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All Aboard the Nightmare Ship! (IC)

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Doktor Archeville

 

"I must say, there's nothing like the vacuum of space for preserving a handsome corpse," Archeville remarked, a bit of awe and wonder in his voice.  "But did they die from that exposure, or something else?  I may be able to tell more, after an autopsy.  And those markings, there, and there," he gestured towards the escape pods.  "A final message, scrawled in their own blood?  A plea to their gods?  A curse against their enemies?  Or a warning to any who came in after them?  Dr. Ea'Po, do you know their language?"

 

He turned to the ram-man, "once again I find myself in agreement with you, my azure associate.  If our investigations prove fruitful, perhaps we can write a dirge worthy of these beings."

 

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GM

 

Dr. Ea’Po, meanwhile, was fiddling with some more equipment. Pressing a button on a little box, a beam of light seemed to sweep around the world outside, and then Dr. Ea’Po got a little chirp on her data pad. Looking at it, she nodded. “Alright, no pathogens either. We are clear to walk around the ship without hazard suits…” she said, before she started strapping some gizmos to herself, including what looked like a communicator and a pair of high-tech looking goggles.  Then she pulled out a chest, and opened it up, before pressing some buttons on her data-pad.

 

Three small spheres rose from the chest and into into the air, turning to face everyone to reveal lenses that contracted and expanded, the faces of the crew reflected in the glass.

 

“And now we have Autonomous Exploratory and Diagnostic Drones. Aydies for short. These little babies will be sending images back to my HUD as they scout out ahead of us. Will give us a good idea of where to go. I’ve also got communicators for us, all EMP-hardened though… Honestly we’ll see how it does with Dirge’s… natural aura, which could be a complicating factor… Uh… Anyway, it should at least work for everyone else. And lucky for you, Doktor, I brought back-ups! So you can have one too.”

 

Standing, Ea’Po then toyed with her data pad some more, casting an image up onto the screen. It was a cross-section of a ship that looked similar to the Stigmata. “Alright, so what you’re looking at is a layout of a typical Atchpa capital ship. We are…” she stopped as she tapped at her datapad’s screen, creating a little red dot at the base of the ship layout. “Here… And if the Stigmata follows standard Atchpa ship design, we should be able to follow this path…” she said as a zig-zagging line ascending about 7 floors appeared on the layout. “We should hit everywhere I need to see, with the last stop being the command centre.”


”First place we will hit is the security station, which… hopefully… will be just a level above us,” she said. “However, if you don’t mind, I’d really like to take a look at what some of the people wrote here. It looks like Atchpan Demotic, sort of a… More casual alternative to the logograms we’ve been seeing on the outside, and we don’t have many examples of it, so it might take me a second to figure out, but it might give us an idea of what happened here."

 

"Anyway, that good with everyone?"

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Starlok

 

Starlok looked at Dirge through the corner of her eyes. “Proceed,” she said. She wasn’t happy about the idea of him using the chair as a weapon, but he was going to be returning it, so it was better to have him armed.

 

Her focus then shifted to all the technology being brought out. Ea’Po reminded her of a little girl happy to show off her new toys. That thought made her smirk to herself. Still, all of this would be highly useful to her. Walking over to the chest, she took one of the communicators, a small square thing, and attached it to her leotard, nodding to herself. Then, she walked over to the command console, and lowered the walkway for them to head out when they were ready.

 

“Well then, I am ready to proceed,” she said aloud to the room. “I look forward to taking command of this vessel.”

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Dirge

 

The moment he had Starlok's permission, Dirge once more transformed his chair into a coiled chain and hoisted it over his shoulder. "I could take a bulkhead if you preferred, but I assumed you would want me to borrow one of the few pieces which would not compromise the structural integrity of the ship."

 

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"I’ve also got communicators for us, all EMP-hardened though… Honestly we’ll see how it does with Dirge’s… natural aura, which could be a complicating factor… Uh… Anyway, it should at least work for everyone else."

 

The blue sheep-man's three fingers balled up into a triumphant fist, which he held up in front of his face. A rainbow of refracted light rippled in the air around the fist, and sparks danced along his skin. The fur on his hand stood up. "I have trained for MY ENTIRE LIFE to CONTROL the power that is MY BIRTHRIGHT as a Fryxian. To MASTER it." His fist unclenched, and the sparks and heat shimmer both vanished in an instant. "Your TOYS will not be harmed. Though if I wished OTHERWISE, there is no 'EMP hardening' IN THE GALAXY strong enough to WITHSTAND OUR MIGHT! THAT is why The Khan's LAPDOGS had to resort to such COWARDLY tactics to defeat us."

 

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"If you don’t mind, I’d really like to take a look at what some of the people wrote here."
"Anyway, that good with everyone?
"

 

"I have no objections. My only interest in this mission is THE GLORIOUS DEATH it may provide for me. Until such an opportunity presents itself, do whatever you wish."

 

Edited by Grumblefloof

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"Oh, aren't you just the cutest things!," Archeville cooed at Ea'Po's drones, as one might to a baby of his own species.  He drew the rod from the holster at his hip and ran it over and around one of the three floating AEDDs; the handheld device -- apparently some sort of scanner -- buzzed and beeped and flashed as he did.  "Oh, but what complex optics you have!  And what wide-band audio receivers!  And what big chemsniffers!"  He half-turned to the Lor archaeologist, "did you make these yourself?  Or are they standard kit for your line of work out here?"  He focused back on the drone, "you are a simply marvelous bit of engineering!"

 

The device in his hand was, of course, a decoy, a facsimile of his electromagnetic screwdriver.  In reality, Archeville was using his own cyberpathic powers to connect with and examine the AEDD.

 

So enamored was he with Ea'Poa's tech that he almost missed what Starlok said.  Almost"Take command of?" he asked, keeping his tone somewhat playful.  "Why, Countess, I thought this was an exploratory expedition, not a colonizing one?"

 

And of course it was nearly impossible to ignore Dirge.  So those abilities are species-wide traits.  I'll have to see what I can research about the Fryxians later.  And some encounters with the Stellar Khanate?  A death wish?  Hrm, yes, definitely a heightened sense of honor, coupled with some sort of warrior's code.  Yes, now the social dynamic between him and Starlok are coming clear.

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Starlok

 

"Oh my, no," Ea'Po said with a giggle. "My AEDDs were custom made for me. It's often hard to get fellow archaeologists to go out into the more wild parts of the galaxy, and since I needed help, these little cuties were an obvious solution!"

 

Starlok had almost ignored Doktor Archeville as she walked towards the exit, freeing her crimson blade from its sheathe and twirling it in her hand. However, at the last moment, she turned back to Archeville with a serious expression.

 

"Ea'Po will get to examine this ship, and when she is done, I shall use it to strike back at my brother Ven-Ruth, who slew our parents and made me an exile! For now, he has an army behind him, but even that cannot stand an orbital barrage against their supply depots and armouries. Once they see the power of this vessel, all my brother's allies will surrender on the spot! Then Ven-Ruth shall answer for his crimes."

 

She stared at Archeville for a hot second, before turning to Dirge. "Let's go, if there is anything out there that could kill us, it is probably getting impatient," she said with a dark smile. The she turned and headed into the hangar.

 

As Ea'Po had pointed out, there was a chill in the air. She visually scanned the room, not hindered by the darkness. She could see many signs of chaos. Skeletons in huddled positions, some missing limbs. Some of them even seemed to have teeth marks. Other signs were shattered floor and claw marks everywhere. She narrowed her eyes.

 

"Ea'Po," Starlok said. "...Were the Atchpa warlike?"

 

Ea'Po had already exited the ship, and was now examining the writing. "I mean, as much as any culture has to be to conquer a planet and make their name synonymous with their species. But no more than any normal space-faring species."

 

"So no berserker rages common to their kind, then?" Starlok asked. 

 

"Nope," Ea'Po said, staring at the writing. "The writing seems to say something like... 'save me.'"

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Dirge

 

The blue-furred behemoth glared down his snout disdainfully at the corpses. "These are not the signs of BATTLE. These people were not SLAIN. They were BUTCHERED. EATEN. Set upon by some FOUL BEAST...or they TURNED upon each other in desperation. In MADNESS. They did NOT die like WARRIORS."

 

"This reminds me of an old Fryxian legend, a TALL TALE the elders would tell around campfires to scare the lambs. The Og'd'nu. Once in a great while, a Fryxian WEAK of spirit would be CONSUMED by GREED or RAGE, and FORGET his HONOR and his HERD, forget ALL which made him FRYXIAN. In such FERTILE SOIL, a SEED would be planted, a DEMON who would POSSESS him. A voice whispering blasphemies into his ears, ROTTING him from the INSIDE, HOLLOWING him out, driving him BEYOND DELIRIUM AND DESPAIR. He would ABANDON his herd, to live as A CAT would, ALONE. He would retreat to the FARTHEST REACHES of Ku'unum, the lands where NOTHING grows in the ground, and he would...he would eat FLESH. TEAR it from the BONES of his victims with HIS OWN TEETH, while they still lived, while they SCREAMED. Having NO ONE to huddle with at night, he would RIP the fleece from his victims and WEAR IT as if it were HIS OWN. The demon would make him strong, but his hunger COULD NOT BE SATED, for when HE ate, THE DEMON WITHIN fed as well. To become such a DEGENERATE ABOMINATION was the WORST FATE imaginable, worse even than becoming its PREY. But to SLAY one...there was no GREATER GLORY."

 

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