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The Premise:

The war is over, and the wrong side won.

Tolkeen, a bastion of magical theory and learning, where mystic practicioners, other-dimensional refugees, misfits and malcontents could live in peace, was forced into warfare with the human supremacist Coalition States, who had recently begun expanding after years of consolodating their gains and delving into Golden Age technological stores to upgrade their weapons and robots.

The people of Tolkeen knew what occupation would mean for an empire founded on the notion of the eradication of anything that didn't fit the Coalition's narrow definition of sentient life, so they used every means available to protect themselves, including long-forbidden magics involving blood sacrifice and pacts with ancient demons. They told themselves it would be worth it when the Coalition was driven back, that the metaphorical (and sometimes literal) genies could be put back in the bottle.

It wasn't enough. The Coalition was battered, but ultimately triumphant. Tolkeen was razed. The monsters it summoned now roam free; the people clinging to it for stability are scattered and being hunted by the Coalition. The cyber-knights have been shattered, with a significant number having joined the Tolkeen war effort and having lost their way; no one has seen or heard about their founder, or his closest associates, in many months.

Even more troubling, Lord Dunscon - self-proclaimed ruler of the Federation of Magic - has begun a campaign of consolidation of his own, seeking to unite the cities of the Federation of Magic under his own tyrannical rule, pointing out that if the only alternative is destruction by the expansionist Coalition States, his rule will at least allow free cities such as Dweomer and Stormspire to exist - even if it is the rule of a man whose chief criticism of Tolkeen was that it was too soft.

Some people joke that the second apocalypse is upon us. But it's a joke no one laughs at. Those outside the borders of the Federation and the Coalition wonder if they'll be next, and what, if anything, can be done about it. Those within said borders who don't toe the party line are wondering where they can go. Everything in North America is in flux, and no one knows what will come out the other side.

The Setting:

A sizable settlement called Prince's Landing, chiefly an argicultural and mining town. The primary crop is barley, and the local stout is noteworthy; the primary mining export is a vein of zinc which is often used in the maintenance of advanced technology. Limited robotics are used to mine, and the local hedge mage has helped ensure that harvests are reliable.

It's a relatively small town, and like most small towns in the world of Rifts, can't affort to be overtly picky about who stays there - many don't have the power to resist powerful forces such as pilots with their own power armor suits, or mages with a reasonable grasp of spellcraft, and as long as people are willing to work or have credits to spend, people tend to live and let live. There is reasonably close proximity to a ley line, but it's a weak ley line and it hasn't caused any trouble in living memory.

However, Prince's Landing is sandwiched in between the two Coalition states of Missouri and El Dorado, and to the east is the Federation of Magic. Furthermore, their two major trading partners - the city-states of Kingsdale and Whykin - are on opposite sides of "the Coalition issue," with Kingsdale a more tolerant city and with Whykin more fully embracing the Coalition ambassadors that come calling. The current mayor of Prince's Landing favors Kingsdale, but without any support from any other major powers, the Coalition could decide to wipe them both off the map with ease - and many people in Prince's Landing are in favor of taking Whykin's side, with hate crime incidents on the rise. The d-bees and freethinking scholars and radicals in the region are all waiting to hear a metaphorical pin fly out of a possibly literal grenade.

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  1. Last week
  2. Phere waited a few moments, until she was relatively sure that their camouflage was working, to finally sling her rifle. She motioned for the others (who could not fly) to follow, and approached the hive fragment. There were no entrances at ground level, but there was a decent enough prospect not too far up. "There. That entrance is our goal. Everybody stay close. If anybody has a rope, I'll take it up." she said, pointing it out to the others as she walked over to the fragment and began to climb up. Her pace was somewhat slowed, as thinking of others, she would alternate, extending her forearm vibroblades, one at a time as she climbed, to cut simple hand and foot holds in the surface, making the climb much easier for those who followed. The psi-stalker, for as large and brawny as she was, was also surprisingly nimble. Climbing up the hive fragment without too much difficulty. She slipped once, but caught herself, and continued up. Once at the top, she pulled herself up and crouched, checking down the passageway and then nodded, guarding and helping the others, as needed, as they made their way to the entrance, by whatever means.
  3. As soon as Squidge found the right frequency, the xiticix settled down somewhat. They were agitated - the death-scent still hung in the air - but the various tricks they'd pulled to blind them had paid off. Instead, they began to fan out in a general search pattern, looking for prey that was right under their noses. As they did, the ports and cracks that they used to enter and exit the hive became apparent, as the hunter and warrior bugs flew into and out of them, and the lowly land drones scurried through. It'd take some flight, some climbing, or some athletic skill to get far enough up the side of the hive to access one of the ports, but once inside, finding and killing the queen should be relatively easy...
  4. Earlier
  5. "Here goes." Squidge winced and followed Tamika's instructions, causing the crystal to light up from within and emit a piercing, high-pitched whine. She gasped at the sensation in her brain, but managed to keep her focus. Anyone with telepathic sensitivity would feel a titanic wave of meaningless telepathic 'babble' wash over them from her efforts. Random fragments of thoughts, memories, images, emotions, all clashing together into a kind of psionic white noise that drowned any other kind of telepathy in the vicinity out!
  6. As the final tweaks on the white noise generator were started, and as Phere's final distrubtion of xiticix scent glands was completed, insectile forms began creeping out of the hive's exit points, their antennae twitching in the air. "Fi..." said Tamika, nervously, as Firanis pushed the button. Instantly, the xiticix looked confused. They took to the air in an erratic pattern, but that pattern was still a pattern. Phere could sense the after-impression of their telekinetic weapons as they were armed. "Squidge..." said Tamika, still nervously, as the catgirl looked to the psychic. "Can you, you know...?"
  7. Fi gave the Techno-Wizard a nonplussed look and muttered unintelligibly, surprisingly low despite her modest height and slender frame. She flipped the switch on the device for a moment, and frowned as she glanced at the readouts on her Pipboy. The jury-rigged white-noise generator was working above expectations, despite - or, sigh, because of - the nonsense sigils and gewgaws Tamika had added to the blasted thing. She turned it off. "I never said it was valid, but I won't say it ain't useful. A times," Fi reluctantly admitted. She checked her body armor, then readied her custom-made laser-rifle with integrated grenade launcher. She'd encountered Xiticix before, but had never seen the inside of a Hive, or part of a Hive at any rate, and she wasn't going to miss the opportunity now. "Let's do this before I realize how bad of an idea it is. I'll keep a link to the Rambler - I can use its cameras to keep an eye on what's outside, and can either send it back to town or use its weapons remotely."
  8. Squidge accepts the 'booster' gingerly, with a dry-throated swallow. Not all mages were crazed psychopaths, but this was still magic. The power of the Rifts. The power that had annihilated almost all of her entire race, and plunged the world into a roiling sea of misery and darkness from which it had yet to emerge. And she was going to use it with her brain. She looked at Tamika apologetically and started to ask, "This isn't... Ugh, nevermind. Sorry. All right, I'll see what I can do about the psychic jamming. Lets get this started before they decide to attack the town or something." With that, the psion swallowed her fears and forced herself toward the chunk of hive that poked incongruously from the middle of a crop-field as if it had sprouted from the ground there. (OOC - Will begin the jamming when she spots Xiticix emerging.)
  9. "Sure, now techno-wizardry is a valid approach to engineering," said Tamika with a bit of a smirk as she got to work assisting Firanis. After a few minutes of bickering about whether or not magic was fundamentally opposed to the notion of good engineering or actually vital to it, Tamika had introduced a few boosts to the broadcast range of the jury-rigged radio that Fi was using as a white noise machine, and a short-term psi-booster in the form of a crystal tied to a rubber band, to help Squidge broadcast a telepathic "jamming frequency."
  10. The slim mechanic snorted, climbing from the driver's seat. "I don't know much 'bout psychic doohickery - I haven't studied M.O.M. implants much - but I can cobble together a white-noise generator easy enough." Fi strode into the back of the Rambler, dragging a hand over various compartments, opening some and pulling out things that might have been junk or high-tech components... or both. She gave the cat-girl a reluctant glance before looking up at Phere. "For it to do more, I'll... need help."
  11. Squidge thought about it. She didn't really know how to 'cloak' or hide psionic signatures from sensitives...but...if they really used psionics to detect people, that might be a kind of passive telepathy. If it was, couldn't she maybe 'jam' them by just broadcasting really loudly? It'd be like trying to listen to someone over an air horn, or see past a searchlight. Of course...they'd know exactly where SHE was, in that case. She nodded slowly. "I can give it a try. A lot depends on stuff we don't know about them, but I'll do my best."
  12. Savage Rifts: Here Comes Tomorrow OOC Thread

    Telepathy would do in a pinch; it might be at a penalty. Also, for clarity's sake: if someone wants to take point on a means of obfuscation - Squidge with psionics, to use the above example - Tamika will step back and use techno-wizardry in an assistance capacity.
  13. Savage Rifts: Here Comes Tomorrow OOC Thread

    Just to confirm my suspicion...I think for Squidge to 'block' psionic senses, she'd need the Conceal Arcana power, yeah? Or could she use Telepathy to 'jam' them somehow?
  14. Phere nodded to Squidge. "We may be able to avoid, or at least minimize detection." she said over the radio as she quickly moved to the dead Xiticix and kicked one over. She cradled her rifle in her arm as a vibro-blade extended from her other forearm with a hum. She swing her arm and the blade sliced through the Xiticix' torso carapace nearly effortlessly, allowing a flow of putrescence and alien organs to burst forth out of the large wound. "The Xiticix 'see' with a combination of scent, their sound-detecting antennae, and psionic capability." she began as she cut out a large gland from the body. "We can disguise our scent with the scent from this scent gland, by rubbing it on our armor... or body, in the case of the dragon, I guess." she said, holding the large gland she had extricated from the dead bug. "A low-level white noise generator would nullify their antennae, and some magical or psionic countermeasure would work for their psionics." she explained. "Any one of these countermeasures will help some, but with the techno-wizard and Squidge, we may be able to manage all three. allowing us move through the hive, undetected, or at least ignored, so we can search for a queen possible queen. At the very least, we could find a choke point inside that would negate their numbers." she added. "Tamika? Squidge? Think you can each handle your part?"
  15. "Steady," advised Squidge warily. "The smell of the dead ones'll be getting to the hive any second now. Could be a lot at once. Phere, d'ya smell any in there? They're supposed to be psychic. Should be able to get a scent." She had her trusty Wilks laser rifle ready, but that was mostly for show. She had a far more devastating weapon at her disposal if more Xiticix showed themselves.
  16. Fi whistled at the display of marksmanship from the big Psi-Stalker. She was more than familiar with firearms - the L-20 was a good weapon - but it still took sharp skill to shoot like that... or a lot of cyberware. She patched in to the radio channel. "Damn! Sweet shooting, Bugswatter." As Phere and BB approached on foot at a steady, deliberate pace, firearms at the ready, Fi circled the Red Rambler in a tightening circle around the Hive Fragment at a more sedate pace. She kept the laser cannon and ion blasters pointed at the Hive, in case of a sortie of bugs, either to blast them to bits or possibly collapse the entrance. Much closer though, and the ion blasters would be a danger to those on foot. She pinged the Black Knight riding the Dragon on the radio - archaic aesthetic or not, that was high tech armor - while keeping on eye on the Rambler's sensors. "You guys up there see any Bugs that've scattered from the Hive? The ones down here have been downed, but who knows how many are still inside."
  17. "This is what I do. Besides, they will show us no mercy." Phere said simply through the audio unit of her suit. She was a predator, that was clear. A predator that moved and acted with swift, silent, merciless precision, without hesitation. A predator that did not kill simple, small game either. She needed the arcane and psychic energies of the supernatural, other dimensional creatures, or that of those skilled in magic of the powers of the mind, to sustain herself. With the loss of her mother while she was still a child, Phere had to learn to hunt these more dangerous types of prey or face starvation. The desperation of hunger was a powerful motivator, and so when Phere, then only a pre-teen, was found by the CS, she had grown strong, being well-fed by her own hand. The CS took her (her willingness, or lack there of, was irrelevant). The CS taught her many things over the next decade or so, but no matter how innocuous these things might be, they were with one goal; to make her a better killer. They took the child, raw, but talented in the ways of hunting and killing, and honed her to a razor edge, making her an even better predator... to be unleashed on the enemies of the CS. For Phere, killing was reflexive... instinctual.. and only the direct orders of her (former) superiors, or the intervention of her partner, Squidge, would stop her from taking life, and even they were not always effective.. For now though, that lethality was a welcomed thing. The Xiticix could not be negotiated with and gave no quarter. They were a plague on the Earth from another dimension, and they only understood one thing. Unending expansion. They were somewhat primitive though, instinctual. Tricky too, communicating by smell with pheromones. Perhaps their own trick could be used against them.
  18. Phere's expert marksmanship with the rifle, incredibly, landed all four shots on the remaining Xiticix, overpowering their armor and sending them spiraling into the ground. The field was dead quiet for a long moment, the bulk of the hive still about 90 feet out and with no signs of further warriors. Tamika poked her head out of the field, and whistled. "Hell's bells, when you want to fight you don't fuck around, do you." The group was, apparently, free to approach the displaced hive... assuming all the xiticix they'd just fought were all the xiticix there were. This far out, it was tough to tell.
  19. Tamika could not see Phere's raised eyebrow at the offer, and at the simplified description and instructions. Though she was a 'wild' psi-stalker originally, Phere had learned to speak well enough. She rarely had difficulty understanding, but occasionally had some difficulty recalling the correct pronunciation of some words. Understand is not what gave her pause though, it was the offer of magical aid, something Phere had never had. She was trained to root out and destroy magic users and beings, so this was something quite new to her. All Tamika could see the cold, grim, expression of her death's head helm. This was a new day though. The CS was behind them, her pack was gone and she was on the run with her only friend left and riding into battle with a techno-wizard and a magic sword-wielding knight atop a dragon overhead, something she never even would have considered a possibility just weeks ago. Phere took the disk and held it up to Tamika. "Thanks." she said as she placed it in her palm and slapped it to her rifle. Watching the 'borg jump out of the Rambler, Phere held her pulse rifle close to her chest, tucked tightly, and rolled out the back of the Rambler, only to hit the ground and come up into a kneeling firing position with a grace and agility that belied her size. Her advanced, helmet optics hummed as she took in the scene before her, sighting in on the bugs, giving her range, heading and other factors. Phere's eyes though did not focus on much of anything, instead taking in all of the data as she squeezed off shots, one after the other at each of the four bugs, in rapid succession, like needles of light streaking through the air. Hmm. A new day indeed...
  20. The fleeing xiticix hunter made a sound like a bug getting splatted as BB's pistol cored a hole through it. It went into a tailspin and faceplanted in the middle of the field. Inside the ATV, Tamika was twiddling with a small radio that was studded with crystals and bits of copper wiring. After a long moment, she held it up in triumph. "There we go!" Phere could sense the magic on it, as Tamika extruded some wires from it. "It uses mystical frequencies to cycle through alternate reality layers to find the one where your weapon's at its most idealized form of itself to - " She paused, and began again. "Stick this to a gun to make it shoot better." She held it out to Phere, offering to juice up a weapon. Then she paused, and wrinkled her nose. She looked at Watt, the small furry critter pawing at its nose as if smelling something sharp. "Aw, frig. Okay, that's the pheromone spray that Squidge mentioned. I guess they make that smell when they died, too. The hive's gonna get angry..."
  21. BB bundled out of the Red Rambler fully laden. In his hands were his ion pistol. His trusty vibrosword was at his side, and upon his back was harnessed his lovely baby, the hefty Northern Gun 86 Mini Rail Gun. The cyborg moved with swift pace, and his eyes zoomed in on the fleeing Xitcix. "Nuh uh, bug. No fleeing to warn the others." He raised the ion pistol, and a stream of shredding ion particles took it in the back.
  22. The gathered townspeople reacted in shock as Kensie took her true form. Simon stammered out a few words. "Re-remember what I - " Grep grabbed Simon's shoulder, their burly arm's weight stopping Simon cold. "If she wants to burn down the entire field, what exactly do you plan on doing to stop her? I move we activate the emergency broadcast." Simon fell silent, and the group departed. Those without means of locomotion piles into the Red Rover, with Kinsie flying overhead, her shadow cast over the field. In the distance, the xiticix buzzed over the hive. Transmitted via text, the group could see on the Rambler's communications apparatus, the town's call for help. MAYDAY XITICIX SIGHTING AT PRINCE'S LANDING STATUS OF QUEEN: UNKNOWN REQUEST IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE FROM ANYONE IN RANGE A SEVEN-STRONG LOCAL ATTACK TEAM HAS BEEN ASSEMBLED - DO NOT FIRE UPON THEM Nothing else came from the several tense minutes that followed. At just over a hundred meters out, the defense team of the makeshift hive took to the air, making clicking noises with their alien language. There were a pair of warriors and three hunters, distinguished by the hues of their chitin. Not overwhelming numbers, but if there were reinforcements inside the hive, that could change in a hurry. Just before contact, however, something unexpected happened: a response to the distress signal came through. AN EMERGENCY RELIEF TEAM HAS BEEN RETASKED. THEY WILL ARRIVE VIA LEY LINE TRANSPORT ONCE IN POSITION. HOLD THEM OFF AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. HAVE HOPE. WE'RE COMING TO HELP YOU. The signal was signed "The Tomorrow Legion." No one had heard of it. And no one had time to ponder it, before the Xiticix hunters sighted and opened fire with purple bolts of force from some kind of techno-wizard rifles.
  23. Squidge was taken aback by Kensie's transformation, and only her helmet spared her the indignity of openly gaping at the sight. She'd really reconsidered the whole Coalition stance on aliens. Most of them were just like other people in their minds at least, and the ones that weren't could be dealt with on a case by case basis. But...things like that. Dragons that could wander around, looking like anyone else and then suddenly just burst into giant monsters. That made cold sweat bead on the palms of her hands. Maybe Kenzie was all right. Maybe this was all right. But what about the ones who weren't? Then again, is that so different than a mage? Or a psychic? Hell, you don't even have to turn into a giant monster to kill people in the middle of town. She licked her lips and tried to shrug the urge to fight or flee off. They'd be needing that kind of firepower to deal with the hive anyway. Trust had to start somewhere. The psychic made her way to the Rambler as its engine whined to life and she clambered in after Phere. "Remember, drive a ways past it. Let them see us, and follow us away from the town before we start riling them up."
  24. "Well, you've tolerated my ranting and raving long enough, young Kensie," She lowered her head and he gently patted the tough bristles along her cheek. "Let's have some fun. All work and no play, as they say..." She lowered herself and the Dark Knight mounted the back of her neck, near her shoulders. She stood and roared loudly, back away all those who found bravery enough to gather around her. She beat her wings and the dist kicked up furiously. Within moments they were aloft. The Red Rambler tore from Prince's Landing, hugging the turns and revving through the terrain with little to know effort towards the rising threat. With a small army loaded up inside and hanging off the sides and back. They broke the crest of a hill as Kensie and Adam soared overhead just above them. Whatever these creatures were... they in for a real bad day... The citizens of Prince's Landing looked on with equal parts fear and confusion as complete strangers set off to save their lively hood... and a dragon. One of the gate guards looked to his partner and shrugged. "This is, without a doubt, the single most weirdest day of my life, and that's sayin' something."
  25. Phere looked to the two boys with her passionless, death's head visage and with her voice slightly amplified from her suit's system she said, "Told you." to the pair as they stood in shock at Kensie's transformation. She then disappeared as the rear door of the Rambler closed automatically. Phere elected to stand as the vehicle set out toward the piece of the hive, holding onto some support beam or or loose cargo strap. She took stock of the borg and D-Bee. BB would certainly be of use. She had seen what a pair of CS full conversion combat cyborgs could do, and it was impressive. Tamika though... she was not sure about. This was not a joke or a game. It was a battle with an unreasonable, alien enemy that would not hesitate to kill and likely eat them. She would try to keep an eye on her, like every time an officer decided to accompany Squidge, herself, and her dog boys into the field for 'evaluation' or some non-sense. Hopefully Tamika would turn out to not be a liability to be managed.
  26. "Bloody hells and broken skies!" Fi exclaimed at the sight of the dragon. Watt seemed to share the sentiment, cheeping then ducking inside his padded carrier. A moment later, his round ears and amber eyes poked back up through the hole on top in curiosity. Fi had seen dragons before - if from a distance - and met people she believed might have been dragons, but she'd never witnessed the transformation at such close hand. Where did all the mass come from? The girl dragon called Kensie hadn't been hiding all that weight as a girl, she'd have noticed. Barely a teenager in human form or not, Fi warned herself not to make the girl angry - not unless she had the Red Rambler's laser cannon pointed directly at her. Fi took another glance at the dragon on one of the monitors. Hmm, maybe not even then... Which wasn't to say she wasn't mightily curious about what it would be like to ride a dragon. Another time. With a parachute and/or a jet pack. Not now. Fi gave Tamika a thumbs up over her shoulder and hit the button to close the rear door. The six big, thick wheels of the Rambler ground over gravel and hard-packed dirt as Fi turned it around, then shifted into a higher gear. "Hang on. I'm kicking on the juice." The Red Rambler drove smoothly, then gave a small lurch as Fi turned up the acceleration, heading towards the piece of hive at an oblique angle to give the vehicle mounted heavy laser cannon and the ion blasters a larger arc of fire and an easier time for the others to debark on the move.
  27. Senior Member 4 2 posts Report post Posted Thursday at 10:49 AM Kensie grinned a wide grin as the others piled into the red vehicle the weird girl seemed to have some sort of affection for, she giggled and pointed when she saw the little animal. "Awww how cute!" Then she looked at the two boys and the shopkeeper as well as the rest of those who had stopped to watch. "Sorry boys y'all might want to step back." Nodding to her foster dad "Ready." Kensie stretched raising her arms upward toward the sky. there was a strange cracking sound and both arms stretched. The boys and Simon went wide eyed as the little girl seemed to elongate and twist, arms grew longer and folded back on themselves. Her hair thickened and flowed down her back sticking up like an extra long Mohawk while clothes took on a scaly texture. Horror began to show on the onlookers faces as the girls size doubled then triple and a tail grew behind, the arms unfold and became vast wings, the Mohawk stood as ridges and spikes and the girls neck stretched her head becoming reptilian the red from her hair spreading to color the whole now decidedly non human form. In seconds the girl Kensie had transform and now stood in the center of the dusty street, a dragon.
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