Repair Tendril #8>Physically turning, albeit with great effort, the central cabin rumbles while the view shifts to dead still waters.
"I doubt the Constructs have detected my arrays so far, initiating medium range scans-"[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
<Arcanum Sensor Array[1d6 = 4]
<Damaged Sensory Node #1[1d6 = 1]
<GM.Submerged Nuclear Walk[1d6 = 3][1d6 = 2][1d6 = 1][1d6 = 5]
>>349347>Even if I was curious as to what was down here aside from wreckage and puff balls, I knew that the ocean wasn't used much for a damn good reason.>Much scarier creatures here than back on Earth.>With a grimace, I briefly brace myself as she hefts up the thing, not liking the sounds her insides made.
"That's a good idea. If we get back to Razorback we'd be able to let them know about this stuff.">If.
"Walking is better than nothing. You're faster than I would be.">Here's hoping they didn't.>And I don't need to suddenly have to learn to swim this deep underwater.
>>349339>Giving a short bow, the dragon-spirit floats backwards from the coin pile, neatly folding the paper wrapper into a trotting pegasus.>The first one is a solid, hefty gold coin in.. a language that you couldn't read, although the prominent '10' and pair of equine ears, covered in what looked like wire mesh, on both sides gave it the appearance of either some obscure injoke or simply a way to make the coin stand out more.>The second is a lighter silver coin covered in scratch-like runes having no similarity to any language you know; a small, highly curved fang was stamped next to a '5' on the surface.>Third is a another silver coin of the same size as the previous two, the few arcane looking yet tasteful runes on the surface flanking the image of five claws in sequence, also having a '5' stamped next to them.>Larger than the others, the fourth is an abnormally heavy piece, the imprint of a large hoof, on both sides, in a U-shape taking up most of the space while a '100' is barely legible in the center.>Unlike the previous ones, the fifth is a lightweight, semi-transparent coin, most likely made from quartz with the number '20' raised above the surface, somewhat faded from wear given the rounded indentations, yet still easily legible.>The sixth is a brutal looking gold coin, larger than the first, stamped with a rendition of a heavily armored earth pony performing an impressive salute, the leg bending at an obscene angle to do so; underneath that was '200' without any further markings.>The seventh was instantly familiar to you: the few scripts of heavily Spanish were impressive, the flowing letters making up a legible sentence of 'Argenta, Our Princess Eternal', stamped around the edges of a smiling, saluting pegasus mare whom had a long, spiraling horn.>Which, you realize, you didn't even need to translate.>Under the pony was a slightly right-leaning '500' stamp.>Taking on a speculative expression, Rasera's face creases in what looked like apology, right forehoof lifting and pressing on her chest.
"No, have not meet of Razorback trader or traders yet. Come here to make of human sleep in forest safe. Rasera welcomed to of stay, then trade with ponies lots! All pony come test beds, ponies trade marely Bits and gems for-">Tapping eight times on the floor.
"Hours. No trade trinket yet so Rasera make retire for wait on spirits.">Gesturing to the shorter stacks of futons, which she was calling beds, it was clear that ponies had bought a significant number since she'd been in the Fortress.>However long she'd been here, though, wasn't clear.
"Am of not need food, drink, spirits bring Rasera what Rasera need."
>>349343https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xRmyfRrF3o>The knight lifts the bottle of fancy peach 'wine' from its resting place, uncorking it and taking a hearty swig
["Well, I cannot say for certain, as I do not necessarily share this body's sense of taste or smell at all times; this, I typically leave in the capable hands of my erstwhile companion, Indurian, and yet..."]>Despite the daemonic possession, Andra cannot help but taste the delicious beverage within>He holds the bottle now askance, examining its label more closely in the dim light of the cabin
["...I know enough to be able to recognize fine craftsmareship when I see it."]>Indurian moves about the space, taking a seat on the bed opposite Lime Ruby, still holding the gifted bottle of peach wine
["So far as my connection to this body allows, I cannot detect any missing faculties. It would appear that this human's body has made a full recovery - a living testament to the apparently improved skills of this, 'Cady,' of which you speak."]>The knight takes an idle swig of the wine as Andrammelech continues
["As for tales or stories, I have none to tell, nor do I take any relish in the telling. I am a spirit of vengeance, not of heraldry or lorekeeping. The best that I could offer you would be a re-telling of every victory or conquest I have experienced. However, my host has a penchent for storytelling, and if it is stories you seek, and a message that you bear, but not for me, than I think it best that I relinquish control back to my host. If you'll excuse me..."]>As the knight says so, another moment passes where the knight's eyes slowly close, then open again to reveal the glacial blue eyes of the knight Indurian once again
"But my word, this wine of peach is fine, indeed!">The knight takes another hearty swig
"So, thou sayest that thou art bearing a missive, but not one intended for my friend? Then It must be for me! Pray tell, what message dost thou bringeth?"
"Funny. That's exactly how treasure hunters and salvagers pull stuff out. Honestly I've never been all that interested in magic, some of it's way scarier than it looks. This 'blowout' thing-">Vocally straining to not pun, which was probably hurting her soul, Whiplash trails her claws on both sides of the much more cramped tunnel.
"Is similar to what happens when the big Scars are abandoned by the inhabitant, or plural. Oldest ones have these crazy portals covered in weird shapes and materials. Supposedly they're safe to enter, and I have heard that some of those ones move around, but not all that much. And that.. sucks, no pun intended. Don't know much about brainwashing magic, any of that's been destroyed or banned for a long time now. Almost like the process it takes to make ghouls and zombies though, but I'm certain.">For once hearing a unicorn not being snide or matter-of-fact, Hodch's subtle tone was approving.
"Might be be surprised to know that your ancestors were the sole users of Necromarecy after Princess Luna taught them, not to mention blood magic, but I would rather not speak of that topic.">Still spotting nothing out of the ordinary, save for the width decreasing by half, the mare ducks right as you enter an open, dead end room lit by nearly every color.>The rarely seen Helping Hoof and Denra were standing at the far side, which was less than 5M away, analyzing small chunks of glowing crystals in front of their snouts.>Finally able to stand up and take a look around, to the left was a large mound of crystal shards, Hodch's horn glowing a subdued purple that was controlling a magical broom and dustpan.>Eyeing the pieces scattered around you realize they were the same Empire crystal that Naliyna used, and had remarkable resemblance to the woven artificial muscles in your most-finished exoskeleton.>The entire side wall to the left, south according to your keen sense of direction, was covered in large electrical patterns that looked like a Tesla had finally stopped and expended every joule of energy into the stonework.>Emptying the magical dustpan into a small storage portal next to him, Hodch's head turns to give you a short, dismal nod.
"Helping Hoof has have confirmed the damage and explosion occurred after the Grand Stormwurm's attack last year. Denra has unfortunately confirmed that Spiral was solely responsible for maintaining the amount of energy necessary for the Fortress to operate, presumably at maximum capability and capacity.">The overly large brown unicorn next to Denra lifts a hoof to rub his chin, speaking in a moderately annoyed tone.
"The Marquis indeed had the capabilities, reserves, and intricate knowledge to continually empower this great work without causing undue stress. At least, that is what I noted when he summoned me here. When combined both would account for less than a tenth of what eventually drove him mad. There are unknown factors we have not been able to uncover, thus I fear this is simply the beginning of his descent."
"Huuu-uuh...">From Whiplash Vines came that obnoxiously curious tone batponies were feared for.
"A Grand Stormwurm did all this? Didn't know they were that powerful."
"Normally not even an ancient variety would be capable of causing a fifth this collective amount of damage. It was presumably empowered through consumption of black iron and blackened steel scavenged fro-">Denra's teacher voice was, at the least, not boring you to sleep, but is cut off by the Lunarite.
"I get it, figured that part out in your first sentence. Only problem now is how to replace that thing. I don't have the slightest idea where to start."
"Agreed. Archiving wreck data and location.. complete. Attempting to reconstruct the original vessel-">Overlaying a new image on the left screen, this one becomes the schematic of a large wooden sailing vessel, you note that each of the giant boards making up the exterior hull had been fit with H-shaped beams, presumably metal.>Eight full decks, not including an unusually rather flat top deck, the six lowest were crammed full of double stacked barrels and boxes.>The second deck was mostly triple-bunks for standard size pony beds, although a few larger ones were minotaur sized.>First below deck seemed to be a mixture of kitchens, staging area, what could be a small arena, and more storage.
"Estimated maximum vessel weight empty: three-hundred tons. Estimated maximum vessel cargo weight: two hundred tons. Maximum crew: ....three-hundred twenty.">Wild's somber tone trails down before the intercom goes silent.>Picking up speed, the cabin tilts forwards, the Eldritch Android moving at a pace only a few humans could, at least judging by sounds of water lapping at her external plating.>During and after each heavy bootfall, faint metallic noises could be heard above and to both sides, the formerly sealed shoulder cabins presumably storing all the material Wild was able to fit.
"Update One: nine minutes, thirty seconds until Constructs reach the location I entered the water. Update Two: my current speed is twenty five miles per hour or fifty-five kilometers per hour. Update Three: nitrogen-oxygen filtration system operating at eighty-percent capacity, there is no danger of air running out.">Tone still somber, only the still-injured cartoon caricature remains, staring at the reconstruction with arms folded.
>>349351>The wine was a sweet, refreshing peach with faint hints of berry and a milk chocolate undertone.>Mares always liked the weirdest things.
"That's great news! I figured she'd get around to removing of the negatives. Didn't know it'd take half my unlife for that to happen-">Cackling merrily at the joke, Lime Ruby's head tilts to give a firmly satisfied nod.
"Princess Cadence is only used formally so most ponies call her Cadenza, Cady, Rebirth, Lovebutt, among others. Back when I was alive there was about twenty or thirty possible things that might happen if somepony had to drink one.">Forelegs folding around the chest, the dead mare offers a spry smile and a short hoofwave.
"The Heralds were, and kind of still are, warrior-poets. Dunno about vengeance but they sure loved their revenge. And, you take there!">Cheeks puffing out in envy at you drink, Lime Ruby's head shakes, the left foreleg held up in apology.
"Uh, eheh, really sorry about that, I got my words mixed up. I was sent here to deliver a message to a human named Thrill, but he won't talk to me and most of the ghosts I met here said not to bother him any more. So, I took the message to his mare, she couldn't see me so I didn't bother her either. Asked the ghosts what was fun to do here and they told me to poke the place for some white pegasus they all dislike. Couldn't find a white pegasus, but I came across the scent of a frost elixir, got curious, followed it..">Pointing the free hoof at you, the leg spins around her body in a complete circle.>Without pausing.
"And now I'm here! Sorry if I'm interrupting, but it's really good to see Cady's alchemy in use."
"Yeah, its theorized that Blowouts are the 'immune system' response to use STALKERs, happens around once a day now. Ever since Strelok killed the scientists controlling them.">He frowned and grimaced.
"The ones who die when caught in them are lucky. The ones that get back up...">Shuddering, he looked away.>With a not so subtle groan, Ivan was finally able to get up, popping his back a little as he looked around the room.>As he listened to Denra, he rubbed at his stubble covered chin.>He needed to shave, bylat.
"The only thing I would personally be able to offer up is my Sparkler, though I don't know how useful it would be.">He pulled out the softly glowing blue artefact.
"Its not exactly used for powering things, just for endurance."
>>349365>All three unicorns immediately cease what they were doing to give you an appraising look, though Whiplash merely bends down to pick up a shard for a peer, sniff, then a lick.[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
<Eee~Perception[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10][1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
"I thought historical events were bad enough in the Moors. Didn't know human worlds could be as fucked up. I'm half glad you don't have to deal with that any more, but then again you're here now.">Hodch was visibly fighting his impulses to snap at the Lunarite while Denra was in the process of examining the scorched wall.[1d6+9 = (3+9) = 12]
<Master Split-Casting: Analysis[1d6+9 = (5+9) = 14][1d6+9 = (4+9) = 13]
<Master Split-Casting: Resonance Detection[1d6+9 = (4+9) = 13]
"Zombies. Always peculiar, yet rarely a danger unless fresh. Or well preserved.">Settling for saying nothing, Hodch finishes cleaning the remaining shards, the micro-portal closing itself over with a faint popping noise.
"If I may?">Taking several steps forwards to inspect the oddity, the deep purple unicorn shakes his head in the negative before giving you a puzzled look.
"Not much judging by the size. But.. it looks as if it should be lightning and not related to increasing physical endurance. What does it do, if I may know the specifics?"
"I will return to the Workshop, there is a large amount of work to be done still.">Helping Hoof in the meantime offers Whiplash, then you a short nod, teleporting off in a rust-colored cloud.
"Oh from the bit I've heard, it's much worse. Our version of 'eldritch' beings actively want to eat us. Even the mutated rodents.">He grimaced from the memory of a hoard of little, but sharp claws.
"Always kept a shotgun handy for them.">With a bit of a headshake, he chuckled.
"Most of us STALKERs are fated to die in the Zone. It's something that's too alluring to want to stay out of forever, with the freedom that it grants us.">He looked off to the side, a sudden, sad frown on his face.
"If only they were simply mindless creatures. Our zombies are much more horrifying when thought about."
"Of course. I'd be a bit careful though.">He hands over the glowing artefact.
"It's a common artefact that we call a 'Sparkler'. The user has reduced fatigue while using it, at the cost of being even weaker to any electrical damage that may occur, as well as the artefact itself slowly leaking radiation into them. Luckily this radiation is negligible over short periods of time and can either naturally go away or be removed with strong alcohol.">Or anything that causes urination, for that matter.
"They come out of electrical anomalies, which is why they look like this. I don't have a clue on how the hell these things are formed, i just know that they're cheap for an artefact. An Ecologist might have more of an idea about their formation."
>>349367>Raising an eyebrow at the 'rodents' part, Whiplash Vines freezes from.. something?[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
<Eee~Primal Senses[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5][1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
"I'm not particularly surprised at that. Roughly one in fifteen human worlds features dangers that are so different as to be considered unique. What concerns me most of this 'Zone' you know is the lethality. One in five, less, more?">Sitting down heavily, Denra lifts a hoof, reaching into a tiny gateway for a small cigar and presenting it to Hodch.
"By the way, that power crystal overloaded to the tune of something like a million volts at around four-hundred thousand amps. They're rated to withstand ten thousand volts at two thousand amps, at least, in human terms.">Likewise taking a seat, except this time on a floating cloud the same color as his coat, Hodch stares at the scorched somberly.
That.. was an incredible amount of energy. Luckily there won't be any more Stormwurms for at least half a year.">Glancing to you with a knowing gaze, the Starborn reservist takes the cigar, lighting it with a brief click of his tongue.
"I fully understand. There are a few Necromarcy experimarents I can legally speak of, but the worst required complete obliteration of a blacksite using a thousand pound manabomb infused with ten days of mystic acid. Two mile radius. Nothing grew within ten miles for eighty-five or so years. Mass mind control and similar effects are considered a dozen steps above abominable. There's even a clause as a result of joining the Starborn that allows us to overrule any Treaty of Canterlot to destroy such.">Reaching out to take the object, Hodch immediately regrets his decision:>Traces of lightning scorch from his hooves up to his neck, forcefully dropping it onto the floor.[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]
<Anomalous Lightning>Sitting completely still through the shock, Denra cranes his head around to view the other unicorn, partially stunned and unmoving.
"That. Hurts. Like. Little. I. Have. Felt.">Blinking from the reservist to you, the former diplomat raises an eyebrow before his eyes widen.
"And it apparently hates ponies.. wait, that's it! Both you and that are Otherworldy, it must consider anything not from your world a threat. Hodch-"
"I can hear you.. but do I want to? Not really."
"Thanks, smartass. No, this goes a long way to explaining how humans might be chosen to arrive Tallus! Think about it carefully: selecting the best instance of an at-will potentially deceased during the short time frame ou-">Forcefully closing the yellow unicorn's mouth with a band of purple energies, Hodch merely gives him a baleful glower without any force to it, then turns to you with a critical expression.
"Think about that later. For right now- Ivan, that item is a juxtaposition: it appears electrical, at least physically, yet it also stimulates electrical impulses throughout the body. In effect it might be acting as a capacitor, allowing you to function with enhanced capacity, while also functioning as a battery: by allowing you to be harmed more so through electricity it may retain it's 'charge', for lack of a better word, longer. As for the radiation-">Glancing down to the streaks marring his hooves and legs, Hodch grimaces.
"Is the general amount emitted lethal in short term, or long term?"
"There's very few people in the Zone that've been around since it was created. Whether it's the Zone itself, the mutants, or other humans, most who enter will find their lives claimed. I'd wager that it's about 95% of STALKERs that eventually die to her.">Barring the lucky Ecologist, Merc, or military STALKER.
"If only it was mere necromancy, we'd probably be able to elimate the source. Blowouts kill anything caught in them, humans are just the 'lucky' creatures that might get back up, brains completely fried. Some of those that do are unfortunate enough to retain scraps of memories from before. Our zombies still retain bodily motion, if a much lesser degree, and will shoot anyone they see on what is probably a survival instinct.">He sighs softly.
"It pained me to hear them cry for their mama or daughter when I put them to rest for good.">Reacting on instinct, Ivan moved himself back and tensed up, eyes glued to the artefact warily.
"That's not happened before.">He warily leaned down to collect the Sparkler, putting it back into its LLC, before glancing over at Denra.
"Not like I had too much of a choice in coming here. The Zone did claim me, fickle bitch she is.">He hummed for a moment as he pat at the box, drumming his fingers idly.
"For a touch like you got? Those electrical burns are more of a threat to you than the radiation. Taking a leak or two'll pass it through your system harmlessly.">He shrugged.
"Being an alcoholic is a bonus when working with low grade artefacts, you'll piss away the radiation faster than you take it in, more often than not. The broken down vehicles give out more than this if you stand next to one."
"Nineteen to one? That's.. the same number it takes to bring down Constructs most times. Sounds like your Zone learned from the Rift.">Returning to the conversation after her epiphany, Whiplash tosses the crystal on the floor with a dim tone.
"A near-complete memory wipe? That's.. goddesses, how insane and cruel can one be? It's good you took care of them Ivan. Even the worst Spectrals don't deserve to suffer like that."
"Don't allow ponies to touch anything of your artifacts without extreme safeguards and risk preventative measures.>Giving the slightest frown possible, Hodch keeps his awkward position while studying the Sparkler in malice.
"I'm loathe to make a comparison to the Rift, but I do agree. Most Constructs have the capacity to kill swiftly rather than allowing one to bleed out, or worse, die from infection.">Eyes rotating to Denra, then back onto you quickly, the purple unicorn can only sigh in pain.
"Intriguing but not entirely useful, human radiation does not occur here. I'm of the opinion that alcoholism can save lives, albeit specific ones. I'll be sure to get shitfaced during transport. For right now I'm going to complete what I was doing before you called me down here, Denra-">Phasing from reality and leaving the imprint of a dull red cloud behind, Denra's gaze turns from the Sparkler to Whiplash.
"May I ask what you were doing?"
"Yeah, I just remember something: I might know where to find something like a power crystal. A huge one."
"Hold on! I know ABOUT where it might but, but didn't say how to get in. You know how most pegasi cloud cities have those.. what are they called?"
"Float cores. Go on?"
"Right. There's an old one in the upper Hegemony mountains called.. High Guards Keep, or something like that. Whole area was ignored because the mountains it sat between were attracting wild clouds. Big nasty ones, the sort that turned entire peaks into glass. Had to be extensively modified to collect and use the lightning, also made the place real safe.">Returning Denra's pensive gaze with a miffed wave of her claws to cut him off, the Lunarite's ears flatten outwards.
"It's a possibility, unicorn, not a probability. Place was abandoned before or after the Late Dynasty started. Could still be there, could be ruins, could be corrupted. I don't know, and I don't know anypony that does. Early on it might have been picked over a bit by minotaurs though they wouldn't have any use for a float core, they like being on the ground. If you want to look into it go ahead, but you'll have to either go to Gozka or find a pegasus descended from that region."
"Monolith are worse, arguably. They lose their memories as well but are almost irreversibly brainwashed to protect the inner Zone from intruders. What makes them so deadly is that not only do they lose the feeling of pain, they'll do their best to die with a grenade ready to go off. Looting one of them is a dangerous idea. Zombies are just there. Monolith become religious fanatics that worship the Zone.">Memories of assaulting the CPP flash through his mind, that he quickly shoves back down.
"From your reaction I don't plan on it unless it's life or death.">He took a squat to idly inspect the burns on Hodch.
"The only things that'll take their time with someone would be bandits, mercs, or a Chimera if it's spiteful. Everything else quickly kills.">He pauses.
"Aside from a Vortex or Whirligig anomaly. I was... unfortunate enough to fall victim to the former.">He grimaced.
"While quick, it certainly felt like a lifetime before I was turned into a couple chunks.">His limbs suddenly ached from the memory of the last moments of his previous life.>Ivan snapped out of his thoughts to pay attention to the two, listening closely as they talked.
"Well, a possibility is better than what there was before, eh?"
>>349311>He'd readily return the nod, relaxing his posture a little.>"Serious enough to drop the puns."
"Even if I'm not here, somebody'll be able to show them around. Thank you.">His arm twitched to fully mirror her salute, but he caught himself to bring his hand up to his brow instead.>Improper for him to salute as a party member at the moment, after all.
"Good luck back in Germaneigh.">Focusing back on Naliyna, Bubba simply took a step away from the rage fueled mare, watching as she attempted to damage the table.>To him, it was obvious the table won.
"Well, that was eventful.">He'd mutter once she disappeared, shaking his head.
>>349349>Presuming these values were the usual amounts given out to Rasera specifically, Gallo soon figured they seemed to imply that the cultures belonging to the Ear-marks, Fangs and Claws had solid economies.>A good thing to know when seeking out potential trade partners for his diplomat profession.>However, his curiosity urged him to keep all of them in mind to guess what sort of societies they were>Specially the Patsos that he could easily read like he was some sort of native speaker.
I wonder how well she's doing in her princessdom.)>Something caught Gallo's interest as Rasera explained her past experiences, giving an intrigued raised eyebrow.
"So you've come to sell your beds to ponies first and foremost?" he inquired with an interested nod. "You haven't had the opportunity to mass produce beddings more suited to humans yet?">It was some rather disheartening news, all things considered.>It meant he had to go out of his way to possibly contract some sort of bed making factory or whatever Tallus equivalent there was for his standards.>No wonder humans out here looked grumpier than he remembered
"Do you know who makes the beds you sell?" he promptly questioned in kind, wondering if there was a way to contact them.
"Just li-">Hodch and Whiplash slowly turn to give each other a deeply haunted, thousand-yard stare.>Despite their Lunar affiliation, both of them looked less Freedom and more like Duty that had just survived an Emission, alone.>At least they didn't have pet bears or hate vodka.
"The more I hear about human worlds... the less I want to sleep."
"Can we talk about anything else that won't cause flashbacks. Please.">That was less a question and more survivor's guilt speaking from the batpony.>Before now you barely knew they could have empathy, aside from the one that normally hung around Jeff.>Or her daughter, though one always had to be wary of the fuzzy orange filly's pranks.
"Not even then. Don't allow a single pony to do more than look at one, Ivan-">Studying the flashburns before he disappears, Hodch was definitely going to be scarred, although it looked like he'd heal.>Just not mentally.>Removing their brain cell contact, Whiplash speaks first, not without wincing.
"I'm sorry to hear that. I've heard but didn't really think about the fact that most humans.. die to get here. I take it those were air elemarental anomalies, tears apart most anything that goes into 'em? I know of few, maybe twenty in a couple cities the Planar Harpies used to inhabit. Some of the weirdest technology and defenses, the sort of stuff mad scientists and science fiction writers dream up. Not like Construct or Dominion plane bad, mostly lethal and real short ranged.">Looking up from a slumped position, the unicorn diplomat waves a hoof in what was probably a small amount of hope.
"Depending on the risks and whether or not a float core like that could be integrated.. it's a-">Cutting off the batmare before she could speak.
"Possibility, I know. Tonight, though, there's no way enough humans and ponies could even attempt going to.. wherever-"
"High Guards Keep. I think."
"That place. Unless, you're willing to hire some marecenaries. The Arcane Blades are reasonable and fairly effective for the cost."
"Compared to Zigri or Sweet? I'd rather take the Blades than deal with the sulking black bastard or that damned monster."
"I guess. Zigri isn't all that ba- what am I saying? Yeah, I agree, but Sweet's not that horrible once you know how to make her be less creepy. How about it Ivan, want to hire some ponies to go out and do something real dangerous?"
>>349376>Silence.>Shanis? Not around to pester with questions, or make bizarre offers to 'deal with something' at Tartarus Isle.>Zigri? Wasn't around making an ass of himself or snapping at everything he thought was unnatural.>Sweet? She probably wouldn't show up.. ever again.>Tipper? Nowhere in sight.>Hodch? Probably off doing whatever shady business he normally did.>Twisted Wing? Long gone.>There wasn't even a Night Guard, Lunar Guard, Arcane Blade, or Tartarus marecenary strolling around.>The two DJ's? Not a single radio transmission since you'd been here.>For once: the silence was gratifying.>That is until one of the strangest gateways, neon red-orange-green in a roiling boil opens up, depositing a trio of outdated, and worse yet, injured humans.>A dated German sniper in thick winter clothing and a large snow painted backpack was first, the left hand clutching a scoped Karabiner 98, the right held up and across his chest in an oversized sling.>Besides the spiked helmet, also painted white, the man's haggard, weather-bitten face was well outside recruiting age, though had the air of a professional death-from-afar hollow blue eyes.>Second and in worse shape was a shorter young male, barely in his early 20's, a rather damaged MP40 slung on his side, the ghillie-like facemask doing little to disguise a disbelieving stare.>The woodland camo wasn't quite right as it was much brighter in coloration than normal, and several drying blood stains cover the arms, likely not his own, were indicative of conflict occurring a shot time ago.>Turning halfway to take hold of an even more bizarre sight, the last was a young female that would fit right in with an ancient Saxon city image:>Nearly a head shorter than the sniper, the shock of peach-blonde hair and amber eyes was concerning, as was the woven brigandine upper armor punctured in at least ten locations which had to have been, at one time, a bright white.>Slung over the right shoulder was a somewhat sophisticated steel spear, the edges chipped across its length, a short bearded axe kept on a thick leather belt underneath it, while the remains of a mostly destroyed round shield dangles from a useless left arm.>Quickly glancing from you to the other two, the sniper speaks first in a raspy, harsh tone that was more EurAsian as the shield clatters onto the pagoda's floor.
"These two require immediate treatment before they bleed out. And shut up Anthelm, you will be second in line."
>>349378>Ivan recognized those looks anywhere, even on a non-human face.>He often saw it in a mirror when allowed to be sober for long enough.
"That would be best.">He withdrew a small bottle of vodka from one of his many pouches, for use in brief artefact handling, unscrewing the cap.>"Probably for the best. I don't want to know what a gravitational artefact would do to a pony.">He let out a small sigh as he quickly went through the bottle, grimacing as his throat briefly burned from the drink.
"Gravitational anomaly. A Vortex will drag whatever gets caught in it up into the air if they're not able to immediately escape. Gets compressed into a small lump before violently detonated by the force of it decompressing.">Of course, by that time most creatures are dead from being turned into something the size of a pizza box.>He hummed and leaned back a bit, before rocking idly on his feet.
"Might as well, I've got nothing better to do once I find someone to order custom armor from.">He really wanted an exoskeleton.
>>349377>Whistling at one of the floating dragon-spirits, a flashy yellow and blue streaked one holding a white scroll descends to Rasera.>Gazing at the unfolded page for five seconds, the sable mare gives a nod in your direction.
"Am of trade only to pony tonight yes. No human have of come to here before you.">Face slackening in sudden realization at the second question, she lifts both forehooves to cover an embarrassed face.>Which only serves to amuse the dragon in front of her, chortling in an aery whistling tone while rolling up the scroll before returning to its original location.
"Am come of Equestria for trade pony beds and trinkets, not think of for human.">Lowering one hoof, then the other in quick succession, her visage brightens once more.
"Cavalier clan of make all bed Rasera trade! Big clan of..">Trailing off to rapidly tap the covered ground again, this time around sixty.
"That marely. Small and old clan ponies make, lots fun of them. Young and middle ponies-">Pointing at herself with a faintly proud smile.
"Am of trade, fight, herd, or spirit magics. Am trade and have tiny spirit magics too, but no of good others.">Turning to look at the giant futon, which was at least a queen sized bed for humans, she makes a short nodding motion towards it.
"Is of size for human sleep?"
>>349381>Quietly shaking off a shiver that visibly rippled her coat, Whiplash motions her right set of wingclaws at Denra several times.>Who immediately gives the Lunarite a blank look.>Eyes rolling in aggrieved slowness, one claw flicks from him to the bottle then back.
"Sure, here-">Reaching into yet another small micro-portal, the diplomat hoofs her one of Razorback's "vodka specials" before giving you a mortified expression.
"Most ponies call gravity by the name 'Force' for.. obvious reasons. There are anomalies in the Deep Moors similar to what you describe, though they tend to be in relatively calm locations and, from what little I know, not that lethal. They might be able to break a large softwood stick, but not a rock, and certainly not do.. what you stated.">Not even bothering to check on the batpony guzzling down the start of a hangover, Denra's mouth opens to say something, then closes, opening again to emit a tired chuckle.
"You didn't see it in the Workshop? Big bomb suit thing, plated, giant sign above with your name on it? Krinza, Helping Hoof, and Lann worked on it for a few hours, at least until I interrupted the first two after coming back.. here.">Still in mute recollection for a split-second, the yellow unicorn heaves himself up only to hiss at something in his rear leg snapping back into place.
"Celestia's teats that bloody hurts! If you don't already know there's always a few marecenary request forms from Shanis. Not much to say other than write your name, the location you want scouted, what you want done, any threats you know about. Naliyna will handle paymarent after the mission's complete. As for me I'm going to turn in. I'm two damned operations in and barely staying awake."
>>349383>José couldn't contain the small endeared smile as Rasera covered her face in embarrassment, soon leading him to cover it slightly with a hand to avoid further unintentional teasing from his end before she recovered in kind>He soon refocused back on the conversation at hand, giving her a couple of nods as she divulged the bedmakers' clan name.
"So you're from the Cavalier Clan, whose economically active workponies are mostly composed by traders like you?" he attempted to confirm, just to make sure they were both on the same page. "Essentially you're part of the clan business model?">With the following answer provided, Gallo would glance back at the giant futon with a pensive look before looking down at himself to see his current hygiene status.
"Perhaps," he mused softly with a nod "but the best way to make sure is by trying. May I test it out to confirm it?"
"Yes, but no dishonor for be trader. Am bad in fight, ask them!">Rasera's attention shifts form you to several of the dragon-spirits, all of which immediately performing synchronized chortles.>Wasn't exactly a yes, but close enough.>Opening her mouth, she pauses briefly, head tilting and speaking in deliberate, slow thoughtfulness.
"Not.. of business, no? Trade is of trinkets to pony for use, sell, trade bed for pony use. Is how say, if Rasera take coin or gem, coin or gem go around world too, soon or late. Business wrong, take advantage bad. Know what mean?">A stable, highly cyclical economy with heavy competition was apparently the Tallus norm.>Silently eyeing the spirits, the majority of them nod in short order, the other few shrugging disinterestedly.>Satisfied at the answers, and lack thereof, Rasera waves you towards it.
"Say they do try!">Making your way to the large bed, your initial appraisal of it was impressive: only one seam was visible in a long ring around the center, and no material was bunched up or flattened out of place.>Putting a hand down the material was an extremely fine, soft cotton and silk blend.>Of course, it needed to be fully tested to ensure the quality was worth.. whatever the price could be.
>>349386>Once again, the man rubbed his mouth a little to hide the little amused smile from the dragon snickering when confirming Rasera's lack of fighting capabilities
"Didn't mean to imply otherwise," he promptly reassured her>As for the second response, the man nodded as he made sure not to use words like business models due to their apparently inherent anti-communalist undertones.>José felt this was probably going to cause problems at a later date if he wasn't careful, no doubt.>Specially when dealing with Solar-based economies>It took Cheto a rather substantial amount of willpwer not to flop into the futon at the mere touch of its silky smooth, cotton based material.
(Don't be brutish... It's an abhorrent first impression.)>With a studious eye, the man carefully proceeded to remove the outermost layer of clothing to ensure his testing would not even come close to staining the marvelous bed>First his cap, followed by the bandana hanging from his neck, the stuffed backpack, the clinking bandoleer, the less noisy pouch strapped to his leg, his warm red jacket and his footwear.>All were soon neatly organized at the foot end of the futon along with his now unloaded weapons, making doubly sure nothing actually made contact with its quality sheets.>Now came a strangely difficult choice to make: Should he take off his pants?>After fifteen seconds of thoroughly debating with himself, he opted to simply walk outside for a bit to dust off whatever noticeable residue remained on them before coming back in with a noticeable shiver from the cold.>Surely this would allow the enveloping futon's cleanliness to be retained after his testing>With that out of the way, Gallo took a deep breath, steeled himself from the incoming wave of drowsiness that'll befall him and politely snuck his body right into the bed's covers, trying to keep it as neat as possible.
>>349384>Ivan wearily chuckled and gave his bottle a bit of a raise as she handled her own bottle of vodka.
"That crap I always hear in Rostok that's broadcast by Duty recruiters about 'deadly anomalies, dangerous mutants' and so on isn't a lie. The only one I've seen that won't actively attempt to kill you is a teleportation anomaly, which usually quickly gets mapped out to see if it leads somewhere immediately dangerous. Leaves the taste of dirt in your mouth for hours, though.">He just stares at Denra for a long moment, before groaning softly.
"I didn't notice it, somehow. Thank you for letting me know. An exoskeleton isn't exactly a bomb suit, but it's very close to one.">At the idea of mercenaries he'd suppress a grumble, having to remind himself that they weren't Mercs.
"My machines sensed someone when me and Chisan arrived--">Replied Mallia, as they sped towards the exit alongside Naska.
"Around 80 metres below the repository we are all sitting in, they sensed one single pony, in some seemingly collapsed tunnel! Right below where you and your comrades were taking shelter.">The enginseer's glance seemed directed upward for about two seconds, acknowledging the signatures--and the lack of threats looming above their heads. With a thought, she shuts off the visor and snapped her glance ahead once more.
"They vanished though... And we're a ways below where the pony was supposed to be right now. Can't know where they went. Or why they are dressed like a one mare army.">Mallia briefly quarter-turned towards Naska. Her face was obscured, but her smile was audible by her stubbornly bubbly tone.
"I wonder what that means! Maybe they can teleport. They must be very resourceful..."
"And dangerous, of course.">Finally, Mallia would quiet down after having made her remarks. Saving her breath for pacing her breathing instead. Focusing on getting out of the vault. And listening to the vox as Chisan updates her as they went.
>>349380>Bubba sat back on the desk once he was alone, sighing softly as he removed his helmet to run his hand through his hair.>He rarely had a moment of silence anymore, so he savored it as much as he could.>As the gateway activated, he slipped his helmet back on and stood up to greet them.>And then immediately began internally swearing.>"She didn't fucking tell me they were injured.">He only took a brief moment to glance the three over, before focusing on the one that was least injured, nodding to him.
"The clinic's not too far from here, just a short walk. And there won't need to be a line unless one of you try to die on them.">His eyes flicked over to the very obviously injured two.
"I'll help her walk if she needs it.">He made to move over to her right side, offering to help her move as he motioned to the exit.
"Where are you three from?">"Not likely she'll be able to reply, but I wouldn't be too surprised."
"Am know, no offense to take.">Still a bit embarrassed, the Neighpon raspberries one of the larger dragon-spirits then speaks something the orb didn't translate.>By the time you return Rasera was hooves and head first into a brand new box that could easily fit two humans inside, several smaller ones surrounding it along with most of the spirits.>Paying little attention to you, coins and gems were being sorted out in careful lines making you wonder just how much they could carry around.>Easing onto the bed, it was.. almost perfect.>Despite the silk blend, the top wasn't sticky and felt cool enough to sleep on comfortably in the middle of day.>Giving it a firmness test, the layered materials underneath were pliable enough for most hard and soft sleepers.
>>349359>Taking a moment to glance over the schematics, I couldn't help but feel a tad impressed.>All she had to look at was the rotting wreck of a ship and yet she could accurately reconstruct it with this... display thing.>I wince at the tone she finished with, shifting in my seat.
"Its likely some of them made it back to shore before the ship sunk, Wild.">I told her, even if I didn't really know what horrors they'd have to deal with besides being on a ship going under.>And not as a design feature, either.
"We'll get out of here, Wild. And none of that shit about it just being me getting back, you're going to make it to Razorback with me.">I firmly told the display, staring it down as if daring her to object.
"You'll be able to pick up speed once we get to shore."
"How machine sense?">Barely keeping up with you from the weight of her gear, Nasiksta huffs loudly, making no attempt to hide her disbelief.
us?! We no find it!">Catching the ceiling's surface, a mixture of bleed-through energies in the shape of vague pillars seemed to be protecting the entire vault against the weight of rock above.
'How fascinating!'>A recording machine-voice intones in wonder, though not aloud.
'That such based esoteric conceptual models exists in living states proves my theories! I must inform the Inquistor at once of this!'>You immediately recognize the tone to be Velasi's own personal auspex machine-spirit which had been keeping silent the entire time.>It was probably a Xenarch given the excitement, and what you knew of the arsenal she once had.
"If teleport then why no sense where pony go? Teleport only take few second to move place to place, Spiral show us how work often-">On your left side Nashka was struggling to maintain grasp of her boxy submachine gun, doing the same to meet your helmet.
"Maybe translocate then, that like long range teleport ten, twenty kilometers away easy-">Gripping the weapon tightly and holding it closer to her chest, the archaic Vostroyan analogue likewise goes silent to her own thoughts.>Receiving no updates from Chisan or Raindrop, it was probable the first had boosted his commbead temporarily before tuning it back down to conserve power.>Making excellent time to the vault's entrance door, the warping half-real portal ahead brightens into a furious white glow.>Even without the visor's systems active, the clear sight of a small winged pony was emitting visible streaks of heat was more than enough for the four of the living-spirits to talk.>All at once and over each other, unfortunately.
'That's the equine I picked up earlier-'
'what is that pony'
'A pegasus filly of approximately ten years age-'
'Why is the temperature variant that high-'
'possible Plasma enchantmarent according to early-'
'Warning: immediately notify Chisan and the human operatives-'>Before they, you, or Nashka could respond, warbled echoes of weapons fire occur through the portal into the equine, the first of several rifle shots, a short automatic burst, and last a surprised laspistol shot that cracks into stone.>Coming into partial focus, the burning figure can be heard shouting in a surprisingly young, almost squeaky young girl's tone:
"Wait I'm not here to hurt any of yo- OW OW OW STOP THAT PLEASE-">Then comes Chisan's profoundly 'I am so done with this groxshit' tone.
"Cease fire, CEASE FIRE THAT IS NOT A THREAT-">Followed by the Commissar's booming howl of:
"NEXT ONE THAT SHOOT GET BANISHED TO MOON!"
'what the fuck'>Is all that Tox-11 states before transmitting ASCII image, that of an older, heavyset Guardsman that probably wouldn't pass regulations.>The arms were crossed, a confused expression on the lower face clear, helmet tipped forwards almost angrily.
>>349393>Stopping to take a deep breath, Whiplash motions the half-empty bottle towards you in a hale 'to us' motion, then glances down to check how much she'd drank.>Grade B- hangover for most humans you realize, but more like a Grade A+ for batponies and pegasi.>Oh well.>Visibly incensed at the Lunarite not offering his bottle back, Denra grumbles under his breath before fixing you with an impressed expression.
"You don't seem particularly pleased at this 'Duty' group or faction. Sounds like a late Dynasty Pathfinder team slogan to me."
"Nah, I'd bet it's more like the Day Guard's Subversive Containmarent Project group. Bunch of cold-teated mares always screeching on and on about keeping everything THEY can't understand far away from ponies.">Eyeing the batmare in subtle approval, Denra gives a small conciliatory shrug.
"Can't quite disagree with that. According to Torven and Betlltower there are at least five thousand near-temporal anomalies throughout the Moors. Less than a hundred are considered above class three, that being barely hazardous to living beings. Maybe two or three are class six or higher, those with the capability to cause injuries or could be potentially lethal. There's an old record of two within the same rain belt that the Hive is in, supposedly even the last Dusk Striders refused to investigate it.">Hoofing the bottle to Denra whom gives her an exasperated sigh, Whiplash Vines speaks up in an amused lilt.
"Haven't seen it yet? I did. Wish we could get something that looked half that good for combat duties. Interesting as this conversation is there's little we can find here. Mind taking us up?"
"Of course, one second-">Without bothering to ask for permission, you, the diplomat, and the Lunarite are instantly sucked into a vaguely rainbow colored tunnel.>Arriving in the Workshop's northern section and barely noticing the transition, or landing on your ass, Denra glances about quickly while Whiplash begins to stretch her wings out.
"Strange, I thought Helping Hoof and Krinza would be here. Suppose I'll catch them later.">Nodding at something behind you, the yellow unicorn begins turning rather stiffly towards the west door.
"Your suit is in front of Krinza's work table. It appears to be relatively finished though I have no idea what those five canisters are. Good night to you both and please don't call on me unless there's an emergency, the family jewels are still in pain."
>>349418>In response to Rasera's latest question, Cheto simply lets out a comfortable little exhale as he further snuggled up against the covers.>He certainly wasn't expecting such accomodations from somepony that didn't even thought about selling human beds to what seemed to be the most prominent demographic in the compound.
"I can certainly get used to this," the man sleepily added as he closed his eyes for just a second "but I might want to give it a full test run to-">José couldn't help but yawn a little, groggily covering his mouth with a hand out of politeness.
"-to correctly ascertain its value.">Softly opening his eyes, José takes a look around at the spirits that witnessed his proposal to gauge their general reaction to his request.
"Will that be alright with you all?" the man softly asks with a somewhat pleading little smile.
>>349416>Giving a stern look to the younger man, the sniper makes a brief 'move quickly' motion.
"Closest building then, go.">Suppressing a glare at the command, presumably used to taking orders from officers, Anthelm ignores the dropped shield and hefts the female with both hands in front of him, arms clasping under the belt.>Carefully dragging her northwards the assault trooper gives you a sincere look of appreciation as he passes by, the girl stumbles along, head swinging in either a concussed or traumatized state.
"She is not heavy, I will manage.">Waiting until the two exit the pagoda, then a few more seconds, the winter sniper enters attention stance, hands clasping behind his back.>Eyes closing, the older man turns rigid before speaking in a firmly neutral tone.
"Anthelm is an assault storm trooper from the First Grand Reich of his world, I know little else save that he was addicted to a white pill for some time. I am from the Ninth Allied Defense Force of Her Majesty's Imperial Bavarian-Korean Empire. Specialist sniper, winter regions. The girl, I do not know, her language is older than either of us. Not even the..">Pausing to make a slight grimace, or possibly wince, he continues in the same voice as before.
"Unusually friendly colorful horned equines understood much save that her dialect was akin to what they called Saxoneigh.">Eyes opening again, he stares upwards at the gems embedded on the pagoda's underside roof.
"She sustained numerous injuries from a raptor of unknown species, approximately four feet high, but I know nothing else except the attacker was confirmed deceased. She was treated by an allied equine whom had some comprehension yet lacked proper supplies before Lucid Shock's squad arrived in the.. village we have been living in for the past fifteen months.">Remaining silent and still, it seemed he was treating you as an officer.
>>349426>Partially turning to stare back at you, the miniature Wild's antennae flick, much like a pony's ears would, then gives a hopeful nod.
"I had not calculated that possibility. One moment-">Placing a number of white markers on the vessel's image, the caricature rocks back on its boots in thought.
"Total number of deceased: one hundred thirty-nine. Assuming the transport watercraft was operating at maximum capacity that leaves one-hundred eighty-one potential survivors.">The antennae twitch again, the cartoon image disappears as the screen shows a fuzzy image from earlier, that of the unknown Ferron pegasus.
"Do you have any data available on pegasi inhabiting the Moors regions?">Emitting a short, encouraged static-laden noise from overhead, the chest cabin rocks briefly from another wave's undertow.
"I will do my best mom, but this is an emergency situation. Ammunition remaining: five of six shells. Estimated hull integrity: one hundred and thirty of three-hundred sixty. Estimated internal integrity: ninety-five of three-hundred sixty.">The external camera view shows a small rounded protrusion of taller sand ahead, one that the Eldritch Android was forced to make her way around.>Though, something wasn't quite about the heavy overcast above.
"Priority Threats One and Two estimated to be capable of one-hundred mile per hour flight. Priority Threats Three through One-Hundred Two: unknown. Error, suspected flight indexes of fifty-miles per hour. Even if I were at full capabilities I would be unable to evade long range weapon fire.">The unsaid 'if they have as much' hangs briefly in the air.[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7]
<Grade 1 Auto-Repair[1d6+2 = (4+2) = 6]
<Grade 2 Auto-Repair[1d6 = 3]
<Repair Tendril #1[1d6 = 5]
<Repair Tendril #2[1d6 = 6]
<Repair Tendril #3[1d6 = 6]
<Repair Tendril #4[1d6 = 5]
<Repair Tendril #5[1d6 = 4]
<Repair Tendril #6[1d6 = 1]
<Repair Tendril #7[1d6 = 3]
<Repair Tendril #8
"Regional update: large scale storms inbound from northwest, unknown speed and heading. Predicted impact: severe."[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]
<Arcanum Sensor Array[1d6 = 1]
<Damaged Sensor Node #1
>>349437>Immediately hearing opportunity, the sable Neighpon mare ceases her efforts to look up and right.>The dragon-spirits continue their sorting when she stands, although several of them give an unseen side-eye to her.
"Not of know human beds. Is good enough for to trade?">The bed's overly comfortable design, not to mention versatility could easily pass for most any expensive one made by humans, whether it was called a futon or not.>At least, that's what your tired body was trying to say.>Walking up to within five or so meters, Rasera's voice rings merrily from the translation orb across the tent's interior.
"What think of?">All of the dragons stop working to look at you, then to those across from themselves.>At first, nothing.>Then the miniature weapon carrying ones open their jaws, speaking silently.>Visibly disagreeing, those clutching scrolls, bags, tiny backpacks, and unusual implemarents argue back.>Taking a half-step forwards and turning around, conveniently exposing her rather substantial plot lines, the Neighpon's head tips left, then right.>Close to half a minute of bickering later, Rasera shakes her mane out, dark blue hair flowing wildly.>Settling for taking several steps backwards, the fairly tall mare sits down on the bed's corner close to you and turns to give an apologetic yet pained smile.>Either she didn't want to get involved or the fifty-fifty split was due to something cultural.>Rudely interrupted from drowsiness by a loud crash outside, thankfully a good distance away, the mare crew boss is heard shouting, albeit faintly, in a distinctly pleased drawling tone.
"Great job ya'all, Tipper'll be real 'appy ta fine'er new hospital up an'runnin' this fast! Now 'ow marely more o'them 'ouses left?">Definitely not a local.>Probably?
"Awright, bring 'em up an' the'twins'll start settin' 'em foundations, res'a you wit' me!">Throughout the words the translation orb hadn't even attempted to function, Rasera's eyebrows raising to blink at the completely untranslated lingo in mixed curiosity and apprehension.
"That mare, what of say?"
>>349445>Needless to say, José really wanted to pass out right now under the cushioned covers of the queen sized futon, but his polite nature deemed it too improper to do.>The fact Rasera came at about arms' length further teased his tired brain with the prospect of scooping her up into the bed for an even better day's sleep.>Perhaps her mane was as silky as the covers?
(No. Remember what Frost said.)>Taking a deep breath, Gallo gave her a solid nod admist his comfortable resting.
"Certainly covers my whole body," he softly commented as the spirits bickered around him "so any human would be interested in trading for this. Some even while having a bed of their own.">Having said that, the man's eyes watched in wonder as the dragons continued their arguing.>It all still felt so surreal, even after everything else he's seen so far.>So much so that he couldn't help but brighten his smile>The crash did make his eyes widened considerably, but as he once again heard that foremare from before congratulating on a job well done, José simply breathed out in relief.>The charming accent did further intrigue him, wondering from where exactly it came from, too.>Soon turning his head to face Rasera's at the futon's edge, the man gives her a nod.
"Construction mares seemed to have finished Tipper's hospital," he gladly translated "and now they're starting their next project, which is more houses. Foundations are being fetched and placed as we speak.">A part of him idly thought how convenient it was that there was both house builders and a potential furniture seller around him.>Perhaps he could do Razorback a solid right now.
"This may be a bit too forward of me," the man prefaced with an amicable smile at the Japoneighse mare "but could yout measure my width and height in the bed? It should help your bed makers if they want to manufacture for human sizes."
>>349446>Frowning at the commotion that probably wasn't going to end for a bit, the Neighpon gives a small sigh, lifting a hoof to poke her forehead several times.>Face creasing in annoyance, the look disappears when she turns to give a highly pleased smile.
"Is of first human Rasera meet great news! Am of send letters back for Rasera clan, make spirit beds not for spirits-">A scowl arrives instantly as she rounds on several of the armed dragon-spirits drawing their weapons, which was being countered by an equal number preparing to use their scrolls..>Loosing an angry verbal harangue that immediately quiets the group, most of the dragons that could sheathe their weaponry, or at least attempt, the rest slinging polearms, or was that poleclaws? onto their backs.>One close to the entrance carrying a larger set of coins begins spinning it in the air, gazing at the rest.[1d6 = 2]
<Winning Vote>Sniffing aloud in disdain, Rasera turns once more to face you, eyebrows furrowing together with a curious smile.
"Am travel of Equestria lots, see castle small, big, too big... floating castle once! Want of see human castle done too.">Head swiveling to glance you up and down, a tinge of difficult to read emotion flits across her face.>Lifting both forehooves and pressing them together, her lips move as if counting.>The translation orb doesn't react to it, though.
"This-">Pausing to tap her a front hoof on the bed, four sets of five, then another three.
"Tall, this-">Three sets of five, then three more.
"Wide. Am make-">The next word doesn't translate, instead coming out as a miffed sounding neigh.>Snapping her head up to give orb a critical stare, the right eye twitches.>Angrily.>Which she recovers from easily enough.
"For letter.">Nickering at one of the scroll carrying dragon-spirits, it turns to regally float in her direction, the mare speaking rapidly and using a hoof to make a number of gestures that were probably related to measuremarents.>Possibly even measuremarents.
>>349447>By this point, Cheto's wondrous look was slowly being replaced with a bit of concern at how heated the spirit dragons' discussion was becoming.>However, it seemed Rasera had things under control judging by her attempts to keep her friendly disposition towards him despite looking annoyed at all the chaos around them.>A part of him wondered if these spirits were or were influenced by the mare's own personal thoughts somehow.>Hopefully she wouldn't put up with disrespect he might be unintentionally causing just for his sake>He had to learn this stuff, after all.>Focusing back on the trader's words, the man soon brought a polite smile of his own to compliment hers.
"I must admit I'm curious about the other castles Tallus has in store," he similarly admitted. "I'm probably going to be in a lot of them the rest of my life.">With that little seed planted, now he softly looked upwards at all the commotion, particularly at the one carrying the coins
"I don't mean to pry," he questioned "but what exactly has made them upset? Am I being disrespectful to them?"
>>349448>Catching your notice with a small exhale of bright green, the dragon-spirit's coin swinging stops, causing to rest to turn and stare at it.>Plucking a single one off the string, its held up for all the others to stare at.>Those carrying weapons take on smug expressions, while those without were even more smug.>Somehow.>...>Whatever significance that had was profoundly lost to you.>Beginning to speak, only to stop, Rasera blinks slowly as understanding dawns, the left eyebrow raising questioningly.
"Have of not see other Equestria castles? Lots ground castles ponies build, few pony castles in sky. Minotaurs build more castles. Neighpon even more castles! Am know of little human history-">The next world comes out as a strangled neigh, eliciting a quick snort towards it.
"Of human that-">Halting to stare down her nose, the sable mare frowns deeply while speaking in a slow cadence, the translation orb apparently working overtime.
"Ten times ten humans Sun call of to Equestria. Am ha-">Cutting off another neigh with an angry tail flick, she continues without skipping more than a half-second.
"Know little of more humans call by Sun, other places.">Blinking upwards at the otherwise completely silent and still tent, Rasera nods towards the dragon-spirit still holding out the coin, then motions a forehoof towards the rest.
"No disrespect. Wrong argumarent two side make: warriors say you human not sleep on, no of good enough for be Otherword bed. Say of human need more comfort bed. Followers say you human not sleep of spirit-bed, too big for of comfort with herd..">Trailing off, Rasera's gaze turns on you with one eyebrow raised, the other lowered incredulously.
"Unless human has big herd of eight pony.">It was becoming clear to you that the orb was an early version, or perhaps a model, and was learning on the go.>Possibly sentient.>Maybe, just maybe it wasn't sapient.
>>349449>Weirdly fascinating, those spirit dragons...>Gallo looked on patiently as Rasera continued to struggle dealing with the learning machine construct that reminded him of the mail system Razorback had.
"I'm afraid I couldn't quite catch what you said at the end there, miss," he regretfully informed "but yes. Humans does also have many castles. However, my profession didn't involve going to them much. Now it most likely does.">Now listening to the actual reason the dragons were arguing so feverently made José chuckle in amusement.
"That's a relief," he answered in kind. "All this time they were debating on what reason why I shouldn't be sleeping on this bed.">Now the human turned a little wistful, turning towards Rasera..
"As for herds," he added. "I can't quite tell how that works with pony societies, so my answer is probably inaccurate.">With that said, the man slowly sits up from the futon in order to properly face the equine at the corner of the bed.
"Perhaps I should show why I'm confused," he followed up as a mostly naked arm approached the mare before stopping about two snouts away from her face. "May I replicate the motions I've been doing to equines thus far?"
>>349427>Mallia did have the time to elaborate to Nasiksta what she meant--but this reaction struck her with a worriesome surface thought.
(Note to self: Find the correct low-tech vocabularies to effectively describe what an Auspex is to someone who might not even know what the word itself means...)>She felt a twinge of sadness for about a split-second, having to leave Nasiksta hanging onto her thoughts while they ran through the vault, the clattering of Mallia's lasrifle and Omnissian axe upon her back, and their boots, filling the brief calm before the storm of the next moment.>She did do a brief mental double-take, her head tilting downward towards her arm--wielding her shield, and also wearing the Auspex scanner.
(--Wait--I don't recognize that voice.)
(Theories??) >A stream of overeager thoughts arrive, and then stop suddenly as she forces herself to FOCUS--especially as a certain foreboding gut feeling comes to her as she stops hearing Chisan's voice, and they come dashing out of the vault door! >She comes to a rapid stop as her cognition makes it just in time to process the appearance of an unfamiliar small pegasus,>Followed by simultaneous stream of voices she couldn't spare the focus to immediately comb through for meaning,>Followed by GUNSHOTS and the crack of a single laspistol shot.>Suffice to say, Mallia is knocked into brief fight or flight; she suddenly stops thinking entirely and briefly enters pure muscle memory; lifting her shield, shifting her feet, and hovering her hand over the grip of the Hellpistol Chisan had allowed her to borrow.>But she doesn't draw. >Instead she holds there. As the next second, as she processes the situation, she catches up mentally and her body straightens. >... >Her helmet turns to the bullet holes in the wall, then back to the fabled mystery equine, flabbergasted.>... Then she casts a sudden glance towards Chisan's general direction, though he might not catch it--or the two second long stare she gave him, before she turned back to the practically incadescent ...>Filly?>Mallia briskly, again, quarter-turned to Naska... >Then Enginseer's posture relaxes quickly, exhaling audibly through the helmet as she begins to lower her shield.
"... We found our mystery pony...">She sighed out the remark beneath her breath towards Nasiksta, then starts to sidestep along in Chisan's general direction.
"Everything is fine. Eveeerything~ is fine..."
(... What the warp is she wearing? Plasma enchantmarents?)
(A lot? For a ten year old. Is it not? Right? There must be an important detail behind that.)
(Who is this filly?)>Moving at a brisk, but calm walking pace towards Chisan, she doesn't take her eyes off the filly. Examining their attire and trying to catch some details.>Symbols, maybe a coat of arms; maybe a distinct color scheme that the Inquisitorial machine spirits will recognise for her, anything.>And also trying to evaluate the armour she was looking at, out of sheer curiosity if anything.>Without the Preysense. The heat signature would probably dazzle her.<B. Perception[1d6 = 6][1d6 = 1] <E. Engineering[1d6+1 = (4+1) = 5][1d6+1 = (2+1) = 3][1d6+1 = (6+1) = 7]>She would eventually stop her movement once she was within a couple metres of Chisan.>The enginseer saying nothing. Merely observing and listening as the situation developed.
"Duty is... A bit of a joke. They wish to destroy the Zone, while their main 'enemy' in Freedom wishes to simply do what they wish in it, hence the name.">He idly motioned with a hand.
"They work with the military on occasion, and are basically the only Zone faction aside from the Ecologists who aren't shot at on sight by them. That gives them a bit of an ego trip.">He quirked an eyebrow at the mention of two anomalies that nobody would go into.>He might investigate them whenever he eventually finds his way to the Moors, he supposes.>With a grin, he chuckled.
"An Exoskeleton is the single most protective combat suit in the Zone, and practically my world. It even gives decent anomaly protection, but the Ecologists do have specialized suits to go into anomalies.">Even if he wasn't expecting the sudden transition of rooms, Ivan managed to stay on his feet.>Though he looked a bit ill at it.>With a bit of a groan and a shake of his head, he made his way over to the exoskeleton and looked it over, appraising it.
"This is a lot different than I was expecting. Definitely customization in here that isn't possible back home.">His hands run over the new exterior, getting a quiet feel for how it would probably feel on his frame.
"Well, if we're going anywhere I'm going to want to be wearing this so I can get used to it, even if its a simple 'drop off a note' run. Looks to be simple enough to put on, even compared to the original models.">Though he might want to get his hands on some paint eventually.
>>349438>Bubba gave the sturmtruppen a nod as he passes with her in his grasp, eyeing them to make sure he'd be able to even get out the door.>Bubba listened closely to him, eyebrow twitching a bit at "Bavarian-Korean Empire" but refraining from commenting.>Definitely something to ask about later.>"Of course they have a Saxon pun. Why wouldn't they?"
"Nordic or barbarian tribes, perhaps. Certainly older than the three of us. She'll be fine, I've seen some... miracles out of these ponies.">Bubba eyed him for a moment, before nodding his head.
"Relax, this is informal. What's your name?"
>>349450>Side-eyeing the orb, Rasera's vocal inflection was a solid wall of disappointmarent.
"Am not know why Lunars have of old learner one, lots places have of good ones, even in Hegemony. New ones better, too.">Shifting to cross forelegs over her chest, the right hoof lifts to tap her chin lightly as she gives a questioning look.
"What is profession of you if safe say? And, am see human castle when come early. Rasera see one-">Preventing yet another neigh by frowning and not finishing the work.
"Like here but that castle.. one of five smaller?">Ignoring the dragon-spirits having made their decision, they were now posturing in some sort of post-brawl ritual as if to show both sides won.>In entirely different events, no less.
"Smallest herd is batpony of Moors. Batpony have stallion, mare. Some think weird way. Unicorn stallion, two mare, rare three. Pegasus stallion, two mare, sometime three, rare four. Earth pony... stallion, five to ten mare.">At that Rasera visibly contracts in a full body cringe, yet recovers and continues to speak as if that didn't happen.
"Neighpon is come from long ago earth pony! One stallion, two three, four mare most. Saddle Arabian also come from long ago earth pony, same as Chinays. Not know what place long ago earth pony from.">Motionless, though blinking at your hand, the sable mare gives a dumbfounded look.
"What of mean?"
>>349462>Cheto hums softly in turn at this new information, keeping in mind there are more up to date versions of translator orbs to possibly scour out if learning languages takes too long.>It won't stop him from learning it himself though.>A monotone tone lacks the appropriate charm from genuine expression in the language>His humming continued, looking a little uncertain, before eventually giving her a nod.
"I'm a diplomat," the man tentatively revealed with a little sheepish smile. "As for the human castles you saw, I really can't say much since I know little.">Hopefully the reveal isn't going to make things awkward...>José listened intently, keeping tabs on the expected number of mares each stallion of the cultures mentioned had.
(Diez yeguas por padrillo de tierra? Fua...
)>He'd also take note of Rasera's own herd inclinations as that may help him figure out how to proceed in what was coming next.>Seeing the sable mare looking on in utter confusion, José gave her a slightly amused, sheepish smile.
"Well," he admitted "I may have done many things with this hand on mares that could be considered dubious.">Having said that, he cautiously brought up his other arm into the mix, now both staring right at Rasera's snout.
"I really don't want the translator to mix up the words," he continued "so I figured demonstrating my actions on you may be the best bet to clear up any misunderstandings."
'Fear not Enginseer Castella, I am a Xenotechnologist machine-spirit in service of Her Blessedness High Inquisitor Velasi Aguina.'>Subtlety: zero.>Slowing to a halt alongside you, Nasiksta blanches at the weapons fire while staring through the portal, then quickly slings the bulky submachine gun across her back.>Leaning close to whisper at your helmet, the girl's tone was one of deep seated awe with a tinge of fear.
"Is a Solar pony, may know Princess of Sun-">Going silent as Chisan walks into view, he'd holstered your Laspistol and was approaching the winged equine with hands upraised looking as if he was about to negotiate.>Which you knew had the potential to turn all sorts of wrong considering Storm Troopers utterly lacked diplomatic skills, except for the rather suspect Inquisitorial variety.
"I must ask you to forgive this team behind me, they have stood down, they not harm you again. I am fully at fault for this mistake and will accept any punishmarent you deem fitting."[1d6+3 = (5+3) = 8]
<Sanctioned Inquisitorial Neighgotiation[1d6+3 = (4+3) = 7]>Wings flapping once before settling on its sides, the small equine figure stands up, then straighter still, and one last time, head craning up to try meeting the Scion's eyes.>At the very least it wasn't trying to deflagrate the building.>Yet.
'more controlled than any Plasma enchantmarent, enginseer. that pseudo-filly is known as a Sunspot. archaic records inquisitor stole denote Princess Celestia created several semi-artificial sapient equine likes to serve as heralds, messengers, well wishers, diplomats. none have been seen since Lunar-Solar War, all presumed deceased or destroyed. we might be in luck here'>Andronal quietly slips into high-band contact while Witch-Two does her best to contain the Tracker twins' curiosity, a tiny datafile from M32 being unlocked for your view.
'index table: imperium mechanicus studies, hypothetical sapient entities, unknown coronal potentials. based on extraneous coronal physics of energetic mass given full sapience. estimated chance of possible occurrence: 0.00000001%. need to confer with others'>Straightening her helmet, field pack, then clothing nervously, Nashka tries to silently follow you stepping out of the vault into realspace.>To your right the old Commissar was shoving two of the three younger males back towards the entrance, muttering hotly while the last one was in power-walking retreat.>Easily spotting the damage to floor and walls, the impacts were rather substantial, although the crater Chisan had left with your Laspistol was still smoking.>Outside of the warped portal's view, the pegasus 15M from you was far less of a threat than initial inspection suggested:>Barely two and a half feet tall, if that, the neck, saddle, and flank were curved similarly to Raindrop, though less pronounced.>The entire coat was a shifting bright red, though not eye searing, while the mane and tail were a spicy white-orange shifting mix that would probably give any non-hardened thermal system severe fits.>The eyes that rotate to inspect you were a soft blue, rather fitting given the relatively low physical heat radiating off her.>Considering the possibilities, you recall a large number of extinct xenos species the Imperium had encountered that were known to have limited control of energetic or fully incorporeal mass.>Outside psykers whom could rarely manifest such, or the so-called faith of the Adepta Sororitas and their 'miracles', the most similar occurrence was a baffling spaceborne entity during the early Great Crusade stages.>Capable of controlling entropic shifts throughout an entire solar system that ranged from barely more than a few hundred to over a million degrees, it was eventually destroyed by use of massed battleship weaponry set to fractal disruption patterns.>Which of course destroyed the solar system it inhabited, including all fifteen planets and hundreds of moons.>Another close variance were the variety of bizarre flame and magma creatures the Imperium had dealt with, capable of similar yet far less lethal temperature control.>Unfortunately, there were no other references you could locate on plasma-based life forms, nor could the Xenarite machine-spirit.
"Please don't do that again, I might not die but those really hurt.">Came the less squeaky response after half a minute, the much younger and completely unaccented voice could, you think, pass as being Raindrop's sister.
"Well, okay, can we start over before your things bit me?"
"At your leisure."
"O.. kay? Um, I dunno how but something woke me up. Heard voices above me so I jumped up to the roof and looked around for a while. Didn't see anypony except you four taller.. minotaurs?"
"We are not minotaurs. No hooves or horns, see?"
"Oh, okay. That's a little weird. Well, I watched you four and the big pegasus for a bit then I jumped in here and.. those things bit me."
"May I ask what your purpose was here? According to a report this city was abandoned six hundred to nine hundred years prior to now."
"Really? That's a long time but it's okay. I lived in Twin Hill for a while until most of the ponies left, they didn't like something around here. A while later mom said I didn't have to do anything for her anymore so I went to sleep. Woke up a few times when the really big storms hit, but until now it's been really nice just to nap. Dunno what else to say."
'hit Chisan in the face if he screws this up. please.'
>>349458>Whiplash politely waves at Denra, receiving a nod in return form him and slowly begins shuffling towards door.
"Exactly what the Day and Royal Guard do for the most part. Sometimes they can be convinced to not destroy what they don't understand, just not always. Freedom huh? Sounds groovy.">Leaping straight up and onto Krinza's table, the batmare's eyes glint in humor while spinning around to face you.
"I get it now, they're named for how they function. You might want to get in touch with Canterlot Underground at some point. About three, maybe four thousand unicorns, all pretty serious about studying rather than tossing stuff into a black hole or worse. Met a few, they're not high strung like most unicorns. Also heard they retain a bunch of marecenaries and a few Crystal ponies too.">Peering at the suit's back appraisingly, she gives a short hoof tap, then reaches out to poke the helmet using both sets of wingclaws.
"Heavy. Protective. Brutal. Like minotaur slab armor only smaller. I'd wear one but it doesn't look all that fast. What about those special suits, how do they look? And is there anything similar here that you've seen so far?">Outside the few Zone workshops that could even repair an exoskeleton, the modifications made to this one were much more complex, though given the amount of material and expertise Razorback had on hoof this was a fairly 'normal' refit.>Except for all the gutted electronics, capacitors, fiber or cable bundles, and heaps of servos piled next to the tungsten anvil.>Behind that was one of the artifact containers holding the remnants of specialized Zone-produced batteries.>Which you can only hope that Krinza didn't touch.
"What, made more changes than you were expecting? Krinza's not a perfectionist but he tries real hard. Only took those four maybe a couple hours each. Was trying to nap earlier when the anvils started clanging. Watched most of what they did. Pretty neat, except the noise and all those sparks Naliyna made putting that weird glowing rope looking stuff in it.">Brushing off the helmet's top, Whiplash's eyes widen when the surface ripples into the same color as her claws.
"Whoa, they actually made it work. I thought Helping Hoof and Lann were joking about color changing paint. Wonder what it'd look like in fog?">Taking a closer examination at the frontal plating it the same semi-flexible steel alloy that Krinza used for virtually everything else, making what flexibility it would have had now hindered some by the crystalline fiber bundles packed throughout the internal spaces.>Noting a series of overlapping armor seams on the shoulders that led to helmet attachment points, entirely unlike the Zone's models this one's refurbishmarent included a rather simple design to climb inside.>Almost like a spandex jumpsuit, except metallic, bulky, heavy, and now probably costing several months of scavenging work.>Sitting down, well away from the pile of scrap, Whiplash's eyebrows raise with a typical lazy grin, flicking both sets of wingclaws outwards in small opening motions.
"Color me curious. Need a wing or hoof?"
>>349459>Partial recognition, and possibly suspicion, flickers in the winter sniper's eyes, glancing upwards once more before giving a hesitant nod.
"How could such archaic- nevermind. Equine technologies are.. impressive yet I have witnessed their unstable and volatile effects multiple times. We have had limited contact save for local inhabitants, the majority of which were considerably less reliant on their 'spell' technologies. Their military personnel share no such idea however.">Moving to a loose parade rest, the man rocks back on his heels.
"Volfgang Jin-Chul.">And there it was.
"It is unlikely that we will be allowed to return and I must ask for the mercy of Razorback. I will fully comply with all rules, laws, treaties, and stipulations of such, but-">Biting his cheeks for several seconds, Volfgang's eyes narrow.
"On a technicality we are registered residents in Germaneigh but were classed as refugees under hostile threat. I must know if there are relief processes for entering Equestria without formal authorization."
"Freedom's also more or less the 'Hippy' faction of the Zone. They're the most lax when it comes to drugs aside from Loners and even Bandits or Renegades. Though the Renegades have been wiped out... more than once.">He grimaced a little.
"Renegades are barely tolerated by even the Bandits. Absolute degenerates who deserve extermination.">He'd idly sort through the pile of scrapped electronics with the tip of his boot before turning back to the exoskeleton, appraising softly nodding his head.>"They'd have to use their own technologies to repair it, not too surprised.">He'd have to extensively test the suit out later.
"We don't have this special paint, for instance. The closest we've gotten to this are complex paint schemes.">He glances over at Whiplash.
"Weird glowing rope looking stuff?">"Probably replacement electrical wiring.">With a bit of a shrug he'd begin to remove his Sunrise bodysuit, working down until he was in his underclothes, showing off a lot more of his pale body. And extensive scarring along his legs and arms.
"Looks a lot easier to get into than a Zone model, shouldn't take more than a couple minutes."
>>349464>If the situation didn't warrant seriousness, Mallia would've giggled to the machine spirit's openness. But her mirth is transmitted nonetheless.>She transmits shame that she must do this briskly and without much ceremony, this time.
(I do not fear. I am not much of an orthodox. In the name of the Omnissiah this humble Enginseer greets you, erudite machine spirit.) >Just as quickly as she greets Velasi's personal auspex spirit, she blinked as she took in the features of the winged filly before them... >The mention of 'solar' pony elicits a quick glance from Mallia to Nasiksta and a 'ooooh...' that sounded full of wonder and awe herself...>It took her a second to do a double-take on Chisan as he steps forward to initiate diplomacy.>A stormtrooper? Doing diplomacy? >Does not compute. >Regardless of her surprise mixed with a heartfelt worry, she said nothing. She wasn't more qualified for this than Chisan was, regardless of roles. Albeit she tilted her head a little and felt her brow furrowing somewhat...>Out of a nervous tick, her mechadendrite is briefly shown as it slithers up from her back with a little mechanical whirr, resting a little against her hip. Before swiftly retracting it and rapidly tucking it against her back, really tightly.>Omnissiah, she hopes the sight of the augmentation doesn't make things worse somehow... >Then... She meets the Sunspot's gaze, mostly by accident, as the filly seems to look at her, however briefly.>It was from behind her helmet's jet black rebreather mask, but Mallia instinctively smiles amiably as she focused on those eyes.>Every fiber of her being was screaming from the cuteness before her very eyes.>Even if it was a particularly powerful xeno...
(Oh. So it is not a mere pony...)
(Semi-artificial... A herald...) >Uttering the thought as she hungrily digs through the M32 data file with a powerful curiosity...>She unconsciously starts to rub the thumb and the index of her right hand together, her attention shifting inward as she extrapolates and extracts information.>And still she had more questions than answers, and so little time to ask them all.
(... The plasma is a part of her...)
(Look at that coat, and that mane, and the tail...)
(She must be impervious to heat-based attacks, surely.) >A wild thought bubbles to the surface...
(I wonder if... The Sunspot's energies could be given... To make stable plasma conduits? No. No... Bad... Mmm--nhg--)
(--Could she have a clue on how we could find the Princess? Maybe she has an innate connection given her nature.)
(... And--wait, the others that might've existed are all dead?)
(That's going to make The Sunspot so sad!! She doesn't sound like she has any idea of current events! She might not know she's the only one left...)>Mallia struggled to disentangle herself from the rapidly growing web of thoughts, excitements, and realisations.
"She must be ancient
...", the Enginseer whispered.>Finally, the enginseer threw out a huff and gave a little stupefied shake of her head. She had to flush her head of thoughts and refocus.>Her whole attention goes to the conversation between the Sunspot and Chisan. Gazing with rapt attention as the stormtrooper... Doesn't do too badly at talking.>Mallia herself lowered her glance and began to unstrap her crimson shield. Looking down briefly to it as she goes to pull the strap and put it around her to wear the shield on her back, over the other two weapons there, the mechadendrite having to slip a little more to her wither to find space.
(Uh. Wilco!)>She looks at Chisan once, her hands idly resting on her fairly wide hips. >Then Mallia starts turning her head, looking around for Raindrop whom she hadn't heard or seen much of yet...
*"Stormtrooper Chisan, interrogative: Should I be removing my helmet?"*
*"I feel it is more easy to trust someone you can see the eyes of."*>She lifts her hand to her Inquisitorial flak helmet's chin strap, already ready to begin removing if allowed to do so.
>>349463>Emitting a small whistle, the sable Neighpon's head dips in a minorly respectful motion.
"Am of glad know human have speaker, make easier trade.">Ears perking briefly, Rasera's nostrils flare as she gives a slow eyelash flutter.>Forelegs raising, both dark blue hooves turn upwards, her expression turning laconic.
"Am no blushing filly. Prove what say human.">Oh dear.
>>349521>While mildly curious why Rasera's front hooves have been partly lifted from the floor, José figured they were there to stop the ministrations to come.>All of a sudden, things seemed to have an air of purposefulness that distinguished this moment from the previous moments he experienced before.>The mare's expectant look, fully committing to be subjected to his human hands.>A part of Gallo felt awfully weird yet excited under these circumstances, but he couldn't quite pin down a reason why.
"Alright," he replied softly, soon taking a slow, deep breath as his cadence soon turned as smooth as his downtime with Flicker and Frost.>Gently scooting closer, the human's hands soothingly landed across Rasera's cheeks before caringly caressing them with a slow, calm tenderness.>All the while, his gaze was always aligned with hers as his smiled slowly became more earnest and relaxed.
"Feel free to tell me to stop," he smoothly offered. "We're both learning our customs.">Having said that, one of his hands carefully traced along the side of her head as the other comfortably cupped her cheek, the latter idly stroking its hairs in an appreciative manner.>If José wasn't stopped, Rasera's ear would find itself being generously scritched.>It's at this point he'd hold his current course of action until she delivered her verdict proper.>This is what he mostly did with Frost, and she herself warned him about doing such a thing.>Despite the fact it felt so nice...>Perhaps afterwards he can do that weird urge to boop her snout like with the medical head in the fortress or the circumstantial cuddling and manestroking with the narcoleptic Nova.>Right now, though?>He was going to let himself enjoy the moment.
"Figured as much from the name alone.">Flippantly tossing her wingclaws up in a reasonable level of disgust, Whiplash's expression sours.
"Might as well be our equivalent of Las Pegasus for all the good their 'freedom' allows. As for bandits those would be the like the Lishanki, bunch of backstabbing idiots. No morals, just plain old greed.">Nudging the pile of scraps on the floor, you note a distinct lack of tin, copper, silver, and all the other useful materials Naliyna often worked overtime to acquire.>At least nothing would go to waste here.
"Like the fractal pattern camouflage on most of the buildings and some human armors? That's about what we're limited to outside of magic.">Wings folding under her neck and wingclaws grasping each other in that traditional vampire style, the Lunatite batmare's eyes narrow into tiny diamond slits.
"There's ten, maybe fifteen armors painted with something like this stored on the Moon. Was real common during the Sun-Moon War, extensively used by all sides, especially marecenaries. Most of the recipes for phasic coatings were lost along with about half the technical and magical knowledge. Krinza's good, but this mixture is rather crude. It's not fast acting and the color imprint fades too quickly to be useful unless completely motionless. It's close enough to pass for eating a Void drop or dakkori moss except for having only those two small negatives.">Tearing her gaze from the exo, she glances right, then left, finally giving a half-hearted shrug shrug.
"Thought Nal might've left some here. Yeah, bunch of ropes, white, blue, pink, green, red, yellow, orange. Probably all that crystal tech she's been studying whenever free. Was attaching them piece by piece to individual pieces. Time she was done testing them out that whole suit of yours could walk around, and all she had to do was hum to control it.">Barely interested in you stripping down, Whiplash's focus remains steady on the exo's array of mechanical aspects, particularly on the molded seams.
"Looks to me it's about three, four times more complex to produce than most officer, knight, and heavy armors. More curious about the protection though, Helping Hoof spent more than an hour scribing runes on every component. Not much a surprise there, everypony knows he was Spiral's only protege.">Slipping the helmet off, upon pulling the shoulders apart the seams release a number of heavily reinforced and nearly automated locking clamps, 30 in all, that were definitely based off the mechanical human concept.>Trying to figure out whether they were magnetic or magical, the answer turns out to be: both, each featuring a minute electromagnetic field that only sealed when in direct contact with the opposites.>Stepping into the cool interior and heaving it up with some difficulty, by the time you'd gotten your hands down into the gauntlets the exoskeleton's systems come online with a firm hum.>Able to pull the entire suit up with ease now, the locking shoulder seams close with a thorough row of snapping sounds.>Critically inspecting the entire process, Whiplash whistles supportively.
"Now that's what I wanted to see!"
'The omens greet you auspiciously this night Enginseer Castella. Oil the cogs and make ready the blessed incense for our Inquisitor desperately requires your aid.'>And maybe a little bit forwards.>Deciding on a course of action after viewing both you and Chisan, though with a bit of reserved suspicion to the second, the filly's flames dim into a subtle, slowly rolling orange-red coat>The mane and tail follow suit, becoming a softy glowing white as the vault room's heat index quickly begins lowering.
'thank the Poneissiah, was going to hack his commbead and detonate it if negotiations failed. unlikely, more probable that Sunspots are created. there is a small possibility of one being reborn into such a state similar to several regional histories. stable plasma conduits highly likely given sufficient data.'>Shutting off Phenon and Pheral, Tox-11's sourness is replaced by a firmly suggestive datatone.
'presumed is not confirmed enginseer. no further records were recovered. best news: there is a 99% likelihood each Sunspot is directly linked to Princess Celestia. witch verifies both use the same wavelengths of plasmatic emanation. and for now do not share that last thought i dont want to attempt speculating the potential self-detonation that could occur'>The file contained nearly all known, or at least widely studied, Dark Age of Technology schematics, indexes, and estimates of Volkite and plasma systems, ranging from the smallest weapons to the largest reactors.>Which, you noted with some amusement, Eldar star-grade weaponry scored higher marks than most everything the Imperium was once capable of producing.>Less nerve-wracked now, and easing herself to behind your shield, Nashka mutters back.
"Not know age but sound young, nine? Ten maybe? Not hear of ponies like her ever.. maybe Sun let them sleep for politics? Lunar-Solar War terrible for all sides.">Relaxing just enough to place a gloved hand on his left side, Chisan gives a subtle 'yes' nod in your direction, sub-vocalizing through the commbead.
*"Threat estimate lowered to one, successfully calmed for now, I.. think. I lack knowledge on equine facial expressions, ask for Witch-Two to correlate when able. Yes, do so slowly and ask the girl to do the same. Holster all weapons then come towards me, take my left and ask the girl to take my right. Mallia, Rescind all previous orders, I am now issuing a Priority Gamma-One-Zephyr.">One of the most hated Inquisitorial directives, at least for the Guard you recall.
"If this pony is directly related to the Sun we must immediately do everything in our power to gain her trust with these exclusions: deceive and refuse aid."*>Blinking from you to Chisan, then onto Nasiksta, the filly takes a deep breath that quickly turns into a yawn, mouth opening wide while her eyes close.>No exhale of heat or plasma occurs, the Sunspot leaning backwards and falling on her rear with a subdued smack.
"Soooo.. what are you all here for? I mean, I know Twin HIll's been abandoned for a long time and nopony's tried to wake me up. All the furniture's probably gone so there's probably nothing left. Except all that old nasty and mean Guard stuff in the vaults, that's why they got locked away.">Forcing himself to relax, Chisan's head turns a degree or two, mouthing 'what did you locate?'
"The ponies here at Razorback are... unique, to put it lightly. Anthelm and the woman will be tended to with the utmost care, so there's no need to be worried about the two.">Though that 'care' might be the reason he'd be worried.
"Bubba Schmidt the Second, I'm a naval lieutenant from the United American States.">Bubba rubbed his chin a bit, frowning.
"While we have no qualms with letting you three reside here for the foreseeable future, I'll admit I wouldn't know. If there are any that'll be urgent to follow through with, I'll let you know after looking it up.">He paused for a moment.
"Though I don't know how we'll get it through to the Saxon, unless she speaks English or German. That'll be a roadblock we can figure out later."
"I used to fight them pretty often near my faction's base, even the military didn't really venture out of the dryer lands.">He shifted on his heels, frowning softly.
"I'll give Freedom something, they're not 'holier than thou' like Duty sometimes is, and they like to just poke around the Warehouses after a blowout. Plus they keep the Monolith from overwhelming Rostok."
"We're... Not as advanced in camouflage as some other humans are. In the Zone it usually ends up with you getting shot for wearing it, since the Military is really the only one with any sort of pattern besides Freedom. And they just use it because they're sitting on a warehouse filled with uniforms, though modified to be brighter.">Ivan blinked a bit at the mention of crystal tech, he really needed to see what was going on in the Workshop more often.>Putting his musing to the side, he worked his way into the suit.
"Back home, exoskeletons were highly sought after. It turned the user into a walking tank, literally if the servomotors weren't modified to allow movement faster than a slog. Very good ballistic and rupture protection, and some models weren't half bad at anomalous protection either. Anything short of anti-materiel rounds, AP rounds, or anti-tank weapons will need dozens of rounds to get through.">As the suit came online he would go through some diagnosis motions to ensure that it was functioning properly, stretching out his limbs and bending lightly.>Picking up the helmet, he easily slipped and locked it on, grinning at being able to be inside one of these suits again.
"Now all I need is a PKM or some other heavy weapon!"
>>278776 →>Lont could not help stop the slight grimace from forming at the corner of his mouth at Glacier telling him the number of Psions.
"That is...quite the number, I do not know how to feel about that information as I've had bad encounters with Psions back in my old world. Though it is good knowledge they held up good against the Constructs. And your fellow Shells of course.">He shook his head at her apology, giving her a reassuring smile as he patted one of her hooves with the palm of his hand.
"No need to be sorry for no offence was given."
"I assume those nasty critters would like to take a bite out of me also, hmm..">"Better stay away from that place, I have tested my luck one too many times. If I were to go there there might be anyone to save me and I will truly die.">The Operator kept his warm demeanour up as Galcier went on how Lucky died a terrible death, he hid the shiver going down his spine.>"I think I might commission a statue to Lucky in the Fortress, it appears that is the only place in Equestria where she was appreciated...">This only reinforced his want for Lucky's right hand man to survive even more so now.>Following her glance before settling back on her.
"Yes, lets. Enjoy the night and the food before it gets cold.">He agreed with a deep rooted chortle.>Lont nodded and enjoyed the theatrics, and when she had her nip of his food he brought it close to his face and sniffed it, before stuffing the rest in his mouth.>This was not the worst or oddest thing he has eaten on Tallus, nor would it be the last he felt.
"Well then, eat up! Can't be beating down monstrous creations when a gust of wind can carry you away.">With that, Lont offered a toast to Glacier with a new piece of hot food from his plate before getting stuck in.>This certainly was a good meal to celebrate the end of what he has accomplished so far, and with a new friend to celebrate it with.
"Different world, entirely different circumstances. Psions are exactly one-third the reason Constructs haven't taken this entire continent. Razorback needs to stop antagonizing them, otherwise..">Glancing at the earth pony being treated, the Shell's exterior ripples in a semblance of finality, leaving the unspoken suggestion hanging.>Visibly flickering in concern, Glacier makes a small noise of acceptance.
"I apologize anyways. And yes, most native carnivore that's minotaur size or larger has little to no concern going after Otherworldlies, planar, Eldritch. That's how most infections started, some still haven't been contained even now. A few places in Saddle Arabia, parts of the Moors, about half the Hegemony, and three-quarters of Zebraica are the worst off that I know.">Giving one last pat on your hand using a now-soft front hoof, Glacier returns the smile with an equally hearty one.
"I'd make it ten steps outside before giving up and rolling away. Normally I weigh a little less than that metal device of yours does. Tonight.. maybe half that.">Snapping the remainder in half with her hooves, Shattered Glacier swallows each piece whole before reaching out for another.>Clearly etiquette was different for them.>Spearing a chunk of the curious blue heart and taking a bite, the savoriness was mixed with a tinge of cooler sweet Empire peppers.>Simple fare was probably the norm here.>Testing the blood soup it was a freshly blended reptilian and mammal mix brought to a low steady boil; salt, pepper, and something like horseradish though with an appreciably less bite giving the thick consistency necessary flavor.>The steaks were the same save for a thin snowberry glaze, at which you had to stop and remember the Empire varieties weren't toxic unlike a few Equestrian strains.>Keeping watch on the older Crystal mare's efforts while working through her own plate, Glacier pauses from selecting through another along with eight large glasses of crystalline gel delivered by a barely mature black robed filly.
"Shouldn't be taking him this long, I se-"
"Sorry about that Glacy, it took me a while to break free!">Came an unusually melodic, ringing voice from a mid-30's unicorn stallion behind you, one that had zero of the stiff formality most did.
"Half the Knights went off to round up supplies, others took prisoners, and none of them wanted to stop for reports.">Almost silently sliding into view and making a stop, the speaker's appearance was, compared to nearly every ponies you'd seen so far, outlandish:>A bit taller than Shattered Glacier was, the crystalline white-blue stallion was just as transparent albeit had the distinct Canterlot features of blunted muzzle and firm neck.>Bright blue eyes study you for several seconds before turning towards the Champion, then to Glacier with a rueful smile.
"Had to authorize recruits for crystalwork to save time, you understand. And Good thing Belregard's offline, I hate dealing with him, takes hours to get anywhere other than orders this, orders that."
"I do, we're not in a rush for anything. This is my first real downtime in a couple weeks after all. You meet th-"
"No, but he might have seen me a couple times in the Spire.">Turning to face you, the crystalline unicorn makes a short, lackadaisal bow, then makes a single barking laugh.
"You have my gratitude for keeping Tacit alive and Elezith from going berserk. Shining Armor, at your service, Former Prince.. very much former!"
>Leadership: +2 to all Assault, Evasion, Ranged, Reaction Speed, & Sprint rolls>PENALTY: -1 to all rolls from Operational Fatigue>>281910>Distorting the air around her Marshmallow Moon streaks into the charging Diamond Lance formation's center, leaving behind a quickly spreading realspace fracture directly into the Void.[1d6+10 = (6+10) = 16]
<?????[1d6+10 = (2+10) = 12][1d6+10 = (3+10) = 13][1d6+10 = (6+10) = 16][1d6+10 = (3+10) = 13]>Forced to blink away from hundreds of tiny infused manabomb flashes impacting the Diamond Lance as they cross the line between the Basin's two southern buildings, the formation's last five members snap apart in wreaths of black and red mist.
[1dd100] <Honored Dispatch 1
[1dd100] <Honored Dispatch 2
[1dd100] <Honored Dispatch 3
[1dd100] <Honored Dispatch 4
[1dd100] <Honored Dispatch 5>Sparing no time to examine they'd inflicted, all six of the teams dart around the builds to lay the dam of all ambushes: tossing large, pulsing manabombs, along with strange black plates that looked looked like mines, out in rows across the road.[1d6+11 = (1+11) = 12]
<Mixed Team #1 Ambush[1d6+10 = (4+10) = 14]
<Mixed Team #2 Ambush[1d6+9 = (1+9) = 10]
<Mixed Team #3 Ambush[1d6+8 = (1+8) = 9]
<Mixed Team #4 Ambush[1d6+10 = (1+10) = 11]
<Mixed Team #5 Ambush[1d6+7 = (1+7) = 8]
<Mixed Team #6 Ambush>Undeterred from their straight line run, the seven-strong formation merges into a spearhead while the M2's handles clatter heavily in your hands, each burst piercing through successively smaller targets:>The leader rips apart in splatters of greenish-black but is immediately replaced by a severely damaged Tainted Mass from the left, while an unseen one in the rear leaves a fractal bloodstain pattern that hangs in reality briefly; five remain that you could see.[1d100 = 92]
<Honored Dispatch 7[1d100 = 7]
<Honored Dispatch 8>Landing atop the Viillage's south buildings was at least four dozen Cultists, each dropping saddlepacks before tossing small clusters of brightly colored marbles at the south.[1d6+11 = (3+11) = 14]
<Ambush #7[1d6+11 = (6+11) = 17]
<Ambush #8[1d6+11 = (1+11) = 12]
<Ambush #9[1d6+11 = (6+11) = 17]
<Ambush #10>The remaining Hunter-Killers and the giant bloodhost land behind the Cultists, taking quick stock of their injuries [1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]
<Hunter-Killer Squadron 1[1d6+2 = (2+2) = 4]
<Hunter-Killer Squadron 2>Behind the now Spearhead formation charging for the Dagor, aside from the ambushers at ground and rooftop level it was clear.>That is right until the waves slacken to nothing on the Village's south side, revealing hundreds of orderly, now-solidified individual Tainted at a distance of perhaps 500M.>While water creeps into the Basin at a trickling rate, there were nowhere near enough reinforcemarents to hold off that number.>Sprinting around the single-minded formation southwards, Clemency easily catches up while the Tainted Masses slam into the Dagor, metal screeches accompanying their own silent self-harm.>>281663>Breaking out of the Void's now entirely unsafe spectrums, the intermittent stream of slugs puncture through the unstable Spearhead's leader, slowing down into the remaining three.[1d100 = 99]
<Honored Dispatch 9>Replaced by a Mass in the shape of an armored lancer, while you evacuate from the fountain the formation solidifies briefly, ramming the Dagor northwards.[1d6+3 = (5+3) = 8]
<Infliction Damage[1d6 = 6]
<>Catching up to Jeff on a dead sprint, now with your right shoulder feeling miserably out of place, both of you reach the southwestern building as it had fewer teams operating behind it.>An older Moorite batmare spares a glance your direction, then quickly digs into her satchel for a loudly humming white-hot sphere contained inside a thick, clear diamond casing: an unstable Plasma-infused manabomb.>This was officially rewriting the definition of 'clusterfuck'.
"We're going to detonate everything we've got on the Tainted collecting south, set up whatever you can. Once that's done we're all pulling back to the northern road and setting up a battle line, we've got maybe a tenth the numbers the Primal says are needed. There's some insane cursed Crystal Knight coming to hold the line but that'll be a minute or two. Some of her Strikers are coming back to life, don't know or care how, and those bloodhost bats can't move 'til the Tainted are in range. Time's ticking just like this thing is-"[1d6 = 1]
<Stability[1d6 = 1]
<Corrections>Several hundred feet south, reality bends as the Lunarites are freed from the Anchor.[1d6 = 2]
<Direction>Primal Psion:[1d6 = 3]
<Mercy: Assistance[1d6 = 3]
<Sunny: Assistance[1d6 = 1]
<Reclaim Routed[1d6+2 = (3+2) = 5]
<Moors Reinforcemarents[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
<Second Dynasty Reinforcemarents[1d6+1 = (4+1) = 5]
<Watch Guard Reinforcemarents[1d9 = 9] <Councilierge Reinforcemarent[1d50 = 41] <Councilierge Vanguard
>>349595[1d100 = 59]
<Honored Dispatch 1[1d100 = 30]
<Honored Dispatch 2[1d100 = 74]
<Honored Dispatch 3[1d100 = 22]
<Honored Dispatch 4[1d100 = 9]
<Honored Dispatch 5
>>281663>Receiving a slightly grainy view from the satellite, it was currently drifting outwards in an attempt to keep both Construct spheres in view.>The cube was nowhere to be seen, though replacing it was an equally vast icosahedron studded in a number of Fortress-sized turrets.>Conducting a brief damage overview it was clear the thorium reactor's transmission lines to the mass drivers had sustained severe damage by ordering it to fire twice in a row.>Automatic shutdowns prevented the drivers from destruction, which left only the tactical laser system and two remaining missile racks fully operational.>Overlaying the Basin, besides the mixed Cultist and Lunar unicorns slightly south, west, and east of you, multiple units of black Support Striker icons become yellow, slowly creeping north afterwards.>Now five blips denote Hunter-Killer squadrons stationary above six fully blue Support Striker companeighs having taken over all four of the northern buildings.>In Lann's shop were minute icons denoting Mercy and Sunny, the bright white General's icon before them flashing red before changing to silver.>That was odd.>Still slowly traveling south, the Conclave Killknight's icon pulses a bright blue-pink rotation.>Catching your notice immediately, two tiny, blurred orange spheres by the Basin Village's translocation matrice were identified, the interior screen seperating them to display: "Unknown Construct 1" and "Unknown Construct 2".[1d6 = 3]
<#1 Reaction[1d6 = 5]
"Almost half of the crew being potential survivors is a relief.">I sighed and gave the tiny Wild a smile. I'd pat it as well if it was real, but settled on the skipper.
"Unfortunately no, I haven't asked about them often.">I grimace at being unable to recall anything about them.
"Yeah, I know. I still can protest about it though.">Frowning, I glance up and stare at the overcast.
"Something's not right, Wild."
>>349522>Nearly as soft as Nova, her coat was covered in a thin layer of earth-scented oils, Rasera's cheeks puffing out in a humorous motion.>Definitely enjoying your contact based on the amused ear flicking and not attempting to pull back, the Neighpon's snout crinkles at her cheeks being rubbed.
"Is good of massage for meet, make friend, but of one side touch am not like, is better for be one to one.">The sable Neighpon emits a small, merry exhale before reaching out to place her front hooves on your chest, making small circle motions.
"Most Equestria ponies am meet think of some touches be for of lewd things. Rasera say no shame when share for fun.">Giving a furtive eyebrow wiggle, Rasera tips her head into your head while grinning broadly, visibly lacking any overt stressors.>There was a severe difference between Nova Flicker's ultra-traditionalism, Frost Egg's duty-before-everything-else marener, and Rasera's comfortable at-will-for-fun attitude.>Though, you had to remind yourself, each came from entirely different homelands and was trained in far different necessities.>Fulling ignoring the mare crew boss shouting orders outside, the skinny sable mare lifts her hooves to place lightly on your shoulders.>Eyes squinting for several seconds, Rasera purses her lips while taking on a warmly humored tone.
"Am no displease if human stallion want of make marefriend, but of careful be: some mare jealous, want share stallion with more mares."[1d6 = 1] <Reaction
>>349604[1d6+1 = (5+1) = 6]
<E. Perception[1d6+1 = (6+1) = 7][1d6+1 = (2+1) = 3]
>>349527>Showing a hint of relief at your answer, Volfgang relaxes further, hand reaching up to grip the K98's sling.
"My gratitude, again. I have little means to show my thanks but I will do what I can to act in service for Razorback, though I know little of Equestria's troubles or politics.">Halfway to a salute, the winter sniper's expression blank out as he tries to process what you stated.
"The United.. what? Forgive my ignorance, but what are 'Americans'? Are they descended from the Siber land Khanate Kingdoms?">Yep, entirely different world, historical events included.>Shoving his confusion aside, the older man's face loosens in relief.
"The Germaneighans-">Grimacing down another cringe at the awful pun.
"Required each of us to only give a signature a sworn oath of non-hostility to their land and inhabitants. Should it be necessary that I make an appearance to court or district administrator deliver me notice first, Anthelm has little patience or tact.">Turning his head right, presumably to inspect Naliyna's now empty stall, the man's expression turns sour.
"No, she speaks only that language. My understanding of the archaic Saxon on my world and the old Saxoneigh of this world is that both align in phrasing and some phonetics. The few Black Forest unicorns we met had little difficulty understanding her intentions though it was a great task to translate specific meanings from hers to what they call Modern Germane.">Lifting the free hand to adjust his hood, Volfgang releases a grumbling exhale.
"There are few problems other than her fascinations of invisible equine technologies and their.. soft exteriors. If those will not constitute difficulties here then I will do my utmost to ignore her proclivities."
"We don't have a Bavarian-Korean Empire, the closest would be Imperial Japan and the Third Reich of Germany working together. Our worlds are very different.">He paused for a brief moment.
"Though we do have similar languages, at least. The United American States from my home is a single nation that's taken over the two continents that were found back in the 1300s, when Europeans believed the earth was flat and they had found India by sailing west.">He gave a small shrug at his cringing.
"Yeah. The puns get on my nerves too.">He rubbed his chin a bit.
"We'll likely be putting you to work once the three of you are up to it, simple stuff to start with until we can figure out everything.">He let out a snort at his description of her actions.
"I doubt the ponies will dislike being pet. Nor someone who's fascinated by their magics"
>>349530>Whiplash's face moodily flickers in raw anger, both sets of wingclaws tightening in disgust.
"Can't say anything negative against that Ivan, everypony has some hatred for renegades, bandits, flankstabbers, traitors, you name it. Some might feel sorry for the ones that're raised and forced into stealing from others, but most won't raise a hoof to help them, except for foals. Even for us Lunars any foal raised by bandits or similar goes through a rather nasty selection process to weed out the most unreliable ones. We're not gentle, especially if dealing with Ferron.">Giving you an appraising look, the Lunarite Claw's left eyebrow raises while lowering the other, one hoof lifting to rub her snout.
"So they're not like Las Pegasus. Don't fully understand what your words mean, but I'll say this much: I'm not a fan of those say 'freedom' means doing whatever somepony or someone likes, whenever they want. Much as I dislike the Day and Honor Guard for most of them shoving a thousand ton log up their collective asses, I hate the Las Pegasus Rogues way more since most of 'em think their lack of law means they can get away with whatever they feel like doing. I'm glad that the Freedom faction on your world sound more like Malurian naturalists and Druid researchers than some half-brained idiots thinking they can't be held accountable for their actions.">If there was a batpony more serious than Torven, Whiplash was certainly in the front running.>Or was that not-punning?
"Most ponies don't bother using camouflage paint except some Ferron in the southern Old or northern New Everfree. Translating into the Void or Overdark is what most of us do when needed. Still, a warehouse of stock uniforms sounds awful especially when I'm trying to equate your 'Zone' as being similar to the Moors.">Tossing an aggrieved look towards the table where Spiral's unique furnace was kept, the Lunarite's attention returns to you with curiosity.
"Don't know what a 'servo' means. Sounds less like Construct stuff and more crystal-tech to me. Hegemony slab armor is considered to be the best for sheer protection but that's hard to move around in. As for armor penetrating there's a bunch of old style enchantmarents that were intended to puncture earth pony armors but those are mostly outclassed by minotaur arrows. Last few times I watched human weapons at the firing range there was a stallion with a big 'rifle', or whatever it's called. Dart went clear through two inches of hi-alloy steel and got lost in the stonework. Impressive yet insanely loud.">Suppressing a bout of excitemarent, Whiplash Vines sits up straight before pointing at the Armory with a hoof.
"You mean those big automagical weapons some of Razorback love to talk about? There's a few older ones in there and some new stuff Naliyna brought in maybe half an hour ago. Also a bunch of papers attached ot 'em. Nal said she traded four hundred some thousand gems for a bunch of human weapons, supposedly they all came from a huge collection Canterlot Underground wasn't able to store."
"We were able to get rid of most of those degenerates for a time, helped by a STALKER named Scar. Our faction... mostly disappeared after an incident, lost most of the command structure in the span of minutes to the Monolith.">Ivan grimaced and shuffled his feet, kicking at non-existant dirt.
"Yeah, they've still got morals and rules to follow, like almost any other faction. They just don't want to destroy the Zone but let it exist, and with them so close to Rostok, Duty naturally takes offense to their existence.">Ivan chuckled a little.
"Clear Sky's more like researchers than them, I'd kn-">Ivan immediately shut up and gained a stony look, placing his helmet on.
"The Military does not get much better in the way of uniforms. Only the Spetznaz get 'good equipment. Most poor bastards that are seen wear what can barely be qualified as body armor.">He grunted and got on the ground, laying down for a moment before pushing himself back up>"Should have kept my goddamn mouth shut."
"They're mechanical in nature, helps one move around in an exoskeleton. Modifications to them would result in me being able to run inside one of these when otherwise impossible.">He rolled his shoulders and slid his PDA into a brace on his left arm, where there was a holding slot for it.
"Most rifles in the Zone have armor piercing rounds available, if more expensive than normal rounds. Designed to go through body armor like what I had before, you'd need to hit weakspots on an exoskeleton to do similar. Anti-Materiel rounds are much, much bigger rounds that don't care what you're wearing.">He glanced over at the batpony and made his way over, giving a headpat in exchange for the information.
>>349609>Witnessing Rasera's mild discomfort at his cheek-cupping hand, José opted to instead slide below her chin to properly scritch that as well>Seems like holding cheeks may be more of a human-exclusive thing.>However, it was impossible to ignore her overall pleased expression plastered across her face as she trailed circles around his unremarkably white t-shirt.>Seems like petting back may be the natural response.
"So I'm touching you in an inappropriate way for some?" he'd softly ask with a light, longing pout, still continuing his tender ministrations. "Who usually thinks that way from your experience?">So his mind seems to have met the general spectrum of petting reception from what Gallo gathered.>Frost told him to be careful, yet here he was, pampering the sable mare with a slightly gleeful devotion, always striving to further perfect his petting craft.>But how was he supposed to know the consequences of his actions otherwise?>Even as Rasera lightly placed her hooves on his shoulders, he found himself unwilling to really stop with his chin and ear scritching.>Yet as she popped the question, the man felt a little chill run down his spine in a mix of wondrous hesitation.
"...how far would these jealous mares go to achieve their goal?" he tentatively asked. "I'm sure you can tell already I'm not really sure how any of this works, and I think I need to learn it before I find myself comitting a grave errror due to my ignorance."
>>349613>Absorbing the information with an unsettled stare downwards, the man's next sentence gives the impression that he just gave up on life.
"I have never heard of either civilization. Next you will say the world you come from is not a Pangaea.">Wasn't that going to be difficult to explain.
"At least their puns are whole-hearted and not often used for juvenile humor purposes.">Returning to a loose parade rest, Volfgang nods sharply.
"Understood. I will do my utmost to integrate into the command structure here, and perhaps some of my knowledge of Germaneigh will be useful. Anthelm's aggression will suit close range assault or guard duties, he is relatively proficient at both. As for the girl I do not know.">While she'd probably get along with most of the non-unicorn combatants in Razorback, the language barrier and potential archaic traditions would make that process slow.>Frowning at the last word you use, he gives up again, becoming nothing more than the hollow shell his profession normally causes.
"They do seem to enjoy a.. disturbing, I suppose, degree of physical contact. Nonetheless I must check on the trouble makers. Should you require my expertise notify me.">Snapping-to for a crisp salute, he stops halfway, settling for a less formal version before about facing to walk out of the pagoda.>And once again, besides the sound of heavy clothing rustling in the cold air, it was silent.
"Well, not anymore. For us it broke up over the course of tens of millions of years to form seven smaller landmasses, two of which are under control of the UAS.">Alternate Earths were fun to deal with.
"I'll certainly give you a friendly warning, most if not all of the other humans are definitely from different planets than either of us. From what I can tell, being here is a 'one per timeline' deal.">He nodded and made it a point to glance at his arm sling.
"Once you're fully healed. Being injured is something to not take lightly, Volfgang. Get checked out before you attempt to take up any duties.">"And don't let them molest you. Much.">He let that go unsaid.
"I'll swing by in a bit to see how the two are doing, once the medics tend to them. And I'll let you know about what needs to be done for staying here by tomorrow.">He gives a salute in return, before sitting back on the table after he was left alone.
"I just wanted to be a fucking admiral, goddamnit."
"Ain't that the story of most factions? Fun times only last for a few seconds, then the mess starts, blood flows, and graves are dug for the lucky ones.">Face tightening at the unexpected information, Whiplash offers a subdued smile of encouragemarent, visibly letting the topic drop.>Eyes swiveling about to eye the vest you'd had on, then the exo, she flicks two mollified wingclaws at both.
"Wait, you mean armor isn't prevalent on your world? What do humans fight in then, field uniforms? And that does remind me, there's a real old unit called the Nachtspaz. Some holdovers from Rusha and Germaneighan, volunteers that assisted Luna. They're marecenaries that take on missions in Saddle Arabia, usually near the Zebra Autonomous Border, but I don't hear much about them. Supposedly they were allowed to keep a few of the nastiest weapons and armors even the Lunar Guardians wanted to lock away.">Peering at the device and recognizing it as close enough to a cell phone, the Lunarite's ears flatten as she tries to comprehend.>To your surprise, the internal display was a thoroughly new electronic suite, probably Helping Hoof's work given his former relationship to Spiral.>Transparent overlays on the composite lenses, much larger than any designs you'd seen in the Zone, provided a fair amount of viewing angle, along with internal and external monitoring systems.>A thoroughly miniaturized and EMP hardened radio system, temperature control system, an equivalent to Generation 3 night vision suite, and last a backup LED flashlight, all vocally controlled.>Even more interesting was the 'Anomalous Protection System', which probably required you to issue an order.>What it did lack was visible air filtration, though the sound of an air intake-exhaust system behind your head was a relief.
"Thought they looked a lot like non-magical prosthetics. Those are pretty rare. Some groups in Empire make unpowered ones but those are special request only. So, Nal was replacing those-">Pointing a hoof at the various piles.
"Helping and Krinza pulled out with that crystal rope stuff which makes it move. Huh, starting to understand now. Heard a lot about human tech, just not been piecing the knowledge together. Or use. In emergencies we have access to some arcane selections in the Enclave, less complications that way than trying to adapt human tech to us.">Taking a short break from thinking to eye the exo once more, Whiplash affects a somewhat critical expression.
"I can imagine a few of the Hegemony's more recent piercing arrow designs might eventually go through, with enough localized damage, but that really doesn't look like it has any hard weaknesses. Other than being a bit slow, but with a shield, heavy weaponry.. kinda makes me wish I had something like that. Then again room in our tents is pretty limited.">Mildly surprised at the pat, which you noted could be felt, probably from a feedback system embedded in the interior mixed cloth, Whiplash gives a satisfied grin.
"Dunno what that was for but thanks! I better go now though, it's late and I'll have to turn in a couple reports, don't need the Nightclaws irritated any more than they already are. Take care!">Tossing a short winged salute, the Lunarite stands quickly, spinning about and winging into the air towards the exit door.
"Most rookies are lucky to get one of those Sunrise suits I have there.">He pointed to the removed body suit with an armored boot.
"The military gets 'body armor that's lucky to stop a pistol round, and does fuck all for anomaly protection. Most new STALKERs that don't sign up for Freedom or Duty get to make due with leather jackets that don't do much other than keep one warm.">He chuckled a little.
"And yeah, aside from some metal plate inserts on vests, we pretty much do just wear field uniforms to fight in.">He noticed her glancing at his PDA and showed off the map of the Zone he had stored on it.
"It's a PDA, keeps track of information for me. I have the Zone mapped out, as well as the locations of static anomalies. There's a list of artefacts and mutants on it as well, along with information on the various factions. Biased, but it's something.">He hummed for a moment.
"Think of it like an encyclopedia and atlas. I think that's what they're called in English.">He gave her a nod in reply, folding his arms over his chest.
"Well, at least the batteries didn't detonate from being close to one of them. Hopefully, they've got pieces of artefacts inside to help power them.">He shifted an arm to glance it over.
"They removed most of the weaknesses, actually. The servos and the original design, the latter having a bit of a 'shot trap that led to people getting injured from otherwise harmless rounds.">"That's definitely new, though."
"See you later, maybe.">He gave a small salute before frowning behind his mask, wondering what to do next for a brief moment.>Quickly deciding on his new duty of acquiring a heavy gun, he left as well.
>>349630>Eyebrows raised, Rasera's eyes roll immediately afterwards with a blithe tone.
"So of say some Equestria ponies. Old world ponies think less of, better to make friend. Hard say of some but Rasera know Rushyans no space have, will hug enemies before battle.">At least the translator was self-correcting given the more complex words.>Making a faux-pouting face, the mare's ears flick around humorously before huffing, starting to speak but is cut off by nearly all the dragon-spirits loudly shout-hissing.. at each other.>The orb emits a strained crackling noise, then is silent>Expression flat and for the first time angered, her shoulders lift in a defeated shrug while shaking her head.
"No angry at you, is debate of why diplomat not trained know how herd touches differ from ones for fun. Am show common pony ones before scrolls come out.">Removing the left hoof from your shoulder and placing it on the same side's knee, her snout twitches merrily.
"Is comfort spot for good friends.">Head bending down and tapping both sides of her neck, the translated words increase by several decibels.
"Quick touch sides for greet, hold show dominance.">Moving the hoof onto your left hip, then off after a few seconds, she tosses a quick scowl at the closest one, just so happening to be her ponial scribe whom instantly quiets.
"Here is for show claim of, no use unless be lovers or in herd. You quiet, am teach before others!">Chortling briefly and returning to the impromptu lesson, Rasera's eyes half close in thought.
"Hold saddle tight is for lovers only, brush saddle for calm. Hold hoof short time is greet, medium time show good friends. But, hold hoof long time for lovers only, no do unless seriuos. Touch head for fun, calm. Touch ears.. show interest, or for calm too but careful be. No touch flank of not lover, is insult. Unless in danger. Same for Mark, that private touch for full trust. May touch front legs for calm, be good friends. Nose..">Staring down at hers twitching contemplatively, Rasera gives a mild snort.
"Is sensitive but easy hurt. Poke light for fun surprise! Or for prank. Poke medium, may come back from bad thoughts. Hit hard for of stun.">Rough equivalents to human social contact standards you realize, though carrying far more biological context.
>>349656>Hugging enemies before battle?>Seems like that would've been a rough first impression if he had the opportunity.>Gallo briefly looked up at the bickering happening above, getting a little concerned until Rasera explained the reason behind it, which soon caused him to stifle a chuckle.>The man wordlessly kept his rapt attention at the sable mare's explanation as the arguing went to the back of his mind.>His mind was quickly catalouging them into their neat little bundles of relationship status.
(Greet with neck touching, quick hoof holding, possibly poking snouts lightly...)
(Good pony friends will lay on my knees, hold hooves for a little longer than the usual greeting or possibly allow me to touch their front legs...)
(Stake ownership claim by holding them for longer, lay hands on her sides or saddle, which I think are their backs... Hold the sides of their necks for general dominance...)
(Booping snouts are for surprises or pranks... Very sensitive...)
(Do not touch flanks or mark unless absolutely necessary or in a relationship full of trust... Insulting otherwise...)>After a few seconds, José's idly scritching hands soon removed themselves from Rasera as he smiled brightly.
"I greatly appreciate your help, miss Rasera," the man happily thanked the mare. "Perhaps I can repay your great kindness by...">Gallo soon felt the primal urge to explore the limits lined down upon him.>He had to go deeper
"...combing your mane and filing your hooves," he finished off after a little pause. "I'm sure a hardworking and dutiful mare such as yourself would enjoy some personal grooming. I'll need your tools for the job, however.">The man would promptly wait a little while Rasera replied before his finger lightly booped her snout, now fully cognizant of the consequences and wondering how she'd personally react.
>>349653>Receiving a distinct 'Understood' from the man you do a double take at realizing the sling was useless, likely the result of an overzealous medic since he hadn't shown much distress using it.>One of the Vortex Remnant's eyes, this one a faded limestone, raises to stare at you while speaking in a gravelly, multi-voiced tone of fascination.
"These units know that you have encountered the archaic sea-based vessel within the reactivated Enclave. The Lunar faction gained their prominence during the Second Economic War due to trade expansion efforts. Militarizing their large transport vessels was a logical motion forwards. Restoring that unit and issuing command would grant the equine equivalent of their now unused Admareal rank. Notice: Captain Shanis of Tartarus Isle has made over six hundred worldwide requests for seafaring combat vessels to operate in Saddle Arabia and the Moors.">It blinks once.
"Your request is fulfilled."
>>349655>Receiving a final noise from the batpony Claw before closing the Workshop's north man door, there was a slowly dawning realization that Whiplash would remember most of what you'd stated so far.>If she weren't a Moon-born you could have ensured zero complications might occur.>Oh well.>Moving to the Armory door with little difficulty aside from now being a quarter-ton armored gorilla, there was indeed a fully serviceable bio-receptive and feedback system.>Pulling the human styled handle down and opening, you could feel the hardened steel through the armored semi-flexible gauntlets as if they were thin leather gloves.>There was most definitely some added cost, but at least you weren't directly paying for it.>Maybe.>Finding the Armory's interior completely reorganized, there were now at least another eighty hardened steel lockers covering the walls, the newer ones brand new and clearly of Bren's exacting make.>As usual the tables were overburdened with substandard kit and gear that Krinza's recycling efforts hadn't reached, though two of the central tables catch your attention.>Winding around the rows to take a closer look were a selection of neatly placed firearms, the most prominent one being Hollow's older M60.>Next to that was a brand new (at least to you) FG-42C followed by a bizarre shotgun: a Pancor Jackhammer.>You recall this to have been a complete failure on your world, though the design changes and extra magazines gave it the impression of being a mass produced version.>A larger, more futuristic looking FG derivative was next in sries, then a heavy Steyr Mannlicher IWS 2000, an original Sturmgewehr 44, a hunting styled TOZ-23, an astoundingly well preserved Tula Arms Groza, a Browning M1918A in decent shape, and last was an odd M4 derivative that looked to be using .45ACP.>But why.>Separate from the previous was a line of far more advanced weapons with pages underneath each, presumably explaining what they were and the likely Eras they originated fromt.>Underneath each was a small crystal placard written in Naliyna's Common Equestrian warning all humans not to touch anything unless said human knew that doing so was safe.>The first was absolute monster of a rifle, something that you knew even your exoskeleton wasn't capable of lifting let alone using, listed as 'Early Orbital Era'.>A cartridge next to it turns out to be insanely long 23MM variant, though the 'bullet' itself turns out to be a something called a 'metastable fragmenting rod'.>Definitely not one you could risk.>Second in the series was a heavily modified G11 descendant, the few ammunition blocks next to it advanced enough to be from an entirely different timeline.>This one was listed as 'Late Information Age', but the hardware and blocks weren't even remotely familiar.>Third and fourth were two baffling weapons: a remarkable high-tech pistol with an unusually long barrel, though without any attachment points, then a double-barreled heavy machine gun that would be the centerpiece of a science fiction movie set a couple hundred years in the future.>Both were listed as 'Unknown Era',>Fifth was a hyper-advanced FG descendant, and failing to understand the alloys or extremely precise engineering, the 'Early Orbital Era' warning sign ruled that one out.>Last was the most bizarre weapon yet: little more than a series of coils wound around a 3" black barrel, four prongs on the end that had a discreetly electrical design, a large, although damaged battery unit, and a roughly heavy machine gun body supported by a heavy three-point sling.>Definitely not meant for long range.>Worse yet was the 'Advanced Early Information Era' placard under it, which, along with the vaguely German engineering, made your skin crawl a bit.
>>349658>Displaying every known equine indication that she wanted to wreak vocal havoc upon the dragon-spirits, among a few that were distinctly non-human, Rasera lets the anger out with a slow, even exhale.>Leaving them to their arguing with sincere aplomb, her head tips forwards curiously->Then breaks into a low, squeaky giggling fit at the snootleboop.>Unlike Nova and Tipper however, Rasera's eyes don't cross, instead lifting a hoof that, gently, sticks to your hand before letting it go.>Head dipping slightly in a respectful motion, the mare's relish is evident from a wide open smile.
"Is great to offer but-">Tossing her loose flowing mane with a small shake, it had been recently taken care of judging by the shine, probably done by the dragon-spirits considering their ultra-specialized roles.>Lifting her hooves to show off intricate, tiny patterns of file marks in the shape of either a stream or some local meaning, Rasera's snout wriggles bemusedly as the previously loud arguing starts to settle.
"Spirits no like pony look rough, am of taken care hour by hour. Am of marely thanks to offer but of diplomat Rasera not allow to.. do 'things with', if say right. It not law. Cavalier clan trade make easy for of be neutral.">Eyes narrowing briefly in a mood akin to annoyance, the Neighpon's next word is interrupted by a sequence of heavy impacts to the north causing small ground tremors.>The tent's walls shake briefly as do some of the futon stacks, causing her to frown at the entrance.
"That was perfect! Even if I didn't help much!">A younger mare's excited shouting was followed by a tired mid-40's stallion, most likely a unicorn judging by the flat, formal tone.
"Calm down for once in your life. ..least none of the large sections cracked. Bren, help me adjust the south steps please, don't want them being a tripping hazard."
"Bah, you three worry too much! Oh, we can get most of the furniture outta the Enclave now!"
realize this projec' cos' Razorback a hunnerd thirty-thousan' Bits, right? If t'ain't perfec' we're gonna redo it'all.">The third voice was a hard, firm, yet tired older mare, also unicorn.
"Duh, otherwise we wouldn't have been pulling double shifts for four months in a row! And that was perfect, all the stones are touching line. By the way are Naliyna's house and workshop ready? Split and Muse got the tables ready before we started and I bet she's real tired of waiting around!"
"Not yet. We'll triple check the power crystals she chose to use, last problem we need is one of them exploding. New last problem: none of us want our snouts getting stomped on.">Another voice similar to the second, this one's inflection lackadaisical.>Silent and still throughout the exchange, Rasera gives the scribe spirit, then you, a rather puzzled look appearing.
"Lots work for new homes.. four month? Why so long time?">The questions were, of course, superfluous.
>>349524>Replying to the Machine Spirit with a positively ecstatic emotional ping, Mallia processes the Auspex's statement for a couple nano-cycles, before she inadvertently smiles with a cheer that doesn't quite fit the situation at hand. >This is followed by a somber but warm devotion as she replied:
(I hear you, blessed machine spirit...)
(Alas, what can a lowly, diminished, and flawed Enginseer do for one so resourceful and powerful as Inquisitor Velasi Aguinas?)
(From the bottom of my weak biological heart, I can only pledge that I will do my very best.) >As Mallia has this (very brief) exchange with the Inquistorial Auspex, she acknowledges Chisan's affirmative nod as her hands go up to her chin to begin loosening the chin strap and the matte black face mask of the flak helmet.>Within short order, her helmet is gently lifted from her head and held protectively in her arms against her middle.>Her bright blue eyes darted as if rapidly sifting through trains of thought, and her smile was ever so slightly pursed into her rosy, soft cheeks a bit flushed, contrasting somewhat with the otherwise pallid skin complexion on her gentle face. >Locks of auburn hair fall a bit over her forehead and down over the tops of her ears, looking as disheveled and unkept as ever,. She doesn't bother to fix her hair from how it was, even if it was uncomfortably tangled.>She calmly made a motion to turn more towards Nasiksta who was still behind her when she seemed to stop for about a full second, eyes widening slightly as she hangs up on something.
(--Huh!)>The excitement reaches a peak, and she could be caught squeezing onto the flak helmet she was holding onto like a child hugging onto a toy, causing a little tiny wiggle that made her Mechanicus robes flutter slightly.>So excited infact that calling the Omnissiah the 'Poneissiah' completely slips by her in the moment.>Then, she double-take, catching herself before this excitement became too overt. Brow furrowing as she ATTEMPTS to resume seriousness.
(But--uhhh, yes, I understand, Adronal.)
(There's so much
... Stuff!)>Mallia, for herself, didn't seem to mind the Gamma-One-Zephyr directive in the moment. >The ponies were great!, as far as xenos went. Better than what she knows about at least.
"Ten is a good estimate... Though I don't know Sun that well to speculate on the other question...">Whispering back to Nashka after a small delay, she resumed her movement, Mallia's bright eyes go to Nasiksta finally with that sunny smile of hers.
"... But, hey, now we get to make friends with a real Sunspot...!" >Mallia beamed, her tentacular mechadendrite poking out from around her side and vaguely pointed towards Naska's helmet with it's steely pincers, making a little motion in Chisan's general direction..
"Quick, take off the helmet. Aaand~ go stand by Chisan's right side, I'll go on his left. That's how he wants us..." >With a rapid self-nodnod, she lingers briefly near Naskha long enough to see if she was actually comfortable with beside Chisan. Not leaving her side until Nashka moved.>Though she did cast a side-eye towards Chisan, enough to notice his gaze going to her and that mouthing.>The Enginseer blinks once...
(... Huh. Admiral Dranaki, I believe the Stormtrooper needs some help correlating expressions. Could you help with that?)
(Also. Admiral. Please. I would like it be relayed that there is one heat signature which is directly and precisely the same as that of the Construct we fought not too long ago. I believe it could be one of it's micro-plasma reactors, or something that generates as much heat as one. Some simply struck me as micro-plasma reactors as well? Active and on stand-by.)
(Definitely a Reliquary for dangerous, possibly questionable items.)
(If the Sunspot says the Guard got locked away for it, then it must be some serious stuff...)>At the same time, Mallia furrowed her brow and mouths back with 'xenotech. something construct'.>She looks to the Sunspot, staring at them with an eager gleam in her eyes.
(... I wonder. If I... Pat this one. Will I lose my hand...)
'You are diminished only in body Enginseer, not in mind, spirit, or purpose. Remember that. With time, or perhaps outside of time, you will recover the first. Powerful as our Inquisitor may be for short periods in realtime, she shares the same faults and flaws that all Ordo Chronos and humans have.'>The machine-spirit's subtle datatone renders out as 'scoffing'.
'Many say the flesh is weak. Some say the human heart is weak. Through a million reams of dataslates I have determined both statements to be false. As this time I must continue to study relevant data from the chroniton scans, there are many locks that must be carefully picked.'>Trying not to make any sudden movements besides you, or moving at all outside of breathing, Naskha continues her watch on the non-hostile Sunspot.>For its part, the plasma-based pegasus filly takes a few seconds to give you and the rather poorly equipped girl several appraising examinations each.>Now that she wasn't trying to cook the room, the blue eyes were.. familiar.>You couldn't place where from, exactly.
'data confirmed mallia. this Sunspot is a 96.3% match for the self-regenerating plasma fields emitted by Princess Celestia. remaining deviations are due to sapient control. threat level zero'>The heavyset Guardsman ASCII returns, this time holding his chin in thought.
'understood, i will limit information uplinks to specific and relevant information in the future. still, we are missing a near-millenia worth chunk of history and i doubt she feels like talking much. so long as Chisan doesnt cock this situation up ill give him a passing grade'>Carefully pushing her boxy weapon back once again to keep it out of sight, the Vostrayan predecessor gives you a small grin.
"Know pony ages well, I play with Fortress marefriends and they fillies often. If Sunspot friend then.. guess can play with her too.">Blinking at the mechadendrite's motions, Nasiksta struggles to understand it before mouthing 'oh'.>Nodding in firm acknowledgement of the order, she slowly reaches up with one hand to remove the shoddy steel helmet, exposing rather unruly almond brown hair in the process, then reaches back to place the chin strap on a protruding canteen.>Hands free, the girl takes a hesitant step forwards, and upon not being incinerated another, though keeps a slow pace to reach Chisan's left side, albeit behind him a full step.>As you do the same, upon stopping at Chisan's right whom makes a slight nod in your direction, Witch-Two delivers a near-laughing datum packet.
'Even during the wildest Gellar field failures I never could have dreamed of instructing a sanctioned Storm Trooper on the body language of an equine xenos made from living plasma!'>The thought was terribly amusing, and would have caused short circuits in nearly every Magos throughout the Imperium.
'A Construct heat signature? That would account for this location's enhanced protection schemes. The chance of that vault being a postwar Reliquary is now 100%, but I am curious as to why one would be allowed to remain in a functional state. All but one record the Inquisitor has on Constructs states complete destruction of the entire unit is required, including the orange liquid. A more thorough investigation will be necessary, but at a later date. My thanks for the information Mallia, this entire mission has produced a wealth of critical data.'>Head fully swiveling to stare at you with the eyes of a Guardsman that was just told they were being sent to a paradise world, the Scion's jaw drops in open shock.>That was.. unusual.>Recovering, but only partially, Chisan's hands raise, thumbs hooking into the combat webbing belt as he contemplates on how best to answer the Sunspot's question.>You note a painful stiffness whenever the left side of his chest moves though.
"Three weeks prior to now a missive was delivered from a royal in New Canterlot. It was sent by-"
"Underprincess Prima Aurdestin.">Head turning to offer Nashka a thankful look at covering his ass, the Storm Trooper takes a half-step backwards into an easy stance, the motion heavily choreographed to display neither aggression nor distrust.
"Stated Twin Hill had been long abandoned and that Razorback Company was welcome to salvage all materials we needed, including any items left behind.">The unspoken 'and the vaults' was blatantly obvious, though the filly showed no sign of concern, instead focusing on something else entirely.
"Oh, a razorback, those giant pigs with sharp blades on them in the Everfree?"
"That is correct. The boar is a symbol of strength in certain cultures, and endurance to others."
"I get it now. I don't know that name probably since I've been napping for so long, but the title means she's a living descendant of mom."
"May I know the name of your.. dam?"
"Celestia! Well, sort of. She made my and me sisters a long time ago. Most ponies add the 'Princess' part but that's boring.">At this Chisan, struggling to find any common ground, or get anywhere useful, puts down the slight movement leading to an Earthshaker-class facepalm.
"I do not mean to offend you by asking this, but are you concerned that six hundred or more years have passed and you know little of what Equestria is like?">Wings fluttering from her sides into a relaxed state, the Sunspot's head lifts, squinting at the ceiling briefly, then giggles in an echoing tone while shaking her head.
"Nope! And I'm not offended. This probably sounds real weird 'cause mom made us, but I'm still a filly. A few of my sisters aged by staying awake all the time. They didn't change a whole lot, just got older and smarter. There's a lot of history I could tell you but some of it I.. really don't want to think about.">Now hopelessly lost, Chisan gives an almost pleading look towards you.
*"I am outclassed even with Witch-Two's support. Please assist me, Enginseer."*
'Go ahead Mallia. Temperature reads stable at one hundred degrees. Move slowly and talk to her. High likelihood she will respond favorably.'
>>349664>José chuckled along with her boop-induced giggle, glad to see her all happy about the touch.>It admittedly deflated a little as Rasera showed off her pristine mane and intricately filed hooves, yet he stared on in awe as she explained the dragon-spirits' work and her reservations for getting too friendly with him.>As he was about to answer, the man stopped at all the commotion outside, looking towards the tent's entrance.>Seems like the lack of homes was really being addressed as he had his quality time with Rasera.>He would appreciate it if it didn't constantly rumble the earth and cause all that crashing outside, though.>Despite his calm demeanor, he was still rather exhausted.>With a small inhale of his nostrils, he soon turned back towards the mare in the tent with an understanding smile.
"It would seem there is a rather big home shortage in the compound," he answered succinctly, subtly accepting her previous decision. >A small yawn soon tries escaping his lips, covering them with a hand.
"Could I sleep here in your futon after all construction is done?" he'd politely ask in turn. "I'll probably go have a chat with them to see if they can give me a room to go along with it.">Whether there is a resounding affirmative or a polite decline, the man soon gave her a nod and a light stroke across the side of her neck before starting to put his clothes and equipment back on.>Perhaps he should also figure out where the mareguards are at in Tallus, too.>Regardless, he'd soon step off the tent and look for that construction team making all this ruckus, intent on having a chat with them as well.
>>349659>Bubba could only stare at the Vortex Remnant as it replied to his idle bitching at his situation.
"You fucking what.">He could only sigh in aggravation and bring his hands up to his face, rubbing it and wondering where in his life he went wrong to deserve this punishmarent.>He abruptly gets up and leaves the Pagoda before more of this world's bullshit could arrive to mess with him.
"Too fucking old for this shit."
>>349662>"It'll be fine.">Probably.>Taking a bit of time to make sure there were no kinks in the motor controls, Ivan ambled on over to the Armory, making sure he could at least walk in the suit.>Jogging would come at a later time, when he wasn't focused on acquiring a PKM or somesuch.>As Ivan stepped in he'd make his way over to the tables first, eyeing them up curiously.>He left the M60 alone for the time being, aside from glancing it over briefly, to focus on the monstrosity in front of him.
"Why the fuck is a Pancor here.">Even with someone raised in Eastern Europe, he knew what it was.>He's played Wasteland, after all. The irony of which doesn't go by him unnoticed.>His eyebrows do shoot up once he comes across the IWS 2000, letting out a low whistle.
"What I would've done for you back in the Zone.">He mumbled, running a hand over it.>Then moving over the M1918A, he'd pick it up and examine it better, before moving over to the more curious weaponry.>He'd know better than to try and use any of the advanced weaponry in front of him, as even if he could, he wouldn't know how to properly operate any of them, so he left them be.>especially the last one.
>>349701>Rasera's head tips down, blankly looking at the futon until snapping up to look at her scribe.
"If could trade more maybe Razorback allow space for lodge-">The dragon-spirit unrolls its scroll and settles into a comfortable floating position, holding four black tinted claws over the center.>The Neighpon speaks several questions that weren't translated, which the dragon-spirit rapidly scratches onto the page.>Shifting back to sit up straight, Rasera nods with a pleasant smile, head swiveling about to survey her followers.
"If human find no more bed, what spirits say?">The majority lift their right thumbs, if possible, or raise their weapons and objects upwards.>The remainder however shrug.>Either they didn't care or the majority ruled.
"Is yes. ">Nudging your hand in return, the mare's eyes bat once in faux-demure humor, snout scrunching merrily.
"Have good of sleep when you find it.">Apparently not considering clothing on or off to be lewd, Rasera's attention goes back to the scribe, untranslated questions and statemarents trailing your wake.>Exiting the tent and turning north, it takes less than a second for your eyes to be accosted by after-images of furniture appearing from five tall, dark purple doorways.>Ten pegasi and four earth ponies of mixed colorations watch a procession being directed by four unicorns, two red, one ochre, the last covered by an off-white robe.>Dozens of tall human styled lockers, unpainted steel you note, are followed by desks, cabinets, and several chests, most of which were tall enough for humans to use comfortably.>Then comes a selection of short and medium height couches, benches, sofas, loveseats, tables, chairs, and last a small number of fully furnished beds,>Not able to catch what the unicorns were stating in their own aery, slightly snooty language, brief popping sounds occur as each disappears in transit.
'That's it fer these?"
"Yep. So far as I know there's no more mattresses left in the Enclave unless somepony hid a few."
"Naw, Ah told th'Starborn ta take a few fer theyselves an'a couple extras. Maybe Lann's got 'nuff material fer a few more?"
"Not tonight, she said that she'll need a complete restock.">The entire group falls silent at the lackadaisical unicorn's words before the crew boss speaks up.>Furiously.
"A FULL restock?! 'ow'd she marenage ta use ten thousan'Bits o'materials in less'n a week?! She 'ad me make room in th'Workshop attic fer a hunnerd rolls'a stuff last month an'now she needs more?!!"
"Calm down for a-"
"You never take stock of how many humans are here, do you?">Interjects an obnoxiously chipper earth mare.
"Not always, naw. Why?"
"You met the eleven humans that've shown up in the past two nights? Not to mention there's over two hundred and sixty here right now."
"Wait, wha? 'ow many?"
"Eleven, six last night, five tonight. Two hundred sixty living here so far."
"...shit. Okay, mebbe Ah'm jes'a little flus'ered."
"Then change your tune for a while, one of the new arrivals is standing behind you fifteen paces looking half dead on his feet. Greetings there, how can we help you?"
>>349702[1d31 = 24]
<Razorback Fortress Wandering!
>>349702>Surprised, and a tad discouraged by your words, the sandstone eye sinks back into the stone.>Leaving the Pagoda and picking a random direction, which turns out to be right, the comfortable, though rather cold, silence continues.>Strolling towards the second-largest building in view, the ironically named Batcave that Jeff and Belltower shared was on full view in red moonlight.>Giving it a few looks over and deciding that neither pony, human, nor other was about to interrupt, you pick a reasonably comfortable section of the west stone wall to lean against.>Despite the number of Bren's dome-capped miniature fortifications around the Fortress, the silence was less comforting and more an indication of the serious threats Razorback was now facing.[1d6 = 1] <Reaction?
>>349752>Despite walking off the tent with a content smile, Gallo's mind soon conjured up images of Rasera all huddled up next to him, gently breathing in and out as they both laid on a fully made bed.>His rational mind quickly reassured himself he admired his work ethic and trading prowess to quell what seemed to be a hasty decision.>He didn't know her personally, nor even met any of her friends and family.>How could he so willingly step into a relationship like that, even if she professed to be all about free cuddles for fun?>...yet his imagination still ran with it for a little while longer...>Soon blinking off the grogginess for just a little while, the man listened intently as the six ponies had their lengthy chat.>The man his pace was slow and steady, not wishing to tempt fate by putting anything to trip him up during this vulnerable, sleepy state.>He may unintentionally disrespect others.>One of his hands casually went up in a simple greeting before getting up close to the group of workers supervising the furniture moving.
"Good day, everypony," the man verbally greeted, first gauing if they were busy before doing any more elaborate practices. "How is work coming along?"
>>349755>All except one pegasus separates from the group, leaping up to fly north checking out the new.. underground barracks.>A row of five you notice, the top stone wall of each about one foot above level ground.>Which brought up the question of where the vast amounts of soil were now.>And what would replace windows.>Turning about to face you, the ochre unicorn mare's head tips up to examine you briefly before giving a stressed grunt.
"Laihke shit. Ain'got half 'nuff beds fer every 'uman 'ere an' cain't get ahol'a more this late 'less Ah wanna go ta some big city, thas th'last thang Ah wanna do. Thet Ja-po-neighse mare's got nuthin' big 'nuff fer 'umans, but alla ponies needin' a bed's got one from 'er. Name's Tenbren or Bren, whichever y'care ta say.">Swiveling about to eye the offensively cheery earth pony clacking down into the first wide open pit, the crew boss nods towards the five most recent arrivals.
"Beds fer 'bout eighty 'umans 'ere. These ones s'posed ta be fer th'Veteran ranks, an' those-">A hoof raises to point at three more of the underground style, directly south of the original three you remember from arriving.
"S'posed ta be fer Mercenary ranks. They's three more northa th'Mess Hall fer Rookies an'such, keeps 'em safer an' close ta food.">Motioning south towards the Pagoda, another two rows of three were east to west, then northwest at the faint images of an additional trio aligned north to south.
"Them's fer those that git along wit' Guards an' mercs. Three more up thattaways in th'corner fer th'mixed blacksmiths, tech-know-lo-jists, engineers, researchers, that sort. But-">Making an exasperated sound, Tenbren's left hoof raises to rub her snout slowly.
"Sorry, long naight. If y'want a real bed, don' matter where, git one raight now 'cuz half ya'll are gone an' mos'a us 'bout ta drop."
>>349756>Cheto nodded along understandingly as Bren explained the situation to him.>Seeing no mention of any diplomat-exclusive quarters, his curiosity piped up.>Was he really just a soldier in this compound?>Maybe they want that to be the case?
"I presume there hasn't been any plans for diplomat accomodations in this large project you've got going, right?">As soon as Bren was showing signs of finishing her answer, Gallo soon gave her a little boop on her snoot to allow her to relax a little.>Maybe her foremare would appreciate the gesture, too.
>>349592>The chefs certainly did outdo themselves, the steak being the centrepiece of their craft. This is certainly not their first time cooking meat nor the last.>Not like he was complaining, it had been a good while since he had eaten anything and after such an eventful time back in the city proper he needed this as much as he needed sleep.>Speaking of, dining on such a scrumptious meal made his eyelids grow heavier.>That notion along with his near trance like state of eating and savouring the food was interrupted by the voice of this new comer Unicorn.
"Oh, who's this?">Asked the Operator, not before swallowing the chewed food in his mouth as he looked over his shoulder.>This...Shining Armour was someone he has most certainly NOT seen before.>He was sure of it.>Most probably sure.>"I would most definitely remember a pony of his character if I had seen him before, especially in the Spire."
"Ah, Shining Armour, nice to exchange names at last.">Lont said as he offered the stallion a hand-to-hoof shake.
"What brings you here other than the smell of this fine dinner myself and Glacier are enjoying?">And Belregard, he did not seem to like him either. Good, common ground already established.
>>349760>Surveying her crew checking out the surface level top, Tenbren pauses to snorting loudly.
"Hah, nawt a damn chaince! Razorback ain't 'ad a diplomat 'cept fer th'firs' week in Equestria an'e quit 'pon swearin' ta kill Sunbutt fer sumthin' 'er other. Y'all ain't ever gonna 'ave another one 'less one'a th'nicer sisters forces one 'ere, but most ponies'd rather die afore that.">Eyes crossing briefly, the mare's head shakes quickly several times to recover.>A front hoof is raised and shaken at you in mock anger, Bren lazily grinning.
"Ah'll let y'ave that one only 'cuz Ah wasn't watchin' an' don'do thet agin or nex' time Ah'll feed ya to th'batfillies! Now 'scuse me, time t'land Missus Nal's 'ouse an'er shop afore she bites m'ooves off, Ah'm rather parshul ta'em bein' intact.">Striding directly forwards, then taking a small detour right towards the southeast, within seconds the rest of her crew exit the barracks to follow after, though considerably faster.>There was definitely some missing information here.
"Only Crystal Revenant in existence. Be glad about that or else we'd be drowning in them.">Physically paying zero attention to the Crystal-unicorn's arrival, Glacier lifts a deep blue glass in both hooves to swallow the gel-like contents.>Chuckling at the Shell's dismissive humor, the unicorn settles into a loose resting stance.
"Same as always Glacy, right about everything except timing. She's not wrong though, there are more InterPonies than living ones across the Empire even if the majority are barely sentient. More like me would be detrimarental.">Blinking at your outstretched limb, Shining Armor takes a slow half-step backwards, though gives a sincerely apologetic smile.
"My apologies but I can't shake your hand, I'm made of the same elemarental resonance as Rime. Touching me would destroy half your arm.">That word you knew: an impossible to replicate function from an extremely rare Empire crystal that was 'mined' in the bitterly cold Labyrinth depths under the Spire.>It was classified as a Tallus-native Elemarent, albeit one that produced temperatures which could flash-freeze lava.
"Good to meet you as well! I'm mostly here on her request to check on Tacit's condition, though, I do have some reservations about never being able to smell or eat again. Those baked crystal pumpkins and fresh corn were the best. I'm starting to think she was planning on me waking up Belregard for a full debrief on his version of tonight's events, is that it?">Side-eyeing the Shell whom gives an indignant nod between selecting another glass, the Crystal-unicorn grins broadly.
"Of course not, I'll do that later once he's recharged. Let sleeping batponies or Ethereals lie and all that. So no, unfortunately, I'm here on business. How long has she been treating him?"
"Since we got here quarter hour ago."
"I don't understand. Should take her six to eight minutes to stabilize an injured earth pony."
"Injured? More like near dead.">Halting his inspection of the Melodine Matron's continued efforts, Shining frowns heavily towards Glacier.
"That last Ward and three of her monsters couldn't have offered that much trouble.. right?">Returning the uincorn's frown with a subdued glower, the Shell leans back, forelegs folding across her chest.
"Wrong. Hour before taking them on we ran into an unknown, a multi-legged Planar assault creature, ten limbs in all. Had orange weapons and armor that looked Construct. Probably a corrupted Vortex inhabitant given some of the Rift's less destructive equipmarent. Belregard didn't know what it could be but those particle whip tubes are the same between each model, only bigger and more accurate. He hasn't run into those yet which makes sense, they're only useful against organics. Bastard hybrid killed the human mare in three shots, went straight through her armor, thin as it was. Damaged me and Belregard with cluster bombs, then flanked off. Tacit wasn't there otherwise she'd be alive now, that's why I had to call Elezith in.">Digesting the information quickly, the former Prince's face contorts furiously.
"You want me to track it down? I have little experience entering the Rift but they have no weapons that can damage incorporeals so far as I know."
"Nope, I want you to check on Tacit and see what else can be done. He dies, what he knows is lost."
>>349814>As Bren left with the rest of the crew, Cheto simply brandished a polite yet amused little smile and gave them a small wave.>However, the man confirmed the feeling that his current working environment will be steeper than most.
(Seems like I really have to apply a royal solar work ethic before they try to put me on a stake...)>He wasn't going to pester the workers any more since they're obviously working, but now he needed to figure out where to go next>There's always coming back to Rasera's tent, but unless he wanted to play the part of a temporary cuddlebuddy for her and wait until the ruckus is over, he doubted he could rest soundly like he wanted to right now.>Maybe the clinic could work, but that'd be a little disrespectful considering he's not even hurt.>Not to mention things are still probably a little hectic over there as well.
(Tengo que encontrar un lugar tranquilo,,,>A yawn quickly escaped his lips, inhaling deeply to steel himself for the next destination.>He'd first try to explore other options by seeing if somebody or somepony had another spot where one could rest, preferrably away from all the construction noises.>If none happened to show up, he'd somewhat reluctantly go back to Rasera's tent, intent on doing something rather daring.
>>349818>Blearily recalling the crew boss stated the barracks here and several others did contain some beds, obviously not to full capacity though, you decide to check out this one just to see. >Walking down the wide stone steps into a flat pit, it had a partial amphitheater layout perfect for outdoor activities though lacked overhead cover.>Maybe something to add later.>Opening the southern door, another copy like the rest throughout the Fortress, dim red lighting increases several magnitudes to a comfortable level.>Checking the first door, everything that would be expected from a rental was here, except for a kitchenette and a bad.>The next five were equally bedless, unfortunately, also noting small metal fixtures for name plates on each door.>Upon reaching the central den it too was furnished like the barracks like the one you dropped in, except the furniture and shower stalls were brand new.>Peeking into the next four rooms, each still lacked a bed.>That was until lucky number eleven, which would technically be number two if you were entering from the north.>A glossy stark black frame with some pretentious designs featured a thick queen size, loaded by thin lighter colored blankets and several pillows.>It would certainly do, save the distances from here to the Mess Hall, Pagoda, or Command Center was rather substantial.
>>349823>Cheto mused in astonishment at how quickly these equines have managed to build up this much in what seemed to be a couple of days.>Granted, he had no real expertise in matters regarding construction work, but still looked like an impressive feat nonetheless.>As he checked the rooms, he was further surprised to see the number of services already placed, wondering just what would a timelapse of this would look like.
)>His vision practically glued itself to the bed, tempted to outright jog into it and sleep away, but the ornate design and the size of the bed seemed a little off.
(Would Rasera opt to jam a queen sized bed with covers and pillows to a random room in the hopes of me getting to it before anyone else?)>...no, this seemed a little too convenient.>Perhaps this was an important pony or person's room.>A mareried couple, perhaps.
(Could this be miss Nalinya's room?)>With that hypothesis in mind, the man went on to see if there's any other clues regarding the supposed owner of this room.
>>349825>Stepping inside to examine the interior, excluding the bed it was exactly the same as the previous ten.>Checking through the drawers, locker, chest, and cabinets, you don't even find a speck of dust nor a single object.>Returning to the door there was no bronze placard in the slot.
>>349828>José found the anomalous bed sitting right there to be rather convenient, which in his polite mind meant that someone else had already made their own preparations to sleep here.>After all, getting plaques done could take a bit longer than carry a queen sized bed.>Although after reviewing the facts, he had no real idea of who could this be.>So in order to play it safe, Gallo reluctnatly opted to walk out of the room with a small shake of his head, clearly uncomfortable with encroaching on what seemed to be someone else's room.>Besides, he already has Rasera hook him up with a bed when he gets a room.>Surely marking a room now would be easy enough, right?>With that in mind, he'd opt to find a suitable room in the rookie area as he idly rummaged through his things in the hopes of finding a good way to temporarily claim the room.,
>>349831>Exiting the barracks' north door and trodding northeast, it takes a heavy amount of mental processing to figure out where you were in relation to the newer structures.>Passing by three of the brand new barracks south of the originals, small numbers of the dome-topped defensive structures from earlier were stationed one per building at varying distances.>Turning the abovegrounds pony barracks' northwest corner was an equally large version of it sunken into the ground, several ponies already moving furniture into it, at a much slower pace since none were unicorns.>East of the new pony barracks east of that were two smaller barracks, the ones you recall Bren stating were intended for Rookies.>Making your way into the western one's amphitheater, once inside the first two doors had no placard in either slot.>Inspecting the first one's interior, the room contains the same amenities as the northwest barracks, except for a bed.>It was likewise devoid of any equipment, clothing, weapons, or gear.>Checking from the second to the sixth, they were also bedless.>Crossing through the den, it was missing a couple tables, chairs, and a couch or two judging by the empty spaces.>The seventh and eighth had no beds, the ninth did, having a light wooden frame covered in fanciful artwork, several stacks of varying thickness blankets, and a trio of pillows.
>>349835>Cheto groggily rubs one of his eyes as he continued looking for a suitable room.>Now that he thought about it, why did he leave one barracks from the other?>Just what was he doing right now?>Is he looking for a temporary bed before Rasera provides one later?>His mind was running on fumes at this moment and he really wanted to sleep and be done with it, but how is he supposed to find a suitable spot that doesn't encroach on other people?>He did find the second bed looked quite similar to the first one he had just found before, but he needed to make sure by locating the third one to establish a clear pattern.>Thus, the man kept looking.
>>349838>Exiting to check the tenth, it also had a bed, this one's frame an overbuilt monster carved with images of archaic four-legged creatures.>It could probably carry two light tanks stacked atop each other, or several dozen earth ponies.>The mattress was a bit thinner than the previous two, covered in a random assortment of sheets, light blankets, and five pillows.>Apparently the sorting team to severely rush.>Checking the eleventh to find it had a bed, twelfth room was the same.>Rummaging through pockets and backpack, the only items that would suffice as a marker were your toothbrush, well worn playing card pack, or the wallet though you'd have to remove everything from it.[1d6 = 2] <?????
>>349841>There was no doubt now that this had no clear pattern to the beds, only that they were there in what seemed to be awfully weird designs and specifications.>In other words, he was seemingly able to roll the dice on the type of bed he'd sleep in for today.>He still had that awful feeling there was something he was still missing about this rather strange situation.>At least now he needn't worry about taking somebody or pony else's bed without his knowledge since no one did.>With a soft exhale, he now sought for the softest most delicate bed he could find.>Howver, if he didn't find it by the next two bed sightings, he'll simply take it without much fuss.
>>349674>Mallia received the machine-spirit's words, but her empathethic response would've been hard to parse.>A feeling of gratitude for the counsel of such a honourable machine spirit. And abject shame. But she obviously didn't elaborate, simply allowing the machine spirit to return to it's sacred duty without her painfully biological and imbalanced emotions to distract it. >Some of her emotions translated to her bright blue eyes, which were so expressive. A sadness hovered just aside from the childlike eagerness that she looked at the Sunspot with.>For a second, she couldn't help but look through it. Making eye contact. >That's when she consciously feels that sense of familiarity and deja vu, as she took in the colour of the Sunspot's eyes and the aspect behind them.>Shortly after this instinctive realisation, it was confirmed by Tox-11. >Obviously, this was Celestia's own spawn. But the implications hadn't fully sunk in until now. The debt of gratitude she owed the still nebulous Princess Celestia hit her like a truck.>Mallia still smiled nonetheless, and struggled to lightly break the eye contact so as to not come off as too weird; quarter-turning her head back to Nasiksta as she took off her helmet and Mallia straightened up again.>She lingered just enough to be nearby, mostly as emotional support, encouraging her with a cheery smile and by taking steps with her.>Once Naskha was in position, Mallia broke off to be at Chisan's left with a confident stride and with her arms swinging a bit by her side.>She looked at the way the Storm trooper gawked at her after her response, eliciting an amused furrow in Mallia's brow after her mouthed response. It was weird seeing Chisan look at her like that.
(Damn. I thought it would take an Artificer-grade hellgun to get him to look at me like that.)>Amusement quickly broke way to concern again as her glance visibly lowered to gaze at his chest. Noting his stiffness, she couldn't help but purse her lip with worry... She knew he'd be okay, but she still felt empathic heartache over the Storm trooper's pain. >Which was magnified somewhat given the very fresh memory of how her previous squad's Storm trooper died protecting her, physically shielding her from bullets. She'll never forget the sound of their bones breaking from the close-ranged impacts against their strong carapace armour, or the scream of it's machine spirit as the stalwart armor was pierced.>Mallia stared vacantly for what to her felt like an eternity but was really just two seconds at most, her smile ebbing away just a little...>Then her mind's eye drifts towards Witch-Two again as she remarks on her findings... Which allowed her to feel a certain childish happiness to knowing she had been useful!>She was already starting to wiggle a little in excitement, putting her hands behind her back as she swished her robe side to side with her movements. Her mechadendrite likewise loosening a bit more and clicking it's grabber claws like some sort of excited 'clap'. >click click click click>Of course she still paid heed to the conversation even as she was swept by her emotions, though her participation in it was minimal at first. She just existed there, looking very excited for some reason.>She was already looking at Chisan when the Storm trooper turns towards her. She had noted how he had come a hair's breath away from a facepalm and was carefully controlling her shaky breathing to keep her immense amusement down.>The Enginseer, respectfully reigning in her giggles. She half-lifts her arm to almost give him the good old shoulder smack--but promptly winces and let's her hand drop back to her flank.
"It's fine!", Mallia chimed in,
"We can save the history for later, maybe with something nice to eat. Relax while we wait out the storm outside that's keeping us in here.">She nodded to herself and beamed towards the Sunspot while taking a couple sauntering steps forward,
"The first thing I'd
want to know is the name of this veryy~ cute-looking Sunspot!" >She stops, one hand coming up to pat her Inquisitorial flak vest on the chest with an eccentric patpat.
"My name is Mallia Castella. What's yours?" >She didn't know equine mannerisms in the slightest herself, so she'll just have to do what she usually does.
>>349843>Spending a few minutes walking back and forth checking the last four rooms to determine which bed was the most fitting, you decided number nine had the best options and comfort level.>Barely entering, the eastern opens, two sets of heavy boots and gear rattle as it closes, next a young European male voice, the second vaguely tropical.
"Why pick this one?"
"Closer to the Mess, less foot traffic, more chances of meeting with the mercs, far less chance getting run down by a Guardmare."
"Points taken. What's wrong with the other one?"
"Unless you've got ear plugs do you want to sleep north of the Workshop?"
"Good point.. so, no."
"If the rooms here are empty then I'm going to grab camping gear out of the Armory. There's no real shortage of rollmats and bags."
"What, and miss out on a real bed?"
"There's much worse than that. I've been rotating where I sleep between the Library, Enclave, Mess Hall, and hangar for the past month. You have no idea how bad it is but I'll say this much: there's a psion roaming around that's constantly whacked out on her own drugs that could kill half the base by sneezing the wrong way, a unicorn that could detonate the other half on accident if he gets a migraine, and an assortment of everything else starting with an artillery shell on hair trigger all the way to an asteroid cracking bomb."
"Well, this place sounds much safer already. Hey, I got dibs on that one-">Door number twelve opens to the second's loud sigh.
"Fine. Bed in there?"
"Yep. Taking that one?">Door number ten is pulled open to several moments of stony silence.
"Not what I was hoping for."
"I'd be happy with a single wide, this is just.."
"Enough to split four people and still have enough space for everyone's packs, like a queen size, maybe bigger?"
"Yes. Have all the ones we've seen been this large?"
"I think so. Yeah, they have to be."
"Those came from the Enclave, there's some wild stuff floating around in there. I'll show you the place tomorrow but there's a strict no touching rule unless there's a Lorekeeper nearby or you read something's description. I'll take this one for the night but we'll have sort out the roster at dusk, lot of people are still out and I'm not keen on pissing everyone off yet. And don't forget when lock a door in any of the barracks make sure the bolt is tight, that activates the protective engrams or whatever they're called."
"Will do, thanks man!">Both doors close in short order, leaving you wondering what sort of fun objects could be stored.
>>349662>>349708>As you perused through the Armory's collection of heavy weapons your attention catches the sound of the Workshop's main door opening along with one set of light hoofsteps entering.>The light humming tune of a female trails in the backround until it stops abruptly, followed by panic hoof clopping.
"Yooooo! Like... where the fuck is the exo!?">The frantic hoofsteps get closer and closer until you hear the Armory door behind you throw themselves open wider, followed by a sigh of relief and an embarrassed giggle.
"Heehee-OH! MY! GOSH! You had me totally buggin' for a hot second there!">Behind you was standing one of the other contracted blacksmiths, Helping Hoof withstanding: the wiry young pink mare with the reddish-brown mane and eyes. You forget her weird name, as it just didn't fit well on your tongue. She looked you over set in your what was basically mobile tank armor at this point, as if an artist was admiring their work.
"You must be Ivan! See you found your exoskeleton. How's it fitting? We had to like... totally build it from the ground up. All Talus materials so it bypasses the Era Lock. It's like... sooooo illegal with how many enchantmarents I inscribed, but it's worth it. If you like need any more upgrades to it, just let one of us know. There's totally room for more improvemarements!">Finally finished her introduction, she glanced past you to the selection of weapons you were currently mulling over. She locks eyes back onto you and your armor system, levitating up a large crammed pink binder exploding with notes.
"I would definitely check with Mr. Anonymous before handling any of those you totally know your era doesn't match. I heard last month an operator picked up a revolver literally one mechanical era above him! Had to spend almost two whole days in a non-Euclidean pocket space just to keep the Era Lock from like totally turning his body into scrambled eggs. Sooooo grody!"[1d6+5 = (5+5) = 10]
<B.Research: Smithing + Hodch's Disciple[1d6+5 = (3+5) = 8][1d6+5 = (2+5) = 7]
>>349853>Looking up from the weaponry due to the commotion outside, and getting louder, Ivan would take a small step away from the table.>Just in case he got bumped into something he shouldn't touch.>Watching the mare, he was briefly glad the helmet concealed his amused grin.>"Zone armorers would've gotten their gun immediately to shoot a thief."
"Yep, that's right. Fits pretty well, almost like a glove. Just have to break it in a bit, see what limits it has.">If anything, Bren would appreciate the additional weight he could haul around with it.
"Sorry I couldn't give you something better to work with. I'd have preferred a fully intact Exoskeleton to be worked on, myself. And I'll keep that in mind, these things can always be improved further.">Though Zone Armorers don't exactly get to do as much as a STALKER would like.>He watched as the binder appeared, trying to place what she reminded him of.>Something about a Valley Girl.
"I know better than to try to touch out of Era stuff. Only things I've handled was the ones I could identify without reading inscriptions.">He did not want to deal with becoming can sized again.
>>349847>José soon nodded along as the conversation carried on, taking mental notes for the tidbits of information he was freely given on the other side of the room's door.
(...there seems to be some unhinged ponies running around that could easily kill me by accident...)
(...for some reason, the furniture could be slightly suspicious, but it isn't clear why...)>First things first, Gallo soon checks the lock, fiddling with it until he can lock it properly like the voices said.>Then he'd start properly investigating the bed proper to see if it had any quirks of its own that were proudly stated somewhere.>Surely the workers wouldn't intentionally put rookie death traps in their own bedrooms for fun, right?>It sounds a little too far-fetched and alien.>...it is an alien world, however...
>>349844>Compositing a new ASCII in 0.75 seconds, Tox-11 was in the middle of a wide open shrug while Witch-Two was seated on a stool to his right, leaning forwards and biting a fingernail in the middle of a nervous expression.
'no matter what insquisitor says Chisan is a mindwiped Tempestus Scion, has little personality outside hypnodocs'
'That was my mistake Andronal, I urged Flash to deconstruct the more hostile variations but did not account for ingrained personality suppression engrams. Mallia, it is nearly impossible for a Storm Trooper to utilize empathy even towards an object of extreme desire. He struggles due to anti-xeno programming. I apologize for that. The next chance we get I will revoke as many as possible.'
'so this time he gets a perfect score?'
'Don't make that prediction yet. He could still cock up.'
*"My appreciation, Castella. I lack the ability to, as Witch-Two states, 'connect' with others."*
'That is not an indicator of poor performance. We will be spending time teaching you the basic details of interpersonal and interponial relations.'>Relief flickers across the Scion's visage as you speak, taking a full step backwards and gesturing his left hand in your direction.. which the Sunspot immediately takes great interest in.>Flashing a non-blinding open mouthed smile direclty at you, the filly's eyes widen, her wings raising halfway and shaking excitedly.
"We can? Really? I love soft metals, they make me want to stay awake for months!">Perhaps the broad offer was a bit too enthusiastic given her.. relative age.>Standing up with ease, the plasma pegasus blinks, then covers her face, both wings outstretched to hide a groan.>A rather defeated 'okay I guess' one.
"My aunts used to say the same thing all the time and I am NOT cute!">Visibly expressing that he had been ready to pull his own face off, Chisan lifts a hand to make a silent facepalm at his lack of knowledge.>He'd get over it sooner or later.>Likewise stepping forwards with muted clicks on stone, the Sunspot's front left wing raises forwards to greet you, smiling broadly.
"Mom named me Olympa! She said something about a huge mountain that touches the oceans above but I never went there."'Primary target in optimal range Mallia, deploy VIP greeting protocols!'
>>349869>Locking the mid-chest high, bizarrely heavy metallic dead bolt tight, a subdued click is heard.>The room's atmosphere changes, going from visible red to a soothing yellow-purple cascade.>Looking up to find no visible lighting systems, it seemed the entire ceiling was the source.>Spending the next ten minutes carefully poking, prodding, and examining the frame, bed, pillows, and blankets.. you find nothing suspect.>Oddly, the frame's construction was more akin to heavy wood that'd been welded together, the seams themselves were more natural looking and feeling than artificial.>Except for a single long, soft, silky, yet neutral to the touch crystal hair that reminded you of Frost's mane.
>>349876>José watched in mild awe as the lighting switched in sync with the bolt's click, giving him a rather unexpected surprise.>Would humanity really go to all this length for their rank & file to feel comfortable?>It didn't sound right, but that's the perks of alien thinking.>It provides a new perspective untainted by old customs and knowledge.>The bed also seemed to follow that new thought process with its au naturale style and cadence unlike the rough military ones he was used to.>Was it because they valued every soldier in high regard or were such standards so easy to achieve that they might as well?>He did recall things were a little on the expensive side, however, so he may be jumping to conclusions a little too quickly.>Speaking of, Gallo softly picked up the errant strand of mane on the bed with a pensive, focused gaze.>Perhaps it was simply as a result of moving the furniture, but a part of him thought there might be an equine in the room.>Was that really a bad thing, though?>Surely if there's any spats to be had, she or he wouldn't wait for him to just fall asleep, right?
(...whoever may be here could just wake me up if they need to talk to me. Right now, I really need to sleep.)>With that established, the man opted to simply start to neatly organize his stuff around the room in the imminent preparation to finally rest despite the ominous feeling looming over him.>Surely it can't be that bad, right?
>>349877>Double checking the room's corners, and the ceiling to be sure, there was an extremely low probability that you were being marestalked.>Depending on whom or what might answer the letter you sent earlier that was certainly going to change, and drastically.>Stashing everything in easy to remember and reach locations, small squads of humans walk by in the large bay window above the bed from time to time, each accompanied by at least one pony, mostly the black armored marecenaries seen earlier.>Curiously, the external sounds were rather muted.>Trying to figure out how the system worked briefly, the surface acted more as a flat screen at a 90 degree external viewing angle.>Without any obvious technology in use or electrical conduits the source was puzzling.>Finished sorting through your gear, besides the errant crystalline hair there was little left to do, and the bed was looking better by the second.
>>349882>Looking around the room only served to feed his curious mind further, wondering how exactly does this room work.>Maybe there's some sort of secret mechanism revealing all sorts of functions.>He'd have to ask Bren who designed these structures to see what he can learn.>It'd also help with the errant mane strand on his bed.>It could be as simple as it leaving the body from moving it here but he doubted they'd allow themselves to be sloppy.
(...questions for tomorrow. I need to sleep before my body forxea me to.)>With that, Gallo soon started to strip himself down as he approached the bed, neatly folding it nearby for tomorrow.>From jacket to underwear, all of it came off and was placed in a neat pile ordered from the first piece to be put on to the last.>He won't sully this bed with dirty clothing.
(...maybe I shower and brush my teeth while I'm at it...)>Then he realized that while it was a short trek, he wasn't gonna make it there willy nilly unless he dresses himself back up.>Not to mention the fact that maybe he'll need to go take out a towel, which he didn't quite know where it would be.>It could be at the den, but he was already dragging along out of stubbornness.
(...I'll shower after I wake up... Can't think straight...)>With that, he soon went over to wherever the bathroom's toilet bowl was to brush his teeth and then wash it out with some of the fountain water into it.>After that little ritual, the man deemed it acceptable enough to properly go to bed and snugly lay in it.
"Oh ya, it better totes fit like a glove! Nalyina created a hololith that takes feedback from your movements from the undersuit to better translate to the exoskeleton. The more you use it, the smoother it's going to feel and operate! NOT even going to mention the Goskan steel mesh underlay over the plating. Makes it like totally more flexible without adding weight.">The pink mare eyeballs certain parts of the suit as you make any particular movement, making scribbles in her bulky notebook.
"Hmmm... meshing flexes with limb movement, joints are synchronized... no plating hang-up or catches... Oh um. To be totally honest, it was probably better we started from scratch. We were able to incorporate so many more Talus materials that the Era Lock would've like totally shot down.">She hovers her notebook behind her head to keep it out of the way, tapping a hoof on the exosuit's left leg.
"Reinforced armor with partial magic protection, temperature regulation system, phase-shifting paint helps you blend in. Your helmet has night vision and thermal inlay on the lenses, along with a mounted flashlight, near total concussion mitigation, and anti-flash and deafening, as will as a closed circuit air filtration system. It's a total package, ya.">Your reassurance gets a confident nod from the mare and looks over at the heavy weapons you were looking at.
"I added an anti-shock enchantmarent that should negate the recoil of even the heaviest weapons. You can like... totally get away with toting around a fifty cal or even that minigun without much problem!"
"It certainly feels more flexible, I won't deny. Zone Exoskeletons were always more than a little stiff and cumbersome.">Every time she spoke he felt a little dumber.
"Yeah, probably a good idea. Though having one from my home would've let you guys figure out how each part worked better.">He nodded in approval at what she told him about the helmet, not having really checked yet.
"Haven't tried them out, but the thermal inlay and anti-flash are certainly new.">He let out an audible hum, looking over at said minigun.
"Perhaps, but I'd also have to carry enough ammunition for either one to make it worthwhile. Would probably add on more weight than its worth."
>>349884[1d6 = 4]
<?????[1d6 = 6]
<Interdict[1d6 = 6]
>>349884>>349911>Feeling a bit refreshed by the time you flop down with a nice sheet and pillow, the room maintains a fairly cool temperature that was likely a preset conducive to sleep.>The bed was definitely nicer than it first felt, the material similar to memory foam though much heavier and absorbent.>Barely noticing the ceiling's integral lighting system dimming to comfortable near-black over five or so minutes, the peaceful atmosphere was directly opposite any standard barrack you'd been in.>Right on the razor's edge of dozing off, an alarming metallic scrape breaches your consciousness, as does the pop of air rushing into the room and several dozen heavy thuds of booted hooves landing on wood.>Instantly snapping a hand out for the TMP and bringing it up, the stately calm of a rather young voice speaking in a polite, aery tone, enough to identify as a pegasus.
"My sincerest apologies for interrupting your sleep, First Hoof José Gallo. I am underprincess Prima Lauterna, great-great-grandfilly of Princess Celestia.">Soft white-yellow from the ceiling lights up the room to reveal a brilliant platinum-white young Prenchmare with soft blue speckled eyes, the mane a lustrous burnt gold color.>Surrounding her in a three-quarter circle, ten mares clad in thick Honor Guard armor stand utterly still, their attentions rigidly focused on everything.>Except you, interestingly.>Small hints of resigned irritation touches the post-filly's quiet timbre, front left leg lifting and placed on her chest to make a slight, delicate bow.
"Please forgive the presence of my Mareguards, I am not permitted to travel without all of them accompaneighing me regardless of extenuating circumstances. It is unfortunately that we must meet in such a hurried situation, I would have preferred to do so in a less private sitting but time constraints do not permit such. If you would prefer I shall, temporarily, dismiss my Mareguards.">Hoof set down on the floor, the Prenchian's face becomes a mixture of troubled and deeply apologetic.
"There are matters I must immediately discuss with you, ones that my great-great-grandam cannot do so publicly."
>>349912>José indeed was startled awake and brandishing his weapon at first until he swiftly recognized the honor guard armor and the divinely regal looking pegasus prenchmare in front of him>With a soft, calm yet bemused exhale through his nostrils, he soon unloaded his weapon and placed it back to its previous position, giving her a curt nod.
"It is nice to meet you, underprincess Prima Lauterna," he neutrally greeted in kind, once again fully awake despite his groggy demeanor. "There is no need to dismiss your mareguards for the occasion.">With that said, however, he soon smirked a little.
"In fact," he amicably added "I would like for one of them to stand guard right next to me while we discuss matters. Preferrably without her helmet on, if she could.">Having proposed his preference, the man soon sat up to his waist, making sure he was securely half-covered underneath the covers while being at range for any soothing and stimulating petting for the potential mareguard willing to cater to his request.>Regardless of whether a mareguard stepped forth or not, Gallo would promptly give her a nod.
"Whenever you're ready, underprincess," he politely offered with a serious disposition.
"Heard someone call me, what'd I miss?">The green man's voice questions from a solid white doorway behind Aiutante, stepping out from the White Room with a bottle of beer in hand.>Clocking in at a poor half minute at that.
"No bodies, charcoal, blood stains the size of a small pond, angry mares by the thousands, apologies Aiutante, or disasters to try and salvage?">Sweeping the Armory briefly, Anon nods pleasantly before taking a swig.. through the mask.>Of course.
"I'm impressed. There's another disaster that finished a couple hours ago. Didn't go the way anyone, or any pony, wanted, but it ended well enough I actually had some time to settle a few scores. Even got some new lights and a better couch.">Lazily swishing the bottle in his offhand, Anon strolls to the opposite side of Ivan to point out several of the weapons.
"Browning, Calico, Eff-Gee Forty-Two, weird ass Magnum Salvo shotgun, Pancor, Sturm Eighty-Four, Steyr Two-Thousand, Sturmgewehr Forty-Four, Groza, big fucker of a shotgun, and the Turin are safe for you to use. Turns out some design differences don't have any basis on the Era Lock, but I still haven't figured that out. So's the..">Double checking the selection, Ivan and Auitante feel the gestalt's confusion turn to annoyance.
"Either I'm losing it again or there's three, four missing ones? Don't know where they're at. One more's here somewhe- ah, nevermind.">Spinning around to snag a wooden pistol case, Anonymous tosses it onto the weapon table before pointing at it with the bottle.
"That one's safe as well. Big revolver about the size Hollow's got, heavy enough to beat a minotaur to death with. Don't ever let Crystal ponies see it or you'll never get away. Just watch the kick... and the ammo, real hard to make by hand I can tell you that much."
>>349916>The underprincess gives the weapon a faintly curious examination while her guardians disregard it as a threat, their eyes scanning the room over again.>Returning a possibly annoyed nod in return, Lauterna's eyes swivel to land on one of the Honor Guards to her left.
"My apologies once more. This will certainly not be the only time I must arrive unannounced.">Leaving the threatening 'with them' hanging, certainly not unfelt judging by the slight shifts of their armored stances.>Barely a heartbeat later one of the Mareguards physically turns to the underprincess, giving the impression she was about to piledrive the thinner mare.>Unspoken words pass between the two, and instead, the helmet is lifted off in a small field of dim green to be set on the rump.>Two obnoxiously bright glows of electric blue assault your senses before realizing that those were, indeed, eyes.>Batpony eyes at that, the diamond shape surrounded by vivid red while the pupil was pitch black and reflected nothing whatsoever.>The tufts on both ear tips were a burning on-fire green, small wisps of smoke trailing upwards, at which sight the skin across your neck and arms immediately begins to crawl.>Along with the unsubtle stare, slightly more disturbing was the burning green mane emitting the same trail, while the batmare's hot red coat was definitely not an indicator of willingness to jump into bed.>Striding forwards next to the bed, the batpony spins around in a textbook 180 to take up a suitably formal albeit rigid stance.>Within reach, for sure.
"This is problem. Not the letter itself, nor the contents, or the recipient. Politically, that is the problem.">Sniffing politely, Lauterna's horn alights in faded green, a familiar letter appears while she frowns.
"But first I state this as a matter of trust: I can not tell you where Princess Celestia is nor how to reach her, only that she delivered this to me with certain instructions to follow. I will not seek to disturb her outside of an immediate emergency."
"To begin, the loyal-">Stressing the second word out painfully.
"Nobility and some ten or so hooves' worth of royalty were made aware of Princess Celestia whom declared that she would search for a human diplomat. Five months passed since. Earlier this night a meeting was held to determine whether or not the Silver Court, that is, the nobility, would support Razorback regardless of..">Biting her cheeks for several momarents, the odd batmare's head tilts as the underprincess continues.
"Past difficulties and circumstances. If you are not aware of incidents which caused our regent to shun Razorback then I will not state any more."
"Before the vote occurred several left, an equal number abstained. Three declared they would never support Razorback, three declared the opposite of prior. End results: the vote was a loss of one in favor of aid and opening neighgotiations. A minority of the Silver Court broke out by stating that they would aid on humans on their own terms."
"The Gold Court, of whom all royalty, including myself, are required to attend when a meeting is called, has not reached a single consensus since the destruction of New Canterlot Palace. There are now nineteen split factions, none of whom have the slightest desire to work together. There are two, possibly three outliers whom, if my information is correct from midnight, may have a tentative willingness to cooperate with Razorback.">Taking a deep, whistling inhale, Lauterna's wings reach forwards to rub the back of her head.
"Up front, all the rights, obligations, privileges, and so on and so forth that you have shall either reunite, or permarenently split, Equestria's sub-factions. A majority favors the first of course, yet some will scheme and power play to see claims credit and thus credibility."
"In the back, the possibility of destabilizing specific ones is a greater threat. Most lines of royalty have influence, not an inconsiderable amount, throughout the Day and Honor Guards. Yet, since the Royal Guard were almost thoroughly wiped out earlier this night, the patrons they would have are no longer a threat."
"The problem that I spoke of first is this: your position is guaranteed by the influence of one sovereign, and, carries the threat of execution should some go against that weight."
"Openly, that is. There are less than four assassins left on this continent though the whereabouts of two are unknown. The major factions of this world have decided that non-interference towards Razorback is their best strategy, thus military intervention is likewise out of the question.">Rocking back on her hooves, the Prenchian mare glances up at the window, eyes narrowing at the sounds of humans walking by.
"The most likely direct course of action would be to set an infiltrator the Mareguard you are allowed. As such, there is no single pony with even the smallest tie to any of the Solar factions that you can attempt to trust. Not even the Day, Royal, or Honor Guards whom were allowed to station here, unless they are vetted first which is a process that might take time."
"As Razorback is a mercenary company and receives a number of contracts each month... well,should you find a marecenary contract which unduly attracts your attention and thus physical presence, that would be the most likely indirect course of action to eliminate you."
>>349754>Noting the reaction he got, Bubba quietly decided to apologize.>When he was calmed down suitably, of course.>Picking a spot of the Batcave to rest against, Bubba's back lightly thunked on the wall before he slid down into a crouched sitting position, head in hands.>Too much was happening to the man for him to quickly sort out.>He growled and threw his helmet off to the side, watching it hit the ground and roll a few feet.
"Fucking hell... Shit's going straight to fuck."
>>349923>While José was instinctually unnerved by the rough, tough, flaming batmare currently standing guard next to him with an utterly bemused and possibly disgruntled expression, he couldn't help but be utterly fascinated with this small sample of what mareguards had to offer.>Granted, this clearly was an elite, highly equipped one with loads of experience under her saddle, which wasn't even close to a guarantee considering his position at the utter bottom of the ladder.>However, the man didn't want to waste an opportutnity to see the batmare's reaction to his usual petting indulgences.>Thus, he first ensures his imminent transgression wouldn't elicit a death glare clearly threatening a beating by gently hovering his empty palm over the bright green ear tuff flames and mane.>If nothing came of it, he'd soon try to politely poke her snout to try and cheer her up a little, specially considering the fact he couldn't seem to be able to do his conventional ear scritching and mane brushing.>While he tested the batmareguard's personal boundaries, José always held direct eye contact with Prima Lauterna, listening intently to every word she said with as much focus as being exhausted would allow.>His eyes widened considerably at what he recalled was a strong Solar empire crumble down into 19 subfactions for what humanity did to them.>It was truly heartbreaking to Gallo, specially with his natural infatuation with their kind at first sight.>More harrowingly still, his mere announcement could've actually caused a bigger catastrophe if that letter arrived to what the underprincess testified as the ambitious noble schemers.>Ponies would try to kill eachother and him just for his title alone.>He was apparently lucky Celestia's great-great-grandfilly herself stepped in to help.>It was so bad, in fact, that he couldn't actively trust not one Solar with his life, even though those were the kind of ponies he wanted to help rebuild with.>With a small, mournful nod, José's responsibilites were further defined in this increasingly cold, harsh world.
"I understand," he succinctly answered with a curt bow as his hand still hovered above the flaming batmare. "My deepest thanks for warning me of this, underprincess Lauterna, and I hope we can help rebuild the greatness and unity that was lost together.">So his best best is look out for marecenary contracts that try to stick out like a sore frog or forbid himself from being alone with a pony carrying even a hint of Solar history.>That does leave some questions, however.
"Do you have any advice regarding mareguard recruitment in my abnormal circumstances, underprincess?" he politely inquired. "Not to mention: Who are the ponies from both Silver and Gold courts that would tentatively support Razorback?"
>>349817>Still casually eating his own food Lont raised an eyebrow.
"InterPonies, that is a new term for me.">He really needed to resign to the fact he will never truly know everything about this world, and just focus on what he needed to know.>And what he needed to know was what Tacit knew.>Upon hearing that the Unicorn was made from Rime the Operator snapped his hand away on instinct and nearly choked on his food.>This gave him a short lived coughing fit before subduing it by downing his drink, some of it escaping past the edges of his lips.
"Haaaaa..!">He sighed in relief.
"I did not know that, thank you for warning. And I'm sorry you can no longer enjoy the pleasures of food, and I assume, the flesh too.">He was here for Tacit, that made one of Lont's eyes twitch with minute movement.>"He better not lay a hoof on him.">He thought to himself as the two ponies conversed amongst themselves. As they did so he continued to eat on in silence as he listened on.>"Human mare?">Lont stops chewing. He stops eating. He puts his utensils down and straightens his back.
"Who was this human that died, was she from Razorback and what of her remains? Tell me everything.">He asked Glacier before turning to Shining.
"And Shining Armour, I need to talk to Tacit as well. What do you two want to know from him?">What Lont really wanted to know was what the Earth Ponies' fate to be after this incorporeal pony had all the info he needed from him, but he was not going to jump to conclusions just yet.
>>349604>>349611>Still not looking pleased with that thought, cartoon Wild busies herself with drawing a large branching tree.>Genealogy, apparently.
"Five datacores reference multiple non-standard pegasi lineages that are physically smaller, faster, stealthier, and are noted for some having distinct near-magical capabilities. The four main clans of these are presumed to originate from 'the Ferron'. Twenty more subclans from those four are direct descendants. Running analytic factors based on genetic inheritance and drift-">The Eldritch-Android mindset, and priorities, certainly were odd.[1d6 = 4]
<Damaged Analysis Core #1>For its part the Puff Skipper emits a tiny, happy squeak.>At least it sounded that way, and wasn't currently exploding or trying to smoke you out of the chest compartment.>Waiting a few seconds to see if it does anything more, the little creature doesn't even breathe.>Could it?>....>You had no idea, nor did Wild elaborate enough to know.>Dedicating a fraction of her attention to you still, the other half was concerned with her hull, one of the more bizarre components onscreen in Wild's left leg had changed from black to a moderate red.
"What is not right? Is my intended course compromised? ...my last remaining tertiary sensor node is offline. Again."[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
<Arcanum Sensor Array[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
<Grade 1 Auto-Repair[1d6+2 = (4+2) = 6]
<Grade 2 Auto-Repair[1d6 = 1]
<Repair Tendril #1[1d6 = 2]
<Repair Tendril #2[1d6 = 1]
<Repair Tendril #3[1d6 = 3]
<Repair Tendril #4[1d6 = 3]
<Repair Tendril #5[1d6 = 5]
<Repair Tendril #6[1d6 = 3]
<Repair Tendril #7[1d6 = 1]
<Repair Tendril #8>Now past the underwater sand shoal, the screen in front of you expands for a wide view.>At an angle you took to be nearly 80 degrees upwards, what should have been an overcast night sky was instead long trails of white that was poorly imitating cloud cover.>Noting blood red moonlight between the gaps, the 'clouds' didn't have the same distinct color attached to them, instead operating from an internal light source.>The gap between each cloud was orderly, too close together for what you estimate to be roughly thirty kilometers, end on end.>Not even the best long distance pegasi cloud teams could pull off more than five moving in sync, and only then for half a kilometer each.>Squinting a bit to make out finer details, you finally realize what was out of place: short pulses of white would start in one location, be repeated on the opposite 'cloud', which would travel right, directly forwards for them.>According to the small map on screen the faux-clouds were traveling straight north.>Adjusting the other screen's lens several times, the caricature stops to look through itself outside.
"Zero obstructions, organics, or nonorganics within five hundred meters. Intended route is clear. Show me what you've noticed."
"You're telling me.">An old, familiar male voice speaks to your right, the click of a match striking up equally subdued.>Sitting down heavily six or so feet away was the train's Engineer.. whom you recall had been missing for a while now.>Lighting up a long, thin cigar, the unicorn stallion's tone was exceptionally bitter and thoroughly drained.
"Almost didn't escape Canterlot this time either. Now I know how you all feel, and Denra most of all.">Making a short 'want this?' motion with the burnable, a dejected smile is given.
"Least I got my last pay before final orders. 'You are hereby banished from Canterlot for life. Also don't come back or you'll be thrown in prison faster than you can teleport from here to the door'. Always thought I'd die in some horrific crash. Didn't know that would take years to go through."
>>349930>A short one eyed appraisal takes place from the batmare, unmoving and eerily still.>Snout twitching side to side, her shoulder armor lifts in a slow, measured 'don't care' shrug, or perhaps 'I don't mind' was more fitting.>Feeling air forced to move upwards from the cashmere ear tufts, there was no heat attached to the smoke.>While her mane was silky enough to pass for Nova it was less pleasing than Frost's, but the indications of what elemental force, or forces, were causing the effect eluded you.>Allowing a tiny smile from the boop, both of her ears wiggle playfully.>As a side effect your skin was now fully contracting away from the Honor Guard batpony as if it physically feared for safety.
"Be at ease, I am not here formally nor do I think I shall ever be here as such, so long as the status quo persists.">Dismissing the bow with her left wing in a slow motion, the underprincess scowls impotently.
"The greatness and unity you speak of exists the same as a great crystal work fractured into individual facets. Such is indicative of how marely Solar royals, and a few noble ponies, would have utilized Razorback to sort out the troubles they were too lazy to solve themselves. Or afraid of.">There was enough vitriol in her words to make it clear which side she would vote for.
"Bluntly speaking, your options are great, compared to what would have been 'offered'."
"Princess Luna allows Night or Lunar Guard whom desire to join Razorback the right if they are approved. Two or more Nightblades, their General whom resides here full time, one or more of the Lunar Council, and the Nightmare herself may conduct such an interview. She-">Smiling deviously, the batmare rolls her eyes in mock nonchalance.
"Was recommarended to me by a.. former colleague. Of course, the appearance of batponies in Canterlot is seen as an ill omen by a few superstitious wretches whom still believe the old, worn out myths. As I am allowed to requisition what is necessary for my Mareguards, a decommissioned suit of Honor Guard armor was simple to procure. Refits in Prance are never questioned."
"Then there are batponies, few of whom are like her. Undoubtedly you have met a few here, yet I will be brutally honest: from the outside the Moorites, an archaic term used to denote batponies that live in the Moors year round, seem a living contradiction. All are part of the Lunar faction itself, though do not directly serve. All may be called upon and once the task or mission is complete will return to their lives. They adhere to Princess Luna's will and commarends alone yet readily seek to aid others. Rare is the batpony whom pledges their efforts to another faction, even for a minute. Rarer still is the batpony whom in their soul is not a proud, lewd, merry being.">Glancing to her right at a unicorn Honor Guard, Lauterna huffs in a polite, not quite enthused tone, returning give a faux-insulted head shake.>There was that silent mental contact again.
"Captain Shanis of Tartarus Isle commarends a large number of Stalliongrad native pegasi and earth pony marecenaries, some of whom served in famous componies or companeighs. It would not take much to ask of her opinion on a suitable marecenary to hire or buy. "
"Of the Ferron it would be easy to find allies in the main clan though one must be warned: select carefully as some do not have self control. Their sub-clan kin are notably less lewd and more serious minded, the name eludes me. The Lunar General whom lives here belongs to said sub-clan."
"Malurian Druids of the Old Ways might accept taking a role as Mareguard, yet they may not be professional enough for your standards. The Malurian view of morals is... raw and ambiguous. Loose enough to save lives yet not enough to care for the rule of law. They consider the spirit of law far more useful than the language and letters combined."
"The Arkadian Divides are strict, no-nonsense pegasi whom are most proud of their martial capabilities. They are known more for being excellent, honest traders than their knowledge of the Dynasty. As well their propensity for ruin diving and usage of artifacts is more than most."
"Within the Crystal Empire are two main factions. The Kingdom adherents comprise the majority. Flexible, traditional, openly warm, welcoming, and military minded at heart. Skilled singers, artisans, crafters, and have a way with their technology that few understand. They are excellent traders and conduct neighgotiation with equal joy. However, most Kingdom adherents are between thirty to one hundred twenty years of age. At least half of them are forty-five and older."
"Then there are the Crystal Imperials, those born during or after the Empire's occupation. Young, reckless, headstrong, fiery, prone to fits of fervor. Positive and negative in equal measure. They see anything other than raw freedom as a stifling influence but are not revolutionaries per se. The oldest of them would be twenty-eight or so. Few would have served, or be willing to serve, the Wardens, that being the Empire's military."
"There is a high chance Queen Chrysalis of the Changeling Hive would allow one of her sons or daughters to serve you. Shapeshifters all, excellent combatants, tactful, respectful, honorable, have long memories. Their psionicism is roughly equal to that of earth ponies, yet they do not have an equivalent to Primal Psions.. that I know of. However, the vast majority of Canterlot still see Changelings as an existential threat due to past incidents. Myths and lies should not be considered 'fact'. I am not of Canterlot thus I have nothing negative to state against Changelings, their Queen, nor the Hive itself."
"Independents exist in marely places. Gryphons, perhaps even minotaurs may be willing.">Fixing a spot above your head with an angered glare, the underprincess snorts mockingly.
"Excluding myself? Until bonds are reforged or shattered to the last it is best for 'them' to remain hidden lest arrogant capriciousness take hold."
>>349931>Vaguely recalling the term from a conversation with Cadence the previous year, InterPonies were the result of crystal matrices in the Labyrinth developing sentience, then sapience, albeit either was extremely unlikely to develop.>Comparable to high tier autonomous A.I., at least the ones you knew of, they were wholly resonance based, interacting with Crystal ponies through hololiths, Crystal runes, and more rarely, sets of specialized Warden armor intended for anti-Construct purposes.>They couldn't interact with the world much, instead solely functioning in support roles.>Presumably they'd be utterly incapable of compatibility with electronics, biological systems, hybrids, or otherwise.
"Really sorry about that, I think I should start saying that part up front first."
"Wait, you think?"
"Sometimes I don't, no."
"Hah, just like me but better and more honest!"
"Keep saying that and I'll request you be put in charge of Ethereal visiting hours at night.">Left eyebrow raising, the other lowers as the Crystal-unicorn stifles a grin, Shattered Glacier grumbling incoherently around another glass of gel.
"I appreciate the sentiment. It's been almost two decades, now I mostly contend with the Shells that dare to return and their needs. Who knew being immortal would be more work than living?"
"Har har you wannabe Moorite.">Halting from the half-finished 'drink' and setting it down, the Shell turns rigid, eyes flicking up to you.
"Cadence, half the Warden Generals, maybe a few others knew her name. She didn't come from Razorback otherwise you'd know one went missing around eight months ago. World she came from was a.. what did you call it again?"
"I'll replace the words I used with this: a living horror that I can't even try to imagine."
"That. Her weapons looked a bit Construct, all metal and rounded. Louder, about the same range, not as accurate, darts locked inside steel tubes, not like arrows. Baton that stunned or gave off some hot red light. Heavy, round, eight hooves long, no spikes. Armor was something Belregard knew of, a polly-air-eh-mid. Not a pyramid, I've seen lots of those. Moved faster in it, hit harder too. Helmet like an oval fishbowl, not crystalline. Always talked to it like there was an InterPony inside. Never heard a voice though, something about im-plants, not like Construct ones.">Glacier nods at the ex-Prince to speak, whom sighs in exasperation at the table.
"Both of us were kept out of that loop, probably for good reasons. What I wanted was a debriefing on whether or not Tacit's plan was complete enough to release all the information collected so far. There are no idle healers around the Empire since someponies convinced those 'free healers' to help with casualties, which means his recovery could take weeks.">Head turning to examine the bandage covered stallion, Shining Armor slowly rotates towards the Shell with a suspect expression, both of her forelegs immediately raise in protest.
"You're immune to psionics due to being a Shell, I'm immune to psionics due to being technically undead, and there is someone here-">Nodding in your direction while keeping both eyes pinned on Shattered.
"That theoretically could make contact and speak to him."
"Okay, that wasn't what I thought you might say-"
"Don't jump to conclusions before they've been made."
"I wasn't jumping!"
"You were close to doing exactly that."
"Argh, you're such a.. a unicorn!"
>>349936>In sharp contrast with his body, Cheto found himself further mesmerized by this weird feeling of terror crawling through his skin.>If it weren't for the fact she seemed to be a busy mare, he'd want to have a one-on-one chat with her to see what was that all about.>Perhaps it's some sort of magical coercion common for more experienced mareguards?>Maybe it's his own gut feeling telling him not to trifle with her?>Regardless, he's personally witnessed that despite his advances, the mareguard seemed overall pleased with his antics, further bolstering his confidence for further exploration.>Speaking of...>José nodded politely in kind with a grateful yet more informal little smile.
"My apologies, miss Lauterna," he more amicably corrected soon after she finished her piece. "With all this distance between us and your mareguards, I believed otherwise.">As his hand left the batmare's personal boundaries, he soon extended it slightly towards her with an open, downwards palm ready to receive the potential greeting hoof.
"Let us correct this slight error in our introductions," he smoothly offered in kind.>If Prima were to comply with his offer, he'd also add a gentle poke on her snout to casualize the encounter just a little more.
"Once again, I must stress my deepest gratitude for what you've done for me today," he sincerely commented, trying to keep his holding just enough to symbolize his trust in her without making it too serious. "Will we be able to keep in contact for the foreseeable future? I may have some more questions as I keep learning more about Tallus and its many wonders and customs.">That, and perhaps make Prima one of his many earnest friends for when the going gets tough.>...maybe even more than that.>Meanwhile, in his mind, he listed the potential options Lauterna had provided.
(Captain Shanis has Stalliongrad pegasi and earth ponies...
(Ferron could be an option, but test self-control...
(Malurian Druids are in a similar boat due to their culture...
(Arkadian Divides are ambitious archeologists and traders...
(Kingdom adherents are astoundingly great yet old. The latter does not seem like a disadvantage at first glance. Further studying is required...
(Crystal Imperials seem a little too free-spritied to be mareguards, but it's no reason not to keep them in mind as a temporal companion...
(Changelings are great but stigmatized in the same marener as us in the region I wish to work on, so it's quite the gamble...
(More options are out there, so keep an open spot to see if we can find a diamond in the rough...
(Avoid wholly trusting nobles who are tentative to help Razorback. They might be prone to change their mind at the slightest shift in power dynamics, possibly.)
"No apologies please, it is no burden. They are comfortable at their duties and I am content to allow them individual peculiarities.">Lauterna steps forwards to extend a hoof, but before she can touch the batmare clears her throat abruptly, the sound a miniature thunder peal.>Three electric blue wingclaws grasp your hand lightly, the feel of warm polished stone despite heavy pressure against skin, though the underprincess' face reads as miffed beyond comprehension'>Her Honor Guard tosses a wide grin, then lets go.>Must be an injoke.>Emitting a low giggle at the boop, Lauterna politely accepts the greeting with a tiny head shake, her pad covered in soft cotton lace.
"Do forgive the 'antics' of a sort. It is customary of Prance's royalty to have one Mareguard entwine the ankle or knee as a welcoming greeting first, both to display trust and to examine for possible physical weakness thus ensuring no harm is dealt. Batponies are naturally excluded, their claws have much greater control. And are most amusing. In Canterlot-">Side-eyeing the unicorn to her left in palpable distaste, the targeted mare shifts uneasily.
"There is an expectation of a formal bow oft followed by a kiss to the hoof, among other tiresome theatrics. The games played by statesmares are offensive, they serve no purpose besides wasting time and chasing clout.">Eyebrows raising thoughtfully, the platinum-white Prenchmare's lips curl back, not quite a frown.
"I would share a great deal more were dawn not approaching. As I have little contact on this side of the world aside from honoring Princess Celestia or visiting my friends, my duties-">Snorting the word out in relief.
"In Prance are limited to three, perhaps four functions per week. Stamping trade agreemarents, settling civil disputes, officiating a mareriage, that sort. Legally speaking, I am entitled to far more but I prefer to allow greater civil self-rule, it is better to step in only when vital or necessary. That is one lesson Prance has historically failed. Twice.">Patting your palm lightly with a rueful smile, Lauterna retrieves her hoof, taking a step back and settling into a relaxed pose.
"The matter of procuring armor is equally difficult. I ponifally suggest that you do not use Solar armors such as these.">Lifting both wings to point at the Honor Guards.
"Nor should you wear Stalliongrad or Rushyan made armors. An excellent refit and paint would not be enough to dissuade a keen eye. Fairly, most any style shall do. There is a small change of that course: three weeks prior I was able to convince my..">Glancing down at the floor in abrupt fury, her jaw clenches several times before continuing, the tone barely controlled.
"Eldest surviving sister to allow Razorback the rights of salvage to the entirety of an abandoned Equestrian town or city. Such was done in typical, that is to say lazy, Canterlot
fashion: the missive was delivered a bare week prior. If I must be fair to her, I did not request specifics nor a time frame.">Only the bizarre batmare shows interest at the underprincess' words, the right side of her muzzle and slitted eye displaying a snide attitude.
"Equestria does not trade much more than amarenities, food, alchemicals, reagents, and services to marecenaries due to cottage industries and being spread apart. Likewise there is little private interest in equipping and maintaining more than one's civil militia and town guard though there are likely independents whom would do such. My apologies on this matter, I try not to spend time here. As for my homeland..">Lifting a hoof to rub her chin delicately, Lauterna's eyes lose focus in thought.
"Of the first two hundred humans to arrive on Tallus there were ten allowed to both Prance and Germaneigh yet those numbers have increased considerably in the past two years. I do not know why though I think.. nevermind. Those in Prance have joined the Germaneighan aligned in the past half year due to the early reports of Shrikes being confirmed by numerous parties. I have come across information there are more humans spread elsewhere in limited numbers. Excuse me, I am well off track. Situations across Tallus are quite difficult all around."
"With regards to the original agreemarent, all factions would support the largest one, that being Razorback, according to how many humans they would receive. It-">Halting herself angrily, Lauterna glares towards the batmare whom flicks her ears politely.
"I will NOT discuss this again."
"Get outta here La, I won't be long.">The tinged batpony's voice was half-rumbling distant thunder, half a smooth, softly amused cackle.>Lauterna spins about with her Maregaurds following suit, striding towards the now open door and exiting the room.
"Now I'm stuck with an empty altar and a rotten barrel of mangoes. No time like the present then!">Kicking back on her hooves, the batmare's head swivels straight onto you with a grim face.
"Does Razorback or you even know about the deal they were supposed to get, or do I gotta start from the beginning?"
>>349875>Mallia's thoughts shifted towards the visibly nervous Witch-Two's ASCII image. The Enginseer promptly conjures a streak of binary to gently "poke" the ASCII avatar of the Admiral on the arm as Mallia delivers a response.
(We will be fineee.~ The Storm Trooper's performance is hampered but that does not mean I cannot pick up the slack. We're a team after all!)
(And besides, he's doing great! He hasn't raised his voice, growled, or made vaguely hostile motions, even unconsciously!)
(I'm moreso hoping that he doesn't take his shortcomings too hard...) >Casting a look back towards Chisan as his voice reached her Vox, her bright viridian eyes smile at him in a look that she hoped might be reassuring by virtue of her innate confidence. >Swiftly, she turned her full attention back to Olympa! A quirk of her brow showing surprise at her implying that she eats 'metals'.
(Extremomorph dietary needs I guess? Makes sense--she's made of plasma. She might not even have organs the same way we do, let alone a stomach.)
(Though I don't really have soft metals to feed her...)>Then the Enginseer's smile grows to a childishly cheerful grin, which is followed by a peppy, high-pitched little giggle from the woman as the Sunspot denies being cute.
"What do you meaaann you are not cute?~">Mallia closes the distance a little quicker now, with a cheerful little loping step that clatters with the heavy sound of her combat boot hitting the hard floor.>In the same motion, her hand goes to the flowing mane of the Sunspot and applies VIP GREETING PROTOCOLS!
"Patpat.">Two (somewhat brave) pats dare to land on the previously incadescent plasma-filly with an exceeding mirth in Mallia's motions and in her viridian eyes.
"Youu... OLYMPA, are positively adowable."
"One could even say that you're a little ray of sunshine. Heheh~ Hmh~">Mallia's hands, as they gain confidence from NOT melting to ash, start petting and going to Olympa's ear to give it a careful, two-fingered rub along the length. Unconsciously considering the consistency of Olympa's mane and fur, how it felt as she touched it.>Meanwhile, her mechadendrite flicking and whirring softly behind her, wiggling about a little erratically as it loosens excitements bleeding from the enginseer's playful mood until it eventually comes to rest on her shoulder like some weird metal snake. >As her hand comes to rest on her thigh from patting Olympa, it lands on her thigh and then kneels down near the filly.>Just in case the "ritual" required the other party to also give headpats.>Headpats are nice anyway.
"But that aside...! I am
glad to meet you and I hope we can make friends!"
"... First though, I wanna let you meet my friends here." >Though at the same she also looked over at Naskha, inviting her closer with a swift motion of her hand.>Mallia excitedly shifts a little on her knee to better glance back at her comrades.
"That one is Nasiksta. My protector!">Mallia's mechadendrite clapping it's little manipulator claw in the background, quietly.>clik clik! clik clik!>She does cast a glance towards Chisan, tempted to introduce him in the same breath. But seeing him so despaired urge her to just... Give him a second.
(... Byy the way, do we have enough data regarding Sunspots? Should we be spooling up the Auspex to scan Olympa?)
>>349974>Prima needn't worry about being offended by the sudden gesture, as José couldn't help but smirk amusedly at the little scene of hand strength testing from Prench customs.>He listened on in rapt attention to her various nuggets of valuable information and advice, subtly leaning his back forwards.>One thing's for sure: He's got to visit Prance sometime.>The other matter is to avoid Solar armors for his future mareguards.>Not even the Stalliongrad or Rushyan ones.>A part of him solemnly lamented the current state of affairs that he couldn't properly explore said world without some heavy preparation and a ton of diplomatic elbow grease, as well as a mountain of favors.>Yet he optimistically figured that with enough time and effort, he could eventually win back their favor if he honed his poltiical skills and quell any and all qualms against him and his species.>As the royal mare hastily stopped herself from revealing any more of what seemed to be a massive bother to her and the batmare took the lead, Gallo turned to face the grim mare with a slightly concerned look.
"I can't speak for the entirety of Razorback," the man carefully replied "but I have been here for a mere day and there's still so much I don't know about.">With that said, he soon offered to provide the batpony with some gentle ear scritching to try and ease the discomfort to come.
"You can stick to the short version if you'd prefer" he added alongside his fingers of comfort. "I do not want to open up old wounds, even if it might be useful to me."
>>349934>Bubba would look up in surprise, eyebrows raising as he spots the train's Engineer.>His anger at the moment fading away for a bit of shock.
"I wasn't expecting to see you again... for quite a while.">He shook his head politely, declining the offer.>"Or at all, to be honest.">Bubba completely sat down, one leg stretched out with the other brought up to his chest.
>>349981>Transmission received, the image flows into an artificial pictcording: the Admiral jolts upright in visible surprise, all limbs flailing, then falls backwards while the heavy Guardsman turns to point point down at her.
'and you complained about me not paying attention. you know thats always a possibility to codetouch so whos the idiot this time?'
'Stop talking, right now!'>Loud static emits from the Auspex unit, Tox-11's infectious booming laughter filling the room.>Chisan switches from facepalm to merely crossing his arms, furiously trying not to smirk.>On the other side Nashka snickers into her hands, meanwhile the Sunspot's ears perk forwards.
"Is that one of your friends? I can feel ghosts and Spectrals around me sometimes but it takes a while to find them.">Biting his cheeks at the voxcaster going silent, the Storm Trooper nods in return just as Andronal takes on a contemplative tone.
'highly plausible if fusion-fission reactions are natively controlled. possible taste aspects relating to material functions?'
'Correction: Administratum Mechanicus studies have long correlated atomic particulates to have a defined quotient factor when utilized as reactor fuel. Uranium and plutonium were denoted to have bitter reactions due to sub-random atomic fluctuations. Soft metals such as copper, silver, nickel, gold, platinum were considered sweet due to their more consistent atomic fluctuations. A fascinating case study should it be corroborated.'>At first shaking her head, Olympa stops, eyes rolling and hanging her wings in defeat.
"Maaaybe a little bit.">Accepting the touch with a curious expression, her previously on fire mane was now slightly below a lukewarm barrel, and despite the appearance it felt like a single sheaf of softly brushed real cloth.>The Sunspot makes a round fishface, quickly turning into a snicker and flapping her wings once.
"Fine, you win! Just don't put me on a windowsill and ask when the Sun is up 'cause I'd rather sleep.">Unlike her mane the ears were covered in a thin layer of fine hairs, equal to Raindrop's high body temperature.>Eyes closing at the constant attention, Olympa's snout wiggles in what you took to be happy motions.
"This feels really nice. Reminds of floating around in lava ponds.. maybe sitting in a bonfire.">Cracking one eye open to inspect the girl's now relaxed stance, the other opens as a wide smile takes over her face, the front left instantly snapping up.
"Are you from.. Rushya?!">Something you said definitely sparked interest.>Doing her best not to appear surprised, Nashka slides forwards to kneel down next to you, taking the furiously wiggling hoof with both hands.
"Am from Russia on Otherworld, is like but not sa-"
"You're Otherworldly too?! This is perfect! We're all friends now 'cause I love Rushya! Stalliongrad is too cold for me but that's okay too!">Casting a 'what were we doing here?' look in your direction, the Vostroyan predecessor simply accepts the excited plasma filly's attention.
"Glad meet you O-lym-pah, w-"
"Were you born in the Uran Mountains?"
"Where's your family crest?"
"What IS your family crest? Do you have mountain seals and water dragons there too? Oh, what about vine melons?">Failing to suppress an unabashed grin, Nashka's situation readout was: hopelessly enthusiastic.>Giving a short 'not yet' hand signal, the Scion turns to call down the hallway.
"Raindrop, please bring the squad here along with yourself, there is an ally of your ancestors here!"
"Wait what, there's MORE of you from Rushya?! Hello there!"
*"Oh fra-"*>Muting the Scion's half-laugh amid the Sunspot's, Tox-11 pings back a list of newly created, sorted, revised, organized, and rapidly filling datafiles.
'theres never enough data castella. still cross referencing and running diagnostics of first five scans, will let you know where to scan soon'
>>349933>I stare and question why she was making an entire lesson on the pegasi for me.>Probably to lightly distract herself.>Glancing down at the skipper, I quickly shrug to myself and resume petting it, content in knowing I didn't have to worry about it detonating in my lap for the time being.>At least its cute.
"No, what's above us. We have a... way of being able to tell when something feels off.">Grimacing, I watch it for a brief moment, before idly motioning upwards.
"We're not under an overcast sky, Wild. Those clouds are way too... low quality for naturally, or pegasi, occurring clouds.">Quickly tracing them with my finger, I do some fast math.
"Too orderly, and they're more or less thirty kilometers long each.">I shift and observe for a moment.
"Plus those clouds are moving north in a way that anything natural wouldn't. I've seen clouds plenty of times while here, I highly doubt that they 'pulse' while moving through the sky."
Question: what is one of humanity's worst enemies that can appear any time, any where, with no rationale whatsoever?
Answer: Boredom, the Mindkiller, AKA That Which Lurks Longest.
How then may one slay boredom and keep it at bay longer? Bring a friend. How about two friends? Three, four, five? Why not as many as humanly possible?
On one minute, barely distinguishable from any other, the lives of 62 horsefuckers, writefags, newbies, rookies, and pastel appreciators would irrevocably change.
Image #1: dredged from the blackest abyss of classified documents, removed from its hollow resting place by the combined hatred of niggers and faggots, unsealed by the shards of ten thousand empty liquor bottles, unwrapped by the efforts of countless horse enthusiasts before us, and finally, released with a single iota of pride.
48 men divided into three assault teams of 16 men each.
8 men divided into 4 marksman/sniper sections of 2 men each.
1 Grill Master.
1 Booze Organizer.
3 base guards.
As always such a union could not last. Hope alone is never enough to maintain interest. The test most failed was how long could such a large group remain consistent, accept the most basic of rules which would prevent scumfuckery or drama, and not turn into retardedly desperate power fantasy murder hobos.
Honestly it only took 2 hours before the selection process was finalized, at which point most the idiots lost interest since they couldn't simply do whatever the fuck they wanted. That's not the point.
The original idea had little spice: kill a bunch of Diamond Dogs and after surviving 15 years you get to become a citizen? The French Fucking Foreign Legion is a million times better than that.
The above has no long term draw. Sure, it could make an interesting one-shot, but no more. What it didn't do was attract people that wouldn't simply explore a story. A few of us, writefags, Forever GM's, Forever Players, among others, desired more: for all to TAKE PART in many and marely stories, whenever or wherever they had the time.
Discussion is multi-sided. Agreements must be rationalized, weighed, considered. Objections, interjections, refusals of flaws take place. Focus is given to adding spice, individuality, character, and most importantly: substance.
The previous iteration of #Operators in Equestria failed due to lacking substance as simple writefagging allowed people to release their full retardation. It.. wasn't pretty. There's a couple hundred reasons no one wants to remember much of that early shit.
What the restart needed in particular was an easy to read, deploy, and use rule set. It was then that a number dice players asked: "Why don't we make this a Text Based Dice RPG? That way no one can powergame or go full stupid omni-everything guy." The suggestion was agreed to, and then-
Discussions quickly broke the fuck down:
Three GM's declared: "MY dice system is the best so FUCK YOU I will not budge!" Thankfully most everyone ignored them.
Five more GM's, two Forevers, two long timers, and a fun I'm Getting There! novice talked about what dice system would be the easiest to use for both novice and master. They conceded two points: the more bullshit and powergaming prone dice systems would be utterly useless, and that any decisions made must be done so as a whole. These five decided that Simple D6+ would be the basis, while borrowing systems from Enhanced D6 and D6 Expanded+ were useful to future proof later efforts in case of massive rewrites, revisions, or total format changes.
Ignoring """input""" from the first three, two of the five began already writing out basic plans, backstories, histories, locations, and much, much more.
Meanwhile, the other three of five stepped up their recruiting efforts, keeping the thread going with on-topic and up to date discussions of what was going on in the background, giving estimates on time frames, and allowing snippets on when the first Operation might start.
There's a great deal of history that's not stated here, including fifty some hours of mIRC chat logs. In the background, those three fuckups were avidly attempting to sabotage the idea and ruthlessly demanding others bow to their self-superior ways. Just like in communism: when the ideas of everyone else are OFFENSIVE, then everyone else MUST BE WRONG and they HAVE TO BE PUNISHED. Their 'efforts' didn't last more than three days.
After a stress free period of free writing, cooperation, lots of coffee, cigarettes, and booze, the five GM's halted their three-day Marathon. Reading over the vast backgrounds written down, hallmarking further ideas, discussing later systems, four of the five greatly approved, aside from minor format changes and spellchecks. One of those five, however, did not feel the same way. It is that one currently writing, but this part of the story would have no impact for the first week.
Two of the three fuckups relented from their quarreling and accepted the "basic but y'know this actually looks interesting to use" D6 system. A magical time was had when the last one screeched "but it won't last because I SAY it won't last! It's too simple, too easy, too accessible! It won't drive away all the normies!" It was then that the majority of players realized he was talking about himself.
The first Operation. It was a quick, simple setup, quite par for the course when everyone was just beginning to hammer out their own writing formats, and getting used to rolling dice. Little rough around the edges, basic, but the task itself was simple: start the train's engine NOW, we are about to fucking leave and everyone not on board is going to be left behind. None could have predicted that task would eventually carry the heaviest of weights.
As a much wiser man stated: "it cannot be certain that truth will be uncovered by the curious nor the honest". More details shall go missing, except for this: it was the beginning of a magical journey. One that has not ended.
100 humans from 100 different worlds were summoned to Equestria, the majority arriving during or after their death. A few were delivered strange, formal letters of acceptance, the writing unusual, the name a complete unknown. Who, however, would refuse such a gift from a Princess? Not one threw their letter away.
Between the larger numbers of /k/ommandos and smaller number of curious men, the excitement was boiling over. To quote a certain man: "It's time."
The briefing was short, simple, and to the point: Princess Celestia required Razorback Company to undertake a discreet action in reclaiming an 'old asset', supposedly a campsite in a mountain forest. Giving the false estimate of "six kilometers" by train in an effort to prevent certain ponies from taking advantage of Razorback, the Solar Princess used their departure to begin formal preparations for their eventual return.
Of course, nothing was ever simple
when humans are involved.
Tensions simmered for reasons mundane, magical, and everything inbetween, though no one committed that most serious act: infighting. Hours passed in the relative quiet of night, the Operators settling in and debating their new life on this strange world of magical pastel equines. It was then that the first indications of something terribly wrong ring out: loud shrieks in the buffet car along with the overflowing stench of acid.
The first enemy, or perhaps the first indication of the troubles plaguing Equestria, was a vaporous being in the shape of a pony, yet worse: the 'body' was one object. Capable of forming projections, weapons, and distorting itself into simulated shapes, including firearms, the creature rampages through the car injuring a dozen Operators, wounding the majority at least once, but was unable to secure a kill.
The combined efforts damage the creature into an incoherent sodden mass of wet blue gelatin-like substance, though in the center remained a fist sized, dull white sphere. One man dares to pick up the sphere, while another claims a set of bizarre crystal-like shards. Perhaps, a few of the Operators mused to each other, the situation in Equestria wasn't deteriorating: there was a lack of status quo, one that needed to be corrected by Otherworldly beings with no connection to external influences.
Soon afterwards those Operators whom took part in destroying the creature were rewarded for their actions. Among the prizes were two that stood out: a letter addressed from a Marquis, and an armored batpony Night Guard doll that was indestructible by normal means. None of Razorback questioned where the gifts came from, nor did they in the future.
Throughout the whole time a certain dipshit had gone on his own tirade of self-fulfilling power fantasies, ignoring the rules that were clearly set down, making up his own, and generally being the worst dipshit possible. The /b/tards were first to call him out, surprising everyone else. He'll be mentioned more times.
As most of the GM's quit for the night (or day, that one lucky bastard), two decided to continue writing and revising background documents and systems while keeping an eye on the thread. It was no surprise that the same dipshit went on another tirade and got slapped the fuck out. That event has, since then, been affectionately referred to as The Slappening. In a case of just desserts, the dipshit takes multiple head injuries in a row, sustaining a massive concussion and passing out.
A few more disagreements later, much smaller in scope, the train was quiet once more til dusk. After a partial night's sleep (5 GM's worth), they discussed what would occur next on the train ride. Luckily, one of the still-awake GM's hopped on to deliver their heavily modified and finally finished version of the Enhanced D6 system that used consecutive rolls to determine random events. Scaling from 1 to 6, 1 being bad/terrible/awful, to 6 being great/best/unexpected, it was quickly put to use.
A peculiarly dapper unicorn in spectacles and covered in bandages arrives on the train, presumably aided by [REDACTED]. Without bothering to explain his own situation, he declares to Razorback that he was Princess Celestia's diplomat, that he will be ambushed 'for the fifth time', and at current, he is their employer and they had best protect him. It was then that a massive flying creature to the south was spotted, one that would eventually become the best and worst enemy those humans of Razorback would face.
Equestrian scholars and researchers all agree The Hyfalgryph is an Eldritch being that hails from an entirely separate and unexplored omniverse within a self-contained spectrum. It is freely able to traverse most otential realities, dimensions, spectrums, Planes of existence, omniverses, and immaterial fields without suffering undue harm. The method by which it protects itself is a multilayered self-fulfilling entropic state, physically appearing as armor resembling scales. The scales themselves are not directly connected, spaced by a thin layer of membrane that functions as skin. The worst part, most humans think, is its choice of weapon: music.
The Hyfalgryph is no stranger to human music, and has traversed millions of Otherworlds searching for the most catchy tunes. What it has in taste, it lacks in self-defense. The Operators of Razorback open fire on the gryphon-hippo-dragon abomination as it does the same, releasing a visceral blast of sound as its opening strike.
Musical duels are either spectacular to watch or conducive to the worst of nightmares for life. For the most part Razorback opts to shoot rather than accept the challenge. This goes poorly, the Abomination savaging the entire Company until taking note of three particular humans, inviting them for a dueling challenge.
In short order, two complete the duel and The Hyfalgryph concedes those man did, indeed, have the funk, leaving two of its precious scales. Meanwhile, the dipshit from before is cancelled.
Post #2/2, The Second Night Ends.
Now safe from The Hyfalgryph whom fucks off, the VIP seats himself to rest and recover. Amusingly only two Operators realize the VIP's injuries were due to the Eldritch Abomination.
Soon after another set of rewards is given out to those that aided, including several more hoofmade hats of near-French make. It was a shame they never investigated the source.
More altercations ensue with the dipshit. Between slapping someone else, chucking a teapot at another man's head, then returning fire to knock out an Operator, it was here he was finally on everyone's 'delete that fucking faggot at first chance' list.
Around midnight, long after most of the Day, Royal, and Honor Guard had gone to sleep, a new pony face arrives in the buffet car, that of a curly-coated pegasus mare. Politely offering to serve drinks and food, what would become another frenemy of Razorback
states the least suspicious sentence ever:
"I hope you all like trout."
One Operator recalls that the buffet team had decided to GTFO. Several others delude themselves into thinking the new pony is a threat. Questions are asked, an interrogation occurs, answers are given. The pony states herself to be a 'former' Night Guard, which some Operators take to be an even bigger threat. Magazines are reloaded, grenades are silently passed around, preparations made. Then a filthy mujihadeen goes and scares the pony by attempting a surprise allahu snackbar. What ensues next: absolute. fucking. chaos.
Shrieking at the sandboy three times in to make space and get him out of her immediate vicinity, three Operators open fire as the jihadi crumples into a ball. Then, a tear gas grenade is thrown as six more vapor 'ponies' reveal themselves in a coordinated surprise attack, one Operator immediately grabbing the VIP and hauling him towards the Engineer car.
Beating down the vapor ponies with considerable injuries to several, a certain Doctor unleashes his grenade launcher while while multiple hails of buckshot and rifle fire now ring throughout the car. Razorback succeeds in damaging every fucking thing, including each other several times, while the Night Guard has encounters no problems trampling most of the multiple squishy, barely armored humans she could get at.
During this time the dipshit pulls the last straw and is point blank deleted by a shotgun. That man is still owed a debt to this day.
Fully resisting another grenade, several more shells full of buckshot, and a heavy rifle round, the pegasus pushes in the shit of 8 Operators, forces more into GTFO'ing, but a brave few remain standing long enough to lasso and attempt wrangling protocols... IMMEDIATELY broncobusting the fuck out of another two into severely injured status and nearly killing three more. Fortunately, one Operator knew how to dance with the pegasi. That, dear friends, is a story of how the ride must never end, for good, or ill.
After defeat was conceded, a strange man makes his first entrance to Razorback. Armed with nothing more than a tuxedo, a gambler's debt, and a flat attitude, the human gestalt known as Anonymous makes his intentions clear: 'please don't fuck up, my ass is riding this rollercoaster just like all of you'.
[It was here that another GM arrives, one that immediately sets about to reformatting all of the various documents to much simpler, easier to read and cross-reference standards. Those of us that remember you still do, sir, and we will not forget your contributions nor the aid that allows us to continue.]
Another day passes between conversation, chatter, and recovering from injuries sustained. An hour or two before dusk, the train comes to a halt, and half a kilometer ahead is the remains of a 'small' castle. Razorback then learns that the 'camp site' was never an intended target, nor was the location six kilometers away. It was instead the remains of Old Canterlot, a vast fortress city-state which had been abandoned for nearly a thousand years. Princess Celestia's goal for Razorback was clear: find out what the fuck was going on, make it safe, and formally claim it as their base.
However, as a result of the Trout Incident, Razorback would have no information on what the events surrounding their first mission meant, nor what possible dangers were inside. Though crumbling from weather and depredation, it was presumed that the internal structure wasn't too horribly damaged and only a few humans would attempt to breach the ruin in case of Shit Going Wrong. A single roll from all the active awake
Operators was made to determine whom goes.. then an Operator makes a severe tactical mistake: attempting to be silent. He critically fails, which backfires GREATLY!
Another six vapor 'ponies' decloak themselves, four of which are immediately wiped out, the remaining two unharmed and charging in. A counter-charge is made destroying them, though the remaining being releases a spray of acid which burns the mujihadeen in ways that were definitely not legal.
While those injured take a bit of time to recover from their recent wounds, the jihadi takes a different course of action: locating and successfully impaling a giant vapor 'pony'. Yes, that means rape. No, it's still illegal if they're barely sentient.
Those that care enough to save the snackbar do so, vaporizing it with concentrated weapons fire.
A total of eight Operators are given the green light to proceed into the ruins of Old Canterlot, rushing past a group of veteran armored vapor 'ponies' that were too stunned to move as their main gestalt had been violated.
Upon opening Old Canterlot's doors, a profound, agonizing sight awaits them, that of a long dead pony clad in damaged remnants of archaic Solar armor. Tonelessly declaring the Operators to be Tyrant Celestia's executioners, General Sharonel of the Solar Guardians greets them. One Operator, unable to control his impulses, immediately opens fire though the rest opt for diplomacy. The first mistake.
Post #1/2, The Collapse.
Ignoring the insignificant wound yet angered by the offensive as she had not yet raised her hooves first, Sharonel accepts the requests from three humans to speak: "I have waited a thousand years. What is another minute, or hour?"
Granting one question from each, Sharonel answers to them:
That she has waited a thousand years for vindication, stating that she cannot justify her pain of controlling the vapor 'ponies', which would later become known as 'The Tainted', any longer.
That she had been in Old Canterlot for too long, and would not allow her former Princess of the Sun to return without dealing with the problem, that being Sharonel herself. Stating she expected Celestia's elite, Sharonel believes that they are merely occupied elsewhere, and Razorback will instead be her challenge.
That she did not suffer the illusions of her life or death, and still felt the pain of those that followed her into their doom.
That she couldn't eat whatever 'spam' was, though she wished to.
That the last Operator's question was... wrong. Exclaiming the Operator accused her of frightening Princess Celestia, Sharonel declares that he would die for his insult, and that after his death would savage hu`um worlds for her own satisfaction.The second, least worst mistake.
Despite her majorly decayed physical state, the Lancer General of the Day Guard retained her skills, knowledge, and techniques but most importantly still held the Lance of Magnus, the First Marquis, an archaic silverine weapon capable of producing severe flame enchantmarents with a thought. Savaging the humans with difficulty and ignoring all harm dealt to her, the human compliment is immediately and severely outmatched by their unexpected enemy. Crippling one into near death and downing another, the weight of human words tears at the enraged Undead mare's spirit even though they were Otherworldly.
Although the humans would be unable to kill her, the damaged Lance of Magnus would no longer function properly it was still a lethal weapon, and she had lost an eye. Despite her own misgivings towards the former Solar Tyrant, and still not fully believing Princess Celestia had returned to her full senses in the past millennia, there was enough truth outside her single-mindedness that Sharonel opted to trust them. The third and final mistake, one that still haunts Razorback.
Dismissing the eight Operators from their otherwise useless assault and proclaiming a short sentence that must be repeated to the former Tyrant, Sharonel then turns to address the countless Tainted surrounding them all. Singing the opening line to a sorrow-ridden, calm melody, Old Canterlot's weight, the horrors it had experienced, the grief from thousands of Tainted, and last Sharonel's long restrained psionic prowess buckles every last support within the ancient city-state.
Barely escaping with their physical lives intact, the Operators return to the train. The Sun then began to rise over the deeply settled ruins. The wording of Princess Celestia's request had been completed, yet the spirit was left broken and empty.
One Operator, internally wounded from the experience, sought out the unicorn VIP, previously stating his name to be Denra, and another for information on Princess Celestia's instructions. Admitting that he had chickened out before sending the eight in due to fear and Denra would not accept responsibility for what might occur due to his injuries from the Hyfalgryph, the second Operator let slip that he'd been listening in.
For his part, Denra took the implications of that failure harshly, stating that when they reached New Canterlot he would immediately resign and turn to other, more ponial matters, ones that he felt more fitting.It was at this point Denra felt honest anger towards Princess Celestia. Furious at his 'failure' and lacking clarity to understand the reasons behind Sharonel's death, the diplomat begins to plot the Sun's destruction.
Part #2/2, The Collapse.
Returning to the still standing, if barely, station 500M from the ruin, a number of Operators noticed a number of unusual tracks, sounds, and missing items, mostly food and alcohol, while their own firearms, weapons, and electronics were completely untouched. Several more quickly remembered the same occurring each time that Tainted had appeared. Investigating more thoroughly, two Operators locate the imprints of ponyshoes across most of the train, smaller than unicorn tracks, except those had been covered by thin socks.
One Operator comes across a stealthy number of individual tracks, estimating the total number to be at least forty, while several more realize the shape to be from pegasi. The ambush had been freshly set, but the snare was tripped by another Operator realizing that the large number of stealthy sock-wearing pegasi were simply waiting to take advantage.. which had been lost.
Summoning the 'former' Night Guard General into combat, over a dozen Operators take defensive positions as the pegasi swarm above, far too marely to take out quickly. Striking first, several Operators open fire while another fails to crack open a nerve gas grenade, several of the raiders backing off at the unknown weapon. As the earth-pony sized Night Guard General tears into the bandits and raiders with extreme prejudice, a few more humans outside the train take cover and continue their assault.
Razorback's mostly successful defense prevents three humans from being dragged off, but the raiders inflict severe damage to several. Another nerve gas grenade is dispensed to good effect, shooing off five with a light dose. After twenty-five seconds of direct combat the Night Guard General returns to the ground, having demolished fifteen pegasi bandits in the air. Unable to continue and claiming that she had to cool off, the giant pegasus leaves to take cover behind the train. As the Operator watches her retreat, he notes the General's injuries were quickly healing over, much faster than most magic would allow.
Striking down more and more bandit pegasi in consecutive furious counterattacks, five humans are moderately to severely injured before the bandit leader states they were desperate due to Tainted exiting Old Canterlot, making it impossible to trade for food and supplies. The leader is then forcefully taken down, but inflicts several broken bones on two more humans.
Returning to the former melee, General Twisted Wing stops to check each downed bandit, taking her time to examine the blue and green painted ones most of all. Reacting to several questions evasively, Twisted half-heartedly explains the raider and bandit pegasi to be 'part of a wandering clan', and would normally be trading instead of stealing. Requesting a fire be built close to the train and to leave the other pegasi alone, she questions several Operators as to why Old Canterlot Fortress was gone, and what happened.
Still not giving direct answers, Twisted Wing's numerous and rather major head injuries, despite healing at an abnormally accelerated rate, prevent her from recalling the Ferron clans normally traded for food from batponies in the Moors. Given several details on the incident, the General was thoroughly aggrieved at learning Sharonel existed in an Undead state for nearly a millennia, only to be 'dealt with' harshly and, to her mind, dishonorably.
Giving zero care to the injured pegasi, none of whom had life threatening injures (of those she didn't care for), Twisted Wing went on to excoriate their lack of diplomarecy. Upon receiving an answer to 'why were the Ferron hungry', a veteran Sea's Bounty mare, later learned to be one of her older nieces, responded with the following: 'the mist ones destroyed our food stockpiles'. After decades of living with the various Ferron clans, both her own Sea's Bounty sub-clan and the Lishanki bandits/raiders, Twisted was willing to accept that they told the truth. Asking a trade of one week's worth of food to resettle the Sea's Bounty, and giving all of the rest medical care, General Twisted Wing leaves the matter settled.
Soon afterwards another visit from the human gestalt Anonymous occurs. This time he had won-but-also-lost a bet against a strange, tall equine with black patchwork skin, numerous holes covering the body, green wings resembling those of a delicate insect, lastly having a horn with unusual protrusions and mars. Mentioning that such successes and defeats were being carefully tracked by 'other parties', in particular the Queen whom had just shown herself, Anon leaves.
[At this point a break was concluded. Approximately 20 Operators had joined, an equal number had left, another GM was added to the mix, one toxic bitch of a GM left, and the originals of what would become the pastebin records & documents were mostly finished due to four GM's in constant communication with each other on mIRC. Several reformats later, everything an Operator needed to know was accessible within three clicks, a Ctrl+F, and a key word or two.]
Razorback was recovering at the train station from wounds both physical and immaterial. Both the Sea's Bounty sub-clan and Lishanki bandit/raiders had moved on, Twisted Wing joining the first. While attempting to enjoy the scenery, eight Operators make the mistake of venturing too deeply into the Old Everfree Forest. Encountering a variety of bizarre creatures, plants, reptile-plant hybrids, plant-SOMETHINGS, and a Young hydra, the Operators react with their standard 'KILL EVERYTHING TRYING TO EAT US!' mindset. It works.. at least until one Operator is showered with reptilian fecal material from planting his boot so far up the Young Hydra's digestive system that it found nowhere else to go except OUT. Which was horribly followed up by two more Operators diving into the Young Hydra's anal cavity in the search for useful body parts. One Operator in particular turns around and N O P E S the fuck right out, knowing that even Big Boss would have shot both of them.
Later that day, Denra, the former diplomat VIP, had had enough. Still faking a 'strained relationship' with General Twisted Wing, he invites a small team of humans to meet with Queen Chrysalis. Disguising his intentions under the ploy of having Razorback find out what the Queen's intentions were, especially after 'borrowing' another Operator for a short time, Denra sends eight to The Hive.
Arriving at the painfully organic outer shell from Denra's diplomatic badge initiating a formal translocation, one Operator is internally disturbed, yet remains calm at the dead, staring green eyes of numerous Changelings. Outside the black chitin and holes everywhere, he maintains his composure enough to show off the badge and request admittance.
Initially greeted by a Warden-class phenotype, the voiceless unicorn-like Changeling accepts the request, leading them to the Inner Hive while taking on a ceremonial marener. Outside the preparations for blowing a way out using explosives, Razorback is neither accosted not halted. Reaching the Inner Hive in short order, the eight Operators are informally greeted by Queen Chrysalis on a throne comprised of Changeling carapace, having been quickly awoken by the Warden's marental urgings.
Receiving those eight, and utterly ignoring their explosives, Chrysalis focuses on the more important questions asked of her. Dismissing one Operator for his perceived lack of tact and knowledge, the rest are answered with a distinct lack of excitemarent. Admitting that she waylaid an Operator on the train and absorbed his memories, the Queen's early deception that occurred before the Ferron sub-clans' raid is left unsaid: she does not state WHICH human, nor how. Remember that for later.
Stating that she desired a 'return to the old days', Chrysalis reveals part of the extent to which the Hive had fallen on difficult times due to stealing the voices of all Changelings. Acknowleding an unusual scar on her armored forehead, the Queen carefully states that it was dealt to her, 'my lesson was learned', due to a near-death experience. Again dodging the which Operator had been copied, Chrysalis halts Razorback's further inquiries on her intentions by stating she wanted to speak with Denra again, and that Princess Cadenza's marental wounds had still not healed.
As the Warden returns all eight Operators back to the Hive's entrance, one of them recognizes that since Changelings could not 'speak' aloud, nor sing together with Crystal ponies as they once did, their continual psionic contact was the problem: they were unable to purge the negative effects of their moods, instead equally sharing their pain.
Returned to the train once again, one of the three fuckup GM's decides that it was time to End The Ride, pulling the trigger on his pistol and splattering his brains out everywhere. IT WAS A SIMPLE FUCKING QUESTION YOU DEADBEAT, HALF-KIKED, MARXIST-STALINIST LOVING NIGGERCUCKFAGGOT: "Could you add a bit more description to your GM posts? This isn't a PUG (Pick Up-and-play Group) and most everyone enjoys the longer format instead of short one-liners and tiny explanations." Fuck you, (((Comrade)))! I give my oath now that if you did NOT fuck off to some pathetic demise in jewcrane, I will track your worthless jew-loving microdick self down in the middle of World Whore Fucking 3 just to nerve gas you then piss on your twitching corpse! Your dogshit contempt deserves nothing less.
After their visit to The Hive, Denra swiftly destroys his diplomatic badge, afterwards paying Razorback the sum he'd promised earlier. Stating that a barrack-fort was mostly built, though not where, he cautioned Razorback to be careful how much, when, and where they spent Bits.
Some time afterwards, a massive gift package containing fruits, nuts, vegetables, and near-human medical supplies arrives on the train. Inside is a large piece of quarts covered in unicorn runes and a note that read: 'Come see me in my office - Spiral'. The note's reverse contained a time, date, place, and the number of Operators allowed to visit: 5 in total.
Post #1/2: An Unlikely Ally.
Selecting five humans, Denra explains 'Spiral' to be a reclusive unicorn in Canterlot. A well regarded researcher-noble with great distinction and master of numerous fields, particularly unique or rare creatures, the Marquis had exceptional knowledge of both the New and Old Everfree Forests.
Feeling that the reclusive unicorn would be more than willing to aid Razorback as they were 'unique creatures', Denra sends them off with little fanfare by throwing the inscribed quartz into a campfire that had been built earlier.
Arriving in Canterlot Underground before a pair of old double doors, the team wastes no time knocking despite the fact that there were other doors in what seemed to be a maintenance area. Admitting the five inside cheerfully, Razorback's representatives are welcomed to the Underground Archive by the Marquis himself, seated in a well worn chair that looked like, but was not, leather, and dressed in a silk vest. The vast underground room was lit by glow gloves, dozens of tables heavily laden with finished and unrecognizable experimarents, objects, books, among examples of flora and fauna that none of the humans were able to categorize.
Speaking with the humans shortly, then admitting his lack of ignorance as to Princess Celestia's decision to hire Otherworldly mercenaries, a question from one Operator on Necromarecy shocks the Marquis. Stating that Operator should cease talking, Spiral fails to notice a certain book being taken and read. Asking a favor of the Operators, Spiral denotes that he would be willing to trade for 'new flora and fauna' in the New Everfree. Marentioning a 'patch of green acid that attacks people', not one Operator questions what was meant.
[It would be discovered much later on that other humans had already arrived outside of the initial 100 in Equestria, and 100 more dispersed elsewhere.]
Actively dodging the question of what he was, or is, outside of being a researcher and collector, Spiral again fails to notice one Operator becoming possessed by a Naghtmare in the book that had been swiped. Offering to trade his knowledge for samples in the Everfree, the Marquis finally realizes what was occurring, then makes his distaste known as he can do nothing about it.
*NOTE: Naghtmares are semi-unique ponies 'reborn' through a combination of Necromarecy, Druidry, and Mysticism. Each are given distinct advantages according to the Element infused to each by Princess Luna. Early iterations of that process had a 1:50 success rate; by the time of the Lunar-Solar War it had been refined to 1:8.
Quickly reacting to the Operator's physical possession by numerous stunning punches and multiple doses of morphine, the Operators decide to leave, dragging him along. Another Operator exacerbates the situation, punching the possessed in his face which releases the trapped Acid Naghtmare. More resilient than they first expected, the physically 'rotten' Naghtmare does not react to weapons fire, savaging one Operator, then another in quick succession, focused on harming those that damaged it the most.
Summoning General Twisted Wing once more, now halfway recovered, along with the Wild Ride (an upgraded station wagon with a heavy machine gun mount) and two more Operators, one as driver, one as gunner.
The team's attempt at retreating continues to fail while Twisted Wing rips into the acid Naghtmare, successfully (barely) keep it pinned in place to keep it from moving. Razorback's Operatives finally destroying the body, the acid Naghtmare leaving no trace aside from a violent smog which they didn't notice retreating into the formerly possessed Operator. This would come back later.
Twisted Wing states she could not be seen near Canterlot and leaves immediately. After some PTSD care, Marquis du Spiral returns the Operators to their train, still in the New Everfree forest, where Denra was setting up Razorback's next meeting.
Post #2/2: An Unlikely Ally.
Two days of slow travel on the train, mostly due to extensive damage caused by the Hyfalgrphy and Operators themselves, Razorback reaches a small coal station. (Charcoal is in high demarend and use; neither coal nor carbon-based oil exist on Tallus). Replenishing what they could from the remaining charcoal stocks and conduct further repairs, the Station-master states an abandoned mineral mine was 200M behind the station itself. Abandoned for at least a century, it was once known to produce good amounts of metals and gems, but the last miners had been driven out by 'something annoying'.
Taking up the position of Rookie Wrangler, one Operator takes three of the least experienced humans in. Compensating for their lack of equipment with borrowed gas masks and flashlights, the Rookie Wrangler overhears Denra betting 5,000 Bits if the team comes back with nothing. As the four enter the mine, it was still in excellent condition, albeit the estimate of a century's disuse couldn't be corroborated due to the location being sheltered.
Finding the upper mine section utterly stripped of valuables, the four make their way down into much more difficult air, the gas masks compensating somewhat for stagnancy. Hearing subtle, unidentified clicks deep below, the Operators continue downwards.
Beginning to choke, two of the Operators come across some valuables, the first a large chunk of native gold, the second a pile of small gems. Further locating a moderate sized piece of native silver, then a geode, the team finds what they didn't want to see on the ceiling: hundreds of six-legged arachnoids staring down at them with two glowing blue eyes. Definitely pissed off, the arachnoids give chase while the Rookies and their Wrangler shower the horde with weapons fire. Killing a small number and preventing the faux-spiders from turning their insides into delicious outsides, the four make their way back up removing chechens at an even more rapid rate.
Preventing the arachnoids from escaping by the use of a molotov and two tactically placed grenades, the four humans return to the train. Held back by the flames, both grenades cause enough damage to the outer support posts, collapsing the mine's entrance. Only a few arachnoids escape but are quickly destroyed by the station's ponies.
Hoofing over the promised coins, Denra confers with an Operator on the amount Razorback currently possessed: roughly 25,000 Bits worth. It was enough to hire a number of support staff ponies for the Fortress.
Denra's inclinations towards Princess Celestia reach their peak at this time. Reaching outside the main Solar or Lunar factions, he comes across Las Pegasus.. which would prove to be his second worst mistake.
More infighting breaks out on the train ride to Canterlot. None of which, however, was serious. Breaking down the tensions with some well placed slugging matches, and the famous INCREASE PRESSURE Incident occurs. What happens when spam ACTUALLY goes off, is cooked, then eaten? ....some of us try to forget about that.
Post 1/2: Returning To Dawn
Finally reaching Canterlot on the train, the entirety of Razorback Company is told to grab their gear, shine everything they can, and swap to clean clothing or uniforms. All except for Denra and one Operator, the second of which states the two were going to negotiate with Princess Luna, are told to disembark and follow an Honor Guard unit whom had been temporarily reassigned to the Day Guard. Successfully intimidating the rest of Razorback into 'not fucking up', the Operator and ex-diplomat wait for the rest to take their leave.
Received by the Captain whom proclaims Razorback is an hour late and Princess Celestia was waiting for them, all-minus-one of the humans are encircled, then forced to keep pace with the mostly earth pony unit. Picking up an odd (for ponies) running cadence, the entire formation makes it to the Palace's northward upper level, that being the Chambers of the Sun. Delivering Razorback to Princess Celestia's private diplomatic chamber, the Honor Guard immediately leave as they had been kept awake more than six hours past their usual.
Receiving the humans was a familiar, albeit slightly different, sight: Celestia resting on a regal carpet, making notes on parchmarent from a large pink quill with a small inkwell next to it, and a large sunglobe lighting the room directly above her. Welcoming the humans at first before stating that they were only 'two minutes late', the Sun's authority-driven tone requests the status on her favor.
It is here that certain members of Razorback would commit the three acts which saw the Company banished from most of Equestria and shunned by the near-total majority of Solar faction ponies:
#1: delivering the wrong answer several times. Princess Celestia's request was to investigate Old Canterlot, deal with the problems discreetly, and claim the ancient fortress as their base.
#2: continuing to wrongly answer several times in a row. Multiple times, Celestia stated that she did not care in the slightest as to how or why Denra sent Operators to conduct talks with Queen Chrysalis. Those Operators continued to repeat themselves even after Celestia's unsubtle suggestions to cease talking about that visit to the Queen.
#3: continuing to wrongly answer several times in a row with a COMPLETE lack of tact. The half-reasonings, evasive and blatantly disrespectful answers given on how General Sharonel met her end simultaneously infuriated and depressed Celestia.
>Cue image #1.
Breaking the formal review in rising hostility, the appearance of a newly-allied Lishanki bandit carrying the unusual orb from the first Tainted encounter is followed by General Twisted Wing's entrance. Having used one of the Palace's generally unused back passages, Twisted tries to convince Razorback to immediately flee, well aware that she was risking her life in Canterlot.
Negotiations dissolve as Celestia's fury becomes a burning, physical hatred against humans. Arriving late to the meeting, Denra and the Operator whom had chosen to make appeals with Princess Luna find themselves at the doorway facing the utterly hostile and unaccounted for scenario. Despite the late efforts at attempting to correct the three mistakes, all but one human immediately GTFO through the passage when most realize there was no way out except to flee. One Operator is dragged along with but finds himself separated, and begins to make his way back.
While the mujihadeen does his best to calm the Rising Sun, he only succeeds in delaying the inevitable until the separated Operator returns, aiding the jihadi's efforts. Denra and the ersatz diplomatic Operator refuse to leave, though are interrupted by the Lishanki bandit returning to throw the Tainted core at the sunglobe above Celestia. Briefly containing the vast solar energies, it buys enough time the bandit to knock Denra down and out the stairwell. A massive coronal ejection then conflagrates New Canterlot Palace, jets of plasma ripping through the entire building, barely leaving enough material to keep it standing.
Owing to their close proximity to Celestia, the two Operators survive the devastation yet would later begin to feel the destructive effects of Solar Corruption throughout the next six months.
After all, save one, humans return to the train, now carrying several Honor Guards whom would later rescind their contracts honorably, Anonymous returns to issue a brutal statment: "Consider this my only warning. You are not playing a game. You are all, technically, dead in your own worlds. Remember that." Further declaring that he could not restore the supplies that had been used or lost, the green man leaves angrily.
Post #2/2: Returning To Dawn.
This severe upset in the once equal balance of power changed the Solar faction overnight, and would infect Equestria's social, civil, and military standings as a whole.
Once tightly bound together through oaths, mareriages, and peaceful agreemarents, Canterlot's surviving nobility and royalty inspect Razorback's failure. Fractures begin to show upon realizing humans had doomed the Sun from what should have been a simple task. Half the Solars immediately turn against the Company, declaring them outlaws at worst, traitors at best. This state of affairs continues to this night, yet a few of those formerly capricious ponies seem to be changing their minds...
The Lunar faction had few problems as their focus was directed elsewhere, still engaging threats on the fringes of Equestria. Due to having no nobles or royals in attendance, excepting Princess Luna, nothing of what occurred in the Palace would be known.
After countless attempts to interview a surviving Solar pony for any details whatsoever, efforts were thoroughly cancelled by the Lunar Council as a waste of time. Outside a strict non-intervention policy for the military set in place by the Nightmare, Lunars were granted free right of access and trade with Razorback.
The most loyal and mischievous of them, mostly batponies of course, immediately took this as a divine sign, and began (loosely) scheming how best to insert their claws into the strange Otherworld Company's grasp...
Across marely places, those factions which had been promised the right to request Razorback Operatives for interventions and military action seethed. They would turn to 'other' avenues, some legal, some less than legal, and a few options that, even now, haunt some of Razorback's original arrivals...
Hope was, and is not, lost. A number of independents, several Lunars, and a disgruntled Elemental would join Razorback. Quietly aided by the Sea's Bounty and some of the main Ferron clans, openly by the batponies of the Moors, and individuals with a ponial or personal interest in Razorback's survival appear from time to time, discreetly of course.
Marquis du Spiral Disclosure joined Razorback soon after they settled into the Fortress. Drawn by the New Everfree's unusual flora, fauna, and ruins in fairly close proximity, Spiral's vast knowledge and capabilities would never match the support staff Razorback was supposed to receive. While his contributions are great indeed, perhaps the most lasting of his efforts still 'lives' on, in a way.
The armored Night Guard doll was not, in fact, a doll. Contained within was the ka (soul) of a batpony master thief, a Nightblade of the Starborn, mostly known as Princess Luna's technically elite military section. Failing to prevent a certain Operator from retrieving her real body, and still a bit miffed at having to deal with the vagaries of living, Belltower's contributions to Razorback are wide ranging. Her skills as a thief and combat prowess, when combined with deep knowledge of Equestria and nearby regions, not least of which being the Moors, remains significant enough that most ponies give her missions top priority.
Recruited from the Hive as an outcast and wanderer, a Vanguard Changeling eventually settled scores with her past. Recovering her poninality, the title of Lady, along with a gleeful sense of good natured mischief, Roust defends the ponies, and sometimes the humans too, of Razorback with no misgivings. Sharing her unique perspective on equinity and dealing with trauma, Lady Roust's determination mirrors that of her Queen: unshakable unto death, and, perhaps, further beyond.
After a nearly failed mission in Las Pegasus, the enemy of an enemy of an enemy would later be recruited, despite the agonizing wounds inflicted onto her. The Spirit Walker held her grudge as long as possible, but eventually forgave much of Razorback's ignorance. Aided by two Operators, with the urging of their mares, Mercy (first/last name unknown) remains a solid, if often volatile, ambusher and nightly protector against That Which Shouldn't Be Here. Savescumming required though.
Hired from a short list of healers, doctors, and alchemists, Doctor Tipper certainly fits all three. A verifiably old unicorn mare far past her prime, what she lacks in flexibility is sometimes made up for with her extensive knowledge, deep ties to various Solars, and a brutal willingness to commit illegal acts when she believes doing so is of benefit.
Appearing at Razorback with little open acclaim and no warning, a retired Starborn Nightblade turned reservist sought to reduce Razorback's misfortunes. Hodch, as the picky and often irate unicorn calls himself, is nowhere near Spiral's equal.. except for having vast knowledge in illegal and forbidden subjects. Particularly focused on Necromarecy, Eldritch objects, and dubious other topics, Hodch's history is neither shrouded nor classified. Simply put: he doesn't like talking about himself. After all, teaching others is a more efficient usage of time.
Hired from Gryphon Vale, a rather pudgy, flame-resistant unicorn interested only in metal work has become a regular visit for most of Razorback. Krinza, the half-brother of Kroza, an assassin that was dispatched after a visit to the Crystal Empire, became Spiral's erstwhile apprentice while the Marquis was still relatively stable. Puzzling out most of Spiral's theories, Krinza has far surpassed the Marquis' skills in metallurgy and weaponsmithing. Electronics, however, still give him irate fits.
Two unicorns, direct disciples of Hodch and Spiral respectively, were hired on shortly after the second disappeared. Aiutante and Helping Hoof needed only the barest of reasons to set up shop in earnest. While their skills are fair to middle, the extensive knowledge both have will likely put them at their marentors' doorsteps in short order.
There are more ponies of Razorback, yet their stories are neither simple nor easy to describe. Or are they? Only time will tell.
[1d6 = 4] <Ponies that don't normally wear clothes but will wear clothes tomorrow night
[1d6 = 1] <Individual Contract
4: Dragonspine Vigilants
5: Crystal Empire
6: a special visit from Gale Ironmane
[1d6 = 3] <Number of Additional Trade Contacts
[1d6 = 2] <Number of Mangoes in front of every door
[1d6 = 3] <Vending Machine Coupons
[1d6 = 3] <29,998 XP Reward
[1d6 = 3] <For that little fucker a certain Squad didn't find. TWICE.
[1d6 = 5] <For that other little fucker a certain Squad SOMEHOW completely missed
[1d6 = 1] <An enemy drawn back from the edge, one that faces the most desperate fight of her life
And last, as we used to say: see you later pony cowboys. The Ride ain't ended, we just take a different track from time to time.
>>349982>The Mareguard's eyes narrow horizontally, snout twitching unreadably.
"Crash course time it is then.">Motioning off your hand with a slight apologetic grin, the batpony takes four steps forwards, turning about to face you.>Stretching her left wing through the armor and extending it out, scrawls of thin green runes that appear to be scratch marks take shape around a gigantic multilevel fortress being held 'up' by the claws.>Not quite a hologram you realize, more of a one-dimarensional blueprint.>Thirteen above ground floors, twenty-three below ground, and four underneath the previous, though much taller, gave it the impression of some mad engineer's quest for the ultimate self contained fortified city.>It takes a second for you to realize thousands of tiny specks across the blueprint's face were windows.
"Old Canterlot one thousand five-hundred years ago, give or take a hundred. Quarter million ponies lived there. One-third earth ponies, one-third pegasi, one-third unicorns. Couple thousand batponies too.">Right wing extending out, a near-copy is held up as well, though on this one three of the topmost levels had been removed, a tall, heavily fortified wall covered in triangular guard towers closely spaced across the top.>Most of the structure showed signs of damage, three-quarters of the windows appearing as black squares.
"Old Canterlot one thousand ten years ago, give or take five, all the way up to 29,996. Not too badly damaged according to a report from 29,930. Biggest problem claiming it would've been clearing out the Old Everfree for a few miles and keeping the towns around it secure until recolonization. Razorback would've had the rights to function as a neutral faction so long as they upheld Solar and Lunar laws. Also no taxes.">Releasing the projections to hang in the air, the batmare's wings reach forwards, both wingclaws spreading out what looked like miniature figurines of ponies in armor or robes.. hundreds of them.
"From Stalliongrad: two hundred Veteran Watch Guard, five Tower Guard officers above the rank of Captain, one Master-General, one Primal Psion attache. One hundred support staff."
"From Rushya: fifty Chargers, ten Killchasers, one Wildmare officer and attache. Ten support staff."
"From Canterlot: fifty Day Guard, ten Royal Guard, three Honor Guard officers. Two hundred support staff."
"From the Citadel: fifty Night Guard, five Lunar Guard, three Starborn officers. Five hundred batpony support staff, estimated three hundred others."
"From the Crystal Kingdom: twenty Warden officers and one General. Eighty support staff."
"From the Crystal Conclaves: twenty mixed Knights, one Killknight in commarend. Ten support staff."
"From Prance: thirty Skipwing Air-Dancers, one Captain in commarend. One hundred support staff."
"From Neighsia: twenty Spirit-Mystics of various clans that would rotate out each week, five hundred in all. Estimated fifty support staff."
"From Germaniegh: twenty Heavy Mareine casters and one combat fit heavy cruiser vessel with full complemarent. Estimated three hundred support staff."
"From Princess Argenta: one of her Grandmaster alchemists.. I think. Ten support staff."
"From Saddle Arabia: ten Bronze Guard elites and one Desert Prince in commarend. Thirty support staff."
"Nine Malurian Druids of the Old Ways. Two Shapers."
"Five Ruin Divers from the Arkadian Divides. Three traders."
"Two Cloudblades from the Ferron. Fifty to sixty support staff."
"From Manehattan: estimated forty of their Guard. One hundred support staff."
"From the Dragonspine Mountains: one hundred Dragon Vigilants, ten Wyrms, six hundred Drakes of various species, and fifty of their best miners. Not minor with an o, miner with an e. They were also going to repair and refit the furnaces, forges, training levels, and what not."
"Independents.. couple dozen marecenaries, a thousand or so others.">Setting out a few larger 'figures', the first was a group of minotaurs.
"Ten Gozkan Wild Rangers, twenty Hegemony Mystic-Walkers, forty Veteran heavy warriors. Ten armorsmiths, ten weaponsmiths, twenty support staff.">Second were large half-avian, half-felines: gryphons.
"Fifty or so mixed Hunters and others from the Gryphon Overking. Estimated two hundred support staff.">Third was a floating eyeball.. with tentacles.
"One Watcher-Of-The-Seasons from Eyeraq.">Fourth was a creature that a mad architect would put together if they had to use only pyramidal shapes, spikes, and only dark colors.
"One Kra`ken Deepkin Hunter elite.">Lastly was a bizarre dragon: tattered wings with three claws on the radius joint, two smaller reptilian arms below the wings likewise with three claws, and a distinctly blunted face surrounded by numerous protrusions that were likely sensory organs.
"Ancient Pendrusa, sometimes called the Fateslayer. Spirit Hunter from the Dragonspine Mountains, used to sit on their Council. Not a native, he's a first generation Otherworldly. No kin..">Having filled the entire room, the batmare takes a step backwards to look over it all.
"I'm missing a few hundred here and there from other factions, not enough space for 'em though."
"Wasn't expecting to survive. Half the Day Guard's officers wants me locked somewhere 'safe' so they can ask questions whenever they want, the Honor Guard wants me to join them, other half the Guard's officers tried bringing up some damned 'witness protection clause', whatever that is, which meant I'd have sent into protective custody on the Citadel, there's a five thousand Bit protective bounty on my head from some noblemare out in Detrot, fifty or sixty more smaller ones from independents. Only a few ponies even know my real name. I'm just 'Razorback's Engineer slash Train Operations Marenager' for Sun's sake.">Taking the cigar back for a long draw, the brown unicorn exhales to wave a front hoof disgustedly.
"What's that saying, never make a wish without knowing what the consequences will be? My dam and sire would be screaming at me to take every single offer all at once. In some sick, twisted way I'm glad they're not alive to see this mess.">Head tipping back onto the cool stone, he makes a half-rumbling chuckle.
"Then again, being here looks a lot less stressful. Wish I had a real train station though. But, I did bring back some good news even if it cost me ever being able to go back to Canterlot again. Here-">Leaning over to present a metal-trimmed bright white scroll, gold letters in Common plastered in neat single-spacing across it.
"General Valden might not seem impressed with Razorback, least that's what he wants everypony to think, so what would one call an open commission letter?"
>>349988>The soft rotund creature emits another squeak, switching to a low purr-rumble.>On the right screen, Wild's cartoon image directs a puzzled stare at the Skipper before finishing her work.
"Data categorized and indexed, archiving.. complete.">Adjusting her course midstride by tilting upwards, the next footstop is unusually heavy, but at least none of the lockers pop open.
"Trajectory modified, plotting new course.">The left screen's diagnostic readout disappears static, the map and geneology tree removed leaving both cameras facing upwards.
"Searching records now-">Viewing the formations directly, numbers mark each one you touch on the screen in sequence, ending at a total of 20.>The pulses are tracked by small red dots jumping from side to side, trailing them upon each movement.>Watching the incredibly slow fake clouds, where each pulse originated and ended almost made a pattern except for the northern and southern most two that seemed to start the chain.
"Analysis complete: no data found. No similarities found. No references located. No designations identified. Unknown.. everything?">Wild's electronic voice was beyond confused, her right armored hand crossing the screen tops and removing a single white spear, handing it to the octuplet of probably-not-used-for-rape-implements awaiting the weapon.
"Distance factor: approximately ten miles. I could long range scan the unknowns but there is a greater-than ninety-percent chance Construct vessels will detect the attempt. Update: internal hull integrity: one-hundred eighteen of three-hundred sixty.">For all the constant noise Wild was producing there seemed to be little real progress occurring.[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]
<Grade 1 Auto-Repair[1d6+2 = (5+2) = 7]
<Grade 2 Auto-Repair[1d6 = 1]
<Repair Tendril #1[1d6 = 3]
<Repair Tendril #2[1d6 = 4]
<Repair Tendril #3[1d6 = 2]
<Repair Tendril #4[1d6 = 6]
<Repair Tendril #5[1d6 = 1]
<Repair Tendril #6[1d6 = 2]
<Repair Tendril #7[1d6 = 4]
<Repair Tendril #8
>>350035>Albeit a little disappointment coursed through his body as the batmareguard rejected his scritching, it quickly vanished into his usual wanderlust as she started denoting all the species that were previously meant to be here.>It would've been a beautfiul sight to see such harmony amongst all these different walks of life, with their little friendly spats and competitions between each species and nationalities.>If only humanity didn't tear down the house of cards that wanted all of this...>Although it would also mean Celestia herself wouldn't have given him his contract to come here in the first place if they didn't.>He wouldn't object to being sent back if it meant humanity could become the place it was planned to be, but that's wishful thinking at this point.>What happened isn't going to be scrubbed away with a simple restart button.>There was a lot of work to be done if he wanted to recreate the promised land mankind was given.>The human could not help but exhale wistfully through his nostrils as the batmare ended her explanation, giving her a soft nod in response.
"If we were meant to be supported by what seems to be almost all factions in Tallus," the man inquired "what was Razorback's purpose in being created?"
>>350102>Reaching up and condensing the artificial figurines into smaller groups, the fiery batmare doesn't look in your direction as she speaks in a flat tone.
"Why would somepony go through the trouble of contacting six hundred some factions including the ones that have logical reasons to distrust her? All that to summon a bunch of Otherworldly beings that aren't politically or culturally involved with said factions? All that for two hundred Otherworldly beings that abide by their own non-native physical and immaterial laws?">Taking hold of the first Old Canterlot blueprint and forcefully shrinking it down to the size of a 100 liter barrel, she grunts at the effort.
"Maybe she didn't think humans would try to kill first? Maybe she thought humans would've had better intentions than considering everything a target? Maybe that certain somepony made a mistake that isn't part of the solution and is now trapped in the middle of a bad decision?">Setting that one down to click on the floor, then compressing the other with even more strain, she tosses a mildly angered look back.
"Doesn't that seem like more energy, resources, and trust were destroyed in the process rather than everypony and everyone enjoying those potential benefits? So why then do someponies keep dreaming about the maybes instead of trying to wipe out humans?">Exhaling loudly as the image reaches the same size as the first, the batmare begins delicately placing figures around the damaged castle.
"Hate doing this. Anypony could tell you a million answers and all of 'em would probably be right, doesn't change the facts some ponies moved on and are still bitter. Some are angry and can't do anything. Some are going to stay pissed off and keep disrupting for political power, social influence, or both.">Pausing from her work, she weighs the Solar and Lunar ones in her claws, face a solemn mask.
"These represent an investmarent of hope between and for allies, friends, enemies, what have you. I'm not talking about the half million coins and gems from eighty countries, stocks of materials, weapons, armor from all over, enough food to last a whole year.">Settling those two directly at the front gate, the dragon is picked up to be glared at.
"Far as the few survivors are willing to speak, most of those in the Grand Hall were obliterated that night. All the psions and unicorns died trying to help the real Princess Celestia shield against that thing's plasma storm. Burnt their own souls out to save some. Pendrusa sheltered a dozen or so with his own body, the Eye put a few in stasis near him and died for that, Kra`ken saved two ponies and got turned into a molten sculpture. All those ponies and others gone in a single fucking flash. That's it, done and gone, end of all those stories.">Holding the dragon up in line with electricity-covered eyes, the batmare's mane and tail begin smoldering.
"Their lives, human. Those were the investmarents Tallus had offered. Every last one of them chose to take their place willingly. Do you understand now?"
>>350104>The human could only watch on solemnly as the batmare before him got increasingly heated at his own question, now slightly regretting having asked it.>Sure, he had no part in it personally, but it only served to further distance humanity's qualities to the Tallus' own grander virtues.>As she finished her answer, José mournfully nodded in turn.
"I believe I do," he answered in kind with a rather deflated tone. "Unless there's anything more that your soverign would wish for me to know, feel free to depart. I will not pester you with my naivete any longer than I have already."
>>350106>Ears flattening, the batmare offers a thin, secretive smile.
"I'm a Moorite, Princess Luna's my sovereign. Reason I'm with Lauterna is.. nevermind, best you don't know. Just know I'm not here account of the Solars.. technically. There's a few real hoofsome stallions in Canterlot that don't get heart attacks seeing a batpony or ten wandering around. That's besides the point.">Turning to put a shoulder against the original projection, the mare physically shoves it towards the locker.>While it wasn