Whisperbirds are a lot of things, pretty, good engineering, wonderful spellcraft, but more then that they’re efficient in their purpose. Which is how everyone knew the time to depart on their Treasure Hunt, which for reasons passing understanding Leo has been refering to as ‘going to see his Uncle Monte’. He might be a bit paranoid and code wording all the messages if prolly his way of alleviating the paranoia. To be fair it is the sort of thing people might get murdered for. Golden Age ‘maps’ like this don’t just rain from the sky.
“So!” he says, clapping his hands together and rubbing them furiously for a moment, “I heard a rumor we’re riding a dragon or something to my Uncle’s house?” everyone may have packed according to a long journey, but the small Technowizard has packed … possibly a third of his lab? Behind him are no less then 3 duffel bags, large ones, an honest to god wooden crate that’s roughly his height cubed, and an assortment of barrels and trunk like boxes sort of laying about, half of which would fit his corpse should someone decide that’s just easier.
Standing on the deck of the ship, Slaine eyes the assortment of luggage and then shifts her //only// pack on her shoulder. The Mystic is used to travelling light, it seems. “How long did ye think we were goin’ for, Leo?” She asks the Techno Wizard and she gestures around.
“And not by dragon, by ship….” Nix isn’t here, it seems and it’s going to cost the small redhead a considerable portion of her takings for hiring the ship. And she’s promised Nix that they’ll be careful and bring the vessel back in one piece //and// in good condition //and// seaworthy.
“Ye’re stuff can be stowed in the hold for the duration of the voyage. Ye’ll all be sharing a cabin.” If you can call the small cubbyholes below, that.Aiden has met near the docks as agreed upon and specified. The ship here is a nice one. Weatherly. Bluff. All those other nonsensical nautical terms seamen use to express approval. It’s big too, at least for Rifts Earth it’s big. One hundred and twenty feet from bow to sturn and thirty or so abeam. There’s a dragon at the bow. A cats eye dragon. And…
“Slaine are those techno-wizard canon on the deck there?” They are. Elementally configured. “What on earth have you and Nix been getting into? Hello Leo. All pakced I see.”
Leo flashes his teeth at Slaine in a smile, “Oh, these?” he asks, jerking a thumb at all of the stuff before bending down to pick up a messenger bag and slinging it across his body, “Those are empty. They’re for what I plan to bring /back/.” he says. Then blinks at her, “What? You didn’t bring anything to carry your haul?” he asks innocently before marching across the deck to inspect the cannons with a critical eye, “Elemental.” he confirms at Aiden as he leans this way and that, eyeballing their length carefully. “Not bad work either. I mean, I could do better,” of course he could, “but not bad.” He has a thing for elementals. Sue him.
“Nothin’ yet, Vargr…” Slaine smirks a bit at Aiden. The cannons had been Nix’s idea, Slaines not entirely sure how she feels about them. “But Nix wants to explore … a lot, and be able to take people out where others won’t necessarily go.” Benefits of being Dragon, she supposes.
She frowns at Leo and gestures to the ship again “I have a whole ship to bring my haul back plus these.” From her pack she takes a number of bags and just smiles. There’s an enchantment worked into them that make them able to carry more …
“Are ye ready to get underway? The Captain is worried about loosing the tide.”Ted Mercier finishes making some minor adjustments to Striker (the cyber-raptor) and mounts up. It’ll be an easy thing to leap up onto the ship when the time comes.
“Someone tell me why ah got me a bad feelin’ ’bout this…” he remarks, albeit with a smirk on his bearded features. He is in his armour, but does not wear his traditional cloak.
In any case the psychic warrior heads on down below to see what the sleeping accomodations are like. Hopefully they won’t ahve to use them too much.
Leo nods his head and waves a hand at Slaine as if to say ‘lets do this’ but he has eyes only for the cannons. A pair of odd optics drop down from somewhere inside of his bowler and cover his eyes as he leans in closely, “clever…” he mutters to himself, “needs tightening up though. Could lose power in the event…” then he stands up and shakes his head, “Nope. Not my problem. Nope.” and he stalks away purposefully. The purposing being to get him away from a thing he has a sudden urge to tinker with. “Hey beardface!” he calls at Teddy, “Want a cannon on your ride too?” he asks somewhat hopefully.
“Don’t touch anything…” Slaine shoots to Leo. “… I promised Nix nothing would be changed.” If he touches those cannons she might just toss him overboard, travel or not.
She must do something, because it doesn’t take long for the ship to start moving and heading out to sea.
“I don’ know, Ser Mercier…” Slaines noticed the lack of the cloak but she’s not going to ask. The man has had some pretty hard decisions to make in the recent past. “Why don’ you two go settled below decks, it’ll take us a bit to get where goin’, I’m guessin’.”
For herself, she intends to watch the land slip away.“I very sincerely hope no one gets sea sick.” Aiden mutters as he arranges his rather meager set of things and claims a place on a bunk. Sleep is important. When you’re doing this kind of thing you never know when you’re suddenly going to be unable to sleep, so it’s smart to do it while you can.
Besides, they’ve got a trip in. He’ll wake before they get there, he’s sure.
“Be right back,” says he and takes Striker into the hold. The mount should be safe there. When the man returns a minute or so later, he is swigging from a hip flask, and looking the ship over.
“Ah’ve… never seen anythin’ quite like it…” he admits in muted awe. To Slaine he adds: “What didja hafta promise Nix to let us use it? Or… is that some’in ah’d be better off not knowin’?”
Leo just shakes his head at Slaine as if she were thinking to small and heads towards the fore… front… nose… whatever of the ship and takes up a spot there, staring out at the water. He’s never sailed before. Never been on water at all really, except the disasterous time he tried to learn to swim. Turns out guys with 1 functioning arm aren’t great at that. Gets worse if you get a second arm made of metal that has a mind of it’s own half the time.
The day passes without much in the way to mark it honestly. It’s almost boring. Leo discovers he does /not/ get sea sick, for which he’s quite happy. He also discovers that ‘sea legs’ aren’t just a fun euphamism for something and so he’s soon covered in bruises from bouncing off of every hard surface within ten feet of him without warning. This is most amussing when he’s trying to be awesome by knowing something about something. Like how he mentions the old sailors used to navigate by the stars and he pointed up at the night sky… only to point to far up and topple over backward completely. The night is as peaceful as the first day was, and it’s not long before the inventor is growing bored. “You sure I can’t play with soemthing. I mean, it’s just a little etching on the firing mechanism! There’s a /very/ little chance I’ll blow us up. Very little.” he asks Slaine plaintively as the sun climbs towards noon.
“I promised her an increase in her hoard.” Slaine says simply to Teddy and Aiden as they settle in. “Which means I’ll be sharing my part of the haul. And she’ll have my hide if we dent her ship…” It is Nix’s ship but somehow Slaine ended up a business partner. Which often means that Nix does things to tweak the Mystic…
As the day falls to night, it soon becomes clear that it’s a ship, crewed by very competent people. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t things to do. The Captain will happily keep people busy – they mop the deck and coil rope!
For Slaine, there’s meditation and sleep. And watching Leo fall over – a lot.
Disturbed from her meditation, Slaine cracks an eye open and settles a cool green gaze on the inventor. “Yes, I’m sure ye can’ play with anything. I’ve enough dragon problems without causin’ one of my friends to want to flambe me. Get some sleep.”
She looks over to the other two, stretching a little (she’s been sitting there for a long time) “How’re ye two doin’?”Aiden is up on the deck near the bow watching the land roll by. This means he’s also quite near the very bored Techno-Wizard who wants to start modifying elemental canon. He’d offer his revolver to tinker with but he suspects the man has elemental canon on the mind and nothing else will do right now.
“How much further, exactly, are we going? We cruised past Dogwoods northern border some time last night.” And they did. The ship’s making good time and really, Dogwood isn’t that big if you have a modern form of transportation. Nothing like the old nation states of old.
“Is this place on the Coast, Leo, or are we going inland?”
He’s trying to help. Really.
“I’m fine.” Aiden says simply. “But this place is getting pretty empty and… well I’d say bleak but it’s actually quite pretty. If you ignore the fact that there are probably a couple hundred things within ten miles of us that would want us dead if we were any closer.”
Glancing back at Leo and Aiden, Ted murmurs: “Is he… safe? Don’ know what it is, but… our Techno-Wizard friend reminds me an awful lot o’ Meg… ain’ sure that’s a good thing.”
Leo eyes Aiden and seems to consider, “Well, by my math, considering the speed we’ve been going, Captain should be calling a halt any minute now and then, yeah, we go inland. A bit. Maybe two miles?” he asks before shrugging, “Look, it’s a map and that’s great, but it’s Golden Age, which I’m willing to bet means some things have, ya know,” he makes a hand motion that sends him stumbling to one side before he rights himself, “moved.” he adds lamely. “Not much! At least I hope not. But this isn’t exactly like stopping by the corner mart ya know. We have explore, find the place, all that stuff they do in adventure stories.” he eyes each of them in turn, “Speaking off, I feel like I should point out I’m the only one appropriately attired for such a thing.” he reaches up to tap his bowler, “Fact: All great explorers have awesome hats.”
He turns to look out at the darkness and his face is cast in deep shadow by the lack of light, “The people that found this the first time did it the hard way. We’re following in their footsteps so we should be greatful. Imagine how much harder it was the first go ’round.” his voice sort of trailing off at the end there, just as the ship itself makes a noticeable turn and drops in speed. “Sand ahead!” calls a voice from on high, “Guessin’ that’d be the beach on your map since it’s the first thing not made of stone we’ve seen in a day.”
“Thank ye, Ser Mercier. I won’ say no, but it was worth the price not to have sit in ley-ship for three days…” He’ll know what Slaine means. The Mystic stretches, working the cramps out from meditating for so slow and slowly stands, peering out towards the sand that has been seen.
Of course, the draught of the ship doesn’t allow them to land right on the beach and the sailors move about lowering a small boat that they can row the four adventurers onto the shore.
“Guess we’re here, then.” The redhead says, pulling the hood of her cloak over her hair. “After all ye…”“Weigh Anchor and all that?” Aiden will let the professionals see to the ship. It looks like they intend to stay here which is fair enough. They’re salvagers and sailors, not adventurers and fighters. There is a slight distinction.
Besides more people is more ways they have to split this.
The ship’s boat will get them there, certianly. Unfortunately it’s not nearly so modern as the rest of the ship. So rowing it is. And if it takes too long he might get Mercier to switch with him. And if it really takes too long he’ll row with his brian. Because screw that.
Others might notice a slight ripple in the air around him. It’s a telekinetic body field. Which is important for things like not dying. Aiden isn’t wearing much in the way of other armor. He has no reason to think that there’s any trouble up ahead… but he hasn’t stayed alive this long by making assumptions.
“Safe as houses.” Aiden mutters. Perhaps with some irony. How many houses did they sail over that used to be //above water// before the cataclysm.
He does notice Aiden’s precautions, and gives a minute nod of satisfaction. He dislikes the thought of leaving Striker on the ship, but there’s no telling that the terrain ahead would be suitable.
“Lot o’ stories drowned hereabouts,” he murmurs aloud — stories, houses, lives… all gone. “Awlright, ah’m officially depressed. Fixin’ ta kill some’in soon…”
Leo moves to the ships edge and begins climbing down, showing a distinct lack of fear, or sane reason, by dropping the last few feet into the boat. He lands and moves to a seat near the front, clearly eager to be on their way. In the scramble he very nearly ends up in the drink. Very. Very. He does end up damp, though he doesn’t notice. “Houses?” Leo says looking confused, “Houses are giant stationary targets and few of them have any real defences.” he purses his lips, “Unless you mean my house, then yes. Being that safe would be very nice right now.” he looks around them, “But I don’t think we’re that lucky because the sea is creepy as fuck.”
The small boat ride to the shore is odd. It’s to quiet out here, and at the same time the constant lap of water on the beach, of waves, seems to loud. When they arrive Leo’s the first off of the boat and he’s helping pull the boat ashore when Ted’s ‘hat’ comes on and Leo raises an eyebrow, “Oooo. That’s a nice hat.” he says, nodding his approval. That nod very likely saved his life as his bowler hat falls forward off of his head and rolls down his face to land in his hands. Leo stares at the hat, “That… that shouldn’t happen.” he says with a confused look on his face as he holds the hat up and wriggles his finger through a brand new hole that’s mysteriously appeared in the center of it. Roughly the size a large bullet might make. Perhaps the only creepy thing is that there is no accompanying sound of a shot to go along with it.
Slaine grabs at Leo as he scrambles through the boat, catching the TW by his collar and making sure he’s seated. “Ye don’ want to end up in there…” she murmurs, green eyes watching the beach as it draws closer.
Something on the beach gets her attention and she frowns a little, nudging whoever is next to her “Do ye see tha—-” too late, Leo’s hat falls from his head and there’s a hole in it…
Slaines eyes glow and blue energy dances around her hands, snaking out over the water as the words to spell fall from her lips. Arcane symbols form as the energy touches Earth, symbols that sink into the sand. By the time her spells down, the sand is upheaved … one might say that Slaines been building sand castles. That should slow whatever or whoever that is, down.“What’s — !” <~LOOK OUT!~>
As four turrets — silenced turrets? Oh God — rise out of the sand, Mercier notices and puts the image of the attacking structures into a mental alert for his friends. Ducking quickly to a knee, Ted immediately stretches out his hands to either side — head bowed — each one bursting into flame…
A wall of fire erupts from the ground between the turrets at their intended targets… fire hot enough to turn the sand around it into glass. It is only on the ‘turret side’ of the Mystic’s walls of sand to provide further cover.
“Nice work with the sand there, Slaine,” Ted tells her — and then looks over at Leo and Aiden. “Guess yo’ up.”
5rTeddy clears it up. Silenced turrets.
“Someone left us a welcoem party… or maybe this place has defenses.” On the shore seems a bit far out for the defenses of a place that’s supposed to be a couple miles inland but you never know. The world is a strange and often cruel place. Equally this could be a coincidence. Whether or not these are defenses intended for them won’t matter if it kills them dead.
Aiden focuses psychic power in his limbs and //leaps//. He clears the boat, clears the surf and comes down, hitting the sand in a roll behind one of Slaine’s improvised dues. Then he leaps again, trying to get good eyes on where the shooting is coming from while not staying in one place for too long.
Perhaps this is not what Teddy meant by ‘you’re up’ but it’ll probably work.
Leo growls unhappily as he’s yanked one way and then another, “What th-” and then Teddy’s in his head and that’s not happy times for Leo, who’s gripping his hair and pulling at it, “GAH! OUT! OUT!” he shoots a wild eyed look at Teddy, “One to many voices in there already!” he says looking a bit wild, though that’s mostly his hair which is never on display thanks to his omnipresent bowler, and which has clearly taken the most of this moment and is striving it’s mightiest for freedom by exploding from his head in all directions.
Leo, not one for allowing his hair freedom, crams his bowler back down on his head angrilly and rumages about in his messenger bag, “Turrets. Or course it’s turrets.” he mutters before pulling out the weirdest looking gun. It’s giant, day glo green, apparently made of plastic, and has a barrel nearly two inches in diameter. He points it straight up over his head, “When we get back you and me are talking about that.” he says to Slaine as he points at the beach with one hand while the other fires the gun straight up. Sparks whistle up into the sky in the slightest of arcs and then there’s a pop and teh entire beach is bathed in an eerie green light, banishing the night.
The guns, for their part, seem to take all of this noise and thunder with remarkable poise… prolly cause they’re robots. When the beach bucks and then fire makes things glow, they decide the time has come to pick up stakes and relocate. The sand around each of them explodes as the legs of their ‘tripod’ pop out of the sand, showing odd curved leaf like designs that make no sense. A moment later the guns fold in on themselves, the leaf bladed legs close in around them, and now there are four large perfect sphere rolling their way with shocking speed about the beach. The dips and raises in the sand have little effect on their speed or mobility as they simply shift their possitions. They must have tactical programming however as they begin to replant in new locations, ones that put the trio of Leo, Slaine, and Teddy in the killbox of a heavy crossfire.
“Talkin’ about what?” Slaine shoots, eyes still glowing and energy now crackling around her hands and winding it’s way up her arms, even as she shades her eyes from Teddy’s fire.
As Leo’s shot illuminates the beach, the small Mystics eyes widen. “Well … damn… what would ye call those then? All Terrain Turrets?” Her voice might sound just a little bit strained.
With no armour, the redhead is kind of at a disadvantage but that doesn’t stop her repeating the spell again… Here’s hoping she doesn’t get shot.“So that’s how it’s gon’ be, is it?” Ted growls inside his helmet as the turrets go on the move. “Keep it up!” he yells over to Slaine, and extends his right hand outward.
Amber threads of psionic energy form in his palm, and extend into a long, crackling and glowing katana. As soon as the psi-weapon has fully coalesced into being, Mercier takes a run at the nearest turret-sphere — leaps — and raises the sword above his head with both hands in an overhead strike…
Straight through the turret’s chassis.
Leo peeks out long enough to glimpse one of the turrets and his head dips again, the brim of the hat casting a shadow over his face hiding it from view, “Mark 4 Terrain Enhanced All-purpose Rifles, or M4-TEARs with what appears to be extended target aquisition enhancements, tactical software upgrades, and low stealth capability… also known as camo paint job.” he says that almost like a salesman might. Perhaps he’s just a good weapons dealer and knows the competitions’ weapons.
He looks around the board and nods his head, “Killbox programing.” he says as he drops the flare gun and raises his gloved hand. His fingers form into a claw and his lips move, forming a sound no human throat should be able to, it sounds like the popping and cracking of cooling coals in a long burning fireplace. The glove on his hand begins to smolder, as does the sleeve of his shirt as a flickering light begins to glow from beneath both bits of clothing. One of the turrets begins to smoke and spark before simply exploding as it’s ammunition cache popes in spectacular fashion, blowing the thing sideways to hard it ragdolls across the sand for a good ten feet.
Weapons fire fills the air around Slaine and she ducks under cover of one of the dunes she just created. Just in time too – and that’s probably a good thing, given how squishy Half Pint is.
“I’ve had enough of this…” she mutters, her eyes glow even brighter and she mutters indecipherable words …
The blue energy forms circles round the base of both turrets, symbols appearing as her spell progresses. As she falls silent, the circles contract and creep up the turrets ‘legs’… causing the metal to moan and groan. Hopefully weakening them for the others to finish.Standing atop the sparking and crackling remains of one of the turrets, Ted wheels about just as the remaining two open fire. The ‘wheeling about’ immediately ignites currents of flame starting at the ground around him, and swirling upward in the space of an instant to form a force-field…
One hot enough to melt bullets as they reach him. Then, spotting Slaine’s magicks against the automatons, Ted faces the turrets from inside his fire-shield, and thrusts his arms forward.
The shield breaks apart into two whirling beams of superheated air at the turrets… just the sort of thing to help make things go ‘boom’…
“Erm, might wanna take cover…” he comments as he does exactly that.
One way or another there isn’t going to be anything left of it when the smoke clears. At the very least there will be two fist sized holes going from one end of it into the ground, wrecking the internals…
Aiden hits the ground and rolls to his feet. “Right… all clear. What the hell were those things?”
The two remaining turrets spew out silent rounds at an alarming rate, one which would be more impressive if as soon as they did it they weren’t cut in half, burned to cinders, and psychicly railgunned into oblivion. They should lodge a protest with the robot union, that sort of overkill was just rude.
Leo’s shirt sleeve gives up the ghost entirely and bursts into flames, which the inventor begins to beat out with his other hand, swatting at it to smoother the fire before it can engulf his entire shirt, “I lose more shirts that w-” and then he’s sucking face in the sand as the silent guns open up with a rage of their own, large rounds hammering up the beach all around Leo like tiny little volcanoes of grit. By the time he comes up for air, everything is smoking and dead and he’s, literally, spitting sand. “Gak! Gah!” spit spit spit. Slump. “I have sand,” he informs the beach, “in my pants.” sigh. “This is not how all those beach scenes in the books describe your first time to the shore.” he laments before perking up a bit, “M4-TEARs, they’re Dogwood specialty automated turrets. That type is usually used to hold a point, commonly used during landing or taking off under fire, in large groups they become increasingly deadly.” he pushes himself up to his knees and looks around, peeking over the dune he’s been cowering behind for most of this, “Anyone see anymore?”
Slaine raises her head as the turrets … fail. Fail is such a good word. Then Leo’s eating sand. “Leo…” she says as he sits up and just shakes her head “Ye’re still alive, be thankful for that. It could’ve gone a whole lot worse.”
“Vargr? Ser Mercier?” Half Pint calls out “Are ye alright?
Slaine raises her head as the turrets … fail. Fail is such a good word. Then Leo’s eating sand. “Leo…” she says as he sits up and just shakes her head “Ye’re still alive, be thankful for that. It could’ve gone a whole lot worse.”
“Vargr? Ser Mercier?” Half Pint calls out “Are ye alright?” She might have said more but the word //Dogwood// gets her attention “We’re goin’ after somethin’ that belongs to Dogwood?” What the hell is it with Dogwood lately.Ted walks out from behind one of the earlier slain turrets, psi-blade in hand and still… on fire. “All good here,” says he as he casts an eye about the beach. “What’s the li’l Tinkerer goin’ on about now? Sand? …Where?”
And the Cyber-Knight laughs.
It feels good.
“Cain’t see anythin’ else ’round here,” he continues after his chortling fades. “Looks like we in the clear… fo’ now. Where to next? Hey…” and he turns back to Leo. “You said these were from Dogwood? Vargr, what happens if we run afoul o’ Dogwood folks all over again? Ah don’ fancy another stay in one o’ they cells.”
He pauses to look at the wreck of one of the turrets. “Pretty advanced tech to have just been left here so far north of Dogwood’s borders. I wonder why it’s here…”
He could theorize. It might have been abandoned. Or it might have been placed to ward off the casually curious or piratical. It might have even been purchased. But all of those theories only lead to more questions.
“We’re well north of the Kingdom, Mercier.” They shouldn’t be trying to haul anyone off. Of course that doesn’t mean that they won’t run into hostile Agents of the Crown… just that the argument for not bashing their skulls in is a lot weaker.
Leo pushes himself to his feet and rolls his neck, “We kill them and leave the bodies for whatever wildlife would stoop so low as to eat Dogfood.” he offers calmly as a suggestion of what they could do should they run across any Dogwood people. He brushes sand from his body and shimmies a bit, shaking more from inside his pants. The burns sleeve of his shirt has a few holes in it and it seems to hang weird now that it’s no longer structurally sound, as if there wasn’t any arm inside it filling it out, almost like it had been deflated. “Or burn them to dust, just in case.” There isn’t even a fraction of feeling in the statements as he makes them. “Camp here until sunrise or start the hike, through the wood, in the dark?” he asks looking around curiously. Yup, ten times the feeling put into the question about camp then into the statement about straight up murdering people.
“Doesn’ stop Agents of the Crown gettin’ touchy…” Slaine mutters as she pushes herself upright and looks over the beach. It’s … interesting how the ‘dunes’ cast shadows. Not that she agrees with Leo’s methods either. So there’s that.
“I don’ want to be gone too long and I’d say push forward but after this…” she gestures to what’s left of the Turrets “I’d say we find somewhere to bunk down and keep watch till it’s lighter…”“Ah agree…” Mercier responds.
He turns to look at the other three, and retracts his visor. “It’ll give us a chance ta scout a bit maybe too. Whaddya reckon, Slaine? Use some o that magic o’ yourn an’ fortify here a bit fo’ the night? Ah’d make a joke about gettin’ a fire goin’… but ah’m too old ta bother.”
“What food have we got? Ah’m famished.”
But when one of them falls down a hole and has his face eaten, he gets to say he told them so before helping out.
Leo's adventure into some dangerous territory has Aiden, Slaine and Teddy joining him on a borrowed ship (Nix's). Arriving at a beach in ruins of the 'Golden Age' they soon discover they are not alone. There will be fire, steel, and... sand in all the wrong places.
February 20, 2410
Somewhere Very Dangerous - Golden Age Dangerous