Aiden’s Sky-Ship – The Gladius – is as fine a way of getting around as ever but it’s not the best thing in the world for fighting off power armored SAMAS troopers employed by the Coalition States for air superiority and recon. So some ways off from Arlington, he set it down in a thickly wooded area, locked it up and the group proceeded on foot.
Two hours of walking later the tangled forest gave way to a tangle of ruins. Tumbled down buildings and three hundred year old dura-crete have presented one endless, twisted maze of rubble to clamber through and it has taken everyone to keep going. Aiden for moving things, Slaine and Kaji for magicking around them and Kythzx for vibrating through them. It is now nearing two in the afternoon and the group has been on the go for eight hours. Aiden taking a few off his feet in the shade and drinking a bit of water.
Thank goodness for Zyx. Water is heavy.
Slaine has been silent mostly during the journey, inwardly reflective if that’s possible. The Crown still doesn’t sit on her head but anyone who sees her would say her eyes nearly glowed. She’s been solicitous though of the others, making they sure they are keeping up and that nothing goes amiss.
Taking a place, not far from Aiden, the small redhead sips some water and redoes her hair in a braid – it had come lose during their trek. “How far before our first destination?”
It’s been quite a trip and through rugged terrain, but Kaji’s been able to keep along well enough, even with having to assist with clearing paths one way or another. His stamina’s certainly improved between adventuring and training with Ardul.
Adjusting the straps of his pack, he hops down from a gnarled tree root, wiping a sleeve across his brow as he lets out a sigh. Any breather is appreciated- they’d been at it for a while now. He pulls out a bottle to take a couple of sips himself. “Hopefully we’re getting somewhere. It is crazy hard trying to keep track of what direction you’re going in a place like this,” he says, making a slight face. He’d tried doodling a rough map, but outlines don’t tell you much of the landscape you’d be traveling through, not like this.
“Doing okay, Zyx?”
Zyx was only too happy to play pack babyelephant for the others, and carrying the water and any other needed provisions was no actual hardship. The way the pack-frame had been arranged made setting it down to break through things using resonant frequencies a quick and simple process as well, even if the spider-like limb configuration she uses for this is unsettling to the others. The eight limbs is especially convenient for clambering over fallen rocks and… whatever this stuff is. It looks like sand, but is hard like stone. But doesn’t have the layers of compressed sediment. Bizarre.
When they all stop to take a break, she sets the pack-frame down and stands up bipedal, looking at their surroundings curiously. Maybe she’ll find some crystals here. As if reminded, she gets out some of the pea-sized rubies that she was able to gather on such short notice. “Oh, yes,” she tells Kaji. “This has been a pleasant excursion.” And, since the others are drinking water, she gets out a deep green tourmaline to nibble on. Spicy.
“From what Sanka’a told us it should be pretty close. Probably just another half a mile or so but half a mile in this place can be a bear.” The psychic finishes the water he was drinking and stands up in the shadow of the big overhang he’s presently on. He smacks some of the nearby rubble for emphases and is vaguely surprised to hear an echoy grinding sound in response to that.
“Huh? It sounds like there’s a hollow nearb-”
The ground beneath his feet gives way and Aiden just drops out of sight down a hole that is large enough that Slaine might have an issue if she’s not quick on her feet.
“Half a mile, like this. A good hour or so. How’s everyone’s feet holdin’ up” Slaine asks, slowing climbing to her feet as Aiden finds his. The thunk sound has her look “I wonder if that’s a … Vargr!!!”
Since when is Slaine not clumsy? Even being an Earth mage, she’s not stable on her feet. As the ground opens beneath she slides as well, tumbling after Aiden to the bottom of that hole. At least, she hopes there’s a bottom – right now she feels bit Alice in Wonderland-ish.
Kaji has to chuckle a bit at Kthzyx’s response. At least someone’s enjoying the trip?
He looks over towards the psychic with a wry smirk. “So more like…two miles then,” he suggests, however with the strange sound resulting from Aiden’s idle action he raises his head. –which is entirely the wrong direction to be looking as suddenly the ground erodes beneath their feet.
“Aiden, Slaine! Whoa–!” he yelps, finding his feet slipping on the rapidly receding terrain. He throws a hand back to try snagging the tree but misses, fingers raking dirt as he goes skidding downwards. “Look out beloooow!”
Zyx spikes up in surprise at Aiden just falling through the ground, and hastily slaps the palmful of rubies to adhere to her upper torso before she goes spider-like and snatches a hand out at Kaji to keep him from falling in as well. It’ll likely be VERY uncomfortable for the young man, but better that than falling through, yes?
“Vargr? Slaine? Are you both okay down there?” Considering the overhang, there’s likely not much by way of light reaching into the opening, so she angles one of her limbs to try and prism some light into the newly made hole.
Aiden and Slaine – and possibly Kaji? Or possibly not thanks to Zyx’s quick action – find themselves riding something of a small avalanche. Aiden is… slightly cheating because the first thing he did was put a telekinetic field between him in the rocks. So he’s not, er, tumbling with them. More like sliding down a waterslide. It might not be so nice for anyone else coming down.
It’s impossible to tell how long it takes to get to the bottom. Probably not all that long but when Aiden finally does reach it the hole down which he disappeared is rather disturbingly distant.
“Kaji! Zyx!” He calls up.
Moments before Slaine lands on him. Ow.
Hopefully that’s the last person who does.
They can hear Slaine on her way down and the choice words that accompany the journey. No TK shield for her as her leathers barely protect her from the elements. And no time to try and the earth to her advantage.
“Eiiiiii” That’s all Aiden hears as a mess of red hair and dark leathers bowl into him. Landing in tangle of arms and legs. “Ow…”
“Yerk–! O-oh, thanks ‘Zyx,” Kaji says, wincing as he bounces a bit, not to mention his arm’s caught in a rocky grip. He dangles there somewhat awkwardly, craning his head to peer down the sloping hole.
“Aiden! You guys all right down there?” he calls back. It sounds pretty far, but Aiden wouldn’t have managed to say anything if they’d still been sliding. Digging his heels into the dirt nearest them, Kaji tries to scramble back up onto more stable ground. He looks at Zyx.
“Guess we should head down there and join them?”
Taking a moment to help Kaji back to more stable ground, Zyx shakes her head no at him. “No, we’ll need a way to get them back out of there. I think there’s rope in the pack provisions?”
With Kaji no longer at risk of falling as well, she uses a second limb to try and improve the light she’s trying to angle into the hole for the two at the bottom.
“Do you see a way out?” she calls down to them.
“No. There’s more tunnel down here but I’m not quite sure why…” It doesn’t look like a golden age tunnel. It looks rough. Almost natural as if it were made by water or erosion of some kind. Aiden untangles himself from Slaine and rubs the back of his head. “Ow…”
Then there’s that grinding, rumbling sound again. Slaine and Aiden can hear it. Kaji and Zyx can hear it quite well. And quite close.
And that’s when debris starts flying. It zips about, pulling itself into piles as if by some unnatural gravitation or telekinesis. The piles begin to resemble humanoid bodies in short order. Dozens of them.
That may not mean much to Kaji but Slaine and Zyx will know. Incorporeal beings that form physical bodies out of whatever happens to be around. They’re rather ill tempered… and they like nothing better than to add to their piles.
Boy there’s a lot of them.
“Um…” Aiden calls up.
Going overland is going to be difficult for anyone who tries. The entire debris field is churning as if alive. Aiden and Slaine have it better, fleeing into the tunnel but they’re going to be chased there too. There’s plenty of scrap and rocks down there. Just less of it.
“Frak.” Slaine swears loudly for the others to hear her. “I hate tectonic entities.” They seem to weather her powers the best. “Don’ come down here ye two. Find somewhere safe from them. Up, preferably. Tho’ Zyx migh’ be able to shake them till them they leave…”
“Run Aiden, I can slow them down, like I did the last time.” The last time when they nearly didn’t out of that Golden Age garage. She’s already moving into the tunnel, shoving the psychic ahead of her. He’ll have to handle lights and keep her on her feet.
Blue energy starts to flicker about her hands though as they move. “I’m goin’ to try and slow their passage after us…”
“Uuuuh…that doesn’t sound too good,” Kaji says, the rumbling making him pause from where he’d been about to go through the packs on Zyx’s back. Quite abruptly he’s nearly thrown off his feet as the ground they stand upon begins to shift again, more or less landing against the crystalline form. He grabs on in an effort to try keeping upright, but that’s proving increasingly difficult with the ground practically coming alive beneath them.
He may not be familiar with tectonic entities, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what it means- provided one is familiar with the term tectonic, anyway. By now Kaji knows better than to question that entities of such a sort are even a thing, so he’ll concentrate on not ending up falling down the hole.
“Whoa! Come on Zyx, I don’t think we’re gonna be helping them this way- maybe we can find a place that heads them off!”
Zyx recognizes that sensation, and it’s NOT a good one. She quickly backs away from the hole the two fell into and all but carries Kaji back to her pack-frame when he falls against her. She’s spread her feet wider than normal to help maintain her balance. “Kaji, get under here.” She gestures for him to shelter under the pack-frame, where hopefully these entities can’t pummel him with debris. “And cover your ears.”
She then focuses on the closest of the entities and SCREAMS out at it in a frequency that’ll hopefully shake it apart and maybe convince it that they’re not worth messing with.
Zyx, being attuned to vibrations, will know that there is a place where that tunnel comes back to the surface and it’s not terribly far away. The trick will be getting there. Kaji can probably pick out the line of where it’s running as well and make an educated guess.
The elemental’s scream shatters three of the entity’s bodies. It takes them a moment to start reforming but it clears enough of a path to start running. However all the debris moving about has caused a bit of an avalanche up the area they must run to and that makes the going… interesting. Plus there’s the chance that at any moment something may try to grab them.
Aiden pauses in his flight and throws up a shield. “Hurry it up Half Pint. I don’t want them closing the exit off on us.”
Slaine at least has an easy way to target her opponents. They’re all in one direction.
“I don’ tell ye to hurry, Aiden …” Slaine mutters, letting the blue energy lick up her arms as she starts to chant, targetting the tunnel behind them. The roof and walls start to shake, but she has to be careful – too much, she’ll bring the tunnel down on them.
She’s relying on Aiden keeping her upright, she’s rather focussed on where they came from.
At Kthzyx’s warning, Kaji jams his hands over his ears the moment he’s braced himself. Even then he finds himself gritting his teeth as he can feel the reverberation from the crystalline entity’s cry.
He opens his eyes when it dies off, still moving to keep a good grasp on the pack frame as he looks around. He has no idea where Aiden and Slaine have gone, but squinting, he can make out where the surface ground has started jutting upwards in the wake of the tremors.
“Over that way- what do you think?” he asks, deferring to an expert as he points in the direction he’d been studying. “We better hurry.”
Zyx sees the entities’ forms crumble but knows it’s only temporary. So when Kaji points out a likely direction to run, a quick glance and she agrees. “Yes. Climb on top, we’re going to go fast.” She waits for Kaji to either climb on top of the pack-frame or run ahead before she hefts it and starts toward the area the young man indicated as fast as her eight-legged gait can travel. It’s not her fastest, but it’s far more stable over the now extra-uneven ground.
“The good news is that where they’re going is solid ground so at least the ground beneath their feet won’t be shifting and Kaji and Zyx do manage to make it there. For some reason the entities aren’t chasing them over that barrier. That’s the good news. The bad news is they are now THROWING things at them. Big chunks of masonry and rebar. It’s a problem if they get hit for sure…
Why aren’t they being chased?
Everything earthen shakes in the tunnel and that includes the things chasing them. The ones closest to Slaine just begin to disintegrate. The ones further back lose parts and have to slow or risk their integrity.
“That’s enough there.” Aiden says, grabbing Slaine and running. He’s not sure if she can cast on the run but he can see an upslope ahead. They’ll take it… and hope it goes somewhere useful.
Tugged along by her collar, Slaine manages to cast again, just enough to keep the entities behind them unable to reform. It’s a stopgap measure – those things are usually powerful and they really want to add the organics to their piles.
She casts a little too … happily … for a moment and a lump of earth shakes loose above Aiden’s head.
Kaji clambers onto Zyx’s back, or at least as well he can situate himself against the pack she’s got there. Between him and her, he rather trusts her to have more sturdy footing on the uneven ground, even if it’s more solid than what they’d been standing on. He hangs on as they move onward, leaving Kthzyx to know where to go as he glances back.
“-oh come on..!” he not quite groans, seeing things flung after them. -Big- things. “Incoming, Zyx! Yikes!” He ducks as a flat but relatively large piece of what might have been a wall goes flying just past his head, hunkering as low as he can.
Zyx clambers that last bit of distance perhaps a bit less steadily than the rest in her rush to get Kaji to some kind of protective cover, and sets him along with the pack-frame down in the lee of a particularly massive section of masonry and concrete. It doesn’t look likely to move any time soon, and it doesn’t feel like the tremors all around are going to budge it.
“They’re not following us,” she observes. “I could be wrong, but that seems like a bad thing.” Either way, she ‘peeks’ back at the entities before ducking clear of another round of flung rebar.
“They are blocking our path back to Vargr and Slaine.”
Aiden yelps as a chunk of earth comes down and leaps out of the way. He’s… somewhat slowed by dragging Slaine and it slams into his shoulder. There’s an awful ‘crunch’ sound. That… can’t be good.
“Augh! Slaine… keep going.” This is going to slow him but there’s light up ahead. Unfortunately Slaine can tell from here that it’s blocked by a pile of scree. It’s earthen though. She can probably move it.
The entities have stopped throwing things now and have gathered at the base of the slab that Zyx and Kaji are on. The two might wonder why until they begin pushing in unison. Not a sustained shove, no. It becomes clear in a moment as the ground begins to sway, they’re rocking it.
And they’ll keep doing that until the pair fall either off one side… or the other.
“Sorry, sorry …” Slaine mutters as Aiden yelps. The spell fades as she turns to move with the psychic. “I ain’ stoppin’ an’ neither are ye …” the words are muttered as he exhorts her to keep moving.
“It’s blocked. Goin’ get a bit … dusty in here, but I’ll get us out.” The blue glows around her and seeps into the ground, running along it to the scree bank. With a shake and rattle, but no roll, the loose earth explodes.
Aiden and Slaine are showered but they can get through.
This is absolutely the last place Kaji feels he’d like to be right now. He tries not to cling to Kthzyx’s side, but then she’s about the only other thing the hang on to.
“Either way, looks like we’re caught between a rock and a hard place, heh heh….”
While he’d rather hope that Zyx is wrong, he’s not all that sure -what- to expect with the things. “H-hey, they stopped throwing stuff…” he says, frowning a little. It seems odd to happen just like that… And then-
“Gah!” He half falls, half crouches as the ground beneath them shudders. “Aw crap, why don’t these guys just lay off already!” Scowling, he thrusts a hand into his pocket and flings out several origami sheets emblazoned with Sharpie’d kanji, sending them folding into tiny jets to explode against the entities below.
Clearly, Zyx thought too soon when she thought this slab of … stuff would be adequate protection. “Cover your ears, Kaji.” Maybe she can make those entities regret trying to mess with their slab. “And get ready to move quickly.”
Moving to an edge of the slab, she takes a moment to try and figure out its resonant point, then sends a wave of vibration through the entire slab. Hopefully enough to make the entities back the eff off but not enough to make the slab crumble.
That would be bad.
The entities all sort of crumble when Zyx hits them with the resonant shock wave. There’s a big pile of rubble at the feet of the slab and… it is starting to reanimate but slowly. They’ve got some time.
Or so they think. When Slaine clears a pathway for she and Aiden to get out of the tunnel it comes out near the other side of the slab and, well, that tips it over. And starts another avalanche.
Slaine, Aiden, Zyx and Kaji all wind up sliding down a pile of much finer grained debris, almost sand, and landing at a heap at the bottom some one hundred feet down.
“This day can officially go…” Aiden starts to mutter and then looks up.
They’ve landed in front of a vault door. A circular vault door 30 feet across.
“Ooof….” Slaine slides with scree, thankful for her travelling leathers though after this trip, she might need new ones. “Oof, ouch. Ow….” can be heard on their journey ending with “Vargr. Get.off.me.”
It’s actually a bit muffled probably because she’s on the bottom of the pile. Of course.
Once she shakes herself clear and scrambles to her feet, dirt and gravel strewn through her hair, she stares at the door, green eyes wide. “Oh.” and echo of an Aiden. “Is there a lever or keypad to get in?”
Zyx is relieved to see that the entities has crumbled (again?) and that she and Kaji get a bit of a breather. She turns to check on Kaji and … “Uh oh…” She scrambles to get to Kaji, then scoops him into her arms and flattens her body as much as she can so he’s not in direct contact with the scree they’re sliding on. Though, ultimately, which is worse? Sliding on gravel, or getting roughly hugged by a rock?
When they come to an abrupt stop, she immediately releases the young man and moves to sit up, managing to control almost all of her startle-spikes at hearing Vargr and Slaine’s voices. The giant door has her just staring at it.
“Nice work, Zy–yyyyyx?!?”
It’s a brief victory of sorts, but down they go, at least without immediate problems in the form of the entities. “Ugh… O-oh, hey Aiden. Slaine.”
At least the party’s back together! Kaji looks up, following the look from the others. “Oh. That looks promising.” Finding his feet and eyeing the slightly trembling rubble beneath them, he dusts himself off and then wanders closer to the vault door, reaching out to press his hands against the huge thing.
“That’s a good question.” Aiden picks himself up and looks around the door. “There’s no sense of a control mechanism.”
The psychic glares at the door for a moment as if concentrating.
“Too heavy to push too. Maybe you magic types?”
That would be all of them. Slaine and Kythzyx have affinity for earth and Kaji can do fire, explosions and… dead things. That last will probably not be useful here.
“Wonder what the door was for. It’s huge. This has to be the thing that Sanka’a was talking about. Can you guys get us in?”
“Ye two check the door …” Slaine mutters as she dusts herself off. There’s bruises on her bruises at the moment. “… I’m goin’ to check the earth under it. If ye can’t get the door open, I might be able to move the Earth around it enough to make it fall. It won’t ever close again, but that won’ bother us when we leave.”
She’ll ‘play’ with the Earth a bit, letting the others try to open the door in a more conventional fashion before bringing a uniquely Slaine solution to it.
Kaji’s stepped back, fingering his chin in thought before he reaches into his pocket for paper and a marker. He eyes the vault door again, nodding a little before he uncaps the Sharpie with his mouth, holding the cap between his teeth as he begins to swipe black strokes onto the sheets methodically. Eventually he just stoops down to set the ones he’s done on the floor as he continues.
“Okay, so what I’m gonna do is try setting explosives in between the door and the rest of things, all the way around, see if it’ll help loosen things up,” he explains as he continues to write. “Ten second delay once they set, so just tell me when you guys are ready.”
Zyx approaches the door while Kaji is getting out his paper and sharpie, and she puts her hands on the door and hums softly to try and get a feel for how large it is and if it has any weak points. Fracture lines would be easy for her to exploit. She could even try putting a few crystals into them to act like ice wedges.
After a moment she steps back and looks at the door for a moment before moving to the frame to do the same to it while Kaji’s setting his explosives. Maybe she can tell him the weakest spots, but at this point she’s doubtful. This door is … very unusual.
Zyx can identify some particularly weak spots and perhaps whatever Slaine is cooking up will let them in. Aiden comes and stands by Zyx, peering up and around. The only marking on the door is a huge eagle holding three arrows in its claws with thirteen stars above it. It’s not one Aiden recognizes but the ancients often used an Eagle as their symbol.
“What do you guys think? Can we get in or are we going to have to tunnel in?” Slaine seems to be doing something so she can signal Kaji when she’s ready.
Kaji waits until the others are set doing…whatever it is they’re doing, finally finishing up the sixtieth sheet. He caps his marker, pocketing it while bringing up the other hand in front of him, palm downwards. The sheets of paper flutter up, and as he clenches his fist, each piece begins to fold up into a tiny sparrow.
He waits for a signal before deploying his little flock with a sweep of his hand, sending them to situate themselves equidistant from each other all the way around the door. “Stand back,” he warns, doing so himself as he counts down.
“Five, four, three, two…one!”
Zyx points Kaji to the best places to send his sparrows, then pulls Aiden away as gently as she can and stands to shield him and Slaine from whatever Kaji’s doing. Fingers crossed she’ll be able to adequately protect them. She feels she’s done a weak job thus far.
While waiting, she asks about the image on the door. “What does the bird with the sticks symbolize?”
“Something about the American Empire. The, uh, people who lived here hundreds of years ago, before the rifts. The Eagle seemed to be their symbol of both peace and war. I think the arrows symbolize war but I’m not real sure. I’m not an archeologist.”
The psychic makes a face. “Not that the Coalition allows much of that, when it has a say. And it lays claim to pretty much everything with that symbol.”
The Psy-Warrior covers his ears as Kaji counts down. This will… hopefully… get them inside.
Slaine waits till Kaji and Zyx have done their thing and for the countdown to occur. All the while, her eyes glow with an azure light and blue energy wraps around her hands and wrists. Slowly, arcane symbols form and float to the earth at the base of the door.
When Kaji counts ‘one’, the last of her spell completes, the earth under the door disappearing as the kanji’s explode.
“I gotta wonder just how old this vault is, using a symbol like that. I mean, the stars can symbolize the original thirteen colonies that existed when America was officially founded,” Kaji volunteers.
There’s a dull, ringing *THOOM* as all the birds explode at the end of his count, smoke streaming from each position. He’s not sure if it’ll help, but at the very least maybe it might loosen whatever crud’s gathered over the centuries, and as Slaine shifts the ground he dances in place a bit to keep his own balance.
Zyx plants her feet as firmly as she can, then steps out of the way promptly after Kaji’s explosives have gone off. “So their eagle symbol… would change for different purposes?” How very odd. Of course, her people didn’t really need much by way of symbolism, so most iconography is lost on her.
She watches the door alertly, and if it’s still in place, she’ll try to vibrate the frame out of the way. Maybe that’ll make the door fall over.
There’s a huge grinding sound and the door starts to sink. It doesn’t entirely disappear but most of it does and by the time it stops there’s only a little bit of it sticking up from the door frame. “Nice work.” Aiden coughs as dust flies absolutely everywhere.
Zyx… can hear… singing? Crystals resonating.
Behind the door is the answer to why it is so big. A massive bot that would have to duck to get out from the door is standing in an enormous hangar. Aiden’s jaw drops open.
“That isn’t a robot. That’s a mobile BUILDING.”
The weapons on it look equally impressive. Yeah. This is something the Coalition CANNOT have.
“Oooooh….” Slaine coos as she enters the building, staring at the bot that stands … storeys high. “I know Kailastia said to destroy things but do ye think …”
She starts inside, cautiously, peering around. Maybe they could walk this thing back to Vesper.
That probably isn’t one of her better ideas.
Kaji lets out a low whistle as the door comes down to reveal its secrets beyond. “Wow…”
He starts in after Slaine, still staring ahead at the huge structure, although he takes a moment to look around the rest of the place. “Wonder if it still works. Shouldn’t be too hard to blow it up once you find the central controls or where the fuel or energy cells are. Or…whatever they might call it…” he murmurs.
Wow. That’s … tall. “Slaine, is this like Mr. Graymane’s robot?” Zyx then hears the crystals resonating and wants to hum back to them. But, she refrains for fear of setting off something they don’t want to make angry. “I hear crystals. They’re singing.”
She finds herself trying to remember the crystals she and the dolphin lady found that one time not long after she arrived in this dimension sound the same as these. If they do, that might help them understand them.
The Hanger itself is poorly lit, but it’s a mess of gantries and there look like there are conveyor lifts that go further back to presumably rooms that used to be armories. There’s a lot of dust and cobwebs in here but no indication that anyone has been in here.
Aiden finds a light switch and tries it. Nothing. No power to this place.
“Well. Okay. I am open to ideas. If that thing has a fusion reactor it may still work. Of course none of us know how to DRIVE this thing…”
But yes it is like Mister Greymane’s robot. Just… a LOT bigger.
“The fusion reactor should be somewhere in it’s torso, Kaji and if it’s still got fuel we could make it go critical but, uh, we wouldn’t want to be anywhere near it when it did.”
That singing Zyx can hear is coming from inside the bot as well.
“What do you think Slaine? How do we make sure the CS never gets to make use of anything in here?”
That singing? It’s growing louder. And this place feels restless for Kaji. As in… restless spirits.
Holding his breath as Aiden tries the light switch, Kaji then sighs as it proves futile. Not that he’s terribly surprised, but sometimes you never knew.
“Crystals?” he asks, looking over towards Kthzyx. He nods a little at the suggestion from Aiden, grimacing a little in agreement. “Truuuue…” he admits, not needing further explanation for that reasoning. He doubts that they’d be able to get anywhere far enough if they resorted to that.
“Okay then, guess we’ll have to work this out a bit…”
He trails off, frowning a little as he lets his attention wander about again. “I…don’t think we’re alone in here…”
Slaine sort of blinks at Aiden as he considers her question seriously. “Ye mean it, we can try and salvage it?” None of them know how to drive the thing but she’s willing to …. let the other try. They probably shouldn’t put her behind the wheel.
“If we can get the walking building going, load up everythin’ we can.” She answers, starting to poke around to see if she can find anything that resembles locomotion for the bot. “Wha’ we can’t take, I drop in a hole an’ cover. Then drop the building on it. Kaji migh’ be able to make some fireworks to go along with that. But we destroy as much as we can.”
Zyx steps into the cavernous opening cautiously, listening to the crystals very carefully, trying to make sense of their resonances. “I hear them in the … space, as well as in the walking building robot.” That’s what Slaine just called it. “If we can’t make the robot move, maybe I can make the crystals angry enough to react?”
A polite euphemism for explode.
Aiden floats up on his own telekinesis and examines the bot. At length he finds something that does look to be a panel and opens it. Around the same time Slaine and Kaji may spot a hatch that should lead to the interior. It doesn’t look locked.
Aiden whistles up where he is. “Slaine, Kaji, take a look inside. Kythzyx, they’re using some kind of crystalline power transmission structure. But it’s cracked. We might be able to move this thing if we can get it fixed. Or at least… power it up.”
Zyx brightens up at that. “I’ve repaired power transmission crystals before. Maybe there are others further in to take the place of broken ones?” That would be faster than stitching the existing pieces back together one fissure at a time, and she’ll be able to tell which ones are interchangeable. There’s no doubt that anyone else looking for this place saw the entities kicking up a fuss and maybe even heard when the door was blasted open.
“If you want, I’ll climb up there and look at the crystals…” Somehow.
“Found somethin'” Slaine calls out as she finds the hatch, trying to open it and blinking again when it does. It’s dim inside, the lights aren’t on. With a murmur several small mage lights bob over their heads. A couple follow Kaji as he poke around, the small redheaded mage, climbing a gantry towards the head “I’ve heard of this…” she’s speaking – maybe to herself or the others if they can hear her “This is a human / machine interface. One of the bot pilots who came through Vesper a few years ago spoke of these. One of us will have to … interface with the machine to control it.”
“Huh?” Kaji blinks and then pulls his attention back to the bot, looking up where Aiden’s gone. He waves a hand about him as though to brush away cobwebs or in his case, whatever restless spirit vibes he’s picking up as he starts on closer to the bot’s base.
“There’s gotta be an easier way to access the thing,” he says to Kthzyx, looking around. “Of course, maybe they’d have like some kinda platform rig they’d bring out for it…” He looks around again before recalling that there’d need to be power to move something like that if there was even something of the sort around.
“Oh. That works too.” Kaji starts over to where Slaine’s found the hatch, perhaps a little too eagerly. Really, considering everything, it’s hard for him -not- to be excited about going into a GIANT ROBOT.
“Omigoshomigoshomigosh this is so awesome…!” he squeaks as he heads on up.
“Did you say human-machine interface? So like…Exosquad or Pacific Rim jaegers? …although both of those might be painful so I’m really hoping it’s more like G Gundam,” he babbles as he makes his way up to the top.
“And I’ll form the head…” he can’t help but murmur, trying and failing horribly in suppressing a grin. Yes. He’s geeking out, leave him alone.
“Come on up Zyx.” It won’t take her long to repair the crystal enough to get the power back online but while she does she’ll see that the crystals have grown in the meantime, in the last three hundred years, and are malformed. She may not to do some… singing and preventative maintenance before they get under way.
“What on earth is Kaji going on about?” Aiden says as he hears echoes coming up from the hatch. As the power comes on the plug in station for the interface lights up as do the bot controls. Testing them can make the limbs move a bit but full function won’t come until someone plugs in. The question is, which one of them is going to volunteer to do it?
Possibly Slaine? Since Kaji may know how to drive the thing?
Zyx climbs up to where Aiden found the crystal power source and is soon enough repaired the crystals enough to power the giant robot on. She sees that they’ve also … moved a bit, and starts working to nudge them back to the shapes they probably need to be to function. Probably.
It’s taking a lot of will power for her to refrain from humming back to the crystals as she works on them, but remember what happened to Hunter’s robot, she’s VERY wary of having that happen again.
“These crystals need just a little more attention to be back to the way they’re supposed to be,” she tells Aiden. “Should someone check the rest of the building for anything else we don’t want other people finding?”
“Kaji are ye feelin’ alrigh’?” Slaine asks the youth as he sputters unknown words. “I don’ know, Aiden. Ye know Kaji, always somethin’ strange and exotic to compare things to.” As the power comes on, she frowns at the ‘cockpit’ and looks to Aiden as he joins her “It’s ye or I to step into that thin’ ….” she says with a chin jerk. “An’ I think ye’ll be more useful than me in a figh’. If I’m tied up in there, it won’ matter as much and ye’ll be able navigate us home …”
She doesn’t look sure. That think will link her mind to the machine and that … might be dangerous. “Do ye wan’ me to try?”
Kaji siiiighs. “I wish the internet still worked so I could just show you guys video clips. It’d be sooo much easier than having to explain.”
He studies the cockpit or the command center or whatever it is this place would be called.
“Huh. Is it for two people? Like Themis in ‘Sleeping Giants‘- but with no backwards legs I hope.”
He looks at the controls, chewing on his lower lip as he reaches out to try seeing if he can get acclimated by the layout. Hopefully it’s built to be intuitive. “Wait no, Themis was actually made to be piloted by one person because it was originally made for an alien. -oh were you saying something Slaine?”
“The hell is an internet?” Aidan asks as he drops down. Zyx is right. He’ll want to look around and make sure there’s nothing else in here that might be a prize to scavengers or-
“You there! Stop!”
Zyx was ALSO right about people hearing. A squad of death-masked soldiers has showed up at the door. Aiden’s response is immediate as it is combative. He throws one of them bodily into the rest.
“Get that thing started up and moving now! Or we’re going to have to blow it?”
Which means, yes, Slaine needs to plug in, Kaji needs to drive and Zyx needs to make sure the power circuitry doesn’t blow itself to hell, which it is already at risk of doing. God knows what it will do when they try to move this thing.
Aiden for his part pulls out both of his guns, dives behind cover and starts to shoot. It’s seven on one though and he can’t draw all the fire. Zyx is at risk. And the bot, well. It’s taking shots. Not that it notices. It’ll notice if someone gets into that hatch.
“Sorry Kaji, we were jus’ conjecturin’ who would plug in here. Did ye wan’ to—” Slaine turns at the call and mutters a spell of her own, her response only just slower Aidens. Blue energy forms in the palm of her hands before shooting out towards the squad of soldiers. “Kaji, help me?”
She’s already clumsily trying to work herself into the rig but knows she’ll need help to secure herself. Uttering a quick prayer to Lugh – she might regret that later – the redhead settles the helmet on her head.
“Aiden collect what else ye can, I’m goin’ to bring this place down when we leave …”
Zyx startles and tries to hide from the weapons fire while still trying to get the power transfer crystals back into proper shape. Andthat’s something that just can’t be rushed. What she can do is quickly shear off any protruding bits and THROW them at the death-masked soldiers.
She’s by no means a combatant — she’s a cook, for diamond’s sake — but hopefully she’ll hit one of them, and the shards of crystal are at the very least solid and sharp-edged. “Vargr, if this robot starts moving, I think I can stay in here and keep working on the crystals as we go.”
“SERIOUSLY??” Kaji huffs, more annoyed than worried by the appearance of the opposition. He supposes there’s no time to talk about how having a two-person system in this makes no sense to him, and with Slaine already moving to plug herself in, he doesn’t argue as he positions himself where the controls are to get the thing moving.
“Everything connected, Zyx? I’m gonna start punching buttons. You all set, Slaine?” he cranes his head back to make sure she’s all snapped in or whatever before reaching for the control grips, setting his feet in place.
“Commence neural handshake! All systems go! Rocket-o puuuuuunch!”
Now hopefully the thing gets activated or it’ll be a really short trip.
Slaine could explain to him why it takes a two person system. She can’t actually control motion from in here. The computer is… it’s like wrestling with a greased pig. It’s got imperatives of it’s own and it’s up to Slaine to get everything behind the scenes together. To make it move. She can feel the weapons system. She can feel the flow of power. She can make it walk forward but the actual steering? That takes someone else. The flows of power don’t really affect that.
The crystel sticks into the armor and the yelp from one of them suggests that one of the penetrated the armor. The soldiers scatter a bit as the robot powers up but Aiden is fully engaged in a gunfight right now.
“Get moving before they-”
A plasma missile impacts the back wall. That was a miss but the next one probably won’t be and that could actually hurt the bot.
Kaji gets a number of consoles lighting up. So long as Slaine can keep the power flowing, he’s got speed. He does have to figure out how to duck though or he’s going to smack the head on the low overhang from the door.
Speaking of the door it didn’t entirely lower. Don’t trip.
“Go for it Kythzx. Just don’t let them stop! I’ll follow behind as I can.”
If Slaine is going to bring this place down he REALLY doesn’t want to be in it when she does.
“Go Kaji….” Slaine’s face is a rictus of concentration as the interface with the bot is made. “This is Golden Age technology?” She grumbles, making the thing actually bunny hop forward as she tests things. “Movin’. Hurry up Aiden, I ain’ leavin’ ye behind…”
It takes several steps before she gets the thing moving – certainly not moving smoothly. That experiment is interrupted briefly when the plasma missile goes off. “Rude …”
Still she gets it going, a lumbering, limping gait towards the entrance. It’s probably good that it’s Kaji driving, she’d trip.
“Tell me when we’re clear, Kaji an’ bring us around. I’ve got the weapons systems an’ I think I can use them …”
That sounds reassuring doesn’t it?
“Hocrap!” Kaji yelps at the sound more so than the impact, thankfully because it wasn’t against them. Still, it sounded bad even though he can’t see the damage to confirm it.
Lights are good. Power’s on, and so long as they can actually move and do things rather than be sitting ducks, that’s more than they’d had earlier to work with. “Here…we…go…!” he shouts, bringing the thing to lean forward as it lurches into a steadily increasing gait.
Can this thing jump? He kinda doubts it, but he can see the uneven opening as they near the downed door. “Hang on guys…” Hopefully he can time it right.
Kaji… does smack the head on the overhang and Slaine will actually feel that. But they do manage to clear the room. The sounds of Aiden’s fighting are coming from somewhere off to the left, so he must have cleared the room as well.
“Slaine! Bring it down!” Soon as she does he’s going to hitch a ride and they can get out of here at speed. After that they can… well, getting this back to Vesper might be a pain. Kaji and Slaine might have to walk it back while he gets the Gladius.
As she said she would, Zyx has wedged herself into the space aroung the power transfer crystals and is continuing to work on them, especially the ones that she can feel are trying to draw more power through them. Finally…
“Kaji, Slaine, I think I’ve fixed the power to the weapons.” She hopes she has. And she hopes Vargr has made it out of that place.
Slaine grunts as the head of the bot smacks the lintel, nearly causing the bot to stumble with a misstep.
As Kaji swings them round, her fingers twitch on the instruments “Where are ye Vargr …” she growls, raising the arm of the mechanical behemoth and releasing a gout of energy.
Right into the middle of the ‘garage’ they’d just been in.
The walls and roof crumble, fires breaking out as whatever flammable material inside catches. There won’t be anything left but slag.
“Get us out of here, Kaji…”
Aiden leaps up onto the back of the bot, hanging on as he shoots down at the CS soldiers to discourage their chasing. The bot strides back into the ruins. They’ll have time to examine it more closely later. For now… they just need to get out of here.
Things get off to a rocky start, but Aiden, Kaji, Kthzyx and Slaine manage to find what they're looking for, even if they had no idea what to expect.
January 13, 2412
Somewheres in Virginia
Ardul, Hunter Greymane