|A Voice From The Heavens|
The lights filled the heavens. The event went unnoticed save for six individuals. The orc, the vanara, the gnome, the nagaji, the elf, and the human all looked to the sky at the same time and were overwhelmed by the sight. Their bodies became light and soon they lost consciousness.
They came to, sometime later. Each of them was within a full body suit composed of some strange leather-like material, their heads encased in domes of glass. As they regained their senses, they noticed the sparkling metropolis that lied before them. A brilliant city that seemed to shine like gold and brass, it was immense with spires that reached into the night sky. The strange thing about the city, though, was that it seemed to sit on a surface of swirling, living fire. A voice rings in their ears.
"Keth, they're awake."
It was a gentle male voice. A small, adamantine construct flew towards them, it's singular eye a perfect sphere of fine emerald. It was an imperfect orb with small mechanical arms and small gadgets sticking out from any given spot. It looked them all over one by one before reporting in a boy's voiced, distilled by mechanization.
"There appear to be no leaks, Sir."
"Good," replied the man, his voice seemingly originating from the construct itself. "The sun can get quite hot. We wouldn't want our new friends to burn up, now would we?"
Booker Graves' eyes slowly crack open, squinting against the glare of this strange new environment. He tries to rub his head before encountering his unusual new attire. The voices don't quite register for a moment, as he glances around with a sudden feeling of incredible smugness, but slowly becomes more and more confused as he takes in his surroundings.
"You know, I never imagined it quite like THIS. Kinda figgered it'd take a mite longer to get here, too.
City looks right, but I didn't expect to end up in..what, Hell? No more'n I deserve, I guess."
He finally notices the others with him, dressed in the same strange clothes, along with the floating construct, and he remembers what he heard.
"You there, ball, you one o' them angels, or a devil or somethin'?" He gestures to the other five. "You just makin' anyone into a new god these days?"
Celia drifted into consciousness, surprised by the lack of a headache, but became incredibly stunned by the massive influx of fiery light (which was not even mentioning her initial reaction to the sights of the construct or the city itself). Booker's idea of godhood didn't help to ground the situation into reality.
"By Cayden's Holy Raided Pantry, I'm goin' to venture a guess that I ingested something more than mead last night. If I didn't know any better, I'd say I actually made it into the sky with you peeps!" she announced, trying to get her mobile bearings by wiggling her arms this way and that. The cleric went through her usual 'just-waking-out-of-a-stupor' motions and ended with touching her pointer-fingers together through the gloves. They made contact, so...
The gnome took a deep breath and tried very hard not to scream. Yes, she always searched beyond the horizon, but all of this was just so alien.
"It seems that the mystical larder is not to blame, so... this just might be real."
She addressed her new companions with this last opinion, whether or not they asked for it, before looking to Booker and the construct.
"Though I doubt, Mister, that we are gods now. Though that would be a mighty bit of divine humor, I'd think. Neither are we dead. I know this because my first-world-originated keister itches."
"Well if we ain't gods now, little lady, what in the hells are we doin' here?
He glances around at the landscape again.
"Guess Mr. Ball did mention the Sun..."
Booker begins to test his deific powers by concentrating to his utmost on the construct, attempting to cause it to burst into flame with his mind. Or change color. Or move. Or anything, really. His face soon grows very strained with the effort, before he finally decides to give up and start rummaging around, trying to find his trusty pistol
It was so comfortable. The best sleep he'd ever had. No bad dreams, no having to get up and relieve himself...Too good to be true
Boodka's nose began to itch, then when he went to scratch it, he started awake. He couldn't touch his face, and his nose was really itching. What was this strange helmet, and why was he wearing these gloves. He began to pull at the strange glass helmet about his head in a panic, when he heard the metal spider talk.
He then screamed at the metal ball as loud as he could, nearly deafening himself in the process. "Hey". "How do you scratch your nose in this thing"!
Marshall wakes up and looks around dully. "Aww, hell. I was bringin' a bounty back. I don't believe he will do the right thing and walk hisself back into town, turn himself in, and have the reward sent along to my family. No, that doesn't figure."
He reaches into a pouch and draws forth a wooden pipe...which bumps the visor uselessly. "Son of a drunken split copper whore! Look, you little round bastid if you don't figure out some way for me to have this here pipe I will lay waste to everything I see for days, I will be so full'a hate."
"Okay, it should be noted that I've known some very nice sons of drunken split copper whores, and our clothes seem to be a hot topic. However, I believe our host's name is Keth, if my addled skull heard right."
The gnome was becoming acclimated to this new situation relatively quickly, a crooked smile crossing her face.
"I don't care what his name is, I..."
Marshall's mouth drops open as he finally gathers himself enough to realize what's around him. He turns in a slow circle surveying everything before turning back to the sphere.
"Alright. Let's move that pipe consideration slightly lower on the list of priorities. Maybe you could just tell us where we are? 'Cause I have a notion that this is most assuredly not Andoren."
The construct continued hovering in place, it's eye darting around at the denizens before it.
"You are currently on the surface of the sun, central star of the Cyndaris system." Keth's voice was very much a robotic version of a small child's. "Henceforth referred to as Solis, this star is one hundred fold the size of your home planet, Golarion, and almost three hundred thousand times its mass. Did you want to know more?"
"That would seem patently obvious."
The Elfmaid's voice is flat and cold; there is no scorn to it, no anger or despair.
"The sun is a ball of fire bright and hot enough to illuminate and heat Golarion, and this construct informs us it is one hundred times the size of that world. Logic dictates that if we remove these suits, we shall die. Abruptly. Which, I might add, seems preferable to the more standard ways of being combusted."
Valai casts her unreadable gaze upon all those gathered. "A motley collection of individuals, all from different species, collected in an environment from which there is no readily available egress. Moreover, the intrinsic nature of that environment forces us to rely on the benevolence of those who seem to have brought us here. Are we to be zoo specimens? Laboratory subjects? Trade goods? Pets?"
By the way, has Valai's goat familiar been stuffed into a suit as well? ;)
"Maybe...maybe THEY needed some new gods?" Booker is just grasping at straws at this point, trying to reconcile this strange turn of events with his fantasies, but even he doesn't really believe it anymore.
"How d'we get over to that there city, Mr. Ball? I do fancy this little one's idea of findin' us a drink. He begins trying to doggy paddle towards the gleaming city.
"Divine ascension seems unlikely," Valai says, "regardless the unquestionably fine architecture. I was performing at a farmer humans' brood's birthday party, not taking the test of the Starstone."
Valai looks Booker in the eye for the first time. Her face remains impassive, but just for a moment, her eyes smolder with anger. "I can not imagine a monkey god being in much demand, so that seems to scuttle your divine aspirations."
Hey, no real-life anger, here. This is just Valai's charming IC personality shining through.
|The Mysterious Man|
"Uhh, Keth, actually let me take over from here." The man's voice from earlier came from Keth itself. "Transmit, please."
Keth's eye brightened from green to an almost golden yellow for a moment. A man's face came into view within his eye. He was an older elf, wrinkles well set around his mouth and eyes, very evident of decades of smiles and laughter.
"Okay, hello? Can you all see me now?" he called out.
Yes, the goat is here too.
Entaro wakes up slowly, to the sound of conversation. He keeps his eyes closed, hoping no one notices that his breathing is no longer regular and listens intently. Sounds like an assortment of people are here, and no one knows what is going on. We are in a suit? Entaro very slightly moves one of his fingers and feels the glove over it. It appears so. Perhaps I should get up.
The Nagaji opens his eyes and sits up while looking around at the others. He is surprised to find a rather odd assortment of people. There's a human, though he doesn't look like the Tien humans Entaro is used to. He recognizes one to be a gnome, as he's seen a few of those before, as well as the Vanari. Is that an elf? And what is that?! Entaro has never seen an orc before, but he has a suspicion from the stories he has heard.
Entaro's first thought about what is going on is not a pleasant one. Were they captives? He had dealt with far too many prisoners to be happy about this. Best to play along and not make our captors unhappy.
"Yes, I can see you." Entaro's voice is very breathing, as if he is exhaling while talking, and he seems to drag out the "s" sound a little longer than normal folks would, both due to his Nagaji accent.
|The Mysterious Man|
"Yes? Splendid! Ha ha, great!" His voice came accross as very eccentric. "Now that you're all awake, let me just explain a few things before any more questions are posed. First and foremost, you're not ascended, dead, or anything else but simply mortal, well and alive. You best keep that suit on if you'd like to keep it that way. While on that subject, I'm sure you'd like to know what that suit is. It is a modified pressure suit that not only protects you from the elements, but also has a limitless air supply, counters the effect of high gravity, feeds you, and also contains dimensional pockets for all your odds and ends. It is quite the marvel. I'm quite proud of it, really.
He brought his hand next to his face, two fingers raised.
"Number two! Try to be nice to Keth. He's still new to this, so some of your questions just confuse him. He's more of a book than a teacher. Ask general knowledge. Instead of asking, 'What's the best place to get a drink in that city up ahead?' Say things like, 'Say, Keth, that sure is a neat city. What's the name of it and how many people live there?'"
Keth's eye returned to green for a moment. "Locale: the Burning Archipelago. Population: five hundred fifty-two thousand, three hundred and seven." The man came back into view.
"Very good, Keth! He's a keeper! Anyway, let's move on. Point C! The nose issue is easily resolved. You can pull your arm into the suit and reach up to your face for any scratching necessities. And lastly, a monkey god is just as important as that drunk freedom fighter god. You just need to ask the right people. Obviously, you've never been to the far east. Our scaly friend here probably knows about him."
He looked around at the others excitedly. "Well, I think that's everything. Any questions?"
Congratulations on the purchase of your new runic pressure suit! This suit uses the finest runed glass and magical Uma skin to protect you from the harsh environs you may find while space faring. This suit will completely protect you from temperature extremes and the pressure dangers of the vacuum of space along with the atmospheres of any planets you may visit. Not only that, but this suit also contains an unlimited air supply due to some helpful modification via a bottle of air. Also, there's no need to worry about eating when the suit itself keeps you sustained via the use of nanite Aballonian aides. These nanites repairs small holes in the suit that may come about your standard wear and tear. Oops! Did you get a big hole in the suit? No worries! Just wait a day and these nanites will have you patched up quick. Even better is the fact that any high gravity effects will be completely negated by the suits magical effects, specifically matched to the gravity of your home planet of GOLARION. Along your travels, you're sure to pick up a variety of souvenirs. The suit can even help with that! The outer pockets are almost limitless holds for any trinkets you may find. That will come in handy! Enjoy your suit and make sure your time in space is a great one. See you later, space cowboy!
This magical full-body suit completely protects the wearer from temperature extremes (as if by endure elements) and pressure dangers of hard vacuum and all worlds in the system (save the sun). It carries a limitless supply of air. However, if the suit’s seal is broken—such as the helmet being removed—all the air escapes in 2d6 rounds and must be recharged in breathable atmosphere (such as that inside a ship). A suit with a broken seal confers only the benefits of endure elements. The suit automatically repairs small holes, but if it is struck by a critical hit from a piercing or slashing weapon, the wearer of the pressure suit must succeed at a Reflex save (DC equal to the opponent’s confirmation roll) or the seal breaks. A suit with a broken seal can be repaired with a DC 18 Craft (armor) check or a make whole spell. Otherwise, the suit repairs itself after 2d10 hours. The suit provides all sustenence neccesary, negating the need for food or water. While the suit allows for normal movement in high gravities, it does not compensate for changes in low gravity. The two outer pockets are extradimensional and function as portable holes. Since it takes up both the body and helm slots, armor can be worn over a pressure suit, but robes and helms cannot.
"Well, huh." Booker seems a bit disappointed, but that quickly passes.
"I guess the burning question for me would be 'Why?' too. And who all's livin' in that city there?"
He looks over to Valai, gives her a wide grin and a wink. "And missy, I can teach you all about why the monkey king's right for you if you give me half a chance."
No worries, all in good fun.
"I am more concerned with why I am here - or any of us, I suppose," Valai says, responding to Booker's flirting with nothing but a dismissive gesture.
Eyes narrowing, Valai addresses the Mystery Elf in the Elven language:
"I'm Celia Deschmertz, and the pleasure is mine."
The gnome wafted over and patted Valai on the back, trying to disengage her from what Celia interpreted as a foul mood.
"Whatever happens at least we're in it together. Right?"
Boodka struggles a bit trying to get to his nose itch, kind of tumbling and turning around, but finally gets his hand in close to his nose only to discover that it doesn't itch anymore. He goes ahead and scratches it anyway. He then turns to look at the others conversing.
"Hi my name's Boodka". "Why are you all upside down"?
"Hey the metal spider thingy is upside down too". "So how do we get around in these things"? "I'd like to go see that city".
|The Mysterious Man|
"Oh, yes, well, I suppose I should get to that. Right. I've gathered you all here because you are meant to be great stars. You are to be part of a show! The reason you are on the sun is, well, just because, I guess. I thought it would be a fun place and I've always wanted to see it. It is quite the sight, isn't it?"
You are on some nondescript stone platform overlooking the city.
The Elfmaid looks down at Celia for a moment, and then heaves a sigh.
"Valai," she introduces herself.
Her eyes narrow again at the Mystery Elf's words. "And who selected us for this singular... 'honour'?"
|The Mysterious Man|
"The perfomance of a lifetime, actually! You six, it seems, were chosen by fate itself to do this performance. However, before you get to that, I figured we could have a little fun. Keth show them the star chart."
Keth's eye changed to an image showing the entire known solar system. The man's voice continued.
"You are currently on the sun, here on the left. Pretty hard to miss, I'd say. Now, me? I'm here all the way on the end, sitting comfy and cozy on Aucturn. From what I know, the performance to end all performances happens on Aucturn. I figured, while you're here, we can have a little trip through the stars before the show gets going. Keth, how much energy do you have for teleportation?"
"Reserves contain enough for eight standard, four greater, or one interplanetary teleport."
"Aha, yes! You hear that? One more interplanetary teleport! So my thinking is this: the seven of you, you six and Keth, will teleport to the nearest planet. Then, it's up to you to find a way to get here where I am. It sounds like a very splendid time if you ask me."
|The Mysterious Man|
The man sighed as his face came back into Keth's eye. "Well, the thing is, Keth will be teleporting whether you want to join him or not. The suits you are wearing are attuned to his teleportation functions, so they will go with him, too. The question is do you want to be in the suits when they go or would you rather get out of them now and burn?"
|The Mysterious Man|
"When will your construct pet teleport?" Valai asks, her voice neutral and unperturbed. Her eyes, however, are almost literally aflame with fury. "How much time do we have before we are removed from the sun?"
|The Mysterious Man|
"I will admit to some curiosity," Valai says. She raises her voice and addresses Keth directly: "Construct, answer my questions. Are the inhabitants of the city in front of us negatively disposed towards life-forms of our kind? Is it possible for us to enter the city without negative results in our current condition and with our current equipment?"
"As for you, my fine 'host': Is there a time limit? Should we come to visit you before a certain date and hour, or may we take our leisurely time?"
"Citizens are of varied race and species, including those found on Golarion. A negative disposition seems unlikely. Visitation to the city is harmful from the current location. Doing so would require traversal accross the surface of Solaris, outside the safety of this elemental barrier."
"Keth, before you continue," the man interjected, "let me answer her question. No time limit or time frame. I say just get here within your lifetimes. Wouldn't want to miss the show. Keth, do you have the coordinates set?"
"Yes, coordinates remain as requested."
"Splendid! Well, you seven have fun. I'm going to start cleaning up for your visit. Don't worry, I'll check in occasionally. Keth, I leave things to you."
"Understood," Keth replied.
"It looks like we'll all be travel companions for some time now. I suppose we should get to know each other. I am an interrogator for the Nagaji, specializing in counter-terrorism." He looks at the rest, expecting them to tell a little more about themselves. Then he turns to Keth.
"Keth, what can you tell us of the nearest planet?" Entaro has been relatively quiet while the others have asked there questions. But as it seems they are being forced to participate in this "game," he might as well get as much information as possible. Plus, it would be good to know if the construct can parse out his strange way of speaking. His accent places heavy emphasis on the "s" sound and his voice is extremely breathy, as if forcing out air while speaking. Many who are not Nagaji have difficulty understanding what he says.
"Well," Valai says, as she crosses her arms. "I take it there is no safe egress from this platform. Personally, I do not have any contacts in this fine city, so I would not know how to call assistance hence to spirit us away to safety. As we all seem to have appeared here from Golarion, I shall assume none of you have means of bringing us to the city, either.
The logical conclusion is that we have a choice between making our way towards our mysterious 'host' and death in a place where not even our bones will be found."
Valai utters an annoyed sigh. "Very well, then. The only recourse available to us seems to be that we comply. I wish to be teleported to the next planet. May I at least hope that we are to be transported to a reasonably safe location?"
To Entaro, she says: "I am a wizard. I earn my pay by providing entertaining illusions to the unenlightened, and study when I can."