Federation-Apocalypse Session 169a – Egging Them On

Helmet from the Sutton Hoo ship-burial 1, England.

Who're YOU lookin' at?

  • Off in the deeper cosmos the Elder Races wanted to severely scold Ryan O’Malley – and the human race in general – for unleashing Kevin on the universe.
  • Rampaging through the Manifold, the Horsemen of the Apocalypse were gathering their forces for a final attempt to fulfill their purpose before the human race spread so far that their purpose became quite irrelevant.
  • Marty was getting some well-deserved rest – well, except for indulging a little on coming up with a scheme for breeding Godzillas and getting them ninja training. Get up in the morning, find the entire city of Tokyo leveled during the night, and no one had seen or heard a thing…
  • After all, it would expand the range of acceptable excuses no end if you could point at that ten-mile-crater and plausibly say “A ninja did it!”.
  • Raphael did some reporting in – mostly that Kevin was, indeed, as powerful as had been reported, and that even the elder races appeared to be concerned – and got some rest. It looked like life with this pair had only been getting more chaotic.
  • A party of Thralls were busy cataloging the contents of Raphael’s treasure-trove.
  • The Platypus Fleet would soon be ready to depart, but there was no real sign of activity from the Otters yet. They’d probably try to get up to something big soon enough.
  • And Kevin – thanks to a secondary avatar – was having a fine night out on the town in Kadia with five young women while still getting a good nights sleep… They all accepted the invitation to stay for a few pampered vacation days to see the sights – especially since all expenses, including some shopping (he did set a limit), was on Kevin…

Godzilla did not show up that night. He would eventually turn up to pester Marty though; even considering messing with Godzilla eggs pretty much guaranteed THAT.

In the morning there were quite a few people who wanted an audience with them. There were people wanting loans, people wanting to work for them, people wanting them to invest money in their bank or business, historians wanting to look at the pirate cove, and so on.

Some were spies of course, although Kevin wasn’t caring a lot. Almost all of them would be more than willing to pass on information to others in exchange for coin of course, but “loyalty” would be a bit much to expect before they were even hired.

Kevin was feeling expansive. Loans were quite possible, jobs could be found somewhere for people who wanted to work (such as in general public improvements; there wasn’t much to spy on there), and Historians got referred to Raphael. It WAS his treasure-trove.

Marty was a lot pickier. He actually sorted out the best picks and made sure that they were all paid well enough that’d think seriously before taking bribes.

Raphael opened up a bidding war to be the first historian to go to the cove – although he was perfectly willing to consider things like “publication credits” and “free copies of your books” as a major part of the bids.

He had Marty run it though; he knew when to delegate – and when it was something that he didn’t enjoy at all, and there was a professional handy who did enjoy it, it was certainly time.

Back at the pirate’s cove, over the night the Thralls had found eighty-seven bodies, all appearing to have died in battle. There was a substantial amount of ship plunder to be found as well. There were three ships with varying amounts of damage and a single larger ship under construction in the drydock. It looked like the entire cove was actually in a hollowed out mountain some distance up the coast. There was an illusory cliff wall and a force wall projection to keep people from finding it from the outside.

They also reported that five thralls had ended up dead and returned to Kadia for unknown reasons. None of them had reported seeing anything, although some of them had heard something approach them from behind. The attacks had always been on singleton Thralls though, so they’d started moving in groups to compensate – and there hadn’t been any more deaths since.

Kevin told them that, if any of the bodies turned up, they were to quietly get rid of them so as not to upset the locals – and to get more thralls in while the ones who had gotten killed were enjoying their death-bonus.

Given the deep water in the cove, ready access to the ocean, and magic, that should be easy enough to handle if it came up. Still, it was at least as likely that something had been dragging them down and stashing the bodies. Whatever-it-was must be pretty powerful if it could take out Thralls that quickly, so he had them warn the locals.

Marty added a requirement for escorts and a clear danger warning to the historian bidding wars.

The thralls also reported the presence of a number of lodgings, although some of them needed to be cleaned before they’d be usable. The local guards swore mightily and then put a large force at the entrance to the well, as well as insisting on sending in a group of their own in to do a search and report.

Fortunately, the guards and judges were fine. They’d been milling about as a group.

Kevin was extra-cheery, and put on a pirate hat and a sword!

Well, OK, not that he hadn’t been going for the “Corsair” look anyway.

They did stay in a group though.

This was like something out of an old movie or VR game! Oh, wait! That’s where this world came from!

Raphael ensured that he had has his full screen of robots in golem form to guard the group and keep a 360 degree watch. Marty had the Thralls set up nightvision for him. Kevin didn’t do a thing; actually taking any special precautions would not fit his image!

He did take along a few crewman as usual to take notes.

While they were preparing to take a look at some crates hidden in the lowest section of one of the ships, both Marty and Raphael caught a glimpse of a clawed metallic hand reaching for one of the people nearby – although it vanished the moment they spotted it.

Kevin, somewhat distracted by events in Kadia, didn’t notice a thing.

Marty was tempted to violate horror movie rules and split from the group!

(Raphael) “Did anyone else see that metalic claw?”

Marty nodded., happily looking at the crates. Treasure WITH a guardian! It was bound to be something fun!

(Kevin) “Nope! (Privately) Probably what’s been getting the Thralls!”

(Raphael) “Lets look at these crates and see if it will try again. everyone keep your eyes peeled… oh I guess I should scan for traps first.”

Meanwhile, Kevin was cheerily cataloguing treasure! (There was quite a bit). He had a pair of the Thralls start in on determining how seaworthy the ships would be with some repairs. They might have preserving spells – or they might just be too old.

There was quite a bit of treasure; gold, gems, precious cargo, some artwork and such. If repaired the ships should be fairly seaworthy, but would need most of their enchantments renewed. In another ten to twenty years the ships would probably have had to be scuttled instead. They all needed new sails, ropes, hull repairs, fresh caulking, and – in one case – a new mast.

The six crates didn’t seem to be trapped, but there were a number of preservation charms and masking charms on them all. Illegal stuff?

The judges were still valuing, and would be for some time. Still, it looked like Raphael was in the lead by a significant margin – depending on how pure some of the items are in composition and whether a few of them were fakes.

Kevin let one of the most eager Thralls run to open a crate. Why not? They’d been looking at pirate treasure all night, so it was only fair to let them have a chance. Considering that they were all wolf-anthros at the moment, he sent the one with the waggiest tail…

The thrall beat Raphael’s golems there, mostly because the golems weren’t fast.

(Thrall) “Way cool! Lemme see… Open here!”

Breaking the Crate’s seal released a puff of warm air… Inside there was a good deal of packing straw that practically exploded from the crate once the lid was off.

(Thrall) “Wruff-huff-huff! Ptooie!”

Inside the boy found… a roughly ovoid pale green object inside, about eighteen inches across and two feet tall. The surface had a bit of a leathery plastic feel to it. He took it out and looked! And smelled!

(Raphael) “Huh.”

Well, they did all have enhanced senses of smell didn’t they? Especially in canine form… For that matter, the kid might be a neodog. They were sort of interchangeable with normal human thralls in anthro worlds.

It smelled roughly like the forest. There was a very quiet thumping noise inside as well once it was removed from the box – and it radiated psychic energies and a slight feeling of cold – and fear.

(Thrall) “No idea boss!”

Kevin sighed. This one must not be a parent yet. A frightened infant about to hatch.

The infant whatever-it-was was definitely alive and was somewhat aware of its surroundings using telepathy and clairvoyance. Three or four days from hatching at most. Quasi-mammalian, psionic, not quite fully sapient, but close – like some of the original dolphin species. It looked like the young form was a vaguely cat like creature with an oversized skull. The adult form was bipedal and similarly disproportionate in structure while still retaining a cat-like appearance. Carnivorous, familial, and aggressive against threats. The crates had been in stasis…

(Raphael) “I hope that is not an adult out there protecting its young.”

Raphael spent some time with telepathically reassuring the thing – and telling it that they would look for its parents – and broadcast that around too.

(Kevin) “Well, anyone have any idea what they are locally?”

(Raphael) “Time to ask the locals”

Marty got them warmer and soothed in short order.

A few of the locals recognized the description.

(Guard Mage) Oh those things are mythical. There were some pretty wild rumors a couple centuries back about a species of cat creatures living on some remote island. Supposedly they were able to teleport, use telekinesis, project shields and other force constructs, and even capable of limited emotional telepathy. The rumors about the damned things got so outrageous with stories of no one seeing a living adult specimen since they would “reflexively teleport” when spotted. Supposedly people wanted to keep them and train them for protection/guard duty. How you were supposed to catch something that teleported the moment you looked at it is beyond me. Tell me, did someone offer to sell you one or something else equally ridiculous?

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