Jump to content
Heritage

Mutants & Masterminds: Lake City Universe - M&M 3E - LCU: Alliance OS1 (IC)

Recommended Posts

Sigil peered out at the landscape, but didn't see any clouds of irate insects.

"I don't see any large trees...Lusungu, we may need your abilities. Small Ditra, what can you tell us about the person you've contacted? Will he still be of aid to us?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Furrowing her brow to shade her eyes a bit, Lusungu stepped out of the lock, automatically scanning for threats. She had already returned the fire extinguisher, and took a second scan, this time with one eye against her rifle's telescopic sight. After that scan, she pulled out her communicator and put it on her ear, then stopped, and walked back in, re-closing the lock behind her.

"Ditra Fifty-five, do you use encrypted communications? Can you make this communicator work on the same... channels?"

She looked over to Sigil. "I can easily take you with me," and paused for a moment, then slighter woman a large toothy grin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Apparently the computer didn't know the XP's full range of powers, for he was easily able to make out the gravmag shuttle's heat signiture even through the forest canopy. Then the tiny vessel rose out of the trees accompanied by a bright flash as the hot sodium flare ignited, making his task even simpler.

"We have two injured crewmen, but the other two are fine, just a bit stressed; our vessel is more or less intact and I am fully operational. We are running a bit behind on our objective due to unforseen natural hazzards, and could really use your help."

Aurelius followed the craft as it lifted out of the forest in search of a new, less dangerous landing site. "Just tell me what you need from me", he replied over the radio.

After the Magic Crab had landed, and since he still hadn't received any further hails, situation reports, or instructions, Aurelius hailed the craft once again. "Magic Crab, this is XP Aurelius. I repeat, this is XP Aurelius. I'm currently holding position at twelve o'clock high, roughly one klick over your heads, but can be at your position immediately if required. What are your instructions? Over."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sigil looked up sharply as the message was relayed over the internal speakers. She raised her voice a bit, not sure if the magic was working so he could hear her back.

"This is Sigil. We...require you to be at our position now, please. Twelve o'clock will be too late to help very much. Thank you for your aid."

She looks at the others and whispers, "He says he's a click overhead. Maybe that means he can teleport as well, with a clicking sound. That would simplify things."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“Roger that”, was the simple response Sigil received over the comms.

Aurelius landed outside of the Magic Crab about two seconds later, followed by a low thunder-like rumbling an instant after that. Unfortunately, while his arrival was fairly ‘immediate’, it did not appear that he could teleport, only fly (though if the rumbling sound were any indication, he could fly very fast). But he was here now and that was what was important.

The man standing outside of the Magic Crab’s viewing port had, in overall appearance, the body of a well-proportioned and well-muscled human male. He was tall and seemed very young, perhaps in his early to mid twenties. Beyond that, however, he in no way appeared normal (for a human), instead looking like he was made out of gold and diamonds.

His skin had the color and the metallic sheen of pure gold but also had the apparent depth and reflective properties of solid amber, while his hair (which was long and pulled into a tight bun at the back of his head) looked like it was made of spun yellow diamonds. He had three eyes – two where one normally expected to find them on a human face and one that sat precisely in the middle of his forehead – and each one looked as though it were made out of polished blue chalcedony. His teeth, when he eventually spoke, had the color and appearance of white onyx. With every movement the man made, light from the blazing sun overhead danced and reflected off of him in shimmering, rippling waves of liquid iridescence. The net effect was quite beautiful, but also quite alien, and seemed rather well-suited to the equally alien terrain he was standing in.

“XP Aurelius to Sigil”, he said, “you should see me standing outside of your forward viewing port. Requesting permission to come aboard the Magic Crab.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Ditra Fifty-five, do you use encrypted communications? Can you make this communicator work on the same... channels?"

The tiny sprite nodded. "We're all good now, fully patched in."

"This is Sigil. We...require you to be at our position now, please. Twelve o'clock will be too late to help very much. Thank you for your aid."

She looks at the others and whispers, "He says he's a click overhead. Maybe that means he can teleport as well, with a clicking sound. That would simplify things."

Mini-Deet smiled as Sigil struggled with the modern concepts, but refrained from correcting her, as it seemed everything was working out alright.

"XP Aurelius to Sigil", he said, "you should see me standing outside of your forward viewing port. Requesting permission to come aboard the Magic Crab."

Over his comm, Aurelius heard "Permission granted", and the airlocks opened, allowing the hot dry wind to blow into the lock; once he was fully inside, the outer door closed and the inner one cycled, giving the remaining female crew members to get just a taste of the temperature outside.

The minature holographic representation of Ditra 55 hovered in front of the golden man's face as she made introductions.

"Greetings, Aurelius! I'm the shipboard AI, or at least its avatar, and this is Sigil and Sergeant Lusungu Chanda. Welcome aboard the Magic Crab!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aurelius seemed momentarily taken aback by the tiny hologram of Ditra 55 as it hovered in front of his face, but still managed a smile as he replied with humor, "Greetings, 'shipboard AI, or at least its avatar'." He turned his attention to the two women and, his expression still friendly but also more sober, said, "Greetings, Sigil. Sergeant Chanda, ma'am. It's a pleasure to be aboard." While amicable, his manners and mannerisms also had a distinctly military feel to them (though which military, or to which country - or planet - it belonged was still open for debate).

He extended a polished golden hand to each of them in turn and asked, "How can I be of assistance?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"You are welcome aboard," Sigil responded, his military bearing bringing out her more formal side.

"Our mission is in jeopardy. We've lost two crewmembers before we even started, from apparent sheer bad happenstance. We need reinforcement."

Her jade-green eyes cruised Aurelius from head to foot, though she gave no hint of her opinion of what she saw. "Ditra, can our briefing be shared with him before he agrees to help, or must he pledge to assist us first?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Standing at rest, Lusungu eyed the Golden figure. "Is that a combat suit?" Her accent indicated that English was not her first language, although she was quite understandably, because she enunciated each word very carefully. Her voice was deep and rich for a woman of her petite size. "Do you have some sort of combat capability? How are you communicating without a radio?"

She was petite, but Aurelious doubted many people would be tempted to take liberties with her. First of all, she didn't look pretty, and secondly, she did look tough as shoe leather.

"By the way," Lusungu said as she turned to Sigil, "we should use the radio very little. It could be tracked by the enemy, even if encryption keeps them from hearing what we have to say. Also, we may have to get Ditra to move the shuttle again, since if the enemy is paying attention, they may have seen him come to the shuttle."

She gave Aurelius another long look, then gave her head a sharp nod, and started a sequence looking out through the view ports, scanning the area visually. Her every movement seemed to be natural, but there were no wasted movements.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Ditra, can our briefing be shared with him before he agrees to help, or must he pledge to assist us first?"

The tiny glowing avatar nodded. "I think we can, yes." She then quickly gave Aurelius the mission rundown, complete with hovering images of the planet and the base. Once it was finished, all the holograms blinked out of existance, except for Mini-Deet who plaintively stated, "Help us, XP Aurelius. You're our only hope." before looking over her shoulder and shimmering out of sight.

...Only to reappaer a few seconds later nearby, a childish grin upon her face.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aurelius watched the Ditra avatar's holographic displays and listened to its rundown of the mission parameters with interest. The AI's use of late 20th Century movie trivia as humor was lost on him however and the golden-skinned man just blinked at her tiny, childishly grinning holographic face and tried not to look too confused.

After a brief and moderately awkward pause, he turned his three eyes in the direction of Sigil and Lusungu and said, "Well, for what it's worth, you had my pledge of assistance regardless, but thank you for bringing me up to speed."

Lusungu's first question brought the look of confusion back to Aurelius' face and he looked down at the clothes he was wearing, his expression doubtful. The only things he was wearing were a t-shirt, some pants, and some boots. The boots were solid black, the pants and shirt were more of a carbon-fiber-like dark gray. Both the shirt and the pants were tight-fitting and seemed reinforced in some fashion, and almost looked plated on some parts, while the boots were of obviously solid make and looked like they were capable of enduring quite a lot of abuse. Aurelius would freely admit that, to his eyes, they did appear somewhat 'futuristic', though to Lusungu they probably just looked like reinforced clothing, similar to what some motorcyclists wore - and who knew what Sigil thought of them.

In any event, he was fairly certain that no one would confuse them for a 'combat suit'.

"These?", he asked, "No and it beats me what they're made out of, too, but whatever it is allows them to stand up to atmospheric reentry, as well as most of the other stresses that a fellow like me tends to expose them t-

Oh", Aurelius said, cutting himself short as he saw the look on Lusungu's face and realized he'd misunderstood her question - and what she'd been referring to. With a slightly self-conscious smile, he held his shining golden hands in front of himself, palms up, and regarded them with mostly-concealed sadness. "No, this is just me", he said.

“And I do have a radio”, Aurelius added, pointing at his ear with one hand and the collar of his outfit with the other. There was nothing visible or noteworthy around or about his ear (other than that it was golden), but it was obvious that a compact device of some kind was strapped around his throat. It didn’t take a giant leap of logic or great technological knowhow to figure out he was pointing at a radio communication device and that the part around his throat probably picked up his voice. The listening portion was probably sitting in his ear canal.

“As for ‘combat capability’”, he went on, “do you mean training? Or do you mean to ask if I have XP-related abilities that might come in handy in a fight?”

Aurelius glanced at Sigil and then returned his three-eyed gaze to Lusungu. “I have both”, he said. “I’m not much good for close-in stealthy operations, but I can handle most anything else. In brief, my XP abilities are: flight, super-strength, invulnerability (to a point), enhanced vision, and the ability to project damaging rays of energy. If you’re expecting much combat, then I should tell you that I’m best suited for full frontal assaults, aerial or orbital reconnaissance, and overwatch positions.”

He’d been about to say ‘just think of me as being like that Superman fellow’, but he didn’t know if either of the two ladies he was addressing himself to would recognize a reference to the blue-and-red garbed hero with the ‘S’ on his chest from those old Fleischer cartoons .

“I think a space shuttle flying about would be easier to spot than I would be”, Aurelius commented after Lusungu had remarked on the possible need of moving the shuttle yet again. He didn’t sound accusing, he just sounded like he was making an observation, the unspoken portion of which went something like ‘if they are paying attention then they probably knew you were here before I showed up, so no need go to any extra trouble on my account’.

“Speaking of which”, he asked Lusungu, “do you know anything more about who ‘the enemy’ is? That mission briefing your ship’s AI just gave was useful, but it said nothing about who this enemy might be – or even if there is one.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Finding those things out is part of the mission," Sigil agreed. "We don't know any more than what Ditra showed you. Once we get closer, and get a good look at what we're dealing with, I'll be able to plan more. For now, we need to find out more about this place and its people. Ideally we can get close without them noticing. They may have seen this ship, but that doesn't mean we can't get away from this without them knowing...if we act quickly."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Oh," Lusungu said, and her face got a little darker. She seemed to be embarassed. "Well..." She scracthed her head, still somewhat uncomfortable. Then she became more formal. "I am Lusungu. Combat specialist."

Apologetically, she waved her left arm up and down towards him, indicating his body, apparently. "Sorry, I was not sure if you were somehow similar to Ditra Fifty-five's... 'normal' form." She shrugged.

"I was curious about any combat capability you might have in any way. Right now, though, I agree with mission commander Sigil, we do need to act quickly. How many of us can you lift with your flight capability? If you can lift us all, I might be able to get a better line of sight, to get us there more quickly."

She quirked an eyebrow, waiting for his response.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aurelius nodded as Sigil spoke, acknowledging both that he accepted that she and Lusungu knew no more about their mission than he now did, as well as the wisdom in her assertion that quick action was needed. As he did he found himself wondering about these two women whom he’d just pledged to assist. He still knew so little about Earth in the twenty-first century that it was difficult for him to gauge what was normal for humanity and what wasn’t. From his perspective both Sigil and Lusungu seemed out of the ordinary. It wasn’t so much their appearance – though he’d noticed Sigil’s ears shortly after being welcomed aboard the Magic Crab – as much as it was their behaviors.

Lusungu behaved like someone operating in the midst of war (or like someone who’d seen too much of it and was now suffering from battle fatigue), yet so far as Aurelius knew there were no major wars being fought on Earth at the moment. He did know that portions of Africa were still as war-torn as ever though and so, given her skin color and accent, he could only assume that she hailed from such a place. What was an African bush soldier doing on an alien world taking part in a secretive Alliance operation?

Sigil, meanwhile, had the manner and bearing of a highborn lady and, given the context of his meeting her, Aurelius found this to be even stranger than her pointed ears. He knew that, under the right or wrong circumstances, those of a more ‘distinguished’ lineage sometimes had to or chose to engage in such potentially dangerous work as that which they were all in the midst of undertaking. Still, in Aurelius’ experience, those with such backgrounds – be they of highborn blood or just very wealthy – typically had entire families of similarly highborn or wealthy people all looking out for them, all working to ensure that they did not find themselves in too dangerous a situation. And that was the norm when the highborn person in question was a man! That he should meet a lady with such readily apparent breeding out here, on an alien world, under such already-unusual circumstances was truly bizarre (though, given her costume, there was always the possibility she was acting - or insane).

Of course, the fact of the matter was that Aurelius himself was certainly as strange, if not stranger, than either of his two newest acquaintances and, he acknowledged with a mental sigh, he should probably be used to such strangeness by now, given his personal history and his current line of work.

The Sergeant had just formally introduced herself and apologized to him, so Aurelius shelved his musings for some other time.

“It’s a pleasure, Lusungu”, he said with a small but genuine smile, “and your apology is accepted. Given the way I look, I should probably be used to such misunderstandings by now.”

In response to her question he just said, “I can lift the both of you quite easily.” In truth, he could lift the entire shuttle with all of them still inside if necessary, but he somehow doubted that was what she’d meant, so he didn’t bother saying so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"And now it is my turn to apologize," Sigil said, touching her temple with a funny little grimace at her own lack of manners.

"I am called Sigil. As you've no doubt guessed, I am not of this world." Sensing that didn't carry the weight it once did, in this time of space travel, she added, "This cosmos, I mean. You could travel to every star in the sky, and never reach my home. The ways between can only be trodden when the time is right, or by one who knows the right spell. And the path has grown ever longer and more difficult as the years have gone by."

She shook her head slightly, again at herself and her tendency to wax melodramatic. "I am not a stranger to warfare, though I am still learning the...details of this new age. But as one who has sat on the Summer Throne, I am well versed in the arts of cunning and diplomacy, the carrot and the stick, the magic of the fey...and of course..." Sigil smiles and produces a long wand of spiraled, tapering ivory. Strange glimmers and half-glimpsed colors scintillated down its length. "...I still possess the wand of my former office. A weapon of potence, of a kind rarely encountered here."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The holographic avatar fluttered down to land on the command console, and bowed regally at the waist. "And I am the avatar for the Series 367 Advanced Piloting and Strategic Simulation Interface, but since 'APSSI' sounds so dumb, you can just call me 'Ditra Fifty-Five', after the Alliance team member my appearance and demeanor are currently modelled on."

Min-Deet rubbed her hands together eagerly. "So, we've got stealthy magic; military training, firepower and teleportation; and good old-fashioned flight, nigh invulernability and deadly eyebeams. I smell a lot of potential for this outfit!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Oh", Aurelius said, clearly unsure how to process Sigil's latest revelation, "well, uh, that's fine then..."

In Aurelius' ears, the woman's claim that her world could not be found even by travelling 'to every star in the sky' sounded both incredibly ironic and much more meaningful than it likely would have to anyone else, because he was probably the one person in 'this cosmos' who was most qualified to verify whether her claim was true or not. Certainly he could verify that there hadn't been any magical fairy realms waiting for him beyond all of the stars. There had only been the empty blackness one expected.

"I, uh, I once encountered a man who claimed to be an alfar", he offered lamely. "It was while on mission in Thuringia. But that was a long time ago and, in any case, I don't suppose that's really the same thing as a fairy..."

Aurelius' three gemstone eyes tracked the holographic avatar as it landed and bowed, listening as 'she' interjected into the conversation and introduced 'herself'. When it had finished he looked back to Sigil and Lusungu and asked, "your ship's interface is... very sociable, isn't it?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sigil nodded. She was still working to process exactly what was going on with the various Ditras. She understood that Ditra's human body was false; a golem that the actual Ditra controlled from within. The ship-Ditra was something different...the best Sigil could do was think that Ditra had somehow made a 'duplicate' of her spirit and was using it to control the ship, though she was resigned to the fact that this understandig left a lot to be desired.

"You should have met the first Ditra," she says with a smile. "She was just as energetic, and solid as well. I think you'd have liked her. I've never heard of a place called Thuringia, but Faerie is as big as this world, and may have planets I've never seen. Or there may have been fey trapped in this world by the closing of the crossroads, who learned to live among mortals and who moved with them to other planets."

She shrugged, clearly not concerned about it.

"I think we've recovered, more or less, from the swarm. Time to move out. Aurelius, you take the lead out the airlock. Once we're outside we'll decide what means of transportation to use. I need to see what the environment's like."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aurelius' three gemstone eyes tracked the holographic avatar as it landed and bowed, listening as 'she' interjected into the conversation and introduced 'herself'. When it had finished he looked back to Sigil and Lusungu and asked, "your ship's interface is... very sociable, isn't it?"

The tiny sprite crossed her arms and buzzed her gossamer wings in irritation as she tapped an even tinier foot. "Hey, I'm standing right here." Then she paused, and rubbed her chin thoughtfully. "Although actually, I'm throughout the whole ship, so I can do cool stuff like this." She gestured towards the inner airlock door, which obediently cycled open. "Now everyone make sure you take a comm with you; I can get us all on the same frequency and scramble the signal, though I think Lusungu is probably right about maintaining radio silence as much as possible."

The outside door now cycled as well, and the blistering heat once again rolled through the vessel. Mini-Deet shimmered and reformed, now wearing a two-piece polka dot bikini, sunglasses perched on her head and a sun umbrella casually balanced over one shoulder. "Oh, how I do not envy you biologicals right now..." A section of the floor peeled open, and a sort of pillar rose up, bearing a sealed silvery package about one cubic square, which the hologram indicated with a nod. "That's a high temperature kit, if you need it; SPF 50 sunscreen, eye protection, bottled water, salt tablets and a few other goodies. Might want to bring it along, just in case." Then she shrugged, pulled down her sunglasses and opened her parasol. "Hey, at least it's a dry heat."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not seeing any threats outside, Lusungu used her talent, and with a dull "thwup" teleported to the ship's side of a rise she had seen that was in the direction of their location of their target location. She turned quickly to look back, and make sure the group was disembarking the craft, then grinned, more to herself than to anyone else, and proceeded towards the rise, getting down as she approached. She wanted to get a good look without at the terrain without sticking out like a sore thumb.

After a good minute of scanning, and not seeing any obvious immediate threats, she shimmied back to the group. "I do not see any obvious threats, but I was only looking momentarily." She paused a moment, with a bit of a smile, then added: "This place reminds me in some ways of where I grew up, in the East African Highlands. A difficult place to sneak around in." She grinned, clearly enjoying the idea.

"It would have been better if we had approached at night, we would have more cover, but I believe time is of the essence. I should be able to teleport all of us to some part of the target area, if I can get a good look at it. Maybe Aurelius, you could lift us all vertically, until we have a good line of sight?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sigil suppressed a flash of irritation, masking it by picking up one of Ditra's 'high temperature kits,' though the heat was of little concern to the Summer Queen. In the Desert of Skulls, each grain of sand was actually a particle of bleached bone, pounded to dust by the sun's rays. She'd led the gnome exiles across it, getting shade and water by telling passing clouds sad tales until they wept. On days with no clouds though, they'd suffered....and been toughened.

"Lusungu," she said mildly, "I appreciate your initiative, and you found valuable information. Of course, had there been another swarm outside, or anything like it, you could have been knocked out before you could get back, and been cut off from aid. Since this world has proved itself hostile, lets treat it as such."

"Aurelius, as it's no longer possible for you to be first out the airlock, would you kindly be second out and secure the area around the shuttle? Then we can decide how best to proceed."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aurelius had the feeling that “secure the area” meant something different to Sigil than it did to him. To his military mindset, “secure the area” would mean spending an hour or two digging trenches and pits around the shuttle for use with heavy weapons they didn’t have and establishing positions for non-existent sentries to keep watch at. Aurelius felt fairly certain that wasn’t what Sigil wanted from him.

It seemed that whatever had recently attacked them had been quite fierce (certainly it had prompted them to call him in), and the aureate XP thus assumed that he was being asked to scout the area around the ship, determine the presence or absence of any enemy forces or other threats to their safety, and to take the role of sentry himself so as to be ready to repel any attacks, should they come. So he simply nodded his golden head once to Sigil, said “yes, ma’am”, studiously avoided looking Lusungu’s way, so as not to exacerbate any embarrassment or anger she might be feeling at having been reprimanded by Sigil (and also because he really didn’t want to get in between the two women if at all possible), and made his way out of the shuttle.

Once outside of the shuttle Aurelius lifted himself quickly but silently into the air, stopping when he was still only fifteen or so feet above the ground. Then he shot off at an even faster speed, though still as silently as he could manage, and began scouting a perimeter around the shuttle. He was significantly less stealthy than Lusungu had been, and if anyone was watching their position but had missed her recent scouting foray they probably wouldn’t miss his, but what he lacked in stealth he made up for in sensory ability (or he hoped he did, anyway). He could literally see for miles and miles – and through things – and across most of the EM spectrum. His eyesight had its limitations, but not many.

Aurelius’ Perception Roll:

Roll: 12 +9 Modifier = +21

Heritage, if you could let me know if/what Aurelius spots, that’d be great. If there’s not much to see, feel free to state as much in the OOC, rather than feeling pressured to write up some OOC post to say “there’s nothing to see here, move along”, and I’ll be happy to move things along ICly myself. :)

OK, OOC information received, and posted edited below to move things along! :)

His perimeter scan complete, Aurelius returned to the shuttle and took up a sentry position a short distance outside of its airlock. Over the Comms he reported, "No hostiles sighted in the immediate vicinity. Area secure. I can see Himawai Station from here as well. About 20 kliks out. But there's something else..."

The golden man paused for a moment and, to anyone who may have been watching him, seemed to stare intently at a patch of sand some distance away from him for another second or two before speaking again. "There are... structures of some kind. Five of them - real tall like skyscrapers but rounded, and whatever they're made out of it's... I don't know. It's not brick or masonry. Or metal. They almost look like huge buildings made out of coral, and they're all buried in the sand directly under the station. They're deep too - maybe... half a mile? I can't tell what they are from here though - whatever the walls are made out of is too dense for me to see through."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Blushing and furious at the same time, Lusungu had the good sense to keep her mouth shut. Snipers shouldn't play point when there is someone else to do it! She thought to herself. You're getting sloppy. Stop it!

After a few seconds, she regained control of her emotions, nodded--only barely sullen, and snapped out an almost level "Yes, ma'am." She eyed Sigil, evaluating how she dealt with the acknowledgement, and then half nodded to herself when the other women merely kept right on going. Then Lusungu watched the gold skinned man fly up into the sunlight: Oh yes, he'll be visible from dozens of kilometers away. Oh well.

When he returned to give his report, she tried not to let her eyes boggle. Underground? Too dense to see through She gave her head a small shake, and tried to consider what he had said. Oh crap, tunnels! She blanched visibly, and sighed quietly. So much for sniping. I guess I'll just have to be extra sneaky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sigil absorbed the information without comment, her face impassive. She nodded when he was done and said, "Excellent, thank you. Ditra, we'll be on our way now. Act as you see fit to keep the shuttle safe. If you have to leave, do it. Just let us know when and where to meet you again."

She produced her wand from its slim sheathe at her waist and smiled the proprietary smile of a teacher about to lead a field trip of fifth graders. Any second now she'd tell Lusungu and Aurelius to stick with their buddies.

"Once we're out, I'd like to cross some distance discretely. Lusungu, if you can teleport all of us, we can do that then. Otherwise I have some fallback plans we can use."

Sigil nods, then heads out the airlock to get her first -real- look at another planet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Excellent, thank you. Ditra, we'll be on our way now. Act as you see fit to keep the shuttle safe. If you have to leave, do it. Just let us know when and where to meet you again."

The avatar shifts back to her original configuration, 'wearing' her Allaince grays, and snaps off a crisp salute.

"Understood, ma'am; I'll lock her down once your outside, and take good care of our sleeping boys."

Once all three remaining members of the team were outside, the Magic Crab sealed itself tight and activated its camoflague mode; inside the ship's skin, billions of image projectors little bigger than a molecule across activated, and the desert scrub seemed to wrap around the vessel, leaving only the faintest outline.

A familiar voice crackled over the comlink.

"Testing, one, two, three. This is Magic Crab, do you read me?"

Now that they were all outside, the full brunt of the Orthi sun was upon them; the surface temperature was hovering somewhere around 120 Fahrenheit, a dry heat the felt like it was baking your very bones, unless of course you were lucky enough to be an XP of some sort. Heat ripples rose up from the sandy soil, dotted with clumps of violet grass and low prickly bushes. A low dune rose up about 30 yards away, beyond which the true silica desert began.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I...hear you," Sigil replied as she surveyed the bleak landscape. Certain modern word drifts annoyed her. Reading was for books and printed words. When one had a great deal of chaos in one's life, small pockets of order were necessary.

"I don't see anything suitable for my powers to take us anywhere though. Lusungu, how far can you take us?"

She eyed Aurelius skeptically. "Once we get away from the shuttle, it'll be better if you're not quite so...shiny. I can fix that for you, if you'll allow it. It won't change your essence, just your appearance."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lusungu hid a grin at Sigil's pause in wording her response. It's good to know someone else also finds English odd.

"In this situation, if I spend a few seconds focusing, I think I can get us out to about eight or nine klicks, accurately. It... depends... on how I feel, but I feel that is good, today." She grinned and bowed her head a little, strangely shy about it.

"As for golden man..." She walked over to Aurelius, looking up into his eyes, then calmly and deliberately leaned forward and pulled him towards her, in an effort to get him in a fireman's carry, but without committing completely to the maneuver. If he's as dense as gold, he'll crush me. On the other he'll make great cover!

Feeling how easily he fell forward, Lusungu hefted Aurelius over her shoulder, then with some strain, turned to Sigil. "I can... take us... allll." She gave a Sigil a quick wink, then slapped Aurelius on the ass, and smiled wickedly at his reaction before simultaneously leaning forward and hefting him a little bit, to guide him back down to an upright position.

"I can take us all, easy" she repeated to Sigil after a moment, then to Aurelius "I expected you to be heavier! Give me a good line, and I will get us there." Then she smiled wickedly again, looking forward to a response.

Edited by Lusungu Mercy Chanda

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Good. Just a moment." Sigil produced her wand and aimed it at Aurelius. Her voice took on an otherworldly quality as she spoke next, as if someone else were speaking the exact same words just a tiny fraction of a second before or after she did. The air crackled with unseen power, raising the hairs on the back of Lusungu's neck and turning the light reflecting off of Aurelius' skin into odd colors.

"Nomad man with skin of gold, who comes to aid in this strange place,

With words of power, new and old, I grant new form, voice and face!

alubi salay droosha!"

Something flashed from the wand, striking the golden man squarely while Lusungu held him. He felt a sensation of vertigo...as if he and Lusungu had suddenly dropped a couple of feet. Then it was over. Sigil was peering at him narrowly, assessing him. She nodded.

Aurelius had become a human being...at least to all appearances. With a heavy, muscular build not unlike his actual body, but with sun-darkened skin and short black hair that rippled in the wind. A goatee beard and mustache surrounded his mouth and dotted his chin. His clothes were tough and weathered looking; a shirt and vest with pockets and various containers affixed. Heavy boots, and sturdy trousers. A scarf was loosely draped around his neck.

"It will do. Lusungu, take us in close enough to get a look, but not so close as to be obvious."

(Using her Morph attack to change Aurelius to look like something that doesn't scream 'superhero!' at first sight. No mechanical change results from this. It's purely superficial, though not an 'illusion.')

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With his metallic-golden skin tone, Aurelius couldn't really 'blush', but he certainly looked like he wanted to after Lusungu dropped him from her unexpected fireman's carry and smiled at him mischievously.

"How much I really weigh is a... matter of some debate..." the chalcedony-eyed hero answered evasively in response to the African woman's remarks. "Anyway", he added after a moment's pause, during which he seemed to recover himself somewhat and returned Lusungu's smile with smaller, subtler one of his own, "I'm glad it wasn't too much for you."

Any recovery he might've made was quickly swept away, however, in the face of Sigil's spell (or whatever it was). Aurelius couldn't see his face but he could see his now human-seeming arms just fine, and spent a long minute staring his now tanned and perfectly normal seeming skin. "Uhm... thanks", he muttered distractedly in Sigil's direction. Soon enough though he seemed to return his attention back to the matter at hand and lifted his gaze back to Lusungu, waiting expectantly for her to 'take them in close'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lusungu smiled for another moment, then grew serious as she focused on Sigil casting her spell. She is a witch? I had always thought those were a myth. I will have to be more careful the next time I visit home.

When Sigil's spell took effect, Lusungu chuckled in delight--whether at the effect, or the expression on Aurelius' face, none could say.

"Very good! Now, I can only travel a few klicks at a time with preciseness."

Turning to Aurelius, a twinkle once again in her eye, she commanded him "Hold Sigil in your left arm, and me in your right. Fly up so that we can see the compound. Hold us there for about fifteen seconds. I will get us much closer, but will aim to have us in some cover."

She began removing the sniping rifle from it's case, but she did it without looking at what she was doing, while she was looking at Sigil. With graveness, she added "You will need to hold my left arm while we do this. Do not let go. I do not know what will happen if you do."

Her weapon liberated, she pocketed extra ammunition, and placed the case beside the airlock door. "Ditra Fifty-five ghost, try to scare away any animals from the case. I would like it back if possible." With that, she strolled back to Aurelius' left side. "Go now."

"Here we go," Aurelius said as he easily picked up the two women, Lusungu in his right, and Sigil in his left. As they were raised up, the two women each clasped the other's inner arm, while Lusungu held her rifle one-handed. She almost made it look easy, but she didn't have the golden man's incredible strength, and her right forearm gave the lie to the apparent ease.

When they were settled on his shoulders, smoothly flew up. "Stop!" Lusungu yelped when they could make out the compound. "Hold here." She lifted her scope, and looked through it at quickly scoping the ground for a scant four seconds, then they felt a small tremor, almost like reality had just shivered. "Hold," Lusungu repeated, and Sigil noticed Lusungu's shirt ripple as though something were flowing underneath it. Large, leathery purple plant petals seemed to thrust up around Lusungu's shirt, and wrap her head, like a helmet, while the world seemed to flush and pulse, as though it were going out of focus, and then for an infinite moment, Sigil and Aurelius both felt a million miles long, yet in every sense they could feel, they also felt smaller than the eye of a needle.

....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Her weapon liberated, she pocketed extra ammunition, and placed the case beside the airlock door. "Ditra Fifty-five ghost, try to scare away any animals from the case. I would like it back if possible."

Deet's voice came over their coms. "Not a problem, sergeant." A blob of liquid silvery metal spat out of the side of the ship, covering the rifle; after a few seconds, it morphed and shifted until the case was completely covered in a small hillock tufted with violet native grass, marked with a crude wooden cross. "There! A bit of Nameless tech for you; if you touch any part of that mass, it will scan your biological data and melt away. Keeps the sand and critters out."

The airborne teleport was a success, allowing the trio to appear behind the only cover anywhere near the station, a large dune scooped out from behind by the wind. Over the dune and about a kilometer away lay the edge of the massive solar array, which cast several square kilometers of desert under its shade; the array was suspended about ten meters over the sand by a delicate framework and hundreds of stilt-like pontoon legs. However, it was still some three kilometers to the inhabited portion of the base.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The petals of Lusungu's flower-hood furled themselves into a different position, as she dropped off of Aurelius' arm, and seemed to flow her body against the dune in front of them. She carefully scanned the area ahead of them from her new position first without her weapon's scope, and then with it, performing with the smooth careless confidence of years of constant practice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sigil watched Lusungu's transformation, taken aback and very curious.

"What is that?" she asked as she took a glance at the compound as well...though at this distance she didn't expect to see much that was of importance. "That grew out of you just now?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aurelius too watched Lusungu - or rather he watched the eerie flower-like thing that had appeared and then swallowed her head whole - with poorly-concealed amazement. The now-human-seeming XP refrained from saying anything about it, however, in part because Sigil had just asked the most pertinent questions for him, and in part because it was in his nature to push distractions to one side while on mission and try to stay focused on that mission's objectives. He still kept one ear opened to hear how Lusungu answered the fey woman, though.

His three cerulean eyes, meanwhile (which, thanks to Sigil's spell, looked like two dark brown eyes at the moment), cast their gaze out over the massive solar array to see what they could see.

Perception Roll:

Roll: 5+9 = 14

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, the high contrast between the reflective upper surface of the array, which shone brilliantly and was several hundred degrees Fahrenheit, and the shaded area under it made it very hard to pick out a lot of details; however small metal and glass pods seemed to dot the underside edge of the array, more than likely visual sensors of some kind. The considerable heat shimmer rising off the array also impaired visual surveilance.

Also now that the team was out in the middle of the desert, they could feel the incredible heat rising off the fine white sand that composed the dune they currently hid behind; any 'normal' human wouldn't last more than a few minutes out here without wearing some form of protective gear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Grimacing as she glanced at her comrades, Lusungu returned to scanning the terrain before responding.

"It is complicated. In short, I have a suit that is in some way part of me. It tries to keep me safe, especially when I get stressed. Think of it as a space suit made out of a plant. They tell me it has the intelligence of a horse. It will not hurt you, though." She looked back at the other two again, then sighed in exasperation. "It will not hurt you, no matter what happens to me."

"At least, I do not think it will."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I see," Sigil said, studying Lusungu for a moment before nodding and looking back at the building. "We'll have to test that sometime under more controlled conditions."

She sighed and switched courses with barely a pause in between. "Unfortunately, getting over there will be difficult for you two. Nothing to hide behind, and it's bright bright daylight. I could try a spell to make you invisible, I suppose...though such improvised magic can take a toll."

"What ideas do you have?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lusungu shrugged to herself at the green woman's comments, and listened attentatively to what she had to say about their next steps.

"You are right. This is too difficult even for me to sneak into."

"I could teleport us closer, expect a trap under the collectors. Or we could go over the collectors, but I expect the heat might be a problem for you." She shrugged again, this time at the options presented. "We could wait until nightfall?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sigil smiled. "I was the Queen of Summer," she said lightly. "No amount of sunlight or hot earth will bother me, though flame will still burn."

She looked back at the collectors and pursed her lips. "A trap, hmm? Then maybe the answer to how to approach unseen is not to approach unseen. Lets see what they do."

Before the other two could gently suggest that charging in over the open was perhaps not the best method of experimentation, Sigil stirred her hand in air and singsonged a few words in a short, but sad and somewhat haunting melody.

"Shadows and nightmares that twist in our dreams,

Give lies to our eyes; nothing is what it seems.

Don your fools' masks, what forms will you take,

When dreams walk the world, while all are awake?"

The stark shadows the group casts on the white, bone-dry desert sand burble and blend together, making a black lake beneath them. For a harrowing moment there is a sensation of vertigo, as if they were each suspended over a yawning chasm that stretched away into endless depths below. Three shapes emerged upwards from that pool, and the dizzying sense of distance vanished as they did. Each one was humanoid, but pitch black...until a moment later as their features filled in.

Each was identical to one of the party. One for Sigil, for Lusungu, and for Aurelius-in-disguise.

"Everyone stay low," the shadow-Sigil said in her voice. Shadow-Lusungu nodded and said, "We'll handle this." Shadow-Aurelius echoed the nod, and followed the other two as they head up over the dunes towards the collection array to perchance draw out an ambush.

(Using Sigil's Illusion ability to create a duplicate us and send it over to see what happens. If one of you guys wants to interrupt this because you disagree, post you doing it and I'll edit this post to mesh. I realize this breaks stealth, but lets face it, we can't all be invisible all through the mission, so it may be we're better off trying to operate within our abilities. :))

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×