"Thank you.">Snagging another of the oatmeal bars, Mercy pokes your hand with a feather, putting it on Boris' head, presumably for safe keeping.>Facing the Spirit Walker, Boris holds his left hand up, the two returning to their game.
"Now for the honor of whom rearranges the Alchemy Lab. I have discovered where Hodch keeps his collection of cigar boxes."
"Fina.. lly!"[ 1d6 = 5 ]
<Mercy[ 1d6 = 2 ]
<Boris>>206803>Reaching up to remove the wrapped bar and tossing it next to Mercy in the back seat, the Belligerent slowly tilts his head.
"Cloudsdale's financial situation is grim at the moment, they could not afford to hire an assassin, agent, or one moderately ranked marecenary. Their city council would immediately lose all honor and relations with Gozka should they be caught doing either.">Blue eyes narrowing briefly, the Golem affects a complimaretary tone.
"Not that they would be able to find Miss Mercy without severe interference."
>Eyeing the TacPad's map once again, Jeff finds the crypt's location to be presumably close enough to see, though Sunny in her uncomfortable seated position catches a large amount of movement and scores of ancient spark lamps through the perpetual fog.>Slowing the Dagor down to a crawl, a team of roughly thirty earth ponies, mostly brown, a couple black, and a single dull blood red, were busily constructing the road ahead.>On the sides, several giant stacks of stones were being cut down to size or compressed by psions into correct shapes, while an impressively large team of Arcane Blades were holding position on the outsides.>The blood red stallion turns away from analyzing the pathway ahead, setting a stack of large maps off on a stone and quietly trotting up.>Raising an eyebrow, the familiar Tartarus Isle engineer glances from Jeff to Sunny, then lifts his shoulders tiredly.
"So you're the exploration team? Huh, figured you'd bring a couple of your own Blades with. Well, not my business. If you're looking to get into the crypt we've managed to partially stabilize the north and western under-foundations. It's no longer sinking and I don't think anything is underwater but we've been ordered to stay out until."
>>206793>Besides the Arena's grand size, three flights of stairs, pun intended, were cut into the north face close to the center, and there were numerous small balconies studding the exterior roughly halfway up.
>Emitting a whine similar to those of rarely seen Intruders and the like, the vessel sinks straight down until only the bow can be seen above the Arena, a large thump and scraping of silverine on stone heard.>Going silent suddenly, after a few moments a spray of black fluid ejects from the bow into the air, accompanied by several loud, almost electronic clicks, hearing nothing more afterwards.
>>203571>Raidor's eyes instantly note one of the Empire's foremost traders, long thought deceased, or much less likely missing, the scar covered fuchsia mare sitting back on her low, comfortable looking couch with a steaming glare.
"A delivery? ..her weird alchemy stuff again. Her Mareguards know better than to do that! They were probably placing bets to see which one of you gets dragged off into some mare's tent or house first. Next time I go there I'm gonna buck some heads in, stupid hormone ridden filles-">Ears flattening momentarily, the oldest Remostrine daughter shakes her head, eyes squinting while a forehoof pokes at her chin thoughtfully.
"Your guess is probably better than mine.. I kinda remember Manehattan used to have lots of seals, well, up until all of them disappeared before the Dynasty fell apart. Let's see, I was born about 28,958 or so? Can't exactly remember dates perfectly. Um, the year after I was born the Conclaves made one last Call To Hooves, so the Dynasty fractured in the late 28,940's or early 28,950's.. Before my time really, it's somewhere around then as far as I can tell. But-">Reaching down to lift a gold stamped sheet covered in official Dragon Fang markings, the Captain quickly realized it was an official notice-of-sale from the Dragonspine Mountains, but not from the Mining Company or its affiliates, the trader frowning heavily.
"This got sent to me last week. It's from a group called the 'Free Traders Guild' in a just built little town way called Still Peak in the Northern Dragonspines. A pony that just got hired went there after dusk tonight and she swore up and down that the trader was a seal, which means a Mountain Seal. I really don't have any idea on why, sorry.">>207355>Placing the sheet down, Naliyna's eyebrows raise in curiosity, giving a wide smile and an encouraging nod.
"Can't believe you don't remember my name Ivan, you've been here a while. I'm Naliyna, Razorback's only trader and the one with a really horrible memory, but also-">Glaring down at the piles of paperwork in front of her, the Crystal mare's eyes sharpen with pure hatred, muttering darkly.
"Also the only one that takes care of THIS crap. In any case-">Expression resetting back to friendly, the trader lifts her shoulders.
"I can rebuild and make new crystalline stuff, or if you need those battery things replaced I've gotten really good at it, but I can do armor pretty easily now too. What all do you need done?"
>Upon seeing the Construct -finally- die, Astral slumped in Mallia grasp, a ragged sigh escaping her.
"We deed eet.">She said with some cheer despite being in tired agony all over.
"Is the Clinic safe?"
>>207804>>207802>Pareidolia abruptly stops as the multiple detonations of C4 tear the Construct's hull open before he steadies his rifle, continuing to aim at the remains.>He cautiously advances as close as the heat will allow him to while peering into the fluid plasma pouring out.
? You're certain?"
>He turns to look back towards the Library and the smoldering imprint of a large fist before facing the Construct wreck again.
[Build up of energy, change in form, effective form of asset denial. Continue generating heat until your mechano-fluid changes to plasma while gaining more energy to fight off combatants and destroy evidence in the process.]
"Their contingency measures to prevent study are extremely efficient. End stages multiplied combat effectiveness while simultaneously destroying evidence. I do not know how or why their mothership would jam this model from orbit, but without samples of active fluid I have no working theories."
>He hears the Stormtrooper's announcement over the radio and deactivates his stealth suit, but keeps his rifle raised.
*"Krinza or anyone capable, requesting you make your way to the burn site near the Pagoda with as much water as you can bring. It needs to be extinguished and removed."*
[Valuable sample data lost, and the Lab's condition is unknown-]
>His head raises slightly upon hearing a familiar voice shrieking in anger instead of mirth.
[How did she get down to the Lab? I was… or did she utilize some sort of time manipulation?]
>Deciding not to answer for the moment, he focuses back on the hull with eyes narrowed in suspicion.
[Was 'dead' once. Need to confirm inactivity of internal fluid.]
>>207843>Additionally, he asks:
*"Requesting confirmation of missile detonation site and status of assets outside the Clinic."*
"If there were a tree large enough to climb doing so would greatly increase the risk of being detected by these.. Constructs.">Tearing a large section of melted armor plating free and holding it in front of the headlights, Wild Ride makes an irritated electronic noise.
"Analysis: ocean water is heavily salinated with a large number of reflective minerals present; this should provide some protection against sensors equal to or greater than mine. The additional qualities of ash and debris may mitigate long range scans, however my biocore emits large amounts of heat and numerous wavelengths of multiple energy types. I cannot outrun the incoming vessel nor do I have the armaments, let alone armor, to withstand even basic weaponry.">Removing a large handful of steel harpoons, the mechanical tendrils in view begin neatly slicing off sections with thin, humming shafts of red light before disappearing off screen, the Eldritch Android's tone flattening.
"One implement repaired, I should be able to restore some of my motivator functions now. ..multiple projected issues detected, recalculating.. completed. Natilda, I have approximately enough time to complete three of the following five tasks: reinforce my chest cabin to function approximately two-hundred meters below sea level and construct a secondary oxygen tank, repair one shoulder cabin for additional storage and potential underwater repair, attempt to restore the pilot cabin, or modify my personal weapon for additional range and armor penetration. Please advise."[ 1d6 = 1 ]
<Arcanum Sensors Array[ 1d6+4 = 8 ]
<Grade 1 Auto-Repair: Repair Functions[ 1d6 = 3 ]
<Repair Tendril #1[ 1d6 = 2 ]
<Repair Tendril #2[ 1d6 = 2 ]
<Repair Tendril #3[ 1d6 = 6 ]
<Repair Tendril #4[ 1d6 = 4 ]
<Repair Tendril #5[ 1d6 = 2 ]
<Repair Tendril #6[ 1d6 = 3 ]
<Repair Tendril #7
>>207632>Poking Void Crasher's warm snout, the sleeping colt shifts about comfortably, murmuring something too slurred to pick out what it was.>He'd definitely felt it, and would likely remember that after waking up.>Continuing to rub the colt's soft belly, the Champion entire patch of flora tips to one side, then the other, making a noise akin to a snort.
"The gods and goddesses of the Ethereal Plane have long slept, they no longer grace us with their presences. Unlike them the Five Alicorns are living beings despite their unknown measures to regenerate from physical death with improved capabilities and capacities. It is an honor to be graced by Princess Cadence's presence when you wish. I envy this though I hold no hostility towards you.">Gazing down to Tacit, once more sleeping calmly, the Golem rumbles for several moments, the bucket shaped head shaking back and forth.
"Your assertion is half correct. Along with millions of Ethereal Golems, Moss-Wisps, Acoyltes, and others were designed, built, tested, and deployed to fulfill specific functions. Mood and emotion were not inherent for each of us, but we were allowed to learn them. Few did. This is.. new to me.">Lifting her Protoform covered hoof and making an amusing 'bleugh' sound, Shattered Glacier waves it towards the wrecked Outrider.
"The Champ's right. Ethereals aren't like Constructs or your machines, they can change over time but the one in question learns on their own volition. I've seen 'em built, they're basically like a full set of armor and accompanying weaponry, only doing what they're told 'til they reach a certain rank.">Wiping off some of the hardening substance, the Shell turns her head towards the south, then back at the motorcycle with a small grin.
"I've met N'Bruka a few times, got a perfect memory but a little too eager to please, hardly gets a chance to wander around and see what's changed since she was on Tallus last. Too bad she didn't get to watch our little endeavor, that'd be a real chunk of history for her to share!">Belregard tersely rumbles at Glacier, whom turns to him with a mareish glare, pointing her hoof accusingly.
"Don't you dare start this again Champ, you know I'm right and it'd damn well show your pain-in-my-flank kin how badly the-"
"Lord Tacit's condition is my primary concern. All else including N'Bruka's eventual regaling of your efforts in dealing with the criminal Ward's flesh golems throughout these past rotations are tertiary."
"Fiiiiiiiine. We'll get him taken care, but THEN I'm gonna argue with you 'til I win, got it?"
"Your understanding is acceptable."
"All right then, come along you two. Your machine will be safe here Lont, I've already told the Spire's Unicorn Guard to send it to Razorback if they get a chance.">The Shell turns about, skipping towards the Spire's southern translocation matrice, Champion Belregard lumbering towards it while dropping his voice low in your direction.
"It is perplexing to encounter yet another immortal pony whom is capable of maintaining such unfathomably high spirits given the dire circumstances of this rotation."
>Waiting in the center for you and the Champion to step on, Glacier clicks the tip of her Protoform-covered hoof on a tiny indent.>Delving through a near-instant vortex of many crystalline shades, the half-dome you find yourself in was a faithful copy of the Changelings Hive's third ring:>Quartets of Empire travel tents clustered around large cooking stations being tended to by a mixture of unusually transparent colored Crystal ponies, the rarely seen Conclavists simply looking up curiously, then returning to their work.>Large cots covered in piles of green grass, straw, and hay were interspersed between the tents along with large black crates, and in the center was a giant.. pillow fort?>Aromas of freshly baked Empire corn, mixed vegetable stir fries, hay, chocolate, maremilk, chocolate maremilk, and hot Empire crystal assault your nostrils, a calm, quiet hum resonating in the air.
"Damn, first time I've been hungry in decades..">Tongue sticking out for a moment, the Crystalline Shell snickers, then skids towards the pillow fort, calling over her shoulder.
"They're getting ready for midnight lunch so go ahead and grab what you want, just don't ask them anything or you'll get unicorn treatment. I'll get Elezith's mom, she'll want to treat him first."
>>207802>>207804>Cheto jots the pony's description.
(I'll have to know who she is if anything like this happens again. Although from her armor and species of pony, there's only two possible candidates, and she explicitly said the other one's name. It seems I have dumped water on Kitang, if my logic is sound.)>Nodding, he runs towards the Construct.>That is until it catches fire and breaks down in front of his eyes.
(Oh. Well that seems to be the end of that thing. Whew. That thing is sure heating harder than a grill during a Sunday asado
>He holsters his Steyr inside his jacket, putting his safety on, His face a mix of relief and confusion.>He turn towards the direction of the fountain now, walking at a normal pace to it.
(Fill water can and go back to the Clinic. The Prench Pony will surely be startled by all the noise outside, so try to appear as non-hostile as possible.)
>He makes sure to see how Kitang and Nalinya are doing as he walks towards the fountain.
(I'll give her the cloak later. Hopefully she doesn't mind that I left her naked.)[ 1d6 = 3 ]
>>207352>Golden sat down onto his haunches and laid his back against the rocks hard rough surface, hooves rubbing both temples in thought.
"Most likely yes, but I am hoping this instance we're wrong."
>With a sideways glance he stared at the Chitqu, whom was curled into a vibrating ball of fluff on the Witchers' shoulder.
"I would need time to do that and I do not believe that is a good idea, if I summoned again and set my spectral upon the Construct it will no doubt call for reinforcements. And I do not want to know what it can call in as back up.">Closing his eyes the old Unicorns' horn lit up.
"I need more information to decide on what to do.">>207360>Hand in front of his face, Spruce could see right through, apart from a vague outline he was invisible.>This place was truly crazy.
>Golden Horn did not open his eyes, still concentrating on whatever he was conjuring.
"You may try Spruce however I like how deep I am currently in the Underdark.">He breathed, what he was doing must be a bit of a strain on him.
"Throw a rock behind it then, there are plenty lying around in hooves reach. Can't do projection sadly, not much of a prankster. And please no, let us try other options before we commit to fighting it, yes I am scared of one floating ball before you ask.">Spruce felt something plop onto his shoulder, looking he saw it was the Chitqu waggling its tiny finger at him. Again very human of it.>Certainly is coming off as a smartass.
>A flash of bright yellow burst from Goldens' horn and swept across both the humans and beyond their cover, an aura materializing around the Chitqu also.
"Let us see if we can get away from it without using our little friend as bait."[ 1d6+2 = 6 ]
>B.Arcane Awareness[ 1d6+2 = 5 ]
Turns until upon position: 3
>>207829>With the final BOOSH determining the Construct's demise, Malli's eyes lightly squint as the photo-visor of her helmet works to mitigate the bright flash right after her shot. >She shifts herself infront of Astral to shield her from a probably plasma explosion of a bigger magnitude almost immediately, going as far as wrapping an arm around the elk and holding her tightly as her gaze remains on the now flaming ball of hatred and destruction.>Mallia's glance twitches to keep track of the shrapnel and fragments that break/melt off the sphere before it slumps into a flaming heap of metals and strange liquid.
>The Enginseer at first couldn't believe it. She took a second to straighten up and lower her rifle…>But then, upon hearing the radio chatter confirming 'Target Neutralized', and Astral's words. She turned her glance from it, to the predelk. And began to giggle.
"Hehehhaha! Victory, as expected!"
>She tightly gave the predelk a triumphant, encouraging little squeeze with her armored arm, before lowering her weapon and turning to face them fully. >Her face was not visible behind the black visor, but her tone quite was cheerful.
"Yes. The missile was destroyed in mid-air, it never touched the clinic, though it may have damaged some electronics…">>207802>The Enginseer paused, visibly twitching her head to one side slightly, before turning more towards the shrieking mare, that was apparently bossing Chisan around. >And talking about 'promoting him again'.>Now that really made her stare in disbelief, furrowing her brow as she SLOWLY connects the dots, then slowly turned back to Poinsettia with a slow sigh.
"We'll see how they're doing now. I'll carry you there…"
>She gives her rifle one last hug with one arm, followed by a brief prayer to the Machine Spirit to thank it for being so effective. Even in it's Mars Standard pattern, it had performed excellently and she was very proud of it.
(Never ever ever EVER dishearten yourself again, you're WONDERFUL; praise be to you, Machine Spirit. Praise the Omnissiah for having given us the strength to smite our enemy.)
>Then, Mallia lifts it up and holsters it on her back by the strap, securing it next to her backpack as she finally turned to face Astral.
>She gently grabs Astral's fetlocks and brings them around her neck, urging her to hold on as she smiled behind her helmet, with a soft, sweet tone in her voice.
"Hold on tight, I'll get you to your friends."
>Then, she lightly pushes herself up, just enough to get Astral's rump off the ground so she can shift her mechadendrite and slither it beneath them, so as to mitigate their weight with it, while an arm wraps around their chest, and the other close to their lower back. Hugging the Predelk and pushing them against their chest as she goes to lift them with her whole upper body.
"HHh-! Equines are heavy…!">Said captain obvious, as they slooowly but surely stood up with the pained Astral Poinsettia leaned against their chest, coiling their mechadendrite in a sort of cradling position to better stabilize the elk as she lifts them up.>Not the most comfortable thing ever to have a metallic, cold strut down there but it helps.
"Let me know if this hurts you, I'm trying to be gentle, I swear."
>She said, as she grunts from the strain of having to lift 150 pounds of Elk and other things on her back, AND her armor, at once. >But she doesn't back down from it. And soon, with Astral leaned against her chest and cradled in her arms, she begins the slow walk back towards the Clinic.
>She mostly ignored the burning Construct as others attended to staring at it, as her objective was to see it dead -- and so it became. She had learned much thus far, anyways
>At the same time, her glance wandered. And she issued commands to her Auspex once more.>She forwarded the request to datavault the samples of Trinary they had previously detected, for further study once they had the means to decode it. >Then she sent the signal to commence another scan as they passed by the wreckage, pointing the Auspex's focus on the burning liquid and whatever circuitry was left. >Tagging everything that wasn't in a danger zone for salvaging purposes, if any at all.>Uttering the Litany of Finding to honor her Auspex as it performs the action.
(All Salvage must be recovered and identified, for the Omnissiah. Holy Machine Spirit, guide me towards the start to my great Quest for Knowledge!)[ 1d6+1 = 7 ]
<B. Tech-Use: Litany of Finding[ 1d6+1 = 7 ] [ 1d6+2 = 8 ]
<CQ. Auspex Scan: Post-Battle Scan report, Salvage protocols.[ 1d6+1 = 2 ]
<B. Perception + Preysense: Salvage spotting[ 1d6 = 2 ]
>Her glance sometimes pauses and observes the armored figure that was Pareidolia, admiring their armor and narrowing their eyes as she tried to get a feel for if she should be worried or not.
(He doesn't look Imperial; I don't recognize the design. What about the Machine Spirit?..)
>Spruce clutches his rifle tightly, glancing at the rock and muttering silently to himself, mulling over his options.>So, if we teleported a rock… Perhaps it would be distracted?>Well, it gives us a chance.>Or…
"Hey, Golden. What if we teleported the Chiqtu a distance away? He's small enough to sneak around surely and take the orbs attention safer than the rest of us possibly? Or we could do a rock and if it turns all make a break for it…">That last option he sounds uncertain of though.>As golden horn casts his next spell however, he raises an eyebrow curiously.
"… What are you doing?" >He asks, but readies himself for a possible fight.[ 1d6 = 2 ]
B. Ambush[ 1d6 = 6 ]
>>207903>Adon mulls over Golden Horn's decision as it seems trying to conjure another summon would make the situation worse.>Guess that idea's out of the window.>He'd hate to have to resort to using the chiqtu as bait. That'll literally be their desperation plan.
"Hmm…">>207593>He listens in on Spruce's idea and Golden's add-in.>There's plenty of them lying next to them.>What can hurt throwing a rock to distract it.
"I'll throw a rock, why not.">The Witcher finds a good-sized stone and aims it well past the construct coming toward them. But close enough that it will attract its attention.>It was a lot nicer to throw, now that the chiqtu switched to Spruce's shoulder.[ 1d6+3 = 4 ]
<B.Assault: Throw[ 1d6+3 = 9 ][ 1d6+3 = 7 ]
<Heavy Stance[ 1d6+3 = 6 ]
>Caught between the realm of a Euclid reality warper or an angry temporal assignment occultist, at least you thought so, it was definitely one of the [REDACTED] class Anon's stasis fields.
>For you can't even remember how long you find yourself staring at the Clinic's awfully drab ceiling, there wasn't even a sense of pain, nausea, or disorientation, let alone questionable boredom.
>That is, until Hodch's face peers into the stasis oval, a large Changeling skull plate floating over his head, the reservist's mental voice exhausted.
(Doctor Novus. It has been a while, and you have definitely seen much better days. Allow me to cut straight to the point: your physical body is essentially destroyed, so unless you want to spend a year or so in recovery, I-)
>Affecting a moderately annoyed look, the Starborn's head turns right, then swivels back to smile conspiratorially.
(Hm. Normally I would not even consider this option, but time is running out and Razorback has suffered enough losses. So, this is my offer: how would you like to do that one thing? You know which one. There are a number of host bodies available, ones which should.. 'fit' you. I need an answer, and quickly.)
>For Novus, the hour(s?) passed quite slowly as he stared up at the ceiling of the clinic, examining the same spot on the rather drab, white, drywall ceiling.>To make it worse that he couldnt move, his horribly burned, scarred, disfigured, broken, and damaged body was ever so slightly itchy, but being unable to move to scratch it.>Not that he would be able to anyways, but being acutely aware of time passing was driving him insane.>Eventually, with his panic attack subsiding he eventually just grew bored of staring at the ceiling.>The lighting changed at some point, stocking a burning desire to know what was happening but eventually he just resorted to staring at the same patch of ceiling he was forced to keep his eyes on.>OH MY GOD A PONY.>Novus' excitement at the simple appearance of the doctor brought a small burst of joy to his heart.
(Oh Gods finally something! You know, you could really do with installing TV's or stripper poles or even some old retired ponies playing chess!)>He mentally cleared his throat though, and adjusted himself.
(Right. I certainly don't want to be in physical therapy for the next year and some change so, right.)>He mentally sighs.
(Unicorn. I need to be a unicorn so I can continue to have fine manipulation for tasks, plus, exploring your magics sounds like an interesting proposition for a human.)
>Zhun turns around after hauling ass from the Construct to see it fall over and burst into flames
>He sets his gun on the side of his hip and still gets a good look at the Construct corpse
>The gun gets set on safety and slung over his shoulder after hearing that one officer debrief on the thing
>He lets out a sigh before turning around to where the Clinic is
>Needed to see if it was safe or was damaged
>Last thing he does is unhinge his box mag and count the bullets remaining, seeing if he needs to make a stop by the armory
(Thank you Lord Slaanesh, one day I hope to emulate your carnal powers.)>Neutrally watching Venous behind the lenses of his gas mask, the Death Cultist shrugs while keeping pace after her.>And definitely not touching himself out of boredom.
>Surveying the sparse night life in slowly growing depression, Corsen nonetheless nods to each pony he passed, wanting to maintain a minimum level of contact.>Pensively gazing at the happy couples and herds, he frowns at each one, lost in the strange realities of the new, mostly tame world he'd found himself in.
(Is that what Lady Whell would experience with a normal life? ..am I a bad influence on her? No, fuck off Tzeentch, you are not welcome here.)>Shaking his head quickly at the thought and banishing it for the next few days, Corsen eyes the distant Night Guards, feeling a small amount of pride at their presence.>Slowing his pace at realizing the familiar location and ignoring the Honor Guard for a few moments, he rolls his shoulders, grinning under the mask, then stops suddenly, blinking at the harsh reality.
(Good times. I should find flowers she likes and.. ..I miss Tusk's rants. Honor this, pride that, accept nothing less than success, stay out of the damned brothels, leave the captives alive so they fight harder next time, don't paint the Bolter Bitches..)>Tilting his head up to stare at the moon for a few moments, Corsen leaves the melancholy behind, muttering a quiet, hard prayer in his wake for the noble Khornate warrior.
>Leaving a comfortable distance between him and Venous at the railing, the cultist places both hands on it, staring down towards the lone island in silence for a bit.
"Direct offensive is out of the question. Too difficult to reach, too open, likely hardened, personal guards, unknown layout, hidden rooms, long killing hallways, traps. And of course, magic everywhere.">Flipping the NightVis off and storing it in a front pocket, he lifts the mask up onto the top of his head, judging the distance and whatever defensive details he could pick out.
(Almost like hitting the idiot Governor-Militant's mansion in the mountains.. maybe even worse. It was always the damned psykers and sorcerers that caused the most damage to us, not even the Khorne-damned artillery was a tenth their threat.)[ 1d6 = 2 ]
<B.Perception[ 1d6 = 1 ]
"I take it that the Day Guard and Honor Guard have not assaulted this.. Myndalin's residence due to internal conflicts, a civil war, politics, or coin being involved. You obviously know much more than you can say aloud so only state what I need to know.">Stroking the mask covering his chin for a few moments, the Deathseeker is reminded of something completely evil, peering over to Venous out of his left eye and snorting deviously.
"What about an indirect assault?"
>>206803>Jeff looks over at Sunny suspiciously for a short second.
"Hold up. How do they know that- eh, nevermind. Yeah, I'd takes Five's bits. Hell I'm ready to not deal with them any more, for free. Hmm… no they're correct. In the grand scheme of things, humans will probably be all gone within a generation or two. You wanna know why? There are two-hundred and forty-six humans in Razorback. Less than ten of them are women.">The Nightblade sighs as he keeps his eyes on the road.>Of course he doesn't mention his and Belltower's little weird hybrid babies, on the way, though.
"We could never reproduce enough to keep up a next generation. We'll die out on our own eventually. Pretty depressing, right? Maybe it's ultimately for the best. Humans really don't belong here, on Tallus, I think.">He rolls his eyes and blows a raspberry, at Sunny's next part.
"Nine should just concede to Five. Give me a quarter million, and I won't even THINK of the Councilerge ever again. Why do you refer to them by numbers? Don't know their real identities?">He should look over the notes that Primal Psion gave him later on and try to figure out who this Five and Nine are. Maybe he can make some sort of deal between both of them. Might be a way to lessen hostilities against Razorback.>Jeff looks back over at Sunny in considerable thought. He should try that method some time.
"Really now? Sounds like that takes some considerable will power to keep your own thoughts safe from yourself.">>207812>As they close in on their location Jeff notices the path becomes considerably illuminated, and other than sleeping batponies start appearing.>It was the Tartarus Engineering crew almost finishing up the path. He slows down to almost a stop as who he guesses is the foreman approaches the Dagor.
"Hello, there. Yeah, that's us. You've all been doing a great job, so far, restoring the path. Took us no time to get here. Is Tartarus Isle handling most of the restorations in the Moors?">Jeff smiles at hearing the crypt is no long half-flooded. He was hoping they wouldn't have to get too wet.
"Ah, it was slowly sinking. Thanks for stabilizing it for us. Other than structural integrity, are there any other problems you've come across with it? Like, weird stuff?"
"Don't be so sure about that. Your people continue to appear and you wouldn't be the first otherworldly species to settle on Tallus… Nor the last.">She snickered.
"Though majority stallion herds might be a problem in the short term.">Returning his raspberry with her own, Sunny shrugged.
"Nope, closely guarded secrets, their identities. Stops them from being susceptible to sudden and unfortunate 'accidents' that might be beneficial for their opposition… Or their underlings. Heavens know getting caught snooping after that information can make you prone to experiencing the same 'accidents'.">The mare averted her gaze quickly and adopted a perfectly neutral and not in any way embarrassed expression.
"Not as much as you might think, it's less about not thinking of what you want to keep hidden and more about thinking of something else and making that thought all consuming. Like a decoy. I may or may not have spent the two weeks prior to that contract indulging a deep, some might say obsessive
, interest in the profession of maidery. I was very in-character as a result. The goal isn't to fool others, but to fool yourself.">She pursed her lips and furrowed her brow, settling her forelegs against herself.
"However… It is
possible they knew, and simply allowed me to carry out my tasks. The information I managed to gather was more or less harmless anyway… Inter-faction espionage, you can't keep it straight in your head.">If that were the case, she might very well have been duped into providing free maid service for a time. Damn it all.
"Well that's good news for some, but if experience has taught me anything, good news never lasts for long. If it does, well at least you'll be pleasantly surprised.">As they approached the ruins, Sunny sat up a little straighter, narrowing her eye as she attempted to peer through the layers of fog shrouding everything, but relied more on her ears, perking them forwards and mentally screening out the chatter around her.>She didn't think she'd see or hear anything threatening just yet, given that the construction ponies were more or less peacefully doing their work.>It never hurt to be on alert.[ 1d6+3 = 9 ]
< B. Perception[ 1d6+3 = 9 ]
>The mare had significant doubts about her efficacy here, hopefully Mercy's presence would be enough.>It was at this moment Sunny realised she'd run out of ration bar to nibble on.>Sadness.
>>205219>Eyeing Snakebite over thoroughly, in a professional manner at least, the lead healer nods in satisfaction.
"Complete vacuum seal of this room, excellent. Sterilization procedures may not be necessary though I would advise limited contact with other humans, besides yourself of course."
"No arrhythmia or internal organ tremors. I put forth the theory this human and the others were flash boiled in extreme high heat and humidity. I believe the incident resulting in these injuries occurred between twenty to thirty seconds."
"No errant arterial clotting detected. Agreed."
"Muscular twitches, minor. There is some nervous system activity remaining but no unusual movements otherwise. I concur with this theory.">Remaining mostly silent, the fourth and fifth mares stare at each other, then at Carlos, starting and finishing the others' sentences rapidly.
"We have seen this-"
"Condition twice before."
"There is an unintended benefit to such rapid physical damage to the musculature-"
"And skeleton in that he should be able to recover much quicker if re-acclimated-"
"To functional condition before physical trauma-"
"Has time to neurologically 'set up' so-"
"Speak.">Raising an eyebrow at the twins, the leader healer lifts her shoulders, visibly conceding the point.
"He will need selectively aggressive pain management but we will not have the opportunity to do so ourselves. Nova Flicker is on record as having skill with such fine regeneration demands, so I would recommend keeping her on standby at all times. We have enough time to complete full surgery before returning, so no exploration unless requested. Understood?"
>The second mare reaches out with a dull purple glow off her horn, carefully grasping the suction hose with a short, curious glance, readily prepared for using it.
"Interesting. All Combat Medic unicorns are trained to perform a spell similar to these specifics. Human technology is much less.. drastic than I thought it would be, yet more efficient in application.">Pulling the mirror-like creation about, both of Snakebite's forearms were as previously stated: ulna and radius shattered close to the wrist, 11 microfractures left, 10 right, 5 fracture left, 6 right.>Marking the closest possible lines for infusion, Carlos noted the humerus of each was likewise fractured above the elbow in a greenstick pattern orienting upwards, indicating quick, violent trauma.
"We have enough kanpri for this with four strips, five bands, and a bundle of strands in reserve. The quartzine is no issu-">Gazing over at the few kanpri strands, strips, and bands, the lead mare frowns towards the remaining quartzine cubes, a forehoof lifting to rub her nose.
"..I see, thank you. Excellent news mares: the Medical Wing is back to operational capacity. Doctor Carlos, I must ask you to perform your incisions on Snakebite, we shall do what we can before quartzine infusion, however, we have received new orders: all unused supplies are now designated for use on surviving Starborn, and I do not think we will be able to return for at least two weeks. Gale Ironmane may remain here for as long as she desires, but Doctor Heartbreak and the rest of us must leave within the hour, patients are.. rather, have been piling up since the Barracks fires were put out. Ready up.">Flexing her jaw grimly, the lead mare's nose twitches, eyeing the other four, their horns alighting in unison.
"Primary task: fracture stabilization. Secondary task: marrow relocation. Third task: band and strand fractures. Fourth task: avoid artery damage and relocation. Fifth task: quartzine infusion, but more carefully this time. the same applies to the forearms, after this is completed we must leave immediately.">Mentally linking together, each of the five focus their energies on the set aside kanpri, molding the individual pieces and delving them into the incisions, quickly followed by cold-molten quartzine.[ 1d6+4 = 8 ]
<M.Casting: Metalchemical Infusion[ 1d6+4 = 7 ][ 1d6+4 = 6 ][ 1d6+4 = 9 ][ 1d6+4 = 7 ]
<M.Casting: Metalchemical Infusion[ 1d6+4 = 6 ][ 1d6+4 = 10 ][ 1d6+4 = 8 ][ 1d6+5 = 6 ]
<M.Casting: Metalchemical Infusion[ 1d6+5 = 11 ][ 1d6+5 = 6 ][ 1d6+5 = 10 ][ 1d6+5 = 9 ]
<M.Casting: Metalchemical Infusion[ 1d6+5 = 11 ][ 1d6+5 = 6 ][ 1d6+5 = 9 ][ 1d6+6 = 8 ]
<M.Casting: [ 1d6+6 = 9 ][ 1d6+6 = 10 ][ 1d6+6 = 12 ]
>>207804>>207802>With the cheesebot finally finished and melting into some shitty gas station cheese melt, Jamal shoots his last round straight in the air in celebration.
"We fucked him up! Bitch ain't comin back from that!">He swaps over to a fresh mag and strolls off back towards the mess hall, leaving everyone else to deal with the aftermath.>After remembering to holster his new gat again, Jamal makes his way to the supposedly cursed vending machine and puts another $5 bucks in it for some Mango Fanta™.>While waiting for it to dispense the most criminally underrated drank of all time, He takes his bag of trade rings back out and actually bothers to see if the bag has anything else printed on it.>It might even say just what the fuck they're supposed to be for.
>>207930>Failing to recognize the confusing order, the M36's Machine Spirit recites the Litany of Triumph to you.>It was still recovering from the strange transition to this world.
>Turning its attentions back onto the unknown biomechanical xenos, the auspex performs a deep, rapid scan, returning a series of bitter datums:>The hull, weaponry, fluid, and components inside had been completely destroyed by a plasma-fusion core reaction, or something similar, the Machine Spirit calculating a greater than 99% chance the intended effect was specifically to prevent studying any technologies it used.>Analyzing the residual energy signatures, the auspex confirms the previous assumption of a perpetual energy generation system, similar to the system used in the Ironstrider Ballistarius, though it had no reference points to identify the mechanism itself or the reactions involved.>Performing a final check, the substance comprising the hull and internals was still unintelligible, bearing no similarities to any known metals or alloys in use by the AdMech, Inquisition, Orks, Chaos, T'au, Eldar, or any other species known to the Imperium.
>Eyeing the molten wreckage, the Preysense visor's Machine Spirit finally snaps, shutting down from the exhaustive service it performed this night, leaving the flare lens intact.>From what you could tell, there wouldn't be much of anything to recover.
>Studying the unknown human, his armor was an obvious offshoot of ancient STC's, the bubble helmet and complex external designs matching nuclear-biological-chemical containment suits, though greatly improved in comparison to standard hazard suits.>The curious ranged weapon bore similarities to a number of small caliber rifles preferred by Rogue Traders as they didn't require Machine Spirits, while the heavy curved blade was definitely local made, comprised of an unknown, reflective blue-purple metal.>>207829>Aided by Mallia's curious help, Astral is half-carried, half-dragged to the Clinic.>Opening the curiously heavy bunker door, an irritated, bright red coated and steel maned pegasus mare glares outwards, dull yellow eyes flicking up and down at the two.>Nostril flaring in anger, the pegasus leaps out the door with a snort, half-trotting southwards while muttering in an aery, sinister tone, the language indecipherable to both Mallia and Astral.
>Pulling the Pred-Elk into the Clinic proper, it was about what Mallia expected: front desk, swiveling chair, large white sofa behind the first two, rows upon rows of wall and floor cabinets.>Ten big, soft, fluffy medical beds that wouldn't have been out of place in a Governor's private treatment room lined the east and west sides; two large, solid white doors on the north end read: 'SURGICAL SUITE', one marked west, one marked east.>On the west side beds, three rippling stasis fields contained the bodies of humans, one in a scorched thin forest camo, the second a lightning pattern similar to Tallarn, and the third in bulky white armor.>On the northeast side beds lie two sleeping Pred-Elk, one wrapped in bandages, the other missing a copper horn, a large white bandage with the center a bright red covering the stump.
>Stepping out from behind the desk, an oddly thin, 4' tall mare, a bright sparkling carnelian in color with a spiraling horn, squints soft, five-pointed star eyes at the pair.>Lifting the right foreleg and pointing directly towards the closest east side bed, the mare sits down heavily, knocking over several white plastic hardcases and perusing through them.
>>206376>The freshly re-conjured elk calf image sits enraptured through Roust's story time, nodding its head at appropriate times.
"Well shit, sounds like you've been busy. I haven't done much today but drive around and abandon, kill, or almost kill every single person who went with me through my horrible decisions!">Kraut tries to keep his tone even, but all the barely suppressed self anger and loathing start getting through near the end.>The fawn image shakes his head and sighs before shrugging.
"Anyways! Anyways, I'd tell you to go ahead and hop up for a nap, but I don't think a pulverized body in stasis would make the best bed buddy.">A few moments pass before Kraut finishes digesting what Roust got involved with in Stalliongrad.
"Huh, a new dynasty and a great evacuation. Hopefully Dante hasn't brought 'too' much shit on himself now."
>>207843>>207844>Returning to standard operating procedures, the Spiral A.I. gives you an offended stare accompanied by forelegs folded across the barrel.
"Sir, I have multiple heuristic confirmations that the mass spectrum jamming was preventing the dispatched Construct's transmissions. For right now I'll call it the Zero Discrimination Protocol, but there's something I want to show you later in a secure Faraday environment.">Barely getting within 30M of the quickly deteriorating wreckage, the black sapphirine helmet was barely able to prevent glare, the A.I. makes a troubled head shake.
"I have two functional theories on your first two questions, sir. Your findings on the Crystal Empire and what led to the long term isolation were sparse, however, I've managed to extrapolate some useful information from this Naliyna Remostrine, and combined it with the transmission from the unknown ultra-tech human. The first one is this: the specific Construct we are looking at is at minimum one thousand years past serviceable utility and would no longer be of use in a modern context. The second is the same as the first except for being used as expendable shock troopers. It is clearly a highly effective short and medium ranged model intended for brute force applications, by my third and fourth theories revolve around ten to fifty mixed models tactics.. in massive scale medieval styled micro-managed formations.">Frowning quickly, the A.I. places a comparison of armaments and hull strength between the Scout/Sentry Hybrid, then the unknown on display.
"Third theory: I think but cannot directly confirm that the Construct encountered in 'Skykeep' was an experiment to improve cognitive mass tactical efficiency for mixed unit responsiveness. While startling, and effective given your injury reports of the unknown blind pegasi, the hybrid had roughly ten percent the durability and less than five percent the extended lethality of this model. Unfortunately I don't have enough data to extrapolate more, but..">Forehooves tapping together hesitantly, the A.I. flashes a series of encrypted Committee scenarios indicating a worst case threat that it desperately wanted, and needed, to understand.
"At the risk of sounding alarmist and fatalist at the same time, my fourth theory is this: we're both wrong sir. These constructs don't 'think' in terms of purely mechanical or biological. I don't believe that they even think. The first unit you encountered was capable of acting without communication, and when it reached a point where you would think you would be 'losing', it implement modifications and improvements based on a hivemind progression scale that combined instantaneous heuristic organic learning. At least, up to to a point that you could not record. This one demonstrated a perfectly machine-based disregard for extreme sustained damage, and when brutally efficient esoteric energy weaponry failed or was destroyed it seemed to be acting on a known effective basis of this world's close combat weaponry, particularly that halberd which could be used to deal with soft, hard, and armored targets. To put this lightly: you might as well be kicking a giant hornet nest and expecting all of the occupants to ignore the invitation to sting, sir."
>Receiving a brief, static-laden noise of curiosity from the blacksmith, a yellow-black rift forms between you and the burning Construct, Krinza standing on three legs, the left hoof carrying the eerie, temporally modified power crystal upwards.>Staring ahead for a few moments, then glancing back at you, clearly unimpressed, the unicorn stallion's horn sparks a dense blue cloud over the remains, showering the plasma-ignited hull as a large watery spear forms, delivering it into the wreckage.
"Hmph. To quote a certain aggravating 'mare': I touched Celestia's wrath and felt naught but warmth, for her heat was quenched in knowledge."[ 1d6+10 = 16 ]
<Auto-Fire Resist[ 1d6+7 = 10 ]
<E.Elemental Lance: Waterfang[ 1d6+7 = 11 ][ 1d6+7 = 9 ][ 1d6+9 = 12 ]
<M.Casting: Rainstorm[ 1d6+9 = 10 ][ 1d6+9 = 13 ][ 1d6+9 = 12 ]
>The newly arrived Stormtrooper's frequency clicks once, tone grim and matter-of-fact.
*"Direct confirmation of sub-micro neutronic warhead detonation. No damage to grass or flowers in vicinity; localized to a twenty to thirty meter sphere. I did not sustain any harm at close range, approximately fifty meters. My visor is damaged but commlinks were only interrupted for five seconds. Extreme caution suggested, engage at maximum ranges in isolated combat zones."*
>>207930>One of Astrals' legs wrapped around Mallia's robo-tentacles back in thanks.
"A victory nap is required…">She said, wishing to be still in the hot spring.
>She may not have seen the humans face, but the Pred-elk heard how happy she was when she told her of the missiles fate.
"That is most excellent, Tippers' nap will not be spoiled now.">>208182>She did not want to be a burden to the new human, but her legs were not fully cooperating, so she let Mallia drag most of her weight to the Clinic.
>Astral half acknowledged the Pegasi.>'Some elk needs a headpat…'
>Surveying the interior of the Clinic, Astral gave a wide smile to the pony.
"Hiiiiii Nova~…We deed eet. We saved the Clinic and Tippers nap time.">And best of all, she was gonna go to sleep next to her sisters, Sparky and Gale!Nova Flicker is the one with the Scrunch Face
>>208182>Mallia reluctantly tore her eyes away from the exotically armored and armed man as she got on her way without lingering. Though she made a mental note of them, for the next time they'd meet.>Mostly because her visor had shut down again, which made her eyes dart, blinking twice in concern.
>She doesn't try to turn the poor thing on again.
>The enginseer busied herself mostly with carrying/dragging the predelk back to the clinic, walking by many operators whom hopefully gave her a clear way back; looking ahead to hopefully not trip and mostly glancing over the unicorn's magical efforts. She listened to the report from her Auspex, in the meantime.
>Which made the Enginseer's lip purse a little with some light disappointment…
>Though she did curl her lips into a smile when she heard back from the Stormtrooper. Happy that he had made it back in one piece.
>Likewise, the newly arrived Enginseer briskly replied to the Stormtrooper's transmission with her own. Albeit her voice is less grim, and more heavy from some kind of great effort.>Astral could, this time, hear the quiet reply that Mallia utters byy virtue of having an ear close to her helmet's face.
"*Auspex Scanning confirms the hull, weaponry, fluid, and components within the sphere are not salvageable. Over.*" >>208253>After that little statement through the radio, she visibly turned their head to glance more towards Astral,
"One.. Hh- Victory nap the great Astral Poinsettia, comin' right up!" >Mallia playfully said, with a stiff, heavy voice. Yes, she was struggling, but that doesn't impact the overall happy tone in her voice.
>Huffing and lightly grunting with effort. She wasn't particularly strong, most of her hefting power coming from her mechanical limb, which coiled itself beneath the predelk to reduce the stress on her arms. >Her mechadendrite giving off little clicks as the limb shifts and locks to ensure Astral doesn't drag their rump along the ground.
>When she saw the pegasus after the doors had opened, she stopped there abruptly, stiffening as if she was expecting a overly hostile response despite where she was. >It's not like she hadn't seen pissed off Medicae before; she just had never seen pissed off XENO medicae before.>And that prompted Mallia to step aside and follow the mare with her glance as she darted off, Mallia's breath audibly softening and quivering with a brief twang of fear…
>Until the pegasus left, and she resumed walking along with Astral, lightly hopping up to adjust the weight of the Predelk along her upper body.
"Someone's very angry…"
>Then her glance went to the stasis pods, her glance lingering on them as she passed them. But she didn't paused to inspect them yet, looking forward again. To see the unicorn.>Without pausing for longer than a split-second on those star-shaped pupils, Mallia nodded her head in understanding to the unicorn and turned towards the bed.
>She puts a little bit more effort into lifting Astral as they approached the bed, lifting Astral up to set her rump on the bedside.
>She instantly breathes out a huge sigh of relief when her arms stop baring the weight of the predelk. holding her by the sides as her mechadendrite coils back to a resting position along her back.
"There we go!.. A good exercise, hehe! Uff
…" >Said Mallia, before gently, slowly helping Astral lay down on her side; even lightly lifting the elk's head to rest it on the pillow, and making sure the legs are properly coiled in, so Astral doesn't have to put much effort into moving into a comfortable position. >The Enginseer gives the Predelk's shoulder two, gentle pats, nodding to them once.
"Goodnight. Get well soon, okay? You seem nice; sorry if I seemed scared of you, earlier…" >Mallia lowered her voice to a quiet, caring whisper. Lingering there for a moment just to be there for the reply, before she'd likely be forced to leave.
>Idly listening to the voxbead as she waited. And also letting her thoughts wander.
>She still wasn't sure why she felt so much empathy for these xenos. Yet she genuinely worried for Astral, even if they scared her before. Was this wrong? Was she a bad enginseer?>Mallia was sure she was doing something wrong… Something she couldn't quite pinpoint in that moment.
>Luckily, Astral couldn't see the troubled, distant look in her eyes in that moment…
>>207856>Safety on, the northern courtyard began to come to… something approximating a life.>Doors to the barracks opened and slammed shut, squads of humans, too far away to make out just yet, cautiously advancing south, numerous rifles and a probable missile launcher aimed upwards.
>Unable to sight the suicide pony, Naliyna was rounding into the pagoda on the north side, humming in a much too serene manner for the prior situation, four darkly tinted ponyshoes floating above her head.>Magic, it seemed, was everywhere here.
>Reaching the fountain, you find the three human sized and two pony sleeping bags empty, one of the larger ones containing a peculiar number of brightly colored scarves inside.>Filling the water can, a single squad of humans passes by, the bizarre mixture of uniforms and weapons from several previous eras clashed against the definitely local-made armor.>This place was pretty weird.
(There is a lot of movement around here. That Construct sure put this place on alert.)>Cheto shrugs it off, not minding the current situation too much.
(Still, those uniforms. Why were they all so different? I don't recognize most of them. I suppose there are more worlds than Earth and this magical pony land. Fascinating.)>He makes sure to cap the full water can, screwing it shut at a careful pace.
(Don't want this to spill all over the floor. That would be wasteful.)
>Slight discomfort arises at the number of scarves that sleeping bag has.
(Is it really that cold here to warrant all of these?)>A shake of his head.
(No, no touching other people's property, especially ones that are seemingly mundane.)>His legs start carrying him to the Clinic, hoping that the place is intact and Frost Egg is inside.
(She has waited too long for her robe. Hopefully she's fine.)
>After reaching the Clinic door, he opens it gently and enters the building.
(Priority list. Find Frost, give back robe. Find Flicker. If she's awake, ask about Prench Pony's status. If Prench Pony is conscious have small talk with him. He would like some company, I'd believe.)>He nods to himself, confirming his current goals.
>>208012>Staring down with a great sense of unease, the deep purple stallion rolls his eyes.
(Believe me. I tried. And yes, I was serious about the stripper pole too. Tipper is a nice, warm, but wet and heavy blanket. She knows that nothing but bed rest is damaging to the body and mind. The problem here is that she does not have an entire squadron of nurses and other doctors to supervise each and every patient.)>A slow, satisfied, potentially Keter-class smile covers Hodch's muzzle while one of his eyebrows raise in truthfulness, the other lowering into deviousness.
(Excellent choice, Doctor. I will have to warn you that non-unicorns take much longer to teach spellwork to, but I know a few great teachers. Hm, Gale was wondering when exactly I would get to break just about every law made across Equestria in one night. My dam would be so proud of this!)>Hodch lifts the skull plate directly overhead, along with a host of other objects, several of which you could feel were not right, though the miniature translocation disc was definitely out of place.
(I should also mention you will not feel anything, Necromarecy is the more gentle of my options when a sapient's ka needs to be removed elsewhere.)[ 1d6 = 5 ]
<????? #1[ 1d6 = 2 ]
<????? #2[ 1d6 = 2 ]
<????? #3[ 1d6 = 1 ]
<????? #4[ 1d6 = 4 ]
<????? #5[ 1d6 = 5 ]
<????? #6[ 1d6 = 4 ]
<????? #7[ 1d6 = 1 ]
<????? #8[ 1d6 = 6 ]
<????? #9[ 1d6 = 2 ]
>The process, from what you could tell, was instant, your consciousness 'seeing' through the skull plate down at.. your body.>It really HAD seen much better days.>Tapping the disc, your view of, well, you, distorts in a dull rainbow vortex, Hodch yawning while speaking through the mindlink.
(Now then, off to a certain place that is, in your own words: 'classified to fuck and back.' Say, share, draw, send, deliver anything about what you see to anyone, anything, yadda yadda yadda, you can guess how severe the response will be, probably including dropping a comet or meteor on you. The rules are not mine, I am merely allowed to enter and take what I want.)>Shifting perspective, the Changeling exo-skull mask and plate drops down, obviously onto the unicorn's own, while rows upon rows of double stacked, pony sized stasis cells appear, shrouding in a heavy fog, hover above a jet gray floor with no ceiling in sight.>Ambling into a walk, Hodch's head, and your 'sight', turn from side to side, examining each one too quickly to tell what he was looking for.
(Acquiring a unicorn host body is going to be difficult, generally those are the first to be re-inhabited. Hopefully nopony else has been in here tonight or I might have to go pay the damned Cult off for one.)
>Staring up at Hodch or well, more aptly, just past him at the ceiling due to his current condition, he just laughs at the explanation of breaking every law on the continent.
(Well doctor, some laws are simply far to restrictive for this world for you just NOT to break them!)>There's a bit of a weird, almost insane laugh echos throughout his head.>As he takes more of Hodch in and sees the more… Curious objects on his strange skull plate mask and the whole thing itself just gives him an off feeling.>Hodch could probably hear the badly burned agent mumbling to himself in his mind unsure of this object's exact classification.
(Necromarecy? Not my specialty, mine's more… Spacey stuff! Like otherworldy beings, rockets, and Godlike deer entities that have come to our world with an unknown purpose, likely to get prayers and grass and stuff while it turns humans into giant pillars of [REDACTED] for not praising its all holy flanks correctly.)>The sudden and quick transition from staring up at the ceiling now to staring down at himself and seeing just how bad he truly looked distrubed Novus, just a little.
(Good God, what is that awful looking creature?) >He remarked sarcastically to his own horrible looking burns, misshapen limbs, and other various parts.>As he taps the disc, and they are… Translocated, presumably.>The feeling is strangely benign without a body to be nauseous with.>Truly only an observer now, as their vision returned to a storage facility that was quite… Strangely unsurprising to Novus.
(I am familiar with blacksites yes. This whole site doesnt really exist, yadda yadda. That was part of my job back on Earth was working at a place with a similar nature of classification. Several, actually.)>The stasis cells all around them seemed to catch his attention.
(I won't lie, I almost didn't think that you also had a storage facility for spare bodies. Is this facility also in the case of a world ending event for post apocalyptic re-population measures?)>As he looks with hodch, his vision at the moment through the skull plate apparently not the best he muses to himself.
(Quite understandable, Hodch. I would expect nothing less, unicorns and pegasi, even bats. You probably have a surplus of earth pony bodies, don't you?)>Novus lets out another, strange toned chuckle.
(Like I said. Unicorn. Batpony wouldn't be… Too bad? But having a mango addiction and or need for blood isn't very high on my priority list here. Pegasi also could work at the absolute worst, but only for the purposes of mobility. But… Again, Unicorn please.)>There's a pause.
(And I suppose with you I should also specify adult?)
>>208094>Carlos listens intently at the twins finishing eachother's sentences as he himself finishes up the cut lines on Snakebite and begins sterilizing his utensils.
"That is good, si? I am well versed on the human nervous system, and am aware of Senorita Flicker's abilities. We should be able to handle his therapy"
>Pleased that the ponies took well to the suction machine, it frees his hands up while he prepares his equipment and puts on new gloves.>The Doctor furrows his brows at the lead mare's sudden change in duties. Injured Starborn? Must be the attack on the Citadel.>He mulls over Snakebite's current state as well as the other three awaiting treatment, or death declarations, in stasis.
"Very well, I understand. If we can get Snakebite stabilized Senorita Flicker and I can handle post-op. This will give me plenty of time to assess the other's, as Senor Verde can keep them in stasis until they can be properly looked at.">The mares prepare the kanpri and quartzine, and Carlos begins to sterilize Snakebite's arms and picks the lead mare's diamondine scalpel again to do the cutting.
"Alright equinas. Promptness aside let's continue.">He adjusts his forehead light and magnifying lenses, bringing the blade down to the unconscious man's toughened skin and begins.
"Making first incision. Once I set the retractor, you may begin applying."[ 1d6+4 = 8 ]
<M.Physician: Surgery[ 1d6+4 = 10 ][ 1d6+4 = 10 ][ 1d6+4 = 9 ][ 1d6+4 = 8 ][ 1d6+4 = 9 ][ 1d6+4 = 9 ][ 1d6+4 = 8 ]
<Lead Mare's Surgical Tool Set[ 1d6+3 = 6 ]
<Juan's Surgical Tool Set[ 1d6+15 = 18 ]
<Clinic Supplies[ 1d6+20 = 25 ]
>>208185>Pareidolia's eyes begin to squint as he nears the glaring wreck as he turns his head to shield his eyes.
"Then your conclusion coincides with mine. The only question remaining is intent. Why would they deploy an oudated, defunct model in such large numbers to assault the Citadel? Their fluid is capable of creating independent Construct units limited by their initial starting volume. There is little to stop them from systematically overwhelming the planet over the course of a century. The potential for espionage with models the size of a marble or even smaller is incredible."
>Looking up as Krinza steps through the rift, he lowers his rifle and sticks it across his shoulders.>As the hiss of steam and evaporating water flows over the yard, he raises a hand in thanks.
"Thank you. I don't know if there will be anything left worth analyzing, but if you have a use for Construct slag I'll give you the remains once I'm done with them."
>He absorbs the Stormtrooper's report silently as he looks back towards the Library trying to see what Inquisitor Flash was doing.
[Narrowly averted catastrophic loss. Duly noted for the future.]
"Will need to add new addendums to our knowledge of Constructs. All hulls appear to be purpose formed as housing shells from a base fluid. The Construct "entity" for all intents and purposes is the fluid itself. Any experimentation with it must be in separated volumes minimal enough to deny the Construct the mass to form a credible threat."
>>208014>Unable to see the Destroyer wings or Lunar-robed cow leading them through the fog, the Arena was silent enough that you may have felt their hoofstomps.>May.
>Power jogging to and up the first set of tall stairs, it surprisingly went around the dome towards the east, and since you didn't have claustrophobia or feared of the dark, the black granite faintly guided your substandard nocturnal senses.>The pathway around the dome terminates at an intersection on the east side, one stairwell leading down, one leading into the dome itself, another to a small balcony covered in new cushions, and the last leading around the dome.>Finding that you couldn't see the vessel from here yet, cross into the adjacent tunnel and jogging through it, you wind up on the south side's balcony, empty.
>Standing at the abysmally short railing, not even feeling the barest strain of a workout, the vessel was exactly like the cloaked one in the Enclave: an ancient sailing vessel roughly 80M from bow to stern, covered in a thick, seamless layer of silverine.>Resting in an oval shaped cradle set down into the curious triangular stonework below, the four energy-emitting square pads were hidden underneath.>While you couldn't see any visible hatches or ports, your radio begins picking up phrases from the angry, mostly electronic language of a female harpy, similar to Oranti but older sounding, as if nearly feral.>Listening to the strangely sharp sounds, it was in close proximity, and could only be coming from within the silverine vessel.
>>208016>Unable to see the Clinic from where you were south of the Pagoda, upon walking through the Neighsian structure you're given a wave from Naliyna, whom was, for the first time, happily doing paperwork.. which might not have been actual paperwork.>Exiting the north side, the Clinic was still intact, though an odd, rust red armored human, fairly short so probably a female, with a long utility tentacle sticking out of her back was half-dragging, half-carrying one of the Pred-Elk to the only entrance.>Upon opening the door, a furious, bright red coated and steel maned pegasus mare bursts outwards, stalking directly towards you.>Passing by at an uncomfortably short distance, the pre-middle aged mare simply turns one dull yellow eye upwards for a second, flicking down and storming into the Pagoda itself.>Razorback certainly did attract weirdos.
>Checking the PKM's box, you had only used a fraction of the total belt, which could be topped off at pretty much any time.
>>208060>Glancing behind him at the crew hurrying with their construction efforts, the Tartarus stallion swings his head back with a proud smile.
"Shanis told us to go nuts, take whatever we could scavenge from around the Basin. Only took us two nights to get this far! You wouldn't believe how pissed off the other crews have been, and no, there's two others but nowhere near as big as my teams are. One's from Gozka, bunch of giant Rangers with hooves the size of my head laying down half ton slabs, pretty impressive. Other is about two hundred unicorns, much. I think they're a consortium from all over Equestria, definitely saw a few from every big city I can think of.">Shaking his head quickly, the Tartarus earth pony glances back again, unfolding a map and peering at it, giving a humored chuckle.
"No to the first and yes to the second. This 'crypt' is basically the same as a few that were built underneath Stalliongrad, after the Lunar-Solar War when the Nightmare helped our ancestors out from a bunch of Undead. Nopony save for the Tower Guard or her knows anything about why they were built or what they were for, but I did overhear a conversation once..">Pausing to glance up at Mercy, whom you could sense smiling at the earth stallion, he grins before raising the schematic or diagram up to peer at intensely.
"I get why you didn't bring any Blades, hello again Mercy!"
"Greetings once more. How is your.. herd?"
"Happier than ever, and thanks for letting us know about the.. well, you know! But thanks again, the little ones are sleeping a lot better now. Anyhow, there was this bunch called the 'Lunar Collective' that demanded them to be constructed built, might have been one of the Nightmare's more esoteric units. Here, you can have my copy, it's the more general crypt design built but should help out.">Floating a rolled page off his saddle to you, the stallion turns to eye the construction crew, dark brown eyes rolling at a shouting match starting, then tosses a hoof at you, trotting off and calling over his shoulder.
"Go on in if you want, we'll leave a few to guard your cart!">>208068>Ears and eye roving about, you were forced to ignore the oddly high number of Arcane Blades on protection duty, the mixed sapiences of their armor and weaponry humming in sinister manners.>The mares themselves were relaxed in striking stances, much like batpony hunter-killers, though simply more prepared.>They'd obviously had trouble recently and were definitely eager for more.
>Picking between the sounds of ponies, an unusually somber, tiny chime was barely heard emanating directly from the crypt, and following that was a hollow wind flute.>Listening again, the chime intones hollowly, the flute somber this time, both sounds ceasing after the ninth.
>Finishing the bar, you knew there were three more, and, according to the growl your stomach gave, the one simply wasn't going to be enough.
>>208490>…Da fuck is this shit?
"Da fuck is this shit?">Jamal removes one bottle and placing the rest in his bag, tentatively sipping from the one he took afterwards.>Regardless of the taste he pockets it separate from the unopened bottles.>It could taste like piss but vending machines don't do refunds so he's stuck with it.>The trade rings are also simply put back into Jamal's backpack until such a time as he has a centerpiece for his chains.>Having stocked up on food Jamal strolls back to the armory to reload his spent mag and immediately runs out and to the pagoda so no one has opportunity to drag him into more bullshit.>Once there he lights up the cheap cigarillo he didn't get to finish early and tells the translocation matrice to take him to Potswana.
>>208183>Trying to smile, and visibly being too tired to even do so, the Changeling settles for snorting and projecting her own calm, unruffled mood.
(I will maintain my potentially immortal patience until proven otherwise by such a detonation that I could not possibly regenerate from my core by. Even then, if such an action would have greater positive consequences than the loss of my own life, I would affirm and glorify your deeds as my last act of consciousness. I have served in far worse capacities than Razorback's weirdnesses, Kraut.)>True eyes closing behind the mask, Roust tilts her head down, chin on the stasis oval with a wry, metallic chuckle.
(You would be surprised at what I am comfortable with, but I have been told to stay off the Clinic beds, they cannot support my weight.)>Cracking an eye open halfway, the Vanguard's false-lips curl backwards into a deep frown.
(That was… not all of what occurred. I shall continue.)
(The 'Second Dynasty' bombarded the Watch Guard lines multiple times while advancing in a giant marching formation. It went better for.. 'us', I suppose, since Dante commanded far more professional psions and Support Strikers. Broken Hoof, and I am not sure how this occurred, called herself the 'Knight-General of the Second Dynasty', then demanded that those whom wished to follow Empress Silver's lineage turn against the Councilierge entirely. Perhaps thirty or forty percent of the Watch Guard turned against their own. I believe that was not expected so the ruling Councilierge killed a number of them with the Eldritch weapon.. which was able to reform into other variations. I do not understand it.)
(While all that was going on the Lieutenant, whom did not share her name at all and I could not find out what it was, organized her Watch Guard into a Double Lance Formation. That is, lighter lances to one side, heavier lances to the other. Broken Hoof made some Formation that I had not seen before, but it was quite effective. When they charged the Lieutenant and her Formation met severe resistance. Broken Hoof was credited with nine kills alone.. and I believed she bent her lance. Both lines were trapped in close combat, but the situation kept getting stranger.)
(The Eldritch-wielding Councilierge was intercepted by a FORMER Councilierge whom was, according to the earth pony overherd's information, one of the four primal psions outside of Silver's lineage, and the most unstable. The fight they put on was..)>Pausing to stare blearily up at the Clinic's white ceiling, the Changeling shakes her head slowly.
(I do not know how to state this. They destroyed the entire North Stalliongrad Market Sector trying to kill each other. I do not mean they leveled it, there are less than a Ferron foal's hoof sized pieces remaining of all those buildings. I am not sure what happened to them other than I felt their energies detonate in suicide maneuvers. Both are presumably dead.)
(Denra was directing the rather creepy golem towards the Watch Guard battle lines when I heard an elite unit, something called the 'Tarusian Crests', had been fooled by illusions. Right after that I felt an elite unit of earth ponies coming off a translocation stone nearby. I had ordered the Foalguard and Shieldmares to protect the civil earth ponies during their escape, so.. so I did something I should never have done: I tried to shapeshift into a human mare matching Hollow. Armor, shield, blade included. It was agony. I am still not sure ALL of my organs are where they should be.)
(The last of the civil ponies escaped, but some of the Scouts surveying Stalliongrad and all of the Shieldmares came to help me. They did not need to since I was winning, and, this part I find most amusing, both the Lieutenant and the Watch Guard all surrendered at the same time. They were even arguing about who surrendered first!)>Snickering loudly at this, the Changeling's armored ears wiggle in large circles, nostrils flaring in something akin to placidity.
(It got even more weird. Ten or maybe fifteen thousand Undead broke out from the stoneworks directly under the Main Square. They attacked everything on sight, but the defense went well. Denra formed a Cantabrian Circle, using his golem for support, but not before he had a mental breakdown. The pony and his unit I was fighting dove into the middle, the Watch Guard and Second Dynasty gave up and attacked.. but then a bunch of vampire ponies tore free and destroyed every Undead they could get their hooves, claws, wings, and even teeth on. They went berserk, saved Denra and the rest of us a great deal of trouble. And no, only a few of them were batponies, which I find quite odd.)
(There really is not much left to tell. The golem stepped into one of the tunnels and began sinking, then a bunch of Tower Guard and Watch Guard translocated onto the eight stones the Second Dynasty had brought. The vampire ponies were helping them out, too. Denra negotiated a short truce so that the Second Dynasty could leave, and.. I was too tired to stick around longer.)
(Hrm… I feel as if I missing someth- oh! Dante was propositioned by a filly from the Watch Guard, her dam even allowed it. Dante did accept so I suspect that she will demand it to be completed soon. I may have heard somepony speaking of enforcing the mareriage, but I was quite busy at the time so I cannot be sure.)
(..Kraut, I just had an idea. What if I grow you a temporary body like how I make my own armor? It is psychoreactive and not all that different to use.)
>This day was weird but at least he had a cute colt to belly rub that made things all the brighter.>'In fact.'>He went and scratched behind the small colts tiny ears too.
[ 1d6+2] >M.Ear Scratching
"That is good to know, Champion.">It really was, knowing Belregard was not truly hostile towards him.
"They sleep? Has anyone tried waking them up?">He jested slightly, though he was curious why the Ethereal gods were asleep. So much so he let the fact there were gods fly over his head.>Ah, so they are built, much like back home. Except back on Ferrundus the robots were simply robots, not thinking machines. Oh Ferrundus.>He listened more intently to clear his mind of his home.
"I see…In that case Belregard, don't fret! I am sure Glacier will help you in learning how to live."
>Lont glanced down at the Outrider, it will be safe here, he reasoned.
"Good, but only when the get the time. They are busy enough as is without me having them do errands.">At the Ethereal's low words, the Operator shrugged before following after the Shell.
"Better to face challenges with a smile than let the burden overwhelm you."
>Lont absorbed his surroundings, slowly turning his head back and forth to take in the whole scene before him.>No wonder Glacier wanted to be here, the comfiness of the Conclave soaking right into his bones.
"Well then, sounds like you have a decades worth to catch up."
>He looked down at Void Crasher then the myriad of cooking stations.>'I'll eat later.'
"What does she mean 'unicorn treatment', Belregard?">Lont was tempted to place Void into the pillowfort, he couldn't cradle the colt all day, even if he was so damn cute.
Ambush: +1 Token to Spruce
>Silent for a moment as his horn was bright with magic, Golden was deep in his mind as he analysed the Construct heading towards them.>Then with a flutter of his eyes and a gasp he snapped out of his meditative trance, wild eyed until he remembered where he was.
"…Oh dear.">>207953>The old Unicorn glanced at Spruce, beating chest calming down but still wide eyed. So did the Chitqu, letting out a tiny squeak at being betrayed.
"I…Yes. That sounds like it could actually work, I am sure the small fellow can find his way back to us with no grudge whatsoever while not being spotted by that-">Golden shuddered, as if a vision resurfaced to his fore-thoughts.
"-thing.">>208007>Cocking his arm backwards, the Witcher aimed and then threw his newly acquired rock a good 50 metres away in the direction from whence the Construct Orb had come from. The "CLACKLE" of rock pattering off rock was heard echoing in the distance, evidently Adons' throw saw the rock hit another boulder.
>There was a moment of silence before another wet, organic gurgling noise came from the Orbs direction then more silence. Peering around his cover the Witcher observed the Orb was now moving backwards, towards where he threw his trusty distraction rock.
>Slumping down, Golden Horn sighed.
"Did it work, can we move on from this terrible place?"
Turns until upon position: 4
>Venous snorted, head still laying on the hard surface of the railing, periodically flicking an ear because the wind tickled them.
"All the reasons you listed off are correct and more, it is a fortress that cannot be so easily assailed like other Royal strongholds within Canterlot."
>Slipping the Night Vision goggles over his eyes Corsen stared intently towards the Mansion in a means to find something, anything interesting of note.>And all he got for his effort was unexpected pain, making him reel backwards.>The brightness of the lakes moonlit surface was enough to white out the NVGs, this all encompassing blinding light played hell on the Cultists retinas, as they were accustomed to the low light levels of the Canterlot night-life.>Through this stinging agony Corsen knew it was Tzeentchs' fault somehow, that is what he gets for bad mouthing that giant warp mollusc!
>With a small amused smile, Venous rolled her head side to side on the railings golden surface.>'Very amusing, my mood is brightening up much like a sun over the horizon.'
"He is yet another terrible Royal to be targeted, another head to be decapitated on Princess Celestias' orders. However due to politics and his currently impenetrable Mansion he is a low priority for now, by the time the full might of the Day Guard and Honour guard get to him it will be too late for Mistress Duo Whell."
>She grew agitated then, eyes narrowing to stare daggers at the Island below. Lifting her head up from its perch the off duty Honour Guard medic straightened her back, regaining her regal posture as she looked into Corsens' lenses.
"By that do you mean something underhoofed, something the Lunar faction would be proud of. A 'sneaking offensive' as they call it?">'Desperate times call of such measures, my pride must be swallowed for now if it means Mistress Duo Whells safety.'
>>208253>Doing a double take at Astral, then Mallia, the Ward's eyes widen, only now realizing what she was looking at, putting on a welcoming smile.
"I.. well, I am glad that you succeeded. I will inform Doctor Tipper of your efforts when she awakens.">>208260
*"..damn it all to the Warp, the Inquisitor will be furious if she learns of this. Remain on standby for further orders-"*
>Lofting two cases into the air with a cloud the same coloration as her coat, the strange horned mare's star-shaped eyes peer at the mechadendrite with a hefty amount of suspicion.>Transferring Astral onto the clinic bed, the horned equine clops towards you and around to the bed's opposite side.>Setting out both hardcases on a short table, the horned places an apple shaped bottle next to the Pred-Elk's head, following by a thin vial filled with a dully glowing, blood red substance.
"I am sorry to demand this but you must leave the Clinic. There are too many patients here at the moment, I cannot treat more than six sapients at once. Any more than that and my auric field will destabilize."
>Hearing a click from the voxlink, Chisan's voice returns, straining heavily while carapace boots can be heard thumping on stone.
*"Enginseer Mallia, report to the Librarium immediately, the Inquisitor is demanding your presence. You will find an entrance to an underground lab in the southern section. You are hereby ordered to place all weaponry in sleep mode, failure to abide by this order will result in severe penalties-"*
>>208394>Receiving short nods and hand waves from the curious selection of humans, mostly midrange marksmen with a couple of dedicated snipers, the squad moves towards the Pagoda, a slightly less than 5' tall pony, hornless and wingless, covered in heavy black armor clanks by you as well, visibly struggling to keep up.>While the cold was starting to become noticeable, the late fall night time atmosphere lightens a bit as the overhead bank of clouds moves on, comfortable bright red light streaming down.
>Reaching the Clinic and pulling the bunker door open, a decent amount had changed inside:>The closest bed on the east side was now filled by yet another of the copper-horned elk, a curiously rust red armored human shorter than you in front of the cervine.>Armed with a strange, futuristic looking weapon, a likewise rust red combat shield slung over the back, and an odd poleaxe with several mechanical attachments that wouldn't look out of place in a welding shop, the most baffling part was the 2M long, steel colored metallic tentacle attached to the center of the human's spine, four small claws on the end.>On the opposite side, Nova Flicker was carefully giving the elk a dose of bright green liquid, fully focused on her new patient.
>In the center on the east side, the Prench pegasus was being tended to by Frost Egg, the mare difficult to see under the red lighting.
>>208260>Astral reached out and placed her legs on the bed as to help Mallia, she did do a lot of the carrying.
"Thank you very much Mallia!">At being patted the Pred-elk snorted happily, then in response craned her head towards the Engineseers and licked the human on the face. What face that was there.>It is the effort that counts.
>Laying back down she nodded, a bright smile on her face as she looked to her sisters.
"It is fine, you're new here! Besides when I get out of here I shall introduce you to my family! A big, happy, tight snuggle pile with all the Pred-elks!">Both of her ears were freely flapping back at forth as she beamed with happiness.>>208585
"Also can you boop her snoot for me please?">Astral asked, giving the Ward the puppy eyes.
(Most laws on Tallus were made so that ponies would be more peaceful towards each other. Ritual combat became the norm, not the exception.. and some, like myself, do not look upon them fondly.)>Sensing one of the objects containing you, albeit only able to see through the skull plate, Hodch pauses to glance at a quartet of black coated earth ponies, his eyebrow raising felt but not seen.
(Interesting you should mention that.. there is a Plane consisting of biotechnological spheres which have plagued Tallus for at least fifteen thousand years. If you would agree to this, in exchange for your knowledge and hopefully some ideas on how to deal with them, I will supervise your training and grant you quiet access to several tomes in my possession.)>Turning from the earth ponies, the reservist shakes his head slightly, the motion rather bland and not nauseating.
(This is one of several, you know the rest. Several humans in Razorback and one I met elsewhere were unsurprised at learning how deep some of our security measures were. One even helped me refine safeguards for the Enclave which are now being used elsewhere.)>Stopping to look at a bright pink batpony, Hodch emits a troubled, tired chuckle.
(I have no idea how many there are but I can state I am allowed to access three sites similar to this. According to the contract I signed these facilities were designed to prevent, or recover from, much worse disasters than a complete invasion from any of the Planes, Otherworlds, or the Void. I do not trust the Founder's words at all, but from what I have seen so far.. I believe they are necessary measures, even if she should be executed and replaced with somepony much more logical.)>Continuing on through the growing numbers of various ponies in stasis, the unicorn nods slowly.
(Correct. I estimate ten thousand earth pony bodies in this facility alone. Many of them are pre-modern, that is, partially or fully feral and thus kept in reserve due to their greater physical, mental, and esoteric characteristics. There are some which I have not been allowed access to, specific blood lineages with specialized inherencies that would be considered wasted without a dire need of their use.)
(Theoretically, if you were to inhabit a batpony's body you would not be subjected to addictions, that is a cultural-psychological necessity, not a physical one. Most you might get would be an urge every few hours. As for pegasi they are far less important. There are no Ferron, pre-modern, or post-modern host bodies kept here, only ancient, feral, Saxoneigh, and a few others that I was not allowed to study.)>Snorting aloud at the question, Hodch's head raises upwards, curiously still while he chokes, then snaps down, retching a mass of dull red, black and purple speckled fluid onto the gray flooring.
(Not now Luna damn it-)>Lifting a forehoof and wiping his muzzle, the unicorn inhales with a sickly rumbling sound, now sounding mentally exhausted.
(Of course. I was not going to subject you to endless harassment and the potential for life altering 'experiences'.)>Stepping around the mess and ambling forwards, your vision flickers once while Hodch turns right through an empty space, heading for the far side as he coughs, spitting out of side.
(I will do my best to find a suitably young host body, one that is both heavily resonant and physically fit to minimum Lunar Guard standards. Options will be limited after the invasion earlier. Regardless of that, I can make no promises on if there are any unicorns remaining.)
>>208595>Mallia's eyes return to focus on the predelk when she licks her across the visor. The Enginseer doesn't seem to mind -- or, at least, doesn't recoil from it. Infact, the woman even snickers a little bit as she stands back up to her full lenght.
>Full length being 5' 3", not counting the Omnissian poleaxe that was a little taller over her head; but still. >>208585>She didn't add anything else to that. Her happiness quickly soured by the vox communication sent by the Stormtrooper, prompting her to sigh slowly through her respirator, and nod her head to the unicorn.
"Of course. Thank you."
>She then swiftly began to step off back onto the middle portion of the clinic to avoid getting in the way. >And perhaps more out of mechanical instinct of walking along certain parts of a medical area at all times, also walking rather slowly to cause no trouble. As the second communication hits her. >To which swiftly replied calmly, as took a step to go around the Operators that were just coming in. Hand on the side of her helmet.
"*Solid copy. En-route.*" >And then she audibly sighed HEAVILY, her voice coming out bitterly towards herself as she largely ignored everybody as she sped up into a stride towards the exit.>Her mechanical limb visibly shifting to drape itself across her backpack and poleaxe, partly around the big red shield, as if to secure it.
"Welp…">She muttered, only loud enough for the operators passing immediately beside her to hear; in a distinctly depressed tone.
>She then quickly reached back behind her back to the side of her rifle, to quickly toggle the safety of her weapon on, and then send the command to enter 'sleep' mode to ensure that her machine spirits were properly disarmed.
>Almost IMMEDIATELY she stops abruptly in her steps, as the realization dawns on her that she doesn't really know which building was the Libarium… >… But then Mallia simply, after her one second pause, starts striding again; breaking into a hasty jog, instinctively turning to move towards the south on a whim as soon as she was outside. Tapping into the voxbead again to send a very sheepish message back to the stormtrooper.
"*… Stormtrooper, forgive me, but which building is the Librarium?*"
>Then, as she asked that, she began to peer around and crane her head, looking towards all the other buildings curiously, hoping that there'd be a big sign saying 'Librarium' so she has a target to run to immediately.[ 1d6 = 4 ]
<B. Perception[ 1d6 = 6 ]
>>208471>Running multiple simulations based on records, the Marquis A.I. lifts both forelegs in a wide shrug.
"Too many possibilities to list, sir. Scarce resources, outdated soldier models that can't be reclaimed and are instead sent on suicide missions, possibility of corrupted protocols, could be so far outdated that the rest simply want them removed.. I don't have near enough data to formulate specific answers. I still require confirmation of hivemind logistics, but we can safely assume that there is always high level data traffic between those in close proximity. According to your reports and some speculative information, it is highly possible that small models were encountered long enough that native security measures were overdeveloped to counter them."
>Stepping into the billowing steam, the cloud above reforms along with a second water spear, Krinza calling over the loud, constant hissing of vapor.
"I am unaware of any uses, though I have read many excerpts requiring complete destruction through either immersion in lava or disintegration."[ 1d6+7 = 9 ]
<E.Elemental Lance: Waterfang[ 1d6+7 = 13 ][ 1d6+7 = 12 ][ 1d6+9 = 10 ]
<M.Casting: Rainstorm[ 1d6+9 = 14 ][ 1d6+9 = 15 ][ 1d6+9 = 12 ]
>Sighting the Inquisitor's leather overcoat smoking, the oversized hat nowhere in view, she was lying half-out of the doorway, struggling to pull herself forwards as if her rear legs were entirely immobilized.>Across the left side of her equine face was a streak of black, scorched tissue, the eye above a patchy white-silver coloration, thin trickles of red blood streaming downwards.>Running into view towards the Library, the recently arrived black clad Stormtrooper pulls a small red kit from underneath his blocky pack, slamming to a halt on his knees in front of the Inquisitor, fully obscuring her now.
>Visibly annoyed for a moment, the A.I. pauses further analysis, rendered expression flattening at the scene.
"I think we need to add around four hundred critical addendums, sir. Greatly improved medical treatment for one, and, depending on how important this 'Flash' is.. figuring out how to placate, then extract all necessary information."
>>208590>A simple wave back at the humans is all Cheto gives back, a little worried that he borrowed the coat for too long.
(Need to give coat back. No time to waste right now. Maybe I'll try to talk to them later, when things settle down a little more and the Construct cleaning is complete.)
>He first goes towards Frost Egg, his hand waving her robe from side to side.
"Hello Miss Frost. Thought you'd need this back, now that the threat is over.">He stands next to the Prench pegasus' bed on Egg's side, his arm with the robe extended towards her, awaiting her to take it.
>Whether Frost's clothing is taken or not, he turns towards the Prench Pony, a little pout on his face.
"How is he doing? I assume he's recovering, right?">>208605>>208260>A little note is made about the two newcomers to the clinic.
(Huh, an elk and a woman. I think it's a woman. Her tentacle thing makes things a little confusing. Is she even human?)>His eyes widen at the elk's licking of the human's face.
(Pero que carajos?
Is that how these species say hello?)>He visibly lowers them as the elk speaks.
(It seems the elk thanked her for some reason. I suppose that robot carried her here. A cheery elk, as far as the eye can see. No idea about that possible woman that got licked. Still, they're both alongside Nova, so it's only polite to greet them when I go talk to her.)>That was his thought process until the robot woman just left the elk and exited the building.
(Well, the elk seems interesting still. Maybe she'd like dried fruit? I'd have to keep in mind the lick if she wants to thank me too.)
>The offer of exchanging knowledge to deal with the realm of biotechnical spheres? An interesting proposition, one he was uniquely situated to potentially deal with.>And one that sounded like a lot of fun.
(I accept wholeheartedly Hodch. I would love to return to my old job again of containing lifeforms and objects that want to wipe out or can wipe out humanity. Or well, I guess equinity in this case. I suppose I should tell you a bit about where I worked for back on Earth then?)>He pauses first, thinking a moment, then slowly as his vision travels around as Hodch's does, he explains.
(The Foundation I worked for back on Earth was a organization that for all intents and purposes "Did not exist". We were above and funded by various world Governments, organizations, and our own front companies to continue the funding of our various projects. Our goal was to Secure objects too dangerous for mankind to know about or handle, Contain them and knowledge about them, And Protect them so we could learn from them and at the same time protect mankind.)>There's a amused snort at the last part.
(I was an expert on various extraterrestrial matters most of the time. I worked on projects for destroying alien battleships crashed on other planets, a ball of matter in orbit that could destroy our world, strange alien satellites, and like I said, a god-like entity which took the shape of a stag and wiped out half of a country. My last assignment though was researching a psionic entity. We were transporting it in a cage of psionic absorbent material when it managed to physically force its way out. Killed most everyone on board in mere moments or drove them to bloody madness.)>He pauses as Hodch vomits, and wonders curiously how well that pony is doing to be puking up something THAT color.>Probably not well, but he continues his rambling in spite of that.
(Ultimately I survived its psionic attacks, just barely though. The thing ripped my mind apart while I was there and I lost quite a lot of myself in the process, I managed to detonate the nuclear device on board our ship and I was atomized along with the monster and the ship. And I woke up here. A madman.)>He clicks his nonexistent tongue, pausing another moment.
(After I died the first time here, I was brought back by some shaman. I was a whole lot more… Sane after that. Bringing you to the me of today. Like I said though, I'd love to help you in the war against the constructs. They actually were my next planned entity to study and they represent a possibly grave threat to this world.)>Novus seems pleased though as Hodch affirms he will indeed, not subject him to what he'd rather avoid.>He chuckles.
(Okay, thank you.)
>>208505>Taking a sip, it was exactly what you wanted despite the crude label of 'MANGO FANTA'.>It was even freshly made if not perfectly cold.
>Encountering neither pony nor human until exiting reaching the fountain, multiple squads of marksmen and a few ponies were spreading out across the courtyard on high alert.>Dropping into the Pagoda, it was clear enough, besides Naliyna sorting through letters.>Briskly stirred awake, one of the Vortex Remnant's eyes open, yawning into a large green and desert tan vortex.
>Set down in a relatively warm, humid flatland, it was broad daylight for once.>And, as to be expected, as far as you could see were tall, wide bushes of many green, red, purple, pink, orange, yellow, and blue mareijuana plants in well spaced rows on mixed sand and soil.>In the distance throughout the fields were several large domed hut, 4' or so Zebras scattered through the fields, their mohawks and silver or gold neck bands quite visible at a distance.>Most importantly, you could smell ripe ganja smoke, though it wasn't near enough to locate.
>>208486>>208068>Jeff listens to the foreman roll off the other teams working around the Moors, and whistles impressed.>Minotaurs and unicorns helping rebuild everything!
"Wow, you guys work fast! It's just nice to see the Moors getting spruced up.">So the stallion apparently confirms there IS weird stuff going on in the crypt.>Crypts under Stalliongrad? Luna? Undead?>The mystery only grew as the foreman explained more.>Jeff scratches his chin with heightened interest at the possibilities.
"Undead, you say? Well, maybe we'll figure out exactly why they were built by exploring this one.">He stays quiet as Mercy and him exchange pleasantries. Sounds like she helped him out before in some way. Small world.>But the foreman looks distracted, producing a rolled scroll that has the crypts general layout and he takes it graciously.
"Thanks. Good luck with the rest of your work.">Jeff turns off the Dagor and quickly hops out of the driver seat to go collect his gear from the back.
"Alright you three, turn out and get ready to crawl some crypt.">He throws his pack on and keeps his helmet unclipped for the time being while sticking the collapsed Honeybadger to his outer right thigh.
"Sunny. How about you take point on approach, while I look over this schematic.">Reaching for said scroll on the driver seat, he begins to casually walk in the direction of the crypt while unfurling the map and begins to examine it.
>>208525>>208526>Making a sleepy, chiming rumble in his chest, your fingers glide across the warm half-Crystal, half-Void colt's head, the coat behind his ears softer than expected, definitely more pleasing and real than his dam's grown bio-crystalline Shell.>Head tilting into your hand's ministrations, Void Crasher's snout and hind legs twitch as you finally encounter skull, the material barely visible, yet you could feel, and even see, small rhythmic pulses of crystalline blood flowing through small, clear purple veins.
>Taking silent, carefully measured steps towards the closest cot, the floral patch spreads out flat across Belregard's shoulder, kneeling down and carefully rolling Tacit onto the fresh grass.
"Trillions of attempts. All failed.">Gazing down at the troublesome earth stallion, the Golem places his shield under the cot cross ways, kneeling down and turning his helmet your direction, gesturing the fractured left hand upwards.
"Perhaps so. I know little save for what I have experienced in the past sixteen rotations. Should the potential to remain outside of Princess Cadence's court occur I shall ask to accompany the Shell on her journeys. Perhaps then I may learn more of Tallus equines and their manners, and teach her honored colt.">Head tilting downwards, the Champion emits a low, rumbling laugh.
"Ask a unicorn but one question and they shall answer it to the best of their knowledge. In return they shall ask one hundred of their own whilst demanding the same perfect recall. They are inquisitive beyond an Acolyte's waking dreams. Now I must egress, my time during this rotation will be short if I do not shut down to recover. I have been active too long and expended more battery than can be sustained. I am a Planar being, thus inimical to this world."
>Returning from the pillow fort, and munching on what suspiciously looked like an Empire crystal in the shape of a common rose, Glacier tosses a glance to the Champion's four yellow eyes dimming to gray.>Swallowing the piece whole and sneaking up behind the Ethereal Golem, the Shell leans forwards as if to sniff the patch of flora.. then commences licking each and every one of them carefully.>Ponies doing horse things out of necessity, as the saying in Razorback went.>Satisfied with her inspection after a bit, Glacier's eyes swivel onto you, muzzle splitting into a wide smile, her merry tone breaking into faux-hurt, left foreleg lifting and crossing over her face in an overly dramaretic motion.
"Ohh no, what a terrible fate this is! A human would rather touch the REAL pony rather than the not-entirely-correct one!">Dropping the act with a chiming giggle, the Shell drops an expectant wink while grinning, prancing around to the cot's other side and peering down at Tacit's sleeping face… which she also licks.
"Eugh.. sweaty. Doesn't he ever bathe? Well whatever, Melodine will be out in a bit to treat him soon as she gets done with the great tickle war going on.">Straightening up and stepping away, the Shell's nose scrunches while she shakes her head quickly, tongue flicking out at whatever the taste was disturbing her.>Turning towards you, Glacier lifts her Protoform covered hoof, placing it on her chest with a sincerely thankful expression, though her eyebrows wiggle in an unofficially sassy motion.
"Seriously though Lont, thanks a whole bunch of sweet grapes, I'm glad to see him finally getting some sleep. Cady's still not sure how his biology even functions and I'm not willing to put any stress on him through testing. In the mean time.. can I treat you to dinner? It'd be my pleasure!"
>>208532>Scowling under his mask at the affirmation, the Deathseeker shakes his head, breaking back into his clipped city accent and thumping a palm on the railing.
"Like the damned Governor's mansion again! I'm sick of losing all the fucking time!"
>Slapping both hands up to rip the NightVis free and turning around to bend over, Corsen claws at the gas mask's lenses in pain, screaming a series of exotic swears in languages both foreign and domestic.
(FUCK YOU TZEENTCH AND FUCK YOU AGAIN AND FUCK YOU A THIRD TIME! YOUR GROXSHIT TRICKS SHOULD BE PUNISHED BY KHORNE GRAFTING A PAIR OF BRONZE JUGGERNAUT BALLS ONTO YOUR FACE SO HE CAN PUNCH THEM OFF!)>Failing to see beyond the DICKLESS stars in his eyes, he grunts angrily, one hand raising in the Calixis Sector sign for 'fuck you', the other nearly throwing his precious NightVis into the lake, but stopping with a growl.
"I'm starting to lose every fucking ounce of sanity that I've gained since coming here due to bureaucratic BULLSHIT-"
>Settling on a murderous course of action, Corsen jams the NightVis into the same upper pocket again, turning to face Venous and desperately hoping that his vision would clear.
"I don't blame your Princess. A leader can't be blamed for what they can't control. In fact, I would very much like to meet your leader and thank them personally for even allowing you out like this.">Both of Corsen's gloved hands lift palm upwards manner, mostly to not annoy the incredibly helpful equine xenos, as the fifth most evil plan he'd ever come up with is devised, speaking in the coldest, most hateful tone he could manage.
"Oh no, no Miss Venous, that's for later, I prefer something that even my own previous mistress was horrified at. We called it 'suicidal humiliation'. What WE are going to do is spread word that this dickless Myndalin bitch-colt who's balls haven't even dropped yet was in such supreme terror of my completely harmless Lady's very existence that he ordered a raid on her residence by his blood thirsty, cruel forces. Then, he had her barely trained, civil, completely pacifist servants slaughtered so he could feel just superior enough to take over the rest of Canterlot's nobles without resistance.. and that I'm putting a quarter million gem bounty on his head. All three of these are true, you see."
(Oh how I loved mining!)>Arms folding over his chest and shutting his eyes, the plan continues, Corsen nodding along to the ancient ArchaeoTech music he'd heard long ago.
"You see, I don't understand equines much though I do know very well how fear works, but-"
(Thanks for the wild Juggernaut tearing my leg off, Khorne!)
"If not a single pony dares to help me in this endeavor, then that will be even better. Suspicion gives way to paranoia.. and paranoia I can abuse.">Left handing lifting to point upwards, presumably towards the moon, the Deathseeker nods in slow, illogical contempt.
"Miss Venous, I swear upon the goddesses of your world that I will either kill Myndalin with my bare hands, or die trying and pray that a good pony does what I'm unable to. Now, I need some improvements to my hatchet and I would eat a bear's heart raw for some of this.. magic that I see everywhere. Know where to start?"
>>208595>Facing north, Brume and Sparky's distinctive though separated by an empty bed, and one containing an unusually slim pegasus, the pair had been well taken care of by Tipper, both sleeping noisily.>Sitting down in front of Astral, the odd half-Crystal pony, half-unicorn nods slightly, lifting a green bottle into view.
"I shall do so when I have a chance yes, but I have many patients to deal with tonight.">Placing her left hoof under Astral's head gently and lifting a rounded, green bottle in front of the Pred-Elk's nose, Nova Flicker holds it up to her lips, eyes half-lidded in seriousness.
"Now, you must drink all of this, no matter how strange it tastes. It will alleviate the pain you are experiencing and allow me to perform regenerative efforts much more easily."
>The little colts' biology was certainly intriguing, which made him all the merrier the Wards' bad apples were being excised.
>Lont watched silently for a time at Belregards shut down body, it was jarring to know now that Ethereals were akin to robots.>Eventually, his eyes wondered down to Tacit, whom was sleeping blissfully in the cot the Champion had placed him in.>He was curious as to why he was all alone in the Empire helping eliminate the Wards, the help was appreciated greatly yet he was the last pony he would of expected to see on those crystalline streets.
>With Glacier back from the pillowfort, the Operator watched as she went about licking everything.>A silly thing that made him chuckle.>And at her over dramatic display he responded with an over dramatic eyeroll.
"Save the moaning for later, I will gladly touch you all over!">He had no comment on her licking Tacits' face.
"I do not know what you expected. And that is good to hear, may she come out triumphant."
>The face was wholesome, the wiggly eyesbrows…they…they promised things not so wholesome.
"No need for thanks, cute little thing deserves all the naps he can get. I agree, it should be up to him whether he should want to know more about himself or not.">Lont said as he looked down at the colt, which he gave one final belly massage before looking to see where to put him.[ 1d6+2 = 6 ]
>M.Belly Rubs[ 1d6+2 = 5 ][ 1d6+2 = 6 ][ 1d6+2 = 3 ]
>At the mention of dinner he returned his gaze at Glacier, a smug expression on his face.>'Guess I shall eat then.'
"Oh~? Taking me out for dinner before the real fun begins, you are quite the Lady! In that case I accept the invitation, the pleasure will be all yours."
>>208605>Receiving a polite, thankful nod from the odd horned unicorn, the mare returns to Astral with a serious expression.
>The Stormtrooper's voice instantly returns with a hard bent, like that of an angry Commissar who was just told that all the recaf was gone and there was an inbound wave of feral Orks.
*"..the southernmost building in the Razorback Fortress map I sent to you earlier. I expected better, Enginseer. Your thought for the day is this: neither failure nor hesitation shall ever be tolerated."*>Chisan cuts the commlink off while the back portion of your thoughts deliver an order to the micro-cogitator, placing an image of the two-story building on the south side of the fortress, marked with 'Librarium'.
>West of the Pagoda, the Construct hulk was covered by a massive cloud of steam, though you spot the rounded shape of a pony walking through the molten slag inside, seemingly unaffected by the heat.>Passing by the mess, the professional trooper from before with the impressive Rogue Trader-like rifle, curved local weapon, and heavily modified hazard armor was, apparently, supervising the recovery effort.
>Running towards the Librarium, confirmed by the micro-cogitator's datavaults, the lighting inside turns to a pleasing series of purple, red, and orange hues, the double front doors featuring a number of small laser and plasma scorch marks.>Stepping inside, unusual scents of burnt flesh and various leathers hung in the air, none of which were familiar.>Processing the earlier command, the micro-cogitator pans in to a small grid layout, directing you through the main library into the south side where a small entrance to a spiraling stairwell awaited.>Jogging down the stone staircase, the disturbing scent of burnt sweet flesh steadily became stronger, spotting streaks of streaked blood on each stair, accompanied by what looked like tiny bits of ash.
>Reaching the lower floor, in reality more like a tiny foyer, Chisan could be seen hurriedly working over something in a large, well worn brown sitting chair, several medicae kits and hardcases opened and scattered across two tables next to the chair itself.>Hearing ragged, pained gasps from a definite female obscured by the Tempestus Scion, your MIU and auspex transmit a series of Alpha-Level AdMech protocols to your micro-cogitator, registering the presence of a Inquisitor within very close vicinity.>The auspex's Machine Spirit blares multiple alerts of Throne-energies while your vision turns several shades of gold, immediately feeling like you had to vomit and losing roughly a quarter the strength in your organic limbs.
"Ponessiah and Solar Empress damn it all Inquisitor, stop moving! The more you move the fewer chances I have to save your eye! Do not force me to knock you unconscious!">Meanwhile, a dull gold hoof is thrown over Chisan's neck, loud cries of agony accompanying his movements, the Stormtrooper continuing his likely poor medicae work, shouting aloud.
"ENGINSEER MALLIA CASTELLA, AID ME IN RESTRAINING THE INQUISITOR OR I WILL EXECUTE YOU FOR HIGH TREASON!"[ 1d6+2 = 4 ]
<B.Medicae[ 1d6+2 = 7 ][ 1d6+2 = 6 ]
<E.Assault: Pin[ 1d6+2 = 6 ][ 1d6+2 = 4 ][ 1d6+4 = 10 ]
<Sanctified Alchemical Drugs
>…this was nothing like what you expected.
>>208612>Glancing up at you for a split-second, the Combat Medic's eyes narrow, lightly keeping a hoof on the Prench stallion's neck, most of his wounds now closed over.
"It had better be eliminated Mister Gallo. We lost over three thousand ponies and other allies tonight. There are less than six hundred that might survive. Emphasis on 'might'.">Ignoring the offer of her robe, Frost leans in close to listen to the pegasi's breathing.>Pushing herself back into a sitting position, the Crystal mare's nostrils flare, turning an angry scowl at the fractured off red blade.
"Better than expected but on the other hoof he could be dead right now. Internal bleeding in the lung and large arteries was halted. Now I'm worried about other organ damage as the kinetic effects of redsteel are unpredictable at best and lethal if not treated promptly."
>Watching the human leave, Nova Flicker sets about to treating the small copper horned elk, visibly concerned over the cow's condition.
>Lying down next to the Prench pony, Frost turns her head upwards for several moments, then extends her right foreleg over the stallion's barrel, humming gently while she speaks in a harsh tone.>Crystal ponies, it seemed, were capable of multi-tasking quite well.
"His heart and other lung is safe.. the kidneys and liver may have suffered harm. I'm not going to leave until he's fully stabilized, so fuck Gale and fuck Sleethoof. This pony's very existence is far too important in leaving to Tipper's half-baked hooves."
>>208616>Winding back towards where he'd entered from, the unicorn stops midway to spit another mass of unknown fluid, a knee lifting to rub at his muzzle.
(..agreed. However, I will caution you in being extraordinarily selective. There are many sapients and sentients that may seem and act hostile though are rather beneficial. And, please do, I rather enjoy hearing about the varied and many human omniverses, even if such knowledge does not help myself nor Razorback directly.)>Meandering through the stasis cells and checking over each one, the vast majority were indeed earth ponies with a handful of pegasi, batponies, and even a pair of Saddle Arabians viewed, then immediately disregarded as Hodch silently silents.>Winding around and through eight more rows, the deep purple unicorn stops to behold a curious blood red pegasus, the wings covered in large, white blade-like protrusions instead of feathers, sensing him raise an eyebrow.>Head shaking, Hodch continues his course into the previously unexplored far right sections, encountering several unicorn fillies and immediately disregarding them.>Reaching the end of the cells and turning towards the back, Hodch's breathing becomes steadily more ragged while he snorts in a light, amused manner.
(No wonder the earlier reports on you were simply filed as: 'incommunicable, avoid contact'. I thought Denra was pulling my tail, now I know he was being dead honest. To be quite honest Doctor Novus, I am rather impressed. Most do not survive even a Support Striker's wrath, much less an unknown psionic being with little known about it. Your species continues to show an interesting, if not troubling, resilience to esoteric effects.)>Pausing again to survey an odd dull black colored unicorn mare, the small horn slightly curved back towards the skull, Hodch can be felt lifting his shoulders, maintaining his course towards the facility's rear.
(I am rather glad to hear much more of your sanity has been restored, Doctor. It is.. refreshing to come across one that understands secrecy for the good of all is necessary from time to time. And, you must mean Old Horn whom is also responsible for the sapient Predator-Elk? A rather interesting fellow. I have seen him a grand total of twice, both times in the Fortress. That is one ancient minotaur, he predates the Lunar Lorekeeper records by at least half a millennium. The Druids that cross the New Everfree every year to reach their grazing grounds do not like talking about him, though I suspect that is more a matter of pride than anything else. They are notoriously difficult to contact if they do not wish to be found.)
(As for the Constructs themselves I place them in the top five threats to Tallus, and the primary one for humans. I have some experience in forcing their two smallest models to obey my orders.. probably due to their total impending destruction, but the other fifty-nine models I have encountered are utterly hostile. I did hear from Mercy that a human team that went with her to Skykeep encountered a particularly strange pair. One of the pair was destroyed, then the other performed a Minotaur Hegemony surrender before it could be destroyed, something that has never been included in any report I have had my hooves on. To be perfectly honest, I have read nearly six hundred thousand reports, which should tell you that Constructs are not an enemy to deal with normally.)>Missing a half-step and nearly falling onto his face, Hodch chokes once more, this time vomiting a stream of dull, almost looking blood laced with black crystalline shards.>Taking several steps back, the stallion hangs his head, leaving you to stare at the gray flooring while he dry heaves several times.>Left forehoof lifting, the tip grazes across his muzzle, flicking the fluid off as he snorts amusedly.
(Doctor, even if you asked for a colt or filly host body I would have automatically denied the request for three reasons. One, I cannot change physical biology, nor would I even dare to. Two, you will still be forced to deal with physical spring hormones. Three, number two is more than enough misery to take care of without worrying about every opposite sex pony within a mile trying to claim you, or you trying to claim one or more for your own. I may be a filly fiddler but I do have standards, however low they may seem.)
>>208486>Ignoring the hunger for now, Sunny thought on the noises emanating from the crypt, too preoccupied with listening to them to interrupt the stallion's conversation with Jeff.>What was that? It was like music, but…>She furrowed her brow a bit, it'd have to be something to figure out if she could determine the source. A song for the dead, perhaps?[ 1d6+3 = 6 ]
< B. Perception[ 1d6+3 = 5 ]
>Despite the somber, almost peaceful notes coming from the crypt, she knew the Arcane Blades on duty had seen trouble, and recently at that.>Whether that trouble had come from the crypt itself or elsewhere from the fog shrouded Moors was something that wasn't entirely clear to her.>Assume the former. Best case scenario, undead defending their final resting place. Worst case scenario, hostile spectrals. Old traps to deter looters extremely likely, not likely to be listed in any floor plans of the crypt. Probably debilitating near the entrance, increasing in lethality within the deeper chambers.>She almost felt bad that they were essentially there to loot it, but whatever goods were held in the crypt weren't doing the dead any good while the living still had need of whatever help they could get.>Sunny took solace in that, at least, though the dead probably weren't likely to hold the same view of the matter and would try to add herself and the others to their ranks.>>208653>Gathering herself and jumping out of the shotgun, Sunny began stretching and testing her muscles, hopefully her wounds from earlier had healed enough that they wouldn't cause any mobility issues.>That would be bad.>Looking up at Jeff, she shot him a quick acknowledgement of the order.
"Sir.">Taking a half step towards the entrance of the crypt, common sense took over and demanded she get a look at the map first rather than charging blindly into an old crypt of questionable structural stability.>Getting back in the vehicle, Sunny peered over the map from the shotgun, head cocked as she was forced to view it upside down.>Hopefully the floor plans weren't extremely complex, or it might get easy to get turned around, or worse, get separated. Especially given her lack of communication equipment, though getting a clean signal through the walls might have made that difficult anyway.>She'd need to resolve that, but for now she'd stay in shouting distance.
>Novus began to become progressively more concerned as Hodch continued to spit out fluid and vomit.>He wasn't the medical kind of doctor (usually), not enough at least to identify whatever Hodch was sick with.>Not that he could be infected as but a ghost stuck in a changeling's skullplate mask for the moment.
(Well doctor you have to understand, humans are not a magical race. We are quite mundane on my world, and exceptional people stand out quite badly. My organization does what it can to keep man safe, though that does not mean everyone's intentions there are… Benevolent. There are people there who only see numbers and are rather desensitized and cold, but most are determined to see our race there survive against threats we dont yet understand. Some do get declassified and released. But zombie viruses and other assorted things that cause lethal or transformative reactions in humans or animals are not.)>The ponies in stasis also begins to garner Hodch's observer's interest, giving them all quite… Curious looks.>But again, Hodch's health seems to be deteriorating to the point where it's becoming distracting and possibly harmful to the pony.
(While humans do seem and are physically weak Hodch, our evolutionary strength is creativity. We're quite inventive and, standing upright, we have finer control than hooves or even magic would. We're also not subject to… Hormonal breeding seasons. And like I said, while weak, we can still function with even quite horrible injuries such as loss of limb or even some major organs. It's quite impressive how resilient we can be, as weak as we may seem in comparrison to a stocky pony.)>He takes in the strange looking mare, but doesn't comment.
(Old Horn? Yes, and actually, my soul is actually spread throughout those adorable little elk. Interesting stuff though on the constructs. I'll probably have more questions when I learn more about them.)>This time, as Hodch vomits quite heavily onto the gray floor and Novus gets a clearer picture of what Hodch is throwing up, he finally asks.
(… Hodch, are you alright?)>Obviously he isnt.>But thats not the point.
(I mean… Your species does have its mating season yes but… Well, Hodch, I really don't care. Being… Inconvinenced by that is a lot better than a painful year or more of physical therapy, assuming my physical body even survices a moment longer outside of stasis.)>He pauses a moment as Hodch continues to walk down towards the end of the complex, his hopes starting to diminish.
(Being a unicorn is non-negotiable though. I need to be one for the purposes of fine manipulation.)
>>208608>Pareidolia exhales heavily, shaking his head.
"Will file those questions away for when more data is acquired."
>Raising a gloved hand, he wipes the thin layer of water droplets that had accumulated from the steam cloud as he steps towards the side trying to keep an eye on Krinza.
[Incredibly high heat tolerances… ]
"It also covered part of my suit and knife in Silverine. Can you remove it?"
>Looking back towards the Library, he adjusts his helmet.
"Considering the highly sensitive knowledge that Inquisitor has and her apparent control over time as she claims, it would be ideal to ensure her survival. I doubt she will be cooperative to overt Committee protocols. Unless she displays otherwise, knowledge of Committee assets should be kept to a minimum. That Stormtrooper must not be well trained in field medicine."
>His face makes a brief grimace as the Inquisitor retreats further into the Library to avoid the trooper's ministrations.
"I would believe it was taken care of if that Construct catching fire and falling down is any indication." >He lets out a little chuckle.
"Don't worry, we have won this battle and with seemingly no casualties to boot, only a moderately wounded mare that I dumped some water on since her armor was burning hot. I'm not sure how Miss Nalinya fared, but she was doing fine if her brisk pace back to the Pagoda is any indication."
>A hum can heard from Cheto's mouth, a little concerned over the Prench Pony's wellbeing.
"How long do you think he needs to be fully stabilized, Miss Frost? Will he be able to eat dried fruit or drink the fruit juice if he wakes up? I am pretty sure he will need some companionship the moment he wakes up."
(Tipper, huh? Seems there's some quarrel between the two.)
>Her ability to hum while talking is kind of impressive to Gallo.
"Woah, that is a neat trick you're doing, Miss Frost. I could never hum and talk at the same time if I tried."
(Flicker can wait. Maybe if she falls asleep again I can continue my petting session with her. I have not explored her body fully yet.)
>>208687>It was safe to say that the Enginseer was forced to take that embarrassing mistake to the chin. Blushing furiously as she doesn't reply through the vox, and simply breaks into a sprinting run to clear the rest of the way to the library ASAP.>Praying the entire way there, as the closer she gets to the Librarium, the more fearful for her life she gets.
>She was pretty sure there was a non-zero percent chance that she would simply die upon meeting the Inquisitor, simply because she had failed to ask her Micro-Cogitator for direction. >She began to pray, and also repeat the thought of the day like a mantra beneath her breath as she ran.
(Techna-Lingua) "… O' glorious Omnissiah, forgive thy fleshy, filthy, useless, failing servant; please don't let me die again; I don't want to abandon my Machine Spirits!"
(Techna-Lingua) "Neither failure nor hesitation shall ever be tolerated, neither failure nor hesitation shall ever be tolerate—"
>She practically bursts into the Libarium at a full running pace, running as if her life depended on it -- because it did; and then slowing down just enough to not trip as she moved down the stairs to the lower floors. >Then, seeing the stormtrooper working on something amidst medicae equipment, she slows down to a stride, before the psyker wave hits her in full force.
"UGH--" >Her prayers are cut short by a pained, muffled yelp, as she stumbled a few steps -- briefly disoriented by the flashes of gold, prompting her to pause and grab at her visor, blinking frantically, as she pants that much more heavily.>She manages to clench her jaw and swallow back the nausea, as she quickly pings the Micro-cogitator and BEGS for help in resetting her suddenly slowed synapse responses.
>At least, until her Auspex tells her there is a Inquisitor in the vicinity. And The stormtroopere refers to this, as far as she knows, equine xenoform, as THE INQUISITOR.
>She was so horribly confused and disoriented by everything that she has witnessed in the last 10 or so minutes that she simply ceased questioning what was happening, to save her sanity. But THIS, and the sight of the golden hoof, makes her head recoil slightly, and her eyes widen like dinner plates.>Though that stun doesn't last more than a second, mainly because Chisan had threatened to execute her; which snaps her to attention almost instantly. >He doesn't have to tell her twice.
>She screamed internally, and whimpered externally.
(HOW IS THE SITUATION GETTING WORSE AND WORSE THE MORE SECONDS PASS!?)
"Mh-hh-hn…">Slapping the top of her helmet to wake herself back up as best she can, while she grits her teeth FIRMLY.
>Without further hesitation, she ran around to the other side of the side of the tables, threw her hands down over whomever's arms/forelegs there was to hold still; with the help of her mechadendrite and mere, weakened biological arms!>A sharp whirring sound emanating from her mechanical limb, as she used her mechadendrite's manipulator claw to, as gently as humanly possible at this moment (which was not very much), grab at the hoof wrapped around Chisan's neck and return it to the owner's chest and keep it firmly still. >Using the other hands to hold down the other foreleg, while another tries to find a suitable spot, hopefully on the Inquisitor's forehead, to keep it as still as possible.
>Still panting quite heavily in contained discomfort. Forcing her arms into functioning despite the still present urge to vomit, which kept her from even whimpering in her quiet despair! [ 1d6 = 1 ]
B. Assault: Pin[ 1d6 = 5 ] [ 1d6+2 = 4 ]
Mechadendrite Claw: Pin
>>208473>Clemency would lean against the railing, but he's afraid he'll snap it>Instead, he paces due to the fact the vessel isn't Construct>Or it is and there is only harpies in it>That electronic jamming was only making it worse; being cut off from Jeff making it hard to even try to understand the language>He looks over the craft, knowing that this thing had been swarmed by Constructs yet seems fine>The thing even crashed into the mothership>Even though it's probably wrong, he attempts to speak in the radio at it
"Is there someone there?"
(Hah, I am no doctor, more like a.. a very broad spectrum savant in many disciplines, fields, and studies. Not even close to Spiral's knowledge mind you, but I can certainly hold my own in debates with him.)
(Right there Doctor Novus, is the problem with ponies. We are excellent when it comes to planning for the future but we do not have the luxury of merely assuming that we CAN win most of the time. In fact, I would go so far as to state that your experiences and mine are much closer than either of us would like to think. ..if I do find you a host body, I will take you to meet the Founder's Executive Officer, perhaps he might be able to grant you something extra from storage to help out.)>Paying no more attention to the wide array of earth ponies in stasis, Hodch spares passing glances to the odd pegasi with blades instead of feathers.
(Believe me, I know all about human capabilities, spent most of my time studying Razorback in close proximity. Humans have fine motor muscle control only when properly trained or motivated, unless they inherited such a skill from their dam and sire. All the weapons, armor, and various trinkets you come across in Equestria made by ponies are from what you call cottage industries: small scale efforts to produce the best possible results. It is rather amusing how much humans and equines share in common, but can never agree upon. Nearly opposite maretalities with similar expected results, I suppose. The human mind is extraordinarily difficult to comprehend, even for me.)>Glancing up and down the next row, Hodch turns into the next set of cells, trotting past a profusion of darker colored batponies.
(If that were true, Doctor, then I would be unable to bring your soul into the piece of Changeling plate I am currently wearing. Perhaps the Predator-Elk rapidly developed their ka due to pressure, or the dormant portions of your psyche aided them in the task. It is a question that I will have to ponder much later.)>Slowing to eye a pair of pink coated unicorn twins, the reservist glances them up and down carefully, then shakes his head.
(Damn it, close to mature but not enough. And, no, I am dying from a curse that has managed to spread despite the finest alchemical, Crystal Rune, spell craft, and Druid treatments available. I have perhaps six months, a year at most, before it takes me.)>Crossing the two-third cluster of stasis cells, Hodch briefly chortles, glancing upwards to eye an odd minotaur, one without horns and fur on the upper body.
(It would if there were enough healers, perhaps a couple hundred or so, but Razorback is in a tricky environment. Acquiring a Consortium's aid for one human would be a difficult sell. The option I am trying to find for you would prevent most of the potential consequences.. that is, even if you are forced to learn the highly specific and wholly troublesome problems of Anima, Animus, and Draughts along with the problems of estrus or rut. Not that you should worry about the last two, only that they are merely inconvenient at best. Now, if you wanted a Crystal pony host body for highly complex, ultra-fine manipulation, that would be impossible. Princess Cadence refuses to allow any of hers to be held in these facilities. She has a far better method for saving the lives of her own than we do.)>Reaching the second to last row of stasis cells, Hodch stops, backing up to eye a curious, previously unseen shade.
(Hm? We may be in luck here, one moment-)>Turning in and ignoring the earth ponies, Hodch slowly clops into view of a relatively young unicorn mare in a comfortable sleeping pose below a dull green pegasus.>Eyeing a white plaque on the lower end, the mare's coat was a light shade of neon slate, mane a dusky pink, the reservist's left forehoof lifting and reaching through to poke the frozen, unmoving horn, then the snout.
(..no injuries, trauma, virii, bacteria. Death record says she was involved in a defensive action around thirty years ago in a place called Skyrock Hold.. I know where that is, this is a Germaneighan body! No wonder nopony took it yet! Other than being a bit overweight this one could work out quite well for you, Doctor. But on the other hoof, you may get some dirty looks from Equestrian unicorns if you don't wear a robe all the time.. should I keep looking before you make a choice on this one?)
>>208712>Placing a hoof on the display, the A.I. makes a solemn, acknowledging nod, saving its progress so far.
"Further extrapolations are running into null defined territory, at best I can offer small guesses sir. I'll reserve all future questions until further data is acquired."
"Of co->Bathing the area in cold water, the steam begins to rise upwards, the soaked blacksmith glancing about in the mist to identify anything still heated, stopping to swivel his shrouded head in your direction.
"..what? Silverine? I.. one minute please, I may have stepped on something.">Carefully backtracking through the previously molten orange substance, Krinza pauses to dig something out.
>Watching the Inquisitor's actions, she was trying to exit the Library towards the Stormtrooper, rolling onto her right side and ceasing all movements, the Spiral render tapping his chin.
"Agreed, the protocols of making contact with an advanced, future, or temporal human civilization are.. well, you know the risks on those sir, but I advise at least asking if she is willing to share some information freely.">Stabbing the post-human equine with a pair of large needles, the A.I. winces at the black armored trooper heaving her up, carrying Flash inside towards the stairwell and leaving the small hardcase on the ground.
"That.. looked painful. They must know each other sir, should I look into possible subterfuge methods for acquiring that human's knowledge, or at the very least attempting to monitor their communications?"
>Lifting something above his head for a few moments, Krinza half-trots out of the cloud to shake off, fortunately not dousing you.>The pudgy unicorn frowns at a tiny, partially melted flat square plate in front of his nose, peering at it from side to side while ignoring the water dripping into his eyes.
"Interesting. There are neither electrical impulses nor mechanical components. At a crude guess this may be some form of solid state hard drive much like the one Jeff's wrist-mounted device uses, unfortunately I estimate that eighty percent of it is destroyed.">Lifting the piece out to you, the smith glances back into the mist with a sour tone.
"I could swear that I felt something dying inside the wreckage. It was.. happy, I think."
>The human doctor chuckles ethereally.
(Possibly, Hodch. There is quite a lot I am leaving out here because, while I'm likely to never see my own world again, it's still quite a real possibility and knowledge of my… Organization is highly controlled. I don't think you'd be a potential hazard to their secrecy since we're another universe away, but others who are have their memories carefully erased by our experts in those fields.)>He lets out another, somewhat amused chuckle before Hodch responds on a more serious note about his condition.>If Novus could have frowned, he would.
(I see. That is… Troubling.)>He says nothing more on that note.>And once more, doesn't respond other than a light. (Hmm) in response to Hodch's explanation.>His physical body was likely not to survive, but if he had to spend another minute awake in it in stasis he would go mad!>Again!>Suddenly, as Hodch looks at the new mare, the Human soul gets his hopes up.>She's not… Bad looking, but at the same time her physical characteristics left a little to be desired for a host, as she was a little… Rounded about her edges and had a little extra weight on her posterior.>Not the best shape for the kind of operations Novus partook in, but it would work for a purely study heavy role.
(I see doctor. Given there's… Not a lot left to this facility let's take a look at the last few cells and see if there are any other options? Otherwise, this one will do. She is just a bit… Plump for what we do at Razorback in my humble opinion. Not too bad, but still.)
>>208714>Gazing turning towards the door, the Crystal Combat Medic's expression slackens, her eyes half-lidding in hostile recall.
"Mister Gallo.. I need to report this immediately. My faction must know of this without any delay whatsoever.">Tilting her head upwards, Frost merely flicks an ear, visibly unsurprised.
"Must be one of the Honor Guard. As for Naliyna Remostrine we of the Crystal Empire avoid her. She is.. no longer 'normal' by any stretch of the imagination. That does not mean she does not carry great honors. I will not talk behind her saddle when you have the ability to ask of her rather dark history.">Shuffling a bit closer to the Prench stallion, her barrel now resting on his saddle, the Medic now cradling him in a comfortable looking position, her chiming voice sounding merry once more.
"Two to three hours if Nova Flicker's current auric field is maintained. As for your other question, both will be a definite yes, they will help in convincing him that he is not in enemy hooves.">Head lifting to give you a puzzled glance, Frost Egg lifts her right shoulder in a small shrug.
"Every Crystal pony learns to do so when they're a foal though healers such as myself can perform two separate Runes at the same time. While we are not as effective as a unicorn or psion we can multitask much more easily by compartmentalizing our thoughts into multiple directives.">Forming a series of runes in the air which becomes a thin crystalline sheet, Frost glances up to Nova Flicker treating the third elk, the page floating towards you as she does so.
"Hm.. it might be best if you leave the Clinic until he awakens. I'll send a direct crystal-link communication to you when he does. In the mean time do me a favor: take this to the Pagoda and place it in the center of the translocation matrix. Once that is done, tell the Remnant to send it to the Basin Village, then the Lunar Citadel, care of Citadel Combat Medic Frost Egg. It is vital that they receive this information."
"Plus the wave would likely knock it over, or make it unstable.">"And you're probably not light, Wild.">After listening to her list the options, I take a moment to think.
"Okay… I would suggest starting with your weapon, then the first option… What's the fifth one? You only listed four to me.">She better not be hiding anything.
>>203172>Frowning to himself, Bubba was reminded that he needed to learn how to read the other dialects.>It didn't help him that he only knew how to read a couple languages, only one of which was used here.>Plus it would help him acquire more information.
"Hm… That might be useful.">Stepping inside, Bubba took a long look around what could basically be described as a sweatshop back home.>Of course, here it was a lot more comfortable and not full of chinks.>And air conditioned.>Making his way over to the propped up filly, Bubba bit back a smartass statement and instead gave her a polite nod.
"I take it you get to only ask that once in a while?">Giving her a soft chuckle, he takes a moment to take in the shop a bit more.
"Well, I'd like to know a bit more about what the Sea Shack offers. This is the first time I've been to Cairn Wharf.">"Plus its a good idea to figure out prices now, in case I hear something I like."
>>208781>Cheto nods as Frost tells about Nalinya's 'uniqueness'.
(Hm. That's one minefield I don't want to cross unless necessary. I'd hate to open up old wounds. At least it's confirmed she has a dark past now. I should try to find out what words or actions trigger her bad memories.)>Another series of nods as she declares the patient's status, a neutral, calculating expression on his face.
"Perfect. This could also be used to appear more friendly to the pony in question. I don't want him getting the wrong idea and seeing any other human as a possible enemy.">Even more nods followed by a little sparkle of wonder in his eyes as she explains her species' unique ability.
"Truly an amazing skill to have, especially in your line of work."
>After being given this new mission to pass time until the Prench Pegasus wakes up, he takes the levitating page and leaves the robe on the foot of the bed.
"Sure thing. I'll go right away."
(I'll have to ask Nalinya what kind of thing is a transformation matrix though. So Remnant is the messenger and the destinatons are Basin Village and Lunar Citadel, the sender being her. 'Citadel Combat Medic Frost Egg.' Quite a title.)>With that, Gallo starts to walk out of the Clinic, page in hand and a newfound purpose to the Pagoda, obviously leaving Egg's robe behind.
(No way I'm keeping something that isn't mine and was worn by a female no less. That's a pervy thing to do.)
>>208740>Delivering the appropriate Rite of Apology, the micro-cogitator begins to recite songs in Holy Binary litanies to appease you for its unintended failures.>Of which, it assumed, had committed many.
>Breaching the underground lab's entrance and rushing towards the chair's rear, everything did get worse, but not in the way you'd imagined:>The dull gold unicorn mare Chisan was struggling to hold down was covered by a traditional Witch Hunter's outfit, except fit to the slim equine body.>Heavily modified with soft plates throughout the layers, the Stormtrooper was having a hard time trying to peel it back, a patchwork of small laser burns across the chest and barrel giving off the sickly sweet scent of burnt flesh.
>Winding the mechadendrite around the Inquisitor's left foreleg and pulling it down with great difficulty, placing your hands on the hands on the struggling mare's broad head and pushing her down reduces much of the nausea, the mare gasping for breath in visible shock-based trauma.>Whether or not it was physical contact preventing the xenos Inquisitor's powers from exploding, she begins to calm as Chisan splashes a vial of incense-laden, bright red fluid that smelled of blood across the unusual laser and plasma wounds, hurling it off to the side.>Pushing the Inquisitor down into the chair, the Stormtrooper reaches up and flings his carapace helmet off, exposing messy black hair and dark brown eyes, a stern, ancient Terran-Asiatic face creased from deep scowling, placing his right gloved hand on the Inquisitor's equine cheek.
"Inquisitor Velasi, remain in control of your powers. If you do not accept this command we will knock you unconscious or kill you, do you understand? ">The nausea quickly dissipates while Chisan receives a feeble nod in return, reaching for one of the hard cases with an accepting sigh.
"Thank you Inquisitor. Enginseer Mallia has arrived, we will do our best to treat your injuries without performing augmentations as per your orders. Remain still-">Removing a tiny syringe of atrociously bright, rainbow colored liquid and holding it up, the Stormtrooper moves off to the right side, reaching between the Inquisitorial unicorn's rear legs with a shaking hand.>Despite the potential for disturbingly lewd acts, the Scion's tone and shakiness indicated he was terrified of losing the.. xenos Inquisitor, you supposed.
"Enginseer, please move to my side and hold the Inquisitor's head while I TRY to give her nanite treatments. She must remain still if we are to save her legs. Failing that we.. must initiate full body sanguination treatment, and she will NOT be pleased with that upon recovering."[ 1d6+2 = 7 ]
<B.Medicae[ 1d6+2 = 5 ][ 1d6+4 = 7 ]
<Sanctified Alchemical Drugs
>>208741>Static crackles for a bit in your helmet, a bad approximation of batpony En-Kee language making a questioning tone, all the while those few streaks of damage were beginning to meld over, the vessel's smooth surface becoming shiny and untouched once more.>Puzzled by the silence, the voice is silent for a few seconds, then begins speaking in sharp, clear, and definitely medieval sounding harpy, albeit entirely electronic.
*"Whomest thou be which myself speaketh upon? Thou art not chiropteran equine nor avianis equine by thee tone. Be thou minotaur, young one? If thine are, dost thou havest thine Rite of Destruction prepared? Should thou, proceed within mineself, little of thy rotation remains before mine cells be recharged unto completion."*>Close to the ground where the newly rebuilt cradle holds the converted sailing vessel, a batpony sized, rounded hatch opens, the voice continuing with a sharp, undefined noise in the background.
*"Should thou not have thine Rite of Destruction sire, a fleeting wing of comfort mineself mayest provide for thee's graces? Mine flights end not within the Endless Ocean above."*>Definitely not normal, even by Razorback's rather vague, loose standards.
>>208743>Barely acknowledge by Naliyna, now hoof deep in a variety of letters that looked more personal than professional, you receive a small hoof lifting in your direction before she groans.>Must not be her night.
>Peering from the stone below, one of the Vortex Remnant's eyes senses your business intent, delivering you into a faded pink and green tunnel.>For once you encounter no nausea or disturbing inside-out sensations!>Set down with the briefest of touches, the large, professional workshops of the city-state.>Giant two-story slabs of gleaming Empire Crystal making up each workshop, large and small, ringed the 4-way intersection, the sounds of humming, singing, chisels, and what might even be running water emanating from all around.>Taking a look at your notes, then up at a signpost displaying a large hololith of the sector, after comparing them you head off southwest towards the destination shown, the night life exquisitely minimal.>Coming across the rather drab, tiny one story building, the bold neon sign over it reading: 'GREATER FROZEN COAST CONSORTIUM - MAIN OFFICE'.>Stepping in to find perhaps the most utilitarian, spartan office on Tallus you'd seen so far, the front desk was simply a flat slab of Empire crystal supported on two large legs and a large, swiveling crystal chair behind it.>Besides four falls, ceiling, and floor, there was a short back door off to the left side, though the chair begins rotating around.>A short, barely mature neon orange Crystal mare comes into view, the mane a pleasing shade of dark purple, eyebrows raising as she gives you a wide, happy smile, waving a foreleg in the air merrily.
"Welcoooome! I'm Three-Point Peach Quartz! How can the Greater Frozen Coast Consortium help you tonight?">Well, that was easy.
>>208506>The fawn image looks surprised at Roust's statement until he figures out exactly what she said.
(That… I'm glad you think so but it doesn't quite apply to my situation. None of the injuries sustained did anything but kind of make up for a series of my fuckups that put us all into that situation.)>As Roust continued her story time, Kraut's image tilted its head slowly further in confusion at the shitshow, snapping back into place when she mentions Dante's filly wife.
(I, good job? I'm going to give that a good job.)
(Huh, I didn't know that was an option. If it isn't a huge hassle I would very much appreciate that.)>The fawn image stands back up and stretches its back out.
(I'm sure you want to know exactly what I got up to, so here goes.)
(So mistake number 1, though it isn't really entirely my fault, was not assigning anyone to read a map while I was gunning it to the northeast. We ran into a scar and long story short I went from driving a station wagon to…)>Kraut then projects an image of Wild as he first saw her.
(Piloting an eldritch mech kind of deal. She goes by Wild and she likes to stick "medical" tentacles up your bootyhole. Anyways that wasted some amount of time.)
(We then continued Northeast until we found a downed construct vessel and a couple big elemental fuckers fighting next to it.)>The image of Wild then changed between the fire and water elemental beings.
(The next couple mistakes were looking at the fire guy without turning off my IR visor and then attempting to get their attention by shooting between them. Also at this time I piloted Wild further into some heat zones she is not capable of withstanding.)>The image goes back to the fawn form, standing to tell his story.
(We got close enough to the vessel, which I was certain had Vanil in it from a scan Wild performed, and 3 of us were launched to a hole just big enough for us to fit through. Snake phased himself directly to the pod we were told had "a small pegasus".)
(From there I froze myself solid trying to keep myself cool using my spell slinger and directed Novus to push me towards Snake while Caliya went to the other pods. Had I not tunnel vision-ed like I did I would have followed had Novus push me alongside Caliya so I guess that's another mistake.)
(From there I broke out, realized I fucked up by leaving Caliya, had everyone run to him and the pods after blowing a hole in the wall, and then got shot by Novus out his frustration and realization that I pretty much got everyone killed. After that I went really fast and now I'm here.)>The fawn image sits back down and looks to the ground.
(So yeah, not quite the same as when I caught you in an explostion radius meant for a hostile target.)
>>208764>Looking on as Flash disappears inside Pareidolia rolls his head, stretching his neck inside his sealed suit.
"Not yet. I will approach her proposal with trust as it will be needed to fulfill her joint mission. Afterwards it may be considered as or if needed."
>Hearing Krinza pause, he turns back to ask about the Silverine again before abruptly stopping.>He looks down at the partially slagged box with suspicion as one gloved hand reaches halfway for his P90.
[Something survived? A core? Happy-]
"Possibly active Construct remnant. Potential core processing device. I'm not sure what its capable of."
>He cautiously grips it with his free glove while speaking to his A.I.
"Analysis? Is there anything being emitted?"
>He continues to stare at the block of metal, his free hand clenching rhythmically in vigilance.
"I also don't know if the Silverine it sprayed on me will react with any remaining Construct tech. Can you remove it from my back and my knife?"
>>208795>Mallia finds herself breathing a soft sigh of relief when the nausea abates, watching the interaction between the Stormtrooper trying to save the Inquisitorial Unicorn's life and the Inquisitor's response, looking into the unicorn's eyes to keep track of it they are faltering or not. >Her mind still reeling from the realization that the Inquisitor wasn't even human, while still retaining physical readiness. >Quickly retreating her mechadendrite with a sharp whirring sound as the Psyker herself calms down a bit more.
(Don't think about it. Don't think about the fact that the Inquisitor is a xeno, IT'SNOTTHETIME…)
>The Enginseer takes a moment to also take off her helmet with due haste, whipping it out of her head and letting her hair practically fling out of her head and down to her shoulders in a glistening, clumpy damp mess, while she briskly sets the helmet on the free area of the table. >The woman's face looking ghostly pale from her own stress, forehead still damp with sweat and lingering water; her green, big eyes wide as they stared and darted frantically to take in the situation. Her brow likewise frowning in a determined, but considerably more calm scowl.
>She spares a single glance up when she double takes on a carapace helmet that had been flung off, sparing a brief split second to process the Stormtrooper's face, and taking note of his highly stressed speech pattern and hand shakes.
>She tries to relieve SOME of his stress by silently doing exactly as he says without hesitation. Taking a deep breath of her own to steady her tangibly rapid palpitations which were also making her shudder.>Striding to stand to the stormtrooper's left side, making sure he has enough room to act while she, once again, reaches out to put both of her hands on the Inquisitor's forehead to hold her head back and keep her from staring at what's going on.
>And once again her mechadendrite shifts into motion again, whirring softly as it gently tries to reposition, and snake under the Ordo Chronos Unicorn's forelegs to keep them occupied -- so that they had something to rest, hold, hug, and/or squeeze, and act a belt as Mallia lifted the forelegs gently to rest higher over the unicorn's chest. >The manipulator claw coiling around with it's upper end, and grasping at the exposed portions of the backrest of the seat and ensured that there was no danger of it falling over backwards and making things worse![ 1d6 = 3 ]
<B. Assault: Pin[ 1d6 = 1 ][ 1d6+2 = 4 ]
<Utility Mechadendrite: Hold
>At the same time, she imputs the command to her Auspex to scan the Inquisitorial Unicorn to monitor her lifesigns, as well as give her something to work with in case she needs to try and administer CPR to an equine. >She also makes sure to try to help the Auspex get through the readings of Throne Energies so that it wont be harmed/hindered in the process; and ensure that she can shut it off INSTANTLY if it gets bad for it, or the treatments.[ 1d6+1 = 4 ]
<E. Tech-Use + Auspex Link[ 1d6+1 = 6 ][ 1d6+1 = 6 ] [ 1d6+2 = 8 ]
<CQ. Auspex Scan
>Then, finally, as a final layer of defense. She leans up slightly and smiles encouragingly, albeit shakily, for the Inquisitor, looking at them in the eyes with worried ones of her own, so the unicorn ha something to focus on aside from the ceiling.
>She speaks to the Inquisitorial Unicorn, with as soft a tone she can manage amidst quivering little breaths. Meekly hoping that her voice would have a calming effect.
"It's going to be okay, ma'am! Look at me, okay? Hold onto my mechadendrite if you must. Stay with us. Stay focused, please.">She nodded her head, looking into the Unicorn's eyes, hoping for a positive response. Even annoyance would've been fine, as long as their mind wasn't on the pain or the procedure.
>Of course, having a Psyker focusing directly onto her could also be very much fatal. But she banished that fear, since she wasn't important in this scenario. Doing her best to smile brightly for the Inquisitor.[ 1d6 = 3 ]
<B. Negotiations [ 1d6 = 6 ]
>>207828>Giving the crystalline mare a sheepish grin, he rubbed the back of his head.
"I may… forget ponies easily. For some reason, I don't know why.">It'll get him hit one of these days.
"I do not have a Battery of either variety on me, but they don't nee-">He nearly smacks himself as he realized she was talking about the batteries that goes into equipment.
"Sorry, when I hear 'battery thing' I think of artefacts.">He gives her a smile and nods.
"I was hoping you might help me with repairing some armor I had.. acquired recently. Exoskeleton armor, from the Zone."
>>208529>Adon tracks the rock's trajectory as it flies clean past the construct orb and eventually lands with a hard audible clack.>He was hoping to hit another rock to create plenty of noise too! Lucky break!
"It's going back the other way. We should get out of here, while it's distracted.">The WItcher look to Golden Horn for an opinion.
"Can you teleport us far enough away up to where it won't notice us, or better off hoofing it?">He realizes the light pun he's just made to a being… with hooves.
>With the looks he was both getting from rhe unicorn and chitqu he was starting to feel pretty bad about that suggestion.>It wasn't a terrible plan, surely!>He quickly tries to whisper in defense in his thickly accented English.
"N-n-no! We would link back up without the construct looking was what I meant! Not getting rid of you!">Perhaps it wasn't the best plan in the world.>But still… Surely they were just overreacting.>Spruce looks over as Adon tosses his rock… A little impressed at his baseball pitcher style throw that just launched that thing like a rocket off into the distance.
"Damn…" >He whispers, looking over the rock barely as Adon says its moving away to indeed confirm with his own eyes that it is.>Spruce looks to Golden expectantly, waiting for his reply before he heads to the next area of cover.
(You mean a spell-casting unicorn capable of the following: dropping comets or meteors onto the moving heads of potential enemies, removing the ka of most living beings without causing harm to the ka itself or the body, split-casting multiple banned spells, summoning large numbers of creatures, and also knows how to recreate or destroy most of the banned weaponry across an entire continent is not a hazard? Well.. not like I could expect you to know any of that, most of what I know is banned regardless.)>Coughing harshly, the unicorn stallion tips his head, represented by your perspective tilting several degrees downwards, checking out the mare's hooves carefully.
(Hrm.. I have accepted the cold and cruel inevitability of my fate, Doctor Novus. Since it cannot be prevented any longer I have little choice but to live out the rest of my abnormally short life in whatever ways or means I see fit. Princess Luna could sentence me to live on the dark side of the Moon until I do eventually die, which would honestly be a great improvement.)>Lifting his shoulders politely, he looks down at the Germaneighan body once more, then turns towards to the left-rear section, ambling towards the back.
(Of course. Two hours of strict physical exercise each night would reduce the burdens and improve capabilities, but considering how poorly tonight has gone..)>Meandering through the back set of stasis cells into another line, Hodch peers down quickly, passing the next three, doing a double take at something.
(I may have to ask the Executive Officer if there are any other unicorns of age in storage, it does not seem li- nevermind, let us see this one.)>Half-trotting inwards to survey a young, wiry mare, her coat a speckled, burnished copper and bronze, the mane a luminous ivory, Hodch stares at it for a few moments in disbelief.
(Unbelievable, nopony has taken this one?)>Reaching in to touch the horn, he removes his hoof, gazing down at the plaque below with a short nod, the fetlocks long and covered in small red streaks.
(I remember now. This is a feral unicorn from Southern Saxoneigh, which is normally inhabited by flesh-eating pegasi mind you. Approximately eleven years old, no substantial trauma, discovered outside of some city on the north most tip of Germaneigh. It has been here for roughly three-hundred and ten years due to superstition. Should I work my way around the last few and ask the Executive of the other two facilities once that is done?)
>The spirit of the doctor snorts.
(You have nothing left to lose Hodch and you apparently know of or work for this… Organization we're both in right now searching for a new body to put me into. I'm confident everything will remain confidential.)>As they come across another stasis cell and happen upon now what looks like another mare, this one not overweight, the Doctor smiles.>Not that anyone could see.>Not that even he could see!>But he felt that he did?
(Oh, this one looks quite nice. Another Saxon?)>If Novus could scratch his head and nod approvingly, he would have.
(A unicorn from a region of flesh eating pegasi. Sounds quite fitting for a human, I wouldn't even have to give up meat! Even better is that she's apparently a Saxon… Saxoneighian? Either way, we also had a Saxony back on Earth which given the similarities of our two worlds, this history may sound familiar.)
(Saxony, on Earth, was a large Kingdom of tribes which occupied Northern Germany. They hated everything not Saxon and raided and killed a lot of the French for hundreds of years until a great king, Charlemagne, invaded and basically wiped them all out in the early ages of our history… Also, about 11 hundred to 12 hundred years ago. They also set up early England by colonizing it.)>He pauses.
(Hodch, what exactly what do you mean by "feral"? Would that effect me in any way at all?)
>>208802>Clemency was thinking quick when he heard the bat language spoke to him>Almost made him wish he took the time to learn that>Instead, he had to sit and think about the harpy's speech quirks>Lucky it knew Common>"There it is with the minotaur comparison. Still somewhat apt if they saw us…">Putting two and two together, Clem maybe figured that the Rite the pilot is speaking off is the herd of batponies coming over
"This is Clemency. Lunar and Razorback affiliated…">He wonders how far that group of bats are>It also started to make sense about the references they made>"I believe the rite is approaching soon. For me, I saw a strange vessel and thought to investigate it. Are you a pilot?">Clemency feels tension, thinking they may be someone from Tallus being a pilot in his sense of the word>He already found it hard to believe they had spaceborne craft
"What's your mission?"
>>208803>"Hey, I'm finally getting used to it!">Plopping down into the city, he looks around first seeing as he hasn't been there ever>The soft bustle of the city feels familiar, even in this very unfamiliar environment of crystals>He follows his notes and his map to the Consortium>Inside, he almost called out before being welcomed>Being welcomed in, he gives a smile to the young crystal pony
"Hello. I'm Zhun of Razorback Fortress and I'm here to make an order. Uhh…">He digs again for his notes
"I think we got a contract already with medical and alchemy supplies? We need a full restock."
>>208605>Astral was sad to see go but Mallia looked busy, so she waved her goodbye.>'I will see her again.'>>208683>As Nova Flicker spoke to her, Astral went cross-eyed with her tongue poking out of her closed mouth.
"Good, she deserves all the snoot boops!">The Pred-elk declared, a fact that will become true.
>Then she groaned like a petulant calf yet begrudgingly opened her mouth after sniffing the bottle Nova wanted her to drink. As she drank the contents of the bottle she tried to ignore the taste, it would annoy the Ward if Astral coughed up the medicine back into her face. Done, she smacked her lips.
"Tastes like medicine!">She said before staring at Nova, intense curiosity writ on her face. She leaned in closer to the pony as if to inspect something she just noticed, and right as she was snoot to snoot with the healer, Astral did something most heinous.>She licked Nova's snout with a quick draw tongue flick!
"Thank you Nova, I deeply appreciate it."
>Venous nodded in agreement, her features sympathetic.
"So do I Sir Corsen, however we cannot fail this endeavour."
>Through a bubbling sensation that felt like a million beetles were fucking each other inside his skull, the Cultist saw that Tzeentch was flipping him the bird.
>Observing Corsen was done with his outburst the Honour Guard sat back down, returning to stargazing the deep sparkling night sky.
"I suppose it can get quite mundane without the constant ministrations from Lady Duo Whell."
>She tilted her head to the side in thought, agreeing a moment later with snort and scuff of hoof on stone.
"Very true Sir human, sadly however Princess Celestia is busy at this time with the whole Royalty problems and other inconvenient factors. On my word as an Honour Guard I shall ensure you an audience with her Majesty as soon as she is available to do so."
>Hearing Corsens' ideas Venous fully turned away from the night to him, curious and listening. A forelegs' knee rubbing her chin as she began to speculate.
"An appealing strategy, such a callous truth spreading unannounced would force Myndalin to retaliate in favour of protecting his fragile ego. No doubt sending and spreading his force across Canterlot to chase us.">The orange mare glanced up from her thinking back to Corsen, humming.
"The bounty would seal it. Yet it would attract outside elements, I wanted to keep this situation as an Honour Guard matter, though she is your Mistress and I cannot deny you on how to achieve this..">Lips pursed Venous stared back towards Canterlot, watching Herds and couples coming and going oblivious or not concerned with the politics that were currently happening.
"Yes, keep him focused on us and the bigger the commotion that is made the more what little reputation he has will be harmed, reputation is something the Royalty cannot afford to lose these days."
>She stopped pondering, taken aback by Corsens' fatal finality.
"Dying would not be ideal at all Sir human, Myndalin will die sooner or later by your hooves or somepony' else's. As for your hatchet and a means to procure magic? You must follow me once again, we go to Canterlot University.">Standing up properly, the off duty Honour Guard Medic stretched her legs one at a time before trotting back to Canterlot proper.
Ambush: +1 Token to Spruce>>208980>Golden breathed in big breathes in an attempt to calm himself down.
"If it is truly distracted and moving further away from our position I can translocate us higher up the mountain, and as much as I am terrified of that pseudo-Construct I cannot let myself run away now."
>The Unicorn chuckled at Adons' pun, cheering him up some as his horn lit up with gathering magic.
"A good pun, must know a Batpony." >>209036>Tiny fluff covered arms crossed, the Chitqu *HUMPH'D*, accepting Spruces' explanation but did not seem to like it though.
>Horn glowing golden with summoned power, the old Unicorn looked to Spruce, a small smile on his lips once again.
"We are heading up the mountain some more, hope that does not bother you.">Golden sniffed then closed his eyes in concentration. Once again a magical wind blew around the trio, slightly less blustery due to the large boulder they were all taking cover behind.[ 1d6+2 = 6 ]
>M.Teleportation[ 1d6+2 = 3 ][ 1d6+2 = 4 ][ 1d6+2 = 3 ]
>And just as before, the two humans felt their world disappearing into a stomach churning dislocation of sense only for solid ground to bring them back from the maelstrom.>Albeit more woozy than before, and it was not that the ground was more sloped now and covered in loose stones either.
"Oh bugger I knew this would happen…W-where are we?">Asked Golden horn shakily, legs wobbling to keep him up.
-1 to movement for 2 turns.
"Acknowledged, preparing for deployment sir.">Grabbing his tool bag, Boris waits for Mercy to extend her right wing, hopping across it and plopping down on the pegasi's saddle.>Taking a loose strand of mane to hold, Mercy turns around in the back seat to jump out, leaving a small cloud of mist in her wake.
>Peering at the schematic, it was fairly complex to study:>The entrance would be an above ground foyer, one that looked more like a defensive barrack layout, while the second, an unusual ceremonial chamber shaped somewhat like the Void Remnant's crypt, was little more than four walls with a raised circle in the center.>The third 'room' was a large, 3-walled stairwell leading down into the crypt itself, a single, wide open room with approximately 40 burial chambers.>>208697>Losing the chime and flute, you could hear nothing more from within, the crypt silent, and perhaps welcoming.>Outside, the fluttering of small wings is accompanied by cautious, tiny meows, several flights of the once thought extinct Moor cats flitting inwards.>Minuscule claws rapping on armor, a large variety of the bat-winged felines land on Arcane Blades, one to each, likewise facing outwards along with the batponies and few pegasi amongst their number.
>Hopping onto the driver's seat to eye the vague schematic, it was surprisingly non-Equestrian for a burial crypt, the strange, rarely discovered and highly spartan Lunar architecture only found in a small number of regions across the Northern New Everfree.>Something tugged at your memory about this, but it was a bit too far back to recall at the moment.
>Ahead, Mercy crosses around the road being carefully reconstructed above the ancient one, both wings raising as she stalks towards the entrance, her radio clicking in for Jeff to hear.
*"Layout?"*[ 1d6+4 = 8 ]
>>209318>>208697>Letting Sunny look over the blueprints as well while they walked toward the crypt, Mercy and Boris can be heard behind dismounting.>The crypt didn't seem too hard to navigate. Only two above-ground rooms, a staircase, and then the crypt itself.>But a defense setup for the barracks was interesting. Maybe to keep the Undead in, or keep grave robbers out?>He thinks over what he knows about batponies and the Lunar Military to better come up with a better idea on why it'd be set up this way.[ 1d2 = 1 ]
<Lore: Batponies, Amateur[ 1d2 = 1 ]
<Lore: Lunar Military, Amateur[ 1d6 = 4 ]
>Mercy had already taken the liberty of breaking off a bit, so he opens his radio up so she can hear him as well.
*"Okay, everyone can hear me? So, first room looks to be a foyer with a barracks in it. After that is going to be a ceremonial chamber with a center-piece which then leads into a staircase going down to the actual crypt. This blueprint says there's forty burial chambers, but your friend did mention this might not be completely accurate. Everyone, make sure to communicate any deviations from these details once we're inside. Mercy, if you sweep the place for any Undead and Spectrals, I can look it over with my Void Sight. Also, I need to give you something before we head inside."*>Taking a needed breath in, Jeff looks over the approach to the crypt and sweeps the front of it with with said vision while unzipping a small part of the top of his pack with a free hand.[ 1d6+4 = 10 ]
>>209240>>209036>The Construct still visually distracted, Golden Horn gathers his mettle and casts a teleportation spell to move them further away and hopefully up the mountain.>Still not a fan, but it's better than whatever could've happened with that Construct.>Popping back into existence he lands on a steep slope with loose rocks, his footing slipping.>Adon digs his boots onto the loose ground, and tries to regain his balance with his hands before looking around to try and find their placement on the mountain.
"At least we're away from that Construct. How far did you move us up?"[ 1d6 = 1 ]
<B.Perception[ 1d6 = 3 ]
>>208784>Standing up straight now, the pair of safety tendrils around you letting go, though the first one remains loosely around your waist, and, thankfully, does not seem interested in further violations.>Tearing the exterior sheet of her slagged Ultra C+++ chest armor off, Wild holds it up for a brief inspection, then begins crumpling it together carefully with her hands.
"Precisely why that specific option was discarded. The only logical choice available to us is to descend below waveform actions.">On the left screen, the Eldritch Android's lower right leg.. components you guess, were now reading yellow instead of red.
"Three-point five percent mobility restored, I am unable to reinforce motivators at the moment.">Coming back into view, the various metallic tendrils hover around the right side of the screen, the enormous semi-automagic cannon pistol lifted up as Wild begins scanning it.
"Acknowledged, I will attempt to increase the range and effectiveness of my weapon systems.">Breaking into a tone that was definitely akin to a filly sticking her hoof into a nettle plant, the cabin's screens flicker with static.
"..I was considering the idea of salvaging all of my external and internal components into a small vehicle for you to escape in, however I do not have the knowledge of how to do so. That would also necessitate returning to salvage what is left of my hulk. In sum: inefficient and highly dangerous.">Laying out several pieces of mythril, all seven tendrils begin cutting them apart with the small beams of red light, Wild left hand unscrewing the weapon's barrel.
"Scanning for long range waveforms in progress. Weapon upgrade schematic completed. Natilda, please advise my next course of action."[ 1d6 = 2 ]
<Arcanum Sensors Array[ 1d6+4 = 7 ]
<Grade 1 Auto-Repair[ 1d6 = 3 ]
<Repair Tendril #1[ 1d6 = 6 ]
<Repair Tendril #2[ 1d6 = 6 ]
<Repair Tendril #3[ 1d6 = 1 ]
<Repair Tendril #4[ 1d6 = 1 ]
<Repair Tendril #5[ 1d6 = 4 ]
<Repair Tendril #6[ 1d6 = 5 ]
<Repair Tendril #7
>>208804>Placing her armored snout on the stasis cell, Roust emits a mildly amused chortle.
('A perfectly executed plan is one made by hand, hoof, horn, and wing in field; all other plans are destroyed the moment enemy contact is met. At least we had fun!' Razorback motto number I do not know. That team should be instantly demoted one level, then promoted two more the following week.)>Ears tossing from side to side, the Vanguard merely shrugs her shoulders in a small motion.
(He is to be commended for accepting. Earth pony fillies have been known to demarend mareriage at five or six. That one was eight, perhaps nine. Ponies mature more quickly than humans, but I will withhold my judgement for a few centuries.. or perhaps more. And, when I do wake up next I shall try my best to emulate your physicality.)>Nodding briefly, Roust turns her head sideways, right cheek resting on the stasis oval and the eye half-lidded in a too-tired-to-sleep manner, listening intently.>Blinking slowly, the Changeling makes an errant nose twitch, her mental tone radiating with warmth and pride.
(Vanguards are expendable. I know my duties well: to keep an enemy or enemies distracted with superior armor and delaying tactics. It is our sworn duty to absorb the worst blows and magic an enemy may offer before the rest of our kin reach optimal range. I willingly accepted the purpose my Queen gave just as I accepted the urge to protect all others before myself.
(Ultimately, you did not jeopardize others for the sake of pride, as I could be, probably rightly, accused of from time to time. Intent matters, Kraut. You followed what you believed was best. You would not be the first to be humbled by an experience that you did not have control over. However..)>Maretally trailing off, the armor shifts uncomfortably, green eyes squinting in something approximating thought.
(This.. 'Eldritch mech'. I do not understand the second term save that it implies mechanical composition, and the first greatly bothers me. What became of it? No, wait, what about Natilda?)
>>208821>Shrugging at the denial of orders, the A.I. goes back to collating and sifting through data.
"Understood sir, I will update my suggestions based on.. you know how this goes."
>Lifting a smoky yellow forehoof to peer at, Krinza nods slowly, glancing up to shake his head at you reaching for the weapon.
"No need. I have a great deal of experience with Razorback's sentient or sapient weapons, armor, devices, equipment. I believe that Constructs are capable of forming moods. That was likely a, to paraphrase Spiral, final thought or inclination to death's peace."
>Reading the many spectrums and frequencies it had access to, the Spiral A.I. turns its head to you with a boggled expression.
"Nnnnone at all detected within proximity, sir. I partially concur with the equine's statement, that was either a metaphysical attribution, the soul or some such nonsense, or a preprogrammed response."
"I will try.">Ambling out of the steam and behind you, the smith makes a curious sound, bright yellow light emitting under head level.>Tugging sheets off the pack, then your armor, Krinza abruptly neighs in surprise, causing the A.I. to swivel around in confusion.
"How did th- what kind o- Constructs are able to COMPACT silverine by twenty times into molecular foam!? Damn the High Lords, that one should have been captured instead of destroyed! Have you discovered another one like this before?"
(..what? Is this short frumpy looking fat horse that needs a diet and some exercise missing the many parts where it nearly killed you, severely wounded two equines, and probably could have killed half the humans here had it remained grounded? Sir, requesting permission to temporarily suspend my mood and emotional vector programming so I can make sense of this.)
>>208844>Moving around the old armchair into the Inquisitor's sight, the dull yellow eye focuses into a tiny, pain stricken cylinder on you.>Placing both hands on the Inquisitorial equine's head, a small charge of static data is recorded from four MIU's and a complex micro-cogitator, all of which were Artificer grade if not better.>Twisting both forelegs into the mechadendrite, the Inquisitor's expression slackens while you were definitely not thinking about anything other than performing the ordered duties.>Nonetheless, your micro-cogitator records everything in excruciating detail, including the unicorn's incredibly soft peach scented coat, barely above human strength musculature, and the fine, highly pliable hide underneath.>No heresy detected here, Enginseer.
>Breaking through the Inquisitor's nearly overpowering Beta-level waveforms, the auspex notes a series of 11 high energy laser burns spread across the chest, barrel, and rear legs, along with a pair of bio-plasma burns wholly unlike the many Tyranid variants in the rear of each hindquarter.>Identifying the trace energy signatures somewhere between a Hotshot Lasrifle and a low powered Lascannon, the streak of charred tissue below the Inquisitor's left eye was going to heal with significant scarring, though the eye itself would likely be saved.>Failing to find any knowledge of cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, the auspex shutters into hardened mode to protect itself from the overwhelming Throne-energies.
>The eye facing you snaps shut while the hiss of an auto-injector fires off, Chisan speaking something->And is quickly cut off.>The underground lab distorts, twisting into another reality entirely, that of an Inquisitor's small, private office.>Covered from wall to wall in weapons, armor, trinkets, ArchaeoTech devices, tokens, trophies, awards, medals, a single tusk of some giant beast, and much more than you could name, both the ceiling and floor were a flat white-gold.>Sitting behind an unusually plain, light red wood desk, the image of a woman appears, hands steepled together, one knee over the other, wearing traditional Witch Hunter garb without the round cone hat.>Glancing up to you, the two dull yellow eyes are framed by a comically pale, likely Voidborn Pacifica face, the Inquisitor speaking in a smooth, faux-seductive young tone, which quickly turns down into a smooth, slightly annoyed mood.
"Enginseer. Mallia. Castella. Welcome. Normally my mind is much less organized, but the pain and shock of nearly dying works wonders. I am Velasi Aguinas, Rogue Trader and Ordo Chronos Inquisitor. I am not pleased to make your acquaintance You are in MY mind after all. I will forgive you for the intrusion, but only this once. Please-">Nodding slightly, a chair is felt/heard taking shape behind you.
"Sit. Everything we speak here will be utterly confidential, unless my Tempestus Scion needs to know. Just so that you understand, I executed the last six Enginseers, four Tech Priests, and the one Tech Priestess that the Administratum Mechanicus felt would be capable of spying on my duties. Do not think I will hesitate to do the same to you, so, for right now, your first order is this: you are to abandon all AdMech Doctrines of Secrecy when dealing with me, my Tempestus Scion, or those I sanction.">Tapping her thin fingers together, the woman leans back, allowing a mildly angry, predatory half-smile, half-stare to creep across her lips.
"Once you do that, tell me who you are, Forge-World you came from, what you are good at, what you are bad at, how you feel about the irritable and utterly inconsequential Quest for Knowledge, after which I will then decide what to do with me. And, perhaps, what I will do with you."
>Definitely not the best primary interview on your record..
>>209394>It was safe to say that Mallia was moderately disoriented. She was not expecting to have her consciousness SHIFTED so suddenly -- having never really experienced such things in her life.>Thus far she had acquired enough luck to not see ANY psykers outside an Astropath. And then those, only from a fair distance away.
>Her luck, alas, has obviously run out in the most catastrophic way possible. Not only was she affected by a psyker, it was the most powerful one possible and an Inquisitor to boot.
>All of her dread from letting down Chisan was quickly washed away, replaced by a dreading fear for her life as she 'stood' there, in the 'office'; dumbfounded to the point that she was literally just standing there, staring blankly.>Even her mind was blank, as her she starts to hear her heart beating in her ears. She was also sweating quite generously at this point.
(I-I didn't ask for this. Why is she so rude? Why do Inquisitors want people to die? Why do they want ME to die? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME AGAIN??)
>This was the second time an Inquisitor had given her an interview to see if she was worth executing or not. The first time wasn't fun either. >She passed it. But said Inquisitor ended up getting her killed within the next day anyways along with her entire squad.
>Without saying anything, moving, or sitting down; her eyes snapping to the seat when the Inquisitor nods to it. >Her hands nervously pin themselves to her waist, rubbing at her own wrists as she subconsciously straightens her back to enter an at-attention potion for the better portion of a second.>Before audibly gulping. Taking one quick glance up to the treasure trove of technology all over the 'room'; then down to the Inquisitor again.
>With a slow, ginger step forward, she positions herself infront of the seat. Then she lightly adjusts her robe with her hands, and gracefully, slowly sits down lightly, holding onto the edge of her seat. As if she expected a pressure plate on the seat that would instantly kill her, or worse.
>She then takes a deep, audibly shaky breath and lets out a little whimper after the exhale.
(I'm so dead. And I didn't even get to make any friends. Now all my squad will be forgotten and they'll be dead for nothing. I hate Inquisitors.)
"I uh… ">She gulps again. Coughing behind her hand, and absolutely, positively not making eye contact, preferring to look at her own, gloved hands.
"I don't… Have a c-choice so, y-yes ma'am…"
(I was worried for her, too. Screw me. I hate me. I'm such a failure. If she doesn't kill me I'll die somewhere else, probably; she doesn't care about my fate…)
>Her jaw clenches and then rolls a little. Darting her eyes over her hands as she squeezed her own hands, desperately bundling up her robes to try and hold onto something, clenching her hands and balling them up.
"M… My family, the Castella family, is… Is mostly a Technologist family. M-..h… We… Specialize in military fortifications, hence the family name. I was raised to be a technologist, too. I have all my family's designs in my possession. Though I was interested in actually working on Machine Spirits, rather than simply researching."
>Her thoughts slowly shift to her mother. She felt a tug in her heart at how strongly she wishes to be with her now; a feeling so strong it rivaled her fear.>It made her blink a few times, taking in a slow, deep breath as she slowly composed herself.
"I come from Mars. However I served with the Imperial Guard far from there, and I died in 'service' of the Inquisition."
>She paused, looking up to the Inquisitor, fully expecting her to start getting murderous thoughts in the form of a glare.
"I'm good at Construction, Repair, and Deconstructions of materials and machines of any kind. I can soothe just about any machine spirit and establish positive relations with them. I am proficient in maintaining and constructing fortifications, and I … i like to think I work well with other people. Specifically, guardsmen.">She found her heart emptying of emotions when she uttered that last part. The sheer amount of grief and fear making her jaded.>At least, this was making her speak more fluidly. As she slowly accepted her fate, letting go of her own hands and sagging her shoulders.
>Then she paused, and thought over the 'what do you think of the quest for knowledge'.
(Why is it Inconsequential? Why does she have to spit on my beliefs like that?)
"I was… Never really into the whole Knowledge gathering aspect of the Cult Mechanicus. I always wanted to, obviously; but I worked on Machine Spirits and only Machine Spirits, manual work was my focus rather than Research."
"As far as my humble opinion goes, I… Am pretty neutral about it. Not Inconsequential in my pointless opinion. but at the same time I am just an Enginseer, all I care about is the Machine Spirits. I'm willing to research new things and learn to make things better, as long as it doesn't hurt the spirits."
>Talking so much was cathartic for her. Though she stopped abruptly now, not wanting to talk too much and end up with their head exploded because she 'annoyed' the Inquisitor.
(Please don't kill me pleasepleaseplease…)
>She instinctively tries to probe her Auspex for help. She doesn't issue it a command, she just calls for help without imputting an actual command. She just goes:
(Save me from the Inquisitor, please. I beg you holy Machine Spirit, help me; I'm scared.)
>>209121>Glancing upwards into the neverending shaft above, Hodch snorts in a sardonic tone.
(Then you probably understand what I have already lost, Doctor. All I truly have left are the rapidly declining body and a mind that can barely inspire enough motivation to eat. For right now, I may, or may not, be taking advantage of your situation in order to collect on a verbal favor.)>Bringing your perspective, and his, back down to eye the mare, the unicorn shakes his head negatively.
(No, Saxoneigh are only. This mare.. may have come from a Black Woods population. It is considered less dangerous than the Old or New Everfree, but substantially more difficult to travel through.)>Tapping his chin several times in thought, Hodch makes a fond sigh.
(Interesting.. so many similarities. There was a Prench stallion named Char-le-Mane around two thousand years ago, leader of the Northern Cauls whom may have had some lineage from a Saxoneigh offshoot much further back. Amusingly enough, he was viciously detonated under a few meteors that the rank and file Prench military requested the Germaneighan Guilds to summon. Prance and Germaneigh made amends but have been at 'war' over whom makes better food ever since. Quite frankly I enjoyed both and was unable to decide.)
(Feral equines are more impulsive than half-ferals, or modern ponies. They have less self-control and are more likely to act instinctively or on a whim. Not only that, they are decidedly less logical, but more capable of sensing weather, seasons, danger, what is good to eat. More survivor than thriver, really.)
>>209339>I let out a grimace at the sight of her chest armor, before watching the screens.>And I stay quiet while she explains what the last option was.
"… It was a good idea you scrapped the option, then. And I wouldn't have chosen it anyway.">After a moment, I debate on the other options given to me.
"Reinforce the compartment so we can safely go down to two hundred meters."
>>209408>The Inquisitor raises an eyebrow as you 'sit' down, the sensation of what looked like polished wood and real cotton was so minute as to be ethereal.
"If you think this is rude, Enginseer, you should see what I do to Guardsmen that refuse to punch me when I demand them do it. I do not enjoy killing, nor do I want to execute you unless I have sufficient evidence of treason. And, you are in my mind therefore I am processing your thoughts for the both of us. It is.. difficult. As well, the Doctrine of Secrecy is forbidden from this moment onwards. As you tell me the truth, I shall tell you.">Steepling her fingers once more, the Trader's head tilts expectantly, taking on a tired expression; strangely, her hair was merely a cloud of dull gold as if from a holovid.
"Enginseer, I can assure your life but I cannot assure that you will be able to make friends. I have no means of contacting the Imperium that I have discovered, and if you truly do hate me then I accept the full force of it. However, you WILL treat my Tempestus Scion, those I sanction, most of the humans, ponies, as well as other species you will encounter on this world with all due respect. You do have a choice. Many in fact, though you will have to make all of them count.">Leaning back in the not-actually-existing chair, the Inquisitor's expression stops being severe, turning into vague interest while she listens.>Closing her eyes, Velasi's left hand lifts, many calm Machine Spirits, yours, and presumably hers, quietly singing the Litany of Grace in perfect Binary, giving a small, peaceful smile.
"Your Machine Spirits adore you. Too many that I have been assigned, added to my retinue, or come across do not return their affection in kind. I greatly approve of your bonds. Such a skill is far too valuable and needed right now, so, no, I shall not kill you at all. Instead I commend you and at the same time metaphysically spit upon your previous Inquisitor for being a typical blistering Imperial fool.">Pointing upwards with one pale finger, the slightly grainy images of many Tau, Eldar, Necron, and other weapons, including a puzzling crossbow, what looked like a Rak'gol radiation pistol, a strange pair of what might be miniature flamers, and dozens of others can be seen behind her, her voice taking on an honest, gentle tone.
"These, Enginseer, are why the Quest for Knowledge is inconsequential. The Cult Mechanicus will not innovate new technologies. It derides innovation almost exclusively as tech-heresy and treason, and it arrogantly believes that the Imperium may only make use of human built technologies. These are what the AdMech wishes it could construct, yet since they are not of human make they are 'heresy', 'unclean', 'foul', 'tainted', 'corrupt', 'weak', 'useless', 'dangerous'. I have used perhaps six thousand xenos weapons without a single iota of taint, corruption, or Abominable Intelligence within them. They are but weapons, what matters most is whom wields them, not what. Humanity is but a tiny speck of our Materium, Enginseer, there are thousands of species that existed long before we did. Those weapons alone are why the Administratum Mechanicus has long become obsolete. If this does not make you cognizant of the colossal stupidity, tremendously fallacies, and the arrogant doctrinal failures that the Cult Mechanicus enforces, then I will withhold all of the Standard Template Constructs I have recovered and built here until you DO recognize them.">Left index finger pointing at you, the Machine Spirits begin singing a strangely upbeat song, one without words as she smiles, then relents to a grim stare down at the non-existing desk.
"You have many of the skills that are needed here. I approve, however, you will have to work well with my Tempestus Scion, my retinue only consists of him at the moment you see. However, no doubt you have seen some of this prized, proud Fortress. It is a self-contained bastion in which less than one hundred humans and a brilliant if not slightly morbid, buckling mind fought off nearly ten thousand.. and it now lies silent. The weapons, defenses, self-repair capabilities, even the capacity to speak, understand, and learn lie silent. Some of the utility functions are marginally active but I suspect more will fail soon. By the by, it is no Abominable Intelligence, it is a demi-sentient, one that I am beginning to.. dearly miss.">Turning her eyes up at the flat ceiling, the Ordo Chronos shakes her head briefly, gaze tiredly dropping down to you once more.
"I know how much this is to take in. For me, it is much worse. I have spent eleven years on this world, close to three in realtime, the rest temporally, but know this: here YOU shall be the greatest of cogs, far above and beyond the deluded traditionalist fools of the dying Cult Mechanicus.. or you will do so on your own should I die, which is looking more likely with each passing night. Now, you have three choices:"
"One, join my retinue. You will be treated as invaluable, I will share much of my knowledge, grant you access to the workshop I have somewhat put together, and I will also see about making an agreement with the grandmaster smith here. You will also billet with my Tempestus Scion in the Sea's Bounty ocean stronghold."
"Two, you may join Razorback. They are classical true humans. A bit rough around the edges and not entirely professional though they do tend to succeed far more often than one would expect. You will, however, find their methods, thought patterns, and technology rather odd, but none of it is heretical. In fact, that is your second order: there is no heresy on this world, save for maybe one human that died some time ago."
"Three, you may join the Sea's Bounty. They are an allied clan of pegasi, industrious, loyal, hard working, and a bit lewd, yet quite joyful nonetheless. They have many interesting materials however."
"Whichever you take I shall swear into law but you do not have to choose just yet."
>>209382>Pareidolia slowly lowers his arm as Krinza elaborates.
"That is… disturbing news if all Constructs are capable of this."
>He faces his back towards Krinza while drawing out his combat knife and brandishing it to the side.>Remaining still, he raises his shoulders.
"An unknown combat model I retrieved from the Citadel. I was attempting to study it when what you saw occurred. I have never encountered a model capable of this before. I agree, it is a shame it was destroyed. It had the only active sample of fluid of the ones retrieved."
>He frowns as his A.I.'s displeasure is made apparent.
"You do not need my permission to do that. If your performance and adherence to our mission is compromised by this additional emotion programming, please keep that in mind in your assessments."
[Again with that Class 3's programming. Are there any other operation essential processes it overrode?]
>>208786>Nodding several times briskly, the Ferron filly, probably related to Twisted Wing due to her coloration, points her right wing in a sweeping motion to indicate the end shop.
"Lots of ponies come back here every night and I spent a lotta time sorting shells so it's kinda hard to remember.">Beaming another smile, this one was much more sinister.. and then the deluge started.
"Sea's Bounty, which includes me, makes most stuff here but the really ornate things are all done in the beach base. We make all of the following weapons here: hoofboots, hoofblades, hoofclaws, hoofspikes, hooftalons, both types of wingblades, spears, lances, javelins, harpoons, most blades of most kinds, maces, axes, hammers, arrowheads. For armor we can make almost anything that isn't magic, there's even a few mares that can make armor they can bounce on and it won't break! Most the shells and some monster stuff on the walls is used to make some kind of powder thingy, it gets ground down into little bits and then glued together by raisins-">Pausing at the thought, hazelnut eyes turn to the side, calling out to one of the mares, whom snickers merrily at the question.
"Um, is that RAISIN glue we use?"
"You silly filly, it's resin! Say it like reh-zin."
"Reh-zin, got it. It's resin.. oh, right, um, it's strong stuff and won't break. There's some big spears on the wall in the back, a lotta ponies have tried to break them but they bend! The big critter plates, care-uh-pehss thingies, shark skin, and stuff like that get made into armor. We have to fit the armor here but it really doesn't take long! Any of the weird floating gem wood we find is used for hoofles, handles, or trinkets">Eyes starting to water from the torrent of information, the filly takes a deep inhale, and continues once more.
"The trinkets we make are kinda Druid-y, I think.. it's all stuff you can wear or put in your helmet. We also collect the big amber chunks that drift in, you can find neat treasures in them!"
"Not all the time, we only sell the ones that actually have something inside, rest is used for sealing wood or alchemical resins."
"Right, I forgot about that.. ..oh, am I missing anything?">Looking up from shaving down a long, thin spear head, the even darker blue Ferron mare frowns, stretching her forelegs out in thought.
"We can make repairs or improvements to anything that isn't cloth, silk, or outright magical. We sell parts, pieces, plates, hides, skins, all four types of shell mixtures, and the resins we use too. Can't keep track of what's here half the time anyways, what we get in every night we try to use. Good stuff gets sent to the beach base. If you're looking to have something in particular made or done I can tell you where to go and about how long you'll have to wait, otherwise feel free to walk around and inspect everything. Over there is the stuff you might like if you just browse-"
"Aaand since you're from Razorback you get a BIG discount!"
"Hah, I was gonna make her do ten laps if she forgot it. Everything's half off for Razorback, we owe you big for helping us move out of the Old Everfree.">Pointing down low, the left side of the shop was taken up by a large of trinkets, mostly gems, wood, and the ersatz shell materials.>Stacked along the wall left of the entrance, however, was a staggering number of rough amber spheres ranging from cantaloupe size to ones that a small earth pony could easily fit inside.
"Would be considerably more so if somepony here knew Prench. Maybe one of the Honor Guard but I'm not about to ask them for anything.">Leaning over the pegasus to listen more closely to his breathing for a few moments, nodding while a brief hum emanates from the Crystal mare, upper and lower eyelids separating while she studies the eye itself.
"More useful than I'd like, to be honest. Imagine being able to 'see' into everypony's body, or understanding the precise impacts of weaponry, hooves, what constitutes each wound.. still, thank you.">Making no motion to retrieve her robe, while leaving the Clinic you pass the, mostly, conscious elk now giving the carnelian mare a lick, whom barely reacts, only twitching her snout several times.
>West of the Pagoda itself, a small rain cloud maybe 5M off the ground was putting out the smoldering Construct wreck; there was also something walking around inside it, vaguely pony shaped.>Entering the Pagoda proper, it was empty save for Naliyna, back to sorting through a host of colorful letters, glancing up with a moderately pleased smile.
"Need something else?"
>Novus is silent for a moment as he continues to look over the unicorn mare.>He's silent before giving an approving 'hmm'
(I see. But would I, a modern person, be affected by these baser instincts? My own refined senses wouldn’t simply overtake its own more primitive nature due to her lack of a soul? Or are these things far more primal than I am understanding, literally part of its biology?)
(Either way, I don't really see another option nor do I wish to remain as the ghost haunting this mask for a moment longer so yes, I think this one is good. Put me in her Hodch. And before you ask, yes I am certain. I will deal whatever consequences this may have.)>He seems certain with his choice, if a bit impatient, but begins to murmur quietly to himself in thought.>After another few moments, he asks another question.
(I am also curious, would any bits of this mare’s particular personality be left behind? And what should I be expecting in other changes mentally?)>These questions seem a bit late for being asked after affirming his choice, but it surely wasn't too late to ask as he waited to be brought back to life.>Again.>But this time would certainly be a little more interesting than the last.>No hands, magic, an entirely new race, and different… Equipment.>This was certainly looking to be an interesting experience.
>>209199>Something that sounded like a rotating bomb rack clicks in the background several times, a pair of large fans activating as the harpy's electronic voice turns reverential, then highly confused.
*"Thy name.. ye givest final graces to wounded. Thou honored mineself from thine visit, mineself asks a fortune of blessings shall covet thy life. Yet this Razorback, dost thou mean large swine upon which the minotaurs dine?"*>A single Destroyer dives out of the small hatch, the batpony landing chest first, then jumps up, beginning to walk about in a circle, obviously stretching its legs.
*"Mineself pilots minself, the Guillotine, to battles above within the Endless Oceans. Mineself is-"*>Giggling briefly, the noise both sharp and aery.
*"A, as the chiropteran equines spaketh, 'Mango Carrier'. Mineself dispatches the Rites of Destruction within the Lonely One's cold shell, hoping they may yet pierce the heart within. Look upon mineself as ye wish granter of mercies, or if thou dost wish, mayhaps touch?"*
>Hooves outside of visual range rapidly clip-clop towards the Arena, the minotaur cow's stomping easily heard over the three squadrons en route.
>>209447>Cheto jots down the secondary objective presented.
(A pony who knows Prench. I wonder how that sounds.)>A little shiver crosses his body as she told her power's side effects, covered by a jerky nod.
(A cool power nonetheless. It would be quite useful to know every single body part status.)
>As Nalinya asks him about his needs, a faint voice to ask for a petting session.
(No way José
. I am not going to just touch some ponies just because, especially not knowing the consequences. Although Nova was quite soft.)>He shakes his head, removing the current thoughts from his head.
"Sorry, I was meaning to ask two pertient questions.">One throat clearing.
"Where is the transformation matrix thing here and do you know any ponies in Razorback that know Prench?"
>>209318>Extricating herself from the vehicle again, Sunny followed Jeff, memorising the parts of the map she could see before cantering ahead to carry out his order.>Reaching the entrance in short order, Sunny slowed to a stop.>Little point hiding here, although… The underdark might show her something else.>The faded song and welcoming aura raised the hairs along the back of Sunny's neck, she did not trust this at all.>She turned back to Jeff for a moment.
"I'll stay nearby, whisper if you need me, but not too loudly.">With that, she let herself sink into the underdark.[ 1d6+7 = 13 ]
< E. Stealth[ 1d6+7 = 11 ][ 1d6+7 = 13 ]
>She wouldn't step in just yet, however, not before thoroughly examining the entrance for traps or anything else of interest, which she did so. Thoroughly.>Upwards and downwards.>Forwards and backwards.>Looking, listening and smelling.>Licking too.>That last one might have been a mistake.[ 1d6+3 = 8 ]
< B. Perception[ 1d6+3 = 5 ]>>209330>Keeping herself within earshot of Jeff at all times, Sunny acknowledged his words with a wing wave.>Hopefully he'd be able to see that.>She was pretty sure he could see that.>The mare thought on his words for a moment, dredging up any information she could from her memory.>She couldn't shake the feeling of familiarity with facilities like this, maybe she'd overheard something from other mercenaries at some point?[ 1d2 = 2 ]
< Lore: Mercenaries, Amateur
>Spruce looks to the unicorn and raises his eyebrow at a few words there.
"… That's a construct? A psuedo construct? What's a real one look like?">The horribly uninformed operator asks, entirely unaware still of how bad these things are.>As Golden prepares once more for teleportation, Spruce groans preemptively.>And indeed, after they teleport, he takes a moment to put his hands to his stomach and hold in his breakfast as he takes a look around the steep ground they now found themselves on.
"… Eugh. No more of that, please."[ 1d6 = 2 ]
B. Perception[ 1d6 = 1 ]
>>209203>Staring down at the desk, both forehooves lift and tap the edge, a large and.. completely unreadable hololith forming on both sides above it as the young mare hums.
"Razorback.. okay, ready!">Lifting a hoof and placing it on her panel, Three-Point freezes, her left eye twitching while she stutters, sitting back and staring at you in pure horror.
"Y-you-you-you n-n-need a FULL re-res-restock!? W-wh-what have you all been doing?! Th-that's four hun.. four hundred thousand Bits! Four HUNDRED thousand! An entire year's worth of reagents and ingredients and bottles and sealing caps gone in less than a few months?!">Settling into something like shock, thankfully without, hyperventilating, she slumps back into her chair, eyes watering at her view.
"We have maybe.. no we don't, not even a fifth of what Razorback asked for the last time. We supplied everything and a lot of the stuff I'm seeing here only comes in during spring or summer, and the Atriums and Conclaves haven't even made their fall deliveries yet. We ca- I'm sorry but, Razorback purchased almost everything in our depot, we even gave a fifty percent discount because it was so much.">Well, maybe not so easy after all..
>>209236>Astral finds scent both strange and sweet, if not a bit tangy, the Ward eyes Mallia's back while she leaves, then places the empty bottle on the small stand.
"It is supposed to be apple flavored, which I suppose you have never had before.">Head tilting at the look, Nova blinks curiously.
"Ye-">Snout twitching several times, five-pointed eyes stare down at the tip, then raise to give Astral a humored shake of her head.
"You are most welcome. While the painkiller takes effect please rest, that will greatly reduce the strain on my auric. The less you move the more effective it will be, and-">Glancing around briefly to make sure nopony was looking, Nova leans in to boop her snout on Astral's, turning about and ambling towards the front desk with a rueful smile.
>>209239>Grimacing at the sight and vowing to find, cook, and feed every beetle he could to a bird later, Corsen glares at the speckled island.
"Failure is a choice, not an option.. and never call me sir again. Please. I lost that right long ago."
(Damn it Tusk, I wish you were here with me.)>Rolling his gloved palms together, the Deathseeker stops, passing over the second comment quickly, waving a hand at himself up and down.
"I.. meant the one that trained you. Walking war crime, remember? I'd rather not start a third war.">Leaning down to place his hands on the railing again, he turns his head right to eye 'the spot', then back at the island.
"I have enough experience in political espionage, we.. the team I was in took many jobs: removing planetary governors, assassinating troublesome generals, getting rid of enemy royals, destroying facilities, not to mention the time we slipped rat piss into an outpost's entire water supply! That was probably the best on, except for getting shot. However, outside elements can be prevented by careful wording.">Turning from the lake, Corsen stretches his arms over his head, hands grasping the back of his neck and following after the Honor Guard, grinning suddenly behind the gas mask.
(No.. Tusk would HATE what I'm about to say-)
"Miss Venous, I have a better idea: I'm the bounty hunter. The client is unknown but has already paid me up front. That wouldn't even be a lie either!"
(They all thought I'd never freeload so easily again, I'm basically paying myself to do this!)
>>209330>Dimly recalling that most of the burial crypts in the Moors were built long before the Lunar-Solar War, the architecture of this one was smoother and more decorative, probably built shortly after that specific war ended.>Considering the layout from a tactical standpoint, most Lunars relied on the Moors itself to guard their deceased, at least those that chose to be buried.>Likewise it was too distant for normal travel, but close enough to keep a potential rotating guard, which made this crypt either exceptionally valuable or mildly dangerous enough to keep a constant guard.>Drifting your senses outwards into the surrounding swampy forest, the crypt was a definite oddity: filled yet hollow, old enough to be considered a relic of its own time, new enough that it was complete, and somehow wasn't at the same time.
*"I sense little.. pieces of thought, strong but old, fading, perhaps.. great Undead rest here?"*>Noting the bright, distant seeming white and pink streaks of Mercy crossing in front of the crypt, a small, dull sphere of blueish-white above her saddle, bright blues and purples overlay the entire building, gleaming proudly through the dim.>Glimpsing batponies surround the crypt formed into many clusters, each carving trace outlines onto black granite, they disappear swiftly and are replaced with a host of merry feeling Lunar robed batponies.>As one, the host perform smart military about-hooves to face an unaware Mercy, coolly ethereal smiles flit across many the muzzles before dissolving into nothing.>>209462>Finding.. nothing changing, save for the strange sensation of Mercy's blind eyes falling on you, the Spirit Walker stops in front of the large double doors, staring up at the designs and pegasi runes carved into each.[ 1d6+3 = 7 ]
<B.Meditation[ 1d6+3 = 4 ]
>Eyeing the ornately puzzling Lunar designs on the door and around it, the distinct lack of potential pressure plates, trip-notes, and visible warding runes left only the minute possibilities of Crystal traps or sorcerous wards.>Peering at the nonexistent seams between matching stonework, the crypt itself seemed to have been built entirely by material melding, either alchemical, an art now considered lost, or sorcerous.>Finding the door's center remarkably clean for some reason, upon tasting it.. mango flavor, still fresh.>Obviously one of the Arcane Blades batponies had the same idea, only earlier.
>Recalling the many Lunar Guard whom frequented that bar, the one that gave a free drink for every five, there were a large number of batpony regulars that never stopped chattering, sometimes in Common.>Stories, rumors, legends, and myths of the 'many thousands of tiny crypts' scattered throughout the Moors, except the Crags and Marsh River regions, were a favorite topic.>Some of the more serious batponies went so far as to admit they liked poking around in the unmarked ones them, but only on the top floor for short periods of time due to both the presence of strange Lunar-Solar War experimarents and the rare Undead that was simply too happy, or furious, to remain truly deceased for long.>The more well known crypts were visited often to honor the memories of those lost, usually keeping an active volunteer contingent of Deep Moors Hunter-Killers, while the crypts of Lunar heroes featured teams of the ultra strict, and most importantly never seen, A.R.C. squadrons.
>Placing her left side and ear against the left door with a brief huff, muttering something about cat hair making her nose itch, Mercy begins pushing on it slowly, the right set of wingblades glowing hotly through the Void.[ 1d6+4 = 9 ]
<B.Perception[ 1d6+4 = 10 ]
>>209414>Stabilizing the rather crude looking, oversized barrel in her hand, a large red ring appears on the left screen's map, showing an estimated danger zone.
"Sensor interference detected beyond visual range, approximately six minutes and thirty seconds remain until the first wave strike.">Gazing down at the definitely incomplete creation, the Android makes an electronic noise of disgust.
"Ending multi-task systems now, preparing for reinforcement. I should have more than enough time to complete my weapon before the unknown Construct vessel arrives.. I think.">Mechanical tendrils lifting the previous ball of her armor into view, each begins slicing small sheets of steel apart, the sounds of something like welding taking place on the cabin's exterior, pausing briefly to turn west.
"Natilda, I am detecting an unusual waveform in the vicinity. Attempting to isolate now-"[ 1d6 = 2 ]
<Arcanum Sensors Array[ 1d6+4 = 8 ]
<Grade 1 Auto-Repair[ 1d6 = 1 ]
<Repair Tendril #1[ 1d6 = 2 ]
<Repair Tendril #2[ 1d6 = 1 ]
<Repair Tendril #3[ 1d6 = 1 ]
<Repair Tendril #4[ 1d6 = 1 ]
<Repair Tendril #5[ 1d6 = 6 ]
<Repair Tendril #6[ 1d6 = 4 ]
<Repair Tendril #7
>>209430>Focusing on the blade, Krinza speaks silently for several moments before the silverine sloughs off, the mass below him folding into a sphere.
"I do not know enough of the Rift to confirm or deny the presence of a ka for each one, only what I sensed.">Bringing the silverine close to his eyes for a thorough examination, then a quick taste, the smith rocks back on his hooves, expressing equal parts confusion and concern.
"But what I can confirm is this: Middle Dynasty era silverine. I have come across two examples before, it has a peculiar taste that is quite different from Late Dynasty samples. I will have to research Spiral's notes to know what the difference between them are.">Rotating eyes up to you, the chunky unicorn cocks his head in visible annoyance.
"Unfortunately I did not see. Hear, yes. I may be developing a headache from proximity to the radio. More importantly, besides lightning do you know of a method to disable Constructs without complete destruction?"
>The render freezes for several moments, becoming a 2D image and speaking in a purely flat tone.
"All illogical processes, sub-processes, mood and emotional vectors suspended until further notice. Analysis of target Krinza's mood: lack of visible concern for allies does not indicate disregard. Proposed equine cultural evolution models dictate specific roles, duties, functions to be taken by individuals on basis of self-choice. Non-caste division of work force results in efficient distribution and support of broad spectrum tasks."
"Analysis of target Naliyna's capabilities: presumed specialization in close combat focused on anti-armor and offensive disruption. Estimated threat level against unarmored organics: unknown, presumed high. Estimated threat level against armored organics: moderate lethality. Estimated threat level against unarmored non-organics: extreme. Estimated anti-tank capabilities: extreme."
"Do you require further analysis?"
>>209429>Mallia, while she was, admittedly, absolutely terrified; manages to quietly sit there and stare up towards the Inquisitor to listen intently to every word, respectfully, despite her dislike for Inquisitors up until this point. >The admittance that her thoughts were no longer private made the Enginseer stiffen, and she could feel her legs quivering in terror.
>At least, until the Inquisitor turned out to not be as cruel as she expected. As a matter of fact, her mind's eye envision the Inquisitor as nothing short of a monster that was an enemy out to kill her, mostly due to what the previous one had done to her -- which she felt to be completely unfair. At first, >But now, the corners of her lips began to relax slightly, and her glance began to soften when this Velasi Aguinas actually began to look kind of nice, at a very low level. Or, at least, understanding.
>Her eyes then twitched up,, and her brow rose along with her head, as she heard the Litany of Grace being uttered by the Machine Spirit. She loved her machine spirits, but, due to her past failures and her death, she didn't expect the love to be reciprocated, despite having seen otherwise.
>A faint, quivering smile appears on her lips in that moment. Looking down towards her wrist mounted auspex scanner, as she let out a huge, stressed sigh.>She left a lump in her throat painfully clogging up and causing her breathe a bit more heavily and shakily, as her heart beats made her body shudder, and sweat coldly. Yet, she felt happy, even if for a moment.>Her hand weakly twitches over the Auspex, and gently strokes her thumb along the edge of the thing, in a loving, affectionate caress.
(Thank you, all of you…)>Mallia made sure to let all the Machine Spirits know that she loved them with a warm feeling of love towards all of them, even if she felt like she didn't deserve any of them.
>Though before she gets too sappy with all of them, she glances back up swiftly and returns to attentively follow the conversation.>She did relax a little bit, safer in the knowledge that her Machine Spirits were with her. Sitting on that 'chair' with a bit more weight. Looking over the various weapons that the Inquisitor shows her.>Her jaw falling slack in awe. The majority of these weapons she had only read about, specifically the Necron weapons. Seeing one in first person gave her a moment of eagerness and a curious wish to grab it and turn it over in her hands; leaning up off the backrest of the seat. >But she obviously perished that thought, in that moment.
>Her whole life, Mallia had been taught to scorn these technologies, and hate them. Every single person and tutor, except for her Mother, who was actually quite bitter about the specific belief.
("Mallia, dear, listen to me: If the time comes where your life depends on it, or the life of someone else, or your mission; don't hesitate. Pick it up, make sure it isn't tainted, and USE it. You are far too important to let such superstitions stop you.")
>She almost immediately grimaces as she realizes she had disclosed such a secret, albeit unintentionally. She musters up a angry breath, then sighs it out with a depressed, sad air…
>Though to Mallia's credit, she pauses and listens when the Inquisitor explains further about the Quest for Knowledge. An inherent, stubborn part of her brain began to appear, wanting to deny such a thing.>The Enginseer instantly curbs that part of herself, as her lip twitches and her eyes narrow with interest, crossing her arms across her lap.>The more she bounced the logic in her head, the more she seemed inclined to simply embrace it; especially now that she wasn't going to be turned into a servitor for having such "heretical" ideals in her head.
>She remained mostly silent. Most of her opinions internalized into her thoughts so as to not interrupt the inquisitor.
>Mallia didn't think it'd be too difficult to work with a Scion. She had worked with one before. She understood what they stood for. So she actually smiled a little to the statement of having to work well with the Tempestus Scion.
>The Inquisitor's threat to withhold the STCs if she didn't understand makes the stubborn part of her scream in her head, as she feels the threat as a personal offense for a little bit; though her expression becomes stiffly and forcefully neutral. Nervously grasping at her wrists and uncomfortably shifting on her seat.
>Once again, she waited until the end of the speech before she 'said' her own piece. >She glanced down to her auspex, as she considered her options. Silently asking for the opinions of her Machine Spirits combined as she spoke.
"W-well I might be a little bit out of it from fear, stress, having just died 9 minutes ago,brought to a world that is completely unknown to me with humans that are not imperials boasting weapons I've never seen before, having fought a big sphere of unknown technology…"
>She lets her voice drift off as she stops trying to list every single thing. Even if she felt the urge to say 'And then lowkey kidnapped into a mental interview with an Inquisitor of the Ordo Chronos without the bare minimum of consent while trying to help them not die.'>-- Nevermind she said it mentally, welp.
"Buuuut… as I am sitting here weighting my options for a few more seconds,">She leans back, furrowing her brow as she considers Razorback for a moment, and the even more unknown third option,
"I think I feel more comfortable in your retinue, even if you scare me. And I don't know if I trust you with my life,"
(Though I'll admit, just because you "spat" on the previous Inquisitor that I was under, I already like you considerably more than that guy, and you seem to like the Machine Spirits, too.)
"I might have to sleep on it, ma'am. If you don't mind that. I wish to know more about Razorback and this 'Sea's Bounty' clan, though.. The equines seem to be really nice, the first two I've met were really nice to me."
>>209502>>209462>After Sunny finishes examining the blueprint, Jeff memorizes the layout and rolls it back up and stores it loosely in a pant pocket.>As they all approached the door he can't really place the crypt's existence. It was almost out of place, but yet not out of place.>Mercy comes up over the radio again as his Void Sight kicks on full gear. Swirling bluish purple orbs float around the entrance that manifest into batponies scurrying around its outside. Finishing the crypt's architecture?>They then transition into robed batponies, a good vibe emanating off them. They all smile before fading away, leaving them and the crypt quiet of any other phenomenon.>The Nigtblade gives the robed batponies a wave as they disappeared.>He wonders if they were an intelligent apparition, or something residual constantly playing over and over from the crypt's past.>Maybe he can use the TacPad to pick up some voices once inside.
>Mercy's the first one to make it to the door, and starts cracking it open with a wing. Her pink blades glow brilliantly, clearly indicating something was going down inside.>Stopping at the door and putting a hand on it as well to help it open, he uses his other hand to pull out Mercy's ninth blade from his pack. Also glowing hotly and offers it hook end to the snow-white pegasus.
"Definitely due for one of these, giving the circumstance.">As the door opens, Jeff keeps his Void Sight going and peaks into the foyer as it reveals itself.
"Anyone else been getting a decent vibe from this place? I haven't felt anything malevolent. Let's keep quiet and eye out for anything inside. Mercy, some light won't spook anything inside, right?"[ 1d6+4 = 9 ]
<M.Leadership: Perception[ 1d6+4 = 8 ][ 1d6+4 = 7 ][ 1d6+4 = 9 ]
>>209502>Sunny set herself on the right hoof door, pursing her lips for a moment before offering a silent prayer of apology to whomever it was that rested here before applying her weight to the door.>She avoided Mercy's gaze as she did, partly to hide the fact she'd licked the same spot one of the Arcane Blade's had licked earlier.>Mango-y.>>209563>Sunny whispered softly following Jeff's question, somewhat strained as she listened again for that music she'd heard earlier.[ 1d6+3 = 6 ]
< B. Perception[ 1d6+3 = 8 ]
>She didn't think there was anything dangerous here. At least nothing currently active, but their intrusion could change that.
"Yes… I heard music earlier, and I keep getting a sense of welcome. It won't stay that way if we anger our hosts in this place.">Stepping inside with extreme caution and deference, the mare looked around the foyer carefully, eye still out for traps.>She doubted she would find few, if any at all.
"Crypts like these can be home to certain experiments from the Lunar-Solar war, or those resting who may not appreciate being disturbed or may be a little too eager for visitors. There are those who explore these places, but rarely very deeply or for very long due to the danger and respect for one's ancestors.">She considers a moment, then turns her head to look at him.
"If by chance we do disturb them, they may recognise your affiliations, sir.">She sincerely hoped if they did wake any of the resting dead, they wouldn't recognise any of her own affiliations, that could end badly for her.
(Yes, it would. Yes, it could. And yes, they are more primal than I understand.)>Rolling his head around with a morbid noise, the unicorn turns his head towards the 'rear' wall.
(Doctor, I will not take even one trillionth of a risk until I learn EXACTLY why nopony has taken a feral unicorn and what the dangers are. I have summoned the Executive Officer, he will be arriving shortly.. heh, short.)
(None that I have ever known. Each host body must be confirmed to have the ka fully severed, released, or.. missing. The last one I will be asking your aid on if I find anything interesting related to Constructs. Your principle maretality, in this case, would be, at a hard estimate, half overridden by physiological, biological, and genetic instincts. And he will arrive soon, it takes a while for him to get around anywhere.)>Tilting his head, the stasis cells in view are immediately swapped out, four unicorns now in view including the Germaneighan, Hodch studying the new ones.>The third unicorn mare was likewise young and visibly half-feral, sharply tinted red and green starburst coat completed by a long, flat tricolor mane of blue, yellow, and pink.>Reaching in to touch this one's horn, Hodch can be felt smiling before retrieving his hoof.
(Wonder why it took him so long.. in any case, this one is a half-Germaneighan, half-Saltic mare. That is, by the way, analogous to 'Baltic'. She is about ten years old, good physical shape. Plaque states her ka was removed after a confrontation with several escaped creatures from the Vortex. Rather generalized esoteric capabilities from what I can tell. You may deal with a compulsion now and then. Not sure if this one would be my first choice, but fairly solid overall.)>The fourth was even more unusual: the coat was a streaked pattern of dark reds, browns, and grays leaves while the mane was mostly gray with tiny ripples of dark blue and yellow.>Bending down to eye the fetlocks, they were long but not shaggy, the hooves a bit larger than the other three, although Hodch chuckles at the larger than normal teats.
(Now this is more what I expected.. true Saltic mare, barely pre-modern, twelve or thirteen at the most. Pre-modern equines are past the feral stage of evilution and unlikely to have negative effects on a transplanted ka. Soul. Whatever. They have a bit more physical capabilities than esoteric, and perhaps slightly more resilient, though I would not expect great deviations in sum.)
(If you would like, I could ask the Executive to bring all unicorns here from the other sites, that is, if there are any more.)
>>209507>Pareidolia experimentally rotates his arms as the sheet of Silverine coating sloughs off his back.
[Clearly earned his position as Spiral's protegee. But cannot surpass him without more teaching.]
"I was hoping to determine more effective methods from studying it. Even electricity does not fully disable a Construct. It seems to only disrupt their laser and plasma weaponry temporarily and does not cause a full system shutdown. This leads me to believe the properties of their internal fluid do not solely rely on electrical communication."
>He glances to his A.I.'s readout occasionally, already aware of the information being provided.
"No further analysis required."
>Turning around to face Krinza, he pockets the partially melted Construct drive.
"Hopefully that Silverine will be useful to you. I need to check on the status of Spiral's Lab. That model had fired a missile inside it before breaking out."
>>209458>Overcoming the seductive voice's allure, the scarred fuchsia mare swivels both ears at you expectantly, obviously multi-tasking while she sorts the letters.>Left forehoof raising with a smile, it points to the large, smooth granite circle in the center of the Pagoda.
"Translocation Matrix? Right there. You can tell it to take you wherever you want to go, or it'll send deliveries.. pretty much anywhere really. Don't worry about it much, the Remnant is weirdly passive but he does everything without explanation.">Glancing up with a frown, Naliyna turns her head left, then right in thought, finally pursing her lips down at one of the letters.
"There's two or three ponies in the Honor Guard that kind of know Prench, but not a lot.. I think Amerose said something about a translation thingy she found, hold on a second-">Finding a clean sheet of paper, Naliyna emits a series of bright, cheerful chiming melodies, a pen off to the side lifting and rapidly writing in large, ornate script across it.>The pen drops between the stacks, paper folded and streaking towards the translocation matrice behind you.
"Vortex Remnant, send this to Amerose in our Enclave please!">Popping a small, dull purple and copper vortex open above the stone, the note disappears inside while the portal, or whatever it was, folds halfway into nothing, pointing her hoof at the circle again.
"That's really all you need to do if you want to send something somewhere."
>Novus snorts, annoyed at the denial.
(A fair point doctor, sorry I am a bit impatient to get back to it rather than wasting further time when things could be happening. That's why I accepted the transfer in the first place. Speaking of which, what are you going to do to my old body?)>The sudden swapping of the cells caused Novus to double take for a moment.>Oh. Okay.>These new options showed a bit more promise, though if visually they were a bit… Odd looking compared to your average pony.>The explanation of their heritage also had him a bit intrigued.
(Saltic? Hrm, I see. Fitting, part of my extended family history comes from that region on Earth. They fled from the Red Army as they neared their home and escaped to the west.)>He chuckles as he looks over the fourth one.
(No, this one is fine. She will do, if you'll allow me to take her.)>He immediately responds, again, somewhat impatiently.>The doctor seems rather… Eager to get into his next body.
(She has quite the… Interesting looking coat. Not that it's bad, I just don't find it quite as visually pleasing to my eyes. Are there spells to change follicle color just out of curiosity?)
"I tend to be much more than merely 'nice', Enginseer. I am expected to commit the worst atrocities yet remain perfectly human, and having watched the deaths of quintillions has humbled me. Most Inquisitors are expected to be hardasses. Unless I am forced to reveal vital information I treat others with the dignity of life that they deserve, even if they do not know it. Especially if they do not know it.">Expressing mild amusement, the Throne-sanctioned Inquisitor places her right hand palm upwards, the chorus of Machine Spirits humming in soothing Binary.
"You have treated them well Enginseer, thus you expect wrongly. An act of loyalty must always be rewarded with equal loyalty, to do otherwise is wrong.">Head turning towards the rear of the office for a bit, Velasi returns to shake her head somberly.
"Your dam.. rather, your mother was wise. Those are only my mental projections of what I collected, bought, or was given, they are not real. I dearly wish they were but I do not have the time or capability to reconstruct them.">Arms folding across her slightly larger than yours chest, the Ordo Chronos glances down at her desk once more, mood visibly darkened.
"I have executed several Guard that have arrived on this world whom refused to accept all I have told you. Heresy and treachery are merely inconvenient. What I demand is logic and an open mind. If that means I must do to you what I did to my Scion, that being removing engrams which stifle both such demands I will do so with the full authority of my position.">Unable to speak directly, your Machine Spirits were rather impressed at the Inquisitor's enjoyment of their presence, and had interfaced with her MIU's which, they carefully stated, she loved dearly with some guilt involved.>The Rogue Trader flicks her right thumb and index finger, sitting back to gaze upon you with a blatantly faux-seductive smile.
"As I said, far worse for me than for you since I am processing YOUR thoughts as well as mine. Twenty-seven minutes and ten seconds since your 'death'. Should I manage to return to the Imperium I will find your previous Inquisitor to execute him in public."
"As for the Standard Template Constructs in my possession and my warning to keep them should you not understand the highly strange demands I am placing upon you then I must state this: you must earn my trust. The Ordo Chronos does not care for doctrine, dogma, or faith, only results, thus I expect your full logic, reason, empathy, and ability to innovate. I cannot allow you to treat these pre-Age of Strife humans nor the many xenos on this world with contempt, otherwise we will not survive long.">Head tipping backwards, a polite smile crosses the Inquisitor's lips, her Voidborn Pacifica accent merry, and oddly forgiving.
"You have not been abducted, and you gave me consent. After all, your words were as follows: 'stay with us', then 'stay focused, please'. I chose to do both of those at once rather than pass out from the shock of my injuries.">Pale red lips quirking, Velasi's head tilts right momentarily.
"Again, no need to choose until you feel comfortable with a decision. You may also change your mind at any time. However, I have no choice but to trust you with MY life, Enginseer. The xenos equine body I was cursed to inhabit is what I have, so I request that you respect it. Of course, you may use my body as you see fit, whether that be carrying equipment, materials, or whatever else you may want. Just because I am an Inquisitor does not mean that I do not know the value of support and hard work.">Leaning far back in the chair, the Ordo Chronos Inquisitor chews on the inside of her cheeks for a short while, then finally nods, her tone brusquely humorous.
"Chisan stated you accepted my order to deal with Knight Raspberry while nude. For equine mares, which would be 'female' for us, they are considerably more comfortable with human nudity than stallions, or 'males'. I am rather pleased you did so, she will be less likely to drop her contract once the month is over. However, I would like to assign Knight Raindrop to protect both you and Chisan as he has.. difficulties trying to remain neutral around her. As such I am hereby requesting, not ordering, that you treat Knight Raspberry with the same honor you would a Magos. I see great events in her future and I do not want them squandered."
"As for the other one you met I suggest treating her with a great deal of respect, she has earned it. Equines in general are subject to a form of genetically emotional logic; the better you treat them, the better they treat you.">Placing a hand on her chin for a brief rub, the Trader's head tips downwards.
"Our time is short, Chisan is done treating me and I cannot avoid sleep for long. On Razorback I will state this: trust them like you would trust the average Guardsman, they want to live in order to thrive, BUT, we of the Materium must be carefully in supporting them without endangering their technological innocence. You know the horrors of which I speak. Learn from Razorback but do not share more than you have to. For the Sea's Bounty I have come to enjoy their presence, they are carefree and kind with little equal. For now though I am ordering you to billet with my Tempestus Scion in their stronghold so that you may learn more, but first go and speak with the man named 'Lonestar' or the woman named 'Emerald' in the Command Center. They have much to share.">The Inquisitor's image briefly turns fuzzy, once more looking exhausted beyond her years.
"I cannot keep this up, but, you have passed nearly all of my tests. By the way do not mind the intrusion, he is on-"
>Rippling back into focus, the equine Inquisitor's was, quietly, snoring on the chair, a white sheaf wrapped around her head.>The errant sensation of a hand clutching your left breast was matched by Chisan rigidly staring down at the pony, muttering apologetically.
>>209598>A nod comes from the average human in front of Nalinya.
"Alright then. Is Amerose coming here or did you send her somewhere else to meet up?"
>After hearing Nalinya's response, he walks up to the transformation matrix thing.
"Uh, hello Mr Remnant. I would like to send this page here, written by… Citadel Combat Medic Frost Egg, to Basin Village and Lunar Citadel, please.">He extends the page towards the transformation matrix at the center, not really sure what will happen or if he needs to close in the distance.
>Leadership: +2 to all Perception rolls>>209563>Briefly spooking Mercy from her task, she stares up at you with a short, abashed expression.>Facial features softening at the blade, the Spirit Walker carefully accepts it with her teeth, head tucking under her right wing and firmly affixing it.
"Thank you.. Jeff.">Looking up at you with a happy smile afterwards, she peers upwards to eye the carvings, Boris speaking up afterwards.
"No, it should not. This crypt was.. placed for Lunar vampires. ..I think."
"Do you mean blood-drinking batponies?"
"No, vampire ponies from the Lunar-Solar.. War."
"That is quite odd."
>Inside, the first room was set up more like a combination barracks, foyer, and den:>Five large, almost human queen sized single military bed frames of a black hardwood were spaced well apart on the west and east walls, complete with an armor stand and large, multilevel chest next to each other.>In the center was a small, upraised circle with ten large, bright yellow cushions, probably amber, and towards the rear were two more solid black granite doors.>>209569>Feeling her eyes coming off you while both doors open, both of them scrape a touch as they swing wide.>Stepping into the stale, though thankfully not moldy crypt interior, Mercy sneaks leftwards to take a look at the west side's first chest, while the only sounds you could hear at the moment were yourself, the other pegasus, and Jeff.>..and the Moor cats outside causing havoc with the Tartarus Isle earth ponies trying to finish their work on time, though the batponies were snickering and goading them on.>The thought occurred that it might be a good idea to close the doors just in case the felines decided to mess with your team.
>Peering about the foyer's interior, the style of bed frames were more Equestrian marecenary than Lunar, while the multi-level storage chests had been definitely Moors built, showing no visible locks.>Your eye alights on the amber meeting pads, curiously glowing in faint, pulsing patterns, as if waiting for somepony to take a nap on them.
>Tentatively poking at her chosen chest, Mercy taps her wingblades on each drawer while sticking her nose on the lid for a careful sniff.[ 1d6+4 = 5 ]
<B.Perception[ 1d6+4 = 7 ]
>>209611>Mallia only has the time to realize that The Inquisitor was right on all accords. For a moment, the Enginseer actually feels positively terrible, though at the same time she was doing her best to commit everything to memory.>Then when the Inquisitor began to look exhausted, she felt the impulse to reach out to support her almost immediately.
>But before she could so much as apologize, she was out of the mindspace. Staring down at the snoring and thankfully alive and treated pony … Inquisitor…
>BEFORE she can even start to think, she blinked her eyes a few times -- her pupils shrinking back into focus, her chest heaving with a sudden breath; and THAT'S when she feels the pressure.>On her breast…
>She looked down to the hand groping her breast, then to the offending Tempestus Scion's face.>Mallia is so nonplussed and stupified that she completely ceases thinking entirely, and simply stands there, staring at him; already blushing and frowning bashfully, not really making any movements; not even leaning back reflexively. Or breathing, for a good two seconds.
"O-okay." >The Enginseer simply accepts it at this point. >Though she does sound a LITTLE uncomfortable with this kind of physical contact; having never really experienced it before. Picking up her jaw and slowly closing her mouth, her eyes darting away sheepishly.>She ends up sort of staring at him, waiting for the moment when he'd let her go. Not exactly sure what to say or do in this situation.
"I… I would've preferred a hug." >Mallia whispered beneath her breath, her tone taking on a quietly sad note. Likewise not really looking at Chisan, instead staring down at her robes, as her face grows progressively more and more tomato red. Finally resuming to breathe and just gulping audibly with some anxiety.
>>209595>Freed from the additional weight, Krinza taps the sphere with his horn, phasing elsewhere in a puff of yellow static.>Rubbing his forehooves on the ground, the smith's face creases heavily.
"Either gravitic communication or something even more esoteric. I have had some time read through perhaps a quarter of Spiral's notes and came across a prototype communications gem, commgem for short, which was given to Vanilla-String Cloud for extended field and long range testing. It utilizes micro-pulsed tight beam gravitonic waves in the terahertz bandwidth, whatever that means, for direct signal transmission and receiving.. whatever that means as well. Spiral never did write down why he thought any of his experiments were good ideas."
>Stepping back into view as a 3D model, the Spiral A.I. glares.. at itself.
"Apologies for the damage I sustained and instabilities sir, the Class 3.. 'tried' to repair my programming from what happened during field testing, and that will NOT happen again. I have completed my overall analysis sir, and there is some rather strange information I have been able to formulate. I will share what I've found when you are in a secure location."
>Shaking off once more, Krinza turns a questioning stare at your helmet's center, horn sparking and preparing a short ranged teleport cloud.
"Silverine was designed for psions to work with, not unicorns, Crystal ponies, gryphons, sorcerers, mystics, or others. And, yes, it would be a good idea to ensure that his lab was not destroyed. There are a number of humans whom have transferred their gaming equipment and ponial devices down there. Do notify me if there is significant damage.">Popping backwards from reality in a bubble that briefly showed the Workshop, your A.I. facehoofs itself.
"I was not designed to handle information overloads anywhere near this complex, sir, my learning patterns are barely above human."
>>209365>Kraut's image starts pouting from Roust's clearly made up motto and how she's begging for a boop that he can not give.
(There wasn't much of a plan throughout our mission, and even if you want to call what we did a "plan" it fell apart without enemy intervention. I don't think demotions or promotions would really affect me, and everyone else kind of just followed my lead for most part, well except for Wild but she doesn't count.)>The image tries to look surprised out of habit, but instead he just looks like he's done with this world's shenanigans.
(I'm not certain I'd commend anyone marrying someone they don't even know, but that' just the weird, alien human talking. I'll also withhold the rest of my judgement until it falls apart.>Kraut then changes his image back to his normal, unfucked form but without the remains of his gut that refuses to leave.
(I'd rather not have an entirely faithful duplicate if I'm getting a new body. Though now that I think about it, it probably doesn't matter much with the whole shapeshifting thing; does it take any kind of effort to maintain a disguise or is it persistant until dispelled?)>Thankful for the distractions, Kraut's image smiles warmly at Roust, suppressing a d'aww from a large, armored bruiser of a changeling rubbing up against his field.
(It's kind of hard to see the mare trying to give affection through a stasis field, which is really harshing my brooding vibe mind you, as "expendable" regardless of how accurate it is.)
(I know intent matters at least some, but results are very hard to argue with, otherwise I would be far more angry at Novus for shooting me in the neck in anger. I'm mostly upset at the bad orders I was giving as one of the real old guard here; granted I'm the only human of the original group sent here that didn't have much in the way of prior military experience.)>Kraut's image claps its hands together in preparation for the shpiel he's about to give about his carbomination.
(So, about Wild and Natilda then. I have absolutely no idea what they're doing now since Wild kind of panicked when she tossed us out. I doubt they'll be slugging it with anything near Wild's size since she only has a station wagon's worth of material and some presumably eldritch biomass making up her body.)>A chair appears behind the image for him to sit down as his mood once again deflates.
(We can only hope that between the two of them they can get back, well hope or send out someone else with a translocation disc to bring them back if Wild's radio is still functional; she took some severe damage before we were separated.)
>>209621>>209569>Jeff nods as Mercy take her pink steel blade and affixes it with the others. That only makes one more left in his possession.>After opening the double black doors and peering inside, he notices the barracks are split into beds of five on each side of the room with a common space in the middle. Chests and armor racks for each bed. Mercy already heads for one on the left side, testing them, not sure where Boris has went. And Sunny was still behind him, far as he knew.
"A rotating guard of ten. Whatever was or still might be here must've been important. We shouldn't go crazy with searching this place too thoroughly yet. We can take our time after we've cleared at least to the crypt. Should make sure there's nothing waning about that would not like us removing anything.">And if it turned out there were keepsakes of resting spirits, he wouldn't want them to be disturbed from looting.>He doesn't feel anything like what he saw outside before. The spirits must be calm in here.>The second set of double black doors should lead into the ceremonial chamber. Maybe in there?>Deciding to wait for the others finish meandering until ready to continue on, Jeff quietly steps over to the circle of glowing cushions and sits down on one to face the doors to the ceremonial chamber.>He looks down at his TacPad and switches it to record audio.
"Can everyone keep silent for a couple minutes? I want to try something.">Jeff turns up the capture volume on his headset, and speaks to everything and no one in the foyer.
"Is anyone here? Speak.">He doesn't know if common was spoken back then, and his modern batpony might not be applicable. He uses simple modern batpony words, hopefully they've stood the of time and evolution.
[Batpony]"Speak. I can hear you."[Batpony]>Muffling over his free ear, and tuning out any ambient noises he's already aware of, he focuses on any noises through the silence that shouldn't be there.[ 1d6+6 = 10 ]
<E.Perception + Lunar Faction Bonus + Leadership[ 1d6+6 = 7 ][ 1d6+6 = 10 ]
>>209633>Satisfied that all of the offending material had been removed, Pareidolia sheathes his combat knife firmly.
[Good. No more resistance.]
>His brow furrows with mild concern as he addresses his A.I.
"If it does happen, consider it an operational factor that needs to be accommodated for. It's not something either of us can reliably address. Apologies are superfluous. And noted."
>Looking at Krinza with an impressed expression, he remarks:
"The terahertz bandwith is an extremely high energy range of waves which could be used to encode information and transmit them if the right technology was developed. Our radios use radio waves to take information we send through one radio transmitter into a radio receiver. Incredible if Spiral was able to develop a prototype using gravity waves, but Vanil was not brought back with the rescue team was he?"
>Nodding at Krinza as he departs, he makes his way towards the Library while carefully opening the scorch marked doors and checking the interior for damage.
"Then offload whatever material you currently can't process to cached storage for later assessment. I do not need to you fully understand all aspects of Tallus, only what is current or immediately relevant. If you are unclear, then ask me. Not all information needs to be processed for immediate resolution."
>Noticing blood trails along the spiral staircase leading back down towards the Lab, he deliberately checks the stains as he descends.
"Likely from the Inquisitor. Why was she carried down here instead of to the Clinic?"
(Not much of a doctor these days, I gave up on medical and alchemical practices a few years ago. I do not have any ranks or titles these days, too damned tired and frustrated to bother with.)
(Your human body? ..no real idea. Might be best to store it somewhere in the Fortress where it won't be touched. There are several sections I have found which nopony else even knows about, if you would prefer to keep it safe.)>Reaching out to tap the fourth one's plaque, Hodch leans back on his hooves as it drops to the gray flooring with a loud, ringing thunk.
(Your choice Doctor Novus, not mine. And yes, there are quite a few, but this one.. I suspect this body may have a slightly high natural stealth capacity, quite unusual for a unicorn.)>Your perspective turns left along with Hodch's, spying a large, overly rounded and dull green basilisk waddling on six short legs towards both of you, a large, squat top hat on the head.
(Excuse me for a few minutes I need to confirm my suspicions.)>Turning to face the rotund basilisk, the unicorn dips his head while it speaks in a firm, happy tone that sounded faintly Caribbean.
"Mister Hodch, it has been nearly fifty years since you last visited! What brings you here besides research on feral unicorns and acquisition? And, may I ask what the Changeling skull plate is for?">Stopping for polite snout-to-snout boop, the basilisk lifts an eight-clawed reptile hand for Hodch to shake, which he does while chuckling tiredly.
"Indeed, I have been busy with several new species on Tallus, not ones that 'we' can store here. Mostly I want to know why nopony has taken the old feral here. Besides that, how have you been?">Large jaws spreading to reveal rounded teeth, the basilisk's head tilts back and forth, top hat remaining where it was while the brown reptilian eyes squint acknowledgingly.
"That is such a shame, I have missed our conversations but I do understand! Your work has been invaluable for the Lunars and I would not once consider taking up your time! As for the feral unicorns in deep storage, this one not included of course, many are concerned over the impulsive physical restrictions inherent in their lineages. Sadly I am able to confirm that an inhabiting ka would be subject to perhaps half of the impulses that plague feral ponies. I do not blame them for not wanting such an inferior vessel, you ponies must retain the right to think in perfect clarity without interference!"
"Good thing I chose the other one, but please do not hesitate to call upon me, I am.. well, the you-know-what is advancing quicker than ever. Your company has always been the best, and thank you for the information.">Expressing a warm smile, the basilisk's great, round tail swings side to side proudly.
"Not at all, never hesitate to call upon ME! I owe you many favors for introducing me to so many wonderful books. Should you require anything more then please summon me at once! But I truly must get back to organizing, there is so much more to read that I may spend the next thousand years trying to understand this Lunar-Solar War to completion!"
"I sincerely thank you and I will remember the offer. Take care, please."
"I shall, but you first!">Lifting a hoof as the basilisk swivels around, meandering back towards it came from, Hodch releases a painful half-laugh, half-snort.
(What I would not give to be in his place for a few hundred years..)>Turning back to survey the full Saltic host body for a moment, he looks down to his left forehoof, tipping it over to reveal another translocation stone, this one a dark red.
(One moment-)>Reaching out and thumping his hoof on the stasis cell, the facility blinks from your perspective, replaced by a small, dull white room with zero furniture inside.>Lit solely by blood red moonlight streaming in from overhead, Hodch sits down to cough hard, a small splatter of red and black splattering on the cloud material, glancing up to eye the mare once more.
(..well, I suppose it is time to get you acquainted with your 'new' body, Doctor. Any requests first?)
>>209615>Returning to her work, if it could even be called work, the fuchsia Crystal mare's ears twitch side to side.
"Nope, she'll get my letter if she's in the Enclave. Could take a while for her to find it again, there's about fifty thousand tons of crap in there that I don't know anything about."
>Stopping in front of the inset granite disc, a basketball sized white eye lifts up from the center on a short, mostly invisible stalk.>Gray eyelids blink as the thing studies you momentarily, forming a tiny pseudo-pod from the enter and reaching out to take the note.>The eye opens wide to swallow the page, then lowers down to blend into the stone itself.
"Ehhh, he usually says something first. Just ignore that, he doesn't know you yet. Stays kinda shy until you get to know him, really. Need anything else?"
>>209669>Cheto's eyes stay fixed on the technological marvel's actions, seeing how it takes the page like a curious animal nibbles on a human's food.
(Amazing stuff. I cannot believe this kind of thing exists.)>Not knowing what to do, he simply pats the matrix with the most confused expression known to man.
"Thank you uh, Renmant."
(Should I be doing this? I feel like I'm violating some rule here.)
"Well, that was cool nonetheless. If you get a response from Amerose that she'll come, please guide her to the clinic. That's where she's needed. Thank you for your help and assistance.">He smiles warmly at Nalinya
"Have a good rest of your day.">With that simple farewell, he walks off the Pagoda towards the clinic again, having fulfilled Frost's mission.
(Will that Prench Pony be awake by the time I go back? I find it somewhat unlikely.)
>>209621>Moving right, Sunny inspected the first chest, but not touching or opening it, snooping without permission was not okay.>There were no locks, but Sunny got the sense that this was a test of trust for any who might enter, one that the Arcane Blades outside had seemingly passed already.>Moving slowly down the right hoof side of the room, the mare curiously inspected each chest, bed and armor stand.>She'd get to the cushion collection last, though she smiled in amusement at the thought that those who made their home here might wake up, only to move to the cushions to sleep again.>Bat ponies.>>209647>Thinking on the door, She had a passing thought that they should close it. If not for keeping the moor cats out, then for propriety.>Of course, if they left and accidentally left any moor cats locked in, she'd feel mighty guilty about that. Especially after mistreating Nibbles as she had.>It could be closed when they were ready to move on to the next room.>She stood still for a moment as Jeff attempted to communicate with anypony who might be around and watching, her eyes on the door leading deeper, but her ears swivelling around the room.[ 1d6+5 = 11 ]
< B. Perception[ 1d6+5 = 8 ]
(Sorry Hodch, force of habit referring to my medical professionals as Doctors, even if they are not and are just technicians or paramedics. Not so much a title.)>The spectral agent pauses a moment to think that one over.
(Well… I mean, I really don't care that much. All my items on myself would be presumably salvageable aside the fifteen or so nerve gas grenades I had on me and even then those are likely burned onto my body or as covered in all sorts of delightful fluids.)
(So… I truly do not care. Throw it in a ditch or something, bury it in a garden, or store it for future generations? I don't care. I certainly won't be going back while my physical body is in such poor shape.)>As Hodch looks over at the basilisk, Doctor Novus is a bit surprised, and then confused.>Why was it wearing a hat…?
(Is that the… Facility director?)>Novus asks tentatively, but opts to remain silent for the conversation between the two.>He simply listens, offering no unnecessary comments.>As it departs, Novus is just left somewhat confused by the whole exchange, but he doesn't say anything still.>And then, once more in a flash, they are now somewhere else… This time in the clouds?>Whatever, it matters not.>Novus looks over the mare once more in their cell, wondering to himself how weird this would be to now see this mare's face in the mirror every morning…>It would certainly take some getting used to.
(… Well Hodch, I am honestly not sure where to begin. I've never done anything quite like this before, but… Wouldn't I have to be inside my new body to get… Used to all this? Like re-learning how to walk again and the like?)
>>209622>Tearing his hand out of your robe, Chisan scowls down at the Rogue Trader, naked left hand balling into a tight fist as he hisses murderously.
"This is the last time I will allow y-">Cutting himself off and freezing, the Scion's eyes unfocus and head hangs in visible mental contact.>Suddenly standing upright, the Stormtrooper turns left in your direction, taking a long step forwards and throwing black carapace arms around you in a tight, welcoming hug.>Maintaining his hold, the scion releases an aggravated sigh, afterwards muttering under his blueberry scented breath.
"A test of loyalty, you have passed it-">Letting go after half minute or so, Chisan turns to retrieve his helmet, placing it on the chair's right table, his own face highly reddened.>Kneeling down to place his left hand gently on Velasi's throat, Chisan speaks with a flat, albeit mildly annoyed tone.
"Enginseer, I apologize for threatening you earlier and for my actions but the Inquisitor gave specific instructions: had you struck myself or her you would be ordered to don lewd clothing when dealing with equines as your punishment. The Inquisitor's methods are difficult to understand but I will follow them regardless of objections.">Head turning to stare at you with a firmly apologetic expression, the Scion's jaw clenches twice, then returns to place his ungloved hand on the Inquisitor's dull gold belly.
"Nanites are working, she will heal without further sanguination.">Standing up, the Stormtrooper grabs his low quality helmet, placing it on with both hands and moving it about to reach a perfect fit.
"Unless circumstances change I am your executive commander. However, the Inquisitor's orders dictate I must defer to your expertise when it comes to technology, fortifications, Machine Spirits, and unknown xenos. I do not enjoy the strange role I have been promoted to but I will execute the Inquisitor's orders without hesitation, and should you demand anything that is not heretical I will do all within my capabilities to acquire such for you. If you have questions, ask them before I move her."
>>209636>Armored face hardening in a brief flicker of anger, the Changeling's eyes narrow briefly.
(Kraut, you state such as if you knew the future. How could you have? You did not rely upon arrogance so if you are, or were, guilty of anything at all, it was wanting the best possible outcome. Do not blame yourself for what could not be controlled regardless of the costs, I will not allow you to think such negative thoughts for they are wrong.)>Nodding in a small motion, Roust tips her head up for a moment, then down onto the stasis oval, sighing in her metallic tone.
(Arranged mareriages are common in some regions of Equestria, Saddle Arabia, and other places. I understand the concept, but not the reason. We can only pray that Pella does not lose her mind over Dante's choice, but if necessary I shall do all I can to ensure both of them accept this fate with kindness.)
(Such a copy must be as close as possible to your pre-destroyed body, otherwise you will suffer from disjointment. That is, you would not integrate well and suffer mental decline. They are quite efficient when it comes to food, you would only have to eat once, perhaps twice a day.)>Forcing her face mask to smile tiredly, the Vanguard's ears twitch amusedly.
(If Hollow was not succumbing to multiple consecutive hallucinogens at the moment, I suspect he would be angry at seeing you in such a state, then demand you be given a perfect body so that he could hug you. Then again it may be for the best, I do not understand this 'cloning' process he has described before.)
(Kraut, you are allowed to feel that way, but are you truly correct? You have admitted that you are neither marecenary nor military. It is beyond cruel to expect nothing but success from one that cannot possibly know what they 'should' do. Nopony is perfect, not even my Queen, and she has admitted that many times.)>Lifting an eyebrow curiously, the Changeling huffs, the sound more self-aggravated than anything else.
(Beyond strange, but.. perhaps relatively normal for Razorback. I have little experience with Eldritch beings save for knowing that they do not think, act, or plan in manners that anypony, or anyone, can understand. Perhaps I will.. odd, there are other Changelings here. I will request a Flanker to search for Natilda and this 'Wild', it would not do to have a human go missing at this time.)>Sitting upright slowly, Roust makes a wide yawn, lifting a massive hoof to rub her armored snout.
(I must sleep, performing two large scale missions saddle-to-saddle has expended nearly all of my energies. I am sorry Kraut but do not fret, when I wake I will do my best to ensure that you are at the very least capable of being yourself once more, even if it is only temporary.)
>>209696>The enginseer simply stands there and watches with a concerned look on her face as Chisan goes through stages of anger and annoyance.>But then the stormtrooper suddenly stands upright and turns to her. His sudden approach makes her flinch fearfully from him for a split-second, before she stiffens like a statue as his arms wrap around her, and he actually hugs her.
>For the first few seconds she sort of stays very still; and Chisan could hear that her heartbeat was practically audible merely by being in proximity, the enginseer quivering in his embrace as her eyes stared past his shoulder.>It was a very light quivering that the stormtrooper could only really feel when touching her, but it was there.>Slack jawed, with a soft gasp emanating from her as she slowly processes the physical affection she was being forcefully given.
>Another second passes; and Mallia, slowly, starts to lean their face against the stormtrooper's shoulder. Gently wrapping an arm around his chest as well, to return the affection wholeheartedly. Even if she didn't know him that well, yet.>Then, at the ten second mark, she let's herself relax in his grasp. Sagging her shoulders and shuddering as she starts to get misty eyed. Staring into his carapace armor and accidentally allowing the waterworks to open up.>He might not be able to tell she was weeping, since she was doing it silently; biting her lips and pursing her lip to keep herself from sobbing and whimpering.
>She wouldn't have lasted long, but then Chisan leaned away from her; leaving Mallia to sway back to a straighter position, staring straight down towards the floor in pure shame as her hand retracts to her cheeks and eyes to take a moment to wipe away her tears, and take a deep, shaking breath to compose herself.>Mallia lifting her glance maybe once, for a second, to catch his apologetic glance and simply smile to signal that he was forgiven, before looking down to the sleeping inquisitor pony.
"… You're the first person to apologize for threatening me with execution…" >The Enginseer said, with a honest, little tiny voice; chuckling mirthlessly to his apology.
"I forgive you. I know you have to follow orders. I am used to it.">Her hand slowly drops from her face after she was done drying up her sadness. She looked up to him again, this time maintaining the contact, though her eyes remained somewhat glistening wet as she listened and nodded along to his words.
"I understand. My only question is for when you'll be free again; Inquisitor Velasi has ordered me to join you in your stronghold to talk, later. I also have to move to the command center to meet a certain mister "Longstar" and miss "Emerald"."
>She then sighed softly one more time; her face deflating somewhat. Returning her hands to a resting position infront of her waist, one hand lightly prodding her combi-tool at her belt.
"… I wonder when I'll get to go to bed and have time to actually think…"
>She lingered there for a while longer, staring off into the distance that was the floor beneath her boots and robes. Slinking slowly into her own thoughts, as she blinked away the moisture from her eyes, slowly but surely. >The Enginseer pauses all movement for a while, letting her micro-cogitator compile all the new information and properly memorize it, while she rests her eyes and takes deep breaths to compose herself.
>>207828>Raidor stares at the crystal pony for a brief moment as she talks while tilting his head, this being Naliyna Remostrine. How did he not notice it was her earlier? He bows his head slightly.
"I apologize for staring. I did not realize who you were for a moment, Miss Remostrine. Allow me to fully introduce myself. I am Captain Raidor, of the Manehattan Guard. I was originally here to gather some willing humans for a tour of the city, but I got caught up with a quick courier job for Shanis. And yes, borderline illegal alchemy stuff is more like it. Were I within jurisdiction I would have confiscated half of it, but it's ultimately not my place to here.">He nods as she explains the seal disappearances, and shrugs to himself for not knowing.
"I see. I'm not from Manehattan originally, so the seal disappearance is a bit before my time as well.">Naliyna flashes the notice-of-sale to him, clearly from Dragon Fang. But the name catches him off guard, not knowing it.
"Free Trader's Guild. First time I'm hearing of them, as well. Huh, a mountain seal? I did not know you can have a seal without a large body of water nearby.">>208933>>As Ivan talks to Naliyna, he gets the hint he may be on his own for a while until he can find some humans to bring back with him to Manehattan.
"Do not worry about me, Ivan. I think I will walk the grounds for a bit. Maybe take a nap, before I have to return."
>Leadership: +2 to all Perception rolls>>209647>Stepping back from the chest she'd decided to investigate, Mercy's relieved yet hesitant voice drifts to you.
"No traps or protections that I can detect, this is.. strange. Why has this crypt has not been used since it.. was built?">Silently ambling around to the dresser, she glances back to eye Boris on her saddle, whom was merely examining everything in great detail.
"I have neither seen nor heard any such warnings Commander.">>209685>Positively identifying the mixed construction methods, the lack of any wear or damage on everything stated that this crypt was built and, for whatever reason, either unused or left abandoned.>For the moment, none of the Moor cats outside had decided to come in and were meowly being fulfilled by annoying such rarely seen earth ponies.
>Coming to a silent halt behind Jeff, Mercy's ears perk up while her wings lift, each pinksteel blade remaining in a ready state for expulsion.>From underneath the foyer, a somber, small kanpri chime was heard, then a hollow bamboo wood flute.>Reversing the pattern after precisely one second, the chime turns hollow while the flute becomes somber, repeating a further seven more times to mark a total of nine alternating chords, then falling silent.
>Glancing from glowing wingblades to glowing wingblades quickly, Mercy whispers aloud curiously.
"Somepony must be making this music. I do not sense… hostility, the stone is too thick to feel through. Boris.. and I will investigate, back me up.">Creeping towards the central room's double doors, the Spirit Walker begins pushing on the left one with her left shoulder, ears swiveling forwards while her wings tilt downwards at the floor.[ 1d6+4 = 7 ]
>>209819>>209685>Jeff furrows his brow at Mercy's questioning, looking her and Boris's way for a moment in thought.
"This place is quite well out of the way. Maybe it fell into obscurity. The Tartarus crew had to raise it out of the water, so it's clearly not been taken care of in that sense. Eh I'd rather play it safe for now, Boris. If this place really has nothing tied to it, then we can clean it out."
>After tuning his audio, he begins to pick up something through the ambient whispers.>It wasn't what we was expected to hear, and looks down almost through the foyer's floor.>Chime, then flute. They change a bit and repeat until they fade out.>Sounded a little gloomy.
"Chimes… and a flute? I was hoping for some ghost voices, but yeah they seem to be originating from the crypt underneath us. Maybe it's some Undead vampires playing music down there.">Mercy and Boris make their way over to the door leading into the ceremonial chamber, and Jeff gets up from the amber cushion to follow her.
"Right behind you. Sunny, you going to cover our rear?">He keeps back a bit as she begins nudging the door open, and he can't help himself from flicking his mounted helmet light on to shine it through the creaking door.[ 1d6+2 = 8 ]
<Helmet Light[ 1d6+6 = 7 ]
<E.Perception + Lunar Faction Bonus + Leadership[ 1d6+6 = 10 ][ 1d6+6 = 9 ]
>>208933>Lips quirking downwards while her eyes roll up at the Pagoda's rafters, Naliyna's head shakes side to side in disbelief.
"You better start remembering otherwise I'm gonna send you to the Mess Hall's nightly classes with Denra, Hodch, Tipper, and all the other unicorns here. They will make you smarter, mostly without your consent.">Forelegs folding across her barrel, the scarred Crystal mare's eyebrows furrow together in thought as she listens.
"Shouldn't really be too hard, Ivan. The 'Battery' thing you have and Empire power crystals are basically the same. Put this armor of yours in the Workshop with a note listing any details about it you can think of, how it should work, what it needs to do, and the like. I'll try to get Krinza and maybe Hodch or Denra to help me restore it. Once we get it to work, or if we need more information I'll come find you.">>209810>Eyebrows raising in puzzlement, the scarred mare lifts her forelegs in a confused shrug.
"Sorry Captain, got no idea what you're talking about, I've been with Razorback for the past couple years.. or more. My short term memory is horrible, can't even remember what I ate at dusk or who I was mad at earlier. I'm still gonna send Shanis a message, she knows better than to let all those mares on the Isle do what they want. Still not sure what her alchemy stuff is for but thanks for not doing anything with it all, she's trying hard to keep the Juggernaut mentally stable. The less weird stuff she does, the better it is for us.">Glancing towards the north, then back to Raidor, Naliyna manages a small, friendly smile.
"All I remember is a bunch of seals lived in Manehattan for a long time and then they disappeared. Still Peak might have a big volcanic pond filled with fish.. or the Dragons might be ordering their underlings to bring them fresh food. The pony that got hired didn't know all that much so it's really hard to say anything more."
>Reaching under the table, Naliyna pulls a large, folded map, sending it to Raidor with a cheerful hum.
"Feel free to poke around all you like, there's a lot of ponies and some sapient Predatory Elk here, they're pretty cute. Just avoid the pair of pegasi.. 'servants' and the big ring covered earth mare, otherwise you're probably gonna get-">Making the common pony signal for 'raped', the trader offers an apologetic smile.
"If you wanna sleep somewhere just go into any of the barrack dens, they're nice and comfortable. Nopony will bother you there."
>>209810>Right>Ivan had someone with him>Though to be fair he assumed that Raidor was going to wander off on his own>>209867
"That sounds… strangely painful.">He didn't like the sound of that.
"Of course, I'll get right onto that. Thanks, Naliyna.">He turns to leave, before looking at Raidor.
"Good luck on your search, Raidor. And I do want to take a visit to Manehattan, so let me know when you want to bring the others."
>>209697>Kraut's image leans back a little and raises his hands as if threatened.
(Hey now, I'm just looking at the results, and they aren't exactly pretty. I'll go ahead and tone down the mental flagellation though, it's already getting kinda old.)>It's Kraut's turn to at least project a shrugging image.
(I don't think I can really call that marriage 'arranged.' Yeah, I'd agree on Pella needing to stay calm, we're already likely to have one upset mare from her coltfriend getting into some questionable situations.)
(I don't know if I entirely buy that, but you're the expert on using different bodies so sure. I will miss the regular meals though.)>The image almost gets its arms all the way crossed but the idea of cloning is too interesting to return to pouting.>He strokes his beard at the thought of it.
(I don't know about the world he came from, but where I'm from cloning had been performed, but the cloned body didn't last near as long as the original. It could work if my original body was kept in stasis, assuming that it worked entirely by reproducing what the body 'should' be rather than its exact state. I never researched too deep into it though and I sure as hell couldn't pull it off here.)>Kraut's image quickly points a finger at Roust.
(Hey! No huffing out of you, that's my role for now. As for sending a flanker, please do; I very much would not like 2 more deaths added to this operation.)>The image waves its guest of before disappearing once again.
(Then go sleep, I'll be fine for just one night. To be honest a new body doesn't really even break my top three things to fret about, those being Natilda and Wild, the states of everyone else who came back with me, and Allys' potential reaction to single motherhood.)
>>209455>"Haven't heard a noise like that in a long time…">Hearing the harpy's reverence toward's his title of Executioner, Clem is relieved with the easier time he's getting now
"No. Razorback Company. Loose organization of humans and ponies?">Seeing the lone batpony walk out and walk around, he further figures out the rite and the role this ship is in
"The Guillotine…">Clemency offers his own reverence, especially to a spaceborne craft
"The Lonely One? The mothership above?">Clemency makes his way down to the arena floor
"What would piercing the heart do?">Reaching the floor, he looks up again at the silver craft, still amazed
"I would like to board the craft, see the inside of it. And meet the brave pilot."
>>209477>Zhun quietly waits for the transaction to finish when he sees the shock in the young mare's face>Hearing her stammer about the monumental costs of the shipment even surprised Zhun
"The base is really busy. Experimentations, medical work…">Slightly disappointed and more worried about the other option, Zhun continues listening
"Hmmm….can we do a smaller order or would it buy everything you have?">Zhun tries to boggle his mind on the other location>"Snootadishu…Zebrica. Where again?"
>>209666>The Marquis A.I. renders itself as smoking a cigar, reading a book labeled 'I'M STUPID', and saluting all at the same time.
>Holding the teleport gateway open and looking quite apprehensive at stepping in, Krinza's eyes turn up and left in recall.
"I am proficient in mechanical and engineering principles, these.. electronics are quite annoying. And, no, Vanil was not. A different pegasus stallion, minotaur, a 'modified batpony' mare, and some form of reptile were recovered. Excuse me, I have something rather idiotic to take care of first."
>Both the A.I.'s forehooves point forwards in the display, showing a storage capacity which currently read 48.3 out of a maximum 50 terabytes.
"THIS is what I need to show you sir, I'm nearly out of storage space and I can't cache anymore. Managed to capture the Construct's data streams during activation and subsequent combat.. this code is both biological and coded in a ridiculously rotating trinary sequence. First one is composed of plus zero, minus zero, and zero. Second is plus one, minus one, and one. Third is minus zero, zero, and plus one. There's two others that I lack the knowledge to understand. Short explanation: this Construct's transmissions are based on whatever form of genetic coding it is that the rest probably use, sir. Also, it is alive, and by that I am directly stating the CODE itself is alive."
>The front doors were relatively scorched, showing some minor damage though nothing had penetrated.>Stepping inside, the helmet's filters aren't able to completely negate the sickly sweet stench of burnt pony flesh, 'Spiral' evaluating the blood stain patterns with a morbid whistle.
"Severe injuries to the equine 'Inquisitor' sir, there are several peculiarities, building profile now-">Further analyzing the spatters and trails, the A.I. makes a small 3D reconstruction from the Library's entrance down to the lab.
"Confirmed sir, the trail is distinctly human-like. Notice the double and triple hoof scrabbling marks in nearly the same positions? Only humans do that when succumbing to shock. She struggled greatly to move this far. Your records and notes don't indicate much but she was physically durable to withstand multiple injuries and desperate enough to seek immediate medical attention. Possible subversion context: doesn't trust equines, would rather take aid from humans.. well, one specific human at least.">>209766>Reaching the bottom level, you catch the end of the black armored Stormtrooper hugging the rust red robed, multiple weapon carrying human female with the single, unusual tendril implanted into her spine from earlier.>The Stormtrooper's helmet visibly turns in your direction while the A.I. immediately creates a chair to sit in, swiveling around in it and pointing at both of them in sequence, then the unconscious Flash in visible worry.
"I've tentatively identified the unknown transmissions from all three of them as post-Nanite Age, probably twenty centuries past it even. Uh.. sir, this 'Inquisitor' has multiple implants that are trying to hack into me, I can resist them for about ten minutes but they're.. they're alive sir, what the buck is this?"
>>209766>Carapace helmet turning to eye someone arriving at the lab's entrance, Chisan's head twitches towards the Rogue Trader.
"The threat was necessary to acquire your immediate assistance. I would not have fulfilled it unless you attempted to harm the Inquisitor.">Nodding slightly, the Scion kneels down once more, carefully lifting Velasi's head to inspect the large white bandage covering the left side of her face.
"The Inquisitor believes she will not need any further aid. After I have placed her in the tech-forge room to recover, I have been ordered to accompany you to the Command Center. I must also contact Knight Raindrop en route, she must be reassigned to both of us. The Inquisitor has.. fully and indefinitely sanctioned her as an ally.">He did not sound happy about that part.>Lifting the Inquisitorial equine up by the rear and neck, Chisan grunts at her weight while muttering in disbelief.
"What has she been EATING?">>209666>Offering a short, formal nod to you, the Stormtrooper turns directly towards the trove's hidden entrance, carrying Velasi towards it rather slowly.>Registering a short data stream that the A.I. was unable to decode, the door opens to admit him.>Placing the Inquisitor inside, Chisan returns after a quarter minute, the door closing with another burst of data while he takes hold of the peculiar rifle's strap, marching out the Lab's door while making the battle-lingo signal for 'follow' to Mallia.
>>210093>Mallia may not be hawk-eyed but she still notes his overt glance towards the lab's entrance. This tips her off to someone actually being there, standing there. Though she was still unsure who at first, and this made her eyes widen in alarm. The Enginseer's posture stiffens again slightly, and her jaw visibly tightens, brow furrowing in silent worry. >The robed Enginseer doesn't make immediate moves to her weapons though, opting to keep her weapons on sleep-mode as she was commanded previously.>She turned around, stepping back to the table where her helmet had been laid. Taking a moment to bundle her wet hair with her hands, and then pick up her helmet and slipping it on, flicking it about gently until it became snug around her head, hiding her pale skinned and damp face.
>And as she was taught by experience and habit, she quickly and politely commanded her Auspex to perform a lifesign, Material, and Radio Wave scan to identify the yet person and check his equipment, regardless of if they were about to meet it personally.>A threat assessment is always useful![ 1d6+2 = 5 ]
<CQ. Auspex Scan
"Stormtrooper, forgive me, but the fact that you thought that I wouldn't have helped you without a threat of death kinda wounds me a little bit. I am sorry if I gave off a disloyal impression by being eccentric…">The Enginseer gives off a mirthless chuckle after her statement, and a more genuine chuckle when he lowkey calls the Inquisitor fat; covering her lips/rebreather at that.
>Then she turned back around, to face him fully, breathing a slow, but heavy sigh through her nose; still blinking rapidly behind her visor, which she also opts to not turn on, seeing as it was very tired after the fight. She just wishes it goodnight and gives it a virtual kiss, instead.>Or, at least, she gives it a ping to tell it to also enter sleep-mode, laced with a feeling of love that allowed her to breathe out more easily, within a split-second.
(I'd give you an actual goodnight kiss but I can't right now…)
>Mallia briefly lingered in place as she watches his battle-lingo gesture to follow, rolling her neck and shoulders to relieve some tension…>She simply silently obeys his battle-lingo command without another remark, and strides up to stand behind, and beside him -- to his left. Gazing forwards without making further remarks, craning her head slightly as she peered around to see who is around the corner while sticking close to the Stormtrooper; glancing to his weapon once to send it a query and ask if it, too, was on safety like her weapons at this time; as they exited the lab.>>209666>As she approaches within indoor speaking range of Pareidolia, the female enginseer's mechanical limb lightly whirs on her back as it raises slightly, as if 'nervously' re-adjusting over the backpack she carried,as well as the overly large poleaxe; with a blade in the maybe-strange shape of a cog, and the back of the cog itself covered in tools. It went a little bit over her head in lenght, and the pole reached down past her hip somewhat. And the big, rust red shield she was also wearing on her back, alongside her lasrifle.
>Her back was pretty full of things. Though she didn't look terribly encumbered, mostly walking steadily and with a reasonably straight back. At her hips was a belt, with a large pouch, a sort of odd looking red casing shaped tool. Tool because it boasted a prybar, a nice scraper, and a variety of tools, screwdrivers, wrenches, hex keys… Compacted and folded into the little thing like one big swiss army knife. And, of course, she had a slim, rough looking pistol at the right hip.
>She didn't say anything to him, at first. Visibly turning their helmeted head towards the stormtrooper and seeing if they say anything before she does. Holding her own hands infront of the red robes at her waist. Her glance darting and tilting over his armor, curiously exploring it's composition and wargear as soon as it became more visible; this time from up-close. >Though she does bow her head a little as a way to silently and respectfully greet them.
>>209675>Bending down to touch the stone circle, it felt oddly warm, and possibly even a bit cheerful.
"He'll warm up eventually.">Setting a stack of letters off to either side, Naliyna peers up momentarily, then back down with a snicker.
"She'll send somepony that isn't busy, or maybe one of the Lorekeepers will know Prench.. and I already am, even found a couple ponies I might hire!">Receiving a hoof wave as you leave the Pagoda, the Clinic door opens before you reaching it, Nova Flicker takes a single step outside..>And falls flat on her face, snoring loudly before rolling onto her side, Frost Egg peeking out the door, her eyes rolling.>Humming a flatly annoyed note, the carnelian unicorn is picked up and placed in a sitting position snout first on the exterior steel wall.>Beckoning you inside with a hoof, the Combat Medic spins about, sliding towards the rear while calling over her shoulder.
"Come, I have something to show you, and Nova will be fine, she's used to that sort of thing."
(I would rather stick with my Moors given name, thank you. It tends to cause far fewer questions than necessary and keeps my associates a bit safer. You understand.)>Hodch releases a half-yawn, half-sigh, your perspective tilting several degrees as the ten strange items fall into a circle around the mare in stasis.
(I do not recall seeing those on your body, they were likely removed by the Existential Human Gestalt.. that is, the one with the question mark covered mask and green skin. However, to ensure that nopony, no one, and nothing decides to experiment I will place your body in one of the hidden caches.)>Right forehoof placed down a small, curiously twisted series of non-Euclidean hexagonal triangles fashioned into a snake, Hodch snorts in tired amusement.
(No, that was the Executive Officer, one of my best friends, if not the best. You might have noticed his rather odd physical appearance compared to native basilisks, he is one of a limited number from the Elemental Plane of Earth to move onto Tallus. He keeps tabs on storage and retrieval, otherwise spends his time reading history. Twisted Wing's appetite for alcoholism and causing trouble are nothing compared to his desire for knowledge.)>Unrolling the snake with a nudge from his hoof, the unicorn chuckles briefly as the other nine items fold outwards, each sprouting a single thinly stemmed, inverted flower, oriented directly at your view which immediately sets off several thousand warnings in your thought processes.
(In the spirit of Razorback, which I have taken a moderate liking to, your on-the-job-training starts now.)>Each of the inverse flowers stretch forwards, carefully removing the Changeling skull plate from Hodch's face, turning it around to view the paling unicorn.
(But for the sake of safety I will state this much: do not, I repeat, do not even think of using your horn until you mastered the various abilities to move. No incantations, catnips, spells, no words of any kind that could be identified as esoteric in nature. And you mig- oh, nevermind. Hrm, now as the Prench state, bon voya-)>Cut off by time, or maybe your perception, slowing to a half, Hodch's image stutters backwards into a cavern of white and black backgrounds.>Sinking downwards, backwards, inside out, then finally upwards, your consciousness spreads apart inside a new, but most importantly whole and alive body.[ 1d6 = 5 ]
<??? 1[ 1d6 = 4 ]
<??? 2[ 1d6 = 1 ]
<??? 3[ 1d6 = 4 ]
<??? 4[ 1d6 = 2 ]
<??? 5[ 1d6 = 3 ]
<??? 6[ 1d6 = 6 ]
<??? 7[ 1d6 = 2 ]
<??? 8[ 1d6 = 1 ]
<??? 9[ 1d6 = 1 ]
<??? 10[ 1d20 = 17 ] <Conscious Severity
>Despite the strange transfer, everything felt normal, save for lying chest down on four rather weakened legs, a dire itch in the middle of your spine waking up, and all four hooves ached.>There was even a strange, natural urge for two or more vegetarian burritos to quell some long forgotten hunger, your entire coat felt raw, and a revolting scent of crystallized blood was drifting into your twitching nostrils.>Close by a door shuts, Hodch's voice filtering through it distance.
"I recommend trying to roll over. After that, stretch. I will see if somepony left some food here-"
>>210136>As Cheto walks out of the pagoda, he questions himself for a bit.
(Hm. I expected the warmth since it's a machine but it seems that matrix thing is sapient from the possibility of different responses to different people. None of them didn't complain when pet.)>He rubs his chin with his hand as his legs carry him back to the clinic.
(Now who can I test my hypothesis that petting is okay…)
>Suffice to say, Gallo is quite stunned at seeing Nova fall over out of nowhere.
(Again? I was not expecting her to go down more than maybe once or twice a week.)>When the crystal unicorn is properly placed on the wall, he extends one arm gently to pet the sleeping pony's head for a little bit, kneeling down to increase petting efficiency and not strain his back too much.
(Alright, that should test my logical connections on how severe is abrupt contact with ponies. If she smacks me, I shouldn't do it again when she sees me and try another set of ponies.)>With that little stunt over, he finally steps inside the bunker-like structure, following Frost along.
(I wonder what she wants to show me.)>A slight feeling of dread passes through.
(Did I stain her robe with something nasty? Did I burn it accidentally with Kitang's hot armor plates when I drenched her in water?)>Just to make sure, he asks about the thing that she wants to present to him in a neutral, cautious voice.
"Miss Frost, what is it that you wanted to show me?"
>>209854>Shrugging mostly to herself, Mercy rotates her wings around in various positions while searching for.. presumably something interesting.
"Did not hear anything in the chest.. may never have been used. ..many preservation enchantmarents in use, I.. do not feel anything else strange.">Taking stock of the foyer one last time, Boris taps his tool bag in an awkward motion.
"I have identified no signs of recent habitation commander. The furniture is untouched. I did not hear chimes nor a flute."
"It is.. hard even for me to hear. And no, the.. Lunar vampires were alive, not Undead."
>Switching on the light, the door ceases creaking and swings open silently, the Spirit Walker tipping her snout up for a curious sniff, then sneaks in towards the dais.
"You intend to taste the rather large chamber pedestal before Miss Feathers can, correct?"
"….yes."[ 1d6+4 = 7 ]
<B.Perception[ 1d6+4 = 5 ]
>Nearly the same as the common layout you'd been given, the central chamber was slightly smaller than the foyer, and contained nothing more than an upraised black marble circle precisely two hooves tall.>Noting light reflecting off the well polished ceremonial surface onto the last set of doors, nor could you spot even a single dust mote.>Catching two hollow, round indents next to the doors themselves, they were cut in the same manner that large glowstones would have been glued into place, yet quite empty.>>209872>Both the crypt's entrance doors had several sets of large hoofles and handles close to the meeting faces, and a giant steel knocking ring in the center.>Gazing about the odd mixture of foyer, barracks, and sitting area while ignoring the perpetual Moors fog starting to roll inside, it was depressingly empty save for the amber pads.>There were no scents other than the team, several strange items in the small bag Boris was carrying, nor could you hear the chime or flute again.>In fact, the barrack-foyer almost felt lonely.>Almost.
>>210159>>209872>Preservative enchantments on the chests? What an odd thing to do. Why bother keeping this place splotless, if it's just going to sit here and rot?
"They've been empty the whole time? How strange… Yeah, Boris. Almost seems like no pony's ever bunked here, period."
>As the door opens, he sweeps the room with his helmet light.>Luckily the layout looked similar to the blueprint, so the square room with center pedestal was an expected sight. Black marble in the middle, doors leading to the stairwell on the opposite end, and no light.>Also no sign of age or wearing.
"This room too, it's spotless. More preservation enchants?">Jeff waits for Mercy's lead before fully entering into the chamber so he can get a good sweep of the room.
"It's almost like this whole crypt is waiting to be inhabited.">He audibly inhales sharply, as a wild thought crosses his mind.
"Any chance the vampires could still be alive down there, in some sort of stasis, waiting to be woken up? They'd be coming back to quite the clean crypt.">The thought was unnerving, exhilarating, and a little half-baked. But possible.>Once having enough leg-room, Jeff flanks the room to the right and toward the next set of doors.
(Please do so Kraut, you have not been the failure that you treat yourself as.)>Giving a simple 'meh', the Changeling's nose armor scrunches for her.
(I will ensure that Allys does not find out, but you will be fine.. I think, and I am not about to try doing the crazy 'genetic maneipulation' things that happened on Hollow's world.)>Roust taps her snout on the stasis oval, pushing herself up while forming a green hand and pointing the index finger down at you humorously.
(I shall.. but I should acquire a gas mask first, it may prove useful should she, or he, need it.)>Standing up while rolling her eyes, the Vanguard impresses her own mood of 'I am long past being worried' acceptance on the area, turning to thump towards the Clinic's entrance.
(Do not worry, I shall take care of Allys or at least keep her occupied until something can be done with Caliya. Just.. try to remain positive please.)
>>209993>Receiving the same 'click' noise several times in a row, the harpy's voice returns with an apologetic tint.
*"Mineself hast not heard of this Company, slept on the Moon ever long mineself hast, listening only for thee Lonely One's return."*
*"Aye to both thee questions, grace. Mineself aided Rites of Destruction hundredfolds to thee Lonely One's mate long afore now. Brought her they did upon Tallus heaving, bucking, ablaze they did! ..but mineself no longer knowest time, grace, for it matters little such a trivial cost be paid."*
*"To slice the Rift's claws off, thy grace. If twain be sent once more, thee Guillotine respondeth, ready ever for Destruction."*>Walking down into the Arena itself, then out the south exit onto newly placed stone, the converted silverine vessel emits a sharp whirring noise.>A second, larger hatch next to the first opening, three Destroyers sliding down to land in a confusing pile of wings, hooves, and angry keekee's, the voice returns with a proud, hearty tinge.
*"Ye havest seen thou pilot, grace! Mineself the Guillotine, the Guillotine minself, within, without! Built by mine ka was, but enter within mine halls. Seek, explore, touch, inspect all ye wish thy grace."*
>Novus watches curiously as Hodch brings forth his strange looking banned items.>Curious fetishes and charms this pony seems to be in possession of.>Truly curious, this Hodch.
(Anon… A strange man that one. I think my organization may know of his existence if they know of him, but I am not certain on that one. There are many things I do not have the need to know for, and anon may not even have ever come to my world.)>He laughs once more.
(Truly an interesting world we are in. I can respect a thirst for knowledge, it's what got me to where I am, especially a love of history.)>As the items begin to unfold and seem to point directly at him, Novus indeed begins to feel… Uncomfortable at their nature.>Indeed, moreso as he's taken from Hodch by the things.
(I see, this looks a bi-)>He's cut off and everything goes dark
>The doctor groans as, now she, opens her eyes up groggily and painfully.>The smell of… Whatever it was that Hodch kept coughing up hit her nose and she gagged a little at the smell.
"… God DAMN Hodch couldn't you at least clean that up? That smells worse than my aunts cooking!">She sticks out a tongue in disgust and looks up towards the sky a bit pained.
"Alright… Lets.. Try this shall we? Baby horses learn to walk in a mere hour dont they?">And indeed, Nova attempted now to try and roll over, finding it very awkward and unusual to do with her now four legs.>This difference in equipment was rather…>Or rather, was going to be, difficult to overcome. But adapt he shall.>SHE shall.>This was going to be weird.
>>210159>>210170>Moving to the entrance, Sunny closed one of the doors and left the other slightly ajar, just enough for a moor cat to enter, or leave.>She couldn't see any, but that didn't mean they weren't there.>Perhaps the foyer would feel less lonely with some of the felines wandering about.>Satisfied with the state of the front doors, she crept back towards the others, closing the inner doors as well, whispering to Jeff, Mercy and Boris.
"So the moor cats don't wind up following us in deeper, I'd hate for any of them to get trapped down here.">Turning to examine this new room, Sunny moved left, catching up to and mirroring Jeff's movements to the end of the room, muttering to herself that they were moving too fast.>Though that was probably paranoia setting in, she didn't like that this Crypt was perfectly preserved on purpose, but left vacant, or that there didn't seem to be any evidence of traps that they could see.>Leaving the dais for Mercy and Boris to inspect, Sunny only gave it a cursory glance as she passed, focusing more on the walls and the rest of the room.>She snickered softly at Mercy's confirmation of her intent to lick it before she did, but otherwise made no comment on it.>Winding up before the next set of doors more or less after Jeff, Sunny looked up and examined them for traps and perhaps try to glean meaning from any carvings that seemed to be present throughout the rest of the crypt so far.>As always, she kept an ear out for that music, and her body combat ready.>Potentially living vampires with millennia of experience? She didn't like their chances if they turned out to be awake and hostile.>At least she'd be able to test the efficacy of her flask. Morbid as that eagerness was.[ 1d6+5 = 8 ]
< B. Perception[ 1d6+5 = 11 ][ 1d6+3 = 8 ]
< B. Traps[ 1d6+3 = 5 ][ 1d6+4 = 8 ]
< E. Ambush[ 1d6+4 = 10 ][ 1d6+4 = 5 ]
>>210108>Previously unable to ID or even confirm the Rogue Trader's implants due to such high level Inquisition codes that they were making the auspex's Machine Spirit confused, it switches to the new task with great joy.>Identified as a purely biological, high genetic purity human, the male bore a pronounced, recent fracture of the upper left femur, though was otherwise in excellent condition.>Failing to identify the unknown STC bubble helmet, it was composed of an alchemically strengthened black sapphire and, curiously, refined silver, featuring an unusually high level of electronic including a large scale storage device and some form of Machine Spirit that was not wanting to chat.>Scanning the human's armor plating beneath the common material layers, the auspex struggles to determine composition, and fails quickly, listing it as a defensively potent xenos carapace.>Picking up only low frequency bandwidths, the auspex sets up a brief codice of the never before scanned and utterly virgin STC's.
>Helmet tipping in a questioning manner, Chisan brushes his naked left hand off on the doorway leading upwards, likely afraid to keep the Inquisitor's scent on him.
"It is our sacred duty to give ourselves in service to superiors regardless of their form Enginseer. Hesitation is the difference between the blessings of success or the potential treachery of failing one's betters. Eccentricity matters not if you obey all orders the nanocycle they are issued.">Beeping a short line from the Litany of Grace, the Preysense visor enters sleep-mode while the Tempestus Scion clambers up the spiraling stairwell, ignoring the trails of Throne-touched blood.>Reading back both the Lasrifle and Laspistol, both of them were still eager on overcharge mode, expressing their desire for further purging to take place.
>Stepping out of the tiny entryway, Chisan maintains course towards the Library's front doors, then out, treading north with a short, Inquisition approved commcode pinging to you.
*"This is my personal code frequency, it should not be detectable by the.. semi-native humans here. To keep this short Enginseer: the Inquisitor sanctioned you into her service, eccentricities and all. If she had detected the slightest disloyalty or treachery you not have been allowed until undergoing the Trials of Repentance. One minute while I inform the Knight of our changed orders."*
>Dropping the link and tapping into one that you weren't able to pick up, the Scion pays less than zero attention to the squads of mixed humans, most of them bearing ranged ballistic ArchaeoTech weaponry, and native ponies all thoroughly searching the courtyard in grid formation.>Coming into view of the non-standard Command Center once more, Chisan comes to a halt in front of a large, locally built infoboard.
*"Knight Raspberry will be en route in two minutes, arrival in three to five. I will prefer that you retain her services at all times unless directly specified by the Inquisitor."*>Quickly perusing the east side's posted notices, the Stormtrooper about faces after a minute towards the Center, walking around the north side to a heavily armored, standard swinging door.>Stepping inside, he bypasses a large war table covered in maps, heading to the back room and standing in the doorway, leaning in to speak quietly.>The local cyberspace was calmingly filled with electronic noise and mass amounts of Binary datastreams, though there was an unorthodox, partially sentient thoughtform at work here.
>>210070>Pareidolia sighs, watching as Krinza steps through the portal.
[Need to estimate remaining time frame to locate Spiral before A.I.'s instability warrants a system wipe… ]
>He stops on his path to the Library, his expression growing increasingly alarmed as the A.I. explains the lack of storage space.>Preemptively reaching a glove to the back of his helmet, he states:
"Delete it immediately. Whatever it transmitted is not worth the loss of your unit. Malicious code with the potential to infect cannot be stored."
[Encoded information as transmission waves that function as a living organism? Construct lifeforms quickly rising beyond classification.]
>Keeping that hand behind his head over the unit's housing compartment panel, he continues into the Library.
[Unanticipated Construct threat may result in catastrophic asset losses. Unacceptable.]
>He grimly looks over the stains as he passes by them.
"Likely given her designating them as 'Xenos'. That Stormtrooper is most likely from the same universe as hers.">>210093>>210108
>Arriving at the bottom of the stairs, he pauses noting the black, plate-like armored soldier embracing a clearly augmented human wearing unusual robes.>He returns the greeting with a curt nod of his own and then looks past them, checking the Lab for expected damage from the missile that had been fired when he left.>His brow furrows as his A.I. delivers its report.
[Post-Nanite Age? Twenty centuries of progress leading to this? Technology the Committee was capable of within my lifetime? A different universe, but a Nanite
Age has to leave more than this.]
>Mild concern creases his face as he considers the implications.>He steps inside while addressing his A.I. as the other soldier carries the Inquisitor away, demonstrating the same ability to open the Trove.
"… Continue resisting; they should abate soon. Presumably they have created some form of living A.I. as the Committee did. Inform me of any other attempted intrusions and assessments."
>Checking over the augmented, robed woman as he moves further into the Lab, he eyes the additional mechanical tendril warily while speaking to his A.I.
"Unusual equipment, almost stereotypical mechanical engineering iconography. Strange choice of augmentation. General levels far below Committee projections for any post-Nanite society."
>As he passes Chisan he states:
"When the Inquisitor wakes, tell her to have her implants cease trying to hack my equipment. They're active despite her current condition."
>He then adjusts his tac-vest while directly looking at the robed woman's furtive glances.>To his A.I. he mentions:
"Probable interest in our technology. Possibility they both have implants of some form is high knowing their Age status. Standard Committee protection protocols apply even if we are cooperating with Flash."
>She would see an entirely black, fibrous weave material flexibly form fitted with additional plating seemingly embedded within the mesh. A black vest with various pouches half of which were empty, containing metal magazines similar in size to a Las-rifle pack fit over the top of this armored suit.>Small green orbs akin to smaller, ribbed Krak grenades and longer white canisters could be seen hanging from his vest and belt.>Unusual firearms that seemed lightweight and compact could be seen stuck to his back, apparently adhered through some gravity defying force while a slightly curved blade with an oddly wide cross guard hung sheathed diagonally from his shoulders
>Noticing them begin to depart, he turns away and heads towards where his microscope and Construct hulls hopefully were while removing the partially melted Construct drive from his tactical vest and placing it on the counter.
>>210252>The woman's visible don't leave Pareidolia even as she moved past him, even turning her head slightly to glance over his weapons as they seemingly remained magnetically attached to his back.
(Such quality craftsmanship… High genetic purity…)
(High genetic purity? Some sort of clone? Or perhaps just genetically enhanced. Or both. Interestiiiinngggg…)
>Her curiosity was rising to extremely prying levels. She wanted to know more SOOOO badly. >Her brows were rising behind her otherwise black visor. Luckly her face wasn't visible, because she is very overtly pursing her lip and squinting as she could not contain her curiosity, at this point…
>But, out of fear of triggering a sort of counter-measure that might hurt her scanner or future relations, she decides to simply send a harmless, Standard Greeting ping with her MIU towards the unknown machine spirit, leaving a short, binary message within a second, and say:
(Hello, unknown machine!)
(i just wanted to say that your housing looks majestic and you are very interesting; but I wont pry if you don't want me to.)
(Fare-thee-well, great machine!)
>She makes sure to not call it a Machine Spirit; since she was pretty sure this one was not yet sanctioned. Though she does take note of whether or not it even accepts her greeting & farewell.
>Though she does double take on what he said about the Inquisitor's implants attempting to hack his equipment, which made her half-open her lips to say something from behind the rust red helmet. But she ends up skittishly closing her lips and turning her head back forward.
>The Machine Spirits were smart, they were likely doing it for a reason. She wont interfere with that.>>210231>As both Mallia and the stormtrooper made their way up, she finally breathes in a deep, inward sigh of relief and stress all at once. Sideglancing the Stormtrooper as she walked alongside him now.>She only really replies to his previous statement with a quiet, guilty sounding:
"Neither failure nor hesitation shall be tolerated…"
>At that point, Mallia simply relegated herself to silently following Chisan outside at a striding pace, matching his. Glancing towards the various 'troops', and eyeing their archeotech weaponry -- constantly trying to reach out to them to see if they had any machine spirits that would interact with her, if only to simply query simple things such as 'where are you from?' and 'how are you?' >She didn't want to trigger any self-defense mechanisms so she didn't go any further than that.
>Though she wasn't expecting a response from any of them. She remembered the time she had encountered gas powered rifles with no machine spirits in the Hive city she had later died in: Not everything had a machine spirit.>Which made her somewhat uncomfortable. But also interested.
>As Chisan stops infront of the info board, Mallia also turns her glance towards it, craning her head to glance around the Stormtrooper from her 5'3" of height, and try to read what he was reading, just out of curiosity.
"*Understood.*" >She'd softly acknowledge his statement. Following him closely as he seems to walk from the Info board and into the command center…
>She wanted to ask the stormtrooper a question at this point, but as she walked past that large war table, she was immediately busy looking over everything; leaning over to give the maps a cursory glance, trying to datavault absolutely EVERYTHING she can reach within the span of two seconds. Especially geographical and topographical data.
>Then she looked forward again. Her shoulders visibly relaxing when her ears are graced with the sound of binary, which instantly reminded her of home. Her arms relaxing and her head tilting upward.
"*Is this the Demi-Sentient's influence I am hearing? I can sense something at least partially sentient here…*" >She tentatively began to reach out with her MIU, trying to listen in to the streams of binary, to study it's purpose even before receiving an answer. Standing right behind the Stormtrooper by now as she whispered into his own personal frequency to talk to him specifically.
>>208683>Head turning about while cracking a sarcastic grin, the Shell's ears flick side to side merrily.
"Cady might get jealous of that, then I'll have to put a couple hooves in her mouth to keep her from complaining later!">Turning a bit more serious, Glacier seats herself behind the Champion and staring at the his flora with interest.
"Not to be sweaty after the past half night of combat? Maybe suffer from fewer tendencies to go berserk and make ME feel self-conscious about my own combat skills? Not be such a big damned stallion unintentionally wooing me by smashing six of those nasty things into tiny pieces in half an hour hour? I expect a lot of stuff and in most cases I'm usually right, but I would have much preferred somepony with elemental weapons and decent armor. Besides, Melodine is a big mare with many years of experience, she'll win eventually."
>Stroking Void Crasher's intriguingly smooth, warm hide several times gently, the colt's legs twitch once more, mouth opening to emit a soft, fully relaxed snore.
"Aaaand he's done, probably not going to wake up until somewhere around tonight. Good thing I don't even need to sleep anymore.">Pushing herself around using her forelegs to face you, the Shell leans backwards while putting on a, probably, normal smile.
"Sir Lont, I only kiss on the first date if I like the stallion or mare I'm with. Second date? Well, you have to earn it to learn what I'll do then.">Pushing herself up to stand, Glacier turns her attention to the closest cooks and stove, slowly sliding towards it while calling over her shoulder.
"Northern Tundra Conclaves have some real delicacies make the Hegemony pretty jealous, closer you get to the eastern coast where the Northern Moors and tundra meet the easier they are to get. Lot of minotaurs, gryphons, harpies, supposedly a few seals now too, and some of the more experimaretal batponies come around to dine on spiced snow spider legs which I've been told are like sweet giant saltwater crab, ice drake heart, liver, brain or their soft steaks, glazed burrower slices, frostwolf stew, and a bunch of other stuff I've only heard about but never seen. I'll see what they've got and make a trade-">Only looking up when the Shell reaches them and leans in to whisper, the trio of Conclavists eye you briefly in vague, clinical interest.>One of the mares clears off the heatstone stove, taking several pots, pans, and what looked like a steam cooking pan towards the next stove, the other two turning about and opening up the crate behind them.>Pointing a hoof at the closest quartet of Empire tents north of the chefs, Shattered Glacier ambles towards it, poking her head in, retracting after a few moments and afterwards making several Crystal pony body language motions for you to place the colt inside.
>>210003>Turning a 'that is simply impossible' stare onto you for a few moments, Three-Point lifts both forehooves to rub the sides of her head, speaking slowly to relieve the shock she was obviously feeling.
"Mister.. whatever your name is, that was enough supplies to make two thousand high grade elixirs, or anywhere from five to ten thousand basic single use powders, potions, or mixes. Unless you all were treating everypony and every human you have six to ten times a night, there is no way you could have used everything.">Pausing for a moment, she blinks upward at the hololith, frowning.
"Maybe if a human or pony of Razorback made a permanent multi-elixir alchemical item that could do it, but that's still a lot of stuff used in just.. what, four months? Five? Give me a bit to check some stuff out.">Sitting back in the chair, one forehoof on her chin, the other crossing her barrel, Peach Quartz's eyes squint, dancing across the hololith for a bit, performing intermittent hums of varying tones.>Recalling that Snootadishu was indeed the other location DJ Lonestar had mentioned, you couldn't recall anyone, or anypony, having any trade agreements there.>At least, not for 50% off.
"There might be a few things I could get for the same price, but-">Sitting up straight, the mare frowns, her right forehoof points at the hololith, flicking left, right, up, down, retracting, and poking forwards in quick motions, as if she were using a smart phone.
"Two big problems that I'm having a hard time getting through."
"First, the Frozen Coast Consortium, that's us, only sells to marecenaries. We get stuff in really cheap and in huge amounts so we can make yearly deliveries at one Bit over cost per item. That way marecenary groups don't have to deal with contract fees or have to deal with a bunch of agreements."
"The second is about half what was requested on the last order is rare. It's stuff that's only harvested in a few places during certain times across the Empire, Zebraica, Equestria, Dragonspines, Germaneigh, Prance, the Minotaur Hegemony, Japoneighsia, Saddle Arabia.. basically everywhere. The almost extinct or really hard to get stuff comes from Canterlot Underground, Old and New Everfree Druids, Ferron clans.">Turning the chair a bit to face you, Three-Point offers a small, sad smile, forelegs lifting apologetically.
"I can get you an eighth of the yearly order at the same fifty-percent discount but it won't be easy. The Empire doesn't deal with marecenaries enough since most of them are too away, and we can't just ask for more special flora to be grown. If you'd like I can get you a few names and places where you might be able to get the same prices, but you'll have to do the negotiations on your own."
>>210146>Rubbing the passed out mare's head, and her ears, experimentally for a bit, Nova's coat softness was close to a house cat's, though considerably warmer.>Unable to wake the pony from her continued, calm near-REM snoring, there was a faint, pleasing scent of mixed fruit shampoo.>All in all, easily desirable for more attention later.
>Closing the Clinic door behind you, and sensing that you were probably being watched with great amusement from elsewhere, Frost Egg was once more sitting on the central east side bed over the Prench stallion's head.>Lifting a hoof and motioning in a distinctly human-like manner for you to move behind her, the Combat Medic uses the tip of her right hoof to flatten the pegasi's ear onto his cheek.>Coming up to stand behind the Crystal pony, her hoof motions at an unusually large, freshly needle mark, the coat and hide around it swelled upwards slightly.
"I've seen many injection sites similar to this before on several non-modified recovery victims up until now, just not one where the site itself 'acts' infected. To be clear: I have confirmed no presence of bacterial, viral, fungal, amoeba, or parasitic activity, but there are incredibly tiny traces of Construct bio-metals here.">Head twisting up and left, Frost's eyes narrow suspiciously.
"Which is also something I've never found before and it isn't in our records. Do you have any idea what this could mean?"
>>210322>Cheto nods to himself, feeling quite relaxed after petting Nova.
(That sure is one soft pony.)
>He looks at the big swelled area, a bit worried.
(This pony has gone through a lot more than I could ever imagine, if all his wounds are any indication.)>He turns to Frost Egg, a bit confused at her current actions and question. His lips extend to the sides slightly and his eyelids narrow in thought.>After a moment, he puts out his hypothesis.
"It could be a sort of spy, but I don't know how Construct strategy works. Maybe they planted something in his brain which transmits what he senses and thinks back to them somehow.">His left finger pokes his chin.
"That may be contradicted by the missile that was shot at this location, though. If this were the case, they wouldn't have shot at it, or maybe the 'kill the modified batpony' directive was more important then to let a single spy live. Maybe he could go berserk like that severly modified batpony but taking longer to reach that effect since there is less Construct material. I have no clue.">Another little pause.
"Lastly, it could simply be showing that Construct materials and ponies don't mix well, although the batpony's assumed outcome implies that they can merge the two, albeit with severe consequences to the patient's mind.">After spouting words without really knowing what's going on, he decides to look even closer at the swelled flesh to see if anything even more out of the ordinary can be seen.
>After having his own peek, he turns to Frost. His face expressing worry at the possibilities.
"I would think we should release it in case this is hurting the patient, although I am not entirely sure it's safe or if something will come out to attack us from inside. All of this world is too new for me to be sure or connect many dots."
>Leadership: +2 to all Perception rolls>>210170>Forced to turn his head around nearly 160 degrees towards you, the Belligerent nods firmly.
"Much of the information I learned before or after the Lunar-Solar War was focused on civil matters. Many villages, towns, small cities, and trading posts were abandoned. Most have not been reclaimed as far as Denra's knowledge extends. A crypt this far from the Basin Village would not have been considered important enough to merit preservation.">Without any fear whatsoever, the blind pegasus walks around the dais, tasting it in several locations.>Head tilting one side, then the other, Mercy twitches her wings outwards to peer at, each blade still glowing brightly.
"A tiny chance.. perhaps.">>210219>Sunny Feathers: 3 Ambush tokens.>Shutting the ceremonial room doors, several plaintively droll meows are heard from the foyer.>Of course, Moor cats would have skittered in while the team wasn't looking to hide in the best ambush locations.
>Studying the ornate stone carvings, batpony runes, and Lunar meanings, the basic context you could make out was primarily an extremely happy 'have a great sleep', or perhaps 'nap' knowing batponies.
The second, less clear, was a rather comical 'everypony will come visit often', along with an expectedly high number of carvings revolving around fruit.>Besides the pair of unfilled glowstone cradles next to the stairwell doors, all of the possible locations for traps had so far turned up nothing, lacking both visual seams or audible cues.>In fact, many traps would have been triggered long before now due to Mercy's careless exploration methods.>Then again, she probably didn't explore much given her known history.
>Mercy taking the left door again, Jeff the right, the first carefully pushes her side open much more cautiously this time, a short creak of stone-on-stone before silence.>Gazing into the gloomy, rounded stairwell, oddly with railings, leading down to the underground chamber, the other white pegasi's right wing extends, carefully twitching each blade in sequence.[ 1d6+4 = 7 ]
"Acknowledge sir, wiping and formatting modules now.">Shoulders lifting briefly, your A.I. begins the task of purging excessive amounts of semi-organic data while analyzing.. something, it's tone baffled.[ 1d6+1 = 2 ]
<B.Electronic Warfare[ 1d6+1 = 7 ]
"This is less than two minutes worth of transmission time from one unit, sir. In comparison it would take me approximately one thousand hours of full spectrum data recording on all channels, devices, all sixty-thousand threads of analysis vectors, and all other background functions all running during the same timeframe to reach a single terabye.. sir, I haven't come across any indications of directly malicious viral or trojan like code. It's one giant process, not program, trying to retransmit the total sum of data I captured in a single chunk on a.. what is this, one nanocycle? I don't think the quantum state drives during my late prototype testing were capable of this!">Turning from the formatting to examine everything in your visual range, 'Spiral' immediately takes note of your micro-expressions, lifting a hoof in a conciliatory manner.
"Allow me to clarify in a bit sir.">Eyeing over the Lab to find neither a discolored impact radius nor damage in view, the A.I. continues its formulations.
"Still detecting all the unsecured and secured electronic devices that were down here before, sir. If that was a 'micro-neutron missile' it should have destroyed all of them. Either it was destroyed or it.. could be on a timer to go off at some later date? Then again I'm not detecting any Construct-like signals here. Hm, the 'enemy' A.I.'s have ceased but they wanted to know something, it's in a weird form of Binary, processing now.">Finished purging Construct data, the Marquis swivels about on the rendered chair once more, hooves tapping together.
"And complete. Clarifications on my previous statement sir: your records indicate only a basic level of common technology is allowed for each human during 'arrival' to this world. You've also come across a number of humans that have had their physical, mental, psychological, and even 'spiritual' abilities greatly degraded to the average level of a ten year old. This was either to prevent technological and cultural contamination or a directly intended control mechanism much like the Guidance Protocol requir-">Pausing at the Stormtrooper passing by, he gives a firm, hard nod of acknowledgement, the A.I. frowning momentarily before it continues.
"I think that might be the point, sir.. those two aren't in your records so they're obviously quite recent. The, er, living A.I.'s that those two have are rather basic, so neither of them would have acquired or achieved full access to their omniverse's technological base so soon. On the other hoof, this Inquisitor Velasi's implants and her A.I.'s in use are approximately eighteen percent as efficient as the Construct's capabilities, they're able to parse data faster and at such a huge volume that it's as if each one was a ten-core quantum state processor. If I had a sensor plexus, cluster, maybe even a basic scanning unit to read from, I could probably tell you much more sir. ..I hate to say this but if those are what the better technological implants are like, she could cause an immense amount of technological contamination, and probably at a worse rate than the Constructs themselves."
>So far as you could tell, everything remained precisely where it was, save for pieces of Empire crystal and a dented, shiny orange marble on the floor below the chosen table.>Scanning the damaged piece once more, the A.I. shakes its head.
"Still no Construct transmissions detected sir, I think you, er, 'killed' the tiny one, but I'm worried about the missile that was launched in here."
>>209441>Raisin glue>Bubba wouldn't even be surprised if that was actually something used in some obscure grape farm somewhere>Upon hearing about the 'big spears', Bubba glances towards the back to see if he could spot them.
"What's that about trinkets?">He'd have to see how much the amber chunks were, as well.>Along with getting his overcoat reinforced with carapace or something.>He gives the mare a nod at the reminder of what they've done.
>>209504>I stare at the map for a moment, grimacing.>This will not end well for anything on the coast.>The sounds of welding do calm me a little bit, though, which was nice. It reminded me of home in a sense.
"Or whatever the hell you just noticed.">Frowning, I glance at the cameras in an attempt to notice anything.[ 1d6+1 = 3 ]
<E. Perception[ 1d6+1 = 2 ][ 1d6+1 = 3 ]
>>210274>Receiving nothing back from the unknown signature, a short data stream from your micro-cogitator returns a large number of pre-Horus Heresy electronics that utilized neither Machine Spirits nor A.I.
>Likewise receiving no responses from the bewildering number of electronic devices, most prevalent were smaller, more hardened NightVis and Preysense optics, of which at least a quarter of the humans were used them as scopes.>Identifying short ranged Binary and hexadecimal streams, a great deal of it turned out to be musical forms that you hadn't heard before, nor could you find comparisons to.>There was, however, one probable Artificial Intellect which ceased transmitting as you came into range of a large, bulky forest camouflage armored human slinging a barely man-portable, single tube launcher over his shoulder.>The segmented, heavily modified tech-knight's helmet turns in your direction before passing by.
>Chisan's carapace helmet twitches in your direction, letting go of the Lasrifle as he speaks in a flat tone.
*"Had you not arrived quickly the Inquisitor may have activated a self-destruct mechanism or allowed her psyker powers to detonate. That could have resulted in a Warp rift or potentially worse. Likewise we know nothing of this world nor the effects of unknown, errant energies on ourselves. Pay heed: this world holds dangers that I have barely seen the surface of. I will not tolerate failure nor hesitation on the Inquisitor's account, Enginseer. Without her Inquisitor we would have no choice except to give ourselves the Rite of Condemnation and destroy all of our wargear. Do you understand our situation?"*
>The infoboard was rather curious: covered in numerous postings for jobs to be completed, requests to fulfill, and even several activities that might be a touch heretical, if not dangerous.>Or exciting.>Both at the same time were rather common.>It was blatantly clear that the humans here were operating as mercenaries, the native word spelled as 'marecenaries'.>Numerous individual and faction employers across this world were in high demand of Razorback, though there was a large number of older ones that were unfulfilled or simply had a large 'DO NOT ATTEMPT' scrawled across it in red ink.>Most humans, of course, were not willing to take potentially lethal risks on unknown circumstances, here was apparently no exception.>Reaching out to take one, Chisan folds it into his armor before leaving into the Command Center.
>Recording portions of multiple rather basic continent maps, another layout of Razorback Fortress in much greater detail, and numerous smaller, native made ones with region names that sounded both like Death World and Paradise World locations, it was clear that this world was quite large.>Leaning back from the doorway, the Stormtrooper simply nods, returning to his conversation, which was purposefully kept low enough for you not to hear.
>Identifying numerous transient streams of outflow and inflow data from an obscenely large power source directly inside the smaller room the Scion was visibly preventing you access to, it was a form of all-in-one command, control, processing, data warfare, and intelligence unit.>Though it bore organic learning keys and was highly active, the sheer amount of data being impossible to keep up with, the intelligent control system made no attempt to interact with you.
>Door opening from behind, heavy clicks on stone gave way to Raindrop Raspberry sighing, then stopping midway, uttering an annoyed sentence under her breath.
>>210206>Finding that the ability to talk as a pony wasn't much different from human, what WAS concerning were the strange, hard to ignore forced pronunciations of certain letters.>It seemed like the host body you'd chosen was not used to Common.>Half-laughing somewhere outside the door, metal clicks on a plate before Hodch's tone returns in amusement.
"Go fuck yourself Doctor, I am not touching that shit ever again, nor should any unicorn ever do so. It reacts explosively."
>Stretching out never before felt AND known head, neck, and spine muscles, the mere effort to pull your head upwards is rewarded with a staring match at yet more white cloud stuff.>At least it looked nice.
"Five minutes at most for wild horses and feral ponies, double that for half-ferals, thirty minutes is average for modern ponies. I might as well give you an hour, there is not much here. ..unless you want a daisy, clover, and tulip sandwich on millet cakes. Hrm, it has been a while since I visited the Garden Bake Cafe."
>Swinging your head and upper body one way ends with barely rocking to that side, your new legs not cooperating.>In the strange, yet rather comfortable position, both the individual weight and thickness of each leg was preventing you from movement without pulling one side upwards.>Not only that, the differential between the shoulder, barrel, chest, and hind leg muscle masses were confusing.>That, however, was not the worst part: your mind was.>More specifically.. it now realized that your body was that of a pony, a hungry one.>An incredible hunger for delicious VEGETARIAN food, a sweet pasty, and at least two different drinks food was the first true problem.>Second was you.>More specifically: you, a mare.>Not to mention one with that certain set of inbuilt equipment which was, at the moment, annoyed for a reason you did not know.>Still worse, your new body had sensitive teats which were currently rubbing on an incredibly soft, smooth, yet lightly firm surface.>The body might have been yours, of course, but that didn't prevent it from from telling you every. single. possible. ache.>Which, your straining psyche tried to count, was at least ten but less than one hundred.>Including one that started everywhere in your new, pulsing hooves, and ended nowhere.>Little more could be stated about the lustful desire for salt and wine in equal measure other than it was more of a need, and less of a concern.>Last in sequence was the true realization that you were, yes, still in a mare's body.>And that meant only one thing:>PAIN.
"Still alive or do I need to rescue you from an impulsive decision? Hm? …aha! Cranberry and oat muffins, now these bring back nice memories."
>Pain.>Oh God, Gods, Goddesses, spirits, whoever could fucking hear.>THE PAIN!>Moving was pain.>Not moving was pain.>Everything was pain.>Even the pain was pained!>And she couldn't move!>And she was being bothered by all these new urges and things!>Especially the new hunger for vegetables!>So Nova did the only, reasonable, and logically sound thing that she could in this state at this very moment."AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!">She screams out at the top of her lungs in exasperation for a moment into the soft fluffy clouds.>Taking a moment to catch her breath for a moment as she pants heavily into the clouds.>The mare cleared her throat and slowly, attempted to sit up. >Baby steps after all.
"… Hodch. I want something. Something salty. Something sweet. And something I don't even know what at the moment. But I'm feeling… Wine. Or painkillers. Something to make this stop hurting.">She says, now in a somewhat accented voice.>Now onto the… Other problem which he hadn't considered.>These damn teats! He should have known if he had bothered to check!>Nova attempts to reach down, slowly, to relieve her nips from the soft, rubbing hell they were experiencing.
>>210365>Bending down to peer at the site, Frost's snout wiggles in deep thought.
"Hm.. for a bit of background, stealth equipped Constructs have been reported though quite sparingly during each millennium. The oldest known models were incredibly single purpose: melee combat, defending others, short, medium, long, extreme range, and so on. Wasn't until somewhere around the late Endless March of Stone conflict that they began experimareting with other variations due to the Rift itself actually being invaded. Perhaps that was what caused their design improvements.. well, a thought for later. It was and still is presumed that their technological capabilities are unable to overtly and directly counter Crystal Runes, spell-craft, psions, or other esoteric methods. If this was a form of spycraft, why would a single Prench pegasus from a little over a thousand years ago be the only possible candidate? Again, I've never read or heard of anything like this. Nearly all the recovered bodies are thoroughly analyzed.">Nodding down at the swelling, the Crystal mare releases the stallion's ear, sitting back and turning a deep frown to you.
"Possible. None of the Tallus militaries have ever recorded a DIRECT incident between modified sapients and Constructs themselves. You saw him being awakened. The most pressing concern were severe injuries.. wait, did you say 'missile'? If I remember my history right there were a number of Harpies from Otherworlds and Planes that a large amount of technologies less effective than the Constructs themselves but they could be produced in massive quantities. A few Harpy exceprts from those records state something like: 'missiles deployed in the millions caused little effect'. Not an exact translation though so don't quote me on it.">Staring up at the Clinic's ceiling for a bit, the Combat Medic exhales heavily, lifting a foreleg in a half-shrug.
"While that does seem the most likely there are still too many questions I've no answers to. Hopefully one of our Lorekeepers survived the invasion and is in decent enough shape to come here, I need to ensure they hear of all this."
>Eyes widening and sitting up straight, Frost tips her head left, working her cheek for a moment before sticking out her tongue, three hoof-long pieces of bright, glowing purple crystal across it.>Forehooves lifting, the mare's face darkens in a grim smile while she presents an unusual tanto styled scalpel, humming in a flat tone while it raises into the air.
"Then I've no choice, immediate exploratory surgery is warranted. And, please don't ask.">Reaching up into her hood, she removes a tiny vial of something that looked like hot liquid lava, capped with a minuscule white stopper.>Removing the stopper, the vial floats up and is upended onto the scalpel, releasing a single drop which quickly coats the entire surface, turning into baking red-white color.>Leaning forwards while the scalpel colls off quickly, the Prench stallion's ear is pushed forwards, Frost's eyes narrow while beginning a short primary incision.
"Get Nova Flicker immediately, carry her in here if you have to. If she isn't awake yet then bite one of her ears hard enough to puncture through!"[ 1d6+3 = 7 ]
<Adept Biologist[ 1d6+3 = 4 ][ 1d6+3 = 7 ][ 1d6+4 = 8 ]
<E.Surgeon[ 1d6+4 = 9 ][ 1d6+4 = 9 ][ 1d6+6 = 9 ]
<M.Crystal Runes: Resonate[ 1d6+6 = 11 ][ 1d6+6 = 7 ][ 1d6+6 = 12 ]
>>210379>Pareidolia remains resolute as his A.I. corroborates his original line of reasoning.
"A data medium for an organism beyond our ability to contain or assess. It is 'alive' and is Construct technology we lack sufficient information, equipment, and facilities for. For now, living Constructs we cannot control are too great a risk."
>He nods grimly while he descends the staircase.
"Far more advanced than anything we have encountered. Their reasons for coming to Tallus are all the more grave with this knowledge."
[Unclear if even Spiral would be equipped to understand this…]
>Having a chance to survey the Lab properly, he spares a confused glance towards the Trove.
"If the Inquisitor was involved, then they must have intervened to prevent that missile from damaging the Lab with their time manipulation somehow. It would explain her condition and how she somehow entered the Lab before me."
>He arches an eyebrow while pulling the remaining Construct hulls closer to where the microscope table was.
>Reaching under the table to pick up the small orange marble, he holds it up in an attempt to look at any discerning features it may have.
"Fair point. Then the Inquisitor's abilities are closer to Committee projected expectations. Technological contamination is not caused by the presence of more advanced technology. Both Flash and the Constructs are a non-concern in regards to preventing corruption of native species. Constructs are viewed as a threat. Flash would be unwilling to interact with most ponies at large and has a clear agenda to avoid contact when possible."
>After securing the marble in a zipper pouch if it was truly inactive, he checks to make sure the fluid filled cavity of the remaining hull was in fact inert even going so far as to press his glove against the liquid.>He then looks up as the A.I. remarks about the missile and moves to check the NW corner.
"Moving to confirm the presence of the missile. The Library shook when we reached the surface. I assumed the missile must have detonated then."
>Astral ultimately found the taste of apple appealing; sweet and sour, something she did not get from the cooked meats in the Mess Hall.>'Must eat MOAR apples!'
"For you Nova, I shall behave."
>Said the Pred-elk, beaming at the colourful Unicorn when she booped her back.>Now gone from her side, Astral laid back into her beds' comfy pillows, almost immediately falling asleep due to how nice they were.
>She snored pretty loud though…
Ambush: +1 Token to Spruce
>Senses slowly coming back to him, Golden tentatively stepped around to gauge the ground he was on. Happy he was not going to slip and fall, he called out to both humans and tiny furball.
"I do believe we are now at a higher altitude than before, which, with the sudden change in atmosphere has made us woozy. That or translocating again so soon from before.">He explained, kicking a loose rock, trying to watch it through his blurry vision as it skidded down the mountains' side.>>209334>Under Adons' feet chips of stone and tufts of snow were dislodged from him moving, the ground appearing quite delicate.
>From what he could see through the blur, Golden was correct. They were higher up the mountain, the air quickly changing to be thinner and colder made his lungs and face burn.
>Off in the distance at the same height they were at on the slope, the Witcher saw a light. It was bright, but did not appear to be orange like that of the sentry Orb down below.
"Indeed, the farther the better. And closer to Excelleon no doubt my good fellow." >>209473>His stomach grumbled for a moment before relenting, Spruces' breakfast staying put for now.
>On his shoulder, the Chitqu rolled back and forth mewling as it clutched his fluffy stomach, its stomach suffering harder than Spruces. Least it did not throw up.>Yet.
>Underneath the layer of snow and gravel sat hard earth, made from solidified mud and trapped rocks. This gave the Operator stability and purpose as he corrected himself from not tumbling down the 70 degree angle of the mountains' side.
"I wholeheartedly agree Spruce, let us hope we do not require more teleporting.">Agreed Golden Horn, head now lifted high to breath in the frigid fresh air to clear his stuffy mind.
"Thankfully no, that was not a true Construct. Excelleon was Tartarus-bent on defeating the Constructs, fair means or foul. Seeing that Pseudo-Construct means he has been able to adapt their technology to such a degree he can create his weapons…No doubt from biological matter native to Tallus, if the notes about him are to be believed."
>Head sufficiently cleared of the ill effects of teleportation, Goldens' horn lit up again.
"It is apparent he has achieved his deranged delusions of making his own Constructs, we can only hope he has not made too many.."[ 1d6+2 = 6 ]
>B.Arcane Awareness[ 1d6+2 = 7 ]
>Slowing down from a focused canter to a reserved trot, Venous craned her neck to fully look back at Corsen.
"Ah, my mistake and apologies. I shall arrange for that as soon as I am able.">'Why them of all ponies?'
>Venous slowed her trot even more until she was walking right next to the Cultist again, though with a humans' arms length distance between her and him.
"It appears you are perfect for the job by your…colourful retelling. I am a mere Medic, it is not my forte to go about being stealthy and sneaky like the Lunar."
>At his clarification on him being the Bounty hunter, she hummed, bright blue tail flicking in interest.
"Hmm, an interesting take.">'Does he wish monetary gain from this endeavour also?'
>As the duo walked through the night life of Canterlot again, though this time in a different direction. This way the buildings became more sparse, the extra space taken up by elaborate gardens that encircled extremely lavish mansions that were similar to that of Lady Duo Whells' along with other more humble governmental buildings. The further Venous led Corsen the more wide open Canterlot got.>Packed and stacked ornament covered buildings with tight winding paved roads that made up the majority of inner city architecture was replaced with massive plazas that were separated by crystal clear water canals and eating gardens, all enlightened by fantastically wrought metal lamp posts that shun soft light. It did not sting the eyes, hide the brilliant starry night sky and collectively made the whole district comfortably warm.
>Every few hundred yards there were fountains that had satellite pagodas which served food and offered relaxation, the ground underneath them solid gold bricks that denoted the space they claimed. The rest of the district was a rainbow assortment of polished marble when viewed from above by those flying saw whole dioramas of art, many depicting the Busts of Nobles, Princes and Princesses and other notables that are in favour with Canterlot.
>The University appeared to be in the centre of this large expanse, tall iron bar fence with well groomed shrubbery protecting it from the rest of the open world plaza. Though Corsen knew it had other defences, ones unseen and unused.
"Here we are.">Venous said as she led the Cultist right up to the gates of the University, which were guarded by a dozen Nightguard. Interestingly, they all had a seal of the University stamped into their armour right under the Lunar emblem on their chest armour.>They were formed in an arrow formation, each staring off in a different angle. There were no doubt others somewhere too, most likely guarding other entrances.
[Canterlotian] "Halt, he goes there and state your purpose.">Asked the lead Nightguard, a large male batpony with deviously jagged hoofblades.>At this, Venous stepped forward in a parade stomp.
"I am Venous of the Honour Guard, Medic. I am here on a mission. Let us gain entrance.">Pursing his lips, the Bat Stallion gave Corsen and Venous a once over. Eventually he snorted and indicated with his head at Corsen.
"And the human, what say him?"
>>210424>Indeed, Mallia expected no response from any of the interesting archaeotech she was looking at. >Though this doesn't stop her from feeling sad, inadequate, and lonely. Of course she had her own machine spirits to talk to; but her heart felt heavy still, since while her machine spirits were lots of company, her discomfort from not knowing was growing greater by the second; paired with the stress of earlier events, her death (and thus, failure to protect her spirits), the loss of her comrades, the encounter with the Inquisitor, and the Stormtrooper flat and unfeeling tone making her feel worse and worse.
>The only thing that somewhat cheered her up was the sight of the strange Tech-Knight, which made her visibly perk up and crane her head.>As they passed eachother, The Enginseer becomes excessively excited and softly gasps at the sight, even so much as turning lightly to keep looking at him/it/her to keep looking at them even after passing by,
"Awhhh!…" >She nearly squeaked like a child; though she was ultimately forced to keep walking, and thus turn around, before she could investigate further.
>However her curiosity had, by now, reached critical mass; she almost IMMEDIATELY politely asks her Auspex to scan the Tech-Knight and relay EVERYTHING to her, while at the same time reinforcing the Protection Engrams of her Auspex, in case this ends up being a bad idea.>She even glances over all the jobs on the info board, and makes a mental note to return here if she has nothing to do.[ 1d6+1 = 6 ]
<Tech-Use + Auspex Link: Protect[ 1d6+1 = 5 ][ 1d6+1 = 2 ][ 1d6+2 = 5 ]
<CQ. Auspex Scan
>Almost as soon as her cheer came, however, it left her. She turned back to the Stormtrooper to give him another glance, her posture going from almost skipping with excitement, to a resigned striding gait in under a second; sagging her shoulders as she, once again, guiltily replies to Chisan.
*"I understand… I-I am not questioning you, Stormtrooper. Please forgive me. I'm just having trouble maintaining my composure."*>Her voice softly faded, trailing off into a whisper; followed by a quiet, troubled sigh through her respirator. All of what Chisan had said was making her wry her lip and cross her arms across her chestplate out of sheer discomfort.
>She took a very small relief out of trying to peer over the Stormtrooper from her fairly diminutive height, and explore the sights of the machines ahead of her. >By now, being ignored by the Archaeotech was making her uncomfortable enough that she began to try to talk with her Auspex through her MIU. She badly wanted-- no, needed someone to talk to.
(Hey, Cutie; Is it wrong to feel so … Uncomfortable with everything? I'm so sad. I feel lonely. I'm tired, but also curious. I feel like such a failure. There is a greater than 80% chance that I am not even going to sleep tonight. I wish I could stop being so weak.)
>She quite instantly starts to feel bad for burdening her most precious machine spirit with her, to quote, "stupid, crybaby, weakling feelings". And quietly sends it an apologetic ping, before focusing back on the real world; blinking back to attention to the metallic clicking sound coming from behind her.>Mallia quickly turned her head to glance back towards the door opening behind them. Her mechadendrite slightly relaxing it's coil around the backpack, as her shoulders sag with some visible relief.>Behind her helmet, she even smiled a little bit as she turned around to hold up her hand -- and offer a friendly wave to the pegasus.
"H-Hello, Raindrop!">She stuttered once as she works up the tone stop sounding so deflated and, instead try to sound more cheery; though her voice retains a distinct, stressed volume to it nonetheless.
"Welcome back. How are you?" >Her hand slowly lowered to settle on her hip, wrying her lip as her helmeted head tilted slightly, another slow sigh escapes her. Mallia's feet shuffling together beneath the robes to straighten her posture to 'perk up' in a way, after the 'how are you'. Not exactly expecting the mare to say 'good, you?'. >Though the question was genuine, in spite of it all.
>>210481>Cheto nods at the order.
"I'll do that right away, Miss Frost.">He starts moving back to the entrance he came from, thinking about all this.
(So their use of stealth technology is only through some sci-fi stuff that literally makes them invisible and were great melee attackers. It seems they don't deal in spies and, from what Frost is saying, their magic stuff can always detect them.)>As the average man steps outside and searched at the last known location of the sleeping pony, he thinks of the other possibilities.
(So it seems these Harpy folk were attacked with missiles too that didn't do much. She assumes it's due to mass produce them, but if you can construct those spheres willy nilly, either the number of missiles fired per day is way too high or they have some secret component to it. I hope those Lorekeepers she mentioned can help, although I might have to ask later when the idea of the Prench Pony being in or is a danger is gone.)>He nods to himself.
(This place sure is busy.)>Now completely focused after mulling over what Frost said, he looks around outside the Clinic for Nova Flicker.
(I wonder what she didn't want me to ask…)
>>210370>>210219>An interesting thought from Boris. Sounds like if it wasn't military-related, it wasn't worth upkeeping.
"So for something this far out, what would you say would be considered worth preserving? Whatever's here, it important enough.">Jeff smirks as Mercy's reply, if only for the small chance of something unexplainable happening was enough of a rush for him.>Much like around a month ago when-
>His mind-wandering is halted as he crosses over to the doors, Mercy on the left and him on the right.>They push the black marble open almost in unison to reveal a railed stairwell going down.
"Ooooo. Railings and everything.">Peeking his head over the side to peer to the bottom before making his way to the beginning of the flight, Jeff draws his Spellslinger and sets it to Void element and waves Mercy and Boris to go first.
"Mares and Undead experts first.">He also has plenty of area to keep an eye over the pegasus as they descend.>Naturally he keeps his elemental firearms at a chill low-ready, scanning stairs far ahead of them.[ 1d6+2 = 5 ]
<Helmet Light[ 1d6+6 = 8 ]
<E.Perception + Lunar Faction Bonus + Leadership[ 1d6+6 = 7 ][ 1d6+6 = 9 ]
>>210502>>209473>The harsh wind and thin air, solidified Golden Horn's suggestion. Other than the apparent increase in hight from where they were from before.
"Yeah, it's a little harder to breath. We're definitely higher up.">Aside from the apparent elevation change Adon catches sight of something on the other side of the slope.
"There's a light over there. Doesn't look like another Pseudo-Construct glow, at least. So he actually did do it. He made his own.">He tries not to think what 'organic matter' could have been and instead keeps his eyes on the light as they begin to continue on.[ 1d6 = 5 ]
<B.Perception[ 1d6 = 3 ]
>>210390>Across the north wall above human height, you spy many more weapons than just spears:>It was more a collection of every polearm or polehoof style in existence, ranging from copies of the pegasi favored twin-beam lances to standard variants, harpoons, glaives, poleaxes, halberds, and a single functional war scythe.>Most were pony sized while a few were visibly built for young minotaurs, save for two ridiculously long pikes.>Underneath each one was a white wood plate covered in marks, probably for how many attempts had been made to break them.
>The filly points her right forehoof and wing at the short, long table to your left covered in stuff.
"All those things! The older Sea's Bounty make th-"
"DID YOU CALL ME OLD?!"
"NO NO NO I ONLY SAID OLDER!"
"Hah, got you!"
"You.. you! YOU! WHY?!"
"Because I'm older than you and seeing you flustered makes me happy?">Leaving the now incredibly flustered filly to grumble, the previously busy Ferron gets up, half-trotting away from her work to hop over the short table.>Giving you a short, formal bow, both wings half-spreading and one foreleg tucked under her barrel, the midnight blue mare stands upright to smiles at you, visibly craning her neck to do so.
"I was part of the mixed Ferron bunch Razorback met on the railroad going to Old Canterlot. Real glad we aren't starving anymore or with those Lishanki bitchmares. Come along, I'll show you everything.">Spinning about to extend her right wing towards the table, more like a really short counter, she points out each item one by one slowly.
"Small brown coconut shell on the silk necklace is an Island's Grace, they sometimes float in from the dangerous archipelagoes offshore. It's supposedly from another realm but nopony really knows if that's true. If somepony's hurt, crack it open with a pinch on the three 'eyes' and drink the juice, it'll heal them real quick to a certain point. From what I've heard the effect lasts until you're wounded again. Half off, so five hundred Bits."
"The tiny shield of crab parts crunched together with sweet edible resin is a shell charm, basically like an armor charm except you have to eat it. Lasts forever and tastes pretty good too! Thousand Bits."
"Red dinner plate sized piece, looks like a tinted glass sheet, comes from an ancient amber chunk. Probably went through an undersea magic volcano. ..took nearly a month for us to cut that slice out. Eat it and you'll be pretty resistant to fire. Hm, also, I've HEARD but can't confirm it makes those old spark lamps and any glowstones you carry a lot brighter. Three thousand Bits."
"Pair of faded brown and orange claws covered in spikes there came off a Beton Raker, nasty little Otherworld crab. And yeah, it was named for the pony that took the bet to go after it, then lost quickly and painfully. Enchant or infuse it to a piercing weapon, or claws if you have them, for some extra armor puncturing. Three-thousand five hundred Bits."
"See the multicolored cubes covering that tiny stick? That's crystallized volcanic and magical kanpri-salts. Eat them all and.. look, I know how weird this sounds but it'll let you take a really nasty hit without a scratch once a night. I've no idea if it's safe for a young human to eat that much, but if they take their time it ought to be fine. Four thousand Bits."
"The dull round blue lens about twice the size of my hoof there is a Dorval Fethwhale's eye plate. Lets you see more clearly and, supposedly, can focus on distant targets better.. it's funny because they're a nearsighted species. Probably have to get it enchanted to you elsewhere since there aren't many unicorns in the Cairn. Five thousand Bits."
"Clear little marble there is the core of a Palediver, one of MANY Elemental Plane of Water prey species that escaped into Tallus. Only one in ten thousand or so generates a core. Lets you hop into the Overdark more easily and empowers plasma elementals, but most ponies.. really hate that spectrum, there's far worse creatures there than in the Void. Also five thousand Bits."
"Thing that looks like a clump of black kelp in the middle.. actually is! Some call it Breeze Kelp, floats over the ocean's surface around wrecks while the roots grow down into water. Eat it and you'll react faster, move quicker, but one Cult mare said it also empowers air elementals. Quite rare too, first one I've ever seen. Six thousand Bits."
"Eight hoof long stick of white bamboo there must've drifted around the ocean for a couple thousand years. It's absorbed so much salt, magic, and probably magical salt, that somepony got it bent into a circle. Didn't even strain and damned sure wasn't breaking. You could get it infused to armor, shield, or a weapon for a finishing touch. I'm not EXACTLY sure it'll do but I can bet it'll be nearly indestructible. Probably better used on hammers, staves, hoofboots, gloves, things like that though. Fifteen thousand Bits."
"Square chunk of red folded silk looking stuff on the side, that's the edible skin from a Dellop. It's a little jellyfish about my sister's size, can only be found way offshore around the volcanic rings. If you eat it, it'll let you absorb elementals and empower them. You could probably stand in a fire or in the Empire Tundra and not feel it. Twenty thousand Bits."
"Big hard gourd covered in rows of spines is a wild ocean plant, probably keeps it from being eaten by everything there. Grows on sunken trees up by the Northern Crag Archipelago offshore. Cut the spines off, crack it open, preferably with a hammer, eat the seeds. Your skin can turn pretty hard for a bit but you'll also feel heavier while it lasts; I don't think that actually DOES anything to you though. Supposedly real tasty, probably explains why the Malurians don't trade them. Mom found that one on the beach north of here quite a ways last night. Twenty-five thousand Bits."
"Oh yeah, the amber is a hundred Bits for the small ones, two hundred for medium, thee for large, and five for huge."
>Sunny whispered as she moved closer to the others, examining the door as they opened it.
"If there is anypony here, they were expecting frequent visits that never came, and if there's one thing common to all ponies, it's that we don't cope well with solitude, even in death."
>Having finished her inspection of most of the room, she sidled up next to Jeff at the mouth of the descent.
"Sir, if there were ever any traps here, I've been unable to find them. We've likely set many off already if there are, and I'm inclined to think they're alarms for the chambers below, if so.">She kept an eye out for traps just the same, however. A moment of laxity could spell ruin for them all.
>It occurred to her that she hadn't heard the music in some time. Odd.>Perhaps it just hadn't repeated yet? Or whoever was responsible for the somber tones was no longer making them.>It was possible that she just couldn't hear it, but that wasn't likely, she was able to hear the music from well outside the crypt through several layers of stone, it should be clearer now this far in if it were an automated process.>Focusing her hearing, she listened for even the slightest hint of a whisper of the song, while counting the time between the first time she'd heard it outside the crypt, to the second time she'd heard it in the foyer.>If it were repeating at intervals, she could reasonably expect when to hear it again.>If she didn't, she'd know for certain that somepony was down there making it, and that they'd stopped, possibly in response to their intrusion.[ 1d6+5 = 6 ]
< B. Perception[ 1d6+5 = 11 ][ 1d6+3 = 6 ]
< B. Traps[ 1d6+3 = 5 ]
>Acknowledging Jeff's order with a just barely audible 'Sir', Sunny set off down the staircase at a steady, if cautious pace. Ears forward and wings held loose.>At least the railings were designed for pony use, it was comforting to know they weren't dealing with something of a larger stature.>Though smaller stature didn't mean less of a threat.>If there was a threat.>It was increasingly looking like there wasn't.>…>…There's that laxity again…
>>210413>Hearing one of the tendrils slip up something, a cloud of greasy sparks drifts in front of the right screen.. then a second does the same.>And a third.>Finally: the fourth, which left a chunk of half-molten steel dripping down over the lens.>The seven tendrils twist around each other for more stability, shearing off more pieces of steel to weld over the erratic plating as Wild makes a despairing noise.
"Why has every single repair I've performed gone wrong?!"[ 1d6+4 = 5 ]
<Grade 1 Auto-Repair[ 1d6 = 3 ]
<Repair Tendril #1[ 1d6 = 6 ]
<Repair Tendril #2[ 1d6 = 6 ]
<Repair Tendril #3[ 1d6 = 5 ]
<Repair Tendril #4[ 1d6 = 6 ]
<Repair Tendril #5[ 1d6 = 1 ]
<Repair Tendril #6[ 1d6 = 3 ]
<Repair Tendril #7
>Picking out a tiny blotch in the distance on the right screen, it was most likely on the ash-covered beach, moving in a direction that you couldn't quite tell.>Several lines of Common Equestrian text flow across the screen's sides denoting that they couldn't focus due to damage.>Either the external video feed was poorer than before due to environmaretal conditions, the effects of dehydration from being stuck inside the Android's roasting chest cabin were getting to you, or both.
"Waveform partially isolated: various low scale Anima energies indicating moderate likelihood of sapience, performing in depth scans now. Possibility one: potential local resident, may have survived the forest fire. Possibility two: local scavenger. Possibility three: local predator. Your orders, mom?"[ 1d6 = 3 ]
<Arcanum Sensors Array
>>210437>Going virtually unnoticed the cloud door is disintegrated in a puff of white threads, that is until staring snout-to-snout with Hodch, both ears pinned back and wide eyed in visible terror.>Barely able to lift your head, he starts raising a hoof, mouth opening to say something, then closes it.>Head cocking to one side in deep concern, the unicorn nods quickly, turning about and darting into the adjoining room, his teacher's tone dropping in favor of moderate to severe worry.
"I don't know about the sweet part but I'll grab everything from the chests and sofas-"
>Working past what felt like being forced to run for six hours without stopping, pulling one foreleg down and under ends with the hoof resting at a not terrible angle, lifting enough of the new, rather warm belly to bring your teats off the cloudstuff.>Which, as the fuzz in your mind wasn't clearing, only helped a bit.
>A plethora of items slams to a halt in front of your snout, the first six being various bottles of chilled wines, one empty bottle, two Dampeners, one only half full, and a small cloudy white vial that looked like salt water.>Two freshly made cranberry and oat muffins, a flower sandwich half-stuffed into a puffy millet cake, a half-eaten paper bag of still warm hay fries, one full bar of maremilk chocolate, three small bars of pressed cooked rice, and an entire apple sliced, cored, and in quarters made up the rest.
>Uncorking both of the Dampeners and dumping the streams of fluid into the empty bottle, Hodch glances between the wines, settling his gaze on a bright red variety.>Horn sparking, that one's cork is torn free with visible effort, dumping half of the bottle into the Dampener mixture, holding it out in a firm cloud of deep purple for you to drink.
"First this, then food, got it? Don't worry, you shouldn't get sick from this much.. I hope-"
"If at all possible sir, I'd like to learn from both Hodch, what a weird name that is, and this Naliyna Remostrine. The first shared a great deal of open knowledge on Constructs. Perhaps with a little encouragement he might be inclined to share most if not all. The second, according to her statemarent, has had direct conflicts with at least one in the past. What I wouldn't give for a research equipped body.."
>Pulling an encrypted file from archive to review, the A.I. raises an eyebrow speculatively.
"Neutron weapons were designed to eliminate all organic life within a specific blast radius.. sir, that was likely what immobilized her rear legs. Two problems found: one, where did the detonation occur and what was her position; two, if she was in the blast radius yet none of the electronics in here were effected, what happened?"
"Yes sir, binary, as in zeroes and ones. Her A.I.'s are operating on semi-organic logic with some purely machine state programming. Small amounts of hexadecimal too though nothing significant. They were attempting to access roughly.. six hundred thousand archive codes and names that.. I don't even have? What in the buck is this 'Crios Section Retrieval Project'? 'Sub-Iota Concealed Particulate Weapons'? 'Entropic Waveform Shielding'? I'm starting to get the sense that this Inquisitor is a medieval torturer and more of a hyper-technological madmare.. at this point I can't even guess."
>Retrieving the ultra mini-Construct, where you'd struck it was dented inwards, the opposite side mostly flattened.>Noting no movement, 'Spiral' spends a few moments scanning for signals.
"Nothing, not even a trace datastream or uplink, sir. Do we call them dead or destroyed in this state?">Swiveling the chair around to run a number of simulations, the unicorn rendering's forelegs spread apart in a morbid half-shrug.
"Those were the only three names I could crack sir, the rest had to be wiped. Some sort of near-organic trojan virus was infecting them. Given the ostentatiously named 'Projects' those A.I.'s were asking information from, it's safe to state that she might have been working on countermeasures that would put my generation's capabilities to shame. Then again, what we've seen so far from just one Construct is a major probability of high dimension luminary technologies in use."
>Reaching inside the hull you'd drained in the Citadel, the 'fluid' remains unmoving, sticking to the glove's surface before most of it slides off in small clumps.>Spotting a large professional grade wireless modem and accompanying server rack atop a large bookcase in the northwest corner, the A.I. frowns, pinging the other electronics in the lab.
"All fully operational sir, no service interruptions according to the server's logs.. wait, this is a Faraday Cage, right? There's a number of uplinks transmitting from a 'Master Radio' system down to here, then from the modem back to it. How is that system being bypassed and why? Testing the security protocols, hang on-"[ 1d6+1 = 6 ]
<B.Electronic Warfare[ 1d6+1 = 7 ]
>Searching from the dual couches to the central bookshelves on the west wall, then to the bookcase with the modem and server rack, you could find nothing out of place.>Searching each shelf, the chests, stands, and various items covering them, then to what looking like a bedroom door, there was no debris, scorch marks, nor anything that seemed out of place.>Looking up briefly to review the last several minutes of footage, the A.I. stares on, puzzled.
"Okaayyy… sir, permission for a full recording sweep of this lab, starting from here to the blood trails? I have an illogical human-matrix suspicion node that needs some severe confirmation before I can reconstruct what happened."
>Nova fights past the ridiculous amount of pain as she puts her muzzle to the Dampener and begins to drink.>And drink.>Within mere moments, the mare chugs the entire, half a bottle of wine and then collapses back down onto the clouds with a pained panting. >But she wasnt done there.>Using her free hoof, she pulls forward the slices of apple across the cloud floor and begins to chow down.>The apples disappear in another few moments of pained eating.
"… Good Gods Hodch, in my entire life, have I never felt such pure AGONY
as this moment right now. I either am not welcome here or your stasis pods are fucking hell on the body.">Slowly, she reaches forward again with her hoof, this time to the sandwich of bread and flowers.>She slowly, hoofs it to her muzzle, possibly with help, and devours that in mere moments as well.
"I… Ahem, I am curious Hodch… Is uh, being in this body for an extremely long time going to change my soul? I mean… I know that… In spectral form I look… Human, but will that change?">He sounds a bit worried, and curious, but then weakly points a hoof in the direction of the bottle.
"More wine please…"
>>210515>Inside the communications bunker, the auspex performs a short sweep, then returns a short, mournful negative answer: the walls were a series of layered, refined metals and materials with high degrees of reflectivity.>Aside from the data network in the smaller room, external scanning was impossible here.
>Pausing briefly, the Scion's tone becomes neutral, if not with a slight edge of understanding.
*"No forgiveness needed Enginseer. You did not question me nor did you disobey an order. I am less willing than you to suffer the Rite of Condemnation for one reason: though much here is ArchaeoTech that does not mean it is more useful than our current wargear. The Inquisitor expects an.. unspoken and uncertain amount of tactical flexibility from us to complete her goals. Should carrying out her orders require incentives to perform they will be taken."*>Returning to his probably quite interesting and secret conversation, what little you could make out was a giant, wall-to-wall radio system.>On the left side were two incredibly sharp, clear data screens 0.5 meters wide and 0.4M tall that would make most Tech-Magos drop everything to study, with panels of unknown electronics on either side.>Underneath was a single rather ancient looking keypad that you immediately recognized as a known STC design with slight modifications.>A highly more comfortable, swiveling chair with thick padding on the back comes into view:>A short, young Terran-Asiatic female in an upper class civil styled coat and bright green eyes frowns, motioning towards her left, voice low and drained.
"-ot going to do anything tonight at all, period, everything's cancelled until we find both missing teams or our Scout who is missing with vital information. If you want t-">The human moves out of view as Chisan waves something, further blocking the doorway.
>Spooling for a bit in program-logic thought, the auspex reads off your mood, emotional states, physical bio-chemical levels, then considers your request.>Answering partially via datastream from the Litanies of Loyal Machines playing in soothing Binary tones, it returned multiple notations of your current performance conduct on this world as between above average and excellent.>Spooling back the last datum, it was corrected due to preventing the life of a Throne-sanctioned, Ordo Chronos Inquisitor's life being saved, which the Machine Spirit couldn't even FIND such a performance level rating for.>Listing only one potential failure thus far, that being unable to prevent the Tempestus Scion's overt and direct hostilities towards the Inquisitor's sanctioned xenos ally, the Machine Spirit merely listed that as a high priority task to correct.>Spooling back once again, the auspex's conclusion was both comical and serious at the same time: 'forceful correction may be necessary should Tempestus Scion initiate hostilities against sanctioned xenos allies'.>Returning the ping, a background stream from the Litany of Machine Forgiveness plays.
"Hello again Miss Castella, I-">Lifting her right foreleg halfway, the Knight's helmet tips sideways, emitting a long, rattling yawn through her facemask before shaking her head.
"Ugh, little tired, my ears are ringing, and my nose is sore. Managed to get every noncombatant inside buildings before much could happen.. then every combatant stepped out and the little explosions started. Starting to think I'm getting a headache, but a stiff drink should kill that off. Enough about me though, how'd you all do against that thing? I heard the order to hoof down and that it was destroyed. Or dead, whichever matters most."
>Spruce,tubs his eyes a few times, looking around with blurry vision and slightly annoyed.
"I think the sudden pressure change hit us. Less air. Harder to immidately process.">He grumbles and stands,up straight and ignores his complaining stomach.>The Chitqu on his shoulder seemed to be suffering more though, so that was… Something?>At least he didn't puke all over him.>Yet.
"… So that was… A not real construct? A fake sort of uh… Immitation made by Excelleon?">His grasp of English at the moment seemed to be suffering as much as he did.>But he rubs his eyes and tries again to look about his surroundings.[ 1d6 = 5 ]
B. Perception[ 1d6 = 1 ]
"Noted. Your request will be delayed for now. Short term priority is determining Spiral's location while I ensure the Lab is secure and retrieve equipment acquisitions from the Enclave."
>Pareidolia shrugs as he walks, a confused expression forming on his face as his A.I. decodes the binary message.
"As stated, she is capable of time manipulation. Whatever paradoxical actions she takes, their result would be similarly perplexing. I had little direct work with SERN, and won't be able to understand it… six hundred thousand? Project codenames? Just what does it think would disable the Inquisitor-are these Construct weapons?"
>Frowning as he sets the Construct marble dent side down on the table next to the microscope, he moves on.>As the A.I. reports a potential security bypass, his head jerks up towards the mounted modem in the corner before continuing his inspection.
"Granted. Afterwards continue where you left off with analyzing information relevant to Spiral's location and save it for background processing while I retrieve my equipment."
"Relax, Wild. Panicking will not help us at the moment.">"She's probably unlucky.">I decide not to tell her that.
"How large is it, Wild?">I highly doubt its a local resident.
"And be cautious about it, but do not attack on sight unless its obviously a hostile.">…
"Obviously a hostile as in, a predator, not some pony with a spear. Such as a shark or squid or something."
>>210649>Mallia's smile was not visible behind her helmet, but nonetheless she felt a much needed wave of genuine happyness when the pegasus replied as she did.>The reply from her Auspex and the Litanies of Loyal Machines, too, made her instant of self-deprecation abate into a more warm, fuzzy feeling of mild satisfaction.
>The Enginseer breathes in a deep, inward sigh after Raindrop's reply; briefly glancing back towards the command center to take note of the unknown, well-clothed human's conversation for a moment, before breathing her stress out, hissing it through her respirator as she turned back to the pegasus knight. Her hands idly resting akimbo.
"Things actually went as well as they could've gone, honestly. We didn't take a single casualty.">Mallia's tone rises in pitch, almost sounding excited as she begins to roll her eyes skyward as she recalled the fresh memory, visibly straightening her back and nodding to herself,
"At first there was this Neutron missile heading for the clinic, which would've killed a lot of people; but some hero shot it down with a ballistic weapon, so we took no damage. After that Astral Poinsettia kinda… eh… Fainted, in the middle of the battle.">She raised her hand to pinch at her helmet's underside, tilting her head, in mild thought.
"Her lightning … Stuff, seemed to really mess her up. So I had to sit next to her. 50 meters from the big death sphere of doom. Optimal range, really."
>The Enginseer giggled to herself and turned their glance to the Stormtrooper, looking at what he was doing for a brief spell, before starting to cheerfully stride next to Raindrop and stand alongside as she speaks!
"--So what we did was I scanned it, looked at it with my preysense visor while protecting Astral, called out it's weak points to everyone, and as everyone threw explosives towards the weak point right beneath it, I and my trusty lasrifle shot at it's Capacitors, which were SUPER hot, until it exploded into a big ball of plasma, and it … It actually died!" >The Enginseer's hands shot out as she goes 'boosh', emulating an explosion with her hands, lightly wiggling up and down in excitement and standing on her tippy toes to increase her height by maybe one inch; making all her gear rattle, especially her shield and Axe.>Looking up into the command centre and looking over the screens with some interest, squinting at them, before calming down, and leaning back towards Raindrop,
"Oh and there was this weird, crystal-like equine who was going up against it in melee, and actually winning… She, it, or he, was shooting spikes from out of their mouth… It was odd. You equines are scary." >She nodded her head to herself, returning her hands akimbo, and looking down at the Knight,
"I want to see how you fight one day! --Oh wait," >The Enginseer smirked cheekily from behind her helmet, her upper half-leaning down slightly as she adds a cheeky remark,
"I already did, I totally beated you; if it weren't for the elk biting my butt you'd be totally defeated and embraced into submission.">She nodded to herself again, absolutely confident of what she was saying.
>Mallia secretly bleps her tongue out from between her lips. It's too bad Raindrop can't see it. >Then as Raindrop may or may not try to make a retort, she turned her glance back towards the Stormtrooper, making sure to follow him if he starts moving again… While at the same time internally pondering how best to approach Chisan's dislike for Raindrop.
(Maybe if I just told him the Inquisitor wanted us to have good relations with Raindrop, he might be more considerate. Or, at least, more neutral. It'd be best if I made him apologize somehow…)
(… Though this is something to speak over in private. Maybe once I am in his 'Stronghold'.)
>Her glance then slowly gravitates towards the Stormtrooper's wrist. >She still needed to find a way to fix his Auspex… Seeing it like that made her grit her teeth and crinkle her nose, displeased in a way only an Enginseer can be.
(Hhh… That poor thing…)
>>210632>Watching the short exchange, Bubba couldn't help but be reminded of the women back home.>To him, it seemed that friendly ribbing was universally similar, no matter where he was.>Shaking his head, he regained focus as the bants winded down.>Giving the mare a quick look, he nodded as his eyes looked over everything she described.>"All of these are potentially useful… Some more than others.">He gave the Palediver core a look.>"But some I will refuse to even consider.">After mentally going over the money he had on him, Bubba took out his coin pouch.
"I'll take the Island's Grace, and one of each of the ambers for now. Should be sixteen hundred for all that, right?">After a moment, he added.
"I'll have to come back, but the crab claws and eye plate interest me as well."
"I would suspect only the structure itself as we have seen no signs of habitation nor usage thus far commander.">Folding both wings onto her sides, Mercy's nose wiggles in positive agreement.
"Feels abandoned like Skykeep was. All I have.. sensed so far are preservation enchantmarents.">The Spirit Walker pushes herself forwards with a wide grin, hurrying down the stairwell before Sunny could, head turned left and tongue out so she could quickly lick each of the railings, Boris shaking his domed head remorsefully.
"Obviously the best choice, sir-"[ 1d6 = 2 ]
<Boris: Perception[ 1d6 = 3 ][ 1d6+4 = 10 ]
<Reveal Unnatural[ 1d6+3 = 6 ]
<E.Sprint[ 1d6+3 = 9 ][ 1d6+3 = 7 ][ 1d6+4 = 7 ]
<B.Perception[ 1d6+4 = 7 ]
>Unlike the upper floor, the railings, stairs, ceiling, and walls were entirely blank, finding no carvings nor even cut-ins for glowstones.>Quickly tapping the flashlight as it stutters, sweeping the illuminating beam once more reveals exactly zero dust motes or airborne debris.>It seemed like this room hadn't been finished by the time it was abandoned, though the hollow chime and somber wind flute begin again at their regularly spaced intervals.>>210633>Unlike the entrance or ceremonial chamber door, this pair were devoid of much save for a few barely started, illegible carvings.>Following after the Spirit Walker, the chime and wind flute set began again while she hurries down, Boris eyeing everything on the way.>Ending at the same set of nine repetitions, your examination of the entire stairwell, with the aid of Jeff's moderate strength flashlight, was devoid of carvings and even glowstone holders.>Not only that, the air gave off a cold yet stale scent, one that indicated this particular room had been perfectly sealed and hadn't been opened in centuries.
>>210646>Aided by Hodch keeping the bottle still, the incredibly sweet flavors of red grapes and green apples go down more smoothly than expected.>Setting the empty wine bottle aside and delivering the apple quarters close enough for you to bite onto, the reservist merely scowls.
"Those've been around long before me, and stasis cells, not pods like the Constructs use, don't cause issues unless in storage for over at thousand years. Whatever happened to your host body occurred before it was found and brought to that facility-">Presenting the unusually tasty sandwich for you to bite into, Hodch shakes his head in the negative during the second chomp.
"Once once so far as I've seen, but that was an instantaneous battlefield transfer without any of the aids I brought with me. Transferences cause the hosted ka to retain itself without changes. There is a chance that you may slowly change of your own volition, though that's on the individual, not the body itself.">Lifting the half-full bottle of sweet red grape wine close enough for you to drink from, the pair of muffins, hay fries, rice, and chocolate bar are presented alongside it, Hodch's mood quite dark at the moment.
"We can deal with you getting smashed later, right now it is VERY important that you take care of your immediate needs but after this bottle, give me every bit of knowledge on each sensation or feeling you've had. That might give me some clues as to what this host body experienced before it was placed in stasis.">Feeling some of the pain relenting, it was replacing by your body's desperate urge for much more to drink, an irresistible urge for salt, and a likewise terrible craving for sugar sweets and pastries.
"Couldn't find any other Dampeners here, all of the Starborn suites are intended to be small and private residences to take a lunch or dinner without interference. If you're still in pain after this I'll take you to.. hrm, best place I can think of would be Surefall, Druids can make just about everything and their prices are basically free."
>>210740>Hearing Nova's intimidating voice from inside the clinic, he knew that he had to act quickly.
(A la mierda,
she can be really scary when she wants to.)>He jogs up to her and rocks her body with his hands, clasping her head and croup to do so.
"Miss Nova, would you please wake up?! A pony is in need of assistance!">After doing that, he wastes no time in changing action, hands going under her barrel to pick up the sleeping horse.
"We need you, Miss Nova! Please, wake up!">After picking her up, he travels back inside towards Frost, Nova either still sleeping or just woken up from his efforts from the shaking and shouting.
(The jerking motion as well as the shouting should do the trick. I hope I'm being fast enough for Frost right now.)
>Nova clears her throat after that, sighing as she shudders a little bit.>The thought of a slow transition to another form of his own volition? Unlikely, surely.>But the possibility didn't really worry him all that much. What happens happens.>And it would certainly be interesting what happens.
"Right… I feel like… Pain. Like it's dull, throbbing, and as of right now, everywhere and it isn't getting any better.">She pauses on better, blinking a few times.>It felt like it was starting to wear off a little as she ate.>Could this possibly be the key…?
"Might just be the booze and the painkillers, but I'm feeling… Uh…">She more or less instinctively points to the chocolate bar now, and somewhat broadly waves at the food.
"… I need sweets! Salt! And I don't know why but I just… Need them, right now!">With some of the pain subsiding she reaches once more for the food on the ground and pulls over the cranberry and oat muffins and begins to eat.>Within another few more moments she downs the muffins.>Then, she points with a hoof to the salt water.
"… Salt, please. I don't trust my hoofs at the moment."
"Zhun.">The alchemy and the magical medical reagents are still outside of Zhun's scope of knowledge>He simply listens on to the shocked mare
"Sounds good. Oh the rare stuff. That's…something.">He listens on to the mare's suggestion>1/8 of the items may be too low>Plus, may come late if the supply line runs dry of the mercs helping the consortium
"You can go ahead and send me the suggestions. I'd appreciate the help.">Zhun gives the mare his own slight smile>Maybe one of the places is Snootadishu
>>210202>"Been a while since Razorback got mistaken…especially with how our involvement has been.">This thing has some history>Wait…returned?
"The Lonely One arrived multiple times?">Seeing the tumble of batponies, Clem figures this was an entrance way>…odd answer about the pilot>Unless…
"Guillotine within, without. You are the Guillotine itself?">He walks up the ramp, and inspects his first airborne vessel on Tallus
"Er, I should've specified that wasn't an immediate request, sorry sir.">Blanking out at the barely known Committee team's mention, 'Spiral' holds up a hoof with a small, humiliated smile, turning into a hard expression.
"Er, sorry again sir, I meant that the Inquisitor was trying to access those project names FROM me. The Construct data was wiped and those storage nodes formatted when you reentered the lab. At a guess that might have been the Inquisitor's A.I.'s performing a series of failsafe measures in the event of catastrophic trauma, searching for and then dumping their collected information to those specific archives. ..I'm not programmed to understand temporal manipulation sir; in fact, I'm not sure I can even reconstruct a paradoxical event or situation."
>Once more performing a grid search, from the eastern sitting couch to the east bookshelves was likewise clear.>Back to the couch, and searching under it, then along the eastern wall, none of the books, items, or trinkets stacked on the shelves were disturbed from what you knew.>Visibly expressing major disbelief, the A.I. focuses on the recordings so far as you cross into the center of the lab.>Still finding nothing amiss upon close inspection of the east and west bookcases, stands, and chests, the Marquis rendering lifts its shoulders, running a series of tiny simulations in the background.
"Okay, facts: no missile, no debris, no blood spatters, splatters, trails, or stains except in front of southeast electronics and experimaretal tables. Likewise, none of the electronics in THIS lab were damaged, interrupted, or destroyed, which I can confirm through the server, laptop, and personal computer logs. Problem: where DID the bucking missile reach if it detonated inside here? This leaves only one possible solution: it didn't detonate inside the lab."
"Sir, this is the paradox that my illogic emotion nodes were suspicious of: we both saw the Construct launch the same form of missile inside this lab, but, the detonation that you felt and the one I was able to analyze outside the Library was anywhere from ten to thirty times more so than the missile detonation between the Pagoda and Clinic. This is what I was able to reconstruct, after that I'll start analyzing the other messages-"
>Taking up most of the internal display, a rendering of the southern lab begin with the exact time stamp corroborating you running into and up the stairwell.>Placing the unknown Construct model where it was immediately after you escaped, an image of Flash appears in front of the electronics tables ten seconds later, the wireframe head turned left before running towards the exit, right before the first blood trail began.>The Construct render fires each of its' laser weapons into the Inquisitor's chest and barrel, and as Flash turns to reach the door, both plasma cannons fire, striking into the center of her upper hindquarters.>At the same moment, the Construct disappears at the exact time stamp you spotted it outside.>The rendering continues with Flash's hind legs immobilized and falling forwards, then furiously struggling to climb up the stairs, performing the same double or triple shock-motions that the A.I. mentioned a bit earlier up the stairwell.>Fast forwarding the simulation nearly two minutes until Flash exited the library doors, the A.I. halts the rendering, staring in morbid displeasure down at its own tiny screen.
"The Inquisitor was able to paradox both the missile AND the Construct outside the Library after sustaining a minimum of neutron exposure and damage to herself. That still doesn't account for the over one-hundred fifty millimeter artillery shell detonation you felt and I recorded. ..unless that IS the paradox, sir. Warping the Construct from an internal location, down here, to an external location in front of the Clinic, about one-hundred fifty meters, while at the same time able to transmit an otherwise lethal neutron radiation burst elsewhere… the implications are staggering. Is the Inquisitor what humans can become beyond the Nanite Age, or some sort of hyper-trained mutation to deal with temporal problems?"
"Uh, sorry for taking up so much of your time sir! My programming can barely hoofle this simulation, but I'll file the information away for later use."
>Collating the data, the A.I. emits a short burst of data to play the seventh message.>This time it was Mercy and Denra, the first audibly drunk and slurred while the second was quite incensed.
"Spiiiirallll.. we need your hoofs up heeeere-"
"Can you no- please don't lean on m-"
"Nooo! He's gotta hoof up an' stop bein' sho lashy-"
"Just ten seconds Mercy! Give me that much time or I'm going to send you back to Tipper!"
"Good, excellent, and don't throw up on me. Now, Spiral.. if you're STILL DOWN THERE AND NOT BUSY then we need your ass to get the buck up immediately! There's a huge problem that just dropped onto our collective teats and testicles, Linara showed up in Las Pegasus with at least an entire bat-"
"MERCY I SWEAR TO GREAT EPONA I'M GOING TO BURY BOTH MY HOOVES IN YOUR ASS SIDEWAYS IF YOU DON'T STOP! Linara had anywhere from two to five thousand earth ponies with her, most of them were killed but she escaped, again. Worst part is her forces dropped almost every one of the Rogue's Circle districts. Now I don't care that they're dead, good riddance, but we need to know what dimension, spectrum, or plane she's been escaping to every time she shows up. I want her taken alive, not dead like that dumb filly General does! Get off your ass Spiral, I need you out here right bloody now!"
>Staring at the screen with bated breath, the A.I. exhales it, lifting his forelegs in a truly confused shrug.
"That definitely doesn't help.."
>>210685>Ripping the crumpled ball of steel armoring apart with her armored hands, Wild begins feeding it to her tendrils, her panic now double as sparks truly begin to fly from the view outside your cabin.
"It's too late NOT to panic right now mom! Less than five minutes remain until large scale waveforms hit, I'm less than forty percent complete, and every error is costing seconds that you do not have!">In a sense, she was right, but it also proved that Wild Ride didn't inherit your patience or sense of calm.[ 1d6+4 = 6 ]
<Grade 1 Auto-Repair[ 1d6 = 3 ]
<Repair Tendril #1[ 1d6 = 1 ]
<Repair Tendril #2[ 1d6 = 4 ]
<Repair Tendril #3[ 1d6 = 2 ]
<Repair Tendril #4[ 1d6 = 5 ]
<Repair Tendril #5[ 1d6 = 4 ]
<Repair Tendril #6[ 1d6 = 2 ]
<Repair Tendril #7
>The Eldritch Android's tendrils continue their frantic reinforcement measures while the right screen picks up the tiny, still moving blotch.
"Size: medium equine. Potential sapience: one hundred percent. Potential species: pegasus. Likelihood of previous notation: one hundred percent. My external feeds are severely damaged and I don't have the materials to repair them.. ..what is glass made of exactly?"[ 1d6 = 5 ]
<Arcanum Sensors Array
>>210800>Patience is a virtue, Wild.>Even if it doesn't seem like it is at the moment.
"Seconds that -we- do not have, Wild.">I feel the need to reiterate that we were both going to get out of here.>Besides, from what I do know, trying to swim from 100 meters down without anything to hold air in, would kill me.
"Glass is, to put it bluntly, melted sand.">"A pegasus, this far down? Unless it's a seapony…" shoo be doo
"If its a pony do not engage, I may be able to talk with them. Razorback's probably known out here."
>>210798>Pareidolia seats himself on Spiral's worn sitting chair by the doorway, resting his elbows on his knees as his A.I. deliberates.>He watches the simulated reconstruction with mild interest though ultimately says little on it save:
"She had ranted on about the insular nature of her order and believed they were misguided in some way, but it is likely her abilities stem from it."
>He remains silent as the message plays out.
[Events pertaining to the attack on Las Pegasus? Before that Class 2 re-designated Class 3 'Empress Silver' started modifying humans…. ]
"It does not. Cycle through the next message."
>>210691>Head bending forwards, Raindrop's bladed wings push the helmet off, shaking her damp mane to the left with a relieved sigh.>Ears perking up and swiveling to you, the Knight's eyes squint briefly before setting the helmet on the map table.
"That's.. a first. No idea what this 'new-tron' thing is, but I've seen the sapient Pred-Elk here a few times. Just like their feral relatives, Pred-Elk can store lightning in their bodies and they can use their horns to expulse it, usually by charging. Takes a toll on them physically."
>Still preoccupied with the discussion, Chisan's helmet was now tipped back, removing something from his armor and showing it off.
>Sitting down while most of her platemail jingles, Raindrop's eyebrows raise, whistling in an impressed fashion.
"Every Construct I've read combat reports on or heard from the survivors has killed two ponies, minotaurs, Gryphons, and whatever else minimum. I don't mean marecenaries, I mean Honor Guard, Tower Guard, Rogue Elites, High Germaneighan Guildmares, even the Assassin's Circle; the real best of the best take severe losses and Razorback manages not to lose anypony? That really is a first Miss Castella.">Lifting a heavy looking forehoof and poking at her nose thoughtfully, her head tilts with a small snort.
"That was a Crystal pony for sure, I've had my share of run-ins with a few. Physically they're weaker than earth ponies and nowhere near a minotaur's strength, but I kind of doubt any one of them could match a Construct. What you saw weren't spikes, those are a near-magical thing called Crystal Runes, somewhat similar to the psionic abilities that some earth ponies are born with, though much more precise. Crystal ponies are some of the best crafters and engravers on Tallus, they even have a form of crystalline technology that only they can use. Well, next to Gryphons, harpies, and Kra`ken that is. As for scary there's much worse than one angry Crystal pony in my professional opinion, even been assigned to keep you and him from meeting several of them here in Razorback."
>Unable to sight the communications unit now, one of Raindrop's eyebrows raise, the other lowering in challenge.
"Is that so?">Puffing her cheeks out and squeezing her lips together in a small fishface for several moments, the right foreleg lifts to point up at your chest.
"Challenge accepted, Miss Castella! The next time we do it for real. Conditions: if I win, I get an hour of your time, that is whenever I'm off duty, so I can take you to the biggest spa the Empire has. But if you win, you get an hour of my time, also whenever I'm off duty, and I'll go and do anything you want, wherever you want. Just not to the Moors, my armor is really bad in hot places."
>Still in a ruined state the auspex was rather sad looking, especially given the fact that Scions relied on their own individually issued ones greatly.>Turning her gaze to the Scion as well, the Knight's expression deadens, ears swiveling and flattening to either side.
"That thing he's wearing, right? The bunch of minibears we came across were.. bad. One of the Arcane Blades spotted them lurking around the Fortress perimeter, he decided to out there and scare them off. I went with because.. well, you know, contract stuff. I didn't expect them to charge after that red lightning of his killed one. Used all four of my manabombs, Chisan threw a few of his, they kept on charging until maybe half of them were left. His armor was okay but that thing was torn into pretty badly. Never heard of Moors minibear swarms that big, frenzied, or this far north. Something's changed in the New Everfree but I don't know what."
>>210692>Deftly leaning over with the first primary feather on her left wing and flicking the amusingly small coconut to balance on her outstretched right, then presenting it to you, the midnight blue mare smiles merrily.
"Yep! If you wanna crack them open here put them on the counter. Want to borrow a hammer? There's a few in the back that we haven't sold yet.">Eyes turning to the table once more, her lips purse, giving a short nod.
"Don't worry about paying right now, we're never in a rush. Besides, Sea's Bounty know Naliyna enough that she'll send the rest whenever she gets time, so I'll put those two on the reserved table in a bit. Besides that most of the crowds have been through here tonight and I haven't seen the humans not from Razorback in a while, pretty sure nothing will be bought until dawn.">Getting over her huffing fit, the filly's wings flap quickly in an attention getting motion.
"You haven't even told him about all the other stuff on the tables, the armor things, or all the weapons!"
"You kinda did that for me sweetie, and does it look like he wants me to talk his ears off?"
"Weeelllll… no.">Eyes rolling upwards while she shakes her head, the Ferron smiles knowingly.
"Just in case, IF you want to know about any of the weapons, armors, or armor modifications we can do, my sister can give you the short list. I mostly make pegasi or unicorn duelist weapons, she's the one that figures out how to piece every little piece together for maximum protection."
>>210778>Struggling to lift the fairly heavy, dead asleep unicorn up results in a series of strains in both arms and legs.>Definitely not as strong as you were previously.>Neither eyes nor ears twitched while you slow walked back into the Clinic, Nova's blissful snoring attracting an immediately dangerous sense of ire.>Glancing upwards, the Combat Medic's eyes flicker cold blue under the hood while the empty apple shape bottle hurtles towards you at somewhere between fastball pitch and 'this WILL end in death' speeds.>Thumping into Nova's side, the glass shatters startling her awake with a loud neigh of fright, though luckily not in your ear.>Nova's legs flail around for several moments before retracting, both of her lightly glowing pupils narrow into scared, tiny stars at you, which is interrupted by Frost snarling aloud.
"Mister Gallo, get Nova here right now! I need her damned analysis expertise right this bloody second, there's a silver metal kind of.. tiny snake thing moving under the Prenchie's hide! It's draining this acid smelling green shit and making my nose bleed!"[ 1d6+3 = 9 ]
<Adept Biologist[ 1d6+3 = 4 ][ 1d6+3 = 4 ][ 1d6+6 = 9 ]
<M.Crystal Runes: Resonate[ 1d6+6 = 10 ][ 1d6+6 = 8 ][ 1d6+6 = 7 ]
>Half-horrified and half-furious in a trite, humiliated expression, Nova wiggles both ears and one forehoof at Frost's direction.
"Please take me to her before I pass out again-"
>>210785>Roughly half of the miserable pain having bled away now, Hodch's eyes roll upwards, ears flat on his skull in serious thought.
"That doesn't tell me enough, there's no physical wounds or injuries that I could see. I had the strangest feeling-">Instantly lifting the chocolate bar closer for you to devour, he turns an exasperated sigh to the side, glancing out into the other room.
"The host could've been caught out in combat for an hour or two, was running for a long period of time, ambushed and fought off her attackers.. too many possibilities.">Nudging the muffins close enough to inhale, the deep purple stallion looks back at you, his face creased in broad spectrum concern.
"Cravings? That.. does narrow down what likely happened a bit. Either long term combat scenario or hours of running. Saltics are physically in better shape than most Equestrian unicorns.">Nodding quickly, the cap is taken off and lifted to your lips, the overbearing urge for salt somehow much worse now.>Hodch glances at the hay fries, which and rice bars, morbidly quirking the corners of his lips.
"There's nothing else in the suite, we normally don't leave anything here. If you feel up to being carried I can take you either to Six Candles, fairly large eatery in one of the southern Starborn Villages, or the Three Corners bar in the Empire. Those are the only places I can think of right now where questions aren't going to be asked."
>After devouring thr chocolate bar, she quickly turns to the salt water.>The mare pressed her lips to the salt water, and almost unbelivinly, she began to chug the salinated drink.>She slows down a little, but is clearly, for some reason, desperate to down as much as possible.>And in a few moments, the vessel is emptied.>Nova now takes a moment to pant softly, lifting her head up now as the pain begins to subside.
"… No… Idea. But I… Think its working? I don't feel as much pain. Like I said, might just be the painkiller but…">She sighs, putting a hoof clumsily to her head to rub it softly.
"I just feel… Pain, literally everywhere, no exhaustion I dont know why just these insane cravings and feeding them seems to be… Helping? Perhaps the manner of her ka's severing caused this much pain? I don't really know Hodch.">She looks up, now to the fries curiously.
"… The fries too please. Are those rice cakes salted?">The mare pauses another moment, frowning.
"… God I am going to be so dehydrated after this but I literally don't care. All I can think of and feel right now are these insane cravings and this pain."
>>210845>Cheto huffs a little bit, frustrated by his decision.
(Carrying her was a bad idea. Well, I should try my best to hurry along with a heavy pony on my arms.)>Knowing what's at stake, what with the snake thing Frost mentioned just now, he picks up the pace even further.
(How much do I need to do to wake up a pony? Do I really need to go to Frost's length just to wake her up? Narcolespy is a strong thing it seems.)[ 1d6 = 4 ][ 1d6 = 4 ]
>His face express extreme worry as he approaches Frost and the patient.
"We're here!">He turns to Nova.
"Do your thing, Miss Flicker. You can do it!"
>>210794>Tipping her head in a small nod, Three-Point reaches up and begins tapping on the barely material hololith screen.
"The shipmarent should be ready in about ten minutes, if that. I'll send Miss Remostrine the bill, or you can take it with if you'd like.">Sitting back into the chair and poking her forehooves together, the young mare's eyes close, lips pursing in thought.
"You know anything about Canterlot Underground? If not it's mostly unicorns that left the College so they could study pretty much everything that isn't banned under Canterlot. They manage four big atrium and one called the
Atrium, it's bigger than most of the old Starborn Enclaves were. Crystal mare named Astra Galus is the main biologist there, trades stuff through us from time to time. She should have some stuff in stock there."
"Second one is Neightime Flats in Snootadishu. It's a really cute name, too! She trades us a lot of stuff from around Zebraica, mostly exotic reagents, special flowers that don't grow anywhere else, and the safer Otherworld and Eldritch flora, that sort of thing. Not sure what her prices are since we trade them stuff from the Empire workshops. She's a Zebra, if that makes any difference."
"Third one.. ehhh, you could try Blackberry Cloud Cupcake in Gozka. She's a pegasus, so, kinda airheaded, but she's the only one that trades anything from the Minotaur Hegemony in large amounts. Lot of really ancient plants there, most of it used for defensive or offensive potions and elixirs. Runs a huge alchemy workshop and eatery in the market square. You'll find it real easy, just follow all the flower scents… or look for the great big cupcake sign on top."
"Last one is really weird though, she's only started trading with us in the past couple weeks. Earth mare named Ash Kicker, wears this absolutely ANCIENT looking Solar armor that nopony in the Empire's ever seen before. Well, so far as I know. She works out of the Old Canterlot Waypoint 1 station in the Old Everfree with some other ponies that might be former Day Guard, or.. something. It's a really scary place though, I wouldn't recommarend going alone unless you have to."
>>210795>Emitting a brief, slow electronic sigh, the harpy's tone becomes a mix of mournful wistfulness, with a somber touch of grief.
*"Aye, and his mate. Many Harpies, Kra`ken, Basilisks, equines, minotaurs, Eyes, many others assailed the Dreaded Pair.. many times all rendered unto passing beyond fate. Mineself was but one of many undying vessels, prayed in desperation mineself did more times than stars in Endless Ocean, hoping 'gainst hope to end thee nightmarish Constructed Twos. Naught but Rites of Destruction hurled upon Constructed Twos turned thy tides of Tallus 'gainst foresworn fates. Mineself.. wisheth not to recall such terrors yet called unto service once more mineself was."*>Hearing a sharp, bitter inhale, the trio of Destroyers finally untangle themselves, staring at you from within their angular helmets; probably never seen a human before.
*"Aye, grace. Mineself hath been renamed by victory 'gainst Lonely One's mate by thee Moonlit-Star, Thy Majesty of Night Incarnate. Mineself severed uncounted talons of Constructed Twos until mineself lain to rest thereupon thy Moon. Now.. now mineself a lonely one too, grace. There be not more wakened, slumber eternal mine kin now do. Mineself beareth no ill for kin, thy grace, whereupon they gaveth divine service 'gainst Constructed Twos, they receiveth divine service for thee sacrifices made."*
>Approaching the converted vessel, it was precisely the same as the light Lunar cruiser in the Enclave, save for the additional thick bulk of solid silverine armoring.>Noting a few remaining patches of laser, plasma, and possibly missile damage, the material was slowly bubbling over each in a remarkable self-repairing manner.>The process ends quickly, leaving flat, once more shiny surfaces.>Hunching forwards to walk up the ramp, the vast space inside was not at all what you could've expected:>Little more than four-pronged rotating bomb racks, whitesteel it looked like, were clustered together in rows, small walkways leading across to what looked like another exit ramp on the opposite side.>The vast majority of racks were empty, though a few held batpony Destroyers around their barrel armor, several angular helmets tilting around to eye you.>The set of rotating racks across from you bore a small bay hatch, which was presumably how the lone Destroyer stretching around outside was launched from.>Most of the interior was whitesteel, though there were numerous silverine bulkheads and reinforcing beams criss-crossed throughout the vessel.>In the center of the walkway was a small shaft, flickers of blue static streaming upwards, then downwards.
>Giggling once more, the female harpy's tone becomes considerably more joyful.
*"Step thou upon mineself's cradle, travel thee to bow or stern as thou wilt, grace! Mine stern holdeth thy Greatest Rites of Destruction: Klaves of Minotaur Hegemony! Mine bow holdeth wondrous tech-arcane weaponry whomst Tallus kine aided mine kin to devise!"*
>>210803>Making a rather close approximation to a grunt, Wild flips her right thumb directly at the video feed.
"YOU, mom, NOT me! I should be able to survive most anything so long as my biocore and head unit can be salvaged, but you're not even a tenth as resilient as I am even with all of my damage.">Your cabin rocks side to side as the Eldritch Android bends over several degrees, then straightens up.
"Necessary information acquired. I may be able to repair or restore some of my external feeds.. mom, what other basic materials can be refined and turned into more useful ones?">The right screen is taken up by a model of a pegasus mare, approximately 3'9" tall.
"Unknown target identified. Species: pegasus. Era classification: unknown. Sex: mare. Age: ..fifteen to thirty? High degree of air elemental Anima detected. I'm unable to confirm whether she has noticed me. Should I attempt contact?">Retaining her still frantic pace, one of the less rusty armor slats is brought out for the tendrils to dissect, the pieces swiftly removed from sight while the welding starts again.
"Chest cabin reinforcement status: sixty-four percent complete. Secondary oxygen tank status: thirty percent complete. Environmental connections to chest cabin: completed. Initiating long ranged scans and waveform analysis now-"[ 1d6 = 5 ]
<Arcanum Sensors Array[ 1d6+4 = 8 ]
<Grade 1 Auto-Repair[ 1d6 = 4 ]
<Repair Tendril #1[ 1d6 = 6 ]
<Repair Tendril #2[ 1d6 = 2 ]
<Repair Tendril #3[ 1d6 = 2 ]
<Repair Tendril #4[ 1d6 = 2 ]
<Repair Tendril #5[ 1d6 = 2 ]
<Repair Tendril #6[ 1d6 = 4 ]
<Repair Tendril #7
>>210817>Finding the human styled chair rather comfortable, your A.I. brings up the unicorn model of Flash to study, tapping his chin in slow thought.
"Interesting.. the scale of an organization required to create, modify in, or expand and bring out such a human capacity would consist of perhaps fifteen million throughout twenty thousand years dedicated to that sole purpose. Funding, resources, marepower, technology, and prior knowledge would have to be nearly limitless. Or at the very least on an essential black budget. Theory: the most direct aspects causing her combativeness and isolation are likely due to stagnation, or organizational traditions, that are no longer innovative nor inventive enough to keep up with the stresses of what she was expected to perform. ..maybe all she needs is psychological therapy?"
>Shoulders lifting, 'Spiral' sends a short burst of data outwards while you catch a faint whiff of some fruit scented alcohol.
"Playing message eight.">Once more the Library was active in the background, this time it was Broken Hoof speaking in her clipped, tense Stalliongrad accent.
"Spiral, found your information. In exchange need your expertise. Middle Dynasty outpost ruins not what you want. Repeat: not outposts. Outposts may have weapons, armor, materials to be salvaged. Three temples on map not it, no elemaretal experiments conducted there. Overherd knows. Largest or smallest ruin best chances. Both had testing labs, experimaretal rooms underground. Your end of deal: find everything on Bane enchantmarents. Specifically: if possible to dispel 'permarenent' effects. Can't remove armor Spiral, would die outside it. ..help me damn you, I need this rotten thing off for just once in my life before I die!"
>Making a stern expression as the recording ends, the A.I. swivels around in the rendered chair to face the door, pointing at the mailbox embedded in the wall left of the door.
"That narrows down our search parameters significantly sir. Previous messages indicated a set of notes and maps, they should both be in there if nopony, or no human, has taken them."
>>210624>>210633>The moment he gives Mercy the go to first, the normally-reserved pegasus bolts down the stairs with Boris.>Sunny, taking his courtesy, follows right after yet more cautiously.>Leaving him at the top.
"Okay okay, let me catch up."[ 1d6+3 = 7 ]
<E.Sprint[ 1d6+3 = 7 ][ 1d6+3 = 8 ]>Jeff begins making his way down behind Sunny, sweeping the stair in detail with his light.
"This is also very clean, as well. Too clean. There's no carvings that match the foyer and chamber. Maybe whoever was working on this, never finished it.">As he continues descending, he picks up the faint tune of chimes and flute.>Same tone and pattern as before.
"Hey, you three, I'm hearing that music again.">Despite the music, he catches up to keep his light pointing past Mercy and lighting their path forward.[ 1d6+2 = 8 ]
<Helmet Light[ 1d6+6 = 7 ]
<E.Perception + Lunar Faction Bonus + Leadership[ 1d6+6 = 10 ][ 1d6+6 = 9 ]
>>210770>>211064>Sunny rolled her eyes, half in amusement at Mercy's foalish excitement at racing down the stairs and half in frustration that more care wasn't being taken, stepping up her own pace in turn.>Though she remained more or less behind Mercy, if the mare was going to rush headlong into potential danger without a care, she might as well learn something from the experience.>If she were the type to learn from the consequences of rushing headlong danger that is.>Maybe Mercy was just confident that there wasn't anything in this crypt that could prove a challenge or even wanted to.>And maybe overconfidence was a slow and insidious killer.
>Sunny refrained from licking the opposite railing, she didn't see a need to taste literally every object, surface and curio in the crypt.>Not now that Mercy was doing it anyway.>The mare turned her thoughts towards the conundrum that was the incomplete nature of this portion of the crypt. It had not been entered since construction, had not been finished like the earlier portions and there didn't seem to be any overt traps to deter anypony from exploring too greedily and too deep.>Why?>She was less certain than she had been earlier.>Answers lay below, as did the unknown.>Sunny hated surprises, she much preferred to do the surprising.
"This environment has been hermetically sealed for a long time by the scent, sir. It's strange that the builders would go to such lengths to cast preservative enchantments, yet not finish construction. Further, there's no telling whether construction was abandoned due to external events or something that occurred within the crypt itself. There's evidence to support both theories, but nothing concrete for either. We're still blind."
>Ears perked just a little straighter at the sound of the music, Sunny finished counting, stating quietly and matter of factly to Jeff.
"Repetition every twenty seconds. Either automated, or made by a pony with an excellent sense of time. No discernible differences between the sounding of each set.">That in itself wasn't anything unusual.>Assuming it wasn't automated, whoever was making it could just be extremely well practiced at reproducing each sound as precisely as the next.
"Possibly bat pony due to En-Kee's need for clear, precise repetition of audio cues to denote meaning. Not surprising given the location. Origin still unclear at this stage."
>An irate tail flick.>The probability of them being taken unprepared and by surprise was increasing drastically with the continued lack of concrete information. At best they had schematics that may not even be accurate for the deeper chambers and precedence for lunar-solar war experiments and potentially hostile undead and/or spectral entities.>The lack of consistency where she would expect it and the high consistency where she would not set Sunny's brow in a furrow. This crypt was bent on remaining inscrutable to her senses and deductive reasoning, it didn't help her patience that observable details were becoming even more scarce the deeper they got.>Failure. Frustrating.[ 1d6+5 = 10 ]
< B. Perception[ 1d6+5 = 10 ][ 1d6+3 = 5 ]
< B. Traps[ 1d6+3 = 4 ]
"Sure, I don't have one with me.">"I highly doubt the hangguards to my hook swords are durable enough to crack amber open without being damaged.">While Bubba prefers to pay a total upfront, he did realize that carrying a load of money around always asks for trouble.
"I can drop down nine eighty in that case, if you want.">He figured it wouldn't hurt to suggest as such.>He cracks a bit of a smirk at the exchange.
"I'm in no rush, I can have one ear talked off.">He takes a moment to stow the coconut away inside a jacket pocket.
"Sure, it'd be good to know about the other things you all sell.">"And what modifications they can do to my stuff. Like with that bamboo."
"Yeah yeah, the point still stands."
"While my knowledge on the subject is kind of limited… I'd guess that most things aside from wood, aside from turning that into basic fuel.">I spend a moment on staring at the screen.
"Once she's closer to us, yes.">"Hopefully this does not immediately bite us in the ass."
>>210822>As the pegasus knight removed her helmet, Mallia raised their hands to the sides of hers to do the same. Though she keeps it by her side, instead of putting it on the table.>She payed rapt-attention to Raindrop as she explained away; though Mallia's head tilts at the mention of any titles and rune magic, staring at the knight inquisitively, as her brow rises slowly across her forehead.>Though she did playfully, but cheekily smirk towards the knight still, after her 'challenge'; giving her a good-natured pout to imitate hers, before her eyes dart away again, towards the stormtrooper.
>Her lips slowly curled into a sad, mournful frown as, she kept staring towards the Stormtrooper's auspex, her left eye barely-visibly twitching as Raindrop explains how it had happened. Prompting a slow, understanding, but troubled nod.>Chest heaving as a slow, sighing breathe is taken in, and out. Drumming her fingers along the edge of her own helmet, as she goes silent. Darting her eyes.
"I… Have many questions." >She turned her head back to Raindrop Raspberry with a small, apologetic smile.
"I don't know what any of those titles mean. I know nothing of crystal runes. Or even what an Arcane Blade is; or what minibears are…">She paused at that, reaching up with one hand to nervously rub at a spot along the side of her neck as she chuckled mirthlessly,
"Heheh-- Eh, I don't even know what a 'Spa' is, heh!…"
>The Enginseer took a moment to glance at the Pegasus' eyes, as if exploring them for a brief second. Before chuckling to herself again, giving off a tiny squee beneath her breath as her voice accidentally rises in pitch, having to cover her lips to hide her overtly wide smile.
(Why. Is. this. equine. so. cute looking.)
"Y'know -- with what you said you were gonna do with my time, I almost kind of WANT to loose, just so I can spend time with you doing something I've never done before.">She snorts through her nose and pushes out her lips into a big ol' good-natured pout,
"'s not fair… You can't just make defeat sound so enticing." >Her pout quickly evaporates, replaced with a genuinely warm smile. Reaching out with a hand to give Raindrop a single ruffle of her mane, then sticking out her tongue at her.
>Though she pauses there to let the mare make her response, Mallia's glance keeps drifting off. Brow furrowing slightly with concern, cheek being swallow in and nibble onto, eyes shifting and gazing into the maps beside them. Her hand returning limply at her side, drawing their hand across the strap holding her lasgun to her shoulder.
(I wonder if we just got lucky. We managed to kill that thing with no casualties; maybe… Maybe SOMETHING went right. Something happened. Because… Because if they are really that strong, as I saw then how is it we killed it so easily?)
(Maybe it just wanted to die. That could be it. Or maybe the Inquisitor did something. Or perhaps it was just that Crystal Pony's intervention… Or the explosives. Or the las…)
>A slow, irritated sigh slowly drags itself out of her nose, followed by a soft, little growl as she tried to make logic out of a few things…
"… Why was it even here in the first place?…">She frowned worriedly, as she whispered that question beneath her breath. Mostly to herself.
>>210881>Zhun thought about it for a second before accepting the bill himself
"I think I'll deliver it to her. Also, can you show how much that we ordered? Need to see how big that order was.">That first one is a big if>Especially if that visitor from before decides to see me>Actually might die of fright this time
"Funny, I was looking into Snootadishu as well. The base doesn't know much about the place though. I guess no one decided to pay the place a visit.">Gozka? The minotaur land.>She could be a lead>Although, Zhun wonders if he is allowed to get more than what is asked>Might break the bank, even if it is a fuckton of bits
"That last one is interesting. About the old pony and old pony armor. What does she deal in?"
>>210897>Regular incursions>But another one?
"So you are tasked with the Lonely One. There's another mothership?">Inspecting the inside, the interior is huge>The bomb racks inside were interesting>Clem however can't imagine this thing dropping the ponies onto the ship>The apparent ramming he observed seemed more feasible>How strong is this thing anyway and how did other ships like it get killed?>He gives a glance over to the few Destroyers around>Hearing the considerably more happy harpy, he looks to both the aft and stern>And that blue static>Thinking it might be power transference or the data of the harpy itself, he dismisses it and heads for the aft
"Tech-arcane weaponry? Do the Rites use these on there incursions to the mothership?"
>>210955>Pareidolia clasps his gloved hands together, leaning forward on his elbows.
"Possible. Whatever her organization's protocols were, she clearly disregarded them and considered them inferior considering her ranting. I doubt she would be trusting enough to accept therapy from anyone here."
>He looks up as Broken Hoof mentions outposts and ruins, exhaling through his helmet filters.
[Elemental experiments? Was he looking to undo what happened to him? And yet another pony under dire circumstances relying on Spiral to save them… ]
>Standing up, he moves to check the embedded mailbox with an equally stern expression.
"Number of ponies relying on Spiral for serious assistance is concerning. I don't understand why he would leave without taking them."
"But, you're experiencing the same cravings that most ponies, especially mares, suffer from after severe trauma or extended combat situation, that much I can tell-">Relief floods your mind and body at the wondrously saline-laden water, Hodch's face crumpled in a confounded mix of concern, understanding… and deep seated fear.
"Which tells me more than I'd ever want to know. I've had more than my fair share of narrow escapes, captures, and being tortured for information. You want to know what I think right now? I DON'T want to think right, especially since you are inhabiting the body of a young breeding age mare
and I am completely disturbed by it this so thank you for horrifying me beyond every possible future I could've seen!">Sighing disgustedly, the half-full bag of hay fries are lifted right in front of your snout, as are the pressed rice cake bars.>Both of which cause your impetuously demanding, mostly unfilled, and unfulfilled, stomach to grumble angrily.
"..no, most ponies like them plain. Look, I can solve the dehydration and any other pain you feel, but only after you've eaten. Right now you need to tell me every single damned thing you even remotely want and I'll get it for you. So, again, Lunar eatery or Empire bar? None of the ponies in either one are going to ask questions and I can easily trade for whatever you require.">At this, the many, MANY irritable new bits of your anatomy relax for a moment.. before twisting angrily in both pain and excitement at the motion of 'anything'.>This, of course, wasn't what you wanted, but it was what you were dealing with at the moment.
>She sighed and threw up a hoof into the air in an exaggerated shrug.
"I don't know Hodch. I have told you what I am craving at the moment and that all I feel is pain, everywhere! My entire body! Nothing paticularly hurts more than any other part of my body at the moment other than the black hole that is my stomach. I am so fucking hungry right now I could eat a horse!">The mare looks at the rice cakes, her hunger for other things somehow preventing her from immidiately eating the fries and rice cakes.>She pushes them away for the moment.>There needed to be more room for what she actually needed.>A hard choice but a bunch of starch and carbs would not do for her at the moment.
"Okay Hodch… I want… Chocolate coverered apples, salted caramel candy, cucumbers, carrots, wine, chocolate covered pretzels, cinnamon rolls, wine, grapes, mango, pineapple, and god damn if I could eat meat again candied bacon! I would love some of that right now if I were still human!">Nova grunts, annoyed at herself and this new body.>She puts her two hooves on the ground in front of her and slowly lays down.
"Just… Let's go. Feeding the beast seems to be working."
>>210878>Trudging from the Clinic's only entrance/exit towards the central medical bed on the right side, Nova Flicker stares up at you with a dazzling expression of self-hatred.>Either that, or acknowledging her incompetence from whatever narcolepsy truly is.>Reaching the eastern central bed at a pace that was somewhere between needing a few days in a gym to recover and full force cardio workout, the carnelian Crystal-unicorn wiggles herself out of your grasp sideways, whimpering under her breath as she does so.
"Please do not tell me what I can do without knowing what I am supposed to be doing!">Falling down to land on a puffy white cloud, Nova Flicker rolls over across it to stand above the Prench stallion, a dense cluster of lights shining in the same color as her coat.
"What do you need me to do?">The scalpel is tossing into the center of the Clinic while Frost Egg's entire face twists in pain, bright rainbow hued blood trickling from her nostrils while pointing at the back of the pegasi's head.
"Tell me what this acid is why it feels like my skull is splitting and HOW TO MAKE IT STOP-">Throwing a forehoof out and lodging it in the Combat Medic's mouth, the Crystal-unicorn hybrid bends down, sniffing carefully, likewise staring at the unseen motions for a few moments.>Removing the hoof, Nova places it down while her jaw clenches several times in a row.>Head turning around to face your direction, trickles of blood beginning streaming from her nostrils as well, leaning back as far as she could and speaking in a pained tone.
"That is the raw venom from a Saddle Arabian species of serpent known as the Ark Viper. Detox and superior broad spectrum antidotes are capable of reducing the effects but they cannot fully negate them. ..I am starting to feel ill. Leave the aerosol radius immediately-">Standing up, Frost Egg steps backwards to the edge of the medical bed while Nova Flicker keeps her neck and head turned in your direct, eyes shut tightly.
>Barely within sight, a small, metallic silver balloon directly behind the stallion's ear is seen inflating, making an incredibly strange sound akin to metal being torn under high temperature.>The silver globe pulses in a rhythmic manner, slowly reaching the size of a grapefruit while Frost places her left forehoof in the middle of her snout, visibly trying to halt the bleeding, and failing to do so.>Glancing upwards to meet your eyes for a moment, the purple robed mare turns her stare onto the cantaloupe sized silver sphere connected to a roughly pencil-thin, flexible stalk.
"..Mister Gallo, what is the largest or most potent incendiary weapon that you currently have in your possession?"
>>211064>A merry, ragged snicker is what you receive from Mercy, reaching the lower floor nearly five seconds before you do.>Shining the flashlight's nearly apologetic high beam down through the stairwell, it was able to illuminate the Void-enshrouded pegasi's cheerful half-skipping down the stairs.>Catching up to her at the lower doors in the middle, Mercy had stopped to stare at each one, her wingblades now doing more than glowing: they were on fire.>That is, covered in oddly soothing bright pink flames dancing across each blade from the outermost primary to the innermost secondary.>The closer you came to the black granite double doors the colder the air temperature was.
>Quite nonplussed with the Spirit Walker's antics, the Belligerent had taken hold of her mane with both hands, crushing the mechanic's tool bag under an arm and turning his head in your direction.
"I am able to hear the music spoken of commander. Miss Mercy is capable of relaying what she experiences to other sapients in direct contact but this tune does not seem to be a warning, it is both too calm and metered in cadence."
"It is fine Boris, there is.. nothing down here save for an empty.. crypt.">>211080>Trailing down the stairwell after the human and other pegasus, after analyzing all possible locations for traps, wards, or sorcerous marks that, this entire section was even more blank than the ceremonial chamber.>Reaching the underground floor without a hint of pressure plates or trip mechanisms on the stairs, the air was rapidly approaching chilly temperatures.
>Seemingly unaffected by the cold, Mercy leans up against the right door this time leading into the underground chamber, pushing with all of her body weight, and barely moving it.
"This one is.. so heavy, why?"
"Hay, get one of the hammers out here please!">Waving a wing upwards at one of the other Sea's Bounty ponies, the midnight blue mare turns her eyes back to you with an uncaring shrug.
"Nah, none of us really care much so don't worry about paymarent. Far as we're concerned we owe Razorback more than fifty foals, and Naliyna's always been good on her word from what I know.">Giving you a mildly sincere 'I told you so' smile, the Ferron turns about to whistle at her younger sister.
"You heard the Razorback. Go ahead and let him have the whole armor assortment we have on hoof.">Sitting up as her eyes widen and taking the biggest inhale possible, the filly's chest twitches, then chokes, devolving into a coughing fit.>Lips quirking, the mare shakes her head as she begins poking one of each rough, hard amber round towards the empty end of the counter.
"Got her a bit too excited, give her a minute or else she'll pass out."
>Placing each of the amber chunks down, a rather serious looking dark green mare passes by, dropping an impressively modest looking blacksmith's hammer next to the pile.>Lifting the handle up for you to take, the midnight mare's eyebrows raise at her sister calming from the fit, then gestures towards the rounds.
"Eh.. maybe another minute. Or five, hard to tell with her some nights. In the meanwhile, have a crack at 'em."
>>211432>Cheto nods as he kneels down to search for his gas mask.
"Is there any way to transport this pony out of the clinic? We may compromise the whole building if that bubble of venom explodes.">He fishes out his gas mask and puts it on with its respective air filter already attached.>After this, he quickly pulls out a molotov from his bandoleer and a lighter from his pockets.>He lights the rag on the molotov with the lighter and presents the flaming bottle to Frost, extending his molotov arm towards her slightly while putting back the lighter in his pockets after extinguishing its flame.
"I have two more of these if you need more fire.">He takes this time to check on the ticking pony time bomb's current wellbeing. See if anything other than the big grapefruit lump is currently wrong with the patient. He also observes the two medics as well to see if anything else has occurend.
(So far I've seen it make nosebleeds but I must be sure that the skin or hide is intact. I'd like not to get my skin burnt off. Maybe see if any other parts of the body are bleeding from the venom like the eyes, ears or any other holes.)[ 1d6 = 6 ][ 1d6 = 6 ]
>>211108>Pulling one of the large steel harpoons into view on the right screen, the Eldritch abomination's speakers relay an exasperated noise.
"Mom, I'm not even a thousandth as important as you, so either don't argue with me or start agreeing, there are no other choices.">Breaching something outside the chest cabin, the brief scent of heated metal becomes apparent as Wild shifts from leg to leg.
"Understood. Once the waveforms have completed I will begin experimenting with material refinements, need something better than steel to reinforce myself with. Chest cabin reinforcement: seventy-three percent complete. Secondary oxygen tank status: fifty-eight percent complete.">Sheaving the weapon's shaft apart into small half-cylinders, each of the tendrils begin welding them around the cabin, Wild's left screen flickers to show a worryingly large red circle expanding from the estimated offshore impact zone.[ 1d6+4 = 9 ]
<Grade 1 Auto-Repair[ 1d6 = 1 ]
<Repair Tendril #1[ 1d6 = 6 ]
<Repair Tendril #2[ 1d6 = 1 ]
<Repair Tendril #3[ 1d6 = 6 ]
<Repair Tendril #4[ 1d6 = 1 ]
<Repair Tendril #5[ 1d6 = 5 ]
<Repair Tendril #6[ 1d6 = 2 ]
<Repair Tendril #7
"Long range scans concluded. Update: approximately four-point-five minutes remain before wave impacts occur. Orders updated: prevention of unnecessary deaths now Primary Priority Two. Initiating contact now-">Cutting off her internal communications, Wild's external speakers begin to broadcast her voice, though it was barely heard inside the cabin due to the additional reinforcements.
"ATTENTION UNKNOWN PEGASUS: IN FOUR AND A HALF MINUTES NUMEROUS OCEANIC WAVES WILL STRIKE THIS SHORE. ESTIMATED WAVE HEIGHT: THIRTY METERS. ESTIMATED NUMBER OF WAVES: THIRTY TO FORTY. EVACUATE TO THE SAFEST POSSIBLE LOCATION IMMEDIATELY.">The splotch of movement ceases, lifting off the shore, presumably in flight, before rapidly disappearing towards the west.>Left hand raising out of sight, the sound of Wild rubbing her armored head creaks outside.
"Close enough to hear at least. I hope that will be enough to save them. Initiating long range scans centered on the unknown Construct vessel now-"[ 1d6 = 6 ]
<Arcanum Sensors Array
>>211433>>211619>Taking note of Mercy's blades and the rapidly lowering ambient temperature, Sunny whispers as she takes positions behind the other two, eye on the door.
"I'll believe that when we've cleared the crypt and found nothing.">If they couldn't open the door, she might have to slip through it using what the Ceranul taught her.>It'd take a lot out of her and she'd have to do it twice, once to get in and another to get out, but she should be able to withstand that level of physiological strain.>She'd only be able to take one of them with her at most, as well.
"Sir, if it proves necessary, I can bypass this door if you're unable to open it.">There could only be a few reasons it was so heavy. Worst case scenario it was intended to keep whatever was within sealed inside.>And by no means did she believe anything on the other side was intended to get out.>That or it may be barricaded from the other side.>She could still do nothing but speculate wildly and it irritated her.>Sunny felt a little guilty that Jeff and Mercy had been doing all the door opening up to now.>Her attention on the parts of the door she could see around the others, she observed it for the same incompleteness this portion of the crypt had also displayed.>Ears continued to twitch towards the door, attempting to pick up even the most minute of sounds beyond the repeating music.[ 1d6+5 = 8 ]
< B. Perception[ 1d6+5 = 10 ][ 1d6+3 = 7 ]
< B Traps[ 1d6+3 = 7 ]
>>211150>Head tilting, Raindrop's lips make a comical S-shape while her ears flop to either side.
"Minibears are tiny ursines, about-">Lifting one front hoof a foot or so off the stone.
"This tall. They're usually fairly scared of anything bigger than them. The Arcane Blades are a marecenary pegasi squadron that protect others from esoteric and nonphysical threats, you'll see them quite a bit here. As for Crystal Runes and psionics, they're like most forms of magic except they happen instantly or at the speed of their thoughts. You'd have to watch them being used for a while, or ask Naliyna, she'll show you what she's able to do.">Taking note of your confusion, the Knight's eyebrows furrow together as her face crinkles in a deceptively pleased manner.
"You don't know what a spa is? It's basically a swimming pool except for being filled with hot water. They're made to relax and unwind in, relieve stress, have fun, make new friends, that sort.">Cracking a deep smile at the ruffling, Raindrop's mane was, as expected, still wet and quite luxurious to the touch.>Wriggling her neck under your hand, the neon raspberry mare looks up at you with an expressive, possibly even pleased smile.
"If you wanna do that again, go ahead. It's like your hands were designed for that sort of contact.. were you professionally trained?">Calmly blinking at the study, her snout wiggles several times in curious reciprocation, her eyebrows raising with a peculiar air of sureness.
"Then I'm gonna make sure I win. Even if I don't win, which I'm sure will happen, I'll show you the best places around Tallus."
>Bladed wings lifting in a disarming, or in this case dishoofing shrug, the Knight rocks backwards, left ear twitching upwards while the right swivels around in a small circle.
"Somepony or a human that didn't know much about them must've scavenged one that wasn't completely destroyed and brought it here. Probably spent a few hours repairing itself before activating. Biggest problem with Constructs is they work in pairs; if one is destroyed the survivor goes berserk, becoming faster, stronger, more accurate, recover quicker, use new tactics. I don't know much about them except to leave the area at maximum speed or outnumber them ten to one using teamwork to keep them from causing more damage. There's not a single marecenary that accepts contracts to deal with Constructs, not even minotaurs or Gryphons.. which should tell you how damned nasty they are to deal with."
>Ears perking up at Chisan stepping out from the doorway and walking to the opposite side of the map table, the Scion's helmet shakes negatively.
"Operational staff are too sleep deprived and busy to answer necessary questions. There is a small problem that must be taken care of first. The sanctioned Knight-">Gesturing towards the neon red mare currently admiring you with an odd look, then quickly looking away with a partially abashed expression.
"And I must search for a missing rookie team. Four hours ago they were dispatched without equine support to recover what they could from a city abandoned three to four years prior to now. It was heavily scouted approximately one week prior to now and there were no indications of enemy presences. Communications ceased three hours ago according to the command staff here. No replies have been sent since.">Clicking into the private voxlink, the Stormtrooper mutters quietly into his bead.
*"The Inquisitor has ordered me to undertake all rescue operations if humans have disappeared or do not return in time. Should you choose to accompany us I am hereby requesting your full assistance."
"One hoof of seconds please!">Poking something on the hololith screen, a large, paper-sized sheet of flexible crystal is printed, or something like that, out from your side of the desk to take.>..which was covered in Crystal pony runes.>That you could not read.>Giving another apologetic smile, Three-Point lifts both hooves in your direction.
"There you go! I'm really sorry I can't sell you more, we haven't delivered the orders for Tartarus Isle, Cloud Company, Earthforged Companions, Central Equestrian Gold Host, or even Terra Company, the little tiny group of human marecenaries.">Tipping her snout upwards for a polite smile, the young mare taps her forehooves together happily.
"Zebras are friendly for the most part, they love having company from Equestria. That and they have huge beaches that only a few ponies visit! But, um, I'd suggest going to all of them until we can fulfill next year's shipmarent.">Turning her chair towards the hololith, she pokes up at the screen for a few moments, making several low, amusing kissing sounds with her lips in thought.
"Humm.. ground Haze Fern, raw Seqoyya sprigs, Draft Root juice, Snap-Berry powder, young powdered Sawgrass, just to name a few. Mostly raw elemental attribute alchemy stuff and really good binding agents. She also salvages a few things from the ruins around Old Canterlot but won't sell or trade them.">Blinking slowly, Peach Quartz turns her chair in your direction, putting on a somewhat sultry, tender expression.
"Buuut.. since there's basically nothing to do right now and I'm super bored, I'll make you a deal. Do a TINY little favor for me I'll let you take something to give to Astra Gallus that she's been wanting for a few years. I'm not supposed to 'trade' it to her without an up front contract, but if you do she'll give you the Crystal Empire discount for sure.">In the words of your spiritual liege: 'oh HELL yeah!'
>>211734>Mallia, for the most part, looked to Raindrop and listened in rapt-attention as she gives her brief, but important details; soaking the information like a sponge thanks to her micro-cogitator, which she tells to briskly create more folders to store and organize the information in their own categories, in order.>She also takes note of the fact that Raindrop likes being pat, and keeps that information as well.
>Slowly nodding her head in quiet understanding, she goes on to widen her smile into an amused grin as the knight lowkey asks her for more pats.>Even asking if she's 'professionally trained in petting'
"Heheh! N-no, not really. They don't teach me to pet things where I'm from." >She giggled heartily to her own words. Eagerly, but gently leaning her hand up against Raindrop's furred neck to gently pet along her fur idly
"That does sound fun though…">Her grin turns back into an eager smile after the explanation about the Spa, giving a little wiggle up and down again which is even followed by her mechadendrite, which makes her backpack noisily rattle about against her Axe and shield.
>The petting doesn't stop even after Raindrop replies to the question she had asked mostly to herself, though in a surprisingly exhaustive manner… Though it does slow down as she starts to glance off, frowning with some concern specifically at the bits about the constructs.
(That seems like an oddly sentient and … Emotional behavior for a machine like that. Perhaps even illogical. Why don't they do that before their comrade is taken out? Infact, why don't they do it all the time if they are capable of it? Why do they…)
>Her mind's eye defocuses as she likewise hears the Stormtrooper stepping back to them. The short woman that was Mallia looked back and slightly up towards Chisan, regarding him with a firmly neutral, pensive glance.>The news that her questions would remain unanswered did not phase her too much.>It was then that the petting of Raindrop pauses though; now merely affectionately resting her hand on their back idly, as she regarded the Stormtrooper intently.
>After the vox communication however, she retracts her hand and briskly slips her helmet back on, taking a moment to adjust it with a few practiced movements, before answering the voxlink. >She doesn't quite catch the stare from the mare below in that moment; focused entirely on Chisan.
"*Understood. I will assist you however I am able with my still limited assets.*"
>She gives him a quick, but firm nod of her helmeted head; before sighing audibly through her respirator, putting her hand on her lasrifle's strap, shifting her weight more to her left leg, rolling her shoulders. >The Enginseer starts to slowly step around the map table, looking down at the maps, then up to the Stormtrooper in anticipation of him pointing out where they'd be going.
"Must we depart immediately? You still need your Auspex restored. Ontop of that I still need to inspect your equipment, and I must also take care of my helmet and laspistol at the very least…"
>Then, as her voice trails off, she glanced back down to the pegasus knight and gazes down at them for a good second.
"… And what is the problem with the sanctioned knight, exactly?">She returned her eyes to Chisan, her voice taking on a slightly confused tone.
"She's our 'equine support', isn't she?"
>>211363>A sharp, annoyed inhale and rather angry tone becomes your answer.
*"Dost thou not recall mineself's words moments past? Mineself spaketh this prior: thee Lonely One be thee mate of motherly Constructed Two vessel above within thee Endless Ocean. Mineself, hosts of kin, an'hosts of Tallus kine aided bringing down Lonely One's mate upon Tallus ages past. Only thee Lonely One remaineth, grace; trifle not upon mine knowings."*>That definitely didn't go as planned.
>Most of the remaining Destroyers tap the arms holding them, and, of course, fall down onto the lower racks where they begin hopping down each level towards your direction.>The ramp opposite you lowers, less than fifty batponies streaming around you and the opposite side while receiving passing glances from their angled diamond helmets.
>Unable to find a ladder going up or down, and sensing the risk of jumping down to the lower racks was too much, the pulsing beam of white-blue static appeared to be the only choice for moving around.>Finding no other option, stepping into the cylinder of light it appeared to register your thought of 'aft', floating you down slowly towards the converted vessel's lower section.
*"Nay, grace; mine carried chiropteran equines comply by thee Rites of Destruction: destroy thee Constructed Twos by they hoof, claw, an' manabomb. Minotaur Klavists destroy by axe, hammer, mace, polearm, an' fist. Mine tech-arcane weaponry be for mineself tae use upon Constructed Twos, severing thy's hull in twain, whereupon mineself delivers Rites of Destruction within."
>Slowly being lowered into the vessel's aft, hundreds of rotating Destroyer racks pass by, each aligned in position on rotating rings, probably to deliver as many happy suicide batponies as possible, you're stopped upon reaching the lowest level.>Finding another catwalk, this one with rails, the empty racks above held nothing.>Upon looking downwards, the sight below was startling:>Perhaps sixty minotaurs were arrayed in rows of ten, six levels deep, visibly locked in silent stasis cells.>Each looked as if there were merely halted in the middle of battle frenzy, eyes wild, bloodshot, and wide open in fury.>you quickly noted the sacrificial minotaurs all bore thickly segmented, layered and hardened steel armor bearing the grim earthy and dull red Hegemony colors.>Likewise, all clasped one, or a pair of, cruelly armor-piercing weapons, everything from pickaxes, spiked maces, all steel clubs with quartets of four spikes on either direction, short warpikes, and even a massive, 9' tall halberd in one case.
>The harpy's voice returns again, this time incredibly proud.
*"Thy see mine Klavist Rites of Destruction, grace? Bear them minself havest to thee Lonely One many times. Naught but one havest been destroyed."*
>>211394>Swinging around in the rendered model chair, the A.I. tosses a hoof upwards in approval with a wide smile.
"That, sir, is one of many reasons I was created! Most humans will inevitably suffer irrecoverable losses and deal with the resulting trauma in their own typically self-destructive manners and ways. I was trained to recognize, understand, soothe, deal with, treat, and aid in recovering from operator trauma, just like I brought you back from the potential effects of short term insanity against the Construct! In addition, I am also outside the circle of human suffering therefore I'm perfectly neutral in the matter. In short, sir: I'm asking your permission to attempt my many psychological recovery-state protocols with 'Flash' when she recovers. Of course, I'll also try to acquire relevant technological information and usable knowledge from her."
"Hrm.. but, the possibility of one large scale engagement against Constructs is becoming more likely which would cause suffering on a mass scale, something I wouldn't be able to deal with. Is there a cybernetics section available on this base, sir?">Briefly remembering one of the more technologically advanced Operators in Razorback, an unusually stern, grim tech-knight of some sort, named Kunid Erakoi.>He spent most of his time performing electronic work to his ever finicky powered exoarmor, though helped other humans out from time to time.
>Pulling open the mailbox's cover, a plethora of items inside were neatly stacked next to each other:>The first was a half-folded, hard board backed map showing the location of a small Middle Dynasty outpost roughly 19 miles northeast of the Fortress, along with six vellum paper notes covered in both Spiral's and Mist Dancer's impeccable writing styles.>Second was a much smaller map of the Skybrook region including the area where Skykeep had drifted to and eventually settled above.>The third was a set of official Day Guard records accompanied by a hard backed, twice-folded crystal map of the New Everfree showing 6 early Dynasty, 11 Middle Dynasty, and 1 Late Dynasty buildings, all of which were within 500 miles of Razorback Fortress.
-Off to the side and alone was a peculiar map of somewhere in southeast Caneighdia showing the precise location of an Early Dynasty ruin, one that made Razorback Fortress look tiny in comparison. >Unlike the others, four volumes of varied sizes and eras, each bearing Canterlot Underground's insignia, were placed atop a quite large work tablet sized, though 2" thick, crystalline device.>Which, strangely, looked more like a ground-penetrating radar screen.
"As I stated before sir, I'm ninety-eight point seven percent confident that Marquis du Spiral was more than capable of exploring.. whatever he wanted, really. The indications we've seen and heard so far mostly prove that he left with the expectation of a quick search and return, but was unable to. I've no knowledge of why exactly since I have little knowledge of this world's general dangers, sir.">Taking an image of each, the A.I. blips out for a moment, then returns to stare awkwardly at the last item.
"These match what were described from the.. messages? Is.. is that a micro-laptop? I thought this form of technology didn't exist here?"
>>211428>Hodch facehoofs with a plaintive, half-amused, half-despairing snort.
"You are a mare now, so, go ahead and eat yourself but I don't want to watch. Then again I'll probably regret having to teach you the gateway spells. Still, the more specific information I know the fewer problems I'll have treating you.">Lifting the excellent smelling hay fries up to noisily bite into a few, the Starborn reservist shrugs after swallowing.
"That horn on your head means more than the ability to work with, shape, draw out, drain, or expulse Anima. It's a term used by some of the Extra-Planar Harpies. In short it means 'all living energies'. You'll learn more on that later, but the downside is this: consuming any amount of flesh will do worse than kill you, if not much worse, so you'd better accept being a strict vegetarian as quickly as possible. Eggs don't count and I'm not sure why.. also, a tiny amount of seafood once per month is relatively safe so long as you take the necessary precautions.">Losing roughly 75% of the formerly crippling pain in favor of merely being exhausted, a bit warm from the bottle of wine, and physically sore in ways that your psyche STILL couldn't comprehend, there was still a great deal of hunger.>Upon lying down a pair of sharp, unwelcome pleasures between your rear legs flare up once more.>Having teats was definitely going to be a nuisance.
"Let me clean up a bit while I think about someplace that might work better.. maybe the Five Star in Prance would be better?">Lofted into an ethereal cloud the same color as Hodch's coat before worse could happen, the sensation was akin to zero gravity, and most importantly caused zero pressure.>While you weren't able to see out of it clearly the cloud functioned more like an isolated dimension micro-dimension.
"Better enjoy that while it lasts. I mostly use that space for storing food.">Audibly tidying the tiny room while you hear what might have been a short 'and bodies' under his breath, Hodch munches on the rice cakes.>Empty bottles and debris are removed, except for the slowly crystallizing, now scentless blood, the still full bottles floated into the other room.
"And now-">Turning around, Hodch makes a brief series of motions with a forehoof, dull colors streaming off his horn while bizarre coronas of visible, barely pulsing energies roll outwards.>Several sets of dull purple reins form around his neck, chest, and barrel, connected by two leads under the cloud.>Taking an short step forwards, the cloud, and you, glide forwards smoothly.
"Hm.. getting rusty, but this should do.">Float-dragged into the middle of a relatively comfortable sitting room lacking decorations, the world twitches slightly as Hodch taps what sounded like a translocation matrice made of hard cloud.
>Instead of vertigo or nausea, the unexpected trip through the Vortex Remnant was rather calming, filled with fascinating sensations that felt like living concepts flowing through endless numbers of lazy rivers.>Reality returns in the form of the Crystal Empire's abnormally dense lighting, although considerably dulled at the moment.
"Three Corners should have most of what you want except for the grapes and salted caramel, those are usually gone long before midnight.">The pocket cloud glides forwards once more, Hodch calling over his shoulder in stifled mirth.
"So, from one professional to another: any useful 'new discoveries' you'd like to share that won't make me regret this little excursion? Other than taking you to the best spa here and having getting you acquainted with the troubles of mane and tail styling, or taking care of your hooves, it might be a better idea to hoof you over to one of my more.. classy associates."
>>212048>Pareidolia blinks twice in rapid succession considering the ramifications as he reaches the mailbox in the stairwell.
"That was one of your tertiary purposes, but your request will be belayed until I have more information on Flash's personal history and personality. Her volatility presents a major risk to interacting with her. And no, this base functions at an estimated 15% of what the Committee's surface assets provided without comparable cybernetics infrastructure. I would need to consult individual operators with cybernetics expertise."
>Staring at the bewildering array of parchments, notes, maps, and a single crystal tablet of some kind, he carefully removes all of them and takes them into the lab.>Unfurling them all and arraying them in a line across the table, he scans over them.
[Only Spiral would be able to see the connections in a series of maps this large… ]
"Then confirmation of his status is imperative. It would take a great deal to bring down someone of his caliber."
>He nods as the A.I. remarks.
"The Crystal Empire has independently developed hololiths and processing devices based on their ability to manipulate crystal runes and resonance. They are typically only accessible to crystal ponies or magic users unless modifications are made."
>>211484>Hefting the three pound hammer up, it was one of many common blacksmithing variants that you'd seen Spiral, Krinza, and Aiutante using.>Cracking open the cantaloupe sized chunk first, it falls apart quite easily.[ 1d100 = 27 ]
<Ancient Treasure: Small>The second took a bit more force, the exterior fracturing through like cracking an egg shell.[ 1d100 = 51 ]
<Ancient Treasure: Medium>Gripping the hammer in both hands for the large one, it takes a trio of hits to crack the hard layered shell, then another one to smash open the internal layer.[ 1d500 = 177 ]
<Ancient Treasure: Large>Moderately concerned over the giant, rough amber round, the first blow takes a chunk off, sending it flying into the shack's rear, none of the Ferron mares caring much as if this was a rather common event.>Beating on it a few more times finally exposes a series of much harder, yet thinner and more fragile inner shells that fracture inwards quite easily.>Breaking through the last one, the midnight blue mare pulls each one towards her for a close inspection of the contents.
"Nice job there Razorback. Gimme a bit to figure these out."[ 1d6+3 = 8 ]
<E.Appraisal[ 1d6+3 = 8 ][ 1d6+3 = 4 ]
>The filly recovers from her fit, turning a briefly angry stare at her sister.>Making a series of motions with her wings and left forehoof that you didn't understand, she takes a slow, cautious inhale before speaking up.
"Let me just figure out what we have first.">Glancing behind her, lips purse several times while she studies the materials.>Turning back to you, the filly sits back in her chair, front hooves clopping together briskly.
"Okay! We have all of the following:"
"There's a few rolls of red Epkrii Spinetail shark hide! It's pretty light and tough, and it stretches a lot. Kinda resists fire, ice, and water but stays warm. If it freezes it won't fall apart, just put a heatstone on it for a while. Takes about five years to cure right. Umm… I guess about two thousand Bits a roll?"
"There's some Green Dorval plates in the back. It's a big mean armored fishcat thingy that someponies hate because they eat all the little squid. They're toxic, so, really bad for eating, but the plates can absorb poison, acid, and water element stuffs. It takes a while for them to dry but they don't smell bad at all! Maybe three thousand Bits?"
"I know mom moved a roll of Temphil spike-tail hide around here.. ..somewhere. It's a thick blue and dull black streaked hide that looks like it's always under water. Good against plasma, fire, shadow, void and elements. Also smells like hot salt! Three thousand Bits for that one too."
"There's a lot of Hourglass Abalone shells in the back that I've been working on smoothing out. It's pretty shiny stuff, looks like a dark rainbow if you keep it polished! Mom said it's really hard to puncture and absorbs hard blows better than most things. Um, four thousand Bits for a suit of armor from it, I think? But it'll take me a night or so to fit all the pieces together."
"Somepony put a bunch of Island Drake hides in the back and I haven't made anything out of them in a while. It looks like hide covered in little gray and blue scales, but it's pretty to look at! One of mom's older sisters says it's good for sneaking around 'cause it doesn't make much noise. She also said it resists heat and plasma. Dad said I can make a big armor out of it for five thousand Bits."
"Mom got done curing a buncha big Deeprock Ocean Crab claws on the roof a while back. They've got funny bumps all over them but it's hard stuff. Weird bunch of dull red, black, and blue stripes on them. They bend a lot more than most crab shells and it's really hard to puncture. Might be a little bulky but they're kinda quiet so long as you keep a bit of water on the joins. Probably eight thousand bits for that one."
"And last but not least! I've been saving lots of Deepwater Steelback Clam shells off the Empire's coastline, takes a whole night just to flatten one out. They're kinda heavy but mom says they're not actually steel, just any kinda hard metal they eat waaaay up by where the tundra rivers go into ocean. My biggest sister says Crystal ponies and unicorns use them for target practice, so they're probably really good for resisting.. just about anything. It'll take most of us half a night to make a big armor that'd fit you, sooo.. ten thousand Bits sound okay?"
>>212252[ 1d1000 = 58 ]
<Ancient Treasure: Giant
>>211516>Standing up with the hoof still covering her snout, Frost takes two steps backwards to the bed's edge, her tone flatly negative.
"Not as he is now. This.. THING is draining Ark Viper venom from him. None of us caught that so for right now it's doing what we can't.">Turning an eye up as Nova likewise scoots back, the Combat Medic's eyes narrow briefly, nodding at the inflating silver bulb.
"Ready the other two. Nova, can you teleport something this small?"
"Yes, so long as I do not.. pass out again.">Surveying the young stallion's few visible wounds and finding neither visible degeneration nor decay, it was quite apparent that the venom had been introduced to him internally, likely from the fractured off red blade that was removed earlier.>The unusual silver balloon continued to fill at a much slower pace now, gently pulsing in tune with the pegasi's heartbeat you figure.>Both of the mares were, at the moment, greatly concerned and worried over his situation, having little care for their own well being asides from shielding their bleeding snouts.>The metallic suction device remains steady for another minute while the pair remain where they were, that is until a nauseating chime occurs, the sphere making a clicking sound and falling onto the bed.
"Nova, send that thing east of the Clinic; Mister Gallo, run outside, find it, and burn the damned thing into a crater!">Inhaling sharply, the carnelian hybrid's horn is covered in a dazzling array of colored specks, the sphere blinking from reality.[ 1d6+6 = 11 ]
<M.Teleport[ 1d6+6 = 8 ][ 1d6+6 = 9 ][ 1d6+6 = 12 ]
>Turning and leaping to the Clinic wall, Frost's left forehoof smacks against it, her voice resonating outside loudly.
"ATTENTION: EVACUATE THE AREA EAST OF THIS CLINIC! THERE IS A DANGEROUS AEROSOL COMPOUND CONTAINED INSIDE AN A SILVER SPHERE, REMAIN AT LEAST TEN METERS AWAY FROM IT AT ALL TIMES!">Removing her hoof quickly, the Combat Medic nods in your direction, then covers her snout once more.
"Go burn it, but stay out of the fumes!"
>>209867>>209879>>The crystal mare's short-term memory is mentally waved off, considering what he's heard she's been through.
"I understand Shanis's discretion. Whatever they are for, I hope they help her out."
>She seems to have no problem with him touring the grounds, and Raidor gives her a nod of thanks.
"I will definitely walk the Fortress, for the time being. Do take care Ivan. I will come and find you, when I am finished.">He looks over at the crystal mare and gives her a grateful bow.
"Thank you Naliyna. I will take my tour now. I will return later to take some with me to Manehattan.">Raidor leaves Ivan and the others at the Pagoda, as he casually trots out of the building.>He looks around out into the human encampment. The sights, the sounds. The smells.[ 1d6+5 = 10 ]
<E.Perception[ 1d6+5 = 10 ][ 1d6+5 = 9 ]
>>212258>Cheto nods at Frost.
"Right away. Be sure to keep an eye out and prepare for any other venom balls that may come out of the Prench Pony's body. I fear that that won't be the last.">With his free hand, he goes for a quick, gentle stroke on Nova's head to calm his nerves a bit.
"Be safe and prepared, you two.">He places his molotov arm closer to his chest and moves the lit molotov into the crook of the arm, followed by removing the two other molotovs in his bandoleer and placing them next to the lit molotov, rags facing upwards.
(No time to waste! I have to drown that venom ball in fire!)>Standing up with all the molotovs in his possession in between his forearm and chest, he starts to rush outside the clinic outside towards the fountain, as he remembered from the map it was given that it was east of the clinic.[ 1d6 = 2 ][ 1d6 = 6 ]
>His mind is currently processing the sudden disappearance of the ball as he goes along.
(What was that? Some kind of magical spell or something? How would they know where it would go? Did Nova do it? Her horn did that sparkle thing like Apricot today, so that may be true. If it were not for the current danger this stupid mean venom ball presents, I would have asked about it.)>His free hand goes for the lit molotov, igniting the other two with the rag's flame as he moves.>His eyes scan the area for the seemingly teleported thing around the area it was meant to go.[ 1d6 = 2 ][ 1d6 = 2 ]
>Leadership: +2 to all Assault & Perception rolls>>211619>Giving you the questioning side-eye as Mercy flexes all of her available muscles, Boris lifts his stony shoulders on her saddle.
"A difference of twenty seconds between specifically metered repetitions from certain sounds would be more of a 'wake-up' call such as the Disc Jockey provides at dusk. Were this a lullaby for vampire ponies I would expect the snoring of ponies or waterfalls, commander.">Gritting her teeth and shoving into the door with all possible force, Mercy's left wing flicks out to deliver a light smack on your right leg's armor.
"Meh.. strong preservation enchantmarents here.. sometimes, but I sense neither at the momarent-">Shoving into the door with a modicum of force, combined with Mercy's strength it begins to creak inwards, reacting as if it were on a heavily weighted cable system.>>211726>Fully examining both of the underground chamber's doors, there were no indications of traps, wards, or bound spells that would cause injury.>Watching Mercy and Jeff force the door open, a rather merry jingle of chimes draws your attention.>As both the Spirit Walker and Ranger shove the door open halfway, the first is stunned by a silk pillow to her face.>Then another, a third, and a fourth.>That is, until a hard, regal Stalliongrad pegasi accent shrieks in cold anger.
"ENOUGH! ALL YE HAD BEST CALM THYSELVES! DID THEE NOT HEAR OUR CALLING!? WE HAVE GUESTS! GUESTS
DAMN thee! ACT YOUR RELATIVE AGES OR I WILL SWAT EACH OF YOUR FLANKS!"
>The right door swings back on its own, a rather calm piano melody playing from inside, the left door likewise pulling open as the mare's voice calls out in a merriness.
"Do come in please, good ponies! I apologize for my neophytes, they were not adequately prepared for awakening!">Now opened fully, the underground chamber was nothing like what the team expected:>Designed more like a ballroom in combination with a royal barracks, upon gazing into the room Mercy is the first to stiffen as soothing shades of blue, red, purple, and green light drift outwards, accompanied by a quaint, archaic melody of resonating bronze chimes.>Immediately within sight were a line of sixteen deeply, formally bowing equines; nine earth ponies, eight of which were fillies with one mare, two pegasi fillies and two mares, two unicorn mares, and a lone Crystal pony filly.>Each was covered by veritably archaic, dark purple dresses, most of which were three-tier ruffled with shallow hoods, though the elder earth mare and Crystal pony filly bore smooth, one-piece garmarents of finely dyed silk.>Beyond them, a series of giant amber beds faintly glowing in the comfortable lighting, also covered in silk pillows, were highly visible.>Standing up first, a quartet of long, sharp canines flash under the earth mare's hood in a profoundly merry smile, the rest of her face hidden while she quickly kicks a pillow under her to the left side, the middle-aged mare's tone carrying a smoky, seductive quality.
"Greetings to thee, kin! Give thy orders how we must serve
you this wondrous night! Be it with our bodies, our minds, or our knowledge? Choose one, or all, for your choices shall be richly rewarded!"
>Failing to hyperventilate in time to save herself, Mercy collapses forwards onto her knees, blind white eyes widening in shock as her jaw drops.
"Lunar vampires.. real.. but they were just stories? Mom said they were only.. stories.. but they are real? Why are they.. real now?"
>Doctor Nova merely shakes his head at him with a small chuckle.
"Like I said several times now. Everywhere. Just this dull, crippling pain all over my body… God damn was it painful, and now, it seems to be finally going away as I… Fulfill my cravings. Meat will be missed dearly… Vegetables are just not the same as some marinated venison jerky, but I do enjoy being alive…">She grumbles, annoyed at her now strictly vegan lifestyle.>Truly, a fate almost worse than death.>Again.>She shifted her weight off of her hindquarters now once more as her… Assets once more reminded her of their annoying existence.>No wonder horses spent all day standing…>She attempted, to stand, slowly, as Hodch lofted her into the ethereal cloud.>Feeling disabled, she slumps over in her cloud with a grumble.
"I'm in your snack cupboard? What, what a privilege I have.">She comments sarcastically as Hodch prepares their transport.
"… By the way, now I'm just feeling… Exhausted mostly, now that most of that pain has passed. Damn this mare must have been put through hell before she was… Severed from her body.">It still disturbed him to think of that.
>After their transport which was, surprisingly, pleasant ride through the vortex, they pop out in unfamiliar yet recognizable territory.>The crystal empire!
"… New discoveries Hodch? Well… Today I learned what it was like to have these annoying teats. Can I just say that your ancestors were really stupid when they pissed off whatever cursed your races with being overwhelmingly female? Right now I can safely say that I dearly miss Mr Johnson and the juice crew, and that being a mare is just all sorts of annoying!">And once more, she slumps over in the 0 g cloud, quite obviously annoyed at this whole… Adventure at the moment.
>>211892>Head tossing in your direction, the Knight's face creases into a cheerful smile at the stroking across her unarmored neck.
"It's not hard Miss Castella. We simply like being touched, it's both relaxing and calming for us. If you want I'll show you the safest places to rub or touch most ponies, there's a number that're kinda erogenous and a hooffull that you're only supposed to do for 'fun' times in private."
>Tipping her head backwards, the mare's ears flop to either side with a relaxed sigh while the Stormtrooper's helmet nods.
"There are some locally made supplies available if you require them. Speed is of the essence this time, it would be best if you store any equipment that would weigh you down. There are wargear lockers available for us in the Armory a short distance from here.">Tapping the empty grenade pockets across his vest, Chisan reaches around to his battlepack with a short, negative sounding grunt.
"My auspex is beyond repair and time is of the essence Enginseer. The Inquisitor's orders stand: not a single human can be allowed to suffer injury under our watch. You may borrow my laspistol if need be.">Turning his visor towards Knight Raspberry not so slyly peers up at your chest, the Tempestus Scion's helmet tilts curiously.>Cracking a grin, she lifts her bladed wings in an embarrassed motion while Chisan removes his Lasrifle's powerpack, then slams it back into the socket with a careless shrug.
"She is and there are no 'problems' save my own Enginseer. I would prefer working with-">Making a short aquila with his right hand, then pointing to you and himself quickly with it, the common battle-lingo sign for 'Imperials'.
"As it stands you are unable to keep up with me on foot therefore you require transport. Knight Raindrop, are you able and willing to carry the Enginseer in a combat situation?">Heaving herself upwards to stand, the raspberry red mare gives a calculating smile, blades extending to snag her relic helmet and jamming it onto her head, speaking muffledly behind the facemask.
"Damned right I'm able and willing! Hop on my saddle Miss Castella, the most comfortable position Stalliongrad's finest armor has to offer is yours!">Shaking her archaic armor into place, the armor's unusual saddle was not uncomfortable looking, covered in thick layers of some heavy, nearly metallic looking padding.
>Making the first positive sound of acknowledgement so far, the Scion unslings his lasrifle and strides towards the door.
"Armory is a short walk northeast from here, need to restock grenades."
>>211738>When Zhun gets the piece of crystal?, he gets that "Oh yeah" blank look on his face>"Didn't think about that one.">He also didn't know there was other companies of humans>Old one before Razorback?>Looking back at the runed page, he stores it on his person>"At least Nal can get that done."
"It's fine. Gotta keep promises and orders.">Oh!>At least it should be fine in Zebraica>"Ze…bra…i..ca. Man that's hard to say."
"Sounds nice over there.">…>A…favor?
"Well, I can make a little detour over to her. What's the favor?"
>>211983>"Hmmm, went somewhat far there. Ok.">Going down the ramp and reaching the light, he does ponder it before stepping into the light>He gets that "drop" feeling as he wasn't expecting the light shaft to be a magic elevator>"This is some sci-fi shit. Actually, I don't know what shit there is anymore on this place.">Ok, so the bats are just bombs>The minotaurs are the foot soldiers that beat shit>Wonder if they can speak about the interior of the mothership>As he descends, he is amazed at the large amount of racks there are for the batponies>Even more amazing is the frozen minotaurs below>Like they stopped in time in those pods>"Ok, maybe talking is out of the question for these guys."
"Veterans of the fight I see. And they look like they haven't left the fight either.">Clem walks around the area, inspecting the minotaurs but the pods are also of interest>"It's like some cryogenics but…not. Is this really time stopping?"
>>208624>Jamal looks about in bewilderment at the whole-ass rainbow of kush surrounding him.>He liked to think he knew the good shit from normal shit, but this was a whole other game.>A deep drag is taken on his cigarillo before Jamal meanders over to the nearest zebra for directions.
"Ay what up. Who I gotta talk to to get in on summa dat loud?">As much as he probably could just follow the his nose, Jamal figured he ought to be polite and shit and ask.>Not so polite as to avoid drinking his fresh Mango Fanta™ while talking to a stranger though, which he does without thought.
"Trust me, it is. You don't wanna deal with all of them in the same room. My head still hurts from the last 'lessons' they gave.">Shifting her eyes towards the north with a disturbed shudder, Naliyna returns to her sorting.
"Just put it wherever there's room, I'll try and see if my daughters are around too, Quell knows way more about armor than I do.">>212276>Looking up from an obvious filly's letter, Naliyna lifts one shoulder with a morbid frown.
"That's most of why I didn't want to get involved: I think Shanis is helping too much. The last time Sweet came through here she was crying, didn't say anything and went off somewhere. I think the 'Juggernaut' was only a maretality she was trained to have. You probably know more about the stuff she's done, so what's Sweet going to do or act like when she remembers stuff that she really shouldn't? There's helping, then there's obsessively revealing more than any fifty minds can hoofle. I know what that's like ponifally, and it's never good.">Making a partial bow to Raidor in return, the trader goes back to, slowly, sorting through applications.
"Might wanna try after dusk Captain, most everypony and human here's probably burned out by now. Been really busy tonight."
>Perusing the map briefly, the Captain's course was, of course, the water fountain north where a trio of humans and two mares were tucked into Empire sleeping bags.>The most curious sight was the large, Lunar designed Arena east, empty at the momarent as the doors were closed.>As for scents, a profound host of vegetables, roots, berries, fruits, and nuts drifting from the north, definitely a Mess Hall.>Taking note of the obvious Clinic west, it featured distinct Honor Guard construction styles, though was much more heavily armored than most designs.>North between four well spaced barracks, squads of humans and mixed ponies had set up heatstone piles, their conversations inaudible at the current distance.>More curious was the partially below ground steel building northeast covered in a number of odd metallic projections, including several giant shields on top.
>>212360>Raindrop's words resonate within Mallia, sparking a distinct interest when she tells the Enginseer that she can show her the 'safest places to rub and touch' most ponies.
(Oh! I could make a pony petting guide with this information; this is good! Yes! This is totally why I am interested!)
>It was lucky (or unlucky) that she had her helmet on, because she was wholly incapable of restraining her smile into growing into an overeager grin. Though the light, interested hum that comes through the respirator is quite audible…>Though she doesn't let herself dwell too much on that (yet), as she quickly shifted her jaw to kill her smile and listened to the Stormtrooper with rapt attention.>As a polar opposition to her mood, Chisan telling her there'd be no time for extended maintenance irks her in a way only an Enginseer could be irked; visibly lifting and sagging her shoulders and slapping her arms akimbo, then blowing out a quiet huff of disappointment.
>Regardless, she acknowledges his words with a quiet:
"I understand." >Then she finds her glance once again turning towards Raindrop; double taking on both Chisan and the pegasus as the notion of riding a pony is presented to her.
(Oh by the Omnissiah.)
(I get to ride an equine.)
(Am I dreaming? There's no way this is happening.)
"I-">Her voice comes and goes, abruptly cutting out -- especially when Raindrop eagerly offers the ride to her, as well.>There's a second of actual silence from Mallia, before, like a child, she wiggles to and fro, lightly claps her hands, and let's out this tiny, high pitched squee of pure delight.
>Then, without hesitation or further pause, she steps up beside the pegasus knight and carefully startws to figure out the best angle to arch her leg and get on the saddle. A process that takes a few seconds as she glances down, minding the wings, before fully sitting onto the mare's back.>She wiggles about on the saddle; getting comfortable. Carefully lifting her legs up off the ground and resting her hands infront of herself, on the mare's neck; Studying the best way to hold herself as she goes. >Meanwhile her mechadendrite shuffles further beneath the backpack to keep the weight balanced as she straightened her back.
"Being 5 foot and 3 inches of height is optimal indeed!" >Mallia would declare out loud once she's settled in. >Almost immediately she tentatively spares a hand to point towards the exit, in that general direction. Assuming her best 'Commissariat Approved' posture; nose high, finger pointed at the horizon, and strong, confidently eager tone.
"Onwards, mighty equine knight! The armory beckons! Glory, honour, and soldiers in distress await; let us conquer the night and take the day by storm as if it was our last!"
>She even makes her mechadendrite coil around the other side of her back so she can point the manipulator claw in that direction, too, and give a little eager whirring sound.
>Now if only she had a nice sword…
>>212331>>211726>As he and Mercy begin making headway on both doors, they both stop as the mare is softly assaulted by a barrage of pillows.>A accented mare bellows out fromt he other side of the door, which both open up from the inside to reveal-
"Uhhhh…">The dumbfounded expression is not lost on his face, as he looks over the grand greeting; as they were apparently now guests to a party full of Lunar vampires.>He feels like he's seen a movie with a plot like this.>The decor, the garments, the old music. The teeth!>Jeff flashes his own toothy smile, in greeting back, but it pales in comparison. Try as he might, he couldn't seem to muster up any of that light bat power he's had.>And they wanted to serve them?>If it weren't for the fact nothing she said really nerved him, he would have been freaking out. Luckily he somehow accepted the situation for what it was: unexpected.>While Mercy was in a state of stuttering shock, Jeff politely removes his helmet to give their greeter a short bow in return. He feels wildly improperly dressed to crash a party full of vampires.>He gives her a reassuring pat on the head while attempting to break the ice.
"Greetings to you all! You'll have to excuse our confusion faces. We didn't… expect anypony to be down here.">The human, now feeling very out of place, clears his throat to properly address their Earth-vampire host.
"I think a little sharing of knowledge is in order, before anything else. My name is Jeff and this is Mercy, Boris, and Sunny.">Visually addressing each of his teammates accordingly, making sure to keep their affiliation and purpose there ambiguous for the moment.
"And who might you all be, dare I ask? And what's the occasion for this soiree?">Jeff raises a gauntlet to his chin and raises a brow with intrigue.
[Last 50 Posts]
"Nothing down here, she says, nothing but an empty crypt, she says.">Sunny quietly snickered at Mercy's bombardment and reaction before refolding her wings and relaxing.>A little.>The mare waved a wing in greeting, realising she was still within the underdark, she carefully and reluctantly extricated herself from the spectrum and re-entered realspace, repeating the wave.>Though they could probably see her anyway, they saw Mercy.>She found the bowing strange, perhaps they were expecting someone specific after all this time, or maybe they recognised Jeff's affiliation with the lunars like she thought they would.
>A little, but not entirely surprised that Lunar Vampires were real after all, as all stories were based upon some grain of truth, Sunny examined the room from where she stood in the doorway. It was of archaic quality, well kept, well lived in it seemed.>Either the preservation enchantments present were particularly robust here or these ponies hadn't slept completely through the slow march of centuries and had maintained the space themselves. Probably both.>They might have been forever buried in this place if it hadn't been raised from the earthy clutches of the moors by the engineers outside.>She remembered Mercy's words outside the crypt. Great undead, but fading. These ponies did not seem like they were fading in any sense of the word.>The crypt was in use, and this portion of it was clearly complete, so why were other parts of the construction abandoned? Something was wrong here, Sunny could feel it.>She hung back to let Jeff do the talking, while she simply observed.[ 1d6+5 = 11 ]
< B. Perception[ 1d6+5 = 10 ]