Bright light, and then just static.
++Emotional response detected++, the exocortex reports.
++Stress levels increasing++
++Temporary malfunction in visual systems++
++Possible threat detected, elevated position++
"I am blinded - hopefully temporarily." Prospero-4 states calmly, once his ears stop ringing. "I believe it is safe to assume we are under attack. Please guide me until my vision is restored."
The android draws his rifle and kneels down, hoping to have some cover if a firefight ensues.
"Eeep!" Leila shrieked in agreement with Prospero's evaluation of the situation. Luckily her vision came back quickly, though she couldn't really see their assailant(s). She could hear then though. Oh so we'll just need to grab some living shields then Mr concerned assassin? she thought sarcastically. She'd say it too but there really wasn't time. "Maintenance hatch, middle of the roof; no-one trough yet."
With her attempt to share useful information for once Leila hopped out of her seat and tried to spot anything that would let her access the trains systems. Ideally there would be some sort of vent or something conviniently placed underneath the attackers feet. But she'd settle for just the CCTV feed she assumed must be present at least inside the wagon. If she could direct that to Prospero he would at least have some situational awareness, even if it would no doubt be disorienting!
Perception: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (13) + 10 = 23
Computer: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (14) + 12 = 26
Leila quickly finds the closest of the Closed Circuit Security Cameras and hacks into it to patch the vid feed to Prospero-4's exocrotex. This doesn't take very long since Station Security would have to spend a lot of money to secure every one of their cameras. It still takes about 6 seconds though.
If Prospero-4 allows the new foreign sensory input through then, he is no longer flatfooted, only takes a -2 penalty to most Str and Dex based skill checks and opposed Perception checks, will not automatically fail Perception checks based on sight, and opponents will only have partial concealment against him. Will still need to make a DC10 Acrobatics check to move more than half speed or fall pone though. It's a nerfed Blinded condition basically. That's Leia's turn done.
The former kawaii vlogger pours over the comments she had been getting from her Squawker and Utoob accounts, not only engaging with her fan base, establishing rapport, and making connections, but learning from them. There were as many real experts as there were so-called experts, and it was taking time to separate the real form the posers. Still, she stuck by her decision to give the noqual to HSC, and adored the attention it garnered her. After all, the best press is good press, and she didn't waste any opportunity to take veiled potshots at AE on Squawker. Whomever ran their social media accounts was way too serious and it was great fun to needle them.
As the they ride the MAGtrain, Astrianna kept her holo-comm screen projected in front of her lap. She was still working on editing the footage of their adventures on the Drift Rock, having made the decision to make it into a more cinematic style presentation rather than just upload the video directly. There were too many lulls- no one wanted to watch hours of space flight where the only entertainment was Leila richoceting off the walls and figuring out how to hack the galactic radio receiver. It needed to be more about herself of course, being the star of this 4-sentient band. Who were the viewers watching for, after all?
Because of the lack of content she had been producing lately, she was live-steaming their trip to the Sunrise Maiden and some of her editing tricks on the streaming service Spasm. The half-elf's life-corder tiara allowed for only millisecond delayed streaming from anywhere on Absolom station, and Astrianna spent most of the journey talking to the chat section of the live stream.
That was, until she happens to stretch and look up, catching sight of a maintenance hatch sliding open above her and a grenade dropping through. "S@~@" Astrianna yells as she dives over Prospero's lap and covers her ears just in time.
Popping her eyes open, all she can hear in ringing. Shelyn's t**@.. I'm not dead! She thinks, scrambling out of Prospero's lap and dismissing her holoscreen with a wave of her hand. She only briefly catches the chat of her live-steaming absolutely exploding with questions and comments, the feed slightly distorted from the light and sound overload.
Getting more pissed by the second, Astrianna grabs a grenade from her belt and presses her thumb against the arming switch. "They'll be able to fit your whole squad in a coffee can when we're done with you degenerates! She yells, tossing the incendiary device directly through the hatch. It bounces off the ceiling of the tram station and lands a metron north of the hole in the ceiling.
Move action: arm incendiary grenade
Standard Action: Toss grenade through hatch. Don't know which side they're gathered on, but I assume wthey're massed around the hatch. Aiming to get the 1 Metron square north side of the hatch because I might as well pick a place.
incendiary grenade toss: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 21
fire damage: 1d6 ⇒ 3
I don't know if I should roll the Burn effect or not, that's when the enemy takes it turn correct?
|Cueta Guiding Star|
Thing about Doshkos are, they don't travel well on mass transit. Something about the weapon's sharp edges keep people from crowding in too close on a jostling train, and that suits Cueta just fine. The pilot wraps one arm around a pole and enjoys the relatively luxurious space she and her companions have been afforded, and Cueta lets her mind wander, to ideas of fame and fortune.
Of course, Cueta thinks, somewhat absently, Iago's bound to find me sooner or later if we're on every screen in the Pact Worlds...
So lost in thought, the pilot almost misses the grenade drop through the ceiling. Almost...
"PUK!" Cueta yells, shielding her eyes. "Who's tryna dust us now?"
Setting into a wide stance, Cueta prepares to whack the first thing that comes down that trainhole, but the weapon is too big for the space in the train; it drags across the ceiling with screeching, scraping ring.
readying to attack the first thing through the ceiling.
doshko!: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
damage: 1d12 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 12
Looks like there's no damage bonus for a 2h weapon in SF, correct?
Sure, Prospero-4 is happy to see the world from outside perspective
4d20 ⇒ (15, 16, 15, 9) = 55
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22
1d6 + 10 ⇒ (1) + 10 = 11
1d20 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
1d4 ⇒ 1
1d20 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7
Ah I think Prospero and I just missed each other. Oh well. I'll move on and we'll say it took a little long for Prospero to process the new feed and he can act from Round 2 with the nerfed blinded condition. BTW Cueta you're right there's no two handed damage rule in Starfinder. I'm pretty sure they compensated by just making those weapons more damaging.
Leila works to get Prospero back to some limited form of vision while Prospero's cortex focuses on processing the new, crude visual information feed. Cueta prepares to attack the first thing that comes through while Astrianna returns the grenadier's favour by tossing one right back at them.
There is a serious of muffled curses from above and then another grenade drops down. It explodes into a mass of sticky webbing that spurts out in a wide area. All four of the group are able to avoid it though.
A shot from an electrical weapon whizzes from above and slams into the wall right next to Prospero-4's head missing him. As this happens a large Vesk clad in sleek armor drops from above, gracefully ducking underneath Ceuta's swipe. He turns and slams a sparkling battle gauntlet right into the android's rib cage with a vicious left hook causing him a significant amount of pain that is both physical and electrical. The group fighting them is working in a coordinated unit and it seems like they've decided which target to focus their fire on!
As it becomes clear what's happening the other occupants of the train,thankfully out of range of the carnage, start to scream and stampede away from the combatants.
Setup. Prospero is blind and can't see who's firing at him as it's not in range of the CCTV cam in the train cab. Leila is on the same side and can see a Lashunta in light armor staring down coldly with a static arc pistol aimed right at Prospero-4. There is a very large Vesk with electrical battle gauntlets in melee range of everyone. Of course that means he is in melee range of everyone too. It would take two Guarded Steps for Leila and Prospero-4 to get out of range of the Vesk, while it would take one Guarded Step for Cueta and Astrianna to get out of range. Cueta and Astrianna are on opposite sides of the Vesk so, if Astrianna would have some sort of melee weapon they'd be flanking the Vesk. Round Two. Party up.
Prospero takes 11 damage
Damage Tracker Top of Round Two
Astrianna 5 damage
Cueta 5 damage
Leila 5 damage
Prospero-4 16 damage Blinded 2 rounds remaining
Greandier 4 damage
"This Vesk is free!" Leila calls out to Cueta. She didn't actually know the answer to the woman's question - but now she didn't have to hesitate with that big scary thing she had bought. She can just chop-chop-chop for all I care!
The halfling looks to slip away from the Vesk as soon as the later looks even momentarily distracted, hoping to put some distance between the two. 20' or four guarded steps worth in fact!
Acrobatics: Tumble: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (6) + 13 = 19 DC 15 +1.5*CR
As she flees she wracks her mind for anything helpful she has heard about the Vesks. Preferably something that would let her take this one down!
Culture?: Identify Vesk Weaknesses: 1d20 + 11 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 11 + 2 = 31
But she figured most things of flesh and blood were at least somewhat weak to bullets - she raised her rifle and squeezed off the single bullet as soon as she was safely out of melee range.
Attack!: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 5 = 17
Damage?: 1d10 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
Actions: Move to Tumble (draw weapon as part of move), Standard to shoot. Free to look at.
Astrianna laughs maliciously when she hears a third voice cursing, using it as an indication that her grenade hit its mark. She was ready for the second grenade, perhaps unwisely punting the explosive when it was halfway to the ground. The sticky bomb sails past Cueta and over Leila's head to harmlessly explode goo all over some poor human's dry-cleaning.
Cocking her leg back to try the trick again, the third thing to fall through the hatch was... slightly larger than a grenade. Though flinching back from the huge Vesk as it pounds Prospero into his seat, she manages to quip- "Gods, this is the ugliest grenade I've ever seen. Throw a prettier one next time!"
The half-elf draws a knife from her boot and waves it menacingly at the Vesk, making a few fake thrusts to draw his attention to give Cueta an opening to smash his brains in. "You think a few punches can take out Prospero? I've seen him keep fighting with a hole blown through him."
Move action: Draw Survival Knife to threaten Vesk and give Cueta flanking.
Standard Action: Use Inspiring Boost on Prospero, healing 9 stamina
More static. And pain.
It is perhaps a blessing the melee is out of camera's range. Seeing himself beaten might be confusing to look at.
"What is it, the thing attacking me? A Vesk?"
The would be true... The snarling sound near him... Could be a Vesk breathing between its teeth. And the strength of the punch. But it wasn't just brute strength - Prospero-4 felt the electric current running through him with the blow. So it must be a powered gauntlet of some sort.
The android concetrates for a moment, to locate the device, the gauntlet. It's not as if he sees it, but he is able to feel it nonetheless. And so he might be able to command it. With a mental command, Prospero-4 instructs his custom rig to overload the gauntlet's circuits momentarily.
Standard action: Overload. Target gets DC16 REF save, or the gauntlet becomes nonfunctional. Since I only need to be adjacent to the device, I suppose this could be done blinded
With that done, Prospero-4 tries to back off from the enemy's reach.
Move: guarded step
|Cueta Guiding Star|
Cueta snarls - A Vesk! Of course! - and swings the doshko with all her force at the sentient's hulking frame.
attack: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
damage: 1d12 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
Apologies for the quick post - work is still giving me a kicking this week.
Attack: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
Punch: 1d4 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8
1d6 ⇒ 3
3d4 + 3 ⇒ (3, 3, 1) + 3 = 10
Leila tries to think of any specific weaknesses Vesks might have but really fails to come up with anything. There was a reason the whole Pact Worlds had to band together in order to ward off the threat the Veskarium had posed to the entire solar system. You hit them a lot until they fall down and it usually takes a lot of hitting. Large soldiers are probably not very nimble is the best she can come up with.
She's able to put that knowledge to use by ducking out of the way of the Vesk without getting clocked for the trouble and her shot gives the Vesk a nasty shoulder wound.
Astrianna gives Prospero a morale boost while also giving the Vesk something to think about with her knife.
Which seems to distract him quite a lot. Prospero's internal circuitry shorts out the electorvore guantlets for a moment and that, along with Astrianna's distraction is just enough for Cueta to land a blow with her brand new doshko; baptising it with Vesk blood.
Screams from the people who've managed to get out of the train to flee the violence takes on a even higher pitch as a human wearing the same generic uniform as the Vesk falls with a thud to the platform outside and rolls around on the floor trying to get flames off him.
Three magical bolts of energy speed out of the vent, leaving purple and blue trails behind them right before they slam into Prospoer-4. As this happens the Vesk grunts and follows the Andorid with a Guarded Step of his own and slams his armored fist into Prospero's face with a metal denting thud. It doesn't do any electrical damage... but it still hurts.
Prospero took 8 damage from the punch and 10 damage from the magic!
Setup: The Vesk, looks really hurt with a lot of bleeding. Outside the train cab a human is rolling around on the ground and has just managed to put all the flames out. Only Leila can see the Lashunta above and she's unharmed. I'll say Prospero shifted in Cueta's direction and the Vesk followed. Because of this Cueta and Prospero are in melee range of the Vesk. Prospero can only see the Vesk as the cam can't see above or outside the train. Leila can attack the Lashunta or the Vesk. She'll have to move to get to an open door to attack the human though. Cueta can attack the Vesk. Astrianna can attack the Vesk or move to an open door to attack the human. She can move up to flank the Vesk with Prospero if she wishes. Round Three Party up!
Damage Tracker Top of Round Three
Astrianna 5 damage
Cueta 5 damage
Leila 5 damage
Prospero-4 SP: 0/21 HP: 18/22 damage Blinded 1 rounds remaining
Grenadier 7 damage
Vesk 17 damage
Astrianna can't help but laugh as the human, who is clearly on fire from her grenade, jumps off the train and starts rolling around on the ground. Serves him right for attacking us! From the half-elf's perspective this fight was an easy fight guaranteed just going to increase her viewership numbers. If Prospero had a perspective he would probably disagree.
She whips out her pistol from its holster and points it at the Vesk with one hand, the other still holding her knife just in case. "Anyone want to take out a life insurance policy on this vesk with me? It's about to pay out."
Move action: Get' em on the Vesk, +1 to attack for everyone on our favorite punchy melee guy.
Move action #2: Draw laser pistol
|Cueta Guiding Star|
Working for a warlord taught you one very important lesson. If someone challenges you - in any way, but especially with violence - you put onto them five times what you've endured, and you don't stop until they do.
Bringing the doshko up, Cueta wobbles a little under the weapon's unwieldy balance, and the Vesk easily bats her strike aside.
attack, get' em: 1d20 + 5 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 5 + 1 = 9
damage: 1d12 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
Leila drops her longarm and dives for proper cover. There she draws her ArcPistol and opens fire on the lashunta. Wouldn't be fair if she was left out of all this!
to hit: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 5 = 20
damage?: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6
Is possible to move into a position where the Lashunta could not see Prospero?
From what he can see from the external video, Prospero-4 is the only one being attacked so far. Whoever they are, these attackers seem to have something against him.
Best he can do for now, is to try seek shelter from the Vesk and the shooter above. Keeping his head low, the android steps back from the Vesk's reach and moves towards the other corner of the train car.
Guarded step + move away from the vesk
Punch: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10
2d4 + 2 ⇒ (2, 3) + 2 = 7
Shoot: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 5 = 20
1d4 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2
The vesk, outraged by having his target get away from him screams as he swings at the human right in front of him, glove crackling again with electrial power. He misses.
The Lashunta above the train bites out a curse as she gets hit by Leila's marksmanship. She disappears from Leila's view and the next thing she knows she sees her lead down gracefully onto the subway platform in front of the open doors. By this time pretty much all the other transit rides have pretty much exited and are cramming onto stairs and escalators to try and get as far away from the violence as possible. Alarms are staring to blare as well.
Switch targets! she shouts Focus Fire on the human then. Bring at least one of the targets down you incompenent morons!
She's holding a spell gem in her hand and two more bolts of blue and purple magical force speed and curve unerringly through the chaos to hit Cueta.
The human foe, finally no longer burning crawls into position and fires at Cueta as well. His shot hits the human woman also.
Ceuta takes nine damage total from two attacks
Prospero's visual systems manage to compensate for the effects of the flashbang grenade. He can now see the angry and very heavily wounded Vesk engaging with Cueta while a lashunta and human fire at her from outside.
Setup. Wounded Vesk in melee with Cueta. Lashunta and human shooting at Ceuta from open door to subway platform. Prospero is no longer blind. Prosporo and Leila would need to use a move action to get open line of sight on the lashunta and the human. Vesk can be attacked by anyone. Astrianna can attack anyone.
Damage Tracker Top of Round Three
Astrianna 5 damage
Cueta 14 damage
Leila 5 damage
Prospero-4 SP: 0/21 HP: 18/22 damage No longer Blind
Grenadier 7 damage
Vesk 17 damage
Mage 6 damage
Astrianna squeezes off a shot with her laser pistol, missing horribly due to her single-handed grip. The laser goes past the Vesk and burns a hole in the seat next to Leila's head. "Gods, Leila, watch where you're standing! My stream loves you, they would never forgive me if I shot you!" The half-elf shouts while the smell of burnt plastics fill the air.
After chastising the halfing for nearly getting shot, she directs their attention to Vesk in the room. "Why is this vesk still standing?! Drop him so we can deal with the others!"
Move action: Get 'em on the vesk, +1 to attack for everyone aiming at the soon-to-be-dead vesk.
Standard Action: Fire laser pistol at Vesk
Pistol shot: 1d20 + 4 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 4 + 1 = 9
Pistol damage: 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
|Cueta Guiding Star|
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"Wait!" Cueta yells, as the bolts thud into her. "Why the human! What'd the human do!"
No time to spare, the pilot brings the doshko back and wobbles just a bit, before circling it through the tight isle of the train car, and directly into the vesk's face.
attack, get 'em: 1d20 + 5 + 1 ⇒ (20) + 5 + 1 = 26
crit damage: 2d12 + 6 ⇒ (10, 8) + 6 = 24
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The force of Cueta's blow is such that the Vesk's face basically ceases to exist.
Using a traditional Vesk weapon of her own to basically reduce one of them to a headless stump feels incredibly satisfying to the out of time frontier woman.
It is quite messy though and Vesk blood spurts all over the place as the large corpse topples over.
"Aaaah!" Leila ducks behind her piece of cover as the laser impacts uncomfortably close to her. While it was really nice to hear that she was liked - she simply wished that the circumstances were better. Less shots near/at her for example!
She decides that, for her own safety and the hearts of Astri's viewers, to relocate to another spot out of any potential lanes of fire. Hopefully! the halfling thought to herself as she rapidly crawled towards some solid looking window seats.
From her new hopefully safer piece of cover the halfling popped up and squeezed off another round towards the mage. Zaaap!
Trick: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (18) + 12 = 30
Attack: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12
Damage?: 1d6 + 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (5) + (6) + 1 = 12
Action: Trick Attack (move -> shoot). Assuming the Vesk is done for it - if it's actually still up please do redirect Leila's shot and add the Get 'em bonus . )
|Cueta Guiding Star|
Slick with the Vesk's blood, Cueta raises the doshko over her head and yells, "AYE THAT'S WHY PUKKERS, WHOSE NEXT THEN, YEAH?"
"Tuyo!" Cueta says, eyes locked onto the burned human, her voice quaking with rage "Tuyo next then, chinney!"
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Feeling nothing particular with Cueta cutting down the Vesk, Prospero-4 still senses the tide of the fight is turning. No longer needing to fear the reptilian's fists, the android moves into a position where he has a line of sight to the lashunta, and blasts with his laser rifle.
Laser rifle: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
damage: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
Prospero-4 remembers the salesman mentioning the laser rifle used to belong to something called imperial stormtrooper. He wonders if he made a bad purchase.
5d20 ⇒ (16, 7, 4, 15, 8) = 50
Leila's trick shot cleanly hits the technomancer and she grimaces. She seems more concerned with the muscle of her group losing his head though. She scowls and gives the grenadier at her feet a swift kick. Retreat she orders and the human tosses a smoke grenade into the middle of the train cab.
Not only does the sudden thick fumes of smoke obscure everyone's vision but Astrianna and Cueta are overcome by choking coughs and can't even move to get out of the cloud.
Leila and Prospero-4 could pursue the two but they get the feeling that it's going to be a heck of a chase with the headstart.
Pursue or let be?
"*Cough* Everyone okay!? Well except the Vesk we know he's not but who actually cares ..." Leila stumbles out of the smoke cloud. whichever direction she guesses is fastest. Luckily there didn't seem to be *too* much smoke so she was soon safe-ish. "Damn! That was certainly something..."
With a quick glance in the direction their assailants took off in the halfling decides that chasing doesn't seem like the best plan. Catching up would be tough - and she'd probably get shot at again. Let's just try something else!
Instead she flipped up her pocket computer and once more tried to access the train and stations data net. This time she wasn't in quite as much hurry (and also not under fire!) so hopefully she'd be able to get a bit more. It would be awesome if there were some emergency lockdown procedure - but probably not. Finding and downloading some footage of the attackers might be good enough. And if she found them on the live feed she could at least track where they ran!
Computer!: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (20) + 12 = 32
Leila gains full root access to the security cam system of the station. She can do pretty much anything she can think of and code in. She'd have to find a control room to do anything else. She finds the two running up the steps to the ground level with no visible weapons doing a pretty good job of disappearing into the panicked crowd.
"I can get some images of them at least. They're leaving in a hurry!" Leila noted and started to copy over the security footage. Maybe they'll find some clues when they had time to look it over ... So she went and looked if she could copy down the earlier recorded footage too.
Astrianna barks a laugh when Cueta decapitates the Vesk. "If the sponge-brains that hired these goons are watching the stream now, this is what happens when you f!$& with me and my crew!" She sends a pointed warning to whomever is stupid enough to keep trying to get them killed.
Another grenade bounces into the train, but this time she's distracted and doesn't recognize the canister until it explodes in a cloud of incapacitating smoke. Robbed of sight, Astrianna's prodigious lungs are filled with strangulating smoke while she desperately tries to get out of the car.
Coughing and sputtering she finally emerges from the tram car, spinning in a circle with her laser pistol and knife ready. "They... *hack* ...ran?!" She exclaims, putting her hands on her knees and coughing violently for a few moments. "Ugh. I wanted to teach those pukes a lesson. There's no way we'll catch them now."
Sheathing her knife and pistol, Astrianna holds up her left arm, tapping a few commands on her comm to activate the face-cam. "How was that, stream?! We really gave them something to think about. Did you see how many hits Prospero took from that Vesk? That Golemforged plating is the real deal. If you're looking to buy your own heavy armor don't settle for cheap imitators! Get Golemforged; armor you can pass on to your kids, because you'll actually live long enough to have them." The vlogger manages to get a plug for one of their biggest sponsers while walking back into the train car.
She kneels down in front of the dead vesk, turning her LifeCorder system back to the primary streaming device. "Now let's see what it has in its pockets..." A bit of rummaging later and the only interesting (valuable) thing was the burner credstick, which she promptly slides into her pocket. "Boring. The rest of this is evidence anyway, ASS would just sieze it."
"Speaking of which," Astrianna says as she puts her hands on her hips and struts out of the train car, "shouldn't security be here by now? What do we even pay taxes for?"
Strained, and still feeling some of the pain from the blows, Prospero-4 studies the dents on his armor. And looks like Astrianna's sales pitch rings true - there is practically no damage on his armor. The android looks towards Astrianna's camera, and (after cross-referencing several trid-shows for appropriate social gesture) raises up his thumb.
"Who were these attackers? Bounty hunters, mercs, or corporate thugs? I would say the hit-team was specifically targeting us."
The android kneel's down to search for any clues in the fallen Vesk - unit markings in gear or anything similar.
"Do you think it's the same ones who sent the android to kill us on the Rock?"
A 10 min rest would be nice here...
|Cueta Guiding Star|
The coughing spell over, Cueta sits in a seat in the now (nearly) empty subway car, leaning the doshko against the wall. After a few seconds to catch her breath, the former soldier kneels down and cuts a bit of cloth from the dead vesk's clothing (tougher than it looks with a doshko). Then, Cueta sits down again, and wipes her face clean of the vesk's head-gore.
"Whose not tryna kill nostro, then? Two hits in about as many days. Hasta be someone's gunning for us."
"Who was the android on the Rock?"
"I'm just guessing but ... What sort of people could afford to fling hired thugs at Starfinders they don't like? Must be some really desperate a@#$&%*s that know they have no legal recourse. Just spewing this crap. Some ass-tral excavators if you'd like. Hmph!" The halfling sounded uncharacteristicly annoyed but - as accurately pointed out - this was the second attempt on their lives. And what could they possibly hope to gain now? They were just sore losers! Another option crossed her mind. She made sure to wait until Astri's recorder were pointing far away before sharing it. "Unless ... They might think they can win the race to decipher the weird stuff?"
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It has in fact only been about half a minute since the attack started and the alarms started blaring. It takes about two more for the familiar sight of silver security drones sweeping in to take visual scans of the area once they confirm that there is no hostile activity.
It's all very reminiscent of the aftermath of the Dock 94 incident which makes sense as the subway platform is also in the Arms. It'd be a pretty short hovercab ride to the Dock where the Sunrise Maiden is docked from here.
APPENDAGES OUT WHERE I CAN SEE THEM! an even more familiar voice screams out. Well familar to everyone but Cueta The four of you look up to see the Ysoki Officer Piven rushing down the steps with what looks like a small hand cannon gripped in his paw. He goes into a scampering slide behind an info screen and pops out to the side aiming it right at the group. WHERE I CAN SEE THEM I SAID!
The hulking form of Officer Goret strolls down casually behind his hyperactive partner. Ms. Sparacello. he greets Astrianna It's been, what, a week? Seems like you and your friends have a way of attractin' trouble.
He takes out a datapad and scrubs through the security cam footage. (Data that Leila has long since downloaded and stored away). Not bystanders though this time I see. Do you know why you'd be targeted in this fashion?
He politely makes his way into the train cub and hisses appreciatively at the headless Vesk who is still oozing bodily fluids onto the train cab. These are a heck of a step up from some gangers from the spike too sure enough. Higher end weapons, quality armor. Though that don't seem to have bothered you much, miss the Vesk security officer nods appreciatively at Cueta and her still very bloody doshko.
Astrianna perks up as the security drone flies in to sweep the area. "Finally! I want to hit the Drift and get to Castrovel. ...Ugh, I never thought I'd say that."
She nearly bursts into laughter when Piven arrives on the scene, remembering the overactive Ysoki from before. Composing herself, she gestures to Cueta. "That one is Officer Piven... he's a bit jumpy, just ignore him."
Pleased to see Officer Goret arriving on the scene, she flashes him a brilliant smile. "How good to see you again Officer Goret. Unfortunate we have to keep meeting under such unpleasant circumstances, though." She makes a plainative gesture. "Starfinders are magnets for trouble, it seems."
She patiently waits while he looks over the security footage, giving a curt nod. "That's the gist of it. They dropped on us out of nowhere. Seems someone has it out for us ever since we got involved with the Drift Rock. If you watched the live stream, we've had an assassin and a Cairncarver sent after us too." Hands finding her hips, the half-elf smiles dazzlingly. "Hasn't slowed us down one bit though!"
To address the Officer's qestion, Astrianna shrugs. "Probably corporate interests trying to off us after we screwed them out of the Drift Rock. We don't have any evidence though, it's not like they send goons after us wearing Astral Extractions jumpsuits."
Glancing at her wrist, she sighs wistfully "Well it's been wonderful Officer, but we're fine and really must be going. We don't want to file any complaints or anything, Cueta metted out enough justice for one day if you ask me." Astrianna gestures to the decapitated Vesk while trying to avoid having to go to the station to make a statement or anything else that would slow them down from leaving.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 9 + 1d6 ⇒ (2) + 9 + (5) = 16 Oof let's re-roll that using Slick Customer.
Diplomacy, Slick Customer: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (15) + 12 = 27
|Cueta Guiding Star|
Ceuta stands with her arms raised, in a very similar fashion to the first encounter she'd had with a vesk since she woke - the difference being that this one was headless on the floor of an Absalom subway car, and it was a ysoki that was pointing a weapon at her.
"Yeah, real jumpy. Hard to ignore a jumpy cop with a gun, yeah?"
Leila had an interesting point. Perhaps they were just meant to be casualties in a larger snake-and-grouse game. It wasn't so much them, as what they were trying to do, that made them targets.
"Nah, didn't bother mio much't all, chinney?" Cueta says, smiling her most personable smile at Goret. Despite her utter lack of ability in any situation requiring charm, Cueta's smile still comes off as friendly, interested, disarming. "So nostro free to go, then?"
If Lelia was right, they needed to get going. Like hours ago.
aid Astri: 1d20 ⇒ 18
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Officer Goret sighs Mebbe I should start watching your Tube streaming things. Just to get a sense of when you're in town and are gonna be raisin' alarms all over the Station. Heck might be just as entertaining as Veskarium Fight-Dances based on all this. he waves his hand at the scene in the train. There's no malice in what he's saying as he dismisses you Yeah you lot are free to go about your business. We'll let you know if we have any questions.
WE'RE WATCHING YOU! Piven shouts gesturing towards his eyes and then towards your group. YOU'RE ON OUR RADAR NOW CHUMMERS!
Finally the alarms are shut off and is replaced by an announcement from Absatransit apologizing for the unexpected delay on one of the Ring to Arm Subway lines and suggesting commuters seek alternate routes.
The easiest alternate route at this point is robotaxi or walking. Either way it doesn't take very long for the group to make it to the dock housing the Sunrise Maiden. It doesn't take very long for permission to be granted for the starship to take off.
"Nice to see you too!" Leila chirps despite not really feeling that way. She'd be glad if she would never again see an ass - especially if that meant she would never have a reason to see one! Though these one were quite pleasant she supposed. "Goodbye!"
"Pew!" Leila sighs in relief as they are safely inside their ship. (Oh darn that's still such an awesome feeling! Our ship.) First she makes sure that all their goods and supplies are stowed and safe, then she heads for her chair in the bridge. "So! What do you all make of this? Assassins just for us ... Maybe you should put a slight delay on your stream Astri - just so they have to work a little to find us! Also, that might apply not just to Astral Goons but there's probably zealous fans too right? Right. Probably."
Astri grins at Officer Goret. "You really should! You've been really good to us officer, so if you send a PM to AstriAdventures on Utoob or a squawk to my Roccer handle @Songbird, I'll set you up with a free lifetime subscription to my channels! You'll get vidoes a day before everyone else and an ad-free viewing experience."
Waving goodbye to the security, she yells back at Piven- "OKAY OFFICER PIVEN THANK YOU." With only a slight hint of sarcasm.
Plopping into the Captain's chair aboard the Sunrise Maiden, Astrianna runs a perfectly manicured hand through her shimmering raven tresses, then opens up her comm unit. "I'm signing off for today, stream! We're on a top-secret mission for the Starfinders so there won't be any streams for a while, but make sure to check out my latest videos on my Utoob account, including an upcoming, original footage high-definition steroscopic 3D 4320p release of the Drift Rock Adventure that you can't find anywhere else! Comment, subscribe, and tell your friends!" She says with uncanny perkiness before waving goodbye and closing the stream.
Relaxing into the captain's chair like a gelantious cube in a trash compactor, Astrianna sighs. "Oh, who cares Leila? We've killed everyone they've sent after us, we'll do it again. In any case I won't be streaming while we're on the job in Castrovel. I like the revenue, but it seems really important to get ahead of the competition on this. I'll just upload the footage later and make a gods damned killing".
"Pumpkin, plot a course for Qabarat and give me an ETA. Cueta, you have the helm, do whatever. Prospero, do whatever, the ship can take care of itself. You've earned a break after taking that beating from the Vesk." She says in an almost bored voice, already looking at her holographic comm unit again. "Leila can you help me edit this footage from the Drift Rock? I was hoping to have the first part up today but I can't get the video of the dogfight on the Hippocampus to stabilize."
Three days estimated time of travel Captain Pumpkin replies. Please be advised that I have been updated with the latest updates and patches to my system. It is recommended to go over the release notes to familiarze yourselves with my new features and capabilities!
You can set different names for Pumpkin if you wish per crew member and even pick a new personality. Right now Pumpkin is set to the default Pleasant Male Human.
Cleared for takeoff. Good luck Starfinders.. comes the final message from traffic control as you blast out of Absalom Station and The Sunrise Maiden leaves the glittering spires and metal arms of the center of the Pact Worlds behind to set a course for one of its most important planets, Castrovel.
It only takes a few days of travel for the hot, humid world to come into view. The turquoise blue seas and brilliant green jungle continents of the planet, blocked from view in places by white swirls of clouds, is incredibly familiar (and dull) to Astrianna but is an astonishing sight to Prospoero-4 and Leila, who have never even set foot on a planet before, but also to Cueta, whose own homeworld is a desert planet by contrast.
The planet looms larger and larger in view as The Sunrise Maiden comes in for an approach until it is the only thing visible from the cockpit. It is daytime in Qabarat and so the blues and greens and whites of the world shine jewel like at the four as Pumpkin negotiates landing rights with Qabarat Air and Space Traffic Control.
It doesn't take very long for permission to be granted and the Sunrise Maiden dips into Castrovel's gravity well and enters the planet's atmosphere; the starship judders as it does so and a slight shaking announces the first time the ship has landed on a planet for the better part of a century.
Soon enough the emerald green of Asana, the Lashunta continent, expands to take over the view from The Sunrise Maiden and then, where the Yaro River cuts through the sea cliffs at the edge of the Stormshield Mountains, ancient walls of crushed, glittering shells rise up to cradle the modern metropolis of Qabarat, nestled among venerable structures dating to the civilization's beginnings.
The Sunrise Maiden swoops over the towers of the city as it hones on on Ship's End, the largest space port on the planet and testament to the status of the city-state of Qabarat. As you descend you get glimpses of the cliffs and mountains that surround the city as well as the beaches and oceans that make it a stunningly beautiful place.
The Starfinders have a good reputation on Qabarat so the customs procedure is courteous and efficient and soon you find yourselves outside the space port.
For those of the group that have never been on a planet before the experience is... disorienting.. starships and the corridors and rooms of space stations are all sized for average sentients .Here the horizon stretches away as far as the eye can see and everywhere you look you see... impossibly titanic structures.... the mountains especially make you feel impossibly tiny in comparision in a way that the empty vastness of space, with its completely lack of sense of scale, does not.
The sky itself is a new experience as well, the slight wisps of clouds on this sunny day hanging absurdly in mid air. There is no way to tell how far away they are and looking up at them is dizzying.
Everything just feels different. There is a sticky quality from the humidity of the air that is completely foreign to those used to the dry vented air of spacestations. The atompshere and gravity here are just real and organic in a way that the artificially generated impermaneent conviences that masquereade as such on Abslaom Station just aren't.
Waiting for you in front of a hoverskim is Astrianna's friend Intora. He grins at Astrianna, wrapping her in a crushing bear hug before giving Cueta, Prospero-4, and Leila slightly shorter ones. Lashunta are known to be generally a pretty touchy-feely lot.
Well, you're doin' pretty well fer yourself, huh hot stuff? Intorya says to Astrianna with a lopsided smile. The extreme adventure stuff bloomin' in all the right ways for you hey?
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"I'm just worried they'll send something more dangerous and hard to fight; like a bomb. Or a bucket of gunk. Ouch." Leila isn't sure which of the two scenarios would be more frightening for Astri - but it was worth a shot! Besides... If the half-elf were worried Leila could be less worried herself. It's a zero sum game right? "*Ehm* But sure I can help you out! Between Pumpkin, Prospero and I we'll have your space-fight-footage level!"
"Also! It might be helpful for us to go over it, so we can learn a bit..." Leila beamed. It's like a trid and we are the heroes!! Plus she had this special written algorithm she wanted to try out, one that would continuously scale up the size of Astri's hat as the footage played, but she still needed some raw pics to work with! Te-hehe! It *probably* wouldn't be included in the final product - but maybe uploaded anonymously a few hours later...?
"Woah!" Leila attaches her face to the viewing port and doesn't leave until it's time to step out on the planet proper. As the planet grew larger, so did her eyes. "Awesome! It's ... huge! Enormous!! Unfathomable almost - The Station could fit a hundred times!" Probably a lot more then that too! she though, but wasn't interested in running the math. She had already done that twice yesterday but couldn't recall the results...
Outside the ship the halflings neck did a pretty impressive swivel impression as she tried to look at *everything*. But mostly the sky. So wast and big and huge and colourful! Amazing. It's like a kaleidoscope!
So impressive in fact that she didn't mind being squished by Astri's friend. (Well other then the fact that the Lashunta obscured the view!) Well it she was soon enough back to looking at everything again. Awesome!
Astrianna pulls up Pumpkin's new version release notes and recoils in horror when she notices the first entry is from a patch released 70 years ago. "Uhhh.. Prospero! I have a job for you after you get done resting. Read all these release notes on Pumpkin and tell me the important bits. Thanks." She says while closing the list as quickly as possible.
Over the next three days Astrianna works with Leila to spiff up all the footage they had of the Drift Rock Adventure, combining together elements from both the hover drone footage and her tiara. The original footage ended up being a cut in a three-part cinematic-style adventure, covering all the exciting bits and exploration, while cutting out any non-entertaining downtime (for instance, moving certain Eoxian freight into the Hippocampus...). The first episode was uploaded immediately to Utoob as Astri & Crew Gets Your Drift Rocks Off, then the other two were set to be released every 24 hours after the first.
She had plans to do a "director's cut" version with commentary from their team, and spent the third day basically cornering Prospero and Leila and forcing them to talk about the events that transpired on the drift rock to capture their voice clips.
As they near Castrovel, the vlogger is mostly buried in her comm's holoscreen, but she looks up once at least once while Leila is freaking out about the planet. "Yupppp. There it is. My ant-infested mudball of a home planet. It's pretty, I guess." She says with a sigh, going back to watching funny trids of tamed blink dogs getting themselves into hilarious situations.
As the ship begins to shudder from atmospheric entry, she closes her comm and hops up, stretching widely. "Who's ready to sweat their ass off?! I'm not! I need to change clothes, and if you don't want to die of heat exhaustion you probably should too." After which she promptly wanders off to the Captain's Quarters to change.
As they speed toward the Qabarat spaceport Astrianna re-emerges, ready for Castrovel. Her black hair is pulled back and up in a tight bun away from her shoulders, and she's wearing huge, black sunglasses that take up most of her face. A basic but tight-fitting green tanktop is paired with a knee-length golden sarong (decorated with an assortment blue-thread-stitched songbirds from various planets) that hangs over her left hip. A pair of comfortable, matching green sandals goes well with her celebrity vacation escape look, and a heavy coating of lavender-scented sunscreen definitely completes the vibe. "Easy on the throttle there, Cueta." She says while plopping into the Captain seat, kicking up her feet, and laughing. "I'm joking, you're doing great. I just felt like I should say something."
Intora was not the first sight she expected to see on Castrovel, and Astrianna lets out a high-pitched squeal that would rival her kawaii days. "Intora! By Shelyn you're a sight for space-irradiated eyes!" Running up to meet the Lashunta and being captured by his hug. "Uggghh my liver guhhh." She complains half-heartedly while being squeezed into paste by his massive biceps.
Coughing briefly and regaining use of her lungs, she stands up proudly with hands on her hips at his inquiry. "That's right! My subscriber count has grown by ten times in the past week alone! This Starfinder business is really taking off, and while my natural talent is certainly a large component, I have you to thank for the opportunity, you stud!" She would wink in his direction, but the giant sunglasses obscure pretty much all eye movements.
"Are you our contact in Qabarat, or did you ride over here just to see me...?" She teases with hints of a sensual undertone.
Hey, always got time for a friend. Intora says with a smile. Which does fit with Astrianna's experience of his personality. He's just incredibly incredibly friendly. Saw you were landin' today from your roccer and I figured I'd surprise ya. Hey.. If you want I'll drop you guys off where you're going. So long as it's in the city.
It is in fact a pretty short distance from Ship's End to the Qabarat university of Xenoarchaelogy and Xenoantrhopology or QUXAX for short.
Intoraya's hoverskim speeds by The Battle Yards, the famed center for training soldiers and mercenaries that is located right next to the Docks. Didn't have the stuff to make it through there he says a bit ruefully as they leave it behind. As he drives the four of you deeper into the city, trees give way to elegant towers of carbon fiber, glass, and steel, each artistically sculpted to create a stunning forest of dazzling skyscrapers. QUXAX is just north of the downtown commercial district and consists of about ten large buildings scattered across groomed lawns and gardens.
As he drops you off he asks Sooo... where you guys crashing tonight?
At the University your contact, Whaloss, comes rushing out when he's pinged on his comm. Oh so very wonderful to meet all of you. It's so exciting to meet pioneers in the field. Such mysterious alien symbology hiding in a humble asteroid! he beams at the four of you, his antennas twitching with excitement.
He is a tall and thin damaya Lashunta, almost gaunt and is wearing a stylish blend of local silks. The suit is faded though, as if it's the only formal clothing Whaloss has and is a bit worn out from over use.
|Cueta Guiding Star|
Cueta uses her days aboard the Sunrise Maiden memorizing the various controls in the bridge. After setting the autopilot charting and (temporarily) disabling the manual controls, the pilot blindfolds herself and spends hours at a time moving her hands across the various buttons, knobs, handles, and touchscreens, working essentially in the dark, until she's familiar with every instrument on the bridge and its function - by touch as well as sight. Cueta's reserved and somewhat unapproachable during this time, merely grunting or giving curt one word answers to her companions' queries; this was important work that needed her full attention. Each of their lives would depend on it.
When they first see Castrovel, Cueta looks from screen to screen to window to screen, mouth dropping in amazement. It was so... green, sooooo much so than her dusty brown homeworld. And so mountainous. Not flat at all, not at all like the oilpan of a dustbike...
While they ride on Intora's hoverskiff Cueta cranes her neck every which way, vaguely aware that she must look like quite the rube, and not caring one bit. How Astianna got bored of living here, Cueta couldn't fathom.
The university, however, provides to be much less interesting. Not much of a reader (nor a very good one), Cueta simply shrugs a nice to meet you, more or less kind of shrug and waits for the others to do the talking - and the research. She'd watch out for hidden assassins and the like. It wouldn't be nearly so boring...
perception to look for hidden assassins and the like: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (12) + 9 = 21
something out there likes you: 1d100 ⇒ 53
Still looking nice! Leila thinks to herself as they stop outside the university. It would probably take some time to process all these sights - being indoors again might just be a blessing.
As for the question of rest - she'd guess either the ship or, if available, the Starfinder lodge. But that wasn't set in stone so she could avoid that question for a moment...
"Feels good to be here!" Leila grins at their excited host. Don't need to know that isn't all academic delight! Even if the alien symbols were a enticing mystery, there were so much more easily accessible mundane wonder on this planet.
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While on ship...
"Very well, captain." Prospero-4 agrees, and punches in a command to bring all the release notes in his display. As the page count increases to five-digit numbers, the android lets out a sigh. At least he'll be quite occupied during this trip.
"Pumpkin, analyse and cross-reference all the feature changes in the release notes, and remove all the decrepitated features from the list. Then reorganize the list per module affected - secondary sorting by descending release date. Let's see what they've done here..."
And so Prospero-4 drills down into the details of software changes together with Pumpkin, and on the third day of their voyage, he is ready to present the results with the rest of the crew. And even this list of highlights is greatly shortened from the original, it is far from short.
"...and the whole software suite is composed of 186 different pieces of software, provided by 73 different vendors. During the 70 years, the programs have undergone several changes in their market titles, so keeping track of each module was quite hard, but I believe me and Pumpkin were able to manage it. So I'd like to begin with our navigation software, which was originally known as StarCharter Plus, version 0.8.7, and the latest version of which is known as AbadarCorp Travel Solution Suite Interstellar Navigator version 317 LTS..."
"... they fixed a divide-by-zero bug which caused the navigation computer into reboot loop, if the ship entered Drift on a very precise location near Castrovel..."
"...'Psychotic' was removed from the onboard computer personality options..."
"...Burn rate of lateral thrusters were soft-optimized to r = p[λAgQgE2Zgexp(-Eg RTg) / p2T0..."
Oops, got carried away and run out of time... I'll get to the planet, eventually :)
Do you work in the tech industry, Prospero? That's eerily accurate...
Onboard the Sunrise Maiden
Astrianna's eyes starts to glaze over after about the first three minutes of the presentation. Though she doesn't interrupt (something could actually be important in all this), she struggles to stay focused and ends up daydreaming about watching her AbadarCorp account gain adamantine investor status from livestream donation alone.
When Prospero finishes Astrianna perks up, clearing her throat. "Wow. Good work Prospero, that was... informative. Well I think we're done here. I saw a hilarious trid of a displacer beast chasing a laser pointers if anyone wants to watch it with me."
"You are such a good sentient, Intora!" The half-elf gushes, climbing aboard his hoverskim and naturally taking the front seat.
The wind whipping through Astrianna's hair feels great as the group speeds across the beautiful streets of Qabarat. While she was very familar with the city, Intora was doing a good enough job being a tour guide that she didn't need to add anything.
She hops off the hoverskim in front of the University, turning around to answer Intora's question with a pensive look. "Didn't really think about that! If you want to party or something we could crash at your place, otherwise we were going to probably get a hotel."
Astrianna is waiting for Whaloss with her hands on her hips, tapping her foot until he appears. "Ah, Whaloss? I'm Astrianna Sparacello, Starfinder and trid star. We're very excited to talk to you about Zan's notes and what we found on the Drift Rock!" She wasn't live streaming, but she was recording. Both for their own information and future monetization!
Me? Whaloss laughs Would that I was talented and learned enough to decipher your awe inspiring Starfinder discoveries. No no. I can however introduce you directly to people who can.
Whaloss links his arms with Astrianna's and guides the group to an eight story building which he explains is Alsima-Karei Hall, the home of the linguistic anthropology department.
Professor Muhali is the one you want. he explains She is brilliant... though busy with administrative matters lately. But if not her then someone else in the Department certainly.
They have to push through a crowd of protesters as they near the building however. They're mostly Lashunta but there are other sentients speicies as well who look like students.
The only one to Hate is YOU!
They're chanting as bored looking guards keep them away from the building.
I wonder what that's all about Whaloss mutters as he pushes the door the Hall open.
Inside is an even more chaotic scene as a jumble of what look like reporters try and get past or get some comment from a harried looking receptionist.
I say Ikimsi Whaloss calls out What is going on here?
Ikimsi, a Korasha Lashunta, looks at Whaloss with irritation. What do you want Whaloss. I've got my hands full with these scavengers trying to get a bloody comment. Look just sit down and wait while I deal with these pack animals
The journalists don't take kindly to this and shout questions even louder at Ikimsi.
No comment. No COMMENT I SAY Ikimsi responds This is a place of LEARNING and this behaviour is REPREHENSIBLE!
Whaloss shrugs I guess we're waiting. Should clear up in a while I should say
Astrianna happily links arms with Whaloss, making their way across campus to the linguistic department. She didn't really care for nerds, but had long ago learned that nerds were incredibly useful. "Oh is that so? Honestly, it's a shame when academics get shunted into administrative positions. Happened with my father." She remarks casually, making small talk along the way.
As they near the building and the protestors, Astrianna arcs a perfectly sculpted eyebrow over the edge of her giant sunglasses. "No idea, but it reminds me of my student days! I was part of the Save the Space Whales movement at one point myself. I wasn't responsible for setting those whales free from the xenozoo that clogged up the enviromental controls in the Eye, but I knew the sentients that did. Crazy bunch, I think they're still in prison."
The half-elf's nose wrinkles at the jam of reporters clogging up the entrance to the linguistics department, and her face turns sour when Whaloss suggests they wait. "We really don't have time for this. Follow my lead."
Breaking away from the group, she shoves her way past reporters to the receptionist."Gods I don't care about your suit-jacket, MOVE." She responds after elbowing a particularly whiny journalist.
Finally breaking to the front of the pack, she lays her hands on the reception desk. "HEY. IKIMSI." She shouts over the reporters, pushing her sunglasses down to her nose to show she meant business. "Listen, I'm Astrianna Sparacello, Starfinder. My crew is on on a critical, time-sensitive mission and we need to speak to Professor Muhali yesterday.. Either let us through now or these reporters will pale in comparison to the problems you'll cause by delaying us."
Mixed reactions: 1d100 ⇒ 57
Bluff: 1d20 + 12 + 1 ⇒ (12) + 12 + 1 = 25
Intimidate: 1d20 + 9 + 1 ⇒ (12) + 9 + 1 = 22 Using Veiled Threat so they're only Indifferent instead of Hostile. We don't have time for stinkin' diplomacy.