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Changeling-Earth 2: Freehold Earth - Intrepid


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The outpost hunkered close to the ground, looking like a beaten dog still attempting to bare its teeth. Rows of fences circled it, clearly designed to slow charging attackers. Massive poles held huge search lights on top of them, a sign that darkness was not tolerated here. It was completely imposing, even without the hard, stern men and women patrolling behind the fences. It was definitely a siege situation.

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Laina pushed ahead only slightly faster than was probably prudent, but she figured that if they were going to present themselves to these former shipmates then skulking about wasn't the best way to start off. So instead she headed for the gate in the first line of fences, hands held up in the universal human sign of 'I have no weapons and am trying to get shot'. Then she waited for someone to notice her and Rochelle.

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Billy moved low and quietly through the brush, keeping a watch on the two changed crew members with concern as they approached first gate. He wished he had the familiar feel of a pair of binoculars, but instead he remembered the visit of the bird in the clearing the night they ran from the market. With that in mind he looks around until he spots a circling bird off to one side over the other side of the river, tenatively he calls on the clear, long distance vision of a raptor to try to make out the events at the gate more clearly.

Click to reveal..

Stealth + Dex roll to get reasonably close to the gate while staying hidden.

(09:39:15) ChatBot: (Billy) rolls 5d10 and gets 10,1,6,9,8.

(09:39:21) ChatBot: (Billy) rolls 1d10 and gets 7.

3 sux

Also activates Beasts Keen Senses (Bird) vision

Wyrd+Wits = 5 dice

(10:04:15) ChatBot: (Billy) rolls 5d10 and gets 8,7,6,4,9

2 sux

Seeing a bird is enough to satisfy the catch and so negate Glamour cost.

Perception roll = Wits 3 + Resolve 2 + Beast Senses Bonus 2 = 7dice

(10:07:43) ChatBot: (Billy) rolls 7d10 and gets 8,8,6,2,4,10,10.

(10:07:49) ChatBot: (Billy) rolls 2d10 and gets 4,4.

4 sux

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Rochelle found herself having to gasp in because she'd momentarily forgotten to breathe as she looked at the fortifications. Her first thought was 'what have they been through?'

Then she followed that up with, 'what are they going to put us through?'

"You know," she said quietly to Laina, "I can think back and count each thing that led to me being here. Each little decision that led to the next and the next and make a path that leads right here, right now. And I don't think any of them were -bad-, you know? At the time, it always seemed like a pretty good idea."

She felt herself choking up. "But now...I'll never be what I was again. None of us will. Even if they let us in, we'll never really be human again."

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As they approached, they saw men moving behind the fence. Then Rochelle saw a small white puff of cloud near one of the men; before her mind could connect that to the discharge of a rifle, Lania was knocked back as a rifle slug took her in the shoulder.

"That's your only warning." The voice was amplified by a bullhorn. "Back off, Fae."

Click to reveal..
Guardsman's attack: 3 sux, 3 Lethal

9,1,7,10,5,5,2

8

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Laina lay still on the ground, her mind not quite connecting the pain wracking her body with being shot by a colonist. Inwardly she said 'That hurt a great deal', outwardly she whimpered something unitelligible and curled up in a fetal position trying to protect her wounded shoulder.

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Billy cursed to himself, but kept his head down. If he was spotted it would probably only make things worse for Laina and Rochelle with these trigger morons. Instead he considers what he might do to the one who shot Laina if/when they get inside...

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"Withdraw and we won't shoot you anymore. Advance, and the next shot will be a cold iron round. Your call." The voice was vaguely familiar to those who had been at the Manifest's camp; it was one of the security officers.

"Seriously, we didn't have to be nice, but you were kinda pretty, so I just winged ya," the voice came again. "But I'm not terribly tolerant, so you should take me up on my generous offer and flee."

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Click to reveal..
Stamina Roll to not be/come out of the shock of being shot
1d10=1, 1d10=2, 1d10=9
1 success

Laina managed to pull herself up to a sitting position, her bleeding shoulder and arm cradled against her. She was crying, but her expressions was quickly moving from shock and pain to royally pissed off engineer.

"'Winged me'?!" she yelled back at the trigger happy security guard; her native Ioian accent coming through thick in her anger. "You shot me in the shoulder, ya damn squeak*! This is Laina Ryder, Chief Engineer of the Manifest Destiny and where the hell do you think we're goin' to 'withdraw' to? 'Cause if you've got a spaceship tucked in your back pocket, I'm thinkin' your mates are gona hav'a a lot mor'n unpleasant words for ya. And fuck your generosity! If you'd use ya brain instead of compensatin' for what e'er tiny speck a manhood you have, you'd've seen we were standin', unarmed, waitin' to talk to someone. Who's in charge? I want to talk to someone tha' has some real authority and an I.Q. over five!"

By the end she was glaring into the lights and hoping her adrenaline would carry her though to getting some sort of medical attention. Who knew what kind of pathogens or infections this insane world had laying about?





*Squeak: noun, Io slang for people who break into the air reclamators/scrubbers on the moon to get high off the pure oxygen. Such people are usually derided for being lazy, mild drug addicts and generally a nuisance to the colony; often teens will engage in the activity on dares or to act out but eventually grow out of the habit. The term itself was coined because when violators are caught they can barely speak because of the high level of pure oxygen in their lungs; before they can speak normally again they will go through a period making high-pitched sounds.
New Webster's Dictionary, Vol.6, pg. 1047, 2296 C.E.
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"All right!" Rochelle yelled, waving her hands. "All right! We're going away! Just stop shooting!"

She hooked her arms under Laina's armpits and started trying to pull the other woman away...painfully aware that she wasn't strong enough to do so quickly, or in a way that didn't expose them both to more shooting.

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Billy wracks his brain - trying to put a name to the ignorant voice of the guard shooting Laina, but failing as Rochelle tries to drag her out of the way.

Click to reveal..

Int roll to try to remember the guard

(02:19:12) ChatBot: (Billy) rolls 3d10 and gets 5,5,4.

no Sux

Oh well, it was worth a try I guess wink

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The sound of the rifle cut through the air again, but this time it didn't hit them. Rochelle still flinched and ducked, and heard them laughing as she did so.

Billy saw someone moving out of the trees, but a better look helped him realize that it was not human, but another altered person. All Billy really saw was that he had long, twisting horns on his head.

Rochelle got a better look when he dropped into a crouch next to her, grabbing one of Laina's arms. His face was accented in scales, and the hands that grabbed her had black talons instead of nails. "C'mon," he said, his voice thick and guttural. His teeth were black, too, with sharp fangs instead of the usual omnivore mix of teeth. Without another word, he started to pull Laina back toward the trees.

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Sod it, they know more people are out here now.

With that thought Billy abandons his hiding spot and sprints over to the three changelings.

"Roach, lead the way."

He turns to other, "Sir, if you can take her upper body, I'll grab her legs and we can get undercover faster. Follow Rochelle here, we have a trained medic nearby."

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Billy tenses a bit at this, Shit how many of them are there and who, if anyone, do they work for? Is this the reason the guards are such nutters?

"Sure, you lead the way, and once we get there Roach here can head back for the rest of our group."

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After ten minutes of walking, they saw a building rigged out of scraps of metal and wood. It was a shanty house; there was no kind way of getting around that. Another couple of steps revealed another one, just a little further away, and when they all looked closer, they realized that it was a shanty town, not a shanty home. It wasn't large, perhaps a dozen buildings that they could see.

"Here, she can rest in here," their guide said, angling toward a house. Billy followed; it was that or pull on Laina's legs like some kind of toy. Inside, a ratty cot was made up against one wall, and it was on this dubious bed that Dragon-man placed her.

Meanwhile, Rochelle was looking around and starting to realize that some of the pieces-parts were from the supplies that had been set aside for the settlers. Were these creatures stealing from the settlers?

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"Who are you?" Rochelle asks as she creeps around the outside of the enclosure. "This stuff is from the Manifest Destiny. Some of it is..."

The words wobbled as she spoke, and she knew she couldn't hold back her reaction to this catastrophe forever. In her mind's eye, she felt as if she were standing on a beach, staring up at a hundred foot high tsunami as it bore down. When it arrived, it would annihilate her, and everything. It would be almost a relief.

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Laina curled up around her shoulder again, the wounds still bleeding. She was quiet, far more quiet than most people that get shot -twice- usually are unless they're already dead. She weakly tried to put pressure on the wounds to stop the bleeding but only managed to hiss out a breath in pain when she did.

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As soon as Laina was laid down Billy pulled his knife and cut away enough of her clothes to get to the wound. While he was doing that he turns briefly to Rochelle, "Go get the doc, now! We can worry about everything else later."

With the wounds exposed he tries to stop the bleeding with the supplies he carries with him, and once he has done what he can with those he turns to one of the Goblin Fruit they picked up recently that has some minor healing properties to help her.

Click to reveal..

Int 3 + Medicine 1 = 4 dice + 3 dice Willpower = 7 dice

(22:04:22) ChatBot: (Billy) rolls 7d10 and gets 2,9,4,4,10,5,5.

(22:04:28) ChatBot: (Billy) rolls 1d10 and gets 5.

2 sux wink

Not sure what the Goblin Fruit will do wink

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"I'm-" Dragon-man cut off as Billy spoke. As Tim ducked out, running for the doctor, the dragon-man knelt next to Billy, helping him out. Another stranger popped into the tent and was given terse commands by their rescuer.

When she was bandaged, he asked, "Is anyone else hurt? Does anyone need anything?"

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The bandaging helped, but it took her some effort to get upright enough to even think about eating the fruit. Before she took a bite she glanced out the front of the little hovel; her voice was rough from the pain but she had her accent (and her temper) mostly under control again.

"Hey, tall-dark-and-scaly, thanks for the rescue. You a native or one of us from the ships that got taken and changed?"

She looked at the goblin fruit dubiously while she waited for a response and took a timid bite.

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Laina nodded, and then immeadiately regretted it. She'd figured with the trigger happy guards that if any others had made it back to the colony from wherever that they might have set up shop close by while they figured out how to get the others to believe that they they were, well, them. Through gritted teeth from pain she got out, "Laina Ryder. I was the Chief Engineer for the Manifest Destiny."

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"Rochelle McKendrick," Roach answered faintly. "I'm one of the...was one of the...tech and engineering..."

She couldn't go on. The strength drained from her legs, and she covered her mouth with her hands to stifle the moan of despair that was trying to leak out instead of words.

"We can't go back...we're stuck out here..."

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Lee nodded to Laina, but when Rochelle broke down, he acted. Moving to her side, he put a taloned hand on her shoulder. Despite his claws and the size difference, his touch was exceedingly gentle. "We're working on that," he said simply. "The colony is divided on what to do; security is keeping us out, but we have supporters who bring us food and updates."

He looked troubled. "Some of the settlers believe that we're alright, but some think we're spies and infiltrators for the aliens. And I can't say I blame them. It's just not fun being on the far side of the equation."

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Laina was fighting to stay awake as the adrenaline wore off; she wasn't sure if it was okay to sleep after that much blood loss and the last thing this place needed now was a coma victim to take care of. Or to not. So she kept her mind busy with asking questions and trying to make connections.

"Lee, you have a last name? I don't remember all the crew members and colonists on the Intrepid, but I do remember at least one Lee from there." She tried grinning, which suprisingly didn't hurt. "Now, the last time I spoke to that particular Lee before the departure ceremony I do believe I told him stuff a coolant tube somewhere uncomfortable for suggesting that we put off the launch date so I could go back through and install air freshners in the air systems since 'space smells funny'."

It was nice to have a happy memory to latch onto right now; there'd been a formal meet & greet for all officers and R&D team members a few months before the Intrepid was scheduled to start off. He'd managed to keep a strait face through his entire speach on the 'odd' smell of space and how it might affect the unconcious minds of the colonists while they were in hibernation. It wasn't so much the absurdity of the joke that had gotten to her, but that she'd just about believed him before he finally broke down laughing at her expression.

She was a little hazy on if she'd gotten a reply back, or really how long ago she'd asked the question. So she just carried on. "And if you are him, then who's in charge over there?"

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"I'm not sure on the numbers who support us," Lee confessed. "Barbara is leading the group inside now, and she does, but security is still lead by Bristow, and they don't trust us at all. And people are afraid to go against Bristow's men. But there's enough support that we get supplies, building materials, food and medicine."

He looked at them gravely. "We need to change that, to get them to accept us, but I'm not sure how. If any of you have ideas to improve the situation, please, speak up."

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"Not to sound arrogant, but how about pointing out that one of Bristow's man just shot -twice- one of their best bets of getting all of our asses off this Alice-In-Horrorland planet? I sure as hell wasn't hired for my pretty face." She could feel the adrenaline ebbing and while the pain was enough to keep her awake for a little while longer, she was starting to fade and didn't want to let questions go unanswered. Something vague in her mind kept telling her that they didn't have much time, but it felt odd....like she really didn't have the best grip on what 'time' was, even though she knew that wasn't right. It didn't fit, but it seemed important.

She grimaced and shifted on the bed, "So are you Captain Black?"

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"Hmm, I wonder if I could convince any that are left of my teams. William McInness, I was the leader of the dog teams assigned to guard the farmers amongst the colonists. I was taken the first night after the Manifest crashed, as was Tim who has gone for the rest of our group."

Turning he looks Laina over and decides she needs to stay awake for a while, to be on the safe side. Putting a hand over her shoulder wound he calls on the warmth of a spring day to fill Laina with vitality, at least until the doc can get here.

Click to reveal..

Gift of Warm Breath - assume Laina passed him some food at the last break while walking to avoid the Glamour cost?

Dice pool = Resolve 2 + Survival 2 + Mantle Spring 1 = 5 dice

(00:55:21) ChatBot: (Billy) rolls 5d10 and gets 3,4,4,3,2.

1st attempt has no effect, so he carries on helping her for a few minutes before having a 2 attempt at it.

(00:55:39) ChatBot: (Billy) rolls 5d10 and gets 7,6,10,10,2.

(00:55:44) ChatBot: (Billy) rolls 2d10 and gets 2,2.

2 sux

1 Glamour cost

Laina should be filled with energy as though she has just had a full night rest and a good breakfast.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Lee nodded. "I was... once Captain Black. Now, it's just Black." Golden eyes with alien, lizard pupils stared at the wall of the enclosure for a moment; then he said, "I'll tell Barbara about you, see if something can be done about that."

He was watching Laina with concern as Billy fretted over her. "I'll ask Barbara when she comes here tomorrow," Lee told them. He paused and then added, "Or would you all like to meet her?"

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Rochelle quieted a bit when Lee came over, taking some of the offered comfort. She was silent during the conversation, pale and withdrawn until she suddenly said with conviction, "I remember Barbara. I think I remember Bristow too."

She looked up at Lee, having to cran her neck to do it. "I can talk to her...or him, maybe. Deliver messages. Make plans. All without anyone else ever seeing or knowing. Will that help?"

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Laina blinked at Bill, her eyes going wide. "That's a hell of pick me up you've got there, Will." She blinked several more times and then tried to sit up. Groaning and general pain noises followed and she let her self fall (gently) back onto the cot.

Her eyes flicked up to the former captain. "Barbara? I think I remember her. Blond woman, right? No offense, I've usually got a better chance of telling couplings apart than people most of the time. I just remembered you from the ceremony." She bit her lip, thinking. "Do you think us talking to her would help? We don't really seem to inspire hugs and bunnies right now."

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Billy grins at Laina, until she tries to move, "Whoa, there Laina, it might pick you up, but it doesn't cure anything but some fatigue. So you lay back and rest, I just didn't think you should be nodding off before the doc's had a good look at you."

He turns to Rochelle, "I guess you're thinking of using the Dream path? It might be ok with Barbara, especially if you talk to her about it first, but I don't think it would help our case with Bristow. If he is so freaked out by how we look that he would fire on Laina here I hate to think what he would do if you start to visit his dreams."

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