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 Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)

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Nitafrong
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyMon Oct 29, 2018 4:44 pm

Harriet turned her head from the empty passageway, and looked through her goggles at Taro. Like her, he was also crouched in the narrow space of the vent, at the intersection between the two paths. Helmeted as normal, she could discern no particular emotion or feeling from the Tau. His stillness and silence was a little surprising, but perhaps he was scanning both possible ways forward for himself. It was not likely in anycase that he would reply to her, as the information she had provided had been unhelpful in any way. At some point he would inform her and then they would move. Unless he had information she didn't have, it was likely he would choose to continue to go forward. There was a reasonable chance that the vent matched the passageway beside it.

While waiting patiently on her haunches and continuing to stare at the Tau, she concentrated her mind on a classification issue. She had been referring to the crew of this ship as cultists, due mainly to the acts that they had been committing. The hanging limbs earlier, and some of the deaths of her former group had a ritualistic element to them, had been part of her rationale for doing this, as well as it being common practice in the Imperium to refer to groups who didn't follow the accepted practices as this. However if she really thought about it, she had yet to see direct evidence of any religious belief being the key decider in their decision making. Perhaps there were other reasons for their actions. Cultural tradition, temporary or lasting insanity, the effects of a powerful psychic user, could all reasonably cause similar effects. For the meantime, the crew was probably a more accurate descriptor, until she was able to discover anymore evidence.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyMon Oct 29, 2018 9:09 pm

As the communication from Taro comes through, albeit patchy, she repeats the situation, adding in additional information as requested.

*What comes over the comns*

"Gue'vesa'ui -- -- -- Kanna were unable to -- -- -- -- deaths. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaabomination. rrrrrr On me.  -- -- -- If -- -- Kor'ax, retreat -- -- po-- --ridge."

"--ha -- job -- do."  


Ur'Na turned to Sa'Saum, and walked to the blast doors.

"We still have a job to do."
[/spoiler]
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyTue Oct 30, 2018 4:30 pm

[Vent Team]


High Tower held up his right hand, tapped his helmet twice, and then held up both hands. He hadn't been able to make out the last transmission either. With their distance and relative position to one another, it was much easier to transmit.

"Did he say they were gone?" It was rhetorical. He expected no response. The trained warfighter in him took over. "Orders Ta'ro?"

They both shared the same rank. They were both Reapers. They had both served on the Teams for the same amount of time, but for whatever reason High Tower had deferred leadership responsibilities almost automatically to Ta'ro.

Maybe it was because he was Demiurge and Ta'ro was Tau. Those underlying social stigmas in the "equal" society of the Tau died hard. Whatever the case, either Harriet or Ta'ro would need to decide what happens next...


[Walkway Team]


Kor'arx looked as though he would object. He peered over the railing on the walkway one more time. He was disciplined enough as a soldier not to scream out and give away their position. He was surprised how close he felt to the team given that he had wished Arlene dead but minutes into the start of the mission.

What did he feel now? Guilt?

He nodded to Ur'na and stalked away back to the bridge without another word.

Su'saum and Ur'na were left alone on the walkway. Communications were shoddy at best with the vent team, so for the time being they had to rely on one another.

As they turn to finish the crossing, Ur'na notices a small offshoot on the walkway that leads down three stairs onto a platform. The platform has a control board on it and overlooks the wider area below. Beyond this is the blast door to exit.


+++Kanna and Arlene have been removed from this IC thread+++
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyWed Oct 31, 2018 5:28 am

Taro had his confirmation. Dead. Just like that. The end of his brother, the end of the one Gue'vesa who had shown him that they could be quite something more than just another enemy of the Greater Good. Gone. Just like that. Taro takes a few deep breaths, calming his mind, tapping into the very moment of his existence in order to focus on the present. This was war. This was a mission. Sometimes casualties were a part of it. The time to grieve was not now. The time for fething up the mission was not now. It was time for action. For leadership. He replies to Ur'Na.

[color=#ff6600]"Firm-- -- --, --conven-- --our--sitionnnnnnnn. Naaaa."

He turns to his fellow Reaper members, and nods his head.

"Alright, let's get to it. We should meet up with Ur'Na and the others as quickly as possible."

He turns and leads them on through the vents, to an uncertain future.



GM edit: I took out the actual transcript. If your characters can't make out what is being said, players shouldn't either.

Second Edit: In my haste, I deleted the wrong damn dialogue. lol. Sorry, Mark. Please edit in Ta'ro's instructions to the team once more. Apologies!


EDIT: Sorry about that, I was copying what Theo had done in a previous post, I think. I will leave it out from now on for future comms.


Last edited by mruozu on Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:17 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyWed Oct 31, 2018 6:10 pm

Taro's helmet remained still for a couple of moments longer before he suddenly spoke bringing noise again to the silent tunnel. There was something odd in the words he spoke, emotion she wouldn't have predicted for one simply choosing a passageway within a vent. As usual when she spotted something she was curious about, Harriet wanted to ask a question about it but she was unable to do so, Ur'na's order still being in effect. It was unlikely to be of any real importance though. Humans for instance often became emotional about the strangest changes in circumstance. Perhaps this was the case here. She might try and observe Taro when they met up again with Arlene and the others to see if it gave her additional information.

Another point of interest was Taro referring to them as 'reapers'. So her new owners were not simply a normal Tau military grouping but a specific specialist team? It did help explain why there were so few of them, and why they didn't seem to have backup. Curious though that he would include her in the description. If this was the case and she might be able to access her own weapons again.

"I will follow behind you."
She followed behind the moving bulk of his armour.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyWed Oct 31, 2018 6:42 pm

[Vent Team]


High Tower clicked back an affirmative. He turned and covered their rear as the group moved forward. He would wait until they stopped before turning and leaving their backs exposed to catch up. It was the only way to leap-frog forward with any semblance of cover until they got into a more secure location.

Ta'ro passed the T-intersection first. His mind must have been per-occupied as he didn't stop to thoroughly check it. Alas, nothing jumped out to attack him. Harriet passed by shortly after. She stopped and peered longer ++per Harriet's Awareness test from earlier++. The break off tore away for a couple hundred meters or so. At that distance, even the optical enhancing technology of the Tau had trouble piercing the gloom. Some may not have believed it before, but plenty of sailors had superstitions about cursed ships - perhaps that was enhancing the dark of this terrible place.

Harriet was about to move on when the tiniest shift in movement caught her eye. At the very end of her sight, hundreds of meters away, she saw something. Was it a trick of her eye?
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptySun Nov 04, 2018 1:59 pm

Harriets body was completely still, all her attention focused on staring into the shadows down the vent way. Something had moved down there but what, she couldn't say. It was the edge of her effective sight, where shadows merged with the darkness and nothing had a definite outline. Moving her right hand up to her goggles she gently adjusted the focusing screw, turning it back and forth. Her vision darkened and then the edges of the vent became visible again. However she could not see whatever it was any clearer. As she stared at the now still scene before her, her mind recalled similar situations from her readings and conversations with crew. Many sailors believed that they were only some of the life forms to make habitation aboard a ship. The other denizens lived and hunted in the darkness, waiting to pluck the unwary away for cruel and unusual punishment. Despite the fervour with which these were believed, the evidence often indicated they were unlikely to exist. However on rare occasions hunters did emerge from the shadows and this ship had proven that it housed a wide variety of other life forms. It warranted further attention.

There was a light film of moisture at the small of her back. Her heart was beating slightly faster than normal, something she attributed to the enclosed space in which they found themselves. While tight surroundings didn't worry her she preferred to have a clear exit and entry, which were both blocked by Taro and 'The Angry midget'. As her mind recalled an image of iron bars, her heart beat momentarily spiked before she determinedly calmed it.

She would have to decide on an action on the situation on hand.

There had been movement of some kind, so it was not simply a strange object. Anything that moved warranted further attention on this ship. Without moving her head, she reached out with her right arm and gave Taro a firm double tap on the back of his leg. Confident she had gained his attention, she withdrew his gun from her holster and pointed it down the length of the passage. The majority of the organisms moving on this ship had been its former crew and she was tasked with shooting them. If whatever it was, constituted something else then she could decide when it revealed itself. Ideally she would investigate it herself but Taro had been clear about following behind him. She waited, her body rigid and patient, watching for any further movement.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyMon Nov 05, 2018 5:21 am

There wasn't much to do but continue. Su'Saum and Ur'Na shared a look, this ship had taken two Reaper teams from them so far. Now, it was a matter of making it out with their own lives still intact.

Turning sharply on her foot, Ur'Na walked briskly to blast doors. A quick flick of the fingers signalled to Su'Saum, pulse blaster ready, and Ur'Na opened the blast doors.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyTue Nov 06, 2018 1:24 am

Taro stopped abruptly at the touch from the woman behind her, peering back as quickly as possible. When he saw the gun raised and pointed in the direction of their travel, he brought up his fist for everyone to stop and listen. He brought up his own weapon as much as he could in the confined space. They'd have to continue on in one direction or another, and who knew how many things were in the vents of this wretched ship. Any direction might lead them to any sort of new terror.

He waits patiently for a few moments, taking in the darkness before them, listening intently for anything that might be out of the ordinary. As if the ship wasn't already out of the ordinary on its own.

"Let's press on. Everyone eyes open, we might find company soon."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyTue Nov 06, 2018 2:47 pm

[Walkway]


Ur'na tried to open the blast doors, at least. They were locked. A quick look reveals a blinking red button. Looking around, Su'Saum spots it first.

"There. Look." She pointed to the small offshoot platform Ur'na had noticed earlier. There was a control panel there with a blinking red light, just like on the door. Paying a little more attention reveals that they are blinking in tandem with one another.


[Vent Team]


Ta'ro leads the way and the vent team moves forward as per his orders. No matter how much Harriet continued to stare, the movement from before didn't repeat itself.

The small team moves on for some time, following a gentle upward slope that flattens out once more before just as gently angling itself downward again. It is at the top of this downward turn that Ta'ro notices a problem.

Some ten meters ahead, where the slope ended, piles of debris had been smashed and stacked in. Random items from no single place on the ship had been placed to form some sort of makeshift barricade.

There were two options, move down and inspect it or go back the way you came and attempt a detour.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptySat Nov 10, 2018 6:34 pm

Harriet moved along the vent close behind Ta'ro. Her mind was still on the pathway they had left behind and the movement she had seen. Despite waiting and watching, there had been no further movement prior to Ta'ro's orders. While it was certainly possible that something organic may have remained completely still during this period it was unlikely. Could it have been part of the ship falling apart, or something mechanical? It was certainly possible but she would have expected a noise. It was a question and one that might not be answered unless they turned back that way. She had no doubts that the movement had taken place- she had seen it and she did not doubt the information she took in- but as they were moving on, it was not worth considering at the moment. If it was pertinent she would think about it later.

As the Tau in front of her came to a stop, she halted her movement too. Curious she stared over his shoulder, her face a hairs breadth from his helmet. There appeared to be some kind of blockade in front of them. It had been erected since her last journey. Staring at it carefully, she considered how they might progress further.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptySat Nov 10, 2018 8:07 pm

Ur'Na communicates her frustration and impatience non-verbally, grunting in exasperation into the comms. Walking over to the control panel, heavy footsteps indicating her displeasure, Ur'Na waves to Sa'Saum to follow her.

"Human tech is usually undecipherable to me. Any ideas on how to get this blasted door open?"
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptySat Nov 17, 2018 9:59 am

The gue'la tech was not overly complicated, but it was completely alien. That gave Ur'na and Su'saum pause. There were essentially two buttons that were obvious and immediately drew their attention. To the left, underneath some levers, was a black button with a green flashing light on top of it. To the right, covered in blood, was a similar black button, but this one had the flashing red light beeping in the same rhythm as the locked blast door.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyMon Nov 19, 2018 4:01 am

"Sa'Saum, you were getting through doors like this earlier, which one do I press? Is green or red open? I never remember with gue'la. I think Red would be to open the blast doors, right?"

Without even waiting for a response from Sa'Saum, Ur'Na slaps the blinking red button.
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The red blinking stops, both on the door and on the button. After a few moments, there is a familiar hydraulic hiss and the blast doors open.

The green light continues to flash.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyWed Nov 21, 2018 2:23 am

Taro watched and waited for anything out of the ordinary to happen. Of course, everything on this blasted ship had been out of the ordinary and it just kept getting worse and worse. But he had to persevere in the face of adversity. Kanna and Arlene were gone...it was up to him...to get this done. To see this out, it would take more from him than simply blasting everything to hell. He'd have to be cautious. He'd have to get the opinions of his team. In a hushed tone, he speaks.

"Harriet, HT, any good plan of action? Or should we head back and take the other route?"
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyThu Nov 22, 2018 1:45 am

Ur'Na grunts to herself in satisfaction. Without paying the control panel any more attention, she stalks back to the blast door.

"Well, this time, onwards." She muttered, stepping lightly through the door. Sa'Saum follows her, even more silent than the Breacher.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyThu Nov 22, 2018 6:09 pm

Harriet had been staring at the blockade in front of them, her head still only a few molecules apart from Ta'ro's helmet when he spoke up. She was ready to speak before he had finished but his second question caught her by surprise and she twisted her head to look quizzically at him. The Tau was asking for her opinion on a choice he would have to make. This was very irregular.
It was natural of course that decisions would come up. Every expedition was a constant series of these and she was often asked to give detail on the specifics of the choice or the possible consequences of them. Sometimes it was clear which side she would favour and sometimes it wasn't. There was important information on every side and a choice prioritised some and relegated others. It was incredibly rare though that she was asked her thoughts on actually choosing the fate of their group.

Why would Ta'ro do this? She gave fact, not feelings. What would she do here if she was on her own and without orders. Her heart started to beat rapidly and she felt her cheeks burn. In order to give herself more time to consider this, she detailed the possible actions they might take to the barricade.

"The blockade in-front of us has been created deliberately by some form of intelligent life. It is likely this is to stop others from entering this area, or those who have accessed it, to go further. There are two options open for us with regard to removing it. It could either be taken apart by hand which would take some time or it could be fired apon with your weapons which would be much quicker."

She paused for a beat, and then continued, her voice suddenly much slower and inflected with more interest and energy than before.
"There are of course advantages and disadvantages to all three options. If we remove by hand we will delay meeting up with the others but there is a greater chance of remaining concealed. If we shoot the blockade there is a greater chance we will be located but we will continue faster. If we turn the other way we will get to explore a new area but we may be positioned into a trap.
My favoured option...."

She took a moment to examine the facts yet again, enjoying and yet also deeply uncomfortable about this new experience before continuing.
"...would be the second option- to destroy the blockade. There is something forward which someone would like to prevent us from seeing and I want to identify it."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyMon Nov 26, 2018 5:08 am

Taro took in all of the information conveyed to him by Harriet, nodding his head at her opinions on the matter. Time was of the essence, and they needed to get back with the team.

"While I may not trust you completely yet, you make some very good points."

He paused, making up his mind finally.

"Let us destroy this hindrance. Time is of the essence."

Taro raised his pulse rifle, aiming at the junk in front of them.

"Everyone, on the count of 3. 1....2....3!"
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyWed Nov 28, 2018 12:42 pm

Harriet's face remained the same while the Tau spoke. She didn't particularly mind that Ta'ro had chosen the option she had advised- she was so used to following a path dictated by others that she rarely wasted her time on being annoyed/ happy about the direction they were going. She would find things to interest her wherever they went. The comment about not trusting her was also very familiar. No-one had ever articulated the opposite to her and never having it, she didn't let it bother her. Trust was a complicated concept. If other creatures could just be reliable to what they expressed there would be no need for it.


"Understood Ta'ro"


Raising the weapon he had gifted to her, she pointed it at the blockade and waited on his order.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyThu Nov 29, 2018 12:57 pm

Theoretical wrote:
Ur'Na grunts to herself in satisfaction. Without paying the control panel any more attention, she stalks back to the blast door.

"Well, this time, onwards." She muttered, stepping lightly through the door. Sa'Saum follows her, even more silent than the Breacher.

Su'saum skulks through like a viper. Something in the Breacher had changed. It was subtle, but it was as though the loss of two more Reapers - the absolute best the entire Tau Empire had to offer - had died so needlessly. Falling off of a platform was not the proper end for a Tau, much less a Reaper.

Something inside of her had taken that to heart. She was silent like a breeze, black as a shadow. She was fully on now. No more would die needlessly.

Ur'na enters another dingy corridor like the one they had been in previously, before walking out, but up ahead it changed. Ur'na could see clearly that the dank walls looked as though they were made of glass.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyThu Nov 29, 2018 1:07 pm

mruozu wrote:
Taro took in all of the information conveyed to him by Harriet, nodding his head at her opinions on the matter. Time was of the essence, and they needed to get back with the team.

"While I may not trust you completely yet, you make some very good points."

He paused, making up his mind finally.

"Let us destroy this hindrance. Time is of the essence."

Taro raised his pulse rifle, aiming at the junk in front of them.

"Everyone, on the count of 3. 1....2....3!"

The face of the barricade came apart under the barrage. Meant to keep out bodies - of whatever type they may be - it could not withstand a fusillade from some of the most advanced weaponry in the galaxy.

It was over in a matter of dec'taa (seconds). The rubble, mostly scrap metal was melted down or blown apart. The trio see that for a blockade, it was fairly put together. It was at least three meters deep. Upon further inspection, they see that it wasn't only made of scrap...

...bits of flesh from limbs, much like the ones hung in the corridor from before, spatter the area.

Awareness:
 
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Wasting no time, Ur'Na strides down the hallway. As she walked, Ur'Na commed to Sa'Saum.

"Try and raise Reaper One. Or any Reaper team. And keep moving." Better to move than remain stationary and vulnerable. Ur'Na mused. She didn't really have any idea where to go, that had been Ta'ro's job, but moving somewhere was better than not.

Ur'Na pauses briefly to examine the walls that looked like glass.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyWed Dec 05, 2018 4:19 pm

Su'saum calls it in. "Reaper One, Reaper One, this is Reaper 2. Do you copy?"

There is harsh burst of static in both of your ears. Just as you think as though the comms would continue to shit out on you, a voice comes through.

"...per 2...s Reaper 1. Pl... help now... n't mo... mething huge. It's hun..... us... our pos...n. Over?"

Tests:
 

+++

Before you can respond, you hear the staccato bark of rapid pulse fire. There are a few single shots, and then it all goes quiet. It sounds as though it is coming from the room to the left, but through the glass you can't see any actual weapons fire. It is clear the room is empty.

The room, like all of the others is a lab of some kind. Most of the labs that Ur'na can see appear completely untouched for some time. Dirt coats a lot of surfaces. One lab farther down the hallway has seen recent use, as drag marks in the dirt on the floor leading to an open doorway clearly indicate.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptySat Dec 08, 2018 5:37 pm

Harriet watched with interest as the gore and viscera splattered through the vent, one globule even striking her cheek. Despite the relative fury of their gun fire, it was quite unlikely that the flesh came from an organism that had been recently alive. Such flesh wouldn't have broken up so easily. It was likely instead that the cultists had lined their barricade with pieces of flesh, as they had in the corridor earlier. The rationale for such an action was harder to discern. In the short term a whole body which was either alive, or recently deceased could take a considerable amount of damage and form a suitable blockade to physical assault, explosions and gun fire. Dissected flesh though was much weaker and deteriorated at an exponential rate, which could weaken the barricade, as it turned into liquid. It could only point to those whose intentions were essentially short term at best or completely non existent.

Considering all her interactions with the cultists, she was loath to assume the latter. While many of their actions were illogical to her way of thinking, they did seem linked, which would indicate a guiding intelligence behind them. The fact that a skilled group of mercenaries, and the highly trained Tau were being outmanoeuvred and eliminated pointed to something beyond wild animal-ism. Hopefully they would get a chance to observe whatever intelligence was behind this at close quarters.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a familiar sound reverberating through the vent. Her head twitched as she tried to discern from what direction it came, but it was impossible. The shape of the vent turned the sound into a repeating refrain of echoes from different directions. It was clearly louder than before though.

"I have just reheard the sound from earlier. The roar which I believe comes from the Ur-Ghul. It sounds like it is much closer to us than it was previously. I would suggest we move forward and exit this vent. It will be to our advantage to fight with it in an open area where our greater range can be utilised."

She had turned her face towards Ta'ro's helmet as she spoke these words. Her voice was clear and steady and devoid of emotion. Whereas there had been some excitement and energy prior when she had voiced her opinion about destroying the barricade, it was clear she was now simply repeating accepted tactical doctrine rather than an original thought.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyTue Dec 11, 2018 4:14 am

Ur'Na is startled as the familiar sound of pulse weaponry reverberates through the corridor. Head swivelling, expecting some sign of other warriors of the Greater Good, or at least their targets. When nothing immediately occurs, Ur'Na signals to Sa'Saum.

"I'm going to check these rooms for those gunshots. Try moving your helmet around, if that signal gets stronger, that's the right direction! Hopefully clears some of the noise as well."


As Sa'Saum starts to awkwardly rotate and point his head is various direction, Ur'Na looks for a door into the lab on the left. She cautiously attempts to open the door,.

(In the case where there isn't a door, Ur'Na will attempt to smash the glass into the room.)
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyTue Dec 11, 2018 9:26 am

The room Ur'na enters is covered in a fine layer of dust. Her booted hooves leave prints and indents with each step. Normally the boots wouldn't be necessary. But on particularly clandestine or missions requiring silence, they helped dampen the clicking of hoof on metal.

Of combat or living beings, there is no sign.

Su'saum gives back an affirmative and immediately begins moving her helmet around to get a better lock on the source of the signal. She simultaneously begins working the computing unit on her forearm. While the exact words remain obscure, she does seem to have some success. With her weapon at the ready, she covers the door to the room Ur'na is in.

"I've locked onto the signal. It isn't far now."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyWed Dec 12, 2018 6:21 am

Taro takes in the advice from Harriet, nodding his head towards her. It was likely a good idea to have a bit of room when facing something that thrived in confined spaces and shadow.

"Affirmative. Lets move towards the breach and exit this vent."

He moves with as much purpose as room will permit, exiting the vent with the others behind him.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptySat Dec 15, 2018 12:47 am

Ur'Na peers around the room, trying to see pulse scorch marks, or any other sign of battle. Nonplussed by the lack of signs, Ur'Na turns back to Sa'Saum, and nods.

"Which way?" She asks. Regardless of the answer, Ur'Na starts to walk further down the hallway., taking the time to cautiously check each abandoned  lab on the way.

"Someone has come this way. Do you think it might be one of those things we took out earlier?"
Ur'Na gestures to the drag marks on the ground.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyWed Dec 19, 2018 4:29 pm

Ta'ro moves forward looking for an exit. It had been decided that with a potential tango up there with them, it was best not to chance it. He sees a vent a few meters ahead and moves towards it. Harriet and High Tower follow closely behind. High Tower walks in a backwards crouch so that he can keep his weapon facing the rear. Apparently he trusted Harriet enough to show his back to her - not a far-fetched idea given the horrors they had experienced together.

As they halt, the three of them hear something that sounds like metal on metal. Or metal being stressed. Bent? Oh shi...

+++

Su'saum simply shrugs, but points to her right. "Reaper 1 is over there."

Immediately there is a crash from the room Ur'na is approaching. Dust a grime flies as the silence is absolutely demolished by such a loud noise.

In front of him, three familiar faces lie in a tangled mess.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptySun Dec 23, 2018 6:10 pm

As Harriet scanned the room she now found herself in, her mind was still computing the last few seconds. The vent shouldn't have given way in the manner that it did. There were two obvious possible reasons that it may have done so. Either it had been weakened by their pulse fire or it had had already been in a poor state of repair. If the latter, there was also a possibility that this damage was deliberate, a trap laid in place by the residents of the ship. The only way to decide between the two would be to check the remains of the grate. It was not immediately apparent, and most probably somewhere beneath them. She would check it when she had a chance.

Ur'na and the fourth Tau were standing above them. Harriet looked past them but she couldn't see their other three companions. This was a little odd. She wouldn't have expected the group to split up again but perhaps they were doing a specific task.
From her prone position on the ground, arms and legs still tangled around Ta'ro and 'The angry midget', she looked to the helmet of the lead Tau.
"Where are Arlene, Kanna and Kor'arx?"

While waiting for an answer to her question, she calmly and resolutely unknotted herself from the other two, until she was able to get back to her feet. Once this had been accomplished she then gave her person a thorough check. She could find no obvious new injuries beyond some swiftly forming bruises and all her items still seemed to be in place in their bags hanging from her waist. The only thing missing was Ta'ro's pulse pistol. She must have dropped it when she fell from the vent. Looking back to the tangle of the Tau and 'The angry midget', she quickly spotted it, lying near Ta'ro's helmet. Bending down she reached out to lift it up again.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyMon Jan 07, 2019 8:11 am

Ur'Na jumped as the three smaller members of the team fell out in front of them. With visible effort, Ur'Na lowered the barrel of the pulse blaster, which had found itself pointing directly into the tangle of arms and legs.

"Gue'vesa'ui Arlene and Kanna are dead. Did you not receive our message? They fell crossing the gap. Hopefully Kor'ax went back to the bridge. I am glad you survived. We need to go. Find Reaper 1 and leave this ship before more of us die pointlessly."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyMon Jan 07, 2019 2:19 pm

Lifting Ta'ro's pulse pistol up from the ground, Harriet was about to place it into her holster when Ur'Na replied. She paused in her action looking momentarily surprised. Arlene and Kanna were dead? It did adequately explain why they weren't with the others. But...

Harriet's face frowned as she considered this new information. She hadn't expected to lose her former team as quickly. They were relatively competent, well armed and with a diverse set of skills. And yet they fell fairly easily to the ships and its inhabitants. Her current captors seemed to be a step above them in both training and weaponry. And yet they were falling just as quick. For a moment she considered the advisability of a retreat, weighing the advantages of survival against progression. But there was really no choice at all. It was not her decision and more importantly, there was possibly unknown data ahead. She could not relinquish the chance of learning it whatever the dangers. She did not place it into the holster and instead continued to hold it.

Her expression returning back to normal, she faced the Tau again.
"I did not receive the message but Ta'ro and 'The angry midget' may have done so. I don't know what 'Reaper 1' might be but I am ready to assist in finding it. Is it data, an object or an organism?"
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyTue Jan 08, 2019 9:50 pm

"We are Reapers," High Tower said in Tau as he pulled himself from the rubble. He tapped his combat helmet a few times before finally pulling it off to inspect it. This was the first time those outside of Reaper 4 had seen his face. Su'saum and Ur'na may or may not have seen a Demiurg in person before, and it was certain that Harriet hadn't. Even within the Tau Empire they were few and far between.

The squat humanoid looked similar to a human, but the skin was different. Harder. As though it were made of dried clay or concrete and of the same color. He had a grouping of thick, fibrous white chords that resembled hair above his lip that run down to the bottoms of his cheeks. A shock of the thick pseudo-hairs also adorned his head. His eyes were pitch black, with no pupils to speak of.

He tapped his helmet a few times, cursed, and then repeated himself, perhaps realizing that only now could Harriet hear him.

"We are Reapers. It is the call sign for our unit. You've heard of the Fire Caste, no doubt? Well, we are like that, but more hush-hush. When the Empire has special problems, they send the Reapers in to fix them. Understand?"

He clipped his helmet to his belt and moved to set up a perimeter at the entryway to the lab.

"I suppose while we stand around idly on an enemy boat filled with hostiles at least one of us should act like a professional fucking soldier," he grumbled irritably. Even though he was speaking Tau, he cursed in gue'la.

+++

Taking the hint, Su'saum helped up Ta'ro and moved to the door to cover High Tower's flank.

"Are we moving out?"
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyWed Jan 09, 2019 5:06 am

Taro picked himself up with the help from Su'saum, nodding his head in appreciation to the fellow Reaper.

"Apologies for any damage that might have dealt to you, Harriet and HT. I wish there had been a better way to exit, but we needed to get out of there fast. We may still be in danger of one of those things at this very moment."

He turns his attention to Ur'Na.

"Did you see the bodies? Deaths are confirmed?"
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyWed Jan 09, 2019 4:24 pm

As 'The angry Midget' took off his helmet, Harriet examined his face with interest. It hadn't occurred to her that he was a Demiurg- she had assumed that all of them bar Arlene were Tau. Having only read descriptions and rough sketches it was fascinating to see one in person. There had been some debate about the plausibility of eyes without recognisable pupils and some of those that did believe it were certain that they must be blind as a result. And yet it was clear that even without the helmet, he could perceive the world in front of him. If not vision, it was an extremely effective native radar or echo-location system without any recognisable noise or pause.

Her face frowned though when he spoke.
"I am ready to help find the missing members of Reaper unit 1. However I don't quite understand your words. If you are operating in a caste system like the Fire caste, do you mean you are only breeding amongst yourselves to highlight and prioritise the positive aspects of your group? If so that would be interesting. The data I had, was that only the Kroot and the Tyranids had been able to effectively evolve aspects from other races. If it was viable I can understand why the Reapers would be an elite special force."

She paused for a second, her face still frowning. His words had been pretty clear but they seemed very questionable. From what she understood of the Empire it would constitute a major controversy and she had just been told in a fairly casual matter. She would need further validation before she could accept this data.
Thinking back over his words something else occurred to her. It was possible that he had made a mistake. She was loath to make a suggestion to a source but accuracy was vital. She would have to accept the risk that she would bias the information.

"Unless your example referred to Fire Warriors rather than the Fire Caste and you meant that you are a secret elite military unit rather than a secret elite caste?"
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High Tower slowly looked back at Harriet. He said a few words in Demiurg before something akin to a smile crossed his face.

"They really cracked the planet's core when they made you, didn't they gue'la? Tell you what, you be quiet now seeing as we are still in fucking enemy territory. If you aren't executed as a spy when we get out of this, I'll tell you all about it."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyThu Jan 10, 2019 2:26 pm

Harriet listened with interest as 'The angry midget' spoke a language unfamiliar to her. She couldn't be sure what they might mean but she would remember them. Languages were one of her specialities and she particularly enjoyed any chance to develop a new one.
The rest of his words were much more familiar. Those in charge of her often responded to her requests for information in a similar way. However he had at least promised to inform her of his answer if she wasn't executed. She would remember to ask him for his explanation once they were away from her.

Her face neutral again, she nodded at the Demiurg and waited patiently for their group to continue on.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyFri Jan 11, 2019 6:15 am

Ur'Na turned away from the broken vent and walked back to the door. Taking a moment to reorientate herself with Su'Saum directions, Ur'Na points to him and says
"Yes."

Then pointing to Ta'Ro
"No. No bodies."

And then, Harriet,
"Whatever that was, later."

Finally, moving out the door, Ur'Na points in the direction given by Su'Saum earlier.
"This way. Quickly."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyMon Jan 21, 2019 9:06 pm

Taro nods his head at the words from Ur'Na.

"They might just still be alive then. However, they'd know we would move forward to Reaper 1 more likely than not. I trust they would know that we have to continue the mission. And I pray they live still. Let's get moving then."
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Ta'ro and Ur'na make ready to lead the way with High Tower and Su'saum covering them. Harriet figured into the equation somewhere, but it wasn't quite sure where.

High Tower didn't mind. With how completely sideways this mission had gone from the start, having a survivor of the ship to guide them didn't seem a bad idea. Her intelligence had been sound so far. Arming her was completely out of regulations, but what part of this mission was within regulations? The loss of Arlene and Kanna ate at him deeply, but he kept it out of his mind. He had to focus on the task at hand.

Get Reaper 1 and get the gak off this ship. Hit low, hit hard, take from the enemy everything.

It was the Demiurg mantra.

Before Ta'ro moves out, he sees two packs of something on a desk in the office near him. Being something of a student of gue'la culture, he recognizes them as "lho sticks." Two packs worth. He wasn't entirely sure why he took them, but he did so and placed them into one of the pockets on his trousers.

Spoiler:
 

Ur'na gives the signal, and as one - with the exception of Harriet - the group moves as a single, deadly unit.

A blast door leads them to another hallways not unlike the one they are in. They were still in a scientific facility of some sort, but this section was composed less of offices and more of research labs. Ahead, exactly where Ta'ro's signal said Reaper 1 should be, a large door sat closed. Above it read

"Holding Room 1: Level III Authorization Required. Caution."


Ur'na gives the signal and the team makes ready to breach. Harriet watches as the doors slide open and the Reapers move in with a practiced ease and deadly precision. As they disappear inside she listens carefully, the momentary solitude leaving her completely exposed.

Then the lights from within come on and she hears four words in Tau.

"Greater Good preserve us..."


+++


Inside the room was black. The lights had been cut off. The darksun filters broke apart the details in spite of the encroaching gloom. The room was slick from the floor to the walls with liquid. It was hard to tell what it was through the helmet, but it was dark in comparison to the ambient light. Tables and chairs were overturned everywhere. Pieces of the ventilation from above were lying about as well, conjuring memories of the creature who assaulted High Tower before.

The Demiurg looked up just as Ta'ro finished his scan of the room and found the light switch.

"Greater Good preserve us," he breathed.

The room was higher than it looked from the outside. It went up some five meters. Up there, dangling from so many pieces of wire, were the bodies of Reaper 1. Each was pulled apart and re-wired together so that they looked like puppets. Viscera and gore covered the floor, and High Tower nearly slipped as he realized what he was looking at.

"No! Gak! No!" He exclaimed, his weapon pointed up looking for targets. He had seen death and destruction before, but nothing this horrific. Nothing this deliberate. Nothing this needlessly terrible.

Before it could be completely processed, there was a gasp and a cough from a far corner of the room.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptySat Mar 09, 2019 8:18 am

Taro looked upon the scene of death and gore with a mixture of revulsion and curiosity. Reaper 1 pulled apart at the seams and put back together. It would haunt him for the rest of his days and he wouldn't soon be able to hold down any sort of nutrients. He calms his mind, breathing deeply and conjuring up the inner strength needed to remain sane in the midst of insanity.

He keeps himself battle-ready, his pulse rifle aimed as steadily as he could at anything that could be a potential target. The cough wakes him from the horror surrounding him and he motions for the others to follow as he makes his way towards the sound.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyMon Mar 11, 2019 3:58 pm

Harriet waited patiently while the rest of the 'Reapers' disappeared into the room. Seconds later a cone of light shone out the gap still left in the doorway, indicating that they had found a way to illuminate the room. A voice, she guessed 'The Angry Midget', exorcised the Greater Good before denying something with distress. There were no other sounds though, no obvious violence, so she considered it appropriate for her to follow them into the room. If she had been truly honest though, without a direct order against it there was very little which would have stopped her satisfying her curiosity.

Stepping into the room, she quickly turned her head, scanning the contents of the room for items of most interest. The team she was with were scattered about variously standing and staring at what appeared to be the restitched bodies of other Tau warriors (Tau 'Repears'?), hanging from the ceiling. Glancing down, she noted that the ground seemed literally coated with their blood and discarded internal parts. Squatting down she ran her fingers through the detritus and found that it was mostly liquid. No full organs as far as she could see at the moment, though this meant little. They may have been removed prior or ripped to gore. One bloody finger painted her chin red as she considered this, before she rose to her feet again

Moving over to the nearest hanging body, she first walked its circumference, slowly considering it. Every so often she would stop and lean forward to examine something, how the flesh had been cut and with what, other burns and wounds, and the accuracy and style of the restitching, moving her nose a millimetre from the corpse but never actually touching it. When she had finally finished her survey, she stopped and considered it again, the bloody fingers stroking her chin again, as she compared the data she had taken in and compared it to other things she had learnt.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyWed Mar 13, 2019 3:40 pm

As she stroked her chin, Harriet's eyes unfocused and she stared ahead blankly, all the while testing out the different pieces of information she had learnt and seeing to see if they fit with any reasonable theory. While the accuracy and level of her recall was way beyond that of the average citizen, she was not blessed with a developed imagination. Others might have looked at how the bodies had been dissected, specifically how clean the cut was and surmised that the weapon that had done this was incredibly sharp, but it did not have a power-field around it, as the flesh had shown no sign of cauterisation. It could be the work of the Dark Eldar, they might guess, a race well known for the quality and lethality of their blades.
Harriet on the other hand, with the same information would not surmise what it could be. Instead, in the manner of a jigsaw player, she tested the information against each available theory, negating the unlikely until she was left with the most reasonable answer.

For instance the work was too precise to be Ork, too rough to be Tau, and the cuts themselves too clean for the organic Tyranids. Other xenos she could also discount for a variety of reasons. Ur-Ghul wouldn't even comprehend something like this, let alone have the tools to attempt it. Quickly she ticked off other known races within this area, until she was left with two possible solutions. Eldar Pirates, also referred to as Dark Eldar. Or the Rak'Gol.

In just considering xenos though, there was a chance she was ignoring a much more obvious solution. They had yet to meet any intelligent xenos on this ship, whereas she had seen plenty of human pirates. Could this be them? She considered it for a couple of moments, but it didn't combine as well. While she couldn't discount it as easily as the other xenos, this behaviour did not match any other documented Chaotic cult behaviour. Sowing bodies back up like this had no particular benefit for them. Torturing a still alive body, using it for all they could and then discarding it was much more likely for them. This particular example smoke to a greater level of patience than the average cultist. It was not impossible of course, just less likely than the two xenos examples.

Focusing her eyes back to the present, she looked around at the rest of the Tau. The 'angry dwarf' had commanded her silence while they were moving, but now he was making noise himself and she assumed she could let them know what she had learnt.
Her steady and calm voice sounded throughout the room, clearly audible to all the others but at a reasonable volume.

"I have examined the bodies hanging here. I do not believe this to be the work of Gue'la pirates, though its not impossible. Based on the evidence, the most likely executor of this, are xenos pirates- either the Var'sin'da (Dark Eldar) again or.."

She paused for a second, unable to think of what the word might be in Tau and so spoke it in low gothic. "Rak'gol."
Continuing in Tau, her voice gave an indication of increased energy and interest.
"Both are as likely as each other in terms of the raw data. The presence of the Ur-Ghul, the Ar'cea script I noticed would lend credence to the former but I wouldn't want to discount the Rok'gol just yet as so little is known about their culture."

An odd, slightly confused expression momentarily crossed her face. If her general expression wasn't so blank, watchers might have imagined they had seen a brief flash of alarm. Her voice was only slightly faster when she continued.

"In either case, it seems very likely that we are not simply dealing with Gue'la and other lifeforms of minimal intelligence but another xenos which has shown itself adept at killing 'Reapers'. And would like us to be aware of that."


[Var'sin'da- Dark Eldar]
[Ar'cea- General term for all Eldar]
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptySat Mar 16, 2019 12:22 am

Taro swallowed hard at the scenes around him. The images tore into him making him want to break, making him want to scream and lash out at invisible enemies. But he calmly breathed in through his nose, and exhaled once again feeling the air leave his nostrils. He opened his eyes on the scene, having pushed down any sort of internal strife that may have been riled up.

He listened intently to what Harriet had to say. The human was proving to be most useful under the circumstances and she seemed to know what she was talking about.

"But why? Why would the Var'sin'da be here? Or at least why would they do this to these souls? Unfortunately I am lacking in knowledge pertaining to their persona and thought processes."

He stopped at mention of the Rak'gol. He knew of them, but not much. Only various tidbits here and there mentioned them at all.

"Whatever it is, they have us backed into a corner. Stay cautious, stay focused."


(OOC: Mentioned in my last post that I was heading for the sound we heard, just making sure you know Taro is headed towards it.)
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptySun Mar 17, 2019 2:32 pm

Harriet had been inspecting their surroundings, her head turning slowly, carefully taking in the details of the room in general again, but she turned back to Ta'ro when he spoke. Her voice was still a trifle fast but it seemed to calm as she continued, relaxing into the spreading of information.

"Gue'la command describe the motives of the Ar'cea in general as hard to fathom and often contradictory. Other writers though have proposed a variety of rationals for their actions, ranging from protection of their ancient artifacts to attempting to prevent certain future events from occurring. There is clear evidence that their psychic abilities outstrip that of Gue'la by many degrees so it may be they have some ability of precognition which can make their actions in the present illogical.
However when it comes to the Var'sin'da, their motives easier to understand. They raid to get resources, both in term of raw material and to take prisoners. Survivors of their raids report that they seem to delight in causing pain and distress for the pleasure that it gives them rather than as tribute to their God's as those who follow the teachings of Chaos."


She paused for a moment, her bloody finger tapping absently on her chin.
"With regard to what has happened here, I would propose that whoever has arranged these bodies in this fashion, has done it, both because they enjoy practising their sadism and because they knew that others would come across their bodies and they would desire those that did to become excessively emotional, either with anger or fear.  In terms of why they are on this ship, it will be for resources, either material on board, the potential for prisoners or to get the information that I was sent to recover. This rationale would hold for both the Ver'sin'da or the Rak'gol though there is much greater evidence that the Ver'sin'da delight in spreading terror and causing as much pain as they can, whereas the limited evidence holds that Rak'gol concentrate more on simply killing in as vicious a manner as they can."

She nodded back to him in response to his words. Reaching down to her holster, she withdrew the Tau weapon again and held it forward. Absently she recalled a mantra that one of captains of marines on board the Rosa Lux had been fond of repeating. 'Never trust a gun you have not fired for yourself'. She should have tested this gun before now.

As she turned looking for a suitable target, she noticed Ta'ro moving over to a corner of the room. Curious she followed him over.
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyMon May 06, 2019 10:01 pm

Kanna and Arlene briefly shared a nod. There was nothing else to say. It was time to act. Kanna pulled the photon grenade from his belt and hurled it.

There was barely a moment for the gue’la psychotics to look down before it blew.

And reality came apart. Screaming creatures the size of mountains looked down at the two. The hallucination made itself manifest as a claw as long as a tree branch swung down and pulped two of the cultists. Their bodies were crushed as much as cut and pulled back.

Reality cut back in. They were screaming now, paying no attention to the special operators in their midst. They ran in terror. Kanna and Arlene saw their chance and took it. Their legs pumped. They did not look back. While Kanna was still struggling to understand what his eyes had witnessed, Arlene knew exactly what was happening.

As everyone Imperial citizen knew of the glory of the God Emperor, so too were they warned of the horrors of the Warp. Arlene knew she had just witnessed the terrible truth behind her parents’ bedtime warnings.

+++++++

Ta’ro looked toward the noise. Shas'ui Pech Irah'Gorxaal. Team 1's leader sat up against a wall, pulse pistol gripped loosely in his right hand. “Reapers?” He asked weekly. His eyes lit up as he saw Ta’ro move toward him.

“We have to m-move. They’ll be... they’ll be back.” He coughed and his blood flecked his lips. Slowly but surely he began to rise. He had wounds across his body and face; his armor had taken a beating, soaking up a lot, but clearly not all, of the damage. Slashes, kinetic, and energy impacts scored his torso.

He stood and looked around the room. In that instant, tears flowed down his face. The reality of losing his team set in hard.

“We need to m-“

A scream cut him off. Inhuman. Loud. It was close. Shas’ui Irah gripped his torso with his left arm and aimed his pistol at the doorway with his right.

“There’s only death here.”

Before Ta’ro, Harriet, or the others could act, the walls began to shift. It was nothing at first, easily chalked up to a trick of the imagination or lighting. But then patterns began to form – flowers, bubbles, ripples, insects, beasts, faces, horror. The walls burst inward, pushed by a river of tau blood. It picked up bodies and terrain alike, tossing it all around and dumping it into the outer corridor. Then it was over.

The blood was gone. The Reapers and Harriet stand, covered in the sticky fluid but unable to locate any of it. It was as though it had never happened, yet all were covered in the evidence. Before anyone could speak, the scream came again. Louder now. No words were necessary. The mission had been accomplished – Reaper 1 had been found. So, they ran.

+++++++

The groaning of metal was horrendous. It sounded as though the ship were going to break in half, dumping everyone and everything on it into the freezing vacuum of space. Systems were failing. The air felt thinner which made running so much more difficult. But the gravitational support system shifts in power caused huge jolts that sent the Reapers and Harriet slamming down to the ground or thrown up into the air. It was everything they could do to survive simply getting back to the bridge.

If whatever creatures stalked this ship didn’t kill them, then the ship itself surely would.

Kanna shows the athleticism that allowed him to excel during Reaper training. Falling beams, burning bulkheads, nor spinning scrap could slow him down. As he eased through the maze of death back to the bridge, he shut away what he had earlier seen to the recesses of his mind. He tried to scout ahead of Arlene when he could, making sure the way ahead was clear. But there seemed to be nothing stirring. Whatever was happening to the ship was clearly spooking the locals.

Arlene had a much harder time dealing with what she had seen. Everything her parents had told her about the Warp, the boogey men, the bad things that would get her if she didn’t eat her vegetables… They were all fucking real. It was all she could do to focus on running back to her only hope of salvation – the bridge – to link up with the others and get the fuck off this ship. Inside, she felt a piece of herself slipping away and it was taking everything in her power to hold onto that. Get to the bridge.

Elsewhere, Ta’ro, Shas’ui Irah, Ur’na, Su’saum, High Tower, and Harriet ran hard. Retracing their steps was easy enough and Harriet’s mind was a steel trap. But things were getting worse. The ship seemed to be giving up the ghost, so to speak. As systems failed, moving from point A to point B because extremely hazardous. Harriet took multiple wounds, even as High Tower tried to protect her by putting his stout body between her and debris.

But that was only part of it; the walls had faces now. Some screamed. Some told secrets. Others whispered things of the past no one could know. Then as soon as they appeared, they were gone. But the screaming never stopped. They were being followed. No. They were being hunted.

Ur’na easily crosses the chasm that had claimed Kanna and Arlene earlier. The Breacher clips its magnetic belt loop to the railing, securing it as others crossed. It was treacherous, but none fell.

Ta’ro crosses last. As they make their way to the bulkhead a terrible roar makes them turn. Back in the darkness of the opposite bulkhead, some two hundred yards behind, a hulking shape moved in the dim. Blacksunfilters in helmets struggled to make it out – the interference too much for them to function properly. Twice as tall it its shoulder as the tallest among you, Its skin looked like gray leather, but the skin like that of a shark became hard along the spine and ribs – almost metallic. Limbs, powerful and long, snaked back and forth, and a long tail whipped behind it. While no details could be made out, the apex predator of the ship had showed itself. Then it slipped back into the darkness. There was a moment of eerie silence before a crashing, bumping sound from above the Reapers thumped out.

“It’s coming through the fucking vents!” High Tower pointed to the ventilation ducts he and the others had used to cross in lieu of crossing the chasm. “We’ve got to move!”

While the others rushed away, High Tower unclipped a photon flash grenade and threw it as hard as he could down the ventilation opening. He had no idea if it would affect the creature, but he figured it couldn’t hurt. Anything to slow it down.

They ran. Hard. Fast. Passing the cafeteria where High Tower had nearly been killed, where they had met Su’saum and Ur’na. Moving down familiar corridors even as the ship around them died. They were nearly at the entrance when the doors opened and two haggard, nearly dead looking individuals turned to regard them with weapons raised high.

Kanna, Arlene, and Kor’arx greeted their comrades and newcomers with weapons raised high. It was Kor’arx who spoke first.

“What in the Tau’va took you shits so long?”

Spoiler:
 
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyMon May 06, 2019 10:52 pm

Running through a living hell, Arlene couldn't help but think she deserved this. It was never her idea to join the Tau, but they let her. It was never her idea to harm Joyce, she asked. even as a child, her decisions were made for her, and not always the right way. Maybe dying this way is how the emperor would've wanted it. Maybe this was penance for her sins.

When she was about to give up, she saw Kanna pressing on past her. The Tau didn't seem to care for the implications of the warp, he didn't stop or slow as the ship came down around him. He consistently performed better than she did during agility training and drills. She would've assumed that was the cause of his sudden outpacing, but his face reminded her of what she lacked: resolve. He didn't seem willing to die here, and as it was, neither was she. She pushed on behind him, chasing him with ease through the tunnels and passageways back to the bridge.

When she heard motion ahead, her instinct kicked in and she grabbed Kanna by the shoulder, weapon raised, her eyes looking past him down the corridor. She moved forward slowly, rounding the bend in the hallway with intent to shoot the first thing she saw. when she met eyes with her less than friendly charge, Arlene breathed a small sigh of relief, lowering her longshot with a shrug.

"They had a pastry shop down there. You guys didn't misplace the rest of Korst'la Dor, did you?" She said, giving a wave to the Tau she recognized as their commander. Her non-existent armor did nothing to hide her wounds, she was still badly wounded, and would need serious medical attention once they made it off the ship. Still, the adrenaline staved off the pain, and she was willing to fight through the rest of the way to the ship. "Let's get the hell out of here. No one dies."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyTue May 07, 2019 11:59 pm

Kanna lowers his weapon as soon as he sees the reaper gear.
"Thank the ethereals." he said, "Our suit's internals have ceased to function. We had no idea how much time had passed, hoping that you had not left without us."

His eyes move to the one whom he had not met, "Shas'Ui Sa'cea Kanna'El'Shi Gri" he says, bringing his right fist to his left axillary in salute.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC)   Chapter 2.1: Re-Engage the Fear Machine (IC) - Page 5 EmptyWed May 08, 2019 10:24 am

Su'saum returns the salute while Ur'na simply nods, not taking his hands off of his Pulse blaster.

"Introductions can come later. We have a tango hot on our heels and it doesn't look happy."

The two breachers move off and take advantage of some cover provided by the ancient gue'la machinery and cogitators in the room.


Spoiler:
 

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