Deck 7. It's a bit of a hellhole. But hey, at least it's pressurized. And usually the gravity is working. And the lights only half the time don't work. And the access panels mostly keep out the mice. Mostly.
Nbeke, this is your fence, your border, your hold's edge. I'm not asking you to give away any secrets, but what's your defense look like here? Unrelatedly, what's out of place that's obvious to only you? Ringside still tagging along, right?
Flush, you bring Umbra Hannsen right up to the edge of Nbeke's den. Nbeke, who you knew before he was all in his Captain's blues and had the hold and the power and the women. Do you look up to him? It seems like you two have drifted apart, am I wrong? Why? You must want something pretty important to put Umbra Hannsen in front of Ringside and you in front of Nbeke. What is it?
What do you do?
Defenses here are centered 'round the engine, and the fuckin' elevators. Everythin' below deck 7 is considered access, so there ain't no spacious livin' quarters. No amenities, like a fuckin' stairwell, let alone a fuckin' elevator down. You wanna get down there? Fuckin' ladders, motherfucker. Ya dig?
We got Bulwarks, and a fuckin' center of operations down here where we keep a compliment of fighters armed and ready to kill anyone who tries crossin' without my say so. We can't cover the whole deck, but we cover the only way up. You'd have to be one sneaky bastard – or a rich one – to get by. I don't like boys in my gang who abandon their posts for pussy, neither, but it happens. Mostly folks scavengin' for parts, but sometimes you get the odd sort lookin' to meet up with a charismatic revolter... They don't last long when they find out they eatin' under-synthed shit for the rest of they lives. Heh heh.
You know, I wasn't gunna say nothin', but now you mention it... Breaker 17 is showin' up as drawin' power... That page was torn out of the briefin's with a memo, Breaker 17 is to remain off at all times. Herald C. Prescott, Acting Captain, Mission Date 379.
Herald was a fuckin' right honorable man. He took over when the original captain died. He declared martial law, an' set up the deal we got goin' now when he first discovered the problem with our course... I look to Ringside, "Who turned that breaker on? I gave explicit orders, no touchin' the fuckin' breakers – no matter what."
As we make our way to deck 7, following Nbeke's trail, it seems, I think about how we've followed such different paths. Nbeke is a strong motherfucker, right? Well, so am I, but in a different way. He puts it out there, I kind of keep my badassnes to myself. So much so that you might not notice.
Since he became captain, he's been too fucking busy and too busy fucking to hang with me any more. We were young men together, and in my way I helped him make it to the top. I think he remembers. How certain opponents of his would quietly disappear in the dark hours, and allies would find gifts and promises given in the quietest of ways. I greased his fucking wheels on the way to power... I respected him, his ambition, his gift of the gab (which I unfortunately don't share) and his way of doing what needs doing... with a little help, sometimes.
We've grown apart but it doesn't mean I can't miss the man, respect where he's come from. He's a better captain than most of the fuckers I know would be... most. Tends to think with his cock, though, and that's dangerous.
He's an old friend... right... but these days it's usually Ringside or one of his cronies coming by to tell me shit I need to know. Haven't seen his actual fucking face in weeks. And the truth is, I want to see him. I like him (liked?) and although things are tense, I'm able to give him shit like I'm his fucking court jester. He's gotta put me down when the king's court is watching, but that's the way it is. I hope it's still like that.
Some day he'll blast me into space... probably. I'll give him the finger on the way out, with a smile.
"At least the lights are on," I say quietly as we follow a little-used access to deck seven.
I hope Nbeke appreciates this shit. Finding his cock-creme and making Umbra fucking useful. I want him to keep her around a good long time... and I want her to be seen with me. I'll shove Ringside's fucking face in I if I have to. Don't scare me.
You know. And I miss him.
Her hand's on the control to open the door. She's got really nice eyes, Flush.
I ain't too happy about those motherfuckers bein' all hush-hush about how the breaker got flipped on... 'specially since it's so fuckin' dangerous. "Pappy said it was the fuckin' comm array. Original mission was we'd radio back to them that was when we settled. Mission reports are real hazy about why we came out here... Even hazier about why they're supposed to be off all the time — but when a Captain says jump, what do you do, Commander Ringside?"
I look at him expectantly. I want eyes on the folks downstairs. They tryin' to re-route power or somethin' through the comm array, thinkin' I won't notice? Fuck knows if that old comm dish is still workin', but I don't wanna be known as the fuckin' captain that brought down hell on us for disobeying orders. That won't fuckin' fly, ya dig? I'mma have to go teach those fucker a lesson.
"Heh... good one," I comment, though I don't have a clue what she's fucking talking about. She sure is cute when she says it though.
I hold out a hand, "Give 'em over. If I can help deplete Ringside's personal wealth then I'll be happy to deliver 'em to the baddies downstairs all personal."
I flash her my dark little grin. And I don't everyone we meet to be shooting at her now, right? Course if things go to plan, that won't be an issue.
Flush, Umbra Hannsen doesn't break eye contact as she pulls out a mag from her satchel and presses it to your open palm. The tips of her fingers brush the side of your hand, and in the silence, you can hear the quiet whisper of skin-on-skin as she pulls her hand back. "Fuck tha police," she nearly singsongs to herself.
What do you do?
That feels nice. I glance at her pretty face and you know, it feels like the girl's warming up to me. Ahem. I take the magazine and slide it into my weapon with a satisfying 'click' I haven't heard on some time. Yeah. That feels nice. Rack the weapon and slide it back in my holster which hangs low on my right leg.
"Let's make this happen," I punch the door release and slide the heady bulkhead doors open with one hand. Yeah, showing off a little, blame me?
Nbeke, the green light by breaker 17 is off, its clear plastic back to a somber red again instead of a watchful green.
As you watch, the peaceful green on breakers 16 and 18 flutter and trip with a harsh CLICK and a small whisper of thin grey smoke. Several more brakers flicker unsteadily for a tense moment, then return to a stay, healthy green.
"Oh, shit," says Riga, throwing down a sidearm and running to the lower deck ladder.
Why is breaker 16 going dark so bad for Riga? Why are you more worried about breaker 18? And which is worse for the ship?
What do you do?
The door slides open, and i peer into the gloom, head lowered and serious, eyes open. I'm listening as much as looking, using all senses. Nice thing about stale shipboard air in these empty places is that you can tell is someone's around just from the feel of the air, the smell, little changes in the dust on the floor, a smudge near a light switch. Little clues are everywhere.
There's dangers down here, mostly human, some not. I'd rather get in and out clean... there's things down here that don't care so much whether we have bullets or not.
I breathe deep, test the air, and peer at all the dark corners before moving an inch.
Perhaps I'm reading the sitch?
(Rolled: 2d6+1. Rolls: 2, 2. Total: 5)
It's in one of these nearby pools of pale light that you see sets footprints. Some are clear boot prints. Some are... larger.
You smell blood down here.
What do you do?
Fuck. That shit ain't good, ya dig? Breaker 16 is the fuckin' officer's quarters grow op. Pot and tobacco. Riga's my chief grower. She gets reduced hours on shift down here in exchange for it. You ever quit smokin' before? It's fuckin' hard when you go cold fuckin' turkey. I like my cigars laced with the stickiest of icky, and Riga knows she'd be down here more often if breaker 16 killed his crop.
Breaker 18 though... That's fuckin' bad news. That's life support. We enough air an' trees an' shit that we wouldn't need to worry for a while, but the 'lectrical shit on this boat's been shoddy since five generations back. It's on its last fuckin' legs, ya dig? We just gotta squeeze what we can out of it 'til it croaks, an' hope we can make it last where it counts.
'Course some fucker could be messin' with the fuckin' power supply, too.
"Vega! Bitch, you cover Riga like yo' life depends on it, ya dig? Ringside! Git me a fuckin' squad. Breaker 18 just went down... Time to sweep life-support."
I quietly turn to Umbra and raise a finger to her lips with a silent, "shhhhh." Then make a little "cut throat" sign to my neck and gesture towards the room to indicate that there's trouble.
I'm suited up for doing dirty business, with my armor (for what it's worth) and shit. So that feels like I've made at least one good decision today. I pull closed the coat but keep a hand on the handle of my (loaded!) mag before slipping inside, raising a hand for her to wait a bit while I check things out.
I whisper (habit, sorry) quietly to myself, "ok, lessee what went down in here," as I creep forward, following the wall into the musty room to see what's happened.
Someone's bit it... hopefully some time ago.
"Oh shit, life support?" Ringside goes pale, then whistles that sharp three-note call he can do that I guess you've never stooped to try. But eight of your folks step up to follow, a couple of them not as sharp to step as would be wonderful. "Step it up, you fuckers, and leave your personal shit back home! Come on, now!" Ringside's a bit exasperated with those two's clown shoes. Why must they bring personal stuff to work, again? Ringside is close to you. He leans sideways and quietly asks, "Fuck, Nbeke, are we going to lose gravity?"
I don't know how this shit works, motherfucker! Riga runnin' off like a damn fool sounds like it might! I mean... All I know is, them fuckin' hydroponics bays are all but fuckin' automated. You check the reports once a day, an' everybody's fuckin' happy, ya dig? Ain't a lot of people know how to grow those fuckin' plants by hand...
I pull out my sidearm, an' move to the front of the line. The soldiers down here do duty rosters for 14-cycle stints. That's a little more than 2 weeks for you folks keepin' ol' time, onna count of the cycles bein' 28 hours, rather than 24. The 2 week stint on staggered duty cycles keeps 'em in the game. Then they get a few weeks on low-stress duty onna upper decks, an' everybody's happy. Ringside an' me decided it was best we let them soldiers down here keep one piece of personal contraband, since civvies ain't allowed down here. Keeps morale up.
I turn to Ringside. "Did I say the main engine was losin' power? No! I said life support. Fuck man, read the motherfuckin' reports! Engines give gravity, heat, an' thrust. Life support is CO2 Scrubbers, Water filters, an' air conditionin'. Keep a squad here at the fuckin' gate. I want this floor on lockdown, ya dig?!" I start walkin' for the ladder.
As you step closer, the smell of wet mold hits you hard. There's some kind of water station or water recycle thing here that's decided to stop functioning, funky-smelling water seeping all over the floor, slick with moss and other grossness.
Slumped against the corner, mostly, is a body. There's some more of it over there, in the other corner.
What do you do?
Well you know I have a breather mask as part of my gear. I have to deal with a lot of nasty shit, doing what I do, and some of it's not good for you.... this looks like run of the mill rotten crap, though, and a glance at Umbra, who doesn't come so well equipped.
I pull out my breather mask, black with a rubbery strap that goes around the head. Yeah, I don't put it on... I quietly get Umbra's attention and toss it to her to wear. What? I figure I'm better acclimated to our particular forms of crud.
Wait a few moments while she hopefully puts it on, and I will tie a cloth around the lower half of my face, I have that kind of shit, of course. doing what I do.
Then go check out the body, keep my hand on my sidearm and watch for signs.
Say, Nbeke, who fixes your broken shit if Flush hasn't come round? And why are you pulling your gun to go to life support? I thought it was all blinking lights and crap.
What do you think would happen to her if you died?
Here's weird. The guy here? Jart? He's been long missing for, dude, like ever. Months, easy.
Half of him is here, half of him is there. You smell blood and viscera, but none of that pukey death-rot-stink you'd expect. Even the pool of blood is weirdly still red and tacky, not black and dried. But you see a layer of dust, like when you move that chunk of his leg, like he's been sitting here for months.
What do you think tore him apart?
You hear a small sound behind you, and if you turn your head, Umbra Hannsen is giving you a questioning look, mostly with those eyebrows of hers.
"Backup? What are you, fuckin' recruits? A bunch of fuckin' pussies? I gave you fuckers an order — anyone comes on this floor ain't a motherfuckin' enlisted soldier, actin' a damn fool and shit, you fuck 'em up, and bring their bleedin' asses to me! The rest of you, come crack some motherfuckin' skulls with your captain!"
Mission control had a problem on their hands. How do you guarantee there'll be a bunch of people capable of taking care of a ship big an' complicated like this, five or ten generations down the line? Option 1) force 'em all to learn shit, even though most of 'em are fuckin' useless civies who don't do nothin' they don't fuckin' wanna do, an' bitch like useless twats at the drop of a hat when someone says "do this for your own good!" Option 2) use your motherfuckin' expensive as shit computer to link up into folks' brains, an' make sure each an' every one of 'em can disassemble a fuckin' focusin' magnet at the drop of a hat.
That's right, motherfucker — option 2 all the way. Only problem is, jackin' in like that has a tendency to fuck with your brain. You act like a damn robot, all tense an' shit. No smarts left. Just doin' what needs to be done. People can't keep up that state long. You ever see someone hemorrhage out every fuckin' hole in their head? It's pretty fuckin' sick... Reports got a bunch of pics of jarheads who volunteered to test it inna early days. Half of 'em look like their brains turned to mush. My pappy had a thing for those pictures. He was a sick fuck. Suitin', considerin' how he died.
Anyway. We's been fightin' over Life Support with the fuckin' revolters downside for cycles now. We at war. Imma bust some fuckin' heads!
Thanks for making me reflect on that possibility at this precise moment, but assuming whatever eats the fuck out of me doesn't get her, she would probably have to run back to Ringside. Though she would obviously miss me terribly, she would go on, eventually forget the handsome and mysterious man who brought her into this world... so to speak.
Jart was one of he good ones. Nice motherfucker, always laughing, shared his butts... one of the techs that used to take calls. No wonder everything's falling apart, probably a shitload of tickets on his board. The hell was he doing down here?
I glance over at Umbra, raise a hand to keep her back. She's a medic, right? But she doesn't need to see this. Not now.
They say something's living in the ship that isn't human. No shit... synthetics, right? But no... stowaways, something bad along for the ride uninvited. Happened during the dark times when everyone was freaking out... occasionally find someone torn to bits. Doesn't look like he's been eaten on, though... something wrong with his blood. Nobody's been able to figure it out.
Going to trust her on this.
"Whaddya make of this," I quietly ask, sounding particularly serious. I keep an eye on her to make sure she's cool when she sees it.
On your way down to Life Support, you cross paths with this dude, who has pulled out an air filter assemblage the size of a badass stack of pancakes and is cleaning out the horrible, gunky sludge contained within. You can see he's done about three, has about a dozen left to do at this station. A lotta people breathing a whole lotta crap. But you still smoke, right? The smell of the gunk in the gunk-bucket makes a couple the folks in line with you gag, but they keep their cookies. Dude doesn't even change his paced routine as you as you hut-hut past. But you see a small crust of blood at his nostrils. He doesn't have long. But he'll probably finish the air filters first, don't you think? I hope so. I wonder if they got anyone left who chose option one.
I figure this guy's beneath your notice, unless you want to start talking to the brooms and bulkheads.
It takes a little bit of walking time to get to Life Support proper- who wants to live with that crap in their backyard? You're almost there now. What's it like? Do all of you rush in with your guns doing the talking, or does Uncle Nbeke got a plan? What do you hear that's different as you approach?
"He looks familiar..." she asks, peering closer with a little scavenged penlight covered with electrical tape. She plays her light around the room. You both see an access panel removed from the wall, and a tidy toolkit nearby, gleaming in the light. Her light skips across a gross-looking but thankfully still sealed tupperware of something that's gone rotten and moldy and back to Jart's bright red-streaked corpse. The drag marks look fresh between the torso and the legs, it's eerie. "That's really weird, he looks fresh." she mutters, almost unintelligible through the breather mask. She's darting the light back to the tupperware then back to Jart's body. Umbra Hannsen steps closer, crouching around the body and pulling on a cheery purple nitrile glove. "Did you know him?"
Those tools are nice, Flush. Shiny. Do you think Jart still needs them?
"Yeah... his name's Jart. Did you know him?" She's barely been awake long enough to have met the man more than a time or two. Right?
"I don't think it's as fresh as it looks... something..." I poke at his ankle with the toe of my boot. "Something happened to him... changed his.. uh... cellular.... something. Something wrong with his insides."
I look at her, make sure she's all right (she looks all right, doesn't she?) and glance at my boot. The too-red blood pooled around him. I take the same foot and scooch his tool box a couple inches away from him. Cautious... sure as shit he doesn't need 'em any more. I'm probably going to have to take up his slack.
"Slacker," I comment, more to lighten the stale mood than anything. Then wish I hadn't said it so loud.
I clear my throat and glance at Umbra again, "you're a doctor... right? Think he's... uh... safe?"
"Are you shitting me?" I peer at his closely, his face, "no wonder you always shared your fucking smokes..." I say to Jart, falling to a little frog-like crouch on the balls of my feet near him to get a closer look.
I pick up a gray metal spanner from his tool box and gesture with it as I talk.
"Soo, what... stowaway tried to eat him" gesturing at the location of his other half where maybe somethingorother grabbed him, "bit the shit out of him and got a mothful of synthetic? Spit him back out?" Following the path of the imagined battle over to his current resting place.
"The hell were you doing down here?" I speak to the corpse again, wonderin gif he is synthetic if that means we can fix him. I wonder to myself if Jackal knows... er... knew.
I look up at Umbra, elbows on knees. Then set the spanner back in the toolbox and quietly close it. Fingertips touching it now... like it's mine.
And that toolbox is resonating somehow for you- the new tools and the old tools, the hammer and the carbide laser calipers, even the slick lines of the box itself. What's it like when the maze talks to you about a thing? Are you gonna pilfer Jart's dead pockets in front of your companion, or is the maze more important that what she thinks of you?
Listen, man... Folks who are decently fit can do that fuckin' job just fine. If the sonnuvabitch can't fuckin' finish before he fries his fuckin' brain, then he ain't worth keepin' around, ya dig? He's gotta do his time, and this is his fuckin' time. He cleans the stacks, I do what needs to be done to keep the whole fuckin' ship runnin'. If he survives, he gets to go home, fuck his drunk ass wife, an' eat sludge to his heart's fuckin' content. Ya dig?
I power past him, gun at the ready. You might thing I gots a plan, an' I do have some tactics I studied from the fuckin' breifin's; but beyond breach an' clear, I ain't really got a plan. Other than look fuckin' sexy doin' it. I motion for Ringside to bring a group 'round to the backside of the fuckin' core. I hear someone whisperin' deep in there... Creepy fuckin' shit, like he's mackin' on someone — but from the shit this dude is spoutin', I'm pretty sure he's jacked in, like broomstick back there... Repetitive shit, like you got a short circuit in yo' brain. Bitch sounds like a broken record.
What's different is, he's talkin' sense — I ain't never heard a motherfucker talkin' sense while jacked. A couple sentence fragments, sure. A whole sentence? Maybe if your fine ass is also a smart one... But a whole fuckin' paragraph? Never. The cadence is all wrong. It's fucked.
I'm gon' fuck this motherfucker up. I motion for Ringside to fire off a flashbang as the signal. Me an' my boys'll wait here 'til we hear it. Ya dig?
"They're bad..." I say, dead serious. Like I mentioned, though, we're not sure what they are. They're something bad riding along with us in the unused and remote parts of the ship. Maybe they live on us, on something in the ships environment. Who knows... but we know they're bad. They do shit like this.
What, she would think less of me for taking a dead man's very useful gear? I don't know where she found her moral compass, but mine points to 'right thing to do in this situation.'
"Gonna have to tell the boss," I say, hesitating there, one hand tracing the edge of the tool box before sliding it over and grabbing the handle to stand up with it. "We should be careful." I tuck it up under my left arm, leaving my right hand free for shooting, if necessary. Not that I intend to get in a gunfight today.
The maze doesn't really talk to me... I mean, it's not a thing. I talk to them, the people... you know. The people in the maze. They ask me for things, tell me when I've been selfish or neglectful. Some of them deserve it, put to sleep cause they're rapists too valuable to just float, slackers too expensive to keep breathing air... or just dicks. But most of them... good people. Just not their time. I take care of them... and they talk to me. Nothing weird about that.
Turns out these tools are just what we need, Stripes has been bitching about the fluid leaks above his block, I gotta crawl up there and tamp it down... gonna suck. But he's right, i can do the job better with Jart's gear. Not like a dead guy can own shit... so yeah. My gear.
I take it. She'll understand.
T̑̌̂hͥ̋ͮͭ̎͌͋i̅ͧsͬͪͬ̀̃ ̔ͣ̓̐īͩͭ̈ͫͯͣs̊̃ ̈́̍͛͛̄̈iͥ̐͑́ͨͦͭḿ̓̊͛̄̌̀p̏ͥͨo͒̉̃͆s̓ͨͣsͯ͐̿̄ͬi͒͗ͥ͗bi͐ͥͪľ͋̇́̀̋itͤ͒ͯy̐͂ͬ̈ ͦL̐a̽͛̃m̓̇̍ͩ͆̀̓b̆̅̽e̅̑́̎ͣͯr̄̑̏t̓́ͦͮ͌ ̈ͪ̓̀̋̇h̐a͛͒ͪs͗̓͑̚ ͑ä́ͧͪ͆͒͂̚ ̑̊̏̓bͧͬ̈̂all̾̔̿̇̏̈́͛ ͮ͒͑̋ͪ̆ot̉͌h̀ͪͪ̿͂̀͋e̐̐̈rͭͮ͊͐͗,̈́ͭ̚̚ ̌̃͑ͫ͑́a̋̑͑ͨ̂ńͬ ̑ä̋͌rͩ̈͗ėͦ̑̀̂ ͗ͧĝ͑iͩvͥ͌̊̀̎ͥͩe̐́̈n͗.ͤ͑ͪͧ̌̄ͪ ͩ
You also hear a weird metal on metal sound, kind of like the internal cybernet connection. Is that even active this far down? Must be something else. One of your linepeople, fat ol' Jupiter, swallows and looks around nervously as the voice keeps talking.
The readout near you flickers some information, and you read that the core's read access has opened up. At the same time, the voice picks up. Is there more than one?
A̎ͥ͊̽͒ͪs͆́ͧͯͬͥ̎ ̂ͫͨͭ̐ͫṙͪͤ̔͒̋e̔ͧ͗̇̿̚gͮ̇rͣeͪ̈̓̀ͧͨs̃ś͑̃̎,̀̾̈́ cͭ͂̽̓̏̇̚a̿ͣ͛̂nͬ̐̇ͮͦ ͂ͯ͐̄ͫbͫ̏e̋̊̈ͥ̈́ͪ͒ ͬ̈̽re͐̄̀̀̃̅̂ğ̃̑͗̀̉ress.̓̊̓̊̅̌ ͊ͪ̈́̓̚A̎ͥ͊̽͒ͪs͆́ͧͯͬͥ̎ ̂ͫͨͭ̐ͫṙͪͤ̔͒̋e̔ͧ͗̇̿̚gͮ̇rͣeͪ̈̓̀ͧͨs̃ś͑̃̎,̀̾̈́ cͭ͂̽̓̏̇̚a̿ͣ͛̂nͬ̐̇ͮͦ ͂ͯ͐̄ͫbͫ̏e̋̊̈ͥ̈́ͪ͒ ͬ̈̽re͐̄̀̀̃̅̂ğ̃̑͗̀̉ress.̓̊̓̊̅̌ ͊ͪ̈́̓̚A̎ͥ͊̽͒ͪs͆́ͧͯͬͥ̎ ̂ͫͨͭ̐ͫṙͪͤ̔͒̋e̔ͧ͗̇̿̚gͮ̇rͣeͪ̈̓̀ͧͨs̃ś͑̃̎,̀̾̈́ cͭ͂̽̓̏̇̚a̿ͣ͛̂nͬ̐̇ͮͦ ͂ͯ͐̄ͫbͫ̏e̋̊̈ͥ̈́ͪ͒ ͬ̈̽re͐̄̀̀̃̅̂ğ̃̑͗̀̉ress.̓̊̓̊̅̌ ͊ͪ̈́̓̚
What do you do?
"Why does Nbeke care about a synthetic?" she asks you, looking at the door, fidgeting.
I look down at him laying there in pieces. "We can pick him up on the way back, or have someone come for him... might be... useful." I wonder quietly if other synthetics can make use of him somehow, parts? Seems maybe she's thinking the same way... sort of. I share a little knowing nod with her.
"Nbeke doesn't give a shit about synthetics," I try to figure a way to secure the tool box to my belt, "but he cares about a missing one of our best technicians. He cares about a stowaway just one deck from home... he cares..." I find myself feeling a little bit upset. Ridiculous.
"...he cares about his people. Synthetic or not. I fucking hope he does."
This place is starting to wear on me. I cross the room to the opposite door and give it a listen before opening the locks.
She quirks her eyebrow dubiously as you talk about Nbeke, too. But the notion of a stowaway still worries her, and she agrees, "Yeah, the sooner the better. Which way do we go from here?" She plays her penlight around the room, seeking answers.
I'm gunna kick down the motherfuckin' door, and git this spooky-ass motherfucker put up in restraints by force if necessary — oh please let it be by force...
OOC: Going Aggro.
(Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 4, 4. Total: 10)
POTENTIAL CHEATING DETECTED. If it appears that dice were rolled in this post, they may need to be disregarded as fabricated.
Your half has cone up a little short, the wirehead Pisces caught part of the flash bang and you smell their burning flesh as the remnants of the grenade cook. Jupiter is over his whatever panty-twisting he had before and the big guy is slamming his rifle into Pisces's face. Blood's flying and the crunches are pretty extreme. Your other guys are holding him down, working needless restraints over the wirehead's limbs. You're no medico, but you don't give Pisces great odds. What do common folk do for medical problems, anyway?
The wireheads take it all in silence. There's no voice, no screams, no begging for mercy. It's like mannequins. Even synthetics would react more.
What's broken in here? What were they doing to it?
Where's the rest of the wireheads?
What do you do?
I love the smell of burnin' flesh an' blood in the mornin'. I stroll through the core once it's secure, checkin' out whatever the fuck those wireheads was doin' down here. It don't look good... Looks like they were tryin' to rewire some fuckin' shit... Divertin' power from the CO2 scrubs to somewhere else... I'd have to follow the wirin', but it don't look like they got real far, ya dig? They tore up a fuckload of wiring harnesses, an' snipped up some of the connectors. Gunna need some "volunteers" to fix this...
I stroll over to the fuckin' captives, notin' we're missin' a few. These fuckers ain't the usual wireheads... A quick search of the perimeter makes short work of that though — just follow the smell of blood shit an' piss, ya dig? There's some blood drippin' down from the ceilin' in the access hatch, an' a quick tug at one of the panels reveals our missin' wireheads... Or at least most of 'em... "Fuck, son... Ringside! Get a cleanin' crew in here, ya dig? An' pull them fuckin' wires off 'em!"
Pisces looks like his face got caved in. He's fucked. Fella, Meteor, though — he might make it. We ain't really got a doctor no more. Never had one, really, except the fuckin' stitchbox. That's been busted for years though... We make do with first aid, an' some herbal shit that does the trick. General idea is, you get shot, break an arm, get sick, tough shit. If you're important, you get some herbal shit to make you feel better 'til you're healed. If you ain't, tough it the fuck out, son.
I walk over to Pices at a brisk pace, rip off his wirin', and kick his fuckin' teeth in. Twice. Makin' sure his buddy Meteor can see. Then I walk over to Meteor, an' whisper, "You mind tellin' me what the fuck you thought you was doin' to my fuckin' ship?"
Meteor's eyes roll absently like a flung compass. He opens his mouth and says, T̎̇ͤ̚ö́̐ ̓̓̐p̍ͥͪr̈͒͒ͤo͋̂̀v͗ͧ̈́̊̐ͥͥe ́͋̓̊ͮ̈́͂tͭ͗ͩͩh̅̂̆͋e ̔ͮ͗̓̂t̆̾̑̌̇ẅoͫ ͐̅̐̋͒ͪͤo͛̊̄ͯ̿ͯp͆̍̆ͯͫͪp͂ͥ͆͑o͂ͪ̚s̍̂ͧ͌͌ͧiͯ͌̔n̈́̽͐̓̀̈̈́g ̏ͣͤ̔w͐͗̇͂iͫ̎̓̄́t̂̃̓h̑͛ ̉̔t̔̓h̃ê̓̇̔͑͂̚ ̂̊͛̓qͫ̆ͣ̉͌͊uͩĕ̂̏̆͌̈́s̓̑tͥ̔̋̽̀i͋ͦͤ̎ͨ͆̑o̐̅́̍ͨn̈͛̔̌ ̇̂̍b͌̿̏̒̈eͫ̒ͦ̇h̊̈̾͒ͯ̉aͪ͛l̂͒͆̿̚f̿͒̊ ͗͌ͯ̒͐͊͗o͗ͯ̐fͥ ͋͑̉̎t̋ͯ̔͌ͦh̀̌ě ͫͨ̎ó͒̅ͫͫ̊͂b̈́ͤjē͂̍͛̾̎ͫc̀͐̉tͩͩ ̅̽̄͊͂̎̂weͥͯͭ̊͋ ̿ͩͧ̉̌c̽̐̇̎̄hͤ̈o̓͛̇̑̋ͮ̊ǒ̈ͦͧsͩ͋̆̾ȇ͒ ̾͛ͩͪ͑t̾̔̑ͬ͗o̎͗ͪͣta͂͗l̄̿̈̀ͤ̀iͫ͑̈̈́̃̽tyͥ͆̓.̃̾̽͌ while staring at various corners of the core.
Say, Nbeke, when was the last time you opened your brain? This weird shit happen often to wireheads?
You mad, son? The only brains I'm in the habit of openin' are other people's brains, with my fuckin' boot! Now sure, I jack in from time to time... Sometimes a girl gets off fuckin' in wirespace, so I'll indulge, ya dig? But my life is filled with excess an' information. I don't need no fuckin' wirespace to make my life worth livin'.
Weird shit like this ain't known to happen very often. More often than not, these motherfuckers go fuckin' paranoid. Start hearin' voices an' shit. Not that there ain't the odd report of a civvy gone completely off the deep end, but most of that shit's classified. Standin' orders are to end those motherfuckers on sight. No questions, ya dig? There's the odd motherfucker who loses his shit, an' starts flippin' out, but most of the time my boys have those fuckers beat to crap an' they straighten up. Physical harm does wonders to straighten out a broken mind, or break it more. Speakin' of which...
I wind up a solid kick to Meteor's ribcage, to roll him over. Then I step on his fuckin' nuts. Hard. "You gunna keep talkin' that nonsense at me, boy? You best grab hold of yo' senses right fuckin' quick, or you're gunna be two nuts short of a sack — ya dig? Now what," stomp, "were," stomp, "you," stomp, "doin'?" stomp an' stamp.
"Kickass, boss." It's Jupiter, wheezy with his efforts. You hear him trying to hork up a loogie to spit.
What do you do?
"You piece of shit!" I scream, kickin' him one last time for dyin' on me, "Why'd you go all fuckin' pussy on me! Not answerin' my motherfuckin' questions..." I wanna shoot this fucker in the head, but Flush might be able to do somethin' with his brain... I turn to Jupiter, "Give this puddle of puke to Flush. Have him cut on him. See if he can't get some answers from him in wirespace. If he can't, give it to the synth. The chick one. Do whatever the fuck you want to the other one."
I holster my pistol, an' start lookin' round the room. "I want a motherfuckin' sitrep on this motherfuckin' room five fuckin' minutes ago!"
Nbeke, Jupiter don't look happy about carting around a dead wirehead, but he's gunna do it. Someone comes up with a couple of big ol' kinda clear plastic tarps and helps him make a couple of body burritos. They cart off the wireheads, but leave the headset things on the hook by the door. Someone will use 'em, right?
Ringside and some of the others are arguing back and forth as they look under the access panels. There's a lot of head-scratching, disagreements, and Riga is halfway stuffed inside the wall, screaming at someone to hand him "a goddamn twelve millimeter wrench or so help me" and Ringside slaps ya other boy upside his head, and the pimply fuck goes to digging in the wireheads' gear. It's like watching monkeys fucking a square football.
In about three minutes, Ringside comes back. "Bad news is we're down a CO2 scrubber. Good news is the hot spare kicked in." He wipes some sweat off his brow and blows out a relieved bunch of air. "I dunno if we here can fix it. And I hope to shit we don't lose another."
Riga pipes up, "I told ya, we need more greenhouses, man! Boss, we don't just smoke grass, the shit helps us breathe, too! It's all symbionstics."
What do you do?
My eyes go fiery at Riga callin' me out in front of my boys, "Shut the fuck up, motherfucker! Fix my fuckin' CO2 scrubber, or find me someone who will!" There ain't no ultimatum, 'cause failure ain't a motherfuckin' option. I will slap a fuckin' wire harness so far up Riga's ass he'll be pickin' up wirespace with his fuckin' teeth.
I pull Ringside away from the mess, "Riga gives you any lip, you put him in his fuckin' place. You hear me? I will not suffer an insubordinate fool in my god damned army." I wipe some spattered blood off my glasses, an' sniffle a bit. Fuckin' way to start the day... "Clear out more space for another hydroponics area in the cargo bay."
Being so close to Umbra, her hands so near my... well. She's close enough to feel her hea, smell her. Makes me take a second to appreciate her. But yeah, look where we are...
We could turn back, forget this whole thing... but... you know I have a reputation to keep. I can find anything on this ship. Not going to give up over a little spilled synth-fluid..."Should be through here. Let's keep it quiet and quick... stick to my footsteps."
I grip my pistol tighter, you know... so she can't see my hand shake. This is seriously fucked up. Keep it cool... keep it cool.
(Rolled: 2d6-1. Rolls: 6, 2. Total: 7)
You've duck-walked down a too-low crawlspace that is disconcertingly lit perfectly every nine seconds, you're almost there. From up ahead, there looks like a small camp of folks, probably locals. They have an actual goddamn fire going, and are cooking something that smells delicious. Their voices are indistinct, but it sounds like they're arguing. Weapons are coming out. They haven't see you two, yet. Hey, what happened the last time you had a run-in with the lower classes?
"Revolters." whispers Umbra Hannsen. She's got Ringside's pistol out and looks ready to use it.
Do you go through them somehow, or take your chances with the stowaways?
That smells good, glad I've still got that bandana over my face cause I just might be drooling.
The locals are a random bunch, some primitives living in weird little tribes, some organized and dangerous... like the bombers who keep coming by to visit our esteemed captain. These guys look like the former, burning an open fire on deck, yeah. Last time I ran into primitives they ran like fuckers... I was all kitted out in my mask and leathers and probably looked like some kind of stowaway myself... but I don't count on that working here. Too many of 'em and i'm not alone.
I wanna go through... crawling around the dark tunnels and bulkeads of the ship with what seems to be an active stowaway around (at least one) is not a good idea.
I draw my mag but raise a hand to stop Umbra. Little silent nod and I tap my brow above my eye with the barrel of the pistol before gesturing out at them.
Let's let them tear eachother apart first... then we can clean up.
The skinniest one has, fast as a scalded ape, whipped out a bigass machete and lopped a couple centimeters off the skull of the biggest one, shoving him back with a boot. Big guy goes to his knees, letting off a blast with his sawed off; pellets tink tink off the steel near you.
Flush, around then, you hear a muffled crack-fwoomp from a nearby duct. One of the nearby panels dim briefly and the display changes.
But you're more focused on the bloodbath up front. It's over fast. Only three are left standing, but they hunch over their former companions. Long, thin knives come out. You hear wet sounds. Soon, there's something else delicious on the spit roast.
Umbra Hannsen pales and forces herself to look away. "Jesus," she whispers quietly. You know the medical store is past the barbecue.
What do you do?
Whoa, hold on, no way I waste that chance. Just during that lull when the dead are dead and the victors think they've won and start coming down from the adrenaline is when I swoop out like a shadow and show them what real fear is!
Ok, it works better if I have my mask, but I'm still feeling pretty bad ass with some actual bullets in my actual gun. Going to try and get a bullet in at least one of them before they even see me, then hopefully guns at a knife fight win the day... heck, Umbra may even add "killer" to her lengthy list of positive qualities before the day is out.
Death comes swiftly... and never forgives.
(Rolled: 2d6. Rolls: 2, 3. Total: 5)
You do manage to get a bullet in one of 'em, Soupy, but not before they notice. He catches it, you hear the squortch, and he squeals like a fourteen-week rusty hatch and thwunks half into the fire, knocking shit about and making a gawdawful situation there. He flails like a horrible dancer and is near liable to chew off his own leg. He'll probably bleed out.
Rudder is quick, he's so little, with two of those boning knives. Hey, they're really nice knives. Shiny. Preternaturally clean. And oh shit, Skadoo is even bigger than you thought, Umbra Hannsen has his attention since she's aiming at him, getting of a wild shot or two.
Oh, by the way. Here's who you're looking at.
Soupy, rapidly gonna be "BBQ-y" instead:
Rudder, he of the knife and tooth:
Skadoo, the man-mountain:
Rudder's almost on you and you see his fat wet tongue protrude, and you know what he's thinking. Skadoo's working reloading on the other guy's shotgun, those piggy little eyes on Umbra Hannsen, and you know what he's thinking.
You lot are making a ton of noise, you know.
What do you do?
The fat fucker is not getting anywhere near Umbra, that's just not a thing... and yes, quite a lot of noise but if something awful and hungry shows up I'm pretty sure we can outrun at least a couple of these guys, and plenty of warm meat laying around already.
But shit, ok, he's not getting that gun loaded. I spin past Skadoo, my leather tails cut a swatch through the air as I duck past... fighting, dancing.... same thing right? But the truth is it just makes me harder to predict. I point the gun toward Rudder as I turn, and fire... my gun is fucking loud... don't care if I hit him, just want to startle the asshole long enough to bring a barrel 'round on fat Skadoo before he gets that shotty prepped... it's all one smooth motion (well, hopefully)
Bang... turn.... BANG!
Then the plan is to give little Rudder the heel of my boot and follow up with lead if he's still thinking those skinny knives look up to the job.
(Rolled: 2d6. Rolls: 1, 5. Total: 6)
First priority is protect Umbra from Skadoo, preferably by messy bloody murder of the fucker.
Little Rudder gets your heel, alright. But he's clinging on to you now, giggling all breathy, he's heavy and your balance is all off. You feel the sweet sting of those knives in your calf. [OOC: Take 2-harm. Roll to follow.]
Any shots meant for Skadoo go wild wild, one shatters some kind of ship presentation of corridors that blazes a bright orangey-yellow as the cells rupture and go dark for ever. You see stars and all is nearly black for a few seconds- you're about to fall on your back and the Rudder will have you, and you hear the cha-CHAK, FOOM, cha-CHAK, FOOM of that bastard's sawn off- then nothing for an instant and you can't tell if he got lucky.
Then you're kicking at Rudder blind, and you hear the welcome bark of Ringside's mag and the hurried boots of Umbra Hansen, running.
Your vision is back. Rudder's pulled back to stab you again, yellow gappy teeth parted, his huff-huff excited, I'd say you're about to feel it in your tender loin (get it?), but it's really more like your round, almost your flank. Butchery aside, that fucker's wanting to take his knife your meaty thighs.
What do you do?
(Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 5, 2. Total: 9)
Nearby, you hear scuffling and more gunshots and the sawn-off's loud repeat.
Fuck, the pain in my leg puts a grimace on my face which thankfully Umbra isn't arond to see. She's good... she knows the way. They won't get her... he didn't get her... I tell myself that as I groan through the pain, "adrenalline. fuck yeah asshole!"
I'm bigger than this little bastard and he's not taking that knife to me. He's climbing up on me with that knife but I take the knee of my good leg and smash it into his head, face, whatever, knock some of those fucking teeth right out whie his big friend is looking the other way and get his skull close enough to crack with the heavy handle of my pistol.
(Rolled: 2d6. Rolls: 6, 2. Total: 8)