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Everything posted by Charlotte

  1. I might be interested in this! Can you tell us all a bit more about the campaign?
  2. Well, the thing I was worried about has come to pass; my full-time studies are actually more than full time, with them demanding a lot of extracurricular work per course. Combine this with me trying to get a writing pitch together, and something has to give. So much as I'm sad to do it, I think this game has to go on hold, for at least the next eight months if not longer. Since that's a long hiatus, if anyone wants to treat it as deceased, I wouldn't blame you one bit. Thanks to everyone for your interest!
  3. "Long story," said Eugene, nodding to each in turn - as much as he could, given the restrictive nature of the suit. "You mentioned needing an exoframe. How about we head into the town that we got the distress call from, and we can tell you all about ourselves - and perhaps figure out what we can do for each other." After pausing for a while to ensure that the xiticix weren't about to swarm back for a counteroffensive, and ensuring that anything volatile in the stash of gear that was embedded in the hive's walls was properly handled, the group headed back to town. Tamika and Glitter Girl hugged, both happy to be alive; Adam and his charge made themselves scarce, muttering something about needing to move on. Simon limped out to meet the group, eyebrow raised at the new additions, but not getting ready to draw down just yet - especially with a Glitter Boy in tow. Eugene declined to disembark from the Glitter Boy, but the others were quite happy to indulge in the booze that Grep helpfully brought out into the street. Ianoko and Xelphina exchanged a look of mutual empathy; the Beef Warrior went into the slightly fuzzy torpor that was common for a juicer on downtime; the ley line walker just drank to get their strength back. The dog soldier Dawn pulled off her helmet and put on a bright purple wig that clipped into place from some kind of subdermal attachment system in her skull; off any odd glances, she just said she liked to look pretty. Eugene began, once everyone was settled. "In war, there are the winners, there are the losers, and then, there are the survivors. The Tomorrow Legion is the third category. "We are people who've taken a look at the way that the winds are blowing in North America, and we don't like what we see, and we've decided to do something about it. Our leadership includes Lord Coake of the cyber-knights - " Eugene nodded towards Dawn. "As well as the scholar Erin Tarn, and many of the political leaders of more thoughtful, progressive communities, such as Lazlo. We've taken a look at the war between Tolkeen and the Coalition, and the other war brewing between the Federation and the Coalition, and we're endeavoring to help anyone potentially caught in the crossfire - and perhaps, head off the fight altogether. "Our members come from all walks of life - magicians, psionicists, pilots, soldiers, scholars, humans, mutants, d-bees and dragons. Our credo is that there's a better way to live than the fascism and bigotry of the Coalition's imperialism, or the blood sacrifices and horrors of the Federation's manatocracy. And seeing as how you are situated very close to both of these great powers, if a war does come you'll be in the thick of it. I'm sure you'd like to have some protectors - " Eugene waved towards Phere, Squidge, Fi and BB. "And they in turn would like some institutional and logistical support. We, in turn, would like a presence in the region as well. "If you're interested, we can talk more. Our chief condition is that we need to be tolerant of other's differences, as long as those differences don't involve intolerance in and of themselves, and attempt to understand how the world impacts us all differently, and how best to form a solidarity that protects us all and allows us to live with dignity in this world." "Or as an ol' pre-cataclysm show would say: infinite diversity in infinite combinations." Dawn smiled, and held up a furry hand in a difficult-looking hand gesture. Eugene looked a little embarrassed, but didn't dispute the statement.
  4. The SAMAS squadron was quiet for long, tense moments - with the reinforcements, the battle was looking far less one-sided, though still not a sure thing. Finally, the SAMAS commander spoke. "Don't let us see you again, or we might forget to forget you were here." The warning delivers, the squadron turned its jets upwards, and took off, returning to whatever forward operating base they came from. The others approached, they ley line walker still looking drained, supported by the d'norr and the juicer. The pilot of the glitter boy paused, not too far from the group, and a fuzzy holo-projection of his face appeared in front of him. He was what they used to call African-American, with the interface HUD covering the upper half of his face, even in hologram. The dog boy walked forward, and now the group could see that she was really a dog girl - with some kind of unusual psychic signature that tickled Phere's senses. The dog girl and Phere locked eyes, and there was no doubt in both Phere's mind and Squidge's that she was ex-Coalition as well. As for the Glitter Boy itself, it was unquestionably pre-Cataclysm technology, and barring a few nicks and scratches it still shone with all the colors of a rainbow. "You have us pegged, ma'am," said the holographic projection of the glitter boy pilot. "We're with the Tomorrow Legion. It looks like you took care of the hive for us, though, so we're at a bit of a loss..." "Could give 'em the pitch," said the dog girl. "Hmmm." The pilot thought it over, then nodded. "How about we introduce ourselves. I'm Eugene, this young fuzzy lady is Dawn, and to your right is Xelphina, Nystri The Magnificent, and the Beef Warrior." He pointed to the d'norr, the mage, and the juicer in turn. "We're essentially a response team, helping out places that need protection from nightmarish forces both human and inhuman, which is why we responded to your general distress call. Now, would you like to tell us a little bit about yourselves...?"
  5. Things are okay. I just have an informal rule of "wait for half or more of the players to post before progressing the game." But since it's been brought up: do folks want me to continue? Bearing in mind I am heading into full-time school in the fall, so if I have to cut back on any games, I'd as soon as cut back on the ones not seeing much activity.
  6. The pilot of the Super SAMAS was almost visibly disgusted as Phere moved in front of Tamika. "You really want to die for a fuckin' d-bee, deserter?" From the tone of his voice, all doubts as to whether or not the pilot was Coalition - or at least a strong sympathizer - evaporated. "I dunno, squad. Hive doesn't look fully destroyed to me. I figure we ought to call in a death's head, carpet bomb the area with plasma bombs. If that town over there gets destroyed, well, shit happens - " The SAMAS was cut off as a sonic boom washed out over the field - literally washed over it, the crops swaying from the noise. All of the SAMAS immediately turned in the direction it came from - which was towards the ley line. Half a mile away, glinting in the sun, the group could make out the telltale visual profile of a glitter boy, racking its boom gun with one hand while its other was holding a more conventional heavy rifle. The SAMAS were all uninjured - either the pilot had missed, or wasn't aiming at anything. Its gun racked, it began to advance. The group could make out others advancing with it as well - some kind of d-bee with horns similar to Ianoko's, a human spellcaster in telltale ley line walker armor, what looked like a juicer, and what looked like a Coalition dog soldier. The d-bee and the juicer were supporting the ley line walker, who looked ready to collapse in exhaustion, but they all looked ready for a fight. The Glitter Boy pilot went on loudspeaker - his voice was deep and self-assured. "Sorry. My finger slipped. I agree with that woman's advice, and I suggest our friendly neighborhood SAMAS squadron take it."
  7. 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."
  8. 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.
  9. "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."
  10. 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.
  11. "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.
  12. 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."
  13. 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...
  14. 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...?"
  15. So I looked up the rules on upgrading the ship and it turns out that ship upgrades are on a different economy than our personal pay. However, an emergency share of loot is still probably a good idea. That brings me to my question: what're the stats for our ship, and do we get to upgrade anything now that we're level five?
  16. "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."
  17. Telepathy would do in a pinch; it might be at a penalty. Also, for clarity's sake: if someone wants to take point on a means of obfuscation - Squidge with psionics, to use the above example - Tamika will step back and use techno-wizardry in an assistance capacity.
  18. Phere's expert marksmanship with the rifle, incredibly, landed all four shots on the remaining Xiticix, overpowering their armor and sending them spiraling into the ground. The field was dead quiet for a long moment, the bulk of the hive still about 90 feet out and with no signs of further warriors. Tamika poked her head out of the field, and whistled. "Hell's bells, when you want to fight you don't fuck around, do you." The group was, apparently, free to approach the displaced hive... assuming all the xiticix they'd just fought were all the xiticix there were. This far out, it was tough to tell.
  19. The fleeing xiticix hunter made a sound like a bug getting splatted as BB's pistol cored a hole through it. It went into a tailspin and faceplanted in the middle of the field. Inside the ATV, Tamika was twiddling with a small radio that was studded with crystals and bits of copper wiring. After a long moment, she held it up in triumph. "There we go!" Phere could sense the magic on it, as Tamika extruded some wires from it. "It uses mystical frequencies to cycle through alternate reality layers to find the one where your weapon's at its most idealized form of itself to - " She paused, and began again. "Stick this to a gun to make it shoot better." She held it out to Phere, offering to juice up a weapon. Then she paused, and wrinkled her nose. She looked at Watt, the small furry critter pawing at its nose as if smelling something sharp. "Aw, frig. Okay, that's the pheromone spray that Squidge mentioned. I guess they make that smell when they died, too. The hive's gonna get angry..."
  20. The gathered townspeople reacted in shock as Kensie took her true form. Simon stammered out a few words. "Re-remember what I - " Grep grabbed Simon's shoulder, their burly arm's weight stopping Simon cold. "If she wants to burn down the entire field, what exactly do you plan on doing to stop her? I move we activate the emergency broadcast." Simon fell silent, and the group departed. Those without means of locomotion piles into the Red Rover, with Kinsie flying overhead, her shadow cast over the field. In the distance, the xiticix buzzed over the hive. Transmitted via text, the group could see on the Rambler's communications apparatus, the town's call for help. MAYDAY XITICIX SIGHTING AT PRINCE'S LANDING STATUS OF QUEEN: UNKNOWN REQUEST IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE FROM ANYONE IN RANGE A SEVEN-STRONG LOCAL ATTACK TEAM HAS BEEN ASSEMBLED - DO NOT FIRE UPON THEM Nothing else came from the several tense minutes that followed. At just over a hundred meters out, the defense team of the makeshift hive took to the air, making clicking noises with their alien language. There were a pair of warriors and three hunters, distinguished by the hues of their chitin. Not overwhelming numbers, but if there were reinforcements inside the hive, that could change in a hurry. Just before contact, however, something unexpected happened: a response to the distress signal came through. AN EMERGENCY RELIEF TEAM HAS BEEN RETASKED. THEY WILL ARRIVE VIA LEY LINE TRANSPORT ONCE IN POSITION. HOLD THEM OFF AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. HAVE HOPE. WE'RE COMING TO HELP YOU. The signal was signed "The Tomorrow Legion." No one had heard of it. And no one had time to ponder it, before the Xiticix hunters sighted and opened fire with purple bolts of force from some kind of techno-wizard rifles.
  21. "If you're putting together a posse, hang on - I'll go get my kit." Tamika then ran into the flophouse. As the group prepared to depart, a few of the elders in the town - the foreman William Marks, the old soldier Simon, and the bartender Grep - conferred. After a moment, Simon hobbled over to the group. "We're going to activate a general distress beacon, and then we're going to prepare the residents of the town for evacuation. We hopefully won't have to, but..." He frowned. "If they spread over that field - or if the field needs to be burnt down to stop them - that's our crop for the year destroyed, and the town might as well not exist anymore between that and the problems in the mine. Preparing sooner is better, in case you... well, hopefully it won't come to that. Be as careful with the crops as you can, but no matter what, those things cannot let a queen start breeding. Good hunting." Tamika emerged from the flophouse in scuffed up armor, a leather jacket and a scarf, with a holstered pistol with a flared barrel and resting a shotgun on her shoulder - she also had some kind of device attached to her forearm. Despite herself, she smiled as she fixed her goggles into place. "Ha, suck it, wizard. Once we've blown these things to hell, you're next." Tamika hopped in the back of the Rambler. "Ready when you all are."
  22. Firanis and BB's quick synchronization of the PIP-Boy and BB's internal clock with the computer system aboard the Rambler confirmed that the displacement had been more or less real-time - that they'd been gone for several minutes and that was the amount of time they'd spent wherever they'd gone. Upon seeing that the others were okay, Simon lowered the pistol, visibly relieved. He nodded to Kensie and Adam. "Sorry about that. I see a couple of travelers around here disappear, and after what happened to Ianoko - " "That wasn't us," said Sy, defensively. "Sure it wasn't. And I wasn't talking to you. But glad to see all is well." He shouted at the bar. "They're out here! We found them." Patrons of the bar came out into the street - including Ianoko, who was relieved to see Squidge and Phere okay, and Glitter Girl, who ran straight at Tamika nearly bowling her over with an embrace. Phere's sniff of the air did pick up a trace of something supernatural that wasn't there before, though it was hard to pin down. It smelt a bit like sour milk. As Tamika gently disengaged from Glitter Girl's hug, GeeGee spoke up. "Hey, I checked in your room, and there was this thing going beep-beep in your backpack. I thought it all didn't work any more?" "I thought it - wait, the thing that goes beep-beep? Not the thing that goes ping or the one that makes the clicking sound?" "Yeah. Why?" Tamika swallowed. "It measures - " Tamika was cut off by the sound of a dull thump in the distance, that caused the ground to shake with the impact. From atop the town's walls, a sentry shouted - a d-bee woman with pink skin. "Contact! We've got contact! Mark seven by two!" "She means ten o'clock," said Simon, hobbling towards the sentry tower. "Her people tell time differently. What is it?" "Getting the seefar - sorry, the binoculars now - " The gate was open, and not far from main street; those with the inclination could make it to the gate to see what it was easily. From a distance, it looked like something had fallen out of the sky and landed in the middle of the field of barley. It looked like a giant chunk of purple colored amber. Those with binoculars or optical magnification systems could zoom in and see a disturbing extra detail - the amber, in fact, looked like a broken-off chunk of giant honeycomb, and already scuttling across its surface were insectoid forms - some of which were taking to the air. They didn't seem to be moving towards the town, but once they were in focus, it was apparent what they were. "It came out of the sky," said the sentry, nervously. "Judging by the angle, it - I think it came from the - " "The ley line," finished Tamika, also nervously. "The device that goes beep-beep measures ley line anomalies." The sentry, to her credit, continued to report. "I think it's a chunk of a hive, ripped here from somewhere else. They look like the worldsweepers. Ah, sorry, the - " "The Xiticix," finished Simon, grimly.
  23. The guide turned to Adam. "Well, purposewise, you got me. If I had to guess it'd be that a rift event happened in your timeline and it caused the equivalent of a Fade Effect - hold on, translation says you know them as fade towns, places that flicker between different strata of reality. Why you specifically and no one else is right up there with 'why this town and no other.' Basically, keep an eye out for anything weird when you get back." She shrugged at Kinsie. "Whether you want to go back or not - and I 100% get wanting to stay - the stabilization matrix is gonna send you anyways. It keeps out a lot of random rift events including any that might, say, open to the surface of the sun and scour all life on Earth - that hasn't happened," she added quickly. "Strictly theoretical, like noetic stringlets." With BB, she made an equivocating face. "Well, it's no secret that in your time they're not on the best of terms. But I can't say more than that. I will say, though... they're not the only threats out there. Keep your optics open. There's a number of ancient prophecies out there that the Coalition and the Federation don't play into. They don't all play out the way you might think." With Squidge, she had a reassuring smile. "Oh, I'm reasonably sure you're either destined to go back on your own, or - if you don't - then you're destined to stay here, since time isn't collapsing all around us. Is it? Hang on." She tapped the side of her head, then nodded. "No, time's not collapsing all around us. We're good." With Firanis, she had a disappointed face. "I can't really give you a number. More than a little and less than a lot? It's been a while, since I need a translation spell and all. But I can't be more detailed than that." To Phere, she beamed. "Oh hey! A fellow Sensitive - ah, that's what we call ourselves now. Sure, hold on." She broke off a piece of fruit bar and gave it to Phere. When Phere tasted it, it was sweet and ripe, and reminded her of the sensation of her knife burying itself into a sorcerer. In the back, Tamika spoke up. "I have a question. The gene splicers, the ones doing their experiments all over Europe. What happened to them?" At that, the guide's eyebrows lifted. "Wow, that's... actually a little outside my area of expertise. Well, I couldn't tell you that much about their history, but they're - oh, wait - " The sensation everyone had felt a few minutes ago repeated itself, and suddenly they were back in Prince's Landing, in the middle of the main road, once again unpaved. Everything was back to more or less the way it was before - with the exception of Simon, who was holding an ion pistol of Northern Gun manufacture to Sy's face. Simon was leaning to one side, his prosthetic leg not quite matching his other leg and pulling him to the side, but he still looked ready to shoot. The young man was getting steamed, as was Simon; Trep was clearly trying to defused the situation. "I'll repeat myself," said Simon, all gruff friendliness gone from his face. "I turn my back for a second and those two are gone. What did you have to do with it, skullfucker?" "Call me that one more time, old man. One more time - " Not far away, inside Firanis' red-painted vehicle, a small animal could be heard, making a noise like "fnurf."
  24. "Well, I've no idea what the rest of you want but I'm as curious as a - I'm curious." Tamika made her way outside. The uniformed woman bristled at being called a psi-stalker, but kept it to herself until everyone was assembled. She ate a bit of the fruit bar, which was a deep pink in color - and Phere could sense a small amount of magic radiating from it. The label on the wrapper read "PPE Bar." It was "noonberry flavor," whatever that meant. "Wow," she said, upon seeing the group assembled before her. Then she nodded. "Okay. Wow. All right. Okay, here is the bad news, good news, bad news and good news, in that order. "So the bad news is you have been displaced in time to a future era that you're 100% not going to understand, and you're in a museum dedicated to Prince's Landing and various other historical events I can't tell you the nature of. I help maintain the place because I care a lot about history. This is the closest you're going to get to a place that you'll recognize. If you go outside these walls you'll get future shock and probably an anxiety disorder and that's bad. Sorry." She shrugged, her mouth an askew 'what're you gonna do' frown. "Now, the good news is that unlike temporal and spatial displacements from before the stabilization of the mana fields of Earth, this is a temporary displacement - anything displaced to this era that isn't through stabilized rifts gets detected and sent back to where and when they came from. You might have sensed the stabilization matrix in the air itself. Usually it acts like - hold on, I'm consulting an appropriate period-specific metaphor..." She rubbed her temple, then nodded. "Like a condom that stops sperm - that's you - from getting into a birth canal - that's this era. The rift event that sent you here must have been something else if it broke the metaphorical condom, even for a minute." She nodded, proud of having explained things capably. "Now, the bad news again is, well: you're getting sent back to your era. I've studied that era, and, well, you have my sympathies. I can't keep you here because it would really mess up the timestream, and that's not good. And I can't tell you much about what's going to happen next in your era for the same reason. But if I'm right about where you're from, I imagine it feels like nothing's ever gonna be good ever again. "But the good news is, this era's just as real as your era, and things are gonna be good again. Better than ever before, really, in a lot of ways. People are more inclusive and tolerant; we've mastered magic and technology in ways that let us live in harmony with the world; we still have our problems but I think we're gonna be okay. Like, I pass out at the sight of blood, so in your era I'd have starved to death with no PPE or ISP to feed on, but someone invented a new type of fruit that stores a small mount of PPE - " She pointed to the fruit bar she was eating. "And now I get to be alive and help curate a museum and research history! If I wasn't here you'd be talking to someone else who might not know about history, so hooray for progress." She gave the group a double thumbs up. "So listen, the stabilization matrix is gonna send you back any second now. You might wanna stick out here so there's less chance of you displacing someone when you get back. So if you have any questions, well: you can ask! If it's gonna mess up the timestream I probably won't be able to answer, but you can give it a shot."
  25. Outside the bar, the woman in the uniform stepped closer, and now BB and Firanis could see that she was a psi-stalker - though a far less feral-looking one than most. She was holding up her hands disarmingly. She cocked an eyebrow at BB's antics, then both of her brows shot up upon hearing Firanis mention a Red Rambler. "The Red - oh, wow. Okay, hold on, I'm going to touch the side of my head again, okay? I'm not going to hurt you at all." She then slowly tapped her head again, listening to a voice only she could hear, her eyes unfocused. Then she nodded, tugged at her collar nervously, and started to speak, her voice raised. Inside the bar, Tamika arched one fuzzy eyebrow at Adam. "So, let me get this straight. You think that the curse that was put on me was designed to undo itself? Bloody hell, I wish it were that simple. And if the Federation's mastered time travel then we're all buggered six ways to - we're all in bad shape." Tamika's accent slipped out of the common medley of accents that was common in this part of North America, but she caught herself in time. "No, I just got pulled along with the rest of you cheery folks - " She was interrupted by a voice from outside. "Ah, excuse me? Hi! I know there's at least five of you in there. Listen, I can guarantee if you come out here you won't be harmed. You're probably wondering what's going on, and I can tell you this much: you're completely safe. I have bad news, good news, bad news and then more good news, in that order. If you come out here I'll share it with you all." The message delivered, she turned to BB and Firanis, looking a little flushed. "Whew! Now, I'm going to reach into my pocket and I'm not pulling out a weapon of any kind, all right? I, uh, I have a fruit bar." Off their askance looks, she shrugged. "I'm hungry."
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