Dust off those D20s and polish those pewter figurines! It's that time again, folks!!!
The powers that be decided to grace us with another year, and I feel we should thank them in Storycrafting! We're going to have another site-wide RP with much of the same rules as previous:
No controlling other players against their will
No cheap, end of the world situations (A bandit walks into the bar we're visiting and sets off a nuke. What do?)
Things of that nature an all. However, I was also considering a posting limitation. Perhaps limit personal posts to 2 per day unless, say 2 other people post that same. Something along these lines perhaps. I feel it would encourage more people to participate bc it wouldn't be 7-8 posts in their story. We can discuss it as we progress.
I feel we should somewhat stick to the NMS style of universe. We could extend upon that, of course. But overall it would be a sci-fi space adventure.
Now, I know many of us have lives outside the site. So posting can be hit or miss, but I will strongly try to remember to check the site at least every other day We'll have a rocking RP in no time
After the sentinels were activated, many attempts to control them all eventually fell to their might. Soon the sentinels were eradicating every sentient life in the universe. Humanity as a whole came together and devised the safest plan... They would rush as many people to the center and pray the black hole there would send them to safety. There were many battles while we moved ever closer to the center. In one final push, nearly 70% of the entire sentinel force converged on us as we reached the black hole. Many were lost that day...
But many more reached the universe beyond and began forming colonies. And after a while, things seemed to return to the normal grind. Towns grew to cites, fledgling governments were taking roots, and a new push for exploration and resource allocation.
The loss of a universe can weigh heavy on some. But the choice is in how you use that in life...
A man in black robes quickly fades from view. Moments later you forget him entirely.
It makes perfect sense if you think about like a crazy person!
Ahl's face slams against the cold sidewalk. "... And if you ever come back to my bar, so help me!" A disembodied voice called out. Ahl could barely lift himself up. Not only had he tricked them into several contests, but may have over stepped a line with the owner's daughter. ;D
He rose to his feet and removed his walking staff. The cannon he replaced his leg with was badly damaged so Ahl was using the cane much more pragmatically now. He stumbled his way back to his ship and leaned against it. "Alright then. Time to move on from this world." He paused for a moment and stared into the sky. "That way!" Ahl said, pointing toward nothing in particular. He climbed into his ship and gave it a pat on the console. "You've been with me a long time, 4th Wall," Ahl said as he took the controls and began lifting off. "Let's go!"
The 4th Wall's engines burst to life and Ahl was quickly out of sight.
It makes perfect sense if you think about like a crazy person!
Liquid nitrogen was dripping from the cave roof, it being right under a large lake of the substance. A rather grey-looking man was mumbling to himself while he worked on his newest invention. "Come on... Come on..." He said to himself, before the invention burst into flames, and hurt the tinkerer's hands. He shouted profanity in Void, before falling to the floor on his knees. "I'm running out of supplies, and this stupid chip isn't working!" He said, feeling the small, sharp bulge of the Atlas fragment that he had implanted into his brain. He just sat there for a few minutes, breathing in the dank cave air, before standing up and slamming his hands against the metal table where he was previously creating his contraption. A red light shown on the wall facing the man. He noticed the red light, looked up, and turned around towards the source, only to behold the red orb that was once inside the Atlas. Even with all of his knowledge, he had very little idea of what it was, as all he knew was that it was connected to the Atlas. A red, wispy beam protruded from the erratically moving orb, and entered the shard that was inside the man's head. His eyes turned red and cloudy, and immediately his wits were restored. His eyes returned to their normal state, and he gasped as if he had not breathed for days. "What... happened?" Illsent asked himself. He looked around at the dirty cave, used as a makeshift laboratory, and sighed. "Well, I guess I can finally leave this God-forsaken place," the man thought to himself. And with that, the old pirate raised his hand outward, and bent space to his will.
Illsent Jacal had escaped his prison.
"I don't know why the Atlas would restore my mind, let alone my powers, but it's very much appreciated," Illsent said, stepping through the portal, his foot landing not on the dank cave stone, but on the toxic sand of Aequinex, the moon that his secret laboratory was on. "It seems they have abandoned this place." He said, looking over the orange hills for Sentinels, although it was difficult to see with the shadow of the massive planet that the moon orbited covering everything in sight. He entered into his long abandoned base, only to find it looted. "Damn it. How did anyone even find this place?" Illsent thought to himself, searching through the remaining pieces of technology that scattered the tables and floor. "No... No... No..! They took it. They took the blueprints." He said, standing up. He kept searching the building, and found, spray-painted on the wall, an emblem that included a Gytenare's head. "Gytenares are a symbol of relentless strength and cruelty, after what happened in a space station so long ago; that must mean whoever put this here must think of themselves that way... It's possible they're dangerous, especially with the blueprints." Illsent thought to himself. He continued to think; however, it was of when he was separated from The Armada, all those rotations ago. The Armada had heard of a large Sentinel attack heading their way, billions strong. Despite the spectacular strength of the Armada at the time, they knew they could not defeat the Sentinels. Thus, The Armada had Illsent create a portal; an incredibly large fold of space that would allow the Armadan fleet to enter the next galaxy, from where they could plunder all of those who were too escaping the Sentinels. This plan was mostly successful, with only a handful of Armadan ships not making it through the portal before it closed. Sadly, Illsent was one of the few, as opening a portal of that size caused great harm to not just himself, but also the Atlas fragment that allowed him to open said portal, and thus, he accidentally teleported himself to somewhere else in Euclid. Illsent sat in silence for several minutes, remembering that cycle as if it had just happened. "That's in the past. Right now I must--" He was thinking to himself, before being cut off by someone entering the room...
Conrad's eyes open wearily... "What even happened?" The sound of rain hitting his helmet woke him up. "Strange, I can't remember what happened"
After pulling himself up from the mud he checked his gear and pulled out a worn down multitool. "Well... I guess it's time to set out into the universe once again" although that moment of excitement came to an abrupt end when he turned around to face the now dormant Mabaethu S88 which was missing parts. "Of course, life never gets any easier does it" he said with a unamused tone.
He scouts an old factory with his visor and heads for that, taking valuable resources from deposits for later use. The rain started to get heavier now, almost as if a massive tub of water was tipped over. The ground was now just a giant marsh full of mud making a short stroll in the park a terrible trek through hell.
Conrad became exhausted after lifting his legs out from the deep bog which he found himself stuck in and just sat until he could muster some strength to pull himself free...
The mud that cover his legs quickly got washed off by the torrential downpour that plagued the area. And not a moment too soon as he'd reached the old factory.
After prying the door open with raw strength he was greeted by a foul stench of death and decay. "Pwah yeeeuuchh that is feral, must've died quite a while ago" he said trying to hold back the urge to throw up.
He moves into the main assembly line where old machine parts litter the conveyors and floors. "Anyone who loved their tech would have a field day in here" he said talking to himself.
"Bingo! That's exactly what I'm looking for" he exclaimed grabbing the repair tool. "Even better" he said as his eyes widen upon his discovery of a thruster pack.
He opened the fuel cap and gives the pack a little jerk and to his delight the sound of fuel sloshing around.
Getting back would now be so much easier. Conrad took one glance around the room and found an old log of the factory.
"The factory is only 40 years old it has no reason to be abandoned" Conrad thought.
But a loud thud outside snapped him out of it. Prepping his Photon Rifle he opened the emergency exit hatch on the roof and looked out.
The marshlands have now become embedded with thick clouds of smoke and ash. In the valley below on the located opposite the direction of the Comatose Mabaethu was the orange glow of fire...
"Damn, that's probably the reason this planet is uninhabited" he said before turning on his visor's combat analysis and leaping off the roof.
A small ring of dust radiated outward from the bottom of the 4th Wall as it touched down on the landing pad. However, it was nearly an hour before the hatch opened up; empty bottles falling to the ground. Ahl squinted his eyes and tried to figure out where he had landed. He stumbled his way out of the ship and leaned against his telescopic staff for a long time. "That's right! I need to get my leg looked at..." he said as he took a few steps and nearly fell over. "Now where to find a mechanic?" Ahl attempted to survey the surround buildings. A large, metal sign said Onkondron Province Starport. "Im on Onkondron?" Ahl said glancing back toward the empty bottles strewn around his ship, "I guess I passed out longer than I thought..." He gave a chuckle and quickly patted his side to assure he had his blaster on. He felt the blaster but noticed that it's holster was devoid of any power cells. "Is there still a cell in it?" Ahl scratched his chin and began to wander down the path from the starport into the moderately sized city.
Many people wandered the streets and alleyways. It was probably around early afternoon, too early for the daily rush of workers, but past the mid-day feast. Ahl saw his shadow when he would pass between the shoddy metal building walls extending nearly his height along the rough concrete roadway. Some of the people he passed looked down toward him with curiosity, as if they had never seen a proportional adult person standing only about 4 feet tall. Other, perhaps those who recognized Ahl from either the Armada or the events surrounding the galactic center, would give a small nod his direction as they passed. To be honest, Ahl saw neither reaction as he walked. He was lost in thought, images and ideas racing through his brain. He was so distracted that on occasion he walked right into closed doors and various signs placed outside of businesses.
One such sign he hit was for Crenton's Family Mech-works. The O's were made with what looked like used bronze gears and the other letters where welded to the metal sign base. "Well, it's not the Armada workshop," Ahl said looking the building up and down, "But at least I'll have my cannon back." He climbed the few stairs and opened the door to the workshop.
"You could just fix it yourself," a voice chimed in Ahl's head. Ahl quickly when white and, as he spun around to look, he seized his blaster's hilt. Other than the standard stream of people walking on the street, there was no one around. Ahl slowly regained color as his eyes furiously scanned back and forth.
"Excuse me, sir." A new voice called from inside the workshop. Ahl jerked his head back toward the voice and saw the shopkeep leaning from his counter and eyeing Ahl with a quizzical expression. "Have you come for some work, or just to hold my door open all afternoon?"
Ahl sighed and released his hold on the blaster. He closed his eyes and thought to himself, "If you were still here, maybe I could fix this leg..." He gave a shake from head to toe and headed into the workshop. He explained the situation with his leg and the shopkeeper just laughed. After a slight be of debate, they settled on a price and the shopkeeper got to work on the leg. Unfortunately for Ahl, it was going to take at least a day to repair. Unattaching the leg was easy enough, but wandering around the city with only one leg and a staff didn't seem to suit him exceptionally well. "So sir, do you know where the nearest tavern is to here? I fancy a good place to bed down for the evening."
The shopkeeper raised an eyebrow, "A tavern?" he scratched his chin. "No nothing like that around this city. But there is a bar down on 11th street; The Iron Crucible. You can get a good meal there and a strong drink. But you're on your own for the bed." He gave Ahl a nod and headed back into the work area with Ahl's leg. Ahl gave a sigh and nodded to the man. He headed out the door and made his way toward 11th street.
The Iron Crucible looked more like a refinery than a bar to Ahl. Many smokestacks pumping out black smoke and embers littered the roof of the building. The walls themselves seemed to radiate a heat; in fact, many vagabonds were huddled together leaning against the building down the alleyway. Ahl walked into the door and looked around the room. Several tables with a handful of patrons lined the middle of the large room. Off to one side was a large furnace with 3 burly, shirtless men shoveling coal into it from a pile that looked like it was poured in from the ceiling itself. Many pipes rose from the furnace and branced around the room and leaving the building through various holes in the walls. It seemed as though this furnace might be the main heat source for this entire area of the city. No doubt there would be a furnace like this in almost every major part of the city. Toward the far side opposite the furnace was a long bar with some shoddy wooden stools. Ahl climbed into one of the stools, which was surprisingly more challenging without his leg than he had anticipated. He leaned on the counter and called for the barkeep, "Pardon me, my good sir. Could I get a few ales and a warm plate of food?"
It makes perfect sense if you think about like a crazy person!
"Who's there?" A weathered Vy'keen shouted as he entered the same room as Illsent, his multi-tool raised. Illsent turned around quickly and expelled a blast of electricity from his hands at the Vy'keen, who, with his incredibly fast reaction times, dodged the bolt with ease. "Ill-Illsent?" The Vy'keen asked, after seeing such a display. "That is my name. Who are you?" Illsent answered, his hands still raised and ready to shoot another blast. "It's Nosragh! Do you not remember me?" The Vy'keen said, holstering his weapon. "No, I don't. Should I?" "Well of course, we spent countless hours studying and debating the minor details of our beliefs. You still remember the teachings of the machine, right?" "Of course I remember the teachings! I even taught others before more important duties got in the way!" "Then why don't you remember me? Sure, we didn't see each other much after you started rising through the ranks more and more, but we found enjoyment in our fellowship, hell, I would've even called us friends!" Illsent then remembered that when he implanted the Atlas fragment into himself, his brain was altered. Maybe that's why he doesn't remember this "Nosragh". "Alright," Illsent said, "if you truly are an acolyte of the Black Finger Lodge, answer me this very simple question: What is our purpose?" "Well, we fix ships and machines because the beings who inhabit them dislike their vessels being damaged or broken, and may curse those that refuse to heal them. However, if we do heal them, they may bless us with knowledge, and not only allow us to create better vessels, but may also bestow upon us other types of powers and abilities, like how they gave you that Atlas fragment," Nosragh said, pointing at the bulge on the side of Illsent's head. The Juridonian kept his hands raised, not yet convinced Nosragh was a true Acolyte of the Machine. "But the main reason," Nosragh continued, "is because it is what the ones who inhabit the machine-vessels command." With this last thought, Illsent lowered his hands, now convinced Nosragh has learned from a Priest of the Machine. "Alright. I'm convinced. I am especially glad that you knew to not call the beings by their name, for we are not worthy of even that," Illsent said, after which he performed the "endeavor salute", which involves simply placing one's right index and middle finger on the middle of their forehead. Nosragh then mimicked this. "I don't understand why you don't remember me, though. You're not joking, are you?" "Simply put, my memory was altered when I implanted the Atlas fragment into my brain. In fact, I hardly remember what I was like long before the Armada," Illsent said. The first part was true, some parts of his memory were altered or entirely forgotten, but the second part--him hardly remembering his time before the Armada--was almost entirely false, as only small parts of it were forgotten. "Well in that case, lemme introduce myself: I'm Nosragh. Don't ask for my surname because I've forgotten it a long time ago. I joined the Armada and became a Blackfinger--" the Vy'keen was saying, before being interrupted. "I don't like that term, 'Blackfinger'. It's disrespectful to our sacred duties. You should refrain from using it," Illsent said. "Well, if the Master Artificer commands, I obey," Nosragh said rather jokingly. "Anyway, I became an acolyte a decade or two ago. The teachings really spoke to me. Literally, I swear I heard a ship talk to me once, but when I asked a priest about it, they said it's extremely unlikely for a being to talk directly to a mortal, especially a non-priest. So it was probably just a hallucination from breathing in something coming from the ship, but I still hold on to the hope that the being actually chose me to talk to," the Vy'keen said, going back into the room he emerged from earlier, grabbing a couple cups and filling them with an alcoholic beverage, then entering back into the room with Illsent and handing the Juridonian a cup. Illsent could tell Nosragh liked talking about himself. Nosragh greedily gulped down much of the drink, while Illsent only took a small sip, knowing that his species' good immune system could likely prevent him from being poisoned by whatever the Vy'keen could have possibly put in his drink. "When that wave of Sentinels was on their way to the main fleet, I was at the center, plundering the poor suckers trying to get out of there. I was planning on going to the next galaxy myself, until I found this," Nosragh said, opening his jacket to reveal a red, somewhat oval shaped gem, that, after being taken out of Nosragh's jacket, started to glow. "That's..." "An Atlas Seed. More specifically, a Captured Nanode, as they're called," Nosragh said, finishing Illsent's sentence. "But how did you get it? Surely the Atlas didn't call you to one of it's interfaces!" "Well, shut up for a minute and I'll tell you! I was plundering the escapees and got so many amazing treasures--it's what I've been living off of for awhile now--but while I was looting them, I saw something glowing out there several dozen meters in front of me. I pulled it in, scanned it, and it came up as an Atlas Seed. I had heard about these before, and how they could create entire solar-systems, getting more powerful when exposed to a variety of elements and compounds. But, I didn't know how to unlock that power for myself. Then, I remembered that Atlas Seeds tend to only be active around the Atlas or it's interfaces, so I took a risk and came here, hoping that you would return, and your fragment would have the ability to unlock it's power for me," The Vy'keen said, finishing his tale. "Considering the fragment is part of me, I'm guessing I must willingly unlock the power of the nanode?" Illsent asked. "I believe so, otherwise I think I would be surging with power right now," Nosragh answered. "What's in it for me?" "I thought you would say that. In return, I promise to follow you, a hired gun of sorts--although I suppose it's more like a 'hired-gem'--for as long as you want, even until death," the Vy'keen replied. After a few moments, he continued with: "We were once good friends, perhaps we could be once more." "This... seems too good to be true. You get more powerful, but have to follow and help me for as long as I wish. Hardly seems like a fair deal. Why would you want to make a deal with me that is so much in my favor? ...Unless, of course, you don't plan on actually helping me." "You want me to prove I'm your old friend? You're Juridonian. Your favorite color is lime green, or at least it used to be before you put that fragment in your head. You were slow to believe our teachings. You were enticed to join the Armada because of their show of power at the destruction of Engin Industries, and you wanted to develop weapons of that power. You got that scar on your cheek from fighting another apprentice of the engineer you two were working under a couple Juridonian solar-rotations before you joined the Lodge. Do I need to go on?" Nosragh said with an almost disappointed look on his face. "I would feel far better doing this if I could deactivate the gem..." Illsent said, putting his face into his hands, trying to think of what to do. "What? You can!" The Vy'keen said, despite being pretty sure you can't "turn off" the power of the gem. Illsent sighed and said "Fine". The Vy'keen reached out his hand, holding the Atlas Seed, and a wispy beam similar to the one that had protruded from the red orb that entered Illsent's fragment now exited the same fragment, and entered the Captured Nanode, it's light growing even brighter. The blood vessels in the arm of Nosragh that held the seed turned to the bright red color of said seed, the Vy'keen visibly growing in power. He then pressed a button on his chestplate, and a compartment shaped perfectly like the seed opened up, which he then placed it in, the color fading from the vessels in his arm, but appearing on his chest instead, the light faintly shining through his shirt, jacket, and chestplate. "Are... you alright?" Illsent asked. "Hah! I feel far better than 'alright'! I might even be able to defeat you!" The Vy'keen said painfully, his head tilted slightly upwards and his arms outstretched at his waist, still adjusting to this massive increase in power. With a large sigh, he had adjusted to his newfound power, and with a sly grin, asked "So, what now?"
"You've seen that Gytenare icon sprayed onto the wall, right?" Illsent said, his head turned to said icon. "Well of course, I've been living here for many cycles," Nosragh answered, approaching the vandalized wall. "Speaking of which, how did both you and whoever sprayed that there find this place?" "This place isn't as secret as you think it is; multiple people have seen these coordinates on your ship's nav, a couple even followed you. It wasn't exactly well-known that you came here, or even where 'here' is, but not a secret, either. As for the pirates, this lab is rather large, and Aequinex--as you probably know--is one of the smallest moons in this cluster. You can see this place from the atmosphere," Nosragh said, looking up, visualizing what it looks like from the sky. "Hm. Anyways, we're going to go hunt down the people who put that icon there." "You wanna get revenge?" Nosragh said, an evil grin appearing on his face. "Actually, it's because they took something from me: a blueprint for a weapon of mass destruction. That is, unless you were the one who took it." "I started living here quite a while after they looted this place. I never knew it existed until now, but I always had my suspicions you were working on something like that; it's definitely something you would do. So, what kind of weapon is it?" "A bomb. A really big bomb." "Hah! How big?" Nosragh said, getting visibly excited. Illsent sighed, and said "Big enough to destroy the moon we're standing on." Nosragh looked even more excited, but then remembered that it's in the hands of the enemy, and very quickly lost his enthusiasm, and even started to look a bit scared. Illsent noticed this, and said: "Just barely. Not to mention some random pirate faction wouldn't be able to create it; the resources needed to make it are far too rare, and it would take a brilliant engineer like myself to understand the blueprints. You have nothing to worry about for now. But if they decide to sell the blueprints to someone who can make the combustible, we should be very, very afraid." "Well, you probably should. With the power of this Captured Nanode, I bet I could survive an explosion of that power." "Don't be too sure; we don't know the lengths of your power. You could very well perish from an explosion of that magnitude. At the very least, you should be able to survive in climates where you would otherwise need a suit, such as this very moon." "Hah, I've been able to survive in toxic environments like this for a long time," Nosragh said, patting Illsent on the back, much to the Juridonian's dislike. "Anyways, we don't have time to waste; the pirates could have already sold the blueprints, but even so, our first course of action should be to track down the faction that stole them." "Well that'll be easy. They're well known around here and a couple other systems. They're a pirate faction called Osnodons Biyaigatarn, but everyone calls them O.B.." "Osnodons Biyaigatarn? Osnodons is a Korvax word and Biyaigatarn is a Vy'keen word... It roughly means 'criminal friendship' if I'm not mistaken. So that means a criminal alliance between two factions, right?" "Yes. There was a large Vy'keen pirate faction that spanned two systems and could loot a wide variety of goods, but they wanted the rare and expensive stuff created by an economy based around material fusion, and this system is perfect for that, so they made an alliance with the powerful Korvax pirate faction in this system, and now both of them have access to a wide range of expensive goods. They're planning on expanding even further. They could very well become the next Armada, as they have some of the best and most ruthless pilots this quadrant of Euclid. It seems this super-weapon of yours could help them with this even further." "Then we must leave immediately. I'm guessing you've found my hidden starships." Illsent said, walking further into the large laboratory. "The ones behind the secret door, right?" Nosragh asked, walking down some stairs with Illsent to the basement-level. "You're going to have to be more specific," Illsent replied, reaching under a metal desk and feeling around for an indent, and pressing it when he finds it. A part of the stone wall to the left of the duo pulls itself into a hidden passageway, and moves to the side to allow the Juridonian and the Vy'keen to enter it. The door then closes about a minute later. The two enter a large hangar with 4 ships, each worth hundreds of millions of Units: A grey and red fighter, with a nose that ends with a point as sharp as a needle, a large, green and black explorer that seems to hold more cargo than most haulers, an even larger brown and crimson shuttle, and a truly massive blue and black hauler. "Which one do you want?" Illsent asked his new friend. "Hah! The fighter. Definitely the fighter," the Vy'keen said, running his hand on the nose of the fighter while making his way to the cockpit, from where he checks out the rest of the specs. Meanwhile, Illsent enters the explorer, and dusts off some of the equipment in there. He then enters the cockpit and turns on communications. "You seem to like my ship," Illsent said, over comms. "It's quite nice. Not as nice as my old ship, but much better than what I've had to put up with for ages now." "Well I'm glad you like it, but we must not dally. Hurry and boot it up. Also, can you send me the coordinates to their main base of operations?" "I don't have them. Not many people know where it is, and most of the people who do are part of the pirates! But you can bet they're raiding some freighters or something," Nosragh answered, his attention not on their conversation, but rather, the ship. The duo of Blackfingers then lifted off of the underground docks, the roof then opening, some sand falling into the secret hangar. The two ships flew out of the toxic atmosphere, and found themselves in the vastness of open space. They searched for freighters containing valuable materials for a few hours, before finding a group of them that would be perfect for O.B. to raid. Illsent and Nosragh then waited another hour, and to the benefit of the duo, the pirates finally arrived. The Juridonian and Vy'keen stayed back, far enough away from the pirates to not be able to be detected, but close enough to see where the pirates go after raiding the freighters. After another 30 minutes, the pirates had collected their goods, and were off to home-base. The Armadans then followed behind, and found a large fortress on the massive, ice-covered planet of Rocaxsis. "It's not very hidden. Rocaxsis is completely barren of everything except ice," Nosragh noted. "It doesn't need to be hidden if they have strong enough defenses," replied Illsent. The two then landed near the base, and walked right up to the front gate. "Who are you? Why are you here?" A robotic, likely Korvax voice asked from a speaker by the gate. Illsent ignored this question, and using his machine-manipulating powers given to him by the Atlas fragment, he opened the gates, and expelled a volt of electricity that bounced between guards until they were all dead. He and Nosragh then continued forward, entering the building, killing any who stood in their path. "Maybe I overestimated the defenses of this fortress. This has been quite easy, so far." Illsent said to his partner. "What are we even doing? This place is really big, there's no way we can search every room, and so far we haven't searched at all! Not that I'm complaining about being able to bash these guys' heads in." "We're looking for an overseer of this place. He should be able to tell us where we need to go, given the correct persuasion, of course." The two continued talking and discussing their plan, all the while getting closer to the center, where an overseer would likely be protected in a safe room. Eventually, the duo finds said safe room, directly in the center of the fortress. As the duo approached the safe room, they entered a very large hall, with said safe room in the center. The building then shook; The floor in front of them opened up, and on a platform that rose from said opening, a beast of incredible size appeared. It was about 6 meters tall, or 19 feet. It had red fur, with small splotches of brown occasionally dotting it's coat. It had six legs, the front two of which could lift off of the ground and almost be used as arms. It's feet were talon-like claws with immense strength, and it could swipe with them from the front or back. It's back was covered in dull, spike-like growths, mostly for protection. It had a large head, with a large muzzle to go with. Two fangs protruded downwards from the tip of the muzzle, and it's two, yellow eyes looked sharp and ferocious. It had four horns, two at the front of it's head that pointed forwards, and two at the back that pointed backwards. It's tail was small and mostly unremarkable; however, small antennae-like sensors covered it, which allows the creature to sense when something was approaching it from behind. The terrifying beast screeched, which caused Illsent to plug his ears, but Nosragh screamed back, his war cry being louder than the monster's. The Vy'keen then charged at the beast, but only before Illsent cried: "What are you doing?! That thing is obviously the result of genetic modification; we don't know how strong it is! We don't even know the extent of your own strength!" "Hah, I guess now's a good time to find out!" The Atlas Seed-powered Vy'keen yelled back, ramming his shoulder into the leg of the beast. The monster shrieked a pained cry, before lunging at Nosragh with it's fang-filled maw. Nosragh wasn't fast enough to evade. However, Illsent had shot a bolt of electricity at the beast's head, which hardly stunned it, but allowed Nosragh to counter-attack with a blow to the head that seemed to seriously injure the monster. It screeched once more, swiping at Nosragh with it's powerful claws, and managed to injure the Vy'keen's left leg. Despite his injury, Nosragh was able to jump with super-Vy'keen strength, and land on the head of the beast. Illsent continued to fire bolts of electricity at the creature, but they hardly did much more than distract the beast from attacking Nosragh. The Captured Nanode-powered pirate then once again jumped upwards, pushing the head he was standing on closer to the ground, but only before pushing himself against the ceiling, and shooting back down to the ground, slamming the head of the beast with his heel. With this attack, the beast could no longer continue fighting; its head crashed into the ground, incapacitating it. It wasn't dead, but defeated, for now. Illsent then swiftly approached his Vy'keen friend, and checked his wounds. "Your leg... it was rather badly harmed by the claw of that creature," Illsent said. However, immediately after he said this, Nosragh's leg started shining red, and healed itself completely within the next several seconds. "The Atlas Seed..." Illsent thought, "if this is how powerful someone is with it's unlocked power at the first stage, how powerful will he be at the next stage?... Englobed Shade, I believe it's called." "Well, ain't that something," Nosragh said, looking at his fully-healed leg. "We better get going. We need that blueprint." Nosragh stood up and walked to the safe room with ease; it seems the increased regeneration rate didn't have any side-effects. The two entered the safe room after Nosragh knocked down the keypad-locked door, and the Vy'keen then announced: "Alright, which one of you knows where we can find a blueprint? One for a really big bomb." No one said anything. "Alright, guess it's time for a bit of 'persuasion'. First one to talk gets to live." After the Vy'keen said this, a Korvax quickly got up and said to Nosragh: "If you are referring to the blueprint for 'The Armada's Comeback', that I believe you, Illsent, designed," the Korvax said, looking at the slightly annoyed-looking Juridonian, "then we sold that a long time ago. We had no use for it, as we can't acquire that compound that it called for. What was it called again... Enginite? How did you make that? We have tried nearly every combination of all known elements, but we couldn't seem to make it.... but I digress. The faction we sold the blueprint to was named ImperiGene; they specialize in bioweapons, but are apparently expanding to other forms of weapons. In fact, they were the ones who sold us that " "Can you tell me where to find this 'ImperiGene'?" Nosragh asked roughly. "I'm afraid I cannot; our business was done many rotations ago, and we met at a neutral location. I can, however, give you the coordinates of where we did our business, if that helps." "Yeah. Do that." The Korvax then became completely still and silent for a few dozen seconds, searching through it's data banks, trying to find the coordinates, which it then gave to Nosragh. The two Armadans then left, but only after shooting everyone in the room. The duo set out to the endless void to find this mysterious ImperiGene, and get back the blueprints to The Armada's Comeback.
The fire that plagued the valley below had worsened but couldn't spread due to the damp foliage. Conrad rushed over to get a closer look at what had caused such havoc. From the thick smoke emerged a gang of pirates. Of course these pirates were far from organised they're more like looters if anything else.
The planet had gone dark and cold, the day was coming to an end. Deciding that a fight against low end pirates with old weapons wasn't worth it Conrad trudged up the slippery mountain using the jetpack to get him over troublesome parts of the terrain.
Conrad made it to the mabaethu and washed off the mud before getting in. The mabaethu would have to wait for repairs until morning. It's too dark, cold and wet to start fixing her up. And with that remark Conrad listened to the rain as he fell asleep.
“It seems I underestimated how powerful you would be with the Captured Nanode,” Illsent told his friend over their ships’ communication systems. “Hah! I did a real number on that beastie, didn’t I?” The Vy’keen rhetorically asked. “Well, now it’s time to find out where this ImperiGene is. I doubt that the coordinates that the pirates gave us will do us any good, but I suppose we might as well check,” the Master Artificer said, opening a portal leading to the planet that the coordinates lead to. The duo flew through the portal, and on the other side of the folded space was a small planet covered with crimson buildings, with almost no plant life to speak of. The buildings were of all shapes and sizes, but most of them were obelisk-shaped, and although the buildings were short, the planet had more of them deeper in the planet, as it was multi-layered. The Armadans flew into the planet’s atmosphere, but instead of experiencing great turbulence, it was very smooth, as if there was no atmosphere at all. “This must be Feltroa, the prototype of the very first artificial planet. I had no idea people still lived here,” Illsent confessed, landing on a pad a ways from the crowds. When Nosragh exited his ship, he noticed something strange with the air. This was followed by an announcement over the speakers, in the tongue of the Vy’keen. “In that case, we must hurry!” Nosragh exclaimed. “What did the announcement say? My Vy’keen is too rusty to tell.” “He said that the machine that creates and filters the breathable air here is breaking down unexpectedly, and it may be too late to fix it. He’s telling everyone to evacuate.” “Wow,” Illsent replied sarcastically, “what are the chances that the air pumps start failing right after we learn how to possibly track down ImperiGene? Someone from O.B. must have tipped off someone here.” “I guess a guard must have been watching us in that safe room through a camera or something,” Nosragh said, annoyed. “Well, that means two things: first, there’s something here that can lead us to them. Second, they’re afraid we’ll find it, which means they’re afraid of us. Luckily, there was no better place in Euclid for them to have done their deal then here,” Illsent said, putting his hand on a nearby computer terminal. “Ah, I see! Because this entire planet is artificial, there are computers connecting it all, and with your machine manipulating abilities, you can access any data ever stored on this planet!” “I feel it’s almost unfair for my opponents. I suppose I was just lucky, finding this fragment and it happening to be likely one of the most powerful,” the Juridonian replied, searching through the planet’s databanks for anything with “ImperiGene” in it. Then, the screen flashed yellow, signalling success; around the time the blueprints for “The Armada’s Comeback” were stolen, a ship landed and refuelled here. While it was being refuelled, it was connected to the planet’s computers, and thus, the computer saved the data from the ship. The ship was registered to “ImperiGene Operative: Rewos Nifaruwa”. “Aha! I’ve found the ship! I just hope my powers can actually track it,” Illsent said, seemingly grabbing at the air in front of the computer monitor, clenching his fist, and throwing whatever he must have caught at his ship’s navigation system. After a few seconds, the nav showed coordinates in the next galaxy over. “I certainly was lucky with this Atlas fragment,” Illsent said, hopping in his ship, Nosragh then doing the same with his own ship. “We have nothing left for us here. It’s time to rejoin The Armada and find ImperiGene in the Hilbert Dimension!” With that, Illsent folded space to lead to the ImperiGene operative’s ship, and take back the blueprints.
The night seemed to pass by in mere seconds. Though uncomfortable for sleeping the Mabaethu would stop Conrad from being stuck in the rain. The morning had arrived and with it a day where the system's host star would light up the valley. The good weather gave Conrad some drive to get the replacement parts he would need to get back into the cosmos. As conrad disembarked from the ship he had a flashback to what appeared to be the "past"
*Flashback* Orders came through via radio "I'm all over it" said one voice "Got it" said another. Conrad swore he could recognise them. He saw an image of a desert like planet. In the distance great bi-pedal mechs walked the hills guarded by infantrymen. A compound sit atop overlooking the desert scrub he was in with his allies. A moment of silence passes before they charge up the hill initiating combat.
Conrad is brought back to reality. although lost in though he remembers he must get back to work and acquire some launch thruster parts and air brakes. The burned factory would prove to be of slight benefit with one of the key launch thruster parts and some goods to sell. However an old shipyard would provide Conrad with the parts he needed. "That flashback has something to do with why i'm here. I should continue my search for parts and maybe some clues as to why I woke up here" "One thing's for sure though, My end goal definitely wasn't to land on a dead end planet like this"
After grabbing some what sellable goods he could lug Conrad advanced back to his ship. The good weather made it easy to see the abandoned factories and industrial sites that surrounded his crash site. It was fortunate that the parts were close enough to his location to be able to acquire with little trouble. Hours passed by as Conrad patched up his ship, Although nothing could be done about the paint job which was now scratched beyond hope. It was just past Dusk when the ship was at the stage of flight.
The evening passed and soon became morning. Much of what Ahl experienced had no bearing on him; it was just another evening of blurred vision and memory fragments. He waited till midday to return and check on the progress of his leg repair. A haze from the coal burning furnaces drifted around the buildings above his nearly 4 ft tall head. As he reached the repairman, he paused a moment and waited to see if the voice he had heard yesterday would speak again. He gave a heavy sigh and entered the shop. The shopkeep gave Ahl a smile and set a canvas covered object on the counter.
"Took nearly all night, but I got her repaired and tuned up for ya," he said removing the coverings.
Ahl looked the leg up and down scratching his chin. The man had done fairly well, Ahl thought to himself. But this craftsmanship was hardly elegant or functional. The sight of the cannon filled Ahl with irritation but he let his apathy overwhelm him and a moment later he saw himself sliding the full credit value across the counter. This will work for now, Ahl said to himself as he reattached the leg and stood up on it once more.
"Thank you for the business," the man called to Ahl as he pocketed the credits and began working on a different project. Ahl gave a half-hearted wave back and headed for the door.
As Ahl reached the door, he heard the voice once more, "The man is not as skilled as you are. So you can't blame him for not passing your standards..." Ahl froze once more and went pale. Ahl's hand began to shake with rage.
"I've had enough of you!" Ahl yelled. "If you have a problem with how I think, get out of my head!" He began hitting himself in the side of the head and cursing. The shop keeper tried to call out and ask if Ahl was alright, but as he spoke Ahl froze once more. "Well then," Ahl said calmly, "perhaps this will quiet your incessant nagging." Ahl spun around and faced the shopkeep. His eyes were as grey snowballs with a piercing emptiness within them. In no more time that the shopkeeper could blink, Ahl raised and fired his cannon leg. The recoil sent Ahl flying through the door and out onto the street. The shopkeeper was also thrown backwards, however he didn't get back up afterwards. "Don't worry about him," Ahl said to the disembodied voice, "I'm going to let him keep the credits. He did, as you said, a decent job." There was no response and a crowd had begun to gather from the sound. Ahl began laughing maniacally as he made his way back toward The 4th Wall.
It makes perfect sense if you think about like a crazy person!
The darkness of the night had arrived, it was eerily quiet without rain. The final preparations had been made and the Mabaethu was ready to fly. An update came through the ship's computer after it had been activated conrad was eager to get answers...
To all survivors it appears you have been scattered across the universe. The sentinel attack has caused major downfall and they now occupy a large portion of the old galaxy... However if you've received this update it means you've made it to our new home. this is not our old galaxy. this is a new galaxy that we'll be building our homes in. If you check the ship's log it should have the details of your role in our great exodus to the galactic center. Also be sure to check your ship's storage we placed a few items that should help you in building a fortification to protect yourself in as well as some emergency supplies like spare ion batteries and oxygen capsules incase you run out of life support and suit power. If you want to find others i'd try finding a galactic terminal. While this galaxy is largely uninhabited by intelligent life there are of course some beings with enough matter to construct technology. I pray you meet up with other survivors if you're alone
The message had provided some insight into the current state of things. The picture was now clear, It wasn't just "What" happened but what needs to happen. A slow reformation of society... Although survivors may have been thrown into different parts of the universe, there's a high chance a lot of survivors ended up in this galaxy.
Conrad opened his ship storage. "Hmm... It looks like there's ion batteries and oxygen. Spare ammunition, Metal plating, Books on materials and how to utilize them..." at the very bottom of the ship storage was a photo. On the photo was Conrad's family his mother and two sisters... "They were with me when we got to the black hole but" "Where did they end up" Conrad recalled the girls using another ship and sighed. The message seemed to provide answers but just led to more questions.
Conrad clutched the photo close to his chest before putting it away. The aim was to find a terminus so Conrad could establish an uplink. He needed to at least hear that his only family was doing alright. Conrad closed the ship storage and did one last sweep of the surrounding area incase he left anything behind. Eventually... Conrad was set for departure.
The Mabaethu took off into the sky and out into space. The system was largely uninhabited, No space station just some planetary dwellers looking to escape from the law. Whatever race inhabited the system had packed up some time ago and quickly abandoned the system. The hyperdrive on the Mabaethu had one charge left over. Conrad checked the galactic map and plot a course for the closest system with 6 Planetary bodies, The chances of finding some sort of sentient life were higher due to increased abundance of materials.
And with the course charted Conrad initiated the jump!