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IC: Savage Rifts: Here Comes Tomorrow #1: "When The Other Shoe Drops"

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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.

Spoiler

Quick Draw allows BB to draw his ion pistol without penalties to the shooting roll. Free move to begin finding some cover.

Shooting at the fleeing Hunter Xitcix.
Shooting: 1d10o10+1d6o6 [1d10o10=1] [1d6o6=10]
If you include the bonus for ion weapons it's 12, but I don't know if there's a range penalty because it's fleeing. For lack of comment by Char, I'll assume no. It's an Ace either way anyway.

Damage: 4d6o6 12
Shaken upon an already Shaken, so 1 wound inflicted. If it's not a Wild Card, that should be a kill.

 

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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.

Spoiler

Tamika techno-wizardy roll: 1D8.OPEN(8) = [6] = 6
1D6.OPEN(6) = [2] = 2

Success; Tamika has created a disc that will impart the Smite power (+2 to damage) on any weapon she attaches it to. This was during the ride up, so she is now rolling to make use of it:

Tamika using the Smite disc.: 1D8.OPEN(8) = [8, 1] = 9
1D6.OPEN(6) = [4] = 4

Success with a raise; the +2 increases to +4 for this use. Tamika can add +4 to damage for any one weapon, and she's offering this round's usage to Phere.

"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..."

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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. 
 

Spoiler

 

Okay. Just trying to make sure I am doing this right.

Phere's L-20 Laser Pulse rifle is RoF 4.
Her helmet targeting optics grant "+2 on all ranged attacks."
She will take a shot at each of the four bugs (first the hunters, then warriors) and since laser weapons have no recoil, she avoids the recoil penalty.
 

Shooting dice: 4D10 => 5, 7, 10, 6
The 10 is an Ace, so re-rolling: 1D10 => 8
So 5, 7, 18, 6
Wild die: 1D6 => 3
With +2 to each, the Shooting dice become 7, 9, 20, 8 (not going to use the wild die)
All 4 hit with the last 3 being Raises

L-20 Range: 25/50/100 
If BB had not range penalty, and these four bugs are closer, then I will assume no range penalty. If she needed a 4 to hit, then all 4 shots hit and the last 3 are Raises.

L-20 Damage: 3d6+1 w/ AP 2
The disk from Tamika grants and additional +4 damage
The last 3 shots Raised, so +1d6 (this die can Ace)

The Wild Die will always be the last d6 on my rolls

non-raised shot
3D6+5 => (4 +5 +2 + 5) = 16 damage (Hunter)

and the raised shots..
4D6+5 => (2 +3 +4 +2 + 5) = 16 damage (Hunter)
4D6+5 => (3 +6 +6 +5 + 5) = 25 damage (Warrior)
4D6+5 => (5 +5 +5 +5 + 5) = 25 damage (Warrior)

None of the Raise dice Aced.

 

 

Hmm. A new day indeed...

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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.

Spoiler

You're off combat rounds, for the moment. Decide how, or if, you're going to approach.

 

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"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.

Spoiler

Making a Survival roll to see if Phere knows anything about the Xiticix, like cutting out some gland to smear over their armor to make them appear to be Xiticix to the other Xiticix, or something like that.

Survival d10

1D10+ 1D6 => (10 + 6) = 16  Both aced!
re-roll 1D10 => (4) = 4
re-roll 1D6 => (4) = 4

(Roll)

So the d10 = 14 
and the d6 = 10 

I think I'll keep the 14.

 

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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."

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"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.

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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?" 

 

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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."

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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."

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"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."

Spoiler

Tamika's assistance rolls:

Tamika aid roll: 1D8.OPEN(8) = [8, 4] = 12
1D6.OPEN(6) = [3] = 3
1D8.OPEN(8) = [5] = 5
1D6.OPEN(6) = [6, 5] = 11

Both are successes with Raises, so both Firanis and Squidge get +2 to their rolls. If anyone else sees a way to assist, please do chime in, as there's no real ceiling on how the assist rules work (see Cooperative Rolls, page 71 on Chapter Three of the Savage Worlds base rules.)

You've automatically succeeded on hiding your scent; each success in each remaining arena will govern just how much resistance you will run into once you head into the hive proper.

 

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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.)

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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."

Spoiler

Engineering Roll: 1D12.OPEN(12)+2 = [8]+2 = 10
1D6.OPEN(6)+2 = [6, 5]+2 = 13

Will use the Wild Die result of 13 = success with a Raise.

 

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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...?"

Spoiler

Will wait to see the results of Squidge's psychic jamming roll, before proceeding.

 

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"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!

Psionics to jam: 1d12+2 13

Wild dice: wild dice: 1d6+2 7

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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...

Spoiler

You can get inside the hive with relative ease - narrate how you do so. Normal play will resume once you're inside.

 

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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.

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Fi handed Phere 30 feet of strong, light-weight cord, then followed after the big psi-stalker without bothering to use it. The much smaller woman was clearly experienced with climbing, scaling the rocky exterior deftly save for reaching for some of the hand- or foot-holds Phere had carved that were a bit of a strain for a woman of Fi's modest height.

At the entrance, Firanis crouched down as well, prepping her laser rifle, which looked just a tad oversized for her, though her seemed to handle it with intuitive familiarity. She fiddled with the device on her wrist, linking it up with her cyber-eyes and cybernetic detection array to set up a mapping app on her Pipboy.

"You been in one of these, before?" Fi breathed at the Psi-stalker.

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Squidge got her climbing kit out from that trusty old Northern Gun survival pack and hooked the clamp up to the rope Phere and Firanis had set up. She started working her way up after them. She wasn't as quick about it as the more athletic ones, but she hadn't gotten through Psi-Bat basic training with no skills whatsoever.

Even so, she was breathing a little hard when she pulled up near the top.

"You don't get full hives this far south," she said, unhooking from the rope and clearing space for whoever was coming up next. "They forage down from Old Canada, but the spread of their territory is slower. I know there was some concern...scientists were theorizing that hives made in warmer climates might be more active. More aggressive. Hard to tell though, what their native climate is like."

She brought her laser rifle up into her arms then and checked it to make sure the lights were green and the safety was off.

"Once the Queen knows we're here, I don't think any amount of telepathic jamming will keep them from coming back. We'll have to be fast."

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BB simply smashed himself handholds and footholds as he clambered up. The lack of dexterity available to cyborg hands made his ascent a slow and labored one, but eventually he got up to the top with the others. "We can be that. Fast, deadly and blow the gunk out of them before they can screech 'Intruders in the hive!'" He patted his rail gun. "Plenty of swift surprise there."

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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."

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Squidge stared, momentarily horrorstruck by the idea that this man had someone been built into the hive by the xiticix. On second glance though that didn't look right. The wall didn't seem new enough...it had marks of wear on it. Add that to the way this thing had just appeared out of nowhere...

"Who are you?" she asked. "What...do you two know each other?"

She looked at Adam, trying to suss out some recognition from him, even if his armor made such a thing sheer guesswork.

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"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.

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Behind the black, one-way glass of her helm, Phere blinked at what the trapped mage had said. This could be bad. Really, really bad. The Feds can drop hive fragments outta ley lines now? That's well beyond a weapon. That's playing with fire. And you DO NOT HELP the xiticix spread. THAT'S madness. They are a plague to be stopped, not aided in their expansion.

"Hrumph." was Phere's only response as she looked at the mage trapped in the wall, then to Adam then back to the trapped mage. Her head tilted back just slightly, as if she were sniffing at the mage, hoping to gain some more sustenance off of his residual magical energy if he had passed away.

"You know this guy? If there's anything we should know about him, you or this, now would be a good time." she said to Adam as she turned back toward the tunnel to proceed on.

"And we should be nearing the queen, or the completion of our search. Stay sharp." she added.

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On 5/14/2018 at 9:09 PM, Charlotte said:

"They should name it after me. I demand that they - that..."

"Is your name Murphy?" Fi countered sourly, making no allowances for the mangled wall-o-mancer being unconscious or dead. She gave Tamika and Adam mildly accusing looks, lumping the magic users present together in this insanity. "Cuz anything that can go wrong with weaponizing xiticix will go wrong."

Once the Federation of Magic started using this damn... damn spell on the Coalition, they wouldn't stop there, and soon enough the entire continent would have an even bigger problem. She prodded the figure embedded in the wall with the barrel of her laser rifle, then started to riffle through any pockets she could reach while ignoring any dark looks turned her way.

"Hey!" she whispered sharply. "If this asshole is the one who did this - invented er, line-hiving, or whatever - I'm just looking to see if he has anything on him on how he did this, or where, or with who, so maybe we can stop Dunscon and company from doing it again. I like traveling and I don't want to have to dodge through budding bug hives everywhere."

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"No, I think you've got the right idea," Squidge said, rubbing her temple. Prosek's hairy balls, is THIS what the Federation was reduced to? She guessed the idea was that the Coalition would be able to exterminate each hive fragment, ensuring that it wouldn't be a threat to the Federation later...but at enough of a cost that it would put the Coalition at a disadvantage.

But if even one of those hives wasn't exterminated, for whatever reason...

They really were insane.

"I guess it'd be too much to hope that he didn't teach anyone else how to do it. At least it seems like the technique is dangerous. They won't want to do it if it kills the mages casting the spell. That hopefully buys us some time."

She looked up and down the eerie, resinous passageway. "You about done there, Firanis? We need to keep moving."

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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.

Quote

OOC: You have a little time to brainstorm how you want to handle the queen, whether or not you want to blow up the hive - and if so, how you plan to - and figure out an escape route.

 

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"The safest way to do this would be some kind of timed blast," Squidge says quietly, as if their spoken words could alert the queen. The telepathic hum of her jamming was buzzing constantly in her skull...an ongoing slight distraction that she couldn't wait to be rid of. Was the amplifier device getting warmer or was it just her?

"Or remote detonation if we have what we need for it. We could set it up, then be out of the hive before she goes up."

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Fi's eyes lingered a moment on the power armor exo-frame. It might have what she needed to fix the town's mining exo-suit. More, she could scavenge components to make her own power armor suit. She glanced from the exo-frame to the Xiticit queen to the gear embedded in the walls. Behind her cyclopean helmet, she pursed her lips.

"Timed blast with a remote detonator, I can do," the pretty engineer affirmed, before pointed at the walls of the bug queen's. "But to make something explodey enough to crack this hive, unless you guys are packing a lot of extra e-clips, I'm gonna need whatever we can scavenge from the shit in the walls." The slender engineer gave a wry shrug. "Besides, there's some credits laying about in goods - would be a shame coming in here and leaving with none of it and blowing it all up."

She glanced at Tamika and Adam. "Don't know if you guys can get any... up, readings from that thing inside the queen, but I don't think it's chemical glow-stick. Any chance she suck up the juice in it to protect herself or something?"

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"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."

Quote

Notice checks will be required to see if there's anything useful within the walls that can be converted to an explosive.

 

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Phere looked around and motioned to the powersuit stuck in the wall.

"What about that? Can you make its powerplant blow?" she asked.

Phere continued to examine her surroundings, hoping for something a bit more purpose built for their needs, hoping beyond hope for a CS Fusion Block.

 

Spoiler

Notice Check:
Notice 1d10 + 1d6 Wild Die
1D10 => 1
1D6 => 3
I'll take the 3.

 

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Squidge frowned a little, working through the idea.

"I think it'd be pretty hard to make a power suit reactor into a bomb. There's gotta be something else. I guess I figured someone might have brought grenades or something..."

She searched the weird resinous walls around the queen, but nothing really jumped out at her as being especially destructive in a wide area...

Notice: 1d8 3 1d6 1

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"Reactors can make great bombs," Firanis assured Squidge as she gave the exo-frame a scrutinizing glance, "just depends how much juice they have left. But yeah, not the easiest way, either."

The shapely engineer peeked around the corner into the bug queen's chamber. Cybernetic eyes narrowed as they roved over the room, magnifying her view on the things embedded in the wall, thermal imagining filters activating. Hidden, internal radar and sonar systems enhanced her what she could perceive, readouts of what she could appearing on the edge of her field of view.

Spoiler

+2 to Notice Checks from Optics Package and +2 to Notice Checks from Expanded Detection and Security Array.

Notice: 1D8.OPEN(8)+4 = [6]+4 = 10
1D6.OPEN(6)+4 = [6, 3]+4 = 13

 

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Firanis located something that could be of use - a corroded SAMAS suit, one of the older models, that looked like it still had both mini-missiles loaded.

A little gruntwork from BB and it was torn free from the wall, and with that out of the way, setting them to detonate would be easy - and Firanis also spotted a good crevasse to stuff it into, that would rip through the queen and the hive, preserving a good chunk of their gains.

All they had to decide was how much time they wanted to give the bomb - too long, and the risk of discovery would be greater; too little and they'd never get clear going back the way they came. Of course, if they could blast their way out of the hive, that wouldn't be a problem... though it would certainly set off every bug in the hive surrounding them.

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Fi hefted the pair of mini-missiles in her hands, nodding in satisfaction. "These'll do, these'll do just fine."

A quick check to make sure they were still viable, then Fi was rigging the mini-missiles with a timer and packing them into crack in the wall, chinking them in with some detritus to focus the blast. "That should do it, guys. It should split the Queen like a wishbone and crack this hive like an egg. Mop up the remaining warriors and drones afterwards and then we can waltz in and pick up what's left."

The explosion would definitely rile up the hive, but the Psi-Stalker had proven herself a crack shot and Fi wasn't a slouch either with the laser-rifle she had cobbled together herself. With the others, they should be able to make their way out of the hive fragment before the boom. She hefted her large rifle in her arms and nodded back they way they had come.

"Oh, we should probably get moving. I set the timer for 3 minutes."

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"Three...minutes?" Squidge blurts. "I was hoping for a remote detonation or...alright, lets go. Everyone move! Back the way we came!"

She started hustling back into the hive, trying to keep the twists and turns straight as they went.

Three minutes never sounded so short!

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As the team made their way back the way they came, the hive suddenly went active again, on high alert. The group had to flatten themselves against the walls to avoid the warriors and hunters buzzing past, costing them precious seconds. For a heart-stopping moment, Squidge thought her telepathic fog had slipped, but BB picked up the reason why - and as soon as radios were turned on, the group found out why.

"... say again, this is SAMAS patrol Echo-Niner, squad actual to command. We have eyes on the area where the big flash of light came from and can confirm some d-bee thing made it through a rift. Will circle around to confirm."

The team made their way towards the exit, crawling outside the hive - the last of them all but pushed aside by a Xiticix warrior buzzing into the air. They could see a SAMAS patrol - at least a dozen strong - circling up above. The radio transmission continued. "This is Echo-Niner, we have eyes on sai tick - say ti - however you pronounce it, those damn bug things! Requesting immediate carpet bombing of this area - "

He was cut off as the improvised explosives detonated, cracking the hive in half and killing the queen instantly. Squidge and Phere could sense its death scream, that slight uptick of psychic energy before a powerful mystical being was taken out of the world.

The cloaking field had fallen short, but it didn't matter - between the team's guns and powers for those still close to the hive, and the thunder of railguns, plasma projectors and mini-missiles in the sky above, the bugs were cut to pieces. Bug viscera rained down on them as the firing finally ended, and then the group saw the SAMAS patrol circling them from above - as one of them broke off, landing not too far from them. It was a Super SAMAS pilot, encased in what detractors and sympathizers alike nicknamed "The Grinning Demon" after its distinctive skull-shaped helmet.

The pilot turned on his loudspeaker so that they could all hear - it was the same voice as from the radio. He looked them over, and spent a long time staring at Phere and Squidge, and their painted-over but still recognizable armor sets from the war. The visor then turned towards Tamika, and one of the shoulder plasma projectors moved with it, pointing at Tamika.

"Well, well," he said. "What have we here."

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"Fuck off, Dead Boy." BB snapped, letting his own hand drift to his baby railgun. Intellectually, BB knew that egging the SAMAS force on was not the best idea. Emotionally, BB disliked the Dead Boys and to be honest, Phere, Squidge, Tamika and company had helped. "We took care of the Xiticix while you were on your butts." And BB was never exactly used to restraining himself from a fight.

"Go back to Chi-Town and beat on some 'Burbans."

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Phere tilted her head back and inhaled deeply. Though her could be fully environmentally sealed, she rarely did so since it interfered with her psi-stalker senses. Right now though, despite having just had her hunger sated shortly before, she was feeding once again, soaking in the energy from the dead queen.

Blissfully 'full', at least in a psychic sense, she looked over the Grinning Demon, specifically rank and unit insignia and such, for a moment before she stepped between Tamika and the super samas, finally speaking from behind the grim, emotionless visage of her helm.

"They're no more Coalition than me an Squidge are." Phere said flatly, "The CS doesn't travel via ley line, and those are not CS markings either." she added, nodding towards the super samas.

She was calm, but far from relaxed. These were still new people, an unknown, but they had helped.

"The radio message said they were the 'Tomorrow Legion', whatever that is. Some merc outfit is my guess." she commented with a shrug.

Phere knew full well that some of the more unscrupulous mercs sometime plant a threat near a settlement, then show up and 'save' the town and after take the settlement, grateful or not, for all they have to cover their 'fee'. These guys were well-equipped though, they even had the new CS Super SAMAS, so such a petty scam would be well beneath what they could make with legitimate work. Though... the thought that they could be truly altruistic crossed her mind, based off of the radio message, but she had her doubts. 

"At least they got here in time to help mop up after we did the heavy lifting ourselves." she explained as she slipped off her helm, revealing her pale, hairless head and face, the unmistakable appearance of a psi-stalker.

"Still though, it's more than most would do, or anybody else did."

 

Spoiler


The "Grinning Demon" Super SAMAS, in case anybody wanted to know what it looked like

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