Remote Star <Moose Country>
The Galaxy Federation has a problem: It does not have many names.
Core systems, those near the center of development, usually recieve reasonable ones - Zion Omega, Second Miltia, words that are meaningful and seem like names. But there are millions of stars in any galaxy.
So remote, silent stars, of no true interest to anyone for thousands of years, or more, recieve cursory scans, a matter of fact entry in the Unus Mundus Network, and a name that comes from the whim of a survey crew - often underpaid, generally undereducated, and almost always a little stir-crazy. The Unus Mundus Network authorities prevent truly obscene names from making it in, but they can't reject a name solely for being eccentric.
The distant orange dwarf "Moose Country" has only two planets of note, plus debris. One is a cold, turbulent gas giant without moons, and the other is an icy planet, just close enough to the slow-burning star to be on the ragged edge of habitability. Its surface is covered in ice, together with a reflective violet sheen that covers forty percent of the world, surrounding an elevated volcanic plateau.
That plateau gives off the energetic readings of a Federation battlecruiser at half capacity.
The star titled "Moose Country" is notable for being old and boring. Even most dull planetary systems have six or seven planets; this one has two.
After arrival from the UMN terminal or the equivalent point where an interstellar drive isn't useful any more, the signals coming from the Hitler's main power plant on the first planet are incredibly obvious by virtue of being the only thing beyond faint warmth from the star in the system.
The view of the galaxy is wonderful, but that can come later. For now, there is a starship to investigate.
The view of the galaxy is one thing that doesn't really concern Ziggy, unless something out of the orinary appeared. This seems to not be the case, so Ziggy's attention remains on the scans from the first planet.
Abnormal heat signature, the trajectory matches, Ziggy nods. This is the right place.
The cockpit of his vessal is rather small (by federation standards) but there's plenty of room for the cyborg pilot, and his two comrades. He turns his head slightly. "We'll be approaching the planet shortly. Once the scans come back detailing whether or not it has a breathable atmosphere I'll prepare hazzard suits if necessary." Ziggy won't need them, of course, unless the atmosphere is particularly corrosive, but for his friends who happen to be addicted to oxygen, it was a smart precaution to bring them.
Yep, this is space travel with Ziggy. When MOMO's not around he's not exactly a barrel of laughs.
Maya is enjoying the view but she's worried about it, she's in with Ziggy and got an few things. Namely some borroed gear from the foundation given the nature of the mission. Maya thinks for a moment a she replies. "So the question is just what mental state will any living Relians be in if we find them?"
Erk is busy reading a book. Unsurprisingly, it has a picture of a large flame on the front cover. Those who've visited Elibe or Mag'val would know what this is, the sum of Erk's magic power. One day, he'll memorize all fourty pages. But until then, he's still having to read it. Erk looks up, completely new to this sector of space. "Hmm? Hazard suits? Relians?"
The Combat Gamer cruises into the area in a three-man Space Pirate intrusion craft; fast, maneuverable, equipped with a cloaking device. He's been searching Xenospace sector by sector for weeks, and now has finally caught up with the Hitler. The cored Redeemer charge in its carefully packed satchel rests at his feet as he flies in, parking the ship adjacent to an airlock. Real men don't breathe in space.
Ziggy continues to tap away at the controls, though he doesn't need to stop in order to respond to the others. "I am not sure, but we will have to be prepared." He says to Maya, then turning to Erk. "A hazzard suit will let you survive in a vacuum, or another wise unbreathable atmosphere, if we encounter one. The equipment is from the Palace, and is designed not to interfere with various fighting styles, such as magic."
He pauses, seemingly to adjust the ship's flight path, but also to briefly think about how to answer the second question. "Realians are artificial humans, more or less. They are not like clones or machines, but more like a mesh between the two types of technology." Shion could explain this SO much better. "The realians that were on the two missing starships seemed to have gone mad, which resulted in the attack on Ceres Station. It is highly possible those realians will still be on board the Starship Hitler, if it is still intact, so we need to be ready for hostile forces."
Click, click, beep. The planet lurches forward, before them. Even though it APPEARS the planet is approaching rather slowly, they are going pretty fast. Scale and position, and all that.
The air of the planet can't be breathed, but it isn't toxic. Air pressure is low but not horrible - air is needed but a suit hole isn't a death sentence.
It's really cold.
The planet seems to glitter like a stained billiard ball as it comes closer. The ship is on a flat and elevated plateau, and there's nothing at all to stop you from going right on down.
Maybe they're all dead.
Erk nods. "I see." He closes the book and sits back and relaxes. This last part takes a sizable amount of time. Erk is a slight bit claustrophobic, the first time inside a Space themed zone. He actually would have attempted to take a stroll outside the ship if it wasn't for the warning markers all over the place. He fights the urge to ask 'Are we there yet?'
Maya says "I got some suppot if we needed, I borrowd an AGWS from the foundation." She notes. She now she waits for a moment as she watches as the craft head for the planet. "Still in the end they are people but they are also mad." She thinks. "Well we'll do what we have to do lets hope we can dig some information out of this mess."
Dual's cloaked ship rumbles down through the atmosphere, going low and slow; it gets down to just a couple hundred feet off the ground about twenty kilometers away from the ship, then cruises in carefully to try to avoid defenses or patrols. Dual's doing this professionally today. He lights up a cigarette while considering the lay of the land. Dual wonders where he'll put the nuke.
"Hazzard suits will be necessary." Ziggy confirms. "I'll be fine out there without one. The temperature is rather cold, but the suits will keep you both insulated." He frowns as the data from the crash site comes in. Part of him hoped this would be a simple endevour, the rest of him knew better. He sits back in his chair for a moment, as the ship continues to descend, considering an appropriate battle plan.
Turning to Maya, he says "An AGWS unit will be handy if we become discovered, but moving around in it at the start will only draw attention to ourselves. Keep it on standby until then." He's not one for piloting AGWS, and he can fight them one on one easily enough. But of three or more gang up on him then it becomes a real problem. Hopefully they won't have to encounter such a situation.
"5 minutes till landing. Our approach appears to be unnoticed, either that or they are not responding to us. We'll land a short ways east of the site, and advance on foot. We'll play this stealthily until we are discovered, if we are discovered." Likely they will be, it's always how these things go.
It becomes clear quickly that they are not all dead.
Equipment is in standby mode; at least two dozen AGWS, possibly more. One of them, without legs, is blazed past by the Space Pirate craft; it is either unmanned or properly fooled by the cloaking device.
If you avoid the structures that have been built up, there's nothing to stop a landing.
Dual's ship continues onward, not wanting to break the cloak to engage the seemingly empty AGWS in combat. The Combat Gamer makes note of these strange events in his running log. The relative lack of 'ship' becomes apparent as he gets nearer to the base-like area. If there's no central flashing thing for him to blow up, this could be a problem.
Erk nods. "All right." And as the group hasn't landed yet, Erk opens his book back up to wait until someone says that they've parked. He waits because he's not sure about these flying metal things.
Ziggy's ship lands without the loud heavy thud one would expect from a ship landing. Thanks to the hovor landing gear. The only sound comes from parts of the ship powering down.
Inside the cockpit, Ziggy stands from his seat and makes his way to the back. Opening a panel along the way and extracting two hazzard suits, handing them to Maya and Erk. "If you need privacy there is a room in the back, however they can fit over your current clothes. Once you are ready, meet me outside. I'll head out and survey the immediate area."
Outside the ship, a door opens and a ramp extends downward, a few moments later Ziggy steps down off of it and looks around. From this distance he tries to locate which structure seems to appear most prominent, and how many hostiles are between them and it. While his vision is good, it is still not unlimited, but he can only work with what he has.
There are two main regions in the disassembled ship. Either one, probably, could be destroyed. Neither is glowing very strongly.
The first is the hulk of the ship itself, which seems to be inhabited. There's a lot of power from it, and a lot of jury-rigged cables leading out to various other points. It has a lot of power readings, and there's still a 'HITLER' marking on the side of the hull.
The second is the gun, which has a large area also giving off power readings. It appears to be movable, although there isn't any machinery to steer it around. There are a lot of ropes, however, and improvised bearings.
There are also the crude shafts drilled into the volcanic surface. Nothing is obvious about them, except for the steam.
There are Realians milling about. They look dirty, probably from hard work. Most of them have some kind of sidearm with them, but there aren't any active AGWS. Some AGWS in various states of disrepair are distributed around the area. There are perhaps a hundred immediately visible; this could mean there are two hundred total, or as many as a thousand. There probably isn't more than a thousand. That may not be a very reassuring thought.
Less than a thousand? Barely a door mission for the likes of Dual. He reviews the computer's estimates of enemies and defenses as the ship floats over to take a position over the top of the Hitler's remaining bulk, directly over a convenient airlock. He posits the possible existence of a control area inside the main inhabited area; the large gun doesn't really grab his interest. He starts packing up to leave.
Maya now doesn't exit the ship yet she looks to Ziggy for a moment she says, "Right." She'll change into the suit. She'll summon the AGWS once she needs it. A moment later she vanishes into thhe back a to change and she now finishes up getting changed to join the others.
Erk, like most men, is perfectly fine with his suit on his clothes, and barring a moment to shed his cape, he slowly attempts to put his suit on top of his shirt. Erk takes this moment to figure that space sucks. It is a very long moment, hatches are not his thing. The moment ends eventually, and Erk is ready to go. At least, he thinks he's ready.
The airlock opens down into a stripped-out hallway. All the electronic components - and judging from holes pried in the floor, much of the mechanical components as well - have been stripped out. It's dark, although the airlock admits dim light. There isn't any sign of a guard.
Some of the realians in view vanish down into one of the shafts, clambering down an improvised ladder/ramp. There is a brief period where no visible Realian has a direct line of sight to Ziggy's craft.
Ziggy decides on the remains of the ship as their destination. Hollowed out as it may be, there is likely some sort of makeshift shelter made out of it. Chances are the gun that is in place not too far from it is there to guard the ship, more than the entire area.
As Maya and Erk leave the ship, Ziggy nods to them. "Let's go. Try and keep a low profile. We would stick out like a sore thumb, so if we are seen, it will become troublesome." While Ziggy can use his stealth cloak, he's not about to ditch Maya or Erk. Once they're ready, he leads them towards the ship.
Erk does not have stealth cloak, nor does he have magic that pretends to be. So Erk slowly strolls down the ramp, holding the book, making sure nobody is wielding a gun or any medieval weaponry. He follows Ziggy to the ship, staying silent to help with the low profile.
Maya is in the rather well stylish as far as the suits go, the Xeno Zone did have some good sense in their space suit and its related gear. Maya's got her rifle and is folling after the leader of the group. "Ziggy? I have an idea I think I can use a cloak spell to hide our presence a bit. Should hide us from visual scanners at least."
Dual believes in stealth by violence. Strapped with his bombs and other party favors, the Combat Gamer climbs out from the bottom of the ship and roughly tugs the airlock away with a metallic crunching noise. He slides in sideways, then draws his GunCon 2 to make himself at home. He eyes the place up, looking for obvious cues leading to things like engineering or the computer core.
There are improvised ramps up into the enclosed space of the Hitler's hulk. It looks pretty dark in there. There is some sort of a shift change going on, or possibly they are just distracted. It's too dark inside the large-seeming space just inside the bottom entrance to see what's going on.
The upper hallway is somewhat better lit due to cracks in the hull where it was damaged or where parts were stripped out. The ship is apparently at a roughly 45 degree angle to where it should be - it looks like a giant marital aid from the outside, which is what made this less than obvious - and is abandoned up here. There is a black screen with an arrow roughly painted on it; there is no label.
Ziggy nods to Maya "Much of the standard gear for Federation military realians lack stealth-sensing capabilities, though if those AWGS units are active they could possibly see through it. Use it on yourself and Erk, I have my own means of stealth cloaking." Which he would use, but it is not selective, and would make him invisible to Maya and Erk as well. He moves forward for now, prepared to activated it at the first sign of potential trouble.
Hopefully the trek to the ship will be uneventful. If it is, then that will likely change once they are inside.
Maya Says "All right then." She closes her eyes and says "You ready Erk?" A moment later she pulls a card out of a pouch and casts the spell on herself. A second later she casts it on Erk, both should fate away into the shadows becomming invisable then she'll move to follow after Ziggy
Erk shrugs and nods, still attempting to keep silent. Erk, on the bright side, doesn't freak out when he begins to disappear, and walks along behind the two, still looking around on the off chance anybody sees through the cloaking. Granted, besides the watching, Erk isn't at all ready for any sort of combat.
Dual starts heading through the ship himself. "Follow the arrows," he says to himself, "just follow, don't say no..." He is, indeed, following the arrows.
There are a lot of dead Realians in the central open area. Down at the far end of that open space, there are several moving quietly, crouching down around one. The few nearby all seem to have been badly damaged and are in variously messy states of disassembly. There isn't enough light to make out what's going on at the far end.
Those upper tunnels go backwards and inwards. They get darker, and then, slowly, warmer. There are even a few lights remaining, enough to highlight the path in washed-out faintness. The ship's power core, which can't be much further away, makes a subterranean humming sound of power, energy, life.
Cruel as it may seem, Ziggy moves onward without stopping to regard the fallen realians. So long as they don't make a move to hinder their progress, anyway. He knows if Shion were here she'd reprimand him. If she were here she'd insist on stopping to help them. Luckily she is not accompaying them on this mission.
It would not be the first time Ziggy's attitudes would drive a wedge between allies, but in his mind he does what needs to be done. He only hopes Maya and Erk don't wish to stop to assist the fallen realians. Stopping to argue would only waste time they need to be spending investigating.
While the cyborg's eyes dart around periodically, they remain mostly fixated at the remains of the ship they are approaching. Their main goal is the central computer, if there's anything left of it. Barring that, any source of recorded information they can get their hands on. Records of what happened before the attack on Ceres, after, any sort of structure of plan to what's happening now. Whatever they can get. Luckily he is proficient enough to hack into a database.
Dual intermittently gives one of the dead Realians he passes a swift kick, just to be sure they're dead and not lying in wait. He's coming at this from the opposite direction than Ziggy, so they'll probably meet in the middle. Or at their doom.
Erk assumes a few things about all life forms. If they are lying down, they are either sleeping, unconscious, or dead. If they were dying, they would make a lot of noise. Erk doesn't really know how to help androids, anyway, so he continues following along. However, there /is/ a grim look of concern on his face for the Realians.
Maya's looking at the various dead relians. There's nothing she can do for them, they are insane to the point they would attack anyone who would try to help. If they can find the root of the madness then she'll be back to help. She keeps up with Ziggy, she'll hate her self for this she can't do anything...right now as much as she wants to
The dead Realians are in one of two states: Somewhat fleshy and feeling more like a dead body, or skeletonized.
Fortunately, Dual's kick at one of the latter just moves their shoulder-bone equivalent; kicking the head might have been unfortunate.
The two undeniably alive and active Realians crouched by one of the dead ones are far enough away that they don't notice these antics over the hollow echoes of the engine's pulsing. There is probably a hatch going down to the engine room somewhere in this cavernous open space, or possibly just a straight-up hole.
A rough count would indicate about three hundred dead Realians. So that puts an upper cap of about 700 armed and probably-insane Realians to deal with. It just keeps getting easier!
Ziggy continues to lead the others silently. He doesn't stop to attempt kicking any of them, that would be excessive and unnecessary, not to mention mean spirited. He's not going to try to help them, but he's not going put them down further than they already are, either.
As they move, Ziggy constantly attempts to triangulate the position of where the central computer core WOULD be, if it is still intact. Federation ships only have a number of basic designs, afterall. Of course, as heavily modified as this ship is, he'll have to implement a lot of guesswork.
"Do not stop searching for any hostiles." Ziggy says to Maya and Erk. "Just because we've come this far doesn't mean we can afford to relax." Truth be told, Ziggy has a bad feeling. He tends to have bad feelings in situations like this, and they tend to be right. He had a bad feeling back on the attack at Ceres, and it's no better now.
Dual is always unnecessary. He likes making sure the creepy Realians are dead. His progress toward the core is slow but steady. It's not like it's going to go anywhere. He pauses to light a cigarette at an intersection, finding another arrow and following it.
Erk turns around and begins to watch their collective backs as he walks backwards to guard against ambushes. This involves a lot of stumbling, because Erk isn't suited at all to walking backwards, let alone walking backwards in clothing he's not used to.
Assuming it has not been moved, the computer core should also be belowdecks. It is probably apparent by now that this main cavernous room used to hold the primary gun. For whatever reasons the Realians had, they stripped out the spine of their ship.
Someone comes around the corner as Dual lights up his cigarette. It is an adult-ish female Realian; it is missing one eye, which is covered with a ragged strip of the durable leather-plastic material their clothing is made from.
That visible eye widens. It looks Dual up and down, taking him in. Then it says, "-You-!"
Out where Ziggy and the others are, the two Realians at their enigmatic task look up, over towards that distant sound. They both stand up and start walking towards it.
Maya nods to Ziggy even if he can't see it. She keeps moving and Ziggy isn't the only one to have a bad feeling about this. There is going to be something here they are not going to like at all. She's got her own holo computer which could be used to haul any data they might find.
It's a large, cavernous room, so the echo reverberates throughout it. Though by the time it reaches Ziggy's ears the message has become muted, and even with his enhanced senses he can't quite make it out. He frowns, though, something seems to have startled one of the realians somewhere, and it wasn't them. He only hopes it was a sudden accident, or similar incident, he doesn't want to have do deal with something else. But they'll cross that bridge when they come to it.
Ziggy continues to search for elevators that lead downward. Or, since the fact that they would be all deactivated is quite likely, maintenance ladders leading dowmward. They, at least should be intact. Unless the Realians removed THEM for spare parts too, and happened to get particularly good at Samus's wall-jumping.
Dual automatically raises his arm when the voice is heard, sees it's a Realian, and pulls the trigger. A sharp report of energy follows, aimed at the female's head. "That's `it's you'," Dual says.
Erk continues to stumble backwards through the ship. If the group was to turn, Erk wouldn't catch it and stumble right into the wall, before looking around to catch up with Ziggy and Maya. Otherwise, he continues looking for trouble. Like the other two members of his group, he /also/ has a bad feeling about this. Then again, he had that feeling since he got on Ziggy's ship. Granted, he had yet to experience space, so the feeling was a little justified.
There's a strangely triumphant expression on the Realian's face even as the GunCon is aimed at it. It makes no move to defend itself or to dodge. It looked about to laugh when half of its face blows off from the blast. It collapses with a wet thud.
The two others in the hallway begin to run now. They are heading towards the direction of the blast. There is a maintanence ladder in a porthole that has been cut in the floor; this becomes very obvious because another realian emerges from it, clambering up the ladder and joining the other two in homing in on the origin of that noise.
There is some brief curt shouting from inside of that hole. It sounds like one word commands. The echoes are strange.
Maya is heading down after the others, she now poners what would do this to the various relians. No time to worry about that as she now keeps up after Ziggy. This place is giving her the feeling the catacombs. She's also keeping an eye out for turrets or any other supplies... depending on what might be down here.
Dual starts advancing toward the sound of approaching Realians. He switches a toggle on his GunCon 2 to 'spray' and waits for the target rich environment to begin. He puffs on his cigarette, advancing.
The commotion which follows (Ok, four realians, but commotion enough, compared to the quiet they've encountered so far) provides a good opportunity, in Ziggy's eyes, at least. The cyborg quickly makes his way over to the opening of the maintanence ladder. Before approaching it to climb down, Ziggy hits a few barely visible buttons on his cyberntic arm. Electricity crackles around him, and he fades from view.
His disembodied voice addresses Maya and Erk in a low tone "Wait here for a moment, I'll head down and scout the immediate area below. I'll signal for you both to follow if it's safe."
That being said, he begins to descend the ladder. Luckily his cloaking systems contains a light form of sound suppression, else the heavy sound of his metal feet on the ladder would draw attention. It's not PERFECT, though, and if a realian happens to be standing under him, he or she may hear it.
The three Realians have enough basic tactical intelligence to cluster together outside of the direct fire arc Dual has from that hallway and draw out their own sidearms. There is a pause of about two seconds, and -then- they lunge forwards, one of them running towards the Gamemaster as the other two provide covering fire. Their weapons are much weaker than the GunCon but may yet be annoying.
There don't seem to be any turrets or hidden defenses up in the large hallway of the dead. If anything, it's suprising that it IS so dead; even half-wrecked starships often still have residual lights or clouds of steam. It's as if it has been systematically stripped; Erk might notice from some of the nearby examples that this is exactly what has happened to the dead Realians.
Ziggy can make it down the ladder before several other Realians come scrambling up it. The ladder has remained intact but is of the 'rungs bolted into the side' sort - plain scrap metal may not be that valuable to the Realians.
Someone says, clearly, "Get the connection!" in a ragged, angry-sounding voice.
Erk turns back whem Ziggy speaks to him, and nods silently. If the pressure suits aren't tinted, then one could probably see him say 'All right.' At this point he stops moving, but then moves his back against the wall. "Hmm... this is odd..." He says, looking around at the stripped ship.
Maya nods to Ziggy and she waits for Ziggy to head down on Point. Hopefully he'll find something useful an she does find there isn't anything in here of note really...but she looks to the Relians comming up....
"Insects!" Dual bellows, as the Realians attack. He fires off a shot at one of the Realian's legs, then snaps his wrist, produces an EMP charge, and lobs it at the group.
His right eye twitches as ... something untoward happens. The Player2 systems buzz in his ears. "OUT!"
Ziggy glances around the poorly lit room he descends into. After stepping off the ladder he quickly moves off to the side of the corridor, in case any Realians come rushing by they won't run into him. His eyes quickly adjust to the lack of light, there doesn't seem to be anyone nearby. Good.
Moving back to the ladder, he climbs back up the ladder half-way just so he can speak to Maya and Erk without raising his voice too much.
"There is no one in the immediate vacinity down here. However, I think it may be best to split up for the moment. I want the two of you to remain hidden, and keep your eyes out for anything out of the ordinary. I'm certain something is going on up there. I'll continue searching down here. Radio me directly if you run into trouble." Maya, at least, should possess something to that effect. "We'll meet up here again if either of us finds anything."
Climbing back down the ladder, Ziggy quickly starts down the darkened hallway, towards the direction of the voices he heard earlier. Right now, his intent is to eavesdrop.
The Realian dodges the shot, barely. There's a ripping noise as its uniform trousers give way.
Then there's the EMP shot; all of them collapse, writhing.
Down that hallway, there are now no voices. However, there is one intact light, very bright, which reveals a small group of realians working with a half-dozen personal connection gears. They seem to be connecting them.
Erk nods as Ziggy goes back down, and continues watching out for more trouble. The Realians that came up the ladder don't escape his notice, but he doesn't do anything about them. He looks over at Maya, and wonders if she'll go anywhere.
Maya has a codec so she can indeed do as Ziggy asks of her. She now statts to search about for anything out of the ordinary here. She's got to wonder what these Relians are thinking and she's not liking where the possiblities lead. She now moves down the hallway a bit seeing if there is anything she can spot that might be of use to their mission's objectives
Dual grimaces as the EMP does its work. "De-troit REPRESENT," he declares, walking up and attempting to shoot all the Realians still moving in the face, execution-style. He'll take the time to do it right before moving on.
Ziggy watches the group of Realians from a safe distance. Hmm. Personal connection gears, eh?
Ziggy pauses for a few moments, pondering all of this. The connection gears. The stripping of resources from the ships and the realians. The makeshift base. The almost intentional-looking crash on an isolated planet. The cryptic message recieved on the other ship, and the connection to the host occupying Copy X in Neo Arcadia with the strange events there. Ziggy gets the feeling there's something more deeply sinister going on than he anticipated. He'll have to do something risky if this is going to go anywhere.
Leaving his cloak on, he quickly approaches the group of realians. It's a small group. Weakened military realians should be no match for him on a good day, and least of all if he gets the element of surprise. As he comes up behind two that happen to be close together, Ziggy de-activates his cloak, grabs one head each in his hand, and tries to smash them together in order to incapacitate them. Hopefully, with two down, he can easily take care of the others before further attention is drawn to him.
Erk watches Maya as she steps into the hallway. Erk scoots over to make sure she's in his field of vision, before taking another look around the area he's in, wondering what was up with the weird stripping ship thing.
The Realians die underneath GunCon fire. The last one to be targetted has started pushing himself back up, but had enough shakiness to still go down.
This is all, at this point, visible - if a little distant - to Erk and Maya. Maya would also notice a computer terminal that looks as if it had been relocated from somewhere else off to the side, in a corner near a large stack of trash bins.
The two Realians who are struck go down. Three of the remaining four look up and lunge towards Ziggy as one, trying to overbear him and shove him back out into the corridor. The one that remains resumes work with greater intensity.
"Watch the enemy closely, and react quickly." Ziggy says to himself, in a low voice, before engaging the three attacking Realians. The one workaholic has his attention only for a moment, but he quickly shifts his attention to the hostiles. He can't afford to fight lightly here. He has the advantage of surprise, he's sure as hell going to use it.
Planting his right foot hard on the ground, mostly in order to keep himself from being pushed back, but also to set up his attack. He attempts a roundhouse kick to take down one, maybe two, of the attacking Realians. Successful or not, he moves back in an attack stance, preparing his next move.
"Die mother**** die mother**** die!" Dual says, unloading two shots into the last Realian before stomping on his neck for good measure. "Ha ha!"
Dual takes a moment to adjust the GunCon 2 when he starts swatting at his head. "HTHHHRRGH!" he shouts, seeing more Realians. Clearly they are the cause of his distress. He blasts at them, taking headshots where possible, not really being discriminate about it. Heroes should know when to duck.
Maya hasn't forgot about the thing with Neo Arcadia either but Ziggy's got a few more bits than she does notice the bit about the computer terminal and she now starts to head for it. Maybe there's still useful data left on it?
Several realians emerging from another tilted hatchway go down under Guncon fire. That's the easy part.
The harder part is downstairs; in that niche, the kicked Realians go down but immediately begin pushing themselves back towards their feet. There is a flurry of footsteps from down the hallway, although there are now no shouts.
There is more, however: Evidently a work party had just returned, and they drop their equipment and begin running up from where Maya and Erk had come from. They, too, are silent. They seem to ignore the two in favor of Dual, perhaps considering him the greater threat.
Other than the bull-rushing Realians, Erk would be able to notice that there are a lot of deliberately carved channels in the hullmetal, and very regular spacings that were destroyed with some kind of heat. These spacings contained what look something like metal bolts, but they would have been larger than winebarrels.
The computer has a faint green light indicating that it is on, but the screen is black at the moment.
Ziggy frowns as the realians push themselves back up after being knocked down. Ziggy was hoping he could incapacitate them easily. He idly wonders what on earth could be driving them so hard. He sighs inwardly, he'll just have to keep them from getting back up. He'll break them if he must.
The footsteps cause him concern, but he'll deal with them if they arrive. For now, his elbow-blade snaps into place. He's no realian specialist, but he's familiar enough with their designs to have a good idea on how to really hurt them. Ziggy moves to impale one of the advancing Realians in the center chest, hopefully hitting a vital nervous center.
"RRAGGHH SHUT UP!" Dual bellows, strafing with his GunCon 2 and blasting red energy at anything that looks vaguely Realian. He lobs another EMP into the next biggest group of them, then draws The Stick. It explodes into red-black fire, bloodlust rising up in him. He starts charging at them directly, trying to carve them apart.
Maya heads towards the computer she makes as best she can to get to cover, before she goes up to the computer to check it for any way to activate it before she even considers hooking her portable one up to her...
Erk, content that he can see Maya well enough, keeps still so he can ignore the Realians and they can ignore him. Granted, he keeps a good hand on his magic book in case he'll need to fry someone for stepping up.
The rest of the group coming out of the hallway goes down under GunCon fire. The group approaching is too large to be overwhelmed in a single blow, but a number of them are knocked aside by the sweep of the Stick. They are grimacing. One of them lands near Erk, but seems to ignore him, standing up and kicking the Realian skeleton it had landed in aside as it rises back to its feet.
Belowdecks, the stabbed Realian folds like a cheap card table. The others don't seem to be doing anything more advanced than trying to overbear Ziggy.
The one who had been fooling with the connection gear picks up a spliced wire with one hand, extends its arm out, and jams the wire down through the skin with an involuntary hiss.
As Maya approaches the computer, the screensaver flicks off and the screen comes on. It's an inventory screen; it has what looks like a text editor open at present.
There is a rumbling from outside as the AGWS begin powering up.
Dual continues to rage on the Realians, the Stick lashing out at the annoying robotic people. He mows through as many of them as he seems able to before his body starts to slow down. He makes another half-hearted whack (in normal people terms, enough to split someone's head like a cabbage) before lowering his Stick and looking across the remaining group.
Ziggy removes his blade frmo the Realian grimly. Well, if that's what it takes, that's what it takes. Not wanting to give the others a chance to overpower him, he quickly attempts to stab them in the same manner. At this point, the one realian that DIDN'T rise to attack him is starting to worry him more, so the sooner Ziggy can turn his attention to him, the better.
Erk leaps to the side just as the Realian crashes next to him. This might be giving himself away. Erk continues to paste himself against the wall, so people can continue to ignore him.
Maya heads towards the display now and first off pulls some data off her holo comp in an data crystal and pockets it. Then she goes to see what data's there that she could attempt to download...
The Realians gather; another two dozen come out from the ramp but do not seem to attack the Gamemaster directly. They circle around him, looking - wary? Or at least concerned. Three were hit by that final whack, and all of them are on the ground. One of them is at least attempting to get back up.
Downstairs, the one who had remain seated begins to chuckle. This may be overlooked because the Realians, who seem to have learned that overbearing tactics will not work properly, are assuming what look like hand to hand combat stances; they may not be ones that Ziggy recognize. There are also more approaching, although they stop a short distance away from him; he could not tell, but there is that same wariness that is on display upstairs.
Erk succeeds, for now, and does not draw attention to himself.
The display seems, on closer examination, to have a spreadsheet file. It is open to somewhere in the middle, talking about 'processing' and listing the inventory of components gained from 'processing'. The acronyms and abbreviations are not obvious at first glance, but a spreadsheet is probably safe for downloading.
Maya goes to download the entire spreadsheet, hopefully they can go over it later, she now starts looking for any other files she could make use of hoping Ziggy's and Erk's all right.
What was supposed to be a simple incapacitation of a few opponents is quickly becoming far more complicated than Ziggy had bargained for. These realians pose little threat to the cyborg, with their small numbers and weakened states, but they are being successful in holding him up. There's something going on with that one idle realian that Ziggy just doesn't like. He feels there's still a missing piece of this puzzle that he needs in order to make sense of everything, and that one realian is his best bet at the moment.
So combat stance or no, Ziggy's not about to waste time fighting them fairly. Not right now. His elbow-blade is still drawn, and he advances on them again with lethal measures. Saving them, at this point, is likely impossible, so he'll save his philanthropy for another time.
Dual exhales. He straightens up, returning the Stick to its holster -- missing it once before getting it into its place. He rolls his shoulders, grabs his lapels, and tilts his head from side to side once.
Dual walks back the way he came, flicking his unfinished cigarette away behind him.
Erk is okay, still clinging to the hope that the cloaking spell lasts for as long as he needs it to. Now less focused on Maya and the ladder down, Erk is more concerned about the way the Realians were running. What's going on down there?
The spreadsheet is pretty big, both in terms of data and in terms of details. In the future, there is data bloat. However, it fits, although it takes up most of the space on Maya's gear.
Downstairs, the Realians make their attack. They have good reflexes, it seems, but their bodies can't quite keep up; many of them ALMOST block Ziggy before getting sliced open and carved apart. They still have what passes for blood for them, though. None of them scream. The one sitting at the table continues to chuckle.
The ones in the empty morgue-room look at each other as Dual moves to depart.
Then they turn around in roughly equal quantities to look at Erk and Maya.
There is the rustling, clicking sound of a large number of sidearms being drawn.
With his opponents down, Ziggy wastes no time in advancing on the last, slightly amused, Realian. The Realian's seemingly apparent obsession with the wire he jabbed into his arm is the only thing Ziggy sees he can take advantage of. So he reaches down, to grab the realian by the collar with one hand, and grasping the wire with the other, almost threatening to yank it out.
He lifts the realian up to eye level and asks the most obvious question on his mind. "What is your purpose here?" Ziggy makes no move to damage the realian just yet, though the tightness of his grasp would be a clear indicator he means business. If, that is, the realian can be threatened at this point, which may be unlikely.
Erk notices the guns, and figures they must have something to see past the spell Maya cast earlier. On the same token, Erk isn't paying attention if Irregardless, Erk doesn't move. Maybe their sight is based on fear. Didn't Erk go 'uh oh' earlier, though?
Dual has apparently tired of the ship and its weird inhabitants. He heads back to the airlock he came in from, walking at an even cadence.
"Purpose," the Realian says, as it is hoisted; it shows no fear. "Purpose is a very important question, isn't it? You know, it's a strange feeling, not quite knowing who you are... but then, no data pool is infinite, and this is a very large place, isn't it?" Another one of those chuckles.
It spreads its arms; the wire falls out of one. One of the fallen but not quite dead Realians makes a wet choking sound. "You want answers, of course. But I suppose I'll save you and I a great deal of time, and just say..."
It lunges forwards, teeth aimed at Ziggy's nose.
The Realians upstairs begin firing. Fortunately, many of them are battered, and their weapons fire is - perhaps - sloppy enough to dodge, at least if the two move quickly.
Ziggy blinks for just a moment. Hopefully the strength of his grasp on the realian will keep his poor nose from suffering any serious nijury (and if it does, well, he can get that replaced too). Ziggy's not someone who likes to beat around the bush. He asked a direct question. He got a cryptic answer. So he feels that questioning this realian further will be fruitless.
So he smashes his head into a wall. No one bites his nose.
Before things get too chaotic, Ziggy picks up the wire the realian dropped and stares at it for a moment. He gets the feeling they may have to flee soon, but with no answers. It's just as if the mission was failed. He pauses for just a moment. This may be either the smartest, or stupidest thing he's ever done. He connects the wire to one of his encephalon visual interfaces. He'll see for himself just what that realian was so interested in.
Erk leaps to the side where the Realian crashed a while back. Yeah, they might be dodgeable, and Erk might've been a dodgemonkey without the suit, but now he has the suit and it's weird dodging in that. A few shots pepper his suit, and hopefully they're weak enough to not tear through and cause some massive problems.
Erk lands on his stomach, and begins to open his book, looking for the right spell.
Maya is shocked at this given the dataa storage on her gear. She's got it but now she sees that . Maya pauses at this as she knows she can't hide. "What happend to all of you? Who did this to!" She says as she doesn't quite reaise her weapon just yet but makes ready to get on the evasive.
"Ghk," the Realian says as it is slammed into the bulkhead. It struggles, although the blow's force seems to have weakened it.
The Realians fire into their comrade, who fortunately provides Erk with enough cover to avoid lasery death immediately. The half or so that are focused on him begin to walk forwards. The ones dealing with Maya do not answer; they keep shooting. They are being somewhat more cautious with her, probably entirely due to her presence in front of the database computer.
Dual, meanwhile, goes back out through the airlock he came in from and starts climbing back up into his cloaked ship. This must be a hero problem.
Ziggy ignores the Realian for the moment, but he's more than ready to bash his head into the wall once more if he has to.
In the meantime, he continues to try to access the data wire to glean whatever bit of information he can from whatever the Realian was connected to.
Maya realises this, and now she thinks over her plan humm she's got the data and smirks. "Oh so you want this?" She pulls something off her belt it's a grenade and she says "I'm sorry but your about to suffer an system error." She says before. She now moves to get away from the console before the grenade blows and she fires off a shot at the Relians.
Erk continues to keep his head down while the shots pass over him. Waving his hands around in the proper format. Erk sends a bolt of fire in the direction of the group of Realians. It can only hit one of them, but Erk wasn't paying enough attention to aim.
Assuming this causes the guns to stop, Erk tries to get up, book at the ready.
There is some delay as Ziggy's visual feed attempts to connect with what is on that strange conglomerate gear.
He sees black. Something green begins to trickle downwards, symbols that make no sense; some of them resemble numerals. There is a faint cold nagging at the back of his head...
Upstairs, one of the Realians goes down at Erk's spell. There is a moment of confusion from this effect - Ether effects are something they knew about but this did not follow the usual protocol. The ones dealing with Maya, on the other hand, continue to fire their weapons at her, and now they are moving to cut her off from escape.
Ziggy blinks, not that it does him much good. It's a pity Lita was never more verbose when speaking of the various worlds she has visited, otherwise Ziggy might just recognize what he's seeing, and disconnect due to his own safety. But, he doesn't, so he remains connected. At least until he finds something tangible he can use to figure out just what is going on here.
Dual gets into his ship, buttoning up. He rests his hands over the controls and starts to fly away from the ship, heading away from the planet. Ho hum.
Maya is tired of playing about and thanks the Kukai foundation once again as she gives a verbal command while she's ducked behind cover. "Transmit A.W.G.S." MAya vanishes and an AG-02 bearing foundation colours takes her place, within Maya checkss the controls and brings the machines twin machineguns to bear on the realians as she opens fire upon them.
Erk takes his attention away from the Realians attacking him, and instead waves his hands again and shoots a pair of fireballs at Ma--holy crap that's a large machine. Maybe she doesn't need his help after all.
Erk then starts staring down his own group of Realians. His magic is a little tapped right now, he'll have to take a quick breather.
That nagging coldness continues as there are more of those little rains of symbols. Ziggy has likely seen rain roll down a windshield or a window; it is like that. It's beautiful, in its way...
He may be able to recognize this as a trap.
Upstairs, Realians die. A good half dozen are shot to pieces and Erk's fireball takes out another two, releasing a truly horrible smell of barbecued android.
Now there -are- shouts again, from outside of the ship.
Ziggy does sense something. Something cold, something distant, something... oddly familiar. Not exact, but similar... For a moment, he remembers something from long ago...
"No one can refuse eternal peace!"
"You're just manipulating my mind!"
"Quit this futile resistance... come to my side!"
In an instant, Ziggy disconnects himself from the network. Though he feels no discomfort, he rubs the place where the wire was in contact with his cybernetics. The memory is gone as soon as it came. Where ever the answers here lie, he won't get them that way.
Throwing the wire to the floor, he looks back at the realian he so rudely face-smashed into the wall. He's their only clue to what is happening. So Ziggy resorts to a far more unorthodox method of getting answers, and grabs the realian, slings him over his shoulder, and quickly heads back down the hallway. Quarentining him and letting Vector specialists work on him should get any information extracted, one way or another. He quickly radios a message to Maya.
<<We should be leaving. Try and make your way back to the ship as soon as possible.>>
What /is/ that smell? Erk lets the torrent of lovely flames subside, but gets ready in case the Realians come for him again. He braces himself against the wall, and looks around for Ziggy. Where the heck did he run off to?
Maya <<Roger that, Ziggy I managed to get some files from their computer and they seem to want it back bad given I may have fried their only copy. I hope its' worth while.>> She now moves out and starts back the AGWS firing at anything that gets too close now. Whatever happened to these realians there's nothing she can do for them. She's gunning an. <<Erk? Get back to the ship!>> Maya says over the AGWS loud speakers. She's heading out and hopes Erk will follow.
The Realian doesn't move.
The machine guns wipe out the Realians still present upstairs, or at least prevent them from pursuing; it's unlikely that that sweep actually killed all of them. There are mechanical noises from outside as balky, damaged AGWS are reactivated; this poor maintanence provides the opportunity to at least get out of the ship before having to face them. Quick motion might make it unneccessary to confront them at all.
There are still about 660 of them, after all, and they know exactly where everyone is.
Erk was wondering where Ziggy was? Well a moment later he literally leaps up from the maintenance ladder hole. He wastes no time in shouting to Maya and Erk. "We're leaving. Back to the ship!" He'll explain the Realian he's abducting to them later. For now, they flee.
Erk does indeed nod. He runs after the AWGS, keeping an eye behind him in case the Realians decide to play hard ball. Not that he can tell they're down for the count.
Here's hoping the ones outside don't reanimate and come after them. No zombies for Erk, even if they'd be fake zombies.
Dual ascends his ship up to a safe distance and watches the situation from the air, making a report back to Mother Brain about the situation.
Maya's just trying to keep them off their backs and she breaks into a run, not wishing to fight other AWGS at the moment. Sure her's is fresh and has a guard restore but that can be ground away and the Relians have the numbers to do it. So she moves back for the ship as fast as the unit can go.
The Realians in the fortifications and the AGWS-hulks open fire. They are at some range, and this degrades their accuracy; however, they seem to have a great deal of innate ability. The fire comes in volleys, and it's aimed largely at Maya's AGWS.
The ship hasn't been molested yet, but there's a half-dozen Realians running towards it now. Two of them are toting something large and barrel-shaped.
Ziggy frowns at the incursion of Realians towards their ship. Trying to outrun them to it seems impossible at this point, except perhaps, for Maya's AGWS.
Ziggy frowns at the incursion of Realians towards their ship. Trying to outrun them to it seems impossible at this point, except perhaps, for Maya's AGWS. Though sending that ahead would leave them defensless from behind... but it's a risk they'll have to take, rather than be left stranded.
Ziggy radios her <<Maya, dash ahead and stop that group from doing anything to the ship. We'll catch up.>>
Catchup how? Well, even lugging away a hostage--err, informant, Ziggy's not totally defenseless. He stops his running for just a moment to spin around. Charging his cyberntic fist with energy for a moment, he slams it into the ground, sending an electrical shockwave towards the advancing AGWS units. Not overly damanging, but enough to distract them, hopefully.
Once they get into a more open spot, Erk breaks out into a full sprint. This isn't all that much of an increase in speed, but Erk is now focused on running instead of making sure he gets out alive.
Now that firepower is flowing at him, Erk tries a different tact. Waving his hands around a little, Erk sends a fireball at one of the fortifications. It might not do any damage (cursed metal), but it hopefully will stop the torrent of ammunition going for the AWGS.
Maya is running yes even as the hulk suit riddle her AWGS she stops a few times to return fire at her attackers. She even gets off one flight of missiles but her AGWS isn't going to take this pounding forever. She's making for the ship Still hopefully she'll make it.
The fortification and hulks pause in their fire, regrouping after those attacks. One of the wrecked AGWS goes flying up in the air, and there are a few involuntary noises from what are probably dead or badly damaged Realians.
The group approaching the escapees directly is disabled. One of the AGWS crashes into the ground - the rest pull up short, their pilots struggling within the cockpits.
The group approaching the ship form into a diamond shape, to protect the two sappers - but they deployed too late. The main armanent of the ship, which has moved visibly and is, even now, being moved by a large series of ropes and what must be several hundred Realians, is not yet anywhere near an angle that could fire on the Federation craft.
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