Stay Frosty II - Hitching a ride

Séadna

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Once more Potter finds himself strapped into a strike sphere.

Above him, on the roof from his perspective, is the new recruit "Griff". Straight out of the academy but with stellar results. On one of the first missions of his career he'd managed to successfully blow open a pirate ship hull, knock out the crew with the blast and yet somehow leave their hostages untouched.

On the wall to his right the medic, Ling Zhou. Best in her class as well, especially so when it came to biochemistry. Only a year ago she'd taken down the base of one of the organ lords of the Argen reach, regrowing her own leg mid-mission, before beating the ten foot lord into the ground with strength gained from a concoction of her own making.

They had both been handpicked for the mission.

On the other wall, Lieutenant Rodríguez. He and Potter had both survived the Chang-o incident years ago. The fame had propelled Potter's career, but only added to the top brass's jealousy for Raúl's rising star and popularity. He had received updates now and then on Raúl's new career patrolling the space lanes of the Angelus system. The higher ups had to swallow their pride when this newest incident came to light. Potter and Raúl were the closest marines, former or not, with the right experience.

Potter taps the holographic display on his right. He reads over the mission briefing as he watches the stars tumble outside the window behind Ling.

A pleasure cruiser, The White Mare, had exited jump four days ago a bit of a distance from the edge of the Ardashir system. Like most ships it had intended to jump to the system to refuel at the mega gas giant Ardashir A1 or "Pitstop" as it was known to many long haul freight captains.

Unfortunately the cruiser had exited its jump erratically and was now on a collision course with Pitstop's southern hemisphere. It's abnormal velocity meant the collision would create a fireball that'd leave Pitstop unusable for the next century.

The last transmission from the crew was the Vice-Captain roaring about something embedded in the hull. He managed to say very little of content before an eight fingered hand smashed his face into the console. The audio feed continued for a few minutes with a high pitched wailing. The boys and girls in xenology had determined it was a sapient language.

Mission objective was to seize control of the ship and prevent the impact in some way. Blowing her out of the sky would just leave a debris on course with a barely changed velocity and the nearest proper military cruiser was a week away. Saving any surviving civilians was a secondary objective.

Then the sphere's computer blares a warning

MATCHING VELOCITY. PREPARE FOR IMPACT.

A crunching sound as layers of hull and superstructure are ripped open. Then a jolt as the sphere stops. Finally a gentle hiss and the door opens.

Looking out all four of them see they are hanging from the ceiling of a ballroom. There's the main dance floor itself, three concentric rings of blue velvet viewing seats and corridors leading out at two, six and ten o'clock. The bodies of about thirty people lie about the room. Most are beaten to death with caved in skulls and torsos, but one seems melted. Fused with their seat. The slow music still plays.

 
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Tulpa Girl

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Godsdammit, Ling thinks to hers, why do they keep sending me on these shit missions? Which rear-echelon mutherfucker did I piss off to get stuck knee-deep in this shit? Wish I knew who it was so I could unstaple their sorry ass from their desk and drag them out here where all the 'fun' is.

At least she had some combat drugs with her... 'combat' wasn't all those drugs were good for. The crash was pretty harsh, but damn it was some good stuff. For the moment, though, she would need to keep her head straight.

"Lieutenant Rodríguez? What's the play here?" she asked. Not that she gave two shits about the chain of command, but it was good to know that someone else would probably bear the brunt of the blame when things inevitably went south.
 

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Another goddam Chang-o, thinks Raúl.

He raises an eyebrow and responds to Ling, "The play? ¿Qué chingados? Everyone check your gear and tuck away your cojones in a nice, safe place. Trust no one not wearing this uniform and kill anything that moves, and I'm not even sure about the uniform part. If it comes down to saving us or saving Pitstop, let me put it this way: we're sure gonna miss you, Pitstop. And if you think I'm kidding, ask Sergeant Potter to tell you about our holiday on Chang-o." He jerks a thumb at Potter and then proceeds to make sure all his equipment is in good working order.

Readying his trusty flamethrower Old Scratch, he says to Potter and Griff, "Look alive and cover me and Ling. We're going down there to check out those bodies. We'll cover you while you come down next."

Assuming nothing interferes, he'll descend to the ballroom floor with his flamethrower ready to incinerate anyone or anything he doesn't like the look of. To Ling: "You're the scientist. Look at those corpses and do your thing. I'm telling you now, though: ¡Ten cuidado! Don't touch anything without gloves--and even with them if you don't have to. No samples are coming near me or our getaway car"--gesturing to the strike sphere--"and I'm burning every body part as a precaution. We're not throwng away any Marines just because some pendejos at H.Q. have a hard-on for X.T.s. Un burro sabe más que ellos."

If anything does interfere, he skips the talk and just starts killing.

OOC: What's our mission? Did I miss our objective?
 

Séadna

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OOC: What's our mission? Did I miss our objective?
OOC: That wasn't very clear, added this to the OP:
Mission objective was to seize control of the ship and prevent the impact in some way. Blowing her out of the sky would just leave a debris on course with a barely changed velocity and the nearest proper military cruiser was a week away. Saving any surviving civilians was a secondary objective.
 

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"Look alive and cover me and Ling. We're going down there to check out those bodies. We'll cover you while you come down next."
"Aye, Leftenant. That I can do." Griff cocks his rifle, braces himself inside the pod, and leans out with his rifle pointing down into the ballroom.

"White Mare..." he mutters. "Used tae be a pub near my house called the Old White Mare. Used tae serve a cracking bio-chicken an' mushroom pie. Couldn't tell it was lab grown meat at all!" Griff glances at Potter, but continues even if the veteran isn't listening, "Aye, there's a fair many pubs in Edinburgh that cling to the older ways. I miss a proper pint, not this shite marines get served."

OOC: Once LT and Ling are ready, Griff'll pop down to inspect that melted corpse himself.
 
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Potter nods at Griff’s story. Figures he’s talking so much because he has a scrub’s nerves. He covers Potter and Ling.
 

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"Griff, you're supposed to be an engineer: when you get down here check out some control panels and see what works. Also check for any sensors or scanners that can tell us about our eight-fingered bad boys' numbers and whereabouts."
 

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"Aye Sir!" Griff yells down at the LT. He glances again at the melted corpse and wonders what kinda exotic weaponry could have managed that level of destruction.

OOC: Griff will instead sweep the room as requested for anything technical that he can access to gain info on this room and surrounding areas.
 

Séadna

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"Aye Sir!" Griff yells down at the LT. He glances again at the melted corpse and wonders what kinda exotic weaponry could have managed that level of destruction.

OOC: Griff will instead sweep the room as requested for anything technical that he can access to gain info on this room and surrounding areas.
As Griff does his sweep he quickly finds the console playing the music, offering a selection of ballroom, techno and classical for guests of different tastes. The console is also linked to the room's camera systems and he rewinds back to two days ago to see the massacre. The guests seem to have barricaded themselves into the room about three hours before they were attacked.

The attack when it came consisted of four large brown creatures near enough to nine foot tall. Their heads a collection of three golden "prongs" with the occasional electric spark leaping from prong to prong. Occasionally mouths open on each prong, two in total per prong. Their legs are like those of a kangaroo, though thicker and do a sort of bobbing back and forth when not walking. Their arms, of which there are four, hit the guests with a force that makes the video hard to watch. Though Griff notices a small release of vapour from their elbows after they hit somebody.

Toward the end of the video one guests draws a gun and fires at the lifeforms. They seem to stop in place, tilting their heads as if curious and one slowly walks toward the guest who keeps firing to no effect. It pushes him into a seat bends its head forward and discharges a current from its prongs until the guest is melted into the seat.

They then seem to have a short conversation of sorts and leave.

The console lacks any kind of scanning functions or information on other rooms. The only other thing is the DJs personal emails, but a quick glance reveals little of note.

Assuming nothing interferes, he'll descend to the ballroom floor with his flamethrower ready to incinerate anyone or anything he doesn't like the look of. To Ling: "You're the scientist. Look at those corpses and do your thing. I'm telling you now, though: ¡Ten cuidado! Don't touch anything without gloves--and even with them if you don't have to. No samples are coming near me or our getaway car"--gesturing to the strike sphere--"and I'm burning every body part as a precaution. We're not throwng away any Marines just because some pendejos at H.Q. have a hard-on for X.T.s. Un burro sabe más que ellos."
Ling quickly surmises the cause of death in most cases to be punches from the beasts. The force worries her as it's enough to dent the steel of the seats beneath some corpses and many guests have micro lacerations at the points of impact. With the medical equipment in her medpack she can attempt an extract of what seems to be a scale from the back of an elderly woman.
 

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"Jesus..." Griff mumbles. His first op had been against pirates, so the sight of these aliens confused and mystified him. He replays the footage of the gun fire having no effect on the beasts a few times and turns to find one of these firearms in the room, to see what kind of calibre was being used.

"LT, ya definitely wanna watch this footage", he calls out, as he starts to pick through the room for the weapon.
 

Séadna

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"Jesus..." Griff mumbles. His first op had been against pirates, so the sight of these aliens confused and mystified him. He replays the footage of the gun fire having no effect on the beasts a few times and turns to find one of these firearms in the room, to see what kind of calibre was being used.
He finds the weapon in the hands of the melted corpse. The hand is fused into the grip, but he can still assess that it's a civilian weapon of much lower stopping power than their military rifles.
 

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Upon reviewing the footage and the apparent uselessness of bullets, Raúl mutters to himself, "Good thing I have my flamethrower. I hope those fuckers aren't fireproof as well."

To the others: "Everybody keep your eyes peeled for nine-foot electric turd monsters. I don't give a damn about learning anything about those turds except how to kill them."

To Potter: "Whaddaya think? Should I torch all these bodies in case anything is communicable?"
 

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‘Might as well, better safe than sorry,’ I say. ‘Doc, any signs of infection?’

I come down and review the footage. ‘Sheeeet...’
 

Tulpa Girl

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Jesus and Buddha, Ling mentally exclaims while seeing the footage, denting steel takes, what, a minimum of 40,000 PSI? And that's through a human body?

Her natural bravado now seriously diminished, she instinctively reached for the combat drugs, but stopped short. Taking some would give a significant boost, both physiologically and psychologically... but they were probably going to be stuck here linger than a single dose would last, and the aftereffects would leave her especially vulnerable. Damn it all!

Leaning forward to get the scale extract she noted earlier, she does her best to retrieve it without actually making contact with it. She will then study it carefully, trying to glean any insights into the creature it came from, and whether or not it represents a foci of possible contagion.

She will also, if possible, try to see if her equipment can pick up any residue from the vapor that seemed to emit from the elbows of the XT's.
 

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"Potter and Griff, keep your weapons handy and watch for anything that moves. Might want to check what else you have in case these things really are bulletproof," I say. "Hey Griff, can you get the sound system to play 'Disco Inferno'?" Even as I ask, I start systematically torching the bodies one by one aside from whichever one Ling is working on. After she's done I'll torch that one as well.
 

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"Potter and Griff, keep your weapons handy and watch for anything that moves. Might want to check what else you have in case these things really are bulletproof," I say.
"Ahh ah wouldnae worry too much, sir. Look at this wee peashooter the civvie had. It's a Zharkov Holdout 40, this kinda calibre is child's play." Griff holds up the civilian's near melted arm to display the pistol as best he can, and lets it fall limply into the owner's lap.

"Hey Griff, can you get the sound system to play 'Disco Inferno'?"
"Aye, can get yer blood pumpin'." Griff gives a wide grin, and begins to blast the music. "Bear in mind our four-armed friends might nae take kindly tae disco, ya ken?"
 

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"Ahh ah wouldnae worry too much, sir. Look at this wee peashooter the civvie had. It's a Zharkov Holdout 40, this kinda calibre is child's play." Griff holds up the civilian's near melted arm to display the pistol as best he can, and lets it fall limply into the owner's lap.
"Remember what I said about touching anything? You want your balls to turn gangrenous and drop off like overripe fruit? You'd better pray there's nothing infectious on that."
"Aye, can get yer blood pumpin'." Griff gives a wide grin, and begins to blast the music. "Bear in mind our four-armed friends might nae take kindly tae disco, ya ken?"
"¡Madre de Dios! Shut that off, man, I was just kidding! Holy shit, I hope that doesn't attract company!"
 

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With a sheepish look on his face, Griff hastily turns off the blaring music. He grimaces slightly, knowing this dumb moment of his will likely haunt him for a while if he makes it outta here.

He warily brings up his rifle and aims it towards a door nearest him, just in case.
 

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Leaning forward to get the scale extract she noted earlier, she does her best to retrieve it without actually making contact with it. She will then study it carefully, trying to glean any insights into the creature it came from, and whether or not it represents a foci of possible contagion.

She will also, if possible, try to see if her equipment can pick up any residue from the vapor that seemed to emit from the elbows of the XT's.
Ling extracts the scale without making contact and successfully guides her medpack equipment through an analysis as disco inferno plays. The analysis is completed by the time the music shuts off.

The results indicate the creatures possess a largely metallic hide laced with a mild base that leave a sting if one touched it, but no more. No contagions are detected.

On the scale she also finds traces of a near frictionless fluid, a superfluid, which seems to be the gas she observed. Non-toxic in air, it would have to be directly consumed to pose a threat.
 

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"¡Madre de Dios! Shut that off, man, I was just kidding! Holy shit, I hope that doesn't attract company!"
He warily brings up his rifle and aims it towards a door nearest him, just in case.
Just as Ling completes her analysis Griff sees one of the creatures burst into the room via the corridor at two o'clock. Thankfully he was watching the corridor and has time to get in a shot, but misses. Enraged at being attacked it rushes him, but all four marines hear more heavy steps beating their way down the corridor...

[Everybody has a chance to act, Raúl goes after the alien. Example of Init roll here in the form I'll use throughout: Potter, Raúl, Griff, Ling]
 

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"Cover that corridor!" I shout as I turn my flamethrower on Griff's dance partner. "Kill anything that moves, Potter!"

[To @Séadna: is that sufficient to give that bonus for the encounter to Potter?]
 
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"Shite!" Griff yells as his burst flies past the charging alien. He takes a quick breath and opens up again to try and down it before it reaches him. "Fuck off!"
 

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"Well, Ling, you've had all of three seconds," I say. "Haven't you determined their weak points yet?"
 

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"Well, Ling, you've had all of three seconds," I say. "Haven't you determined their weak points yet?"
"Didn't find any," Ling says bluntly as she prepares her rifle. "Those scales have a high metal content to them. Not contagious, but you still want to avoid direct contact."
 
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Séadna

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Before the beast has much of a chance to move, Potter aims his rifle and focused from Raúl's command fires a spray of bullets into the creature's prong-mouths. It lets out a raspy squeal then twists and collapses, sliding along the floor and coming to a halt in front of Griff whose rounds empty into the creature's corpse.

The footsteps of the other beasts stop immediately.

[Potter got a Crit from the advantage Raúl gave him. Crit happens first, so Ling wouldn't fire and possibly lose ammo as she could observe the kill being made and her high init would have her react in time.]
 
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"Er, cheers Potter." Griff turns and grimaces at the marine. He nods to the corridor. "His mates have stopped though, they don't seem willing to join the party."
 

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"Bring the party to them! Kill 'em all!" yells Raúl.
2tenor.gif

OOC: Is the one I tried to burn still up and threatening us?
 

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When Raúl shouts the gang hears some metallic sounding banging from down each of the three corridors, but nothing enters the ballroom they're currently in.

Raúl checks out the one Potter just downed. He looks stone dead.
 

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I move to the entrance andnusee the sidenof the door as cover to view the corridor. If any beasties are there I open fire.
 

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"Let's cover all those corridors! Keep shooting until they stop coming. We've got a good bottleneck, so let's use it while we can. If they get too close, let's back up with a wall or bulkhead to cover our six."

OOC: Is there any other way in or out of this room? We could use an escape route in case these things are more than we can handle.
 

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OOC: is the XT elbow superfluid especially flammable? Anything else unusual about it? I can't help but wonder if that's an important element that might give us a clue on how to beat these things.
 

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I move to the entrance andnusee the sidenof the door as cover to view the corridor. If any beasties are there I open fire.
Potter does spot one of the creature's prongs as he peeks around the corridor, but it quickly darts out of view.

"Let's cover all those corridors! Keep shooting until they stop coming. We've got a good bottleneck, so let's use it while we can. If they get too close, let's back up with a wall or bulkhead to cover our six."

OOC: Is there any other way in or out of this room? We could use an escape route in case these things are more than we can handle.
As he looks about Raúl sees the three corridors, but also some kind of maintenance hatch near the computer console next to Griff. It seems to have a keypad on it however.

[Anybody following Raúl's order's just state which corridor. Two, Six or Ten o'clock]

OOC: is the XT elbow superfluid especially flammable? Anything else unusual about it? I can't help but wonder if that's an important element that might give us a clue on how to beat these things.
Bringing up more detail from her medpack's chemical database Ling sees that the superfluid stiffens under high temperatures.

20190509_185958.jpg
 

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OOC: Griff will cover the 2 O'Clock corridor unless told to do anything else.
 

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If they have all the boogeymen covered, I'll try to see if I can get the maintenance hatch open with my tools.
 

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"Hey, you guys saw in the video footage that bit of vapor that emitted from the XT's elbows, right?" Ling says as she looks up from her database. "It looks like some sort of near-frictionless superfluid in gaseous form. Not really dangerous in the trace amounts in the air, although you wouldn't want to drink the stuff."

She then turns to the Lieutenant. "Boss, the part I think you might find of interest is that I'm pretty certain that stuff will stiffen and harden up under high temperatures."
 

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She then turns to the Lieutenant. "Boss, the part I think you might find of interest is that I'm pretty certain that stuff will stiffen and harden up under high temperatures."
"Got any ideas how to use it to our advantage?"
 

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"Well, you're the one with the flamethrower," Ling retorts.

She then adds, "Admittedly, the gas was only emitted in the footage we saw when those uglies were punching someone to death, which I'm guessing we'd like to avoid. Still, they may not take too well to extreme heat in general."
 
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