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Charlotte last won the day on February 10 2016

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  1. "I think she's eating it," said Tamika, with some disgust. "I think this is part of the xenoforming process - they feed off a planet's magical fields and convert it into... whatever they use to build with and convert things with, that purple stuff. I don't think it's protecting her, though... it's more like a meal than a suit of armor."
  2. Firanis found quite a number of magical trinkets, artifacts, talismans and medallions on the mage, as well as a few notes - stuck together with xiticix resin and requiring BB to pry the book free from the wall. Tamika readied her frozen shotgun in case the rummaging caused the xiticix to attack. "Mages, especially Federation ones, can be sticklers about techniques they've developed. There's a good chance he's the only one who knows." She didn't sound confident, and lamely added, "I think weapons of mass destruction are bad, for the record, whether they open rifts or just make the area radioactive for ten thousand years." Having gotten all they could from the embedded mage, the group took their final turn, and emerged into the queen's domain. The queen was being attended by several drones, as well as a half-a-dozen warrior-caste guards. She had a bulbous membrane around her abdomen, where the eggs were laid from, that was also glowing with a soft purple energy - the faint outlines of what looked like a sword were inside of her. She was secreting some kind of purple mucus - possibly important to the xenoforming process - and it didn't take a large intuitive leap to say that she was feeding off the magic in the sword in her belly to do it. Embedded in the walls was evidence of other, brave - or at least, foolhardy - defenders of Earth that had fallen, their equipment embedded in the walls of the hive. Some standard-issue Wilk's and Northern Gun gear, and what looked like a rickety exoframe for a power armor suit, make unknown. There would be quite a bit of credits in it for them, if they killed the queen and didn't completely obliterate the hive. While the queen was large, she wasn't formidable - there were easily a dozen vulnerable points on her, and striking any one of them would ensure she'd never lay another egg at the least, and would more likely be stone dead. The problem was what to do afterwards, because killing the queen was likely to finally alert the hive as to their presence, precautions or no precautions.
  3. "Aheh. Yes. Yes, it was Tolkeen, wasn't it. No, I knew of him, more than anything. I knew of the dark things they proclaimed they had to do to prevent the fall, and I knew that the fall happened regardless. And all of us devils had nowhere to go. Well, not at first." He coughed, and a little blood dribbled out the sides of the mask. "Oh, if you're about to reach for a medical kit or a healing spell, don't bother. My own magic is currently making sure that my heart stopping isn't as big an issue as it should be, but sooner or later they'll figure out I'm here and extract whatever magic they can. Should have let go long ago, but I wanted to see it. Not many see the inside of a xiticix hive." He rolled his head slightly to look at the others. "Clever of you to figure out how." He coughed again, and there was more blood. "Doesn't matter. The spell works, albeit, not... haha, not as cleanly for the mage casting it as it should be. The Federation's going to love it. Dropping a xiticix hive out of any nearby ley line will do wonders for our reputation. Let the Coalition spend their soldiers and their silly little guns mopping it up. Might lose a few mages, but one mage for an outpost is exactly the kind of arcane calculus they'll love." He chuckled darkly. "They should name it after me. I demand that they - that..." The mage slumped, and spoke no more.
  4. With care, the adventurers made their way inside the hive. Being inside was eerie - the group had plenty of light, and it was fortunate, because nothing inside was built for a creature that relied on eyes. There were some allowances for those that couldn't fly, but not many - tunnels took strange twists and turns and occasionally, the group wound up doubling back. Squidge felt the onset of a slight headache, while Firanis had to occasionally smack the side of the white noise generator. But they made it in far enough that they were reasonably sure that one more turn would take them to the queen's chamber - and with the queen out of action, the xiticix's ability to breed would be nullified. However, a sight at the turn towards the tunnel stopped the group dead - someone, apparently a mage, bedecked in rune-carved composite plate, was somehow embedded in the wall, in what felt like a combination of merging and teleportational accident. Around the edges of the fusion, the group could see the beginnings of the xenomorphing process that the xiticix used to change their environment. The mage himself was semi-conscious, his face hidden behind a ley line walker's mask. He looked up at the approaching group. "Well, well," he said, weakly. His head rolled to the side, looking at Adam (assuming Adam was present.) "Well, well."
  5. 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...
  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. Charlotte

    OOC: Starfinder Discussion

    So I looked up the rules on upgrading the ship and it turns out that ship upgrades are on a different economy than our personal pay. However, an emergency share of loot is still probably a good idea. That brings me to my question: what're the stats for our ship, and do we get to upgrade anything now that we're level five?
  8. "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."
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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..."
  12. 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.
  13. "If you're putting together a posse, hang on - I'll go get my kit." Tamika then ran into the flophouse. As the group prepared to depart, a few of the elders in the town - the foreman William Marks, the old soldier Simon, and the bartender Grep - conferred. After a moment, Simon hobbled over to the group. "We're going to activate a general distress beacon, and then we're going to prepare the residents of the town for evacuation. We hopefully won't have to, but..." He frowned. "If they spread over that field - or if the field needs to be burnt down to stop them - that's our crop for the year destroyed, and the town might as well not exist anymore between that and the problems in the mine. Preparing sooner is better, in case you... well, hopefully it won't come to that. Be as careful with the crops as you can, but no matter what, those things cannot let a queen start breeding. Good hunting." Tamika emerged from the flophouse in scuffed up armor, a leather jacket and a scarf, with a holstered pistol with a flared barrel and resting a shotgun on her shoulder - she also had some kind of device attached to her forearm. Despite herself, she smiled as she fixed her goggles into place. "Ha, suck it, wizard. Once we've blown these things to hell, you're next." Tamika hopped in the back of the Rambler. "Ready when you all are."
  14. Firanis and BB's quick synchronization of the PIP-Boy and BB's internal clock with the computer system aboard the Rambler confirmed that the displacement had been more or less real-time - that they'd been gone for several minutes and that was the amount of time they'd spent wherever they'd gone. Upon seeing that the others were okay, Simon lowered the pistol, visibly relieved. He nodded to Kensie and Adam. "Sorry about that. I see a couple of travelers around here disappear, and after what happened to Ianoko - " "That wasn't us," said Sy, defensively. "Sure it wasn't. And I wasn't talking to you. But glad to see all is well." He shouted at the bar. "They're out here! We found them." Patrons of the bar came out into the street - including Ianoko, who was relieved to see Squidge and Phere okay, and Glitter Girl, who ran straight at Tamika nearly bowling her over with an embrace. Phere's sniff of the air did pick up a trace of something supernatural that wasn't there before, though it was hard to pin down. It smelt a bit like sour milk. As Tamika gently disengaged from Glitter Girl's hug, GeeGee spoke up. "Hey, I checked in your room, and there was this thing going beep-beep in your backpack. I thought it all didn't work any more?" "I thought it - wait, the thing that goes beep-beep? Not the thing that goes ping or the one that makes the clicking sound?" "Yeah. Why?" Tamika swallowed. "It measures - " Tamika was cut off by the sound of a dull thump in the distance, that caused the ground to shake with the impact. From atop the town's walls, a sentry shouted - a d-bee woman with pink skin. "Contact! We've got contact! Mark seven by two!" "She means ten o'clock," said Simon, hobbling towards the sentry tower. "Her people tell time differently. What is it?" "Getting the seefar - sorry, the binoculars now - " The gate was open, and not far from main street; those with the inclination could make it to the gate to see what it was easily. From a distance, it looked like something had fallen out of the sky and landed in the middle of the field of barley. It looked like a giant chunk of purple colored amber. Those with binoculars or optical magnification systems could zoom in and see a disturbing extra detail - the amber, in fact, looked like a broken-off chunk of giant honeycomb, and already scuttling across its surface were insectoid forms - some of which were taking to the air. They didn't seem to be moving towards the town, but once they were in focus, it was apparent what they were. "It came out of the sky," said the sentry, nervously. "Judging by the angle, it - I think it came from the - " "The ley line," finished Tamika, also nervously. "The device that goes beep-beep measures ley line anomalies." The sentry, to her credit, continued to report. "I think it's a chunk of a hive, ripped here from somewhere else. They look like the worldsweepers. Ah, sorry, the - " "The Xiticix," finished Simon, grimly.
  15. The guide turned to Adam. "Well, purposewise, you got me. If I had to guess it'd be that a rift event happened in your timeline and it caused the equivalent of a Fade Effect - hold on, translation says you know them as fade towns, places that flicker between different strata of reality. Why you specifically and no one else is right up there with 'why this town and no other.' Basically, keep an eye out for anything weird when you get back." She shrugged at Kinsie. "Whether you want to go back or not - and I 100% get wanting to stay - the stabilization matrix is gonna send you anyways. It keeps out a lot of random rift events including any that might, say, open to the surface of the sun and scour all life on Earth - that hasn't happened," she added quickly. "Strictly theoretical, like noetic stringlets." With BB, she made an equivocating face. "Well, it's no secret that in your time they're not on the best of terms. But I can't say more than that. I will say, though... they're not the only threats out there. Keep your optics open. There's a number of ancient prophecies out there that the Coalition and the Federation don't play into. They don't all play out the way you might think." With Squidge, she had a reassuring smile. "Oh, I'm reasonably sure you're either destined to go back on your own, or - if you don't - then you're destined to stay here, since time isn't collapsing all around us. Is it? Hang on." She tapped the side of her head, then nodded. "No, time's not collapsing all around us. We're good." With Firanis, she had a disappointed face. "I can't really give you a number. More than a little and less than a lot? It's been a while, since I need a translation spell and all. But I can't be more detailed than that." To Phere, she beamed. "Oh hey! A fellow Sensitive - ah, that's what we call ourselves now. Sure, hold on." She broke off a piece of fruit bar and gave it to Phere. When Phere tasted it, it was sweet and ripe, and reminded her of the sensation of her knife burying itself into a sorcerer. In the back, Tamika spoke up. "I have a question. The gene splicers, the ones doing their experiments all over Europe. What happened to them?" At that, the guide's eyebrows lifted. "Wow, that's... actually a little outside my area of expertise. Well, I couldn't tell you that much about their history, but they're - oh, wait - " The sensation everyone had felt a few minutes ago repeated itself, and suddenly they were back in Prince's Landing, in the middle of the main road, once again unpaved. Everything was back to more or less the way it was before - with the exception of Simon, who was holding an ion pistol of Northern Gun manufacture to Sy's face. Simon was leaning to one side, his prosthetic leg not quite matching his other leg and pulling him to the side, but he still looked ready to shoot. The young man was getting steamed, as was Simon; Trep was clearly trying to defused the situation. "I'll repeat myself," said Simon, all gruff friendliness gone from his face. "I turn my back for a second and those two are gone. What did you have to do with it, skullfucker?" "Call me that one more time, old man. One more time - " Not far away, inside Firanis' red-painted vehicle, a small animal could be heard, making a noise like "fnurf."