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Krul

Exalted: Dreams of Exaltation - Prelude: Into the Elemental Pole of Oil

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After being allowed to roam around a bit, Vanguard of Many Honored Footsteps found herself back in the charm installation chambers, where Dr. Fane oversaw the installation of her Perfected Lotus Matrix and the initial charms associated with it. She was given the weapon she chose, the gyroscopic matrix, and allowed to give it a try or two. Soon enough, however, she was asked to prepare for her mission, and they had her in the vat's complex once more. "Ok, Vana, what charm loadout would you like for this particular mission?"

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The Vanguard of Many Honoured Footsteps disrobed, as she walked towards the tank. "Prepare the First Dexterity Augmentation, the Fourth Stamina Augmentation, the Subcutaneous Armor Plating, the Personal Gravity Manipulator Device, the Parabolic Leap Overcharger Device, the Fluidic Impeller Drive, and the Optical Shroud. Mobility and durability are top concerns; stealth may be needed but I don't anticipate it."

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She did get an appreciative glance from one of the technicians as she disrobed, but he was otherwise professional, especially under the watchful eye of Dr. Fane. Though, of course, a champion was certainly quite capable herself of dealing with any unwanted advances, or even gazes.

"As you say, Vana, we'll see to it." This was a project that was going to take them a while, though fortunately, a number of those charms were already installed. About four of them needed to be changed out, however, which took a total of 20 hours. About 3 teams of technicians were rotated in and out in order to keep the charm installation at it's most efficient possible.

Once the work was finished, and Dr. Fane helped her out of the vats once more, to allow her to get dressed, as they brought her the new weapons and armor she had chosen.

"Are you ready now, Vana?"

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Vanguard of Many Honoured Footsteps was distracted, by the sizable devices attached to her forearms, her legs, and across her chest. She'd know the dimensions of each charm, how they would impact performance and how they would look, but knowing and feeling... well.

She flex fingers and felt a twinge of disquiet as she heard the whir of servos. She closed her eyes and centered herself. The lost ship and its crew are the only thing that matters, she said to herself. And I cannot afford the room for the charms that will make all this more compact. I'm sure they won't mind being rescued by a... woman with jets growing out of her.

She told herself this. It helped a little.

But only a little.

"Let me don my armor. Then we'll proceed to the brief."

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Dr. Fane was standing next to her as she looked at her fingers, and he reached out and put an hand on her shoulder. "Feeling a bit self-conscious?" When she looked at him, he shook his head.

"No, I'm not reading your mind, just some books I read that were written by Champions like you, and while working on this project, I read them again. One of the things a few of the books speak of is the feeling of self-consciousness many new champions feel, so I have been somewhat watchful for that sort of thing." He paused.

"If it helps, with regards to your fellows, Aggressive Steel Heart isn't the sort to really think about this yet, though I imagine she will be in time. And strangely enough, I get such a feel certainty from Strategic Intuitive Director, that if he has considered the matter, he's discarded it as unimportant at this time."

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"Of course. Forgive me, Doctor. This won't impact my performance in the field. I just may want to switch back to the more... compact, systems, once I return from the rescue."

She began to pull on her armor. "We should move quickly. Will I be travelling by means of the fluidic impeller system or will I have a submersible craft?"

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"You have been assigned an oil diver, but you will most likely need to leave and enter the sea of oil directly in order to complete your mission." Once she was armed and armored, the Doctor lead her outside to introduce her to a small group of about 3, 2 men, one woman, all dressed and marked on their clothing as assigned to the transport division of the city.

"They will be your crew, they are capable pilots and engineers, but you should be careful, we're still not sure what caused our other oil divers to fail."

Going through streets that were slightly silvery, they walked though one tube connecting one of the city's domes to another, and then to a spire rising beyond the second one. Attached to the spire were several Oil Divers.

"And here were are, Vana, this is your ship." He gestured to the large oil diver that was docked right in front of them.

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Vanguard ran her fingers over the ship's surface. Memories of a different life rose unbidden. The panic in the eyes of men and women as they realized the hull wouldn't hold. The thought of dying down there alone, soulgems far from retrieval...

She shook her head. "Have the checks been performed, and is it fueled? If so, I'm ready to go."

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"Everything is ready, Champion." One of the three men saluted her as they opened the door to the oil diver. "If you'll come aboard the Explorer, we'll be on our way." As he gave the name of the vessel, and the other members of her crew waited for her to enter first.

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Vanguard stepped in, allowing herself a smile. Sense memory from deep within her soulgem gave this place a sense of familiarity. The model she'd served on wasn't this, not like this, it was far less advanced... but kindred in spirit.

Men and women in a bottle, cast away into the unknown merely because it was there.

"Set a course, then. Let's bring our people home."

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Indeed, she was correct, this model was much more efficient then the last one she found in her memories, and as she was about to set sale, a holographic display from one of the local Holographic Station Nodes caused Loran herself to appear.

"Good Luck, Vanguard of Many Honored Footsteps." The City spoke to her, then let the power devoted to that momentary display fade, leaving Vana to wonder what all that was about, or if it was just possibly, that Loran felt a closer kinship to the only other Moonsilver exalt within the city.

Shortly, the Oil Diver was lose, and moving though the sea of oil that the city reached out into. A display showed the type of oil they were in, using several forms of detection, focusing on sonar, there was a holographic display that showed their surroundings, a blinking dot showed their destination. And the city was shown behind them, in all of it's beauty.

"Champion, we are underway, you have command." Her crew of 3, four if she counted herself, turned to salute her.

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"Tell me the details we know thus far of the accident. That will help us be prepared for a swift rescue." Vana nodded at the salutation. "How many are there? Do they have any known medical conditions we should be ready for?"

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One of her crew spoke up. "There were about twelve of them in each of the Oil Diver's, these were large harvesting ships. They were going after some rare oils that had been found quite a distance from the city." He paused a moment. "Some of the rare oils are used by the Solidarities, but exactly how, we don't know."

"We're about two days travel from them, by ship, which is much further then within the metal realms of the Maker, they should have enough supplies, and may be alive.. but we don't know what disabled the ships, and we've lost contact with them."

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"Understood. Keep me informed. I'm going to review the ship's log in the captain's cabin." She nodded to her XO. "You have the deck."

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It took a few hours of travel though the sea of oil, several days even, and about the same time that Strategic Iniative Director was facing the gremlins, they found their way to the crashed Oil Divers.

Both of them were somewhat damaged, and there was no sign of activity from either of them, though they had enough supplies that the crews might still be alive. Someone would have to go and check.

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Vana looked over the report, and then outside the port window. She had been ill-tempered for the last few days, with the impeller system installed - it was a bit bulky and made things difficult. Next time, I'm taking the spatial folding system for this.

"I shall go out and scout. Send up a flare if you need me to return. I will take flares and rebreathers in the event they need them." Vanguard of Many Honored Footsteps went to the airlock, to suit up in the wetsuit and head out.

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It wasn't exactly a wetsuit, sense Vanguard didn't need to breath, there were suits for the rest of the crew, should they need to leave, but for Vana, it was something much simpler. A water tight body suit with a special set of gloves and boots with a magnetic activation for the boots on a link to her wrist, and a commlink back to the Oil Diver were the most noticeable effects. Someone had done the suit with a sort of silver pattern, complete with Loran's crest in the center. It was also designed work with her fluid impeller drive, so all the locations where her drive opened out to the oil were open areas.

In general, when she looked at herself in the mirror, it looked like she was wearing a skin tight silver leather and latex suit, sense it was watertight, it did feel a bit like latex. There was also a set of goggles that went over her eyes, to allow her to see something while out there in the oil, they sent out a sonar like pulse, and then created a image in black and white that allowed her to see though the oil as she moved to the other vessels.

Soon enough she was in the airlock, which closed down and filled with black oil, which she could feel against her skin, and pressing down on her from every direction.

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The Vanguard of Many Honored Footsteps waited for the sonar goggles to calibrate properly as the airlock cycled out.

Then she activated the impellers, and with an uneven jerk, propelled herself forth. Misjudged the speed. Have to watch that. She evened out the thrust, and proceeded into the oily sea.

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As Vana moved though the oil, picking up the area around her, she came to the first Oil Diver, and found her way to the airlock... but, something had torn the door off, and then ripped out the inner door. The only thing that kept that from being fatal, was that the Diver had been rolled so that was on the bottom.

As Vanguard of Many Honored Footsteps slide though that, to enter the large Oil diver, finding oil inside reaching about up to her waist, and the air inside wasn't quite stagnant, but without the air cleansers active, it had slowly grown rather stale.

Several dead bodies floated in the oil, ones who had clearly been killed with weapons.. but that was only half the crew accounted for.

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Vanguard frowned. She reached up to her necklace, twisting the pendant loose.

The pendant was a small gear, that rapidly unfolded into a whirling gear with razor-sharp edges. It was her chosen weapon, the techniques of the device imprinted into her mental matrix. She felt she'd need it.

Vanguard made her way through the interior, looking for her quarry, and being careful to step lightly.

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Stepping lightly did make a difference, as the lighting within the broken diver was completely inactive. After a minute of investigation, there was a malicious almost broken voice in the air. "This was supposed to interfere with the cities ability to create any Champions.. I will have to tell Shattered Ghost Scream that the city has managed to build Champions after all."

A woman fell from the ceiling, possessing eight limbs all together, looking vaguely like an octopus made of black jade. "Still, it has been getting boring down here."

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Vanguard of Many Honored Footsteps went into a fighting stance, with the speed of quicksilver.

"What are you, why are you here, and where is this ship's crew?"

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"My name is Inverted Shard Song, and as to the crew.. well, the one's still alive holed themselves inside there." She gestured with a tentacle to a sealed door. "I could have broken in, but I was enjoying their planed attempts to escape."

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"Two questions asked and answered. Now the third: why are you here?" Vanguard held the gear back in a striking position while her hand was positioned forward. She moved carefully through the oily fluid, dividing her attention between Inverted Shard Song and the environment they were in.

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"Why am I here? Why to interpret rescue efforts, of course." She looked over Vanguard for a moment. "Might be more difficult then originally planed, however." With that she plunged into the oil and began to speed toward Vana even as she sent several sharp metal knives toward the woman.

Click to reveal..

Post your response, then roll join battle.

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Click to reveal..
Wits + Awareness Roll (Join Battle.) (4d10=23) 2 successes.

Vanguard will attack with a normal strike, saving her essense for her defensive stance. (She will go into Thousand Wounds Gear Form.)

Normal strike: Attack Roll (Dexterity + Martial Arts + Speciality + Accuracy BOnus of Chakram.) (12d10=59) (3 successes.)

Vanguard normally has 12 personal essence, and 34 perhipial. She has used 2 essence to power the Fluidic Impellers. She has committed essense to the following charms:

First Dexterity Augmentation: 1
Fourth Stamina Augmentation: 1
Subcutaneous Armor Plating: 1
Perfected Lotus Matrix: 2
Parabolic Leap Overcharger Device: 0 (doesn't have an install listing)
Personal Gravity Manipulation Apparatus: 1
Optical Shroud: 2
Fluidic Impellers: 1
Gyroscopic Chakram: 5 (from perhipial)

So 2 personal essense left and 29 perhipial.



Vanguard's body language changed - or rather, disappeared, would be more accurate. She became as still as a statue when not moving and as precise as a machine when she did, raising her gyroscopic chakram to block the onslaught of daggers. The release of essence swirled around her in a quicksilver cloud, that streaked behind her as she ran in to close the distance between her and her assailant.

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Click to reveal..
Wits + Awareness Roll (17:46:36) ChatBot: (Krul) rolls 5d10 and gets 6,9,1,9,1.
2 Successes
Dexterity + Thrown Roll (17:48:36) ChatBot: (Krul) rolls 9d10 and gets 3,2,7,8,5,9,7,8,4.
5 Successes, with Form Charm up, Vana's DV is 6, failed to strike.
Inverted Shard Song - Dodge DV is 5, also failed to strike

Your action went before hers, she started with a thrown attack, but she's rapidly approaching you position. Your move.


Acting swifter then her attacker, the daggers struck even as Vana shifted her Chakrum into their path, activating her form charm, and blocking the various blades flying out to strike her, even as she fell into the proper stance, Thousand Gear Form.

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Maintaining her stance, Vanguard closed the distance and collided with her assailant, her essense anima leaving the afterimage of her defending even as she herself lunged in to strike.

Click to reveal..
Activating the "Of Two Minds, One Purpose" combo. Marking off 4 essence and 1 Willpower. 1 Personal, 25 peripheral essence left; 5/6 Willpower remaining.

Adding +4 Accuracy with the Charm. The combo elevates parry DV by 2 and if the attack fails, the attacker's DV refreshes one tick later.

Attack roll with Chakram (+1 Acc, +3 Lethal) (16d10=84)

9 Successes to hit.

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Seeing the Gyroscopic Chakram coming in to strike her with the terrible force it possessed, Shard lifted her right arm, and the spiral pattern within, suddenly glows and a slender shield made of radiant energy appears upon her arm, however, it's not enough to fully block the attack. Unfortunately, this still doesn't block the attack, as the Chakram comes spinning around the shield to strike her anyway, cutting a gash along her right side.

With Vana in close, Shard switches to a more direct form of attack, attempting to go for a clinch with her tentacles. Vana instead blocks the attack naturally with her exceptional Martial Art's skill.

Click to reveal..

Shard activates Light-Etched Interception Barrier, DV jumps to 8, Vana's attack still get's through, with one success. Armor is 8L.. Hardness is ignored due to form charm.

(19:39:45) ChatBot: (Krul) rolls 3d10 and gets 5,9,7.

Vana does 2 levels of damage to Shard.

(19:34:23) ChatBot: (Krul) rolls 9d10 and gets 3,2,9,3,2,8,3,2,1.

2 Successes on the clinch attempt, Vana's parry DV is 7, Vana blocks.

Next turn.. your action.

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Charging forward and enhancing her attack with the charms she had available, Vana finds just the right chink in her opponent's defenses to slide through and get a very powerful hit in. The cut is a deep one, and as she bleeds profusely, Shard shakes her head. "I can not win this, I yield the field of battle to you, sister." With that, she plunges into the oil beneath her, heading out the huge hole int he bottom of the ship.

Click to reveal..

(17:26:33) ChatBot: (Krul) rolls 9d10 and gets 5,3,7,2,7,6,8,10,4.

That's 4 damage, bringing it up to 6 damage.

Instead of making an Attack, Shard focuses on running away now, you may peruse or try and rescue the crew.

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For a moment, Vanguard's natural instinct to give chase had her take a tentative half-step in her direction.

But memories of dying underneath the sea, far from home, overrode them.

Vanguard clicked her spinning gear shut, and returned it to her necklace. She then went further into the vessel, to rescue the crew.

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Unhurt after her first combat with another exalt, Vana turned to the sealed door, which was locked from the other side. She now had two choices, try to reach those on the other side and convince them to open it, or simply break though the door.. though that would likely not be viewed well by the folks inside there.

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Vanguard thought for a moment, then decided that talking now did not preclude action later. So she started to talk.

"Everyone! Take heart, help has come. The attacker has been driven off. I am the Vanguard of Many Honored Footsteps, a champion manufactured for the safeguarding of Loran. I am here to rescue you! There is an oil diver waiting to take you to safety. All I ask is that you open this door."

Vanguard waited for the response, fearing that it would be negative. She looked around the ship, wondering if that section had a porthole in it that she could look through - and that, conversely, they could look through at her, and at the oil diver.

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There was a port hole, yes, but it was blocked, from all appearances, and for a moment, it seems everything was silent, then the speaker came out above her. "How do we know your who you say you are?" There was a hint of fear in the voice that responded to her, and no opened door, at least, not yet.

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Vanguard thought for a long moment. How to prove that she was a mariner like them? There was a flicker of remembrance. Then she closed her eyes, and started to speak.

"The Oil is my homeland,

My life upon the sea.

Its roiling waves and froth will stay

Forever within me.

"The Oil is my cradle,

Where second life was found.

My sea legs stretch and pearls I've fetched

And treasures I have found.

"The Oil is my graveyard,

I rest within its swill.

Listen well the shipyard's bell,

For there I'm living still."

Vanguard opened her eyes. "That's the Rhyme of the Oil Diver. I sang that song a lifetime ago. All mariners know it. And that's what I am, friends. A mariner, like you."

Originally Posted By: OOC
This might be the first time I've attempted a Stunt using a poem.

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For a moment there was nothing, then, the covering was removed, and a face appeared in it for an instant. A moment or two later, the door was slowly opened, and man dressed in a torn and damaged oil diver crew uniform peered out at you, with a sort of lamp in one hand. His matter was tentative until he saw you, and got a good look at you in the light, and hope flared in his eyes. "Champion?"

Click to reveal..

Sense that was an awesome response, and these are mortals, no roll necessary. I would have given a + 2 stunt, in this case, giving you a +2 exp bonus

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"The same." She nodded. "I am the Vanguard of Many Honoured Footsteps. One of the first champions of Loran. Have hope." She reached out her hand. "We've come for you."

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The young man reached out to take her hand, and the relief on his face was almost physically painful, and as she took his hand, she could almost see him relax. "You came to get us, and the Oil Diver, I expect?" As soon as she indicated affirmative in any manner, he took a deep breath. "Both vessel's are damaged, but if your diver has the equipment we can transfer what we can to there, and pull both of them back."

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"I shall embark to my rescue diver immediately. I can move freely underoil and make the necessary modifications. I'll head to my ship and tell them I've found you."

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