Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:04 pm
((Clarification/disclaimer: I did something a little different with Beta's turn this time. Their turn was going to end up splintered with lots of wandering and boring choices, and that's not fun for them or anyone else and takes up a lot more time than it should. As such, I'm "compressing" all of that nonsense into one turn. They get all their normal turn's rolls, and then I did rolls for "scenes" afterwards. There were three of these major scenes. Caleb got a leadership roll this time around, so you guys should be grateful about that at least - at least, those of you who didn't get separated. If this ends up working well, I may end up doing this again at very specific points where blow-by-blow play just isn't fun (because who wants to spend an entire turn walking down a hallway?)))
Vynkor quietly pockets the plat she found. "Right, got his house keys and family photos. Anything in there?"
Wandering out of the side room, Sukava shakes her head. "Tool, small door, napkins..."
As soon as the word "Napkins" is out of Sukava's mouth, Vynkor leaps up and makes a beeline the sideroom. "Ooh, napkins! Perfect. I need to clean myself up."
Sukava follows her back. "So... Would there be a pass card among those house keys, by any chance?" She'd seen that the main door of the two required a pass card.
Vynkor is greedily pulling napkins out of the little bin and wiping herself off with them. They're certainly not terrestrial paper-based napkins, but they're "good enough". "Uhhh... pass card?" she says absentmindedly. "Uh, yeah, got a chip. Check it out." She pulls it out and tosses it to Marina; Marina catches it and looks it over while Vynkor goes to dispose of a handful of napkins in the trash bin. As she pulls the bin open by the handle, she peers inside thoughtfully. "Hey, you think that guy we killed would fit in here?"
Sukava raises her hands in disgust. "You're already covered in blood - you drag him." Then she leaves, wandering over to the main door to see if the key will fit anywhere.
Vynkor, grumbling under her breath, goes over to the alien's corpse and starts dragging it towards the trash bin. With some effort, she manages to heave it up and into the slot; it disappears and a wet, sticky sliding noise is heard as it slides down the chute beneath it. There is now a long, messy streak of blood across the floor, but Vynkor doesn't pay it any mind. Instead, she grabs a handful of napkins, tries to wipe herself off again (not entirely successful, but not unsuccessful either), and then wanders back to Sukava.
"It looks like it's a match," Sukava says from in front of the door's locking mechanism. "Really cheap security here." When Vynkor is ready, she inserts the chip.
With a loud groan, the door splits and parts with a horizontal gap. Both she and Vynkor step to the side, out of the line of sight of anyone that might be on the other side.
As the door rumbles to a halt, the pair hears voices from what sounds like only meters away. Sukava motions for Vynkor to be quiet - an unnecessary action, really, as Vynkor isn't making a peep. Seems like there's at least a possibility that there might be trouble.
The possibility that there might be trouble isn't even on Bob's mind. When the mercs shout at him, he comes to a complete stop in the middle of the boulevard and turns around, watching them as they push their way through the crowd. "Hello! Meh Bob!" he calls out. Then, holding up his stuffed bear: "This Jimmy! You know where Bob can find ice cream? I - C - E ..."
The mercs - all aliens, it looks like - are shouting to the bystanders in some other language Bob doesn't understand. Whatever they say seems to send everyone nearby into a panic; they begin stampeding to get out of the way and leave the area as fast as possible. Bob, towering over most of them, stands and watches. He starts trying to spell "ice cream" again, but suddenly notices that these people seem quite angry, and have their weapons pointed directly at him. That can only mean one thing: they want to fight.
Bob furrows his brow, thinking hard. If these bad men are here, there must be other bad men going after Frank, Caleb, and Saoirse-not-boss back at the store where they just were - the one where they didn't have any ice cream. If Bob fights these mercs, that means fewer mercs will be left to hurt Saoirse-not-boss. She's a bad boss, sure, but Bob still likes her. Sometimes.
"Come on, Jimmy," Bob says with determination. He tucks the bear at his waist, running into a nearby store - apparently for clothing and knickknacks. The aliens hiding inside shout and scatter like cockroaches as Bob rounds a circular display and takes cover, spooling his minigun. If these "cops" want a fight, they're damn well going to get one.
The "cops" are actually just part of the militant peacekeeping force belonging to the Fuhodo Mercenary Union, one of the two dominant factions on the station.
Frank, behind Saoirse and Caleb, is sitting on the floor, leaning wearily against the shelving. His body is sore and his head is spinning. He puts his hands up in confusion, dropping the broken syringe and shouting, "I yield! I yield! By the elusive fluff, what are we even accused of?"
Up in front, Caleb surveys the little police force. Once a soldier, always a soldier: his old instincts start to kick into gear. In a flash, he estimates their odds of survival: slim to none. "Saoirse," he whispers, not taking his eyes off the cops, "No way we can survive fighting these guys. I think I saw a way out past that fukcing big alien. I'll shock him again and we can make a run for it."
Saoirse nods grimly. "All right. You first. I'll cover us."
The FMU peacekeepers finish rolling into position behind cover; the leader shouts to one of his operatives, who shouts back in Hiltorellian that the three mercs' identity is confirmed: these mercs are carrying weapons designed by Tartarus Inc. The leader acknowledges, and leans out of cover; he's just about to order the three inmates to stand down when he sees the stunned wralk in the passageway behind them. His eyes widen behind his helmet: "They're hostile! Take them down!"
All hell breaks loose. More than half a dozen cops begin firing at once; Saoirse spins up her staff and begins blocking incoming rounds, concentrating fiercely.
Caleb dashes through the door behind his teammate. As he passes Frank, he jerks the man to his feet with a one-armed yank. "FRANK! LET'S GO!" But Frank doesn't seem to hear, and Caleb is really starting to hate this station.
Saoirse struggles to get through the doorway and parry at the same time; the battlestaff simply isn't designed to block this much incoming fire at once. One plasma shot whips past her head, singeing her helmet - another hits her in the left leg - her cyborg leg. She lets out a little shriek and throws herself behind the doorframe, safe in cover, as she glances quickly over the damage: nothing except a little heating. It'll heal quickly on its own.
Plasma strikes the floor around Caleb's feet as he continues to run towards the central hallway. Nearly stumbling, he attempts to tase the massive alien as he gets close. His aim is off and the wralk sidesteps it entirely.
Behind him, Saoirse focuses on the lights in the room, trying to kill them with her electro amp; they flicker but don't go out - a clear sign she needs to slow her breathing. She glances over her shoulder; Frank hasn't moved. "FRANK, GO!" she shouts. "WE'RE LEGGING IT!"
In response to Saoirse's shouts, Frank, stumbling, moves towards the intersection, trying to stay out of the line of fire. His head is starting to clear, all but for one question: How did everything go to hell so quickly? Ahead of him, the wralk swings a giant three-fingered fist like a wrecking ball towards Caleb's chest. Out of pure reflex and adrenaline, Caleb throws himself to the ground, sliding beneath the blow as it crunches into the shelving opposite him; the metal shelves twist and crumple, their former contents cascading loudly to the ground as the monster roars. Caleb scrambles to his feet and rushes for the central aisle, taking the path towards the right. Behind him, the fire stops; Saoirse has put a stasis field in the doorway, buying them a few precious seconds.
As Frank nears the wralk, it swings another fist downwards, menacing with the intent to kill. Frank ducks - a futile act - but Saoirse saves him as she approaches: with a wave of her hand, she creates a gravity field that lifts the monster entirely off the floor and sends him accelerating into and through the shelving on the right side of the aisle. It creates such an incredible din that Frank feels he's only narrowly escaped being deafened. He runs past the (invisible) gravity field and into the central aisle, and soon catches sight of his other teammate. "Caleb!" Frank calls out. "Don't go that way!" Frank doesn't have time to explain: he heard a door open on the other side of the room, and going through the offices seems like a bad idea.
Caleb skids to a stop and changes direction without a thought, and the three inmates meet in the middle.
Without explaining, Frank tells the others to follow and leads the way.
Behind them, the cops have already burst through Saoirse's stasis field and are beginning to pursue.
Frank sees the exit at the end of one of the aisles on his right and makes a sharp turn towards it. "This door!" he cries. It has the earmarks of an exit, and the three inmates smash it open and take another sharp right into a little-used, dimly-lit maintenance corridor. Saoirse puts up a stasis bubble behind them with the hope that it'll slow the cops down a few moments longer. Only seconds afterwards, the trio crashes through the next door, entering a 4-way-junction in the hallways; it's completely dark. "Where now?" one asks. When one of their teammates take the leftmost passage, the others follow, switching on their headlamps. A fast jog turns into a run as the cops round the corner behind them, shouting into their radios. Shots ring out, but go wide; only moments later Saoirse shatters the next door with her battlestaff and the three inmates charge through.
Overturned and broken desks, tables, and other alien furniture litter this abandoned room - formerly some kind of office. It's been so well-looted that all that remains is garbage. Saoirse pops a stasis bubble behind them and the three inmates storm towards the doorway on the left wall, with Caleb leading the way. But as they near the door, it bursts open, the glare of five or more flashlights blinding them. Shouts and plasma fill the air; Saoirse crouches behind an overturned table while Caleb fires, stunning at least one of the FMU peacekeepers. Caleb's electrorifle runs out of charge, and he switches to his Gauss shotgun, taking down at least two of the hostiles - but there are still too many. Frank fires a bolt which shatters, spewing out gas, but the inmates don't stick around to see the results: Saoirse, shouting, leads them through a different door at the back of the room. As they hurtle down the next hallway, the crash of a grenade sets their ears ringing - it was a very narrow escape. They didn't even see the grenade.
Leaving the hallway at the next exit, they rush down two flights of a spiral staircase, and come to yet another set of doors - and behind it, a three-way T-junction with sliding doors on their side and the side opposite - no longer pitch-black like some of the other areas they've been through. To the right, a long hallway with a corner at the end. There are heavy footsteps and shouts from the hallway at the top of the stairs.
Caleb slams the door behind them shut and makes a hasty attempt to weld it shut with his laser pistol, but it's fruitless.
Frank, shaking with adrenaline, forces open one of the broken sliding doors in front of them, then comes to a rapid halt.
"So, where next?" Caleb asks urgently.
Saoirse, panting and wide-eyed, doesn't have a clue. "No idea. Frank?"
Frank looks at them, and then back at the door, stepping out of the way so they can see. "Dead end," he says simply: it's an empty cargo elevator shaft.
The other two inmates step close and peer into the steely shaft, lit at intervals with bright lighting on the back wall. It must go down a dozen or more stories, and they're almost at the top.
Behind them, the inmates hear a group of mercs rapidly descending the staircase. Saoirse puts up another stasis bubble, but her aim is off; it lands in front of the doors instead.
Caleb stares at the doors for a brief moment, making up his mind. "We have to go! Now!" he barks, and starts to sprint down the hallway, motioning for the others to follow. Just as he starts to sprint in that direction, yet another group of FMU round the far corner of the hallway a few dozen meters away. "...or we won't go," Caleb corrects himself. He mentally switches gears, pulling his gauss shotgun back out and reloading it.
"What do we do?" Frank asks frantically, fumbling to reload his crossbow. "We can't fight our way out of this!"
"We have to," Caleb says decidedly. "We'll take cover beneath the stairs."
But Saoirse has different plans. Thinking quickly, she grabs both of them by the arm. "We don't have to," she says. "We're jumping - hold on to me!"
Without waiting for them to comply, Saoirse grabs them both by the arms and pulls them behind her into the shaft. Frank and Caleb hold onto her tightly, their feet on hers, as they plummet down the shaft, descending rapidly into the deepest depths of the downtown area; Saoirse slows their descent with a skilled application of gravity fields and her rocket boots, while Caleb shoots out the lights as they pass.
Above them, a handful of mercs jump into the shaft, descending on cables like so many spiders. Shots rain down from above; bright seagreen fireballs that rush past with a hiss. Caleb fires back in return; his shots go wide, but they're at least gaining ground.
"I don't have much charge left on my boots," Saoirse shouts over the din.
"How much?" Caleb asks.
"Hardly enough to stop!" She sounds worried. "I'm taking the next exit! Frank, do you have your cable reel?"
"Got it," Frank confirms. "Firing now! Hold on to me!"
Timing it just right, Frank harpoons the wall just above one of the open-door shaft exits with a sticky bomb. The trio makes a dramatic exit from the shaft, swinging like monkeys on a vine through a tall cargo door. Frank's cable snaps under the strain, and the trio crashes through an old barrier around the shaft's entrance, tumbling to a stop amidst pained groans.
They seem to have arrived in a massive abandoned warehouse area. Towering stacks of shelves, arranged around the center and edges of the room, are nearly devoid of goods. Lighting is scarce. Some of the paneling on the far edges of the room have given way, revealing a natural rock wall behind. There doesn't seem to be a soul in sight - at least, until their eyes adjust. Frank notices a figure atop some of the shelving on the right wall, sitting next to a light.
"We need to get moving," Caleb warns, getting to his feet. "They'll be on us again within minutes." Upon straightening, he gasps and chokes; the adrenaline kept him from noticing: he's been shot in the stomach. He has no idea when it happened, but it's bleeding pretty badly through his suit.
Billy the Butcher does a quick double-take at the note in his hand, and then slips it quietly into his pocket, pretending it never happened. "A'ight, we have to get goin', fellers!" he says, taking off ahead of the group. "As I said, screw that shit. Just so happens, n' as I wanted to say, but Conley kept interruptin' me, I know just the fine establishment we could go to. Come on, I wait a lil' more n' I'll turn into sand, I swear!"
"Very well, Bill!" Killshot booms. "Given your affinity for alcohol, you no doubt know your bars well. Lead us to the finest of drinking establishments!"
Buck pauses, then throws back over his shoulder, just in case, "Well, as fine as it gets in a place like this, anyway." He's never been to The Last Ponderance before in his life, obviously, and has no idea what kind of place it could be.
A few minutes later, it becomes pretty clear to Killshot that the Butcher has no idea where he's going. Killshot tries to call him out on it. "Wellllll," the Butcher says sheepishly, "I ain't been here in a long time." They get back into the elevator a second time, and the Butcher finally decides to try to talk to one of the other elevator passengers - a rather rough-looking, well-armed fellow. (The alien is, at least, not a squid.) "Hey, Ponderance, floor 3, right?" the Butcher says, trying to look friendly - instead of grimacing at the alien's ugly mug.
The fellow looks up from his PDA and gazes stonily at the Butcher without saying a word, and then very pointedly says in Galactic, "Elevator? Last Ponderance." The elevator accepts the destination and the stop is added on the display screen for the elevator's up-down itinerary. Without another word, the alien turns back to his PDA to continue reading.
The Butcher feels quite stupid after this turn of events. When he notices Killshot staring at him in amusement, he adds defensively, "Come on now, I said a long, long time!"
It isn't much longer before they find the place: The Last Ponderance, back in an out-of-the-way alley: a really shady-looking joint, just right for shady-looking people conducting shady-looking business. They walk in through the door together, the Butcher assuring Killshot that he knew where the place was "all along". He just wanted to see the sights first.
Speaking of seeing the sights... it's at this point that Killshot and the Butcher realize that they don't see their buddy Hammerhead anywhere in sight. In fact... they can't remember seeing him since the Merc Registration Department.
Ishmael finishes up his mug. "Barkeep," he calls, waving.
The alien approaches and grunts. "Mmmmh?" He reaches for the empty mug and gives it a disapproving glare, almost as though he's disappointed that it's emptied itself, and then looks back at Ishmael.
"I enjoyed Grishka's Jor'ka a lot, thank you," the old priest says politely. "Now, if I could have a very, very large mug o' hot grog to warm me old bones, I'd be very grateful!"
"Mmmmh. Grog," the barman mutters slowly, turning around. "Yes... have grog." His four arms go to work, putting the discarded mug into a sink. From under the counter he pulls out a giant mug identical to the one the alien to Ishmael's right is drinking from. "Large mug?" the bartender asks again to clarify. At Ishmael's nod, he grunts. His arms fulfill their task quickly and he places the grog-filled mug in front of Ishmael. "Three plat."
Ishmael pays and thanks the bartender, and takes a large sip. It's certainly grog, but using some kind of sweet near-citrus fruit he can't quite put a name to. It might not even be terrestrial. He takes a larger gulp; this one gives him the shivers. "Arr," he says, thoroughly enjoying himself. "Ahoy, barkeep!"
The alien stops cooking and gives him a look.
"Ye won't happen to know anyone who could offer me and me mateys a job? Would have to be a one-time deal, we won't be staying here long. Just waitin' for the favourable winds, ye know..."
After staring for a moment, the bartender rattles off a few sentences in Galactic Standard, even if almost indecipherable through his accent and slow, rolling manner of speech. All the while, he gestures with his hands, as though conveying a grandiose meaning to his words. "I am bartender. Not psychologist. Not in-ter-sted in life stories. You pay, you drink, you enjoy, you go. No play chat with Nekyoch. Kayovat, dya?" With that, he turns away and gets back to cooking.
A chuckle behind him makes Ishmael turn around; a blue-gray, dark-eyed, bald-headed alien sidles over and sits down on the stool next to him. "You haven't been here before, have you?" she asks in a nasally voice. "Nekyoch doesn't speak Galactic. That's the speech he gives people that don't mind their own business."
Ishmael takes another sip from his grog. "Like you?"
The alien gives a sly smile. "Not minding my own business is my business. What kind of job are you looking for?"
Ishmael is just about to answer when a very unlikely set of people tromps in loudly through the doorway, drawing the eyes of practically everyone in the room - including that of his new acquaintance. Grimacing, Ishmael downs the rest of his grog in one go.
It is, of course, Brom and Buck... and they've somehow managed to lose Gene. How talented of them.
Gene stands alone in the middle of an open area.
Naturally, no one answers.
Aliens walk around him without so much as a passing glance. Elevators to either side of the big central area loom menacingly. But there is no sign of Brom or buck - and precious few humans to be seen. In fact, seeing one stands out enough to be considered unusual - as Gene no doubt seems to these aliens.
He begins walking in a random direction, searching for his teammates, but so far, it's of no avail. "Killshot? ...Terminator?"
If only he'd kept up instead of getting distracted with the job listings... but he didn't expect the rest of his fireteam to rush off in such a hurry. Where did they even go?
Where will Gene even go?