"Ahhhhhh! Yes zap it!!" Leila insists again as she sails trough the air. As she crashes into the floor she quickly added "Not me!"
Oww! She tried to not think about whom all that blood really belonged to. And what those sharp teeth were doing to her spacesuit... On the bright side that weird monster wasn't really getting a better deal!
The halfling was determined to make the situation even worse for the critter though! Scampering just out of range she levelled her gun towards it again, praying for another hit.
shoot: 1d20 + 4 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 4 + 1 = 24
damage?: 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
"It is worth a try." Prospero-4 agrees to Astrianna's suggestion. "Leila's shooting seems to have a great effect. At least in infuriating the beast." The android drops his laser rifle, and grabs the offered emitter gun. The weapon is not truly familiar to him, but luckily it is quite intuitive to use. He confirms the stun mode is disabled, and takes aim at the beast.
Prospero-4's exocortex calculates and paints the projected blast radius in his field of vision, allowing the android to confirm the halfling is safe from friendly fire. The weapons' electronic targeting system lights up promisingly, and a microsecond later Prospero-4 pulls the trigger. A blue arc strikes out from the weapons muzzle, hitting the beast square in the maw.
Tactical arc emitter, get'em: 1d20 + 6 + 1 ⇒ (20) + 6 + 1 = 27
damage: 1d4 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
zomg, crit!: 1d4 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5 Darn, no special crit effect
I hope move action is enough to take the weapon Astrianna is holding?
1d20 ⇒ 3
3d6 ⇒ (5, 3, 4) = 12
1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 12
The Arc emitter is a crowd control weapon blast weapon that hits everything in a 15 foot cone, it also means you roll at a -2! It's also unwieldy so you can't use it to full attack. Just a few things to keep in mind. Nice roll!
The monster screams in your heads as it's shot from both sides by electrical blasts. Its flesh seems to sear and sizzle as brilliant blue sparks leap all around it digging into it from every direction. It takes flight, flapping its stretched skin wings to gain altitude. It focuses on the android that had generated the electrical field that had caused it the most damage.
FEED ME! it screeches telepathically and Prospero-4 feels... weaker... as if his life source is being... sucked away in some fashion. Some of the burn marks on the creature seem to be regenerating themselves as this happens.
Fianh dodges and fires but to no avail as her shot goes wildly off target.
Setup: Creature is flying above you guys. It looks really hurt but not quite as bad as it did when it got double teamed by Leia and Prospero
Leia 0/21 stamina 17/20 hp
Fianh 2/21 Stamina
Prospero 2/24 Stamina
Creature 40 damage
Astrianna really expected the tactical arc emitter to finish the job on the unknown creature- which is why she's pissed off as it takes flight. "Oh come on, how did it survive that!? Is this thing made of living adamantine? Keep shooting until it stops moving!"
The boisterous half-elf notices the creature is healing its wounds, and decides to do something about it. She raises her semiautomatic pistol and fires a well-aimed bullet directly into its hide.
Move action: Get 'Em on Mr. Wormyhead for +1 to attack!
Standard Action: Semiautomatic pistol attack on Mr. Wormyhead (1/9 rounds remaining)
pistol attack, Get' Em: 1d20 + 3 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 3 + 1 = 23
pistol damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7
"Living nasty more like it!" Leila snorted and took careful aim. It was nice that they had found the Arc emitter - it seemed effective and the critter was distracted from gnawing on her!
Trick: 1d20 + 11 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 11 + 4 = 33
Shoot: 1d20 + 4 + 1 ⇒ (13) + 4 + 1 = 18
Damage?: 1d4 + 1 + 1d8 ⇒ (3) + 1 + (6) = 10
I did notice the unwieldy, but forgot the -2 from blast. Strange though, making it harder to with with a shotgun than a rifle.
BTW, if whatever the critter did allowed a will save, and it was mind-affecting, Prospero-4 gets a +2 to the save...
"Just. Keep. Shooting!!" Prospero-4 grits his teeth, going through a whole new way to feel pain. He waits for the arc emitter to reload a new charge, and shoots another blast at the creature.
arc emitter, blast, get'em: 1d20 + 6 - 2 + 1 ⇒ (13) + 6 - 2 + 1 = 18
damage: 1d4 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
1d20 + 14 ⇒ (13) + 14 = 27
1d20 + 7 + 1 ⇒ (16) + 7 + 1 = 24
1d6 + 1 + 1d8 ⇒ (3) + 1 + (2) = 6
3d6 ⇒ (3, 2, 3) = 8
1d20 + 3 ⇒ (10) + 3 = 13
Fort save unfortunately
The beast is attacked on all sides and screams in your heads as all the shots land and its attempt at flight evasion fails. It turns focus to the one who seems to be harming it by far the most. It swoops down and lands next to Leia. She feels as if the monster is somehow sucking away her life essence.
8 HP gone from Leia.
I AM IMMORTAL! YOU WILL SUFFER!
it continues to screech and, again, some of its wounds regenerate. The incessant attacks are taking their toll though. There are holes torn in its thin wings and sickly green ichor is bleeding out from the many wounds that have not been cauterized shut by the electrical attacks of the group.
Setup: Creature has landed next to Leia in melee range. It looks really really hurt but not quite dead yet. Round 5 party up.
Leia 0/21 stamina 9/20 hp
Fianh 2/21 Stamina
Prospero 2/24 Stamina
Creature 66 damage
ONLY UNTIL PROVEN OTHERWISE!! Leila thinks harshly and squiggles away from the horrible critter. Then she raised her gun and squeezed off another zap!
Guarded Step -> Shoot again
Shoot: 1d20 + 4 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 4 + 1 = 6
Damage?: 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
I forgot to say it before- but nice final boss music!
Get ready to explain your immortality to Pharmasa you overgrown tube worm! She thinks ferociously, firing another round of hot lead at the creature. "Gods it can't keep taking hits like this! Take it down! "
Move action: Get 'Em on Mr. Wormyhead for +1 to attack!
Standard Action: Semiautomatic pistol attack on Mr. Wormyhead (0/9 rounds remaining)
Pistol attack, get 'em: 1d20 + 3 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 3 + 1 = 19
pistol damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
"Rest assured your alleged immortality shall be put to test."
The seconds feel very long when the charging indicator on the arc emitter keeps blinking red. But finally the system is able to squeeze last bit of power from the almost-empty battery, and the light turns to green, signalling the weapon is ready to fire. And Prospero-4 takes the shot.
arc emitter,blast, get'em: 1d20 + 6 - 2 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 6 - 2 + 1 = 19
damage: 1d4 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5
And knowing the fight might not be quite over yet, he presses the switch to release the battery and reloads a fresh one from his belt.
1d20 ⇒ 20
1d20 + 7 + 1 ⇒ (9) + 7 + 1 = 17
1d6 + 1 + 1d8 ⇒ (6) + 1 + (6) = 13
3d6 ⇒ (3, 4, 3) = 10
1d20 ⇒ 4
Leia, suffering from her vitality bleeding away as well as being sucked away from her, finally misses with her pulsecaster.
Nobody else does though, Fi, Astrianna, and Prospero all tear into the monster with their fire and it stumbles and falls down to its knees.
It's not quite down yet its bleeding head raises up and its wing spreads out.
Leia feels the last of her life force being drained from her into the beast and she falls...
I WILL SUCK YOU ALL DRY the monster screams triumphantly. It's alien voice assaulting your brains.
The beast is right next to a collapsed Leia. Leia, how do you wish to use your Resolve Points? Party up Round 7
Leia 0/21 stamina 0/20 hp 3/3 RP
Fianh 2/21 Stamina
Prospero 2/24 Stamina
Creature 80 damage
"*Uhh....*" Leila's unconscious body whines a bit in pain ...
Aight! The Resolve Point section says I can use 1/4th of my points to Stabilize. The Dying sections demands 3. I'm going to go with the former and spend exactly 1 to Stabilize!
Prospero-4 shakes his head in disbelief. Just how many shots will the creature take?? Leila going down worries him for a moment, but then he sees her body moving a bit.
Just. keep. shooting.
Arc emitter,blast, get'em: 1d20 + 6 - 2 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 6 - 2 + 1 = 9
damage: 1d4 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
What is this, a gear check boss in Wow? Hope we can out damage its healing!
A brief flicker of doubt ignites as she sees Leila slump over. "Leila? LEILA? She's down!"
The half-life grits her teeth and attempts to discharge her semi-automatic pistol once again into the beast- but nothing happens.
Franctically pulling the trigger Astrianna realizes she has spent the magazine, and Leila has all the ammunition for it!
With a string of curses that would make a Long-haul Space Freighter blush she drops the analog weapon and pulls out her signature hot pink laser pistol.
Still disturbed by Leila collapse, the beam of concentrated photons shoot past their target.
Move action: Draw azimuth laser pistol
Standard action: Pew pew on Mr. Wormyhead (18/20 battery reminaing )
laser pistol: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
laser pistol damage: 1d4 ⇒ 2
No Get 'Em this round because striking ran out of bullets!
1d20 + 14 ⇒ (8) + 14 = 22
1d20 + 6 + 1 ⇒ (13) + 6 + 1 = 20
1d6 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2
1d20 + 12 ⇒ (7) + 12 = 19
2d6 + 9 ⇒ (1, 5) + 9 = 15
The sight of Liea collapsing seems to dishearten the rest of the group and they miss their shots. All except Fi, the cold blooded human's shot hits the beast but unfortunatly seems to do minimal damage.
The beast turns from the prostrate form of the halfling, not noticing that she isn't dead and rushes at the second source of the hated electrical damage.
Prospero-4 almost manages to dodge out of the way of the alien's bite but he isn't quite fast enough, the sharp razor filled teeth latches onto the androids side and causes a significant amount of damage to him even through his armor.
The alien isn't bothering to even to attempt to communicate anymore. Its intent is clear though. It wants to kill all of you.
Leia 0/21 stamina 0/20 hp 2/3 RP Stable
Fianh 2/21 Stamina
Prospero 0/24 Stamina 9/22 hp
Creature 82 damage
Skill monkies vs book 1 boss. Who will win?
As the beast turns and charges Prospero, Astrianna can only grimace and leap out of the way. She couldn't help but think that the footage of her android friend's badass armor getting ripped to shreds on camera would be good for the advertising deal she cut with the armor manufacturer.
"That new armor is really doing its job, that's barely a flesh wound!" She flat-out lies as the Prospero's synthetic musculature clearly becomes exposed to the vacuum of space by the creature's rending claws.
"You can keep going, shoot, shoot" The half-elf cheer-leads, really hoping that was enough to keep her sweet, sweet, sponsorship.
Astri was standing right next to Prospero, so she has to take a guarded step back not to get hit by the arc emitter.
Move action: Guarded step away
Standard action: Insspiring boost on Prospero. +9 to his stamina, hopefully he can survive another hit!
"It was neither barely nor a flesh wound. Had I veins running with blood, I would be losing it with considerable rate. But I thank you for the comforting words." There is a small amount of stress in Prospero-4 typically flat tone, but he tries to keep his voice steady.
The creature did considerable damage, but mostly to his inner biomechanical organs. This mean his arms are still fully capable to line up a new shot. But first he steps away from the beasts claws, blocking follow-up strikes with his weapon. Being so close, the android doesn't care much for aiming, and just shoots the blast from his hip.
Move: Guarded step
Arc emitter,blast: 1d20 + 6 - 2 ⇒ (15) + 6 - 2 = 19
damage: 1d4 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
Brr... Everything felt dark and cold. And lonely. So lonely! But ... no? She wasn't alone - she shouldn't be at least. The rest of her team were still fighting that horrible thing! And here she was not contributing. That's not right! Trough sheer Resolve the halfling forced her eyes open.
There it was! The horribly winged thing. And it had its back turned ... Leila raised her gun and tried to aim as much as she could at the wobbly centre of the critter. Here it goes! she thought and unloaded the last of the Pulse Casters charge.
Trick?: 1d20 + 11 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 11 + 4 = 17
Shoot?: 1d20 + 4 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 4 + 1 = 9
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17
Fianh misses wildly with her shot as she attempts to end the creature's existence. Leila, wracked with pain, also misses with the last of her charge.
Neither missed attack, or Astrianna's incessent patter, catches the worm creature's attention as it is wracked with even more pain from Prospero's electrical field attack. It screeches with pain and it moves closer to Prospero and its head darts down, snake-like to take a chunk out of its tormentor.
For the first time... it misses and all that comes through telepathically to the group is an overwhelming feeling of pain...
Setup, The creature is stumbling and swaying and its right next to Prospero. It has so many holes in it you really wonder how it is even still living. Round 9 party up.
Leia 0/21 stamina 1/20 hp 1/3 RP
Fianh 2/21 Stamina
Prospero 9/24 Stamina 9/22 hp
Creature 88 damage
Astrianna eyes flick over to their halfling companion, who is not only still alive but still able to pull the trigger on her weapon! "LEILA YOU'RE ALIVE! BY THE GODS SHOOT IT SHOOT IT SHOOT IT"
Following her own advice, Astrianna attempts to dispatch the monstrosity with her laser pistol.
Move action:Get 'EM on Mr. Wormyhead, +1 to attack!
Standard action:Killing blow on Mr. Wormyhead?!?!?!?! (17/20 battery reminaing )
laser pistol attack, get'em: 1d20 + 3 + 1 ⇒ (17) + 3 + 1 = 21
laser pistol damage: 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2 Come on!
It all feels like it's going on slow-motion. Barely dodging the bite. Jumping out of the worm's reach. Turning to face the frustrated, enraged creature. Pulling the trigger.
Fates gave Prospero-4 a bit more time, so he must use it well. That beast must go down, and soon.
Move action: guarded step
Arc emitter, get'em, blast: 1d20 + 6 + 1 - 2 ⇒ (10) + 6 + 1 - 2 = 15
damage: 1d4 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
Leila was really glad that Astri was glad that she was alive (and also glad for that little detail). But she had really hoped to not draw attention from the floaty mind reading thing before it was well and truly dead. Which is soon. Very soon I hope! she thought as she fiddled with the replacement cartridge to her gun. There!
To hit?: 1d20 + 4 + 1 ⇒ (16) + 4 + 1 = 21
damage?: 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
While Propero misses both Leila and Astrianna hit. The being screams in your brains, especially as sparks of electricity from Leila's pulsecaster crackler over the being's body cooking it from the inside even as its skin crinkles and sears.
It collapses and its death scream slowly fades away from your minds. It lands awkardly on its wing as green liquid seeps out of the many holes in its still twitching skin and pools around it.
It's finally dead.
The group moves in to check the beast. Fianh kicks it with satisfaction before looking up. She gasps!
Floating behind the listing but still recording Observer Bot is the Drift Dead ghost!
But there is something.... different about it. The wild dark locks of hair are slipping back into the helmet and the arcane purple of the irsies are shifting to a starry heavenly blue.
In fact there seems to be a glow about the being. It beckons to you and turns to drift into the hallway you all had come from, and away from the ship.
If you follow you see it continue down the hallway where the four of you had decided to turn left instead of right. It gradually fades away as it does so.
Astrianna's laser pistol is held in an iron grip, pointed directly at the creature's twitching body. "Is it dead? I think it's dead. I'm pretty sure it's dead. Make sure it's dead."
Fi's triumphant kick causes her to relax, the tension melting away before being channeled into a fist pump. "YES! We killed that basta-"
The following gasp makes Astri spin around, pistol back in her iron grip, pointed directly at the void wrath. "IT'S THE GHOST OPEN FIR- Say does it look... Friendlier to you?" The half-life somehow goes to screaming in their headsets to speaking in a normal voice mid-sentence, lowering her firearm to look at the void wraith with curiosity.
"Do you think this worm-thing is what killed it? If they had to die in the Drift, and there's this ship here... Oh! Maybe we took revenge for her and now it wants to thank us! Hot diggity I do enjoy avenging the dead." Suddenly very chipper and excited despite the intense, protracted battle (probably because she was wound free), Astrianna begins to follow the ghost.
She stops when the ghost begins to fade away, putting her hands on her hips. " I guess it wants us to go that way? Well.. That ship isn't going anywhere. Might as well see what the ghost wanted us to see."
"Aaaaah..." Leila deflates and lays back down again when it becomes clear that the ghost wouldn't try and kill them too. Recent events had really showed her that being a space adventurer was more painful than she had ever imagined. Oh well! "I *uh* just want to catch my breath a bit."
It doesn't take overly long for her curiosity to overwhelm even the worst of the pain signals, so she was soon back on her feet and following Astri and the ghost. "I wonder where it's going?"
Prospero-4 prods the fallen worm-creature with his foot, making sure it's not moving any longer. He has the barrel of his weapon against the creature head, and is just about to pull the trigger when he hears the alerted screams. Lighting-fast, the arc emitter is pointing towards the ghost, but he quickly notices the same what Astrianna is stating out loud. The ghost does indeed look much less hostile than before.
"I suppose if it wanted to harm us, it would have already attacked. I agree, let's see what it wants to show."
The android gathers his laser rifle from the ground, and stows the arc emitter away. Then he grabs a few healing serums from his belt, and passes some also for Leila. Time to let the miracles of science do it's work...
Serum of healing: 1d8 ⇒ 4
Serum of healing: 1d8 ⇒ 2
By the time the group follows the rapidly fading spectre, turning right at the end of the corridor, all that is left is a slight glowing brightness that soon dissapates entirely.
The corridor is much like the rest of this section of the asteroid, pristine alien tech, preserved in the void of space and the Drift, topped by glowing alien symbology. The short corridor ends with a door to your left.
Attempts to open it show that the door is blocked. It's been barricaded from the inside. It takes a little bit of muscle and engineering know how but soon enough the group breaks through.
On the other side the group finds a room which looks little bigger than a storage closet. On the ground is the corpse of a human women, well preserved in the airless atmosphere just like the alien machinery. It's hard to say when exactly the woman died but she's dressed in explorer estex suit armor that looks dated and very different in design from what the mining crew of the Aceron were wearing. It still looks functional though.
Next to the outstretched hand of the corpse is a depleted static arc pistol and the body itself has many wounds on it. The cause of death, however, seems to be a self inflected static pistol burn to the side of the woman's head.
Aside from the empty static arc pistol, the estex suit I, and the depleted brown force field, they found two spell amps of lesser restoration and a personal datapad which is also drained of battery.
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Putting in a fresh battery brings the datapad back to life (thankfully connectors for energy transfer devices have been standardized hundreds of years ago and any attempt to bring out a new standard is always an abject failure).
It only has one file on it. A personal log recording.
Activating it causes a hologram to appear of an elegant and intelligent looking human woman looking into the recording camera. The shot is of her from the shoulder up. She's breathing heavily as she speaks, not only to the four of you but also to Astrianna's Tiara and the Observer Bot which is still recording as the audio transfer protocols of the old computer connect to the audio input channels of your armor and recording devices.
"My name is Moriko Nash, Captain of the Sunrise Maiden. I think I've come to terms with it. I won't survive, but at least I've explored strange worlds and seen wonders I would never have dreamed of as a child. I guess everything comes to an end eventually. I've always been the master of my own fate and I'm not going to change now." Captain Nash holds up the same pistol in the hologram that you found next to her body "When my force field goes down I'll fight. But I'm saving my last charge for myself. My life. My Death."
"This is my final recording as well as my last will and testament. To whomever finds this recording. I leave the Sunrise Maiden to you. It's a good ship, and no matter where I've gone, it's always brought me home... until now. If you treat it right, it'll do the same for you. Leave my body where you found it - we came from the stars, and to the stars I'll return - but the Maiden deserves to keep flying." and with a final deep breath the recording goes out.
Silence returns to the Rock.
Leila blinked away the mist in her eyes. This whole lost-in-space-but-left-a-last-message thing was really sad. She hoped that this wouldn't be something she would ever have to consider. Also - standing was still very painful despite the healing serum she had consumed.
Healing Serum!: 1d8 ⇒ 6
But the last part really made the halfling perk right up. "Our own spaceship? T-that's AWESOME!!!" She grinned and bounced up and down. Awesome! Awesome! Aw-ouch-some!
"*Hmm*. And doesn't this mean someone else might also have a claim to this rock? Nash descendants or whomever sponsored her in the first place ..." Leila speculates once the initial excitement has well not died but stopped bouncing at least.
Even Astrianna is quiet while the recording of Captain Moriko Nash gives her last will and testament.
When their com channels are once against silent, she's the first to chip in with a precluding sigh. "Wow. Heavy stuff. I hope I get to make a "Final Stand" speech before I die."
Taking a deep breath, the half-elf claps her hands together- a soundless but universally understood gesture. "OKAY sad time is over. We just killed a mysterious, deadly alien creature and got ourselves a FREE SPACESHIP."
In a further attempt dispel the saddening pall, Astrianna low-fives Leila and sits down to go through her pack. "We still have a rock to explore! Let's take a breather while I pack away Captain Nash's's gear and then we can clear out the unexplored corridors."
She considers Leila's idea, and then shrugs. "Yeah, seems Captain Nash beat AE and the HSC to this rock by a good hundred years don't you think? There wasn't any official claim in her recording but I'd say she definitely got here first. We can see if she had any kids or who sent her out here before we make our decision."
Let's rest up. Feel free to use more healing serums! We have 7 left.
The group retraces their steps before carefully scoping out the 'North-Eastern cavern' where they had seen the wandering and tormented shade of Captain Moriko Nash. There's nothing of interest there other than the structure of it which is very similar to the cavern to the 'west' where they had fought the zombified remnants of the crew of the Aceron and been ambushed by the android assassin.
From there they travel through the tunnel where they had turned 'north' instead of 'east' and find it curves down into a cavern structure. There are stalatices and stalagmites here which would have afforded the assassin good spots to snipe from.
Other then that there is nothing more to be found, other than the cavern containing the starship.
With its vaulted ceiling and smoothed stone floor. This sprawling grotto has the appearance of a primitive shuttle hangar or landing bay. Only the 'western wall' of the grotto is finished with the ceramic-metallic plating found in the technologically advanced portions of the Rock; the remainder of the cavern is hemmed by natural rock walls. Huge doors standing the eastern wall of the chamber--doors easily big enough to accommodate the Sunrise Maiden
It's a Sanjaval Vagabond as Fianh can easily tell you. These ships were state of the art a 100 years ago and the fact that they're still regularly seen in the spaceways is at testament to how well designed, easy to maintain, and resilient the basic design of the Vagabond is.
Inside you can tell that Nash was a person who cared more for style than fashion as the interior is sleek and only somewhat dated. Most of the ship is a stock Vagabond but the Captain's quarter is more spacious and comfortable than usual. The expansion bays are fully filled with twin cargo holds, six escape pods, and a custom recreation suite incorporating both a gym and a holographic amusement chamber. The HAC badly needs an upgrade. That latest game the thing has installed on it Terminal Quest MMXVIII! and that's like 80 years old! Leila and Prospero-4 can take care of that.
Lol Terminal Quest MMXVIII!
Astrianna carefully records all the uninteresting parts of the asteroid. There was going to be a lot of action in her upcoming trident, and with some clever editing she might be able to change up the series of events to provide a more cohesive and paced adventure.
The spaceship is much more interesting than the remainder of the asteroid. "Captain Nash had some STYLE. I can definitely see us exploring pre-approval ruins and getting into all kinds of trouble in this baby!" She comments while inspecting the interior. Hmm.. Maybe we can get a decal of my face on the exterior? Or a caricature! Ugh, they always make my ears so big though... What if we just rename it the Sparacello?
She was equally impressed by the interior, and the moment they discover the Captain's Quarters she's already rearranging thing and going through drawers. "Oh my gods looks at this underwear. It's literally a 100 years old, and it looks like it! I can't believe neon-colored lace was ever in fashion...hmm though these suspenders are coming back into style..." Though Astrianna had some measure of respect for the dead Captain, it clearly wasn't enough to stop her from making fun of her underwear.
"Ugh I can't wear ANY of this." She starts making a mess of discarded clothes in the floor. "By Shelyn were these bras made to transport ore?! Look at the reinforcement! Oh it says they're made for "zero-g support". Is that a thing? Actually that would be kind of nice, especially with all this jumping around we've been doing... S~... her cup size was bigger than mine. That's just unfair."
Our own starship...
The meaning of Moriko Nash's last will lingers in Prospero-4's head. Such a short while ago he was bound to slavery. He got his first taste of freedom with the help of AAF and Starfinders - and now this. A ship of their own, free to go anywhere. The universe of possible futures just expanded immeasurably.
Later, gazing upon the ship, the android cannot help but walk closer and touch the sleek surface. Immediately, it feels good - like an old friend long lost. A tingling sensation from the on-board AI inside. All the care that has been put into it over the years. Prospero-4 nods approvingly.
"It is a good ship. We are honored to serve as her crew. And she will be proud of us."
When he climbs into the ship, he finds Astrianna is already rummaging through Captain Nash's personal belongings. The android lets her be, his interest naturally focusing towards the computer system of Sunrise Maiden. But before he moves any further, he pauses and frowns in deep thought.
"Did we accomplish our mission?" he asks the others. His eyes unfocus momentarily, as the exocortex brings back the tasks given by Ambassador Nox.
"Find out precisely what happened to Aceron's crew - accomplished
Ascertain the value of its asteroid cargo - in progress
Come back with a recommendation as to who the asteroid should belong to - are we presenting Captain Nash as a third party for this claim"
"But did we learn anything about the rock's origin? Or about the assassin?"
Astrianna is looking in a mirror, putting on and taking off an a relatively ancient spikey-looking hat of some sort when Prospero starts listing off their mission objectives.
"OH right. We should probably think about that, yeah." The half-life starts holding up fingers. "One. The crew of the Aceron was killed by Akata hatched from eggs deposited in noqual and some horrific telepathic worm-beast from the Drift."
Another finger extends. "Two. I'm no Xenologist but this asteroid is probably in the range of priceless. There is unknown and indecipherable alien technology somehow melded into the rock."
The third digit rises. "Three. The Starfinder society should have a first look at the whole asteroid while we or someone figures out if Nash had any descendants. Hells, she might have BEEN a Starfinder, so the rock would rightfully be theirs until they decide to sell it off. Check the ship's logs, Captain Nash seemed like the meticulous type."
Astrianna spreads her hands out in front of her. "Here's my idea. We give the noqual we found to HSC, considering how their miners were the ones that gathered it. The asteroid goes to the Starfinder Society for study. When they're done with it and maybe figure out why it's so weird, the higher-ups can decide what to do with it, maybe give it to HSC. In any case AE has no claim to this thing considering it was outside the scope of their contract with HSC."
Rummaging in her pack for a moment, she pulls out the android assassin's data pad, suddenly tossing it to Prospero. "Be a dear and crack this, will you? I'd like to find out who sent an assassin after us so I can repay their adoring attention."
The brief moment of responsiblity-minded thinking with a hint of vindictive revenge vanishes as she goes back to putting on the hat. This time she sticks out her tongue, makes a cutesy face, and snaps a picture.
The healing serum seems to work well and when they finally get inside the spaceship Leila doesn't seem impaired by her injuries. They certainly doesn't prevent her from bouncing all over the place and looking at every last thing.
"*Squee!* Just look at all the things. Look! Hey Prospero are you looking? It's amazing!" Well the android seems to not be looking sufficiently for the halflings liking so she helps out by pointing at stuff. Yeah helping! "There's even a gaming console! See? Awesome! Ooooh and we even have escape pods! Hmm-hmm-hmm! Those filters look old; let's make a note to replace those! We don't want stale air do we? Right! Ooooh! And here's *more* cool things! And! And!! We really should check out the reactor and see if there's enough juice for this one to fly. And-and-and...!"
"OOooh! Astriana found some new clothes." she comments as she too invades the captains quarters. Soon after she also invades Astri's personal space and pats the half-elf on the back while she was distracted by the weird hat. "Don't worry! We'll still like you even if the last captain were better equipped!"
Leila bounces deeper into the ship to continue the exploration really quick (and escape retribution. Luckily her rocket boosters were fully charged!). Astri and Mr 4 seemed to have a firm grasp of their mission parameters so that's nice. Since that meant she didn't have to care for that riiiigth now. "Aaaand I agree! We really should check that pad before we dock again - juuuust in case!"
The datapad is easy to crack but has almost no useful information. It looks like a burner and only has one transmission:
Neophyte Starfinders heading towards the 'Drift Rock' on ship named The Hippocampus. Destroy by any means necessary - J.
And the response
The group backtracks and makes a surprising discovery. The Hippocampus is *not* where they left it. The only way back to Absalom Station is either on The Aceron or The Sunrise Maiden. Weird!
On board the ship, the first time they step into the bridge a pleasant male voice sounds out.
Greetings! Are you friends of Captain Nash? I am the AI Assistance Module of The Sunrise Maiden also known as AIAM. I warn you, if you are intruders, then I will send out a distress signal!
Okay. Hippocampus disappeared!
"Hey! I really thought I rigged the security just fine!" Leila frowned and took another look at the piece of empty space where their loaned space-ship had been. But nope, still gone. The halfling scratched her head trying to think of whom could have taken the ship. "Any other stowaways we missed? Or ..."
She turned and glared suspiciously at the scrambled recording drone. "You know anything about this? It was the ambassador's ship after all - he ought to have overrides..."
But the drone didn't seem to want to share. Bummer. And it really didn't look like the ship was coming back anyhow. Leila shrugged and looked to her companions, wondering if they had some ideas. Any ideas really...
---Back at the Maiden---
"Hi there AIAM! I'm Leila, nice to meet you." Leila greeted the computer cheerfully then stopped. How did one really tell a ship that their captain had died? And that you were taking over that role for now ... Hmmmmmmmmmm. She thought really hard about that for a moment then looked to Prospero and Astri - maybe they knew?
Astrianna sighs at the datapad, dropping it back into her bag. J. Again. Just like the Datapad that b%!&@ Ferani Nadaz had. That a*~#$$& at Astral Extractions sent an assassin after us! I'll give this to Chiskisk, it will corroborate whatever she's cooking up against AE.
The half-elf didn't say anything, and didn't mention the datapad again, probably because the presence of her own recording software and the drone, but she looked pissed all the way back to the Hippocampus.
Astrianna lets out a drawn-out guttural noise of frustration and anger when their loaned ship is clearly not here. "ARE YOU SERIOUS? This is space whale s*!~ the size of a black hole!" She clenches her teeth, then kicks a nearby rock as hard as she can, missing terribly. The whiff throws her off balance and she starts spinning in place due to the lack of gravity.
"Aaauuughghh oh gods I'm going to be sick." Was her last words before slowly colliding into a nearby wall, grabbing onto a rock formation, and dizzily re-orienting herself. "Either a goblin we missed stole the ship or it flew back itself. I really don't care which it was right now, we'll deal with it later."
Emerald eyes roll in their sockets when the cheery AI's voice comes over the comms. Astrianna's tone of voice indicated she really didn't have time for this. "AIAM, Captain Nash is dead. Analyze the voice patterns of this or something."
A few taps on her wrist-mounted holocam and she finds the Last Will and Testament of the ship's owner. The woman's voice plays from Astrianna's tiara for the computer to hear. "She bequeathed the ship to us." The half-elf puts her hands on her hips, standing tall. "And I am your new captain, Astrianna Sparacello!"
Do I have to roll diplomacy vs a computer?
"This 'J' seems to be quite aware of our movements, unfortunately." Prospero-4 says, presenting the other the now-decrypted datapad. "With him or her being responsible for the assassin, and apparently affiliated with Astral Excavations, I think we should be quite wary of that particular organization. Not that I had plans allying with them even before, but now it is personal."
--- out on the rock ---
"The datapad said the assassin was ordered to destroy the Hippocampus. Could he have succeeded?" The android is clearly puzzled about the disappearance. But he follows his first line of thought and moves in to investigate the area where they left the ship. If it was destroyed, there should be some debris lying around, at least. "Although I doubt he had time to do that. We met her pretty soon after arriving. Maybe she had a companion, who stole or destroyed the ship."
"Or the the Hippocampus was programmed to return without us..." he adds gloomily, his quick glance towards the drone hidden behind his face-plate.
--- Maiden ---
So he was right - he sensed there was an AI in the ship.
"I am pleased to meet you, AIAM. I am Prospero-4. Just as Astrianna's recording shows, I am sorry to tell you Captain Nash has perished. And by her Last Will and Testament, she gave the ownership of The Sunrise Maiden to us."
Hopefully AIAM wasn't too attached to his former captain.
This is highly irregular AIAM's voice chimes over the bridge speakers However I do have memory bank recordings of Captain Nash opining what she would wish to happen to The Sunrise Maiden should anything untoward happen to her. Your statements and the recording are in sync with what she has said in previous occasions.
There is a pause.
In any case the Captain did not engage any locks on ship functionality when she disembarked. I do hope that you will update the Ship's Record of Ownership into your own names at your earliest opportunity. The Ai continues, apparently having coming to a conclusion by following its internal decision tree logic. Welcome to the ship Leila, Astrianna Sparacello, and Prospero-4. The Helm is yours provisional Captain Sparacello.
Astrianna half-listens to the computer voice, spending most of the time imaging what she's going to do to this "J" when she gets her hands on them.
"Great. Glad that's settled." She says, plopping into the Captain's seat with absolutely zero respect for the well-maintained upholstery.
"Leila, update the registry so station security doesn't mistake us for... Whatever Nash was. Prospero, take the helm and get us off this rock. I'm really sick of it." She orders, fiddling with some controls built into one of the armrests.
"AIAM, change your voice-recognized identifier to "Pumpkin". You seem like a pumpkin kind of computer to me. Pumpkin, dim the lights by 50%, then download the ships logs to my comm unit once I broadcast an IR tether. Save the device connection and settings under "Astri"."
The half-life intends to spend the rest of the trip sitting in a spine bending position in the captain's chair, reading about what Nash had been up to, where she was from, and if she had any relatives.
Name identifier provisionally updated to 'Pumpkin' The AI intones.
Astrianna finds an unopened transmission from Nash. It turns out to be a copy of her last will and testament that Nash sent to the shop from the room that was the site of her final stand and is now her grave. Other than that there is a log of her travels and notes on the many places she saw and explored. It turns out that she was an independent operator who had some friendly contact with the Starfinders but was not a member. She also had no family to speak of. The final entry on the exploration log is from 75 years ago, almost to the day. That's when she had discovered the asteroid in the Drift and, intrigued by the then open hanger doors showing a docking bay, decided to land and explore.
Ahead of them the same hangers doors stand closed. The controls to open them can be found in the area where the final monster of the Rock was defeated and they slide open revealing the vast expanse of space beyond. The way ahead is clear.
"'Pumpkin'? What kind of computer is that? I don't think it serves coffe. *Uh* Do you actually do that Pumpkin?" Leila takes this opportunity to ponder the big questions in life. Like why was it called 'pumpkin' spiced, why was it only there sometimes and what was a pumpkin really?
Also - the register thingies. "We can't broadcast to the Station yet, I think the rock is messing with our transmitter too. Oh why is that really? Maybe there's a faraway lining in the old ruin walls. Hmphm. Also - range. But I can ready the paperwork! Well not really *paper* paperwork but ... yeah well I'm sure the message gets across anyhow. Oh and speaking of sensors! Let's see if we can find the Hippocampus! Or traces anyhow. Even if someone took it they can't have gotten far right? Right."
"AIAM... Pumpkin... Is it possible for you to respond to two name identifiers? I would prefer to call you AIAM."
And as a general guidance, you feel free to ignore any commands Captain Sparacello might give you...
Prospero-4 takes the helm, and powers his displays on. It might be a bit outdated, but still the finest the android has ever laid his hands on. Tap-by-tap, Prospero-4 powers up more systems, and more information appears on his display. A gentle hum fills the atmosphere.
"All good here. Leila, preflight check from engineering, please."
And once all the preparations are done, the android engages the ship's thrusters to minimal thrust and releases the magnetic clamps. Very gently he adds thrust, and guides them through the hangar doors.
"I am pleased to inform you we have left the rock. I will make a couple of passes around it, and the Aceron - see if you can find any trace of the Hippocampus, Leila."
While everyone else is doing boring things, Astrianna finishes her research into Former Captain Nash's life.
"Well, looks like Nash was an independent explorer, no Starfinder membership or association. No family that she mentioned either. She landed on this rock 75 years ago, wow." The half-life summaries, closing her hologram projector and watching Prospero sweep the asteroid for their missing loan ship.
"The Sunrise Maiden must have been a sexy beast of a ship 75 years ago. I mean, it's still beautiful, and now it has vintage charm as well. With some software and hardware upgrades we could get some serious light years out of this vessel." Astrianna gives what any military personal would describe as a" half-assed" salute to the ether. "Thanks Nash. We'll put her to good use."
"Aight! We seem to have engine, power and sensors up! There's *uh* some notifications that we are waaaaaay overdue on maintenance, but noting seems actually broken. Which is nice." Leila responds to the pre-flight before Prospero takes the ship out into the void. The halfling holds her breath as they cross the threshold into open space then grins and exclaims. "Yeah! It's all holding up just fine. Astri's right you know - really fancy ship!"
"Now let's see if we can't find our missing ship! With a bit of luck the transponder should still be on and then it'll be easy peasy. And if not well I guess we just have to look the old-fashioned way!"
Computer!: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (5) + 12 = 17 plus ship computer bonus, +2 iirc
While waiting for the sensors to pick anything up Leila went back to their previous topics. "Hmm. Maybe we could run it as a double name? AIAM Pumpkin. Or Pumpkin AIAM? Which is better though ... Maybe both? Variety is the spice of life right! And better spice then pumpkin too. Hmm. Maybe we should put a small shrine back at the rock? Just so Nash doesn't feel lonely. Ooh! Or it could be carved into the rock itself. Also! I wonder if there's anyone at Starfinder lodge that remembers her? They could say some fancy word. Yeah!"
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Book Two: Temple of The Twelve
I regret to inform you that I am unable to accommodate more than one personal identifier Pumpkin replies to Prospero-4 Please be sure to contact my creators SoftInt Systems if you would like them to prioritize such a feature in an upcoming patch. SoftInt. Software and Intelligence for the Galaxy
SoftInt no longer exists. It was bought out by the Amicphabet Conglomerate a few decades ago.
The ship glides smoothly out of the hanger bays of the still very mysterious asteroid and Fianh circles it around it and the Aceron a few times.
As she does so The Hippocampus on board computer readily responds to Leila's hails and requests for flight path information (necessary information for flight control to try and avoid collisions in the crowded spaceways of the Pact Worlds). It left the vicinity of the Rock under autopilot about half an hour ago and the course of the ship is set back towards Absalom Station.
You set your own course towards Absalom Station as well, looking forward to going home for a well earned rest after a job well done.
It doesn't take very long though before alarms start blaring throughout the ship. Something is approaching with weapons locked onto the Sunrise Maiden!
The long years of disuse seem to have caused at least a few glitches in the Sunrise Maiden though. The Alarm subsystems somehow cause the pilot controls to suddenly surge with energy.
Fianh doesn't even have time to scream as a massive spike of electricity goes through her. The smell of ozone permeates the artificial and slightly stale atmosphere of the Sunrise Maiden as the human woman slumps forward against her restraints.
On your sensors you see a ship of the dimensions of a light freighter approaching. It's no cargo ship though. It looks like a whale was stripped of all flesh. Curved white bones make up what look like ribs and fins coming out of the sides of the ship. The structure of the ship seems to swoop forward into a massive maw with what look like two large pincers jutting out of the front. An obviously Eoxian design.
This is the heck of a time to be suddenly down a pilot....
Cryogenic Life Module Leaving Stasis Pumpkin informs the crew. What the heck does *that* mean?
|Cueta Guiding Star|
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75 Years Ago
The air inside The Pegasus was thick with the smell of blood and diesel. Smoke burned Cueta’s eyes, and the pilot cursed under her breath as she took quick stock of the bridge: Llano, dead. T-13, fried, letting loose a high-pitched signal whine, and below decks, one continuous, undulating scream.
Cueta unholstered her pistol and put the barrel under her jaw, the gunmetal cool against her skin. Better to be dead than captured by these raiders. And to go back to Iago with such a failure, were she somehow to survive…
It would just be a delayed death sentence after all.
Cueta gazed out the pilot’s window and saw the raiders’ coilgun pointed almost directly at her. It was apparent what they intended - she’d do the same were she their gunner. Behead the snake.
These Phoenix Class ships, designed to emulate the birds of myth, were rightly beautiful. But they came with an unforgivable design flaw. The corridor from the bridge which connected to the belowdecks of the rest of the ship, was aesthetically designed to mirror a neck. And just like a neck of flesh and blood, they were weak. A well-placed shot could separate the bridge from the rest of the body, and with The Pegasus’ shields down…
There’d be no need for her pistol, which clattered to The Pegasus’ floor, forgotten. The pilot closed her eyes, hearing the blood pulsing through her veins over the chaos around her. She took three quick breaths, and released herself from the ship’s safety harness. There was an explosive crack, and even though her eyes were closed, Cueta knew instantly that the bridge was severed, open to the galaxy. Cueta Guiding Star hurtled, head over tail, into space.
Too late, she was consumed with one thought. Live! Live! Live! Her eyes still closed, Cueta fumbled with the straps on her armor. Her body would puff up, as the nitrogen under her skin expanded. At the same time, she’d begin freezing solid, but what would kill her was the lack of oxygen. She only had a couple of minutes before her organs shut down, much less than that before she lost consciousness.
Seconds stretched, it seemed into hours, adrenaline pushing her mind into a frenzy. Cueta - never a religious person - prayed. In the first second, she prayed that Desna grant her wings, and that she fly to safety.
In the second, Cueta prayed that Eloritu break the bonds of physics.
In the third second, Cueta’s thoughts turned briefly to her family. Ma had joined the great wheel, but Da was alive, and maybe even thought occasionally of his daughter. A great pang of grief grabbed hold of Cueta as she thought of her older sister, Melila, and that they should never laugh together again, and of Cueta's homeworld, Balthus 9, a dusty rock filled with tumblewweeds, water farmers, and gritty, sandswept villages.
In the fourth, fifth, and sixth seconds the pilot beseeched Abadar and Besmara, Iomedae and Hylax, and every other god that she could think of, that they may show her mercy.
In the seventh second, she rubbed her hand over her neck, alarmed to find it puffy and bubbled.
In the eighth second, Cueta prayed that the Devourer come and grind her enemies into nothing.
In the ninth second, Cueta reminded herself to breathe, lest her lungs burst against the pure vacuum of space.
In the tenth second she prayed to Pharasma to let her die.
By the eleventh second Cueta neither shivered nor ached, her awareness narrowed to nothing more than quick shallow breaths.
The twelfth second saw Cueta open her eyes. She was surrounded by a light, at once warm and yellow and then, shifting, to tendrils of inky blackness. A sound, words but not, tickled the pilot’s oxygen-addled brain. On offer: survival, in exchange for service freely given.
The pilot accepted, and the light roiled across her, bright and dark, and Cueta Guiding Star lost consciousness.
"Ahh!" Leila blares in chorus with the sirens. Everything was going so well, they had even found their ship, and now suddenly this. Bleh. But not much to do about that then try and tackle the problems one at a time. Or - even better - all of them NOW!
"Pumpkin; query - stasis module where? Inside/outside ship?" But ominous as that was that approaching ship was worse. Since everything was going downwards she could only assume it would be hostile. We need to scan it! Quickly. The halfling tapped away at her console trying to align the antennas and sensors to get a read on that horrible thing. And trying to ignore Fi's unconscious (hopefully!!) body for now. Oh oh oh why does so many ship battles start out with our pilot out?!
Crew action: Scan
Computer: 1d20 + 12 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 12 + 2 = 33