We loaded into one of the elevators and requested transport to the shield generator about to come under attack. Alys stayed on the bridge busily coordinating things (and running security droids through telepresence), Lazlo was “chasing” after the Faded who was working hard to remain hidden, and Jacob was moving to intercept the Faded busily looking up records with a datapad. Virstris volunteered to lead the defense of the power core with Augusta and Ban. Vincent and Nimh were on medical duty and that left Ben, Telera, 10CH, Khadim, Valerie and I on our way to intercept the Faded pair heading for the shield generator – and Smooche, our Codifier Observer, and our Sith Observer to hold the bridge.
The sad part is that I trust THEM more than Jacob and Lazlo. Snooche and the Sith may often be insane, but they’re very very RELIABLY insane.
It was agreed that we would split up into three groups in an attempt to entrap the two Faded and crush them with overwhelming force. The first group was going to consist of Telera, Khadim, and 10CH at the shield generator itself as a final line of defense. Ben, and number of combat droids, and Alys via telepresence would act as an obstruction and distraction for the third group. That left Valerie and I in the third group approaching the Faded from behind in an attempt to sneak up and catch them off guard. That was the plan anyway. The elevator dropped Valerie and I off first before heading on to drop the others off at their own positions.
(Valerie) I don’t like being on the defensive.
(Kira) We don’t have the firepower to just repel all boarders simultaneously.
(Valerie) I am aware of that. It doesn’t mean I have to like it though.
Ben then came over the commlink to announce that he had set up numerous stasis traps in a number of corridors all over the place. He also announced that anyone trapped in them would not be let out because he would just space the sections of corridors at the end of the battle without checking them. I asked why he wouldn’t bother to check them and he proclaimed that if we never checked them, then the Faded would find them to be good hiding places. I stared at the commlink for several moments trying to find some fault with this logic. I knew something had to be wrong with it, but couldn’t discern exactly what it was.
(Valerie) This sounds like some sort of macroscopic quantum superposition experiment.
(Kira) A what? Was I supposed to understand that?
(Valerie) Didn’t you pay any attention in your physics classes on Alderaan?
(Kira) Nope, too busy paying attention to the blonde to my right.
(Valerie) You’re hopeless.
(Kira) Gotta have priorities.
Alys, was jumping her point-of-view between security droids – and running multiple firefights with the Faded. The droids might not be able to go through walls or alter probability, but there WERE tens of thousands of them. She might not be winning – but she was buying everyone else a chance to do so. The security droids were fairly well armed and equipped – and swapping her telepresence around gave her a pretty much endless supply of “lives”. Focusing on the wounded looked like it might actually work…
Jacob was the first to reach his target physically – mostly because the guy was sitting quietly at a computer console and calling up engineering information… Jacob tried to jump him – but was first blocked by a falling pile of debris, and (once he managed to get past that), found a thermal detonator in the seat instead of a Faded.
He managed to survive that – with only a few chunks of stuff melted onto his armor – by burying himself in the debris again, but couldn’t pass through the walls in pursuit… Awfully violent for a note-taker! A good thing he’d been able to thicken his skin!
He reached out with the force to push buttons instead. The force loved buttons! And the guy had been carrying an awful lot of explosives too…
That did shortly result in a massive blast.
He tracked that down as quickly as possible – partially thanks to Alys and her surveillance and her maps – and found the site of a massive explosion, with a huge dent in the floor, and something wrong with the gravity! It was trying to drag him into that pit! Somehow the faded must have turned up the gravity generators to try and trap him! It was taking quite a lot of power to avoid being pulled in. How had the guy survived that! Fine! He would smash him with his own gravity!
He focused his power massively, and blew out the weakened floor to destroy the gravity generators.
Unfortunately, what was damaged was the gravity screens around the neutronium power core… As the air started howling down into the core, and emergency bulkheads slammed shut, Jacob realized what was going on – and poured all his power into repulsor-blasting himself out before the hatches closed all the way.
Whether or not his intended victim had escaped was still an open question – but it didn’t seem at all likely.
Ishian hadn’t really been surprised to find that the Mrs Beasley was from another universe. Raiding its databanks for new technologies had seemed worthwhile – especially when he rapidly determined that it moved between universes by technological means. That was a secret well worth having – and if he could just find out how they steered it (which the records indicated these visitors could do), it would be more valuable then a hundred planets put together. He judged it probable that the ships – surprisingly sparse – crew could defend it long enough for him to get that information if it was there to be gotten.
Alys would have warned Jacob about the gravity, but the blast had taken out the sensor and communications net in that area. Unfortunately, Jacob didn’t quite make it out; and lost both legs above the knee. He managed to gasp out an order for the Droid brain in his armor to get him to medical before the stasis belt triggered – and eventually woke up getting fitted for prosthetics.
Well at least that was kind of neat! More like how he was before moving into his clone!
Lazlo, meanwhile, had found that the reason why HIS target was off the sensors was because he was busily reprogramming the security systems – and security droids – to obey him instead of them (and, in fact, was busy reprogramming them to reprogram others).
Given that the man was trying to avoid contact with anyone living, could manipulate probability, and had thousands of cubic miles of passages to hide in, searching for him without sensors was doomed…
Fortunately, once Alys knew what was going on, she could try to reboot and counter-program the droids. She was bound to miss some, but it would drastically limit the damage the guy was causing.
Lazlo spent quite a long time vaguely following the sabotage while avoiding actually trying to find the man. He put his faith in the force, and his general lack of hostility… Whether for good or ill, that lack of hostility didn’t prevent him from punching out the saboteur and putting him in stasis when he finally did stumble across him. He managed to get close enough simply because the fellow thought he was just another cat-themed droid…
Using the fellow as a shield afterwards instead of leaving him in medical was, however, somewhat beyond the pale.
Meanwhile, back with Kira, Valerie, Ben, Telera, and Khadim…
Alys then came on the commlink and informed us that the Faded pair looked to be a near human and an unknown insectoid species, equipped with heavy-duty thermal detonators, a selection of blasters, light personal body armor, and no apparent energized melee weapons. The near human had taken a hit earlier from one of the droids and wasn’t doing well without access to Hypertime. The insectoid was doing significantly better at dodging despite the supposed handicap. She also gave us a probable position and ETA to be hitting Ben’s ambush. With that in hand, Valerie and I took off to fall in behind the Faded and hit them as they struck the ambush.
The ambush didn’t go that well… They’d been anticipated, and the Faded had shifted down one level – and reached up through the floor to phase a thermal detonator into Ben’s armor. Even phasing himself and his armor VERY fast wasn’t enough to keep THAT from hurting as he dropped down to confront them. Alys and the disposable security droids scored a good hit on the one human faded – but the other one took out most of the droids. Whatever its species was, it had inhuman reflexes even WITHOUT hypertime, and proved quite willing to drop thermal detonators and phase away.
Ben, losing rapidly, tried the boosted shield generator expanding shield trick – and smashed a coolant conduit, filling the corridor with superheated vapor. He tried to phase away in the same way that the two faded had been pushed through the ceiling, despite their phasing. Sadly, between his wounds and his rapidly-heating armor, he couldn’t manage to focus well enough. He had to resort to blowing a hole in the floor before he roasted alive.
As a form of escape, that left a lot to be desired. Still, he managed to dredge up enough of his powers to dump the heat – and let Alys (through the droids) give him some first aid. Maybe he SHOULD have let Smooche’ try to set up some of those subspace drop grenades.
The sound of explosions and the panels suddenly venting steam told us that something had gone wrong in the ambush attempt but it was difficult to discern what exactly. I could sense that Ben was suddenly on the level below us for some reason and that he was taking damage. Focusing my senses further, I could feel the two voids that were the Faded. I also got a pretty good indication of what Ben was about to do next. Valerie was about to phase through the floor when I stopped her.
(Valerie) They’re fighting down there.
(Kira) Better idea, come on.
We moved to an adjacent corridor just in time to see the two Faded get thrown through the floor towards us. I had my lightsabers drawn already and took a swing at both of them. Tapping into the Force, I enhanced the lightsabers’ intensity and attempted to reinforce my own durability. The first hit sliced the near human Faded in half as he fell to the ground in two pieces. The insectoid though twisted around my lightsaber as he flipped over me and into the corridor behind Valerie and I. I wouldn’t have been so surprised at that had this guy been a Jedi or Sith, but that kind of agility was unheard of from a Codex user.
I felt Valerie grab a hold of him using a Force technique to induce paralysis. Sensing an opportunity, I pulled out a stasis belt and lunged at the insectoid using one of the tackles I’ve seen Valerie use against Virstris. Again I was surprised as he lept at the last second and slipped through the nearly enclosed belt in a flying somersault that resulted in him kicking my back to propel him further down the corridor.
Then I heard a clunk as something hit the floor and our insect Faded went through a wall. I suspected a thermal detonator, but I was facing the wrong way and Valerie responded first by launching it down the hall telekinetically. The wall of flame and shrapnel washed over us a moment later. I had a number of cuts and bruises but nothing too serious. Valerie looked to be fine except for the disapproving glare she was giving me.
(Valerie) That’s the Strength Enhancement technique, not the Durability technique! If it weren’t for that armor you might be dying right now you idiot!
This was not the time to be sitting and receiving a lecture from her. Scrambling to my feet, I phased through the wall the Faded ran through. I heard Valerie mutter something about not being done yet as she too followed me through the wall. The Faded saw us come through the wall and looked surprised to see us as he dove through another wall. Valerie and I gave pursuit as best as we could. Unfortunately this was hampered by the fact that the Faded could use his four lower limbs to speed his run up considerably while still running through walls. We could run through walls as well, and even enhance our own speed with the Force to match his. Problem got to be that we couldn’t phase and enhance our speed at the same time. The best we could manage was rapidly switching between the two as needed.
On the plus side though, there were two of us and we could coordinate together a lot better than the Faded had any right to believe.
<Valerie> He’s headed your direction through the east wall, cut him down!
Sliding along the floor, I held the lightsaber up to gut him as he ran through the wall while readying the blaster in my other hand to blow one of his feet off. Again that damned thing reacted with absurd reflexes as he phased through the wall, knocked the blaster out of my hand, twisted around the lightsaber, and made to stomp his foot into my head. Phasing at the last moment, I rolled to the side and out from under him. The Faded then took the opportunity to run through another wall.
<Kira> Damn it, what the hell is going on?! Even we can’t move like that!
<Valerie> It’s that damned multiple-brain distributed nervous system! It gives him reflexes on par with us and it makes him resistant to mental effects!
<Kira> At the rate this is going, one of us is going to get brained by this bastard. We need to herd him towards the others and box him in.
<Valerie> Easier said than done. We’re not going to manage to herd him towards all of them. At best we are going to get either Khadim and Ben, or Telera and 10CH.
Annoyingly, she was right. This Faded was far too nimble for us to herd him efficiently. The best we were going to manage was a rough encounter with one pair or the other. I didn’t relish the idea of Khadim using one of his torpedo hand weapons, but Telera wasn’t much of a fighter compared to the others either. Then suddenly, Ben came over the commlink.
(Ben) I’ve got my stasis rifle ready, just bring him towards me!
<Kira> Right, we aim for Ben and Khadim. Hopefully Ben can stasis the bastard or at least slow him down enough for us to get a crippling blow.
<Valerie> Understood, I hope your friend knows what he is doing.
So did I.
And so continued the dance of Valerie and I herding our prey to the killing ground like a pack of wolves stalking a deer. I was slowly getting tired from the exertion of the effort as we drew closer and closer to the ambush point. At least it seemed our Faded was getting just as annoyed by this whole affair as we were by it. We were improving our coordination enough that the Faded was dodging the sneak attacks by a slimmer and slimmer margin each time. On the other hand, he was rapidly learning how to best hit us…
Finally he dodged me through the wall leading directly to Ben. Valerie and I leapt through the wall after him only for me to see Ben aiming at the Faded directly in front of me with a stasis gun. I wasn’t liking that ominously thick power cable connected to the gun either. I recognized the danger just in time to realize that I couldn’t do a thing about it since Smoche was making the use of Hypertime impossible.
Then Ben pulled the trigger.
Next thing I was aware of was being set gently on the floor by Khadim. Turning around, I saw the tell-tale black wall of a second stage stasis field. The Faded was already removed from the stasis field and had a stasis belt wrapped around him. Next came out Valerie and she looked furious. She was followed by 10CH and Telera shortly thereafter. Telera too was highly annoyed, but in that Jedi “you shouldn’t be doing that” way. Finally Khadim brought Ben out of the stasis field last.
We all expressed our displeasure with Ben’s “accident”, but Valerie I think summed it up best when she phased her fist through Ben’s armor and into his jaw. Ben complained mightily about it, but I couldn’t help but smirk at it all. Then Alys came in with a report that shield capacity in this section of the ship was severely curtailed by the stasis field. Faded were landing in the gap, but luckily of the eight or so that landed, six were caught in the stasis effect. The remaining two were at large, but uncoordinated thus far.
Khadim also expressed his opinion that the stasis gun was liable to generate a substantial explosion in a couple weeks. Obviously we needed to do something about that, but I think we have other priorities at the moment that are more pressing. Hopefully that stasis field will continue to act as fly paper for Faded as we focus on other areas in the meantime.
Suddenly I felt the ship lurch for a moment and gravity did all sorts of uncomfortable things to my stomache for several seconds. Alarms and klaxons started sounding off with an urgency I didn’t like.
(Kira) Alys, what’s going on?!
(Alys) Don’t know, damage reports are still coming in. It looks like we’ve had a partial containment breach of the power core.
My blood went cold and everyone in the room with me went incredibly pale.
(Kira) Alys, do we need to be heading to the shuttle bays?
(Alys) Not sure, Smooche is trying to get the breach under control. It looks like an explosion of some kind went off in the containment system.
This is why I tolerate Artificers. Right now there weren’t many people I would rather have between me and a power core breach besides Smooche. Smooche would sooner be damned to an eternity in a subspace hell than let that power core fail catastrophically.
(Kira) The group assaulting the power core weren’t supposed to arrive there for another day or so!
(Alys) Containment breach is centered on the area Jacob and the Faded notetaker were last reported.
Just about everyone who heard that swore loudly and nastily. Either the Faded notetaker was a lot more dangerous than I had thought, or Jacob was seriously overstaying his welcome.
(Alys) Smooche thinks he getting the situation under control, but power output is going to be seriously curtailed until we get a better handle on the damage. I’m sending droids to evaluate the damage and provide feedback.
(Kira) Alright, I think we are finished here for the moment. Those who need to go to medical will do so, otherwise the rest of us will join you on the bridge to assist with the defense there.
(Alys) Got it.
Ben went off to medical as did some of the security guards. Telera, 10CH, and Khadim got on an elevator to the bridge. I directed the droids and security teams to secure the captured Faded for the time being until we could get Lazlo to do an “interrogation” for us. With that taken care of, I was about to make my way to medical as well when Valerie stopped me.
(Valerie) Why are you heading to medical for that?
(Kira) Well because it hurts.
(Valerie) Then do a little first aid. There is no need to bother a doctor with such minor injuries.
(Kira) Excellent plan, except I haven’t got any skill in first aid.
The look of complete exasperation on her face said I had just uttered something exceedingly stupid in her mind. I steeled myself for the verbal assault coming in.
(Valerie) NONE?! Of all the stupid and idiotic things I’ve seen about your operation here, this has got to be the biggest! You can’t rely on crazy doctors to keep patching you up every time you get a small scratch!
(Kira) Your training at the Academy focused almost purely on how to use the basic Force techniques and to kill people! Not on First Aid!
(Valerie) Considering you were there only a few months, we didn’t have time to find this deficiency of yours. Surely on Alderaan you got training! Or were you too busy looking at the girls to bother paying attention?
(Kira) Maybe you didn’t notice during your visit there, but Alderaan is such a protective playpen that trained medical professionals are on hand within minutes of most any incident. And for most anything other than that, my sister Sabrina would smack me and do it herself.
(Valerie) Well then, allow me.
With that she smacked on the back of the head and then grabbed a medkit from a nearby station. I took the robe and armor off and sat on a nearby chair in the clothes I had on underneathe. She quickly got to work treating the cuts and bruises I had accumulated from the thermal detonator and fighting the Faded.
(Valerie) I am not sure if I should be ashamed or proud that “Verun” is supposedly my apprentice. You have the power of a Force Master and yet in many ways you still act like a third year novice apprentice. You can’t even get the Endurance, Strength and Durability techniques straight.
(Kira) And you still fight like a Sith instead of a Hybrid.
(Valerie) Oh really? How so?
(Kira) Next time, push the thermal detonator out of reality instead of down the hall. That way you don’t have to tank the blast wave.
That suggestion caught her by surprise and seemed to trip up her “lecture Kira” bent.
(Valerie) Touche. Nonetheless it is in your best interests to learn some first aid.
With that, she started pointing to various items in the medkit and explaining what they were and what they were for. Unfortunately the Bond preventing me from simply nodding and watching as she then insisted that I repeat back what she just explained to me. Then she moved on to demonstrations and getting me to apply the rest of the treatment to myself until I had finished treating myself to her satisfaction.
(Valerie) Good, now stand up. We are going to go through the Durability, Strength, and Endurance techniques. You need to get this right before we face the Faded on the bridge.
(Kira) We really don’t have the equipment here or the time to be practicing this.
(Valerie) Quiet. Now try to enhance your strength.
Doing as I was told, I tapped into the Force and let it flow through me as I focused on enhancing myself. Not really having anything to resist against me was making things difficult though and I ended up closing my eyes in concentration. Then I sensed her tap into the Force as well. I could feel the Bond flare with her power and will at that point. Then I heard her over the link as she wrapped her arms around me from behind.
<Valerie> Feel the differences in flow between us. There should be more resonance in the power. Correct the differences and make the flow feel the same.
I could feel the power, the confidence, and the cold fury within her as our powers came together and began to harmonize. As we fell further into sync, I began to sense past the fury and see emotions and feelings hidden deep beneathe the Dark Side. Before I could get any detail on that though, there was a quick mental “Ahem” from her suggesting I focus back on the task at hand. So I shifted my attention back to the resonance and dissonance between us. It took some effort, but once I started correcting the mistakes it quickly fell into place and my technique harmonized with her own. We held the technique for several moments as I got a good feel for it.
<Valerie> Better, now let’s move on to Durability.
We stepped through the Durability technique and the Endurance technique in turn. Once we did that, she had me cycle through them a second time with less prompting from herself. The third time through she just watched quietly as I went through the motions by myself. I could feel that she was satisfied by the results as she dropped her arms and loosened her grip on the Bond. I opened my eyes even as she continued to speak over the link.
<Valerie> Good, the power and fine control could use a bit of work, but it seems we’ve gotten the subtle differences in the techniques imprinted onto you.
<Kira> So maybe I can do something right then in your eyes?
<Valerie> Well you haven’t gotten yourself killed yet. So that is a good sign. Come now, let’s head to the bridge for the next battle.
Putting the armor and robes back on, we got in the elevator and rode it to the bridge. Preparations for the next battle were already taking place. Ben was having technicians install stasis generators in the ceiling, walls, and floor. Alys was bringing more droids, sensors and stasis belts onto the bridge. Council Representative Dame Lisella proceeded to inform everyone that she had electrified the control panels to lethal levels, and that any of us that actually wished to use them would have to use telekinesis or an insulator. 10CH was distributing crawling shock droids in various locations. Telera was prepping the lighting to either shut down or give blinding flashes on command. Lazlo was just sitting quietly in a corner waiting for the battle to commence.
Valerie immediately went off to set up her own traps. Helping her was probably just going to result in being more of an annoyance than help, so I left her to that. There wasn’t much I was going to be able to do to help with the preparations anyway. Most anything I could think of trying either required equipment we didn’t have or required too much time. It wasn’t like prepping some thermal detonators for remote detonation was a smart idea. It worked well enough in that alternate dimension against the Artificers, but this was our own bridge here. I think Smoche would get upset with me blowing a chunk out of his ship.
Jacob… Jacob would be out of medical in time to participate, but he’d be having a lot of trouble until he adjusted to his new limbs.
Hmm, that reminds me.
(Kira) Smoche, where are the controls for the steering? Specifically to make the ship rotate.
(Smoche) That panel there, the controls for rotating the ship on it’s axis are straightforward enough. Why?
(Kira) Oh nothing, just remembering an incident I had happen to me and was contemplating the potential applications of that knowledge to our current predicament….
I’m sure the Faded are well aware of this tactic, but I also think that they are too used to using Hypertime to counter it. And since they can’t use Hypertime right now, phasing could cost them dearly.
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 57 from Emergence Campaign Weblog (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 56 (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Special Investigator Nimh Tahl’s Field Report – Session 55 (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 50a (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Recordings from the Holocron of Kira Keldav – Session 53 (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- From the Holocron of Ben Therus – Session 51 (burntbones.wordpress.com)
- From the Holocron of Ben Therus – Session 52 (burntbones.wordpress.com)