Freewheeling

GIANT LOG DUMP

9th Feb 17 edition

[21:03] <ST> http://imgur.com/cJPl3Br
[21:04] <ST> Let's all read this together
[21:08] <ST> You've all received the missive; a message so carefully encrypted it drove your Muses batshit trying to figure out what it was. However way they tried to break it, the message just remained mute… that is until you decided to try yourself. Maybe you conferred with friends before attempting, maybe you spent days planning for any contingency, or maybe you just went right at it, but as soon as
[21:08] <ST> your voice commanded the letter to open, it did.
[21:11] <ST> A message sent from a defunct company, out of business for the last ten years, complete with the obviously pre-genned vocal pattern of absolute neutrality; a freeware voice-sync that was developed to be as acceptable as possible. It has an indistinct but non-threatening accent and can not in any way elicit emotions other than perhaps boredom and the strange feeling that you're listening to
[21:11] <ST> something that would have never evolved on its onw.
[21:11] * Slavoslav is now known as Nathan_loomis
[21:11] * Nathan_loomis is now known as Nathan_Loomis
[21:12] <ST> The voice recording is short, to the point and, of course, perfectly polite. A request that you travel to Locus, unless you're already there, and have dinner, or the equivalent, at a small food stand serving "thai" food in the close proximity of the Amoeba.
[21:12] <ST> Show up, and not only will you be helping protect mankind from any nascent threats, you will receive a valuable reimbursement as extra incentive.
[21:18] * Shurra is now known as Surra
[21:26] * Tony_Sanchez has been saving since the Fall and almost managed enough for a splicer. After reading the message he ponders for a minute, then takes out a small loan to cover the rest, buys a morph on Locus and beams his consciousness over. It oughta at least make an interesting change of scenery, and he&#39;s always wondered what &quot;thai&quot; food tastes like.<br /> [21:27] &lt;Nathan_Loomis&gt; It takes Nate longer than he&#39;d want to admit to realise the message was real and not some petal-induced exotic delusion. Once he does, it&#39;s not even a hard decision - the security was already too familiar with his face, and it wasn&#39;t like he had enough cred to just go and get a new one. Locus was far away enough to at least feel safe during an Ego-check. Nate would have taken less. Of course he&#39;s beaming over as soon as possible.<br /> [21:30] &lt;Froot&gt; Weird coded messages are pretty standard stuff for Froot, though they&#39;re quick to note that this one isn&#39;t from the Hidden Concern. There&#39;s some nattering on in it about the fate of mankind and blah blah whatever. Froot doesn&#39;t give two tentacles about saving humanity. But Froot does care about valuable reimbursements and when they get confirmation that they&#39;ll get their proper octomorph instead of some four-limbed fuck up, that cinches it.<br /> [21:30] &lt;Froot&gt; They beam over and make their way to the Amoeba, eager to find out what new intresting people they will be splattering.<br /> [21:33] * Surra has been living on Locus for the better part of a couple of years, working to make the poky little habitats as pleasant as possible for as many as possible. She&#39;d flown over the little &#39;thai&#39; place many times, but paid it little attention until the peculiar message. Interior design work wasn&#39;t thin on the ground, so the reimbursement was nothing more than<br /> [21:35] &lt;Surra&gt; a bonus, but the mention of threats to transhumanity had piqued her interest. What any such mission would need with a designer and part-time terraforming consultant she has no idea, but she fully intends to find out.<br /> [21:35] &lt;ST&gt; You each make your way to the food stand in your own peculiar ways, none of you knowing the others (at least not in person, one or two of you might have amassed some rep), but unknowingly pursuing the same goal.<br /> [21:36] &lt;ST&gt; As you arrive, you find the stall to be... underwhelming. It is designed much like how old-fashioned eating wagons were back on Earth; providing four seats behind a curtain, facing the cook and the small kitchen where they cook the food. There is one problem, however. One of the seats is already occupied.<br /> [21:38] &lt;ST&gt; Seated in one of the center chairs is a bulky-looking synth-morph, an old clanker, Martian model from the looks of it.<br /> [21:42] * Nathan_Loomis Nate, still clunky in his new morph, nevertheless saunters in like he&#39;s been at the place countless times before, and orders.<br /> [21:44] * @Tony_Sanchez has no idea about Thai food, so he orders something random, mangling the pronunciation, and takes a seat beside the clanker. Seeing as there&#39;s not much reason for a cheap synthmorph to be hanging around a food stall, it&#39;s probably his contact.<br /> [21:45] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Evening."
[21:46] * Froot oozes in and grabs a seat near the end, hoisting themselves up to see what's on the menu. The answer is a bunch of omnivore garbage. Should have expected that. Least they can order pawns without being covered in garbage, so they do so. The splicer starts the conversation and Froot waves a tentacle, a well-practiced "friendly" looking gesture that they don't mean.
[21:47] <Nathan_Loomis> "Yen tafo, spicy," he waves at the server… wherever they may be.
[21:48] * Surra lands nimbly on the overhanging eave of the wagon, and examines the people already seated, turning her head side-to-side in an old, old habit despite her 360-degree vision.
[21:50] <ST> The synth doesn't look up at first, instead staring down at a small, steaming glass of what you identify as Greaser's Nine, a very strong intoxicant used by synths to get, well, intoxicated.
[21:51] <ST> The area is actually quite beautiful, the amoeba today being reflectively pearlescent, forming a nautilus shell that seems to coil in upon itself again and again, spirals upon spirals upon spirals.
[21:51] <ST> Meanwhile the cook, a neotenic child with a thousand yard stare, prepares the order of Yen tafo.
[21:55] * ST (ST@sorcery-drt1gv.bredband.comhem.se) Quit (Quit: )
[21:55] * Tony_Sanchez is now known as Fats
[21:55] * Nathan_Loomis (otten@sorcery-fa7a1v.dynamic.amis.net) Quit (Quit: IM GONE)
[21:55] * Disconnected
Session Close: Thu Sep 15 21:55:49 2016

[19:42] <ST> Our intrepid post-heroes are gathered at the "Thai" stand, initiating (or at least attempting to) a conversation with a synth heavy in the glass. He taps the side of an empty food bowl and the neotic gives him a look before sighing and turning around to prepare some more food.
[19:42] * Phasmatis is now known as Surra
[19:42] <ST> "So where you from?" The synth mutters, its voice modulator old and definitely not intended to emulate a human's voice box. "Odd party like you, must've flown in from all over the system… Europeans?"
[19:43] * Fats is now known as Tony_Sanchez
[19:43] * otten is now known as Nathan
[19:43] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Once upon a time, yeah.&quot;<br /> [19:43] * Nathan is now known as aaaa<br /> [19:44] * aaaa is now known as Nathan_Loomis<br /> [19:44] * Coz is now known as Froot<br /> [19:49] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Hah, I like you... That accent&#39;s midwest? Congratulations on keeping it in this arse of a refuge.&quot;<br /> [19:49] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Touch of Martian though... infugee?&quot;<br /> [19:49] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Me an' half of the system."
[19:51] * Froot is busy cramming prawns into his beak but manages to roll an eye towrds the synth. He listens along but he's not real eager to contribute yet. He's always been shit at smalltalk and mammals do nothing but smalltalk.
[19:55] <Nathan_Loomis> "Casted from Venus. 'S kinda far to just fly out here." He rubs at an elbow. "Still need some time to adjust to the sleeve."
[19:55] <ST> The synth chuckles slowly, it's a disturbingly rusty sound.
[19:58] * Nathan_Loomis (otten@sorcery-2ogcmr.dynamic.amis.net) has left #heresy ("Leaving")
[19:58] * Surra is still examining the situation, but speaks up anyway. "Been working here for a while now. You weren't that out of my way." Her voice is also distinctly artificial, but far more elegant than the other synth, handsomely low pitched and almost musical.
[19:59] * Nathan_Loomis (otten@sorcery-2ogcmr.dynamic.amis.net) has joined #heresy
[19:59] <Nathan_Loomis> "Feels kinda like your voice sounds. Previous owner must have done all kinds of crazy shit with it."
[20:01] <Froot> Everybody else is speaking. Which means Froot's got to say something. He raises a tentacle, and vocalates with his speaker, a masculine voice with a warm and golden tone and a slight warble. "Ceres. Obviously."
[20:01] <ST> They look up at Surra, and then back to Nathan. "Picked one hell of a place to cast to if you're just here for the entertainment, as the bird can tell you… might want to get your pod checked for STDs while you're at it…" they hold out an un-plated hand, wires and fusings visible through the skeletal frame. "Name's Xerxes."
[20:01] <ST> "Obviously."
[20:02] * Tony_Sanchez takes the hand. &quot;Tony.&quot;<br /> [20:03] &lt;ST&gt; The grip is firm, definitely one of the martian models, if somewhat repurposed for finer operations. The fingers especially are multi-jointed and curl around Tony&#39;s hand almost like snakes.<br /> [20:03] &lt;Nathan_Loomis&gt; &quot;You&#39;d think they&#39;d check them before sleeving people.&quot; He shrugs. &quot;Not like I intend on staying that long. I can deal with a rash.&quot;&nbsp; He flashes Xerxes a grin.<br /> [20:04] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;&#39;The bird&#39; is named Surra.&quot; She quite deliberately stays where she is perched and folds her tiny clawed hands under her wings, far away from any potential handshake.<br /> [20:04] * @Tony_Sanchez makes an effort not to react to the feeling.<br /> [20:05] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Meant no offense, Surra. Think I might&#39;ve heard of you here at Titan, didn&#39;t know you had an avian morph though.&quot;<br /> [20:06] &lt;ST&gt; Exactly five plates are suddenly produced on the narrow bench of the food stall, each bowls of thick, stir-fried noodles with various vegetables and what looks like meat mixed into it.<br /> [20:07] &lt;ST&gt; &quot; This one&#39;s on me.&quot;<br /> [20:07] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Thanks."
[20:07] * Surra sighs. "Apology accepted. Ignorance is no crime, I suppose."
[20:07] * Tony_Sanchez digs into his &quot;Thai&quot; food.<br /> [20:07] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;So what brought y&#39;all here?&quot;<br /> [20:08] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Got a mystery message, didn't have anything better to do."
[20:09] * Froot prods a tentacle at the meal before he picks out a piece of meat to take a lick of and try figure out what it is. "Got one too. It said there was money involved."
[20:10] <ST> It sort of tastes like meat too… but… it's cubed, and kind of pale.
[20:13] <Froot> Whatever it is, it's not what Froot's used to. He dumps the cube back in the bowl. He's not going to risk fucking up this sleeve over some mystery meat.
[20:13] <Nathan_Loomis> It's not what he ordered, but it's free, so what the hell. "Word of your delicious food reaches the most remote places in the galaxy."  He's quite hungry, actually – new morphs tend to do that to him. He continues even while chewing. "Nah, obviously my deal's the same as theirs. Kinda funny."
[20:15] <ST> Xerxes laughs slowly. "If I believed in coincidences I'd say it's a damn fine one, us all being here, but as a rule I shy away from giving fate the moment of my time."
[20:17] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;That being said, who&#39;re ya working for?&quot;<br /> [20:17] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Given that, presumably, you are our contact, that seems sensible. And thank you for the meal, but I tend not to eat these days. The rest of you are welcome to split it four ways, if you&#39;d like..&quot;<br /> [20:19] &lt;Nathan_Loomis&gt; Nate helps himself to Surra&#39;s plate so fast it is as if he anticipated her offer.<br /> [20:19] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;I reckon it&#39;s better if I show you...&quot; He gives Surra a nod, &quot;Can&#39;t right properly show you unless you eat, though. Just a nibble oughta do it.&quot;<br /> [20:20] &lt;Nathan_Loomis&gt; That statement makes him pause, the food in his mouth already half-chewed.<br /> [20:20] * @Tony_Sanchez puts his cutlery down. &quot;What the hell is in this food?&quot;<br /> [20:21] * Surra stops mid-fidget, and stares down between the bowls and Xerxes. &quot;Excuse me?&quot;<br /> [20:22] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Access rights to a private server where our contact can brief us on the mission.&quot;<br /> [20:22] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "You spiked the food with fucking nanotech?"
[20:23] <ST> "Self-destructing nano-machines, I'm sure you've inhaled more than your fair share just breathing the air here, these at least are benign."
[20:23] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;What exactly is wrong with good old-fashioned email?&quot;<br /> [20:23] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;We have no word but yours on that.&quot;<br /> [20:23] &lt;Froot&gt; Urrrggg. Froot rolls his eyes but silently picks up a cube and shoves it in his beak, chewing it and swallowing it down. The people he works for are all the same.<br /> [20:23] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Once you hear what our contact has to say, I&#39;m sure you&#39;ll understand.&quot;<br /> [20:24] &lt;Nathan_Loomis&gt; He considers this for a few moment, before resuming his meal. Surely not all of it is be nanomachines.<br /> [20:25] &lt;ST&gt; One by one, those who have eaten just sort of... fade away, their eyes glazing over, but the pods sitting up, chewing the food slowly, as if thinking of far-off things.<br /> [20:26] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;You do not. But then, if you don&#39;t want the chance to save mankind, that is your perogative.&quot; With that, Xerxes consumes some noodles of their own and slowly fades as well.<br /> [20:26] * Surra ponders, then flutters down onto the tabletop. &quot;Well, here goes everything.&quot; She plucks a cube from the nearest bowl and gives it a cautious nibble.<br /> [20:26] &lt;ST&gt; It&#39;s enough to send Surra across too<br /> [20:27] &lt;ST&gt; And you all wake up instantaneously again in a small, cramped office looking like something from the holovids, specifically those about the 90s.<br /> [20:28] &lt;ST&gt; There&#39;s a fan slowly circling up in the ceiling, a big wooden desk with a sign on it saying &quot;Professor Ming&quot;, and outside the din of gasoline-fueled traffic can be heard. From the sound of it, it&#39;s rush-hour on this balmy summer&#39;s day.<br /> [20:29] * @Tony_Sanchez looks around for someone who might pass for a Professor Ming.<br /> [20:31] * Nathan_Loomis looks around the office more carefully instead.<br /> [20:31] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes isn&#39;t there, or at least not the one you met at the food stall. Instead you&#39;re seeing a fairly tall, well-built woman with a buzzcut, dressed in combat fatigues (just a t-shirt, no jacket, city camo), a cigarillo tucked in the corner of her mouth and her eyes narrow. &quot;Bastard told me he&#39;d be here...&quot;<br /> [20:33] &lt;Froot&gt; The ability to simulate everything, and they choose simulate cheap human architecture. Froot will never understand his employers, or most humans in general. His self is toned down from his prefered size and shape, settling for a pile of too-many limbs curled into spirals beneath his bulk, a throne of iridescent flesh. &quot;What&#39;s the chances that your guy just fucked us all over?&quot;<br /> [20:33] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Which bastard would that be?"
[20:36] <ST> As if on cue, the door opens and a man enters. Chinese of origin, with greying temples and a small, ill-suiting moustache over his lips. He is dressed in the universal outfit of a professor: a sports jacket with leather-padded elbows, a cardigan, checkered shirt and a name-tag, as if the sign on the desk wasn't enough. "I'm Professor Ming, of the Argonauts. Welcome to my home away from home,
[20:36] <ST> please do make yourselves comfortable." There is seating for all present, if they wish.
[20:36] * Tony_Sanchez sits somewhere.<br /> [20:38] * Froot remains on his flesh throne, his spirals curling idly as he waits to see who he&#39;s being expected to kill this time.<br /> [20:39] * Surra remains standing - being now standing tall enough to threaten the ceiling with her mechanical peacock form, she enjoys her height while it lasts.<br /> [20:40] * @Tony_Sanchez is rather less impressive in cyberspace, just a grumpy middle-aged white man. How dull.<br /> [20:42] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;I&#39;m sure you&#39;ve heard of my work, but I&#39;m not representing the Argonauts today. I&#39;m serving as a router for Firewall in some respects, and the four of you have each made quite a name for yourselves in your respective habitats... Or so I&#39;ve been told. Xerxes handled the recruitment, and according to them you&#39;re the most suitable candidates for this mission.&quot;<br /> [20:43] &lt;Nathan_Loomis&gt; &quot;Never heard of ya.&quot;<br /> [20:43] &lt;ST&gt; Ming adjusts his glasses, &quot;Not... entirely surprising.&quot;<br /> [20:43] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Afraid I haven't, either. Didn't have much interest keepin' up with current events."
[20:44] <Nathan_Loomis> He looks over the other two, still uneasy from their imposing forms. "You, with the tentacles? Anyone?"
[20:45] <Nathan_Loomis> Instead of waiting for an answer, he just turns back to Ming. "Can't be that good of a professor, huh."
[20:45] <ST> "Regardless of whether you know me, I will keep this brief. You've attracted enough attention that you're under consideration for recruitment as Firewall sentinels. Firewall, despites, or perhaps due to its attempts to remain fringe, has earned a reputation as an organization bent towards a singular goal: preserving our species against any threats capable of wiping us out."
[20:45] <Froot> "I don't usually work for professors. Not your kind, anyway."
[20:46] <Nathan_Loomis> "Do these two count as our species?"
[20:46] <Surra> "Excuse me?"
[20:46] <ST> "Plural."
[20:48] <Nathan_Loomis> "Species… specieses… spe- fuck it. You want to recruit us as what?"
[20:48] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Intelligent life&#39;s last best hope, probably.&quot;<br /> [20:49] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;In either case, should you decline, the nanomachines you consumed have been programmed to smooth this encounter over. You might recognize my face, but you will not be able to place where we&#39;ve met. No lasting harm should be done to your psyches however.&quot;<br /> [20:50] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "'Should'."
[20:51] <Surra> "So what exactly made you think I would be of any use to you? I'm a habitat designer."
[20:51] <Surra> "… It's the morph, isn't it? Damn it all, I knew I should have got something more civilian."
[20:52] <Nathan_Loomis> "Yeah, I don't think I'm your guy either. Maybe you sent that letter to the wrong address."
[20:52] <Froot> "If you're paying, I'm your guy."
[20:52] <Surra> "Well, at least someone's enthusiastic."
[20:53] <ST> "Firewall requires a wide variety of skills. Agents are generally not sent to combat TITAN-threats immediately, but regardless we've studied your profiles, well, Xerxes has, and you're more than suitable for what we have in mind. It regards the finding of a missing agent of ours."
[20:53] <Nathan_Loomis> "Got more than enough limbs for all of us, for sure."
[20:53] * Surra audibly clears her throat despite being a) a giant mechanical bird and b) completely digital.
[20:54] <Froot> "Capitalism is a beautiful thing." Froot sits up a little larger. "You want your agent back alive, or you want conformation they're dead?"
[20:56] <ST> "To the best of our knowledge, agent Tara Yu was most recently investigating the current whereabouts of military computer hardware recovered from a station in Earth orbit that was destroyed during the Fall, in the Battle of L4. Yu has been missing for over a month now… Long silences are not unusual during some of her undercover research missions, but she missed her last scheduled check-in.
[20:56] <ST> Last we knew, she was on Locus. We need you to track her down, ascertain her status if alive, recover her cortical stack if dead, and if necessary continue or assist her search for the missing hardware."
[20:57] <ST> Xerxes speaks much more clearly now, and her southern drawl is all the more apparent.
[20:58] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Okay then. What should we know about Tara and her mission before we go off and get ourselves killed?&quot;<br /> [21:01] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Unfortunately we know very little of it. Like Xerxes said, she was researching military computer hardware, presumably experimental software or hardware designed to combat the TITAN threat during the last period of organized human resistance before the Fall...&quot;<br /> [21:04] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Should you accept the mission, we will of course provide you with the proper insurance to provide you both new sleeves and a backup of your cortical stack.&quot;<br /> [21:05] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "That's something at least."
[21:06] <Nathan_Loomis> "I still don't see how I can help you."
[21:09] <Froot> "He's got a point. This one seems pretty useless." Froot jerks one of his tentalces in Nathan's direction. "What skills do you even have?"
[21:09] * Surra looks aside and thinks for a moment, her vastly more expressive digital face rearranging itself into a frown. "Neither do I," she says, then looks back, resolutely. "But I suspect you have some level of experience in selecting your agents, and any sort of anti-TITAN work falls squarely into moral obligation territory. If you believe I would be useful, I
[21:09] <Nathan_Loomis> "I'm charming if I want to be."
[21:09] <Surra> will do it."
[21:11] <Froot> Froot turns a rippling shade of mauve, his tentacles curling. This translates into a peal of laughter, for those humans who need a little help understanding this stuff. "Sure. 'Charming'. The enemy will love that."
[21:11] <Nathan_Loomis> "Enemy, not enemy- everybody loves me."
[21:12] * Surra taps her claws on the floor. It's carpet, though, so it doesn't have quite the desired effect.
[21:14] * Froot turns back to Ming and Xerxes. "If you know me, then you know my fees. Soon as I get the deposit down, I'll start work. I do better alone, but-" His eyes roll over to the others, passing judgement before they roll back, "I can play nice with a team, if they're necessary."
[21:14] <ST> "You'd be surprised how useful seemingly useless knacks can be," Xerxes chuckles darkly, "Went on a mission once with a gambler, turns out he had a good eye for calculating odds… surprisingly useful."
[21:16] <ST> "Of course, you will be paid half as soon as you accept the mission, with the remaining half to be forwarded to you upon the return and/or confirmation of Yu's condition. There will also be a bonus involved if you recover the hardware as well, within reason."
[21:17] <Nathan_Loomis> "How much creds are we talking?"
[21:18] <Froot> "I accept." He shifts to a cool blue, pleased that they've left behind smalltalk for business, and that bonsues are involved.
[21:21] <ST> Ming gives a number, it is sufficient, quite exhorbent for a job that might just be a wild goose chase.
[21:24] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Yeah, sure, I&#39;m in.&quot;<br /> [21:28] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes and Ming glance at Surra<br /> [21:30] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Excellent. As per Firewall customs, I will be unavailable for direct communication, but a meeting may be set up once you return. For now, you will act as your own agents, and as this will be your first mission this is also a test of aptitude. Firewall rewards competence and loyalty, so keep that in mind.&quot;<br /> [21:30] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;I&#39;ve been in the game long enough to know when the shit&#39;s hitting the fan, so consider me your lifeline for when it&#39;s time to fuck off.&quot;<br /> [21:31] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Much obliged."
[21:31] <Froot> "Business as usual for me." Mostly. Froot doesn't usually have partners, but it wouldn't be the first time.
[21:32] * Nathan_Loomis shrugs. "I came all this way in this STD infested pod, might as well get something out of it. I'm in, for now."
[21:34] <ST> "I suggest you begin by investigating any potential leads to where Yu may have gone… and please, before you go, help yourselves to some cucumber water." he motions for a glass water cooler in the corner before moving towards the door.
[21:34] * Tony_Sanchez is quite fine without virtual cucumber water, thank you very much.<br /> [21:36] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;What does this one do, before I do anything with it.&quot;<br /> [21:38] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes shrugs and walks up to it, taking a cup and filling it up. &quot;I don&#39;t question it. Firewall&#39;s too big and powerful to try to poison someone who works for&#39;em. If they wanted me dead, I&#39;d be gone in an instant.&quot;<br /> [21:38] * Froot takes a glass and pours it on himself.<br /> [21:40] &lt;Nathan_Loomis&gt; &quot;We find the hardware, we ind her- is that what you think?&quot;<br /> [21:42] &lt;ST&gt; Both Xerxes and Froot fade out of existence.<br /> [21:42] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "This shit again."
[21:43] * Tony_Sanchez sighs and drinks his damn cucumber water.<br /> [21:43] &lt;Nathan_Loomis&gt; &quot;What happens if we just never drink it?&quot;&nbsp; He directs the question at Ming.<br /> [21:43] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Ah. The exit, of course.&quot; Surra reaches over with her wings and pours herself a glass, using her primary feathers as fingers. She examines it, then takes a sip.<br /> [21:46] &lt;Nathan_Loomis&gt; &quot;If, err, i never drink it.&quot;&nbsp; He gives Surra a look that says she&#39;s betrayed him.<br /> [21:46] * Surra shrugs, and fades out.<br /> [21:47] &lt;ST&gt; Ming is no longer there.<br /> [21:47] &lt;ST&gt; The fan rotates slowly<br /> [21:48] &lt;Nathan_Loomis&gt; And so he drinks.<br /> [21:49] * Nathan_Loomis (ottensorcery-2ogcmr.dynamic.amis.net) Quit (Quit: IM GONE)
[21:49] * Disconnected
Session Close: Thu Oct 06 21:49:53 2016

[19:18] <ST> One by one you all return back to your sleeves, your internal clocks showing that the time you spent inside the mesh is less than half a minute. The food, in fact, is still hot.
[19:19] <Nate_Loomis> "That was fucked up," says Nate, referring to the time warp.
[19:19] * Tony_Sanchez is a bit less grumpy now he&#39;s back in real space. &quot;That sort of nonsense happen often, Xerxes?&quot;<br /> [19:20] &lt;Froot&gt; &quot;It was pretty standard, though usually they don&#39;t bother with the set dressing.&quot; Froot pushes the rest of the food away.<br /> [19:20] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;They like to keep it novel, but it depends on the proxy. I&#39;ve never worked with this guy before, he&#39;s one of the kookier ones for sure.&quot;<br /> [19:22] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;His methods of communication, or his taste in furnishing?&quot;<br /> [19:23] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Heh, both.&quot;<br /> [19:24] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Didn&#39;t know you had run-ins with them before, Froot. You&#39;re more discreet than most cephalopods I know.&quot;<br /> [19:26] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Can&#39;t expect much in the way of sensibilities from an Argo guy. Probably spends all his time daydreaming about science and shit.&quot;<br /> [19:26] &lt;Froot&gt; &quot;Nah, not with them before. But they&#39;re like the others. People are all the same when they hire you for this kind of job. Well... the smart ones are the same. The stupid ones usually don&#39;t get far enough to know somebody like me exists.&quot;<br /> [19:28] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Ain&#39;t that the truth...&quot; Xerxes speech pattern remains the same, but as for pitch and tone, they couldn&#39;t be anything alike. &quot;Now then, where too? I was set to track the lot of you down and get you all here in one piece, ain&#39;t know nothing about this Yu character.&quot;<br /> [19:31] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "I think that makes five of us."
[19:32] <Froot> "We start where Yu did. She was looking for miliary hardware from Battle of L4, so we start looking for that shit, pick up her trail from there."
[19:32] <Surra> "Where are the rest of you staying for now?"
[19:33] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Fuck if I know. Didn&#39;t plan that far ahead.&quot;<br /> [19:34] * Nate_Loomis shrugs. &quot;I&#39;m for sure not staying in this piece of shit.&quot;&nbsp; He motions at his general form, indicating the possibly, possibly-not STD-infected morph.<br /> [19:35] &lt;Froot&gt; &quot;You should have picked a better one.&quot; Froot smugly flicks a tentacles in Nate&#39;s direction.<br /> [19:35] * Surra sighs very, very hard. &quot;I suppose my apartment it is, then.&quot;<br /> [19:35] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Yeah, wasn&#39;t me who picked it.&quot;<br /> [19:36] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "If you're offering, sure. If you don't want guests, ain't no bother renting somewhere."
[19:37] <Nate_Loomis> "You're like, the big shot house artist, right?"
[19:37] <ST> Xerxes gets up, pistons whining faintly from inside their metal shell, "Might want to establish a base of operations then, I've rented a small flat for that. Might get enough cots together if we need to sleep, or if you've got anything fancier in mind…"
[19:37] <ST> "Ah well, that settles it then."
[19:39] <Surra> "As long as you don't mind compact living and keep your feet off the furniture."
[19:39] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;I was an infugee. Long as I&#39;ve got a physical body, that&#39;s a helluva lot more comfy than I&#39;ve been in years.&quot;<br /> [19:40] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Sweet.&quot;<br /> [19:40] * Surra is fairly certain she&#39;s going to regret this.<br /> [19:41] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;I&#39;ll try not to leave stains...&quot;<br /> [19:41] * @Tony_Sanchez isn&#39;t going to save her from her own damn stupid decisions.<br /> [19:41] &lt;Froot&gt; &quot;As long as you&#39;ve got a container I can put water in that&#39;s bigger than a skull, then I&#39;m good.&quot; Froot doesn&#39;t mind tight spaces in a pinch.<br /> [19:42] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Betcha she&#39;s got an entire wall that&#39;s just an aquarium.&quot;<br /> [19:42] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;I don&#39;t use the bathtub all that much, so that won&#39;t be a problem.&quot;<br /> [19:42] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;You don&#39;t get to sleep in my water features, though.&quot;<br /> [19:43] &lt;Froot&gt; &quot;The bathtub&#39;s fine.&quot; He rolls an eye towards Surra. &quot;Your water feature have anything else living in them?&quot;<br /> [19:46] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;No, but the water volumes are calculated to just barely reach the edges of the troughs with the force of the fountains. There&#39;s no room for even another pebble in there.&quot;<br /> [19:47] &lt;Froot&gt; &quot;And here I thought you might have a snack swimming around in there for me.&quot;<br /> [19:49] &lt;ST&gt; You start moving towards Surra&#39;s quarters, catching a few looks from the other occupants on the habitat. You&#39;re by no means unique, but the composition of your group does make for an interesting sight.<br /> [19:55] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;So... finding possibly highly illegal weapons from the L4 conflict... any ideas how to?&quot;<br /> [19:56] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Never done this kinda thing before. You need some hardware fiddled with, I'm your man, but I don't got a clue about this super-spy stuff."
[19:57] * Surra 's apartment is one of many in a long, slightly curving but otherwise nondescript corridor. The door opens at their approach, revealing a small open-plan living room/kitchen, all sleek white and smooth curves with incredibly loud prints in black, red and gold on the cushions, curtains and throws. On the far side there is, indeed a full-wall water feature,
[19:57] <Surra> a series of sheet waterfalls accentuating the doorframe. Surra has somehow squeezed in a couch, a futon and three stools for the breakfast bar, plus a coffee table conspicuously laid with fancy candles and large hardback books.
[19:58] <Froot> "Well first you start by not looking for weapons. You look for 'rare earth salvage', or shit like that. Then we narrow it down some. Any of you know anything about L4? Who was fighting in it, where it happened, shit like that?" Froot immediatly claims one of the stools, positioning himself on top of it.
[19:58] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Not the slightest hint of a clue.&quot;<br /> [19:59] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Honestly, I&#39;m probably even less qualified than you, Tony. Also, no smoking, no unannounced guests, and if you move something put it back afterwards. This is a portfolio piece.&quot;<br /> [20:00] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "No fear on any of those."
[20:01] * Nate_Loomis is too busy whistling at how the entire place seems to exist only to scream "exuberant" at anyone who dare enter.
[20:02] <Froot> Froot looks around. "Huh… You do any underwater work?"
[20:05] <ST> "Alright then… we all do this rare earth salvage hunting, or do we split the work? I'm not exactly savvy in the antiquity market…"#
[20:05] <Surra> "Well, if anything came out of L4 it would almost certainly have gone through Remembrance, so she must have at least asked around there. I might know a couple of antiques dealers who might have heard something, actually."
[20:06] <Nate_Loomis> "You think illegal old-age weapons would've gone to the black market."  He picks up one of the decorative rocks and throws it in the air.
[20:07] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;You got any black market contacts, you&#39;re welcome to ask &#39;em.&quot;<br /> [20:07] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;And I&#39;ve done a couple of pieces on Europa, though bathy work&#39;s not my specialty - &quot; Surra cuts herself off with a strangled metal noise and a &#39;fluffing&#39; of her feathers.<br /> [20:08] * Nate_Loomis chews on his cheek.<br /> [20:08] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;I&#39;ve got contacts.&quot;<br /> [20:09] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Go hog wild, then."
[20:09] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;As for me, guess I&#39;m cruising the mesh to see if anyone&#39;s put a bit too much faith in their security software.&quot;<br /> [20:13] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Is anyone?&quot;<br /> [20:14] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Excuse me?"
[20:15] <Nate_Loomis> "Putting a bit too much faith in their sec software."
[20:15] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;How would I know? I haven&#39;t had a chance to look yet.&quot;<br /> [20:15] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Oh.&quot;<br /> [20:18] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Any more chatting, or we gonna get on with our stuff?"
[20:19] <Nate_Loomis> "What? The contacting contacts stuff? I got my muse to do all that shit."
[20:19] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Fair enough.&quot;<br /> [20:20] * @Tony_Sanchez takes a seat on one of the stools, pulls out an ecto and starts poking around for leads.<br /> [20:22] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;I&#39;ve asked the couple of collectors I know on-station if they&#39;ve come across anything interesting lately. I did try to be subtle though, so we might end up with some old shuttle seats or a pre-war armoire.&quot;<br /> [20:23] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Any of you know a fella called Mason Wang? Or Morteza Bey?"
[20:28] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Guess not.&quot;<br /> [20:28] * @Tony_Sanchez goes back to the ecto.<br /> [20:32] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Mason Wang, the Martian software dev? I heard he disappeared for a month or so on account of major code issues. Now that I think about it, it was around the time Yu was supposed to have lost contact.&quot;<br /> [20:33] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;There&#39;s word that like... the Thai bosses or whatever, the leaders in Exile. Anyway, they got their hands on some TITAN-era shit buuuuuut....&quot; He pauses to review the data his muse is forwarding. His face is scrunched up in deep thoughts. &quot;Shit happened, people died- what? I&#39;m not reading through all of this, Aster. Just give me the name of the ship they loaded it on.&quot;&nbsp; And, in a second: &quot;Vishnukam.&quot;<br /> [20:34] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Thanks, Nate."
[20:34] * Tony_Sanchez turns back to Surra. &quot;That might be related. Looks like the two of &#39;em were chatting over the Mesh fairly regularly before Yu went quiet, and those&#39;re the only conversations she was in that she disabled logging for.&quot;<br /> [20:35] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Interesting. And it seems like somebody&#39;s been trying to pawn some alleged L4 battle junk, a minor gang with Triad links calling itself the &#39;White Khans&#39;. Any clue?&quot;<br /> [20:37] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;White Khahns? They&#39;re small-fry.&quot;<br /> [20:41] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;They started out Hanoi triad and are mostly involved in scum barges and refugee ships from Vietnamese, Laotian and Cambodian orbital colonization efforts... like I said, smally-fry. They were mostly just muscles and runners for the bigger fish.&quot;<br /> [20:41] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Well, are I suppose, ain&#39;t heard of&#39;em in a while though.&quot;<br /> [20:45] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;I don&#39;t mix with that gang shot,&quot;&nbsp; he says before anyone would make the assumption.<br /> [20:45] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Nobody said you did."
[20:45] <ST> "…Do you?"
[20:45] <Nate_Loomis> "I just said I don't. You stupid?"
[20:46] <ST> "I'm used to people lying to me."
[20:46] <Nate_Loomis> "I've never done anything criminal in my entire life. Just got some, y'know, friends."
[20:46] <ST> "Lying."
[20:47] <Nate_Loomis> "Never lied either."
[20:47] <ST> "Heh."
[20:48] <ST> "So what now? We go after this Wang fella?"
[20:49] <Surra> "He's the only person we know of with a concrete relation to Yu, so I'd say yes."
[20:49] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Unless you feel like tangling with gangs on the offchance that it leads somewhere.&quot;<br /> [20:58] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;So does he live here on Locus?&quot;<br /> [21:00] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Not on the station itself. His private hab is about three days&#39; flight from here, but we could always contact him over the mesh if we&#39;d rather not travel.&quot;<br /> [21:07] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Casting not an option?&quot;<br /> [21:08] * ST is now known as otten<br /> [21:08] * Nate_Loomis is now known as oten<br /> [21:08] * Surra is now known as ooten<br /> [21:08] * otten is now known as ST<br /> [21:09] * oten is now known as Nate_loomis<br /> [21:09] * ooten is now known as Surra<br /> [21:09] * Nate_loomis is now known as Nate_Loomis<br /> [21:13] &lt;Froot&gt; &quot;There&#39;s no point in showing up in the flesh unless we&#39;re sure it&#39;s worth spending three days hunting down a possible dead-end.&quot;<br /> [21:13] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Very doubtful a private hab would have nay spare sleeves lying around, unless you want to go as an infomorph.&quot;<br /> [21:14] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Six. Round trip."
[21:15] <Froot> "Then before we go, we should see if there's anything on the way there or back that we can do and save ourselves another round. Six days on an already cold-trail is a long time."
[21:16] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Sure it doesn&#39;t make more sense to just talk over the mesh?&quot;<br /> [21:18] &lt;Froot&gt; &quot;It&#39;s worth making sure there&#39;s anybody there, or checking to see the last time something with a pulse was there, if Wang&#39;s disapeared just like Yu did.&quot;<br /> [21:24] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Well we could always ping the place, request a visit. Might find out if he&#39;s alive, just by checking.&quot;<br /> [21:25] &lt;Froot&gt; &quot;That&#39;s a start.&quot; And Froot makes a soft noise, offering up, &quot;Usually once I know someone&#39;s home, the research part of my jobs is over.&quot;<br /> [21:26] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;So who&#39;s volunteering? Guy&#39;s an artist and a scientist, so I&#39;m thinkin&#39; he might be less inclined to hold a conversation with an ol&#39; clanker like me.&quot;<br /> [21:26] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;-Rep, right?"
[21:27] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;I got thirty, dunno if anyone&#39;s got that beat.&quot;<br /> [21:28] * Froot holds up a tentacle in a zero-shape.<br /> [21:29] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;I tend to work beyond the inner worlds these days. All they ever want is replicas and &#39;like the neighbours, but better&#39;.&quot;<br /> [21:32] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Guess it&#39;s Tony making the call then.&quot;<br /> [21:32] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Sure, why not."
[21:33] * Tony_Sanchez is now known as Fats
[21:33] * ST (ST@sorcery-drt1gv.bredband.comhem.se) Quit (Quit: You're all banned!)
[21:34] * Surra (Mibbit@sorcery-vg4bbn.dsl.as9105.com) Quit (Quit: http://www.mibbit.com ajax IRC Client)
[21:34] * Nate_Loomis (otten@sorcery-2ogcmr.dynamic.amis.net) Quit (Quit: IM GONE)
[21:34] * Froot (conceptofze@sorcery-ba2.m9b.106.162.IP) Quit (Quit: Leaving)
[21:34] * Disconnected
Session Close: Thu Oct 13 21:34:53 2016

[19:22] <ST> After a somewhat awkward pause, "Guess… it's Tony making the call then."
[19:22] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Looks like it.&quot;<br /> [19:23] * @Tony_Sanchez taps out the command on his ecto and waits for a response.<br /> [19:24] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Anyone answer yet?&quot;<br /> [19:24] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Yeah. Gimme a minute."
[19:27] * Nate_Loomis resumes prodding the various decorations around the apartment in boredom.
[19:28] * Surra tries very, very hard not to lean over and adjust everything Nate pokes back to its proper position. She is intensely grateful that opteryx morphs don't have facial expressions.
[19:29] <Nate_Loomis> "How much'd you pay for this place?"
[19:29] * Froot watches the unintentional comedy put on by Nate and Surra, amused by the whole show.
[19:31] <Surra> "The rent is quite reasonable." Surra's tone is distinctly clipped. "And as a portfolio piece, the furnishings pay for themselves."
[19:32] <Nate_Loomis> "So like… 5000 creds? 10,000?"
[19:35] <ST> Xerxes does not move when they are sitting down, the only sign of any activity the soft purple light of their visual sensors.
[19:36] * Surra flicks Nate's muse a copy of her portfolio and price guide. In it, he will learn that something to this effect would set him back between 18 and 22,000 credits, or equivalent in rep.
[19:38] <Nate_Loomis> "Good money."  Surra doesn't seem particularily interested in maintaining the conversation, so he drops it.
[19:40] <Froot> "You do any real underwater work, or is the features as far as you push it?"
[19:44] <Surra> "A couple of projects for a Europan client, but that's as far as I've gone. I do quite enjoy designing for three dimensions, but perhaps commission discussions can wait until after we've found this Yu character?"
[19:47] * Froot shrugs six of his limbs. "If you want to sit in silence, that's fine with me."
[19:51] <Nate_Loomis> "You could talk to me."
[19:51] <ST> "Surprisingly, not a lie."
[19:51] <Nate_Loomis> "Are you trying to call me a liar?"
[19:51] * Surra shakes her head. "Apologies, I didn't mean to come off as rude. I'm just still a little overwhelmed by all of this."
[19:52] <Surra> "Haven't they been calling you a liar all afternoon?"
[19:52] <Nate_Loomis> "No….?"  He does sound a little insecure.
[19:53] <ST> "Sure I haven't." There's a mechanical chuckle
[19:53] <Froot> "Nah. I've been calling you an idiot, but not a liar." Froot clarifies. It's very important.
[19:54] <Froot> To Surra, Froot flips a tentacle conversationally. "You're fine. I'm guessing most of you don't usually do these kinds of job." And he looks at Nate, adding, "Or any kind of job."
[19:55] <ST> There's an intake of air and another chuckle from Xerxes
[19:56] * Tony_Sanchez looks up from his ecto. &quot;Y&#39;all okay getting back on topic for a minute?&quot;<br /> [19:56] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Have you got something?&quot;<br /> [19:57] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Yeah. Wang says Yu got him to design some cryptography AIs for her, and last he heard she was on Casa Arturo hab. Any of you know anything about that one?"
[19:59] <ST> "A cluster hab in the Polma Negra neighborhood of the Jovian Greeks… got a population of about 1200.
[19:59] <ST> "
[19:59] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Thanks.&quot;<br /> [19:59] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Hope you can speak Spanish... or Mandarin.&quot;<br /> [20:00] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;We want to pursue that now, or gather more intel?&quot;<br /> [20:00] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; Ignoring Froot&#39;s jab, he focuses onto the topic. &quot;Took you forever.&quot;<br /> [20:01] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "I'm not bad at Mandarin, and unless the hab's right near us we probably oughta exhaust our leads here first. That'd be Bey and the Khanhs, have I missed any others?"
[20:01] * Tony_Sanchez turns to Nate. &quot;He wasn&#39;t exactly co-operative, and I&#39;m not a pro interrogator.&quot;<br /> [20:01] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Nope, those are the ones we&#39;ve got.&quot;<br /> [20:02] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "I'd rather save messing with gangs for last, unless anybody objects."
[20:02] <Surra> "No objection at all on that front."
[20:02] * Tony_Sanchez checks his ecto again.<br /> [20:06] &lt;Froot&gt; &quot;Dealing with the gang&#39;s going to be loud and messy. We want to see what other leads we can pick up before we put up with them.&quot;<br /> [20:07] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Exactly."
[20:08] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Bey&#39;s big thing seems to be blogging about broccoli. Might be up your alley, Surra?&quot;<br /> [20:09] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Ooh, an agri-blogger I haven&#39;t heard of?&quot;<br /> [20:09] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "If you haven't heard of 'em, yes."
[20:15] <Surra> "He's working out of Xiu's Greenhouse, a hydroponics place not far from Locus. They helped me with a rush order of Machaerina for a tropical swamp eco-park I worked on a couple of years ago. Word is Bey's something of a hacker, too, but that's from the deepest dregs of the rumour mill so take it with a lot of salt."
[20:16] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Given he was involved with Yu, there might be something to that.&quot;<br /> [20:17] * Surra takes a deep breath - or, more accurately, mimics the action of a deep breath. &quot;I suppose that means getting in touch with Madrina duGall for more details, then. Wish me luck.&quot;<br /> [20:18] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Good luck."
[20:20] <Nate_Loomis> "Madrina duGall? Who's that?"
[20:23] <Surra> The fluffing of metallic feathers and extreme tension in Surra's neck may be indicative of the sort of person Madrina duGall is.
[20:24] * Nate_Loomis raises his hands in a surrender.
[20:26] <Nate_Loomis> And, when Surra isn't looking so ruffled anymore, he leans slightly towards the others to repeat the question in a whisper.
[20:26] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Don&#39;t know.&quot;<br /> [20:28] * Froot shrugs. &quot;Never heard of them.&quot;<br /> [20:30] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Neither has the mesh, apparently.&quot;<br /> [20:34] * Surra only just begins to visibly calm down. &quot;Right.&quot; Another simulated deep breath. &quot;Right then. Right. Well, apparently Bey broke the heart - and account - of one Antoin Saul, who&#39;s somewhere on Locus drinking to forget. Also apparently, he was the target of a major crackdown recently, and there&#39;s footage to be had on the mesh.&quot;<br /> [20:35] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Crackdown on what?"
[20:35] <Surra> "Who knows? His hacking, or maybe they were growing something untoward on Xiu's."
[20:37] <Nate_Loomis> "Right, I'm not following all these people anymore. We gotta talk to this Saul now?"
[20:37] <Surra> "There's also the footage from the crackdown, though I'm not seeing it in any of my usual hunting grounds. But then this isn't the type of thing I really know how to look for."
[20:38] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;I<br /> [20:38] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> 'll see if I have better luck."
[20:42] <Nate_Loomis> "Wait, I got something."
[20:43] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;More than I do.&quot;<br /> [20:44] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Gonna cost me a favour somewhere down the line, but.&quot;&nbsp; He shrugs.<br /> [20:45] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Anyone got some popcorn handy?&quot;<br /> [20:48] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Ain't my house."
[20:49] <Surra> The kitchen cupboards and the refrigerator swing open, showing them all to be entirely empty.
[20:50] * Froot slaps a tentacle on the counter, clearly amused.
[20:50] * Nate_Loomis gives Surra a confused look. "Do you just not eat?"
[20:51] <Froot> "It's not a real apartment, idiot. It's a showpiece."
[20:52] <Surra> "I take a small amount of glucose once a week to top up my brain, but other than that, I find eating to be a bit of a waste of time and resources."
[20:52] <Nate_Loomis> "Very practical."
[20:52] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Oh, you got a biobrain inside that shell?&quot;<br /> [20:53] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;I&#39;d use a cyberbrain if they weren&#39;t easier to hack. I prefer the added security over the increased practicality in this case.&quot;<br /> [20:54] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Fair enough."
[20:55] * Nate_Loomis goes still and silent, eyes unfocused – or at elast not focused on anything in the room.
[20:56] <Nate_Loomis> "Where's your sink?"  he manages to say through a fit of coughing.
[20:57] * Surra points to the open kitchen behind Froot.
[20:57] <Surra> "Bathroom's through the door at the end, if you need it. It does actually work."
[20:58] <Nate_Loomis> Within moments, Nate leans over the sink and lets go of the Thai food he'd had before the Firewall meeting.
[20:59] * Surra winces bodily. "Shall I assume the rest of us are fine with a verbal recap?"
[21:01] * Nate_Loomis nods and coughs. He waves a hand at Surra. "Don't- don't assume you've got any water?"
[21:02] * Surra points to the faucet, and to the fancy black-and-gold mugs hanging just above it.
[21:02] <Froot> "That's disgusting." Human biological functions are the worst. "Verbal recap is perfect."
[21:04] <Nate_Loomis> After rinsing his mouth straight from the tap, Nate straightens up and turns to face the rest of the group. "Ehrm. Minor setback." To Surra: "You said it was like, a crackdown! Not a fucking snuff movie!"
[21:06] <Froot> "I changed my mind, I need to see this now."
[21:07] * Nate_Loomis stares Froot down for a few moments, then shrugs. "Go ahead, Aster,"  he mumbles.
[21:08] <Surra> "Dammit, Madrina… Why does this have to be the one time something she tells me is actually worse in reality than in her crazy gossipmongering?" She looks at Nate. "I'm sorry. I had no idea it would be… whatever it is."
[21:09] <Froot> Froot's eyes are already naturally glassy. There's not much difference between him when he's present or when he's gone.
[21:11] <Nate_Loomis> "Freakin' Tentacles is crazy, man,"  Nate mutters to himself.
[21:13] * Froot tunes back in and shrugs. "Messy, disorganized and loud. A little too theatrical for my tastes."
[21:13] <Nate_Loomis> "And you don't have shit to say about those- whatever the fuck those things are? That shit is straight outta some horror XP."
[21:14] <Surra> "Things?"
[21:15] <Froot> "Modified humans of some kind. Or humanoid anyway."
[21:16] <Nate_Loomis> "They're like-"  He waves his hands around aimlessly. "-and like fused together and shit, and, with claws and all icky skin-"
[21:16] <Surra> "So… what happened?"
[21:17] <Froot> "They're humans. Four limbs, torso, head, teeth, the usual shit. Just bigger and better at killing. A lot better at killing. They tore 'em apart, made a big mess out of it, stuck a head on a pipe and everything. Real loud work."
[21:17] <Nate_Loomis> "Everyone got massacred, what do you think happened!?"
[21:18] * Surra glances at Tony and Xerxes.
[21:18] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Did ya know there were death squads kicking around these parts?&quot;<br /> [21:19] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes produces a sound that can only be identified as a very tired, very annoyed sigh. &quot;Exsurgents?&quot;<br /> [21:19] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Send me the clip, I want to see it.&quot;<br /> [21:19] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Ex-what?&quot;<br /> [21:20] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Exsurgents. The shit the TITANs created to fuck us over."
[21:20] <Surra> "Oh, hell."
[21:21] <ST> "sleeves bio-modified through a variety of means to turn them into replicating assholes specifically designed for messing us up from within."
[21:21] <ST> "Haven't seen anything about this on the mesh-news, nothing even mentions the commune… Guess they kept a tight lid on this."
[21:22] <Nate_Loomis> "Wait like, those things used to be human?"
[21:24] * Froot just gives Nate a look. "No shit. You could even see the stages in there. There were the ones closer to your ugly mugs, and the ones looking a little less awful."
[21:24] <ST> "Hell if I know. They could've been chimps sleeved into humanoids… sleeves were probably bouncers though. East-Asian origin on the sleeves of the less progressed ones."
[21:24] <Nate_Loomis> He pats his cheek and grins. "I've got a prettier morph back home."
[21:25] <Froot> "It still covered in hair? What am I asking? Of course it is. You all need to be covered with hair."
[21:25] <Surra> "So what in the world were they doing… killing everyone on the Greenhouse?"
[21:26] <Froot> "Big ugly scene like that? Sending a message to somebody. That wasn't an assassination. That was theater. They want that to be seen by somebody, as a warning, or as punishment."
[21:26] <Nate_Loomis> "Hey, there's ones that aren't. This guy I used to know had a sylph one – just like, totally hairless and clean and all. No sweating, no metabolism, nothing."
[21:28] <ST> "Might as well go full synth then."
[21:28] <Nate_Loomis> "Also had pointed ears."
[21:29] <ST> "Pft. Ears. Who needs'em?"
[21:29] <Surra> "Full synth has always worked for me."
[21:31] <Froot> "Hold up-" Froot lifts a tentacle. "Got an answer for you. That head in the last frame? That's Bey."
[21:31] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Eh, whatever floats your boats.&quot;<br /> [21:31] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Oh. Fantastic. Any sign if his stack survived?"
[21:32] <Surra> "If it's TITANs, I would rather for his sake it hadn't."
[21:32] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Fair point.&quot;<br /> [21:32] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Could&#39;ve been he&#39;s got a backup.&quot;<br /> [21:32] &lt;Froot&gt; &quot;Says &#39;unlikely&#39;. Ain&#39;t much left after that pipe went through.&quot;<br /> [21:32] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Might&#39;ve farcasted or uploaded before they got to him.&quot;<br /> [21:33] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "So fuck knows if he's any good as a lead."
[21:38] <Froot> "I'll check and see if anything, or anybody, got transmitted out of there."
[21:39] <Nate_Loomis> "And if he's gone- what's our enxt step? We go down on investigating the commune? Because I didn't sign up for that."
[21:40] <Froot> "No, next we head on to a nearby sleeving factory. Data spike went out, headed straight for there. Says it's privately run but I'm sure we can find a way in."
[21:42] * ST (ST@sorcery-drt1gv.bredband.comhem.se) Quit (Quit: I am aware of all things. I am the Time Lord.)

[19:10] <ST> Xerxes gets up and stretches (a pointless habit considering their robotic body), "So we know this guy, or someone else, forked themselves over to a sleeving factory then?"
[19:15] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Guess so.&quot;<br /> [19:16] &lt;ST&gt; With no better idea on how to pursue this lead, you leave then for the facility in question, leaving Froot behind to keep searching for more leads. It&#39;s not too far away, but then, few things are on Locus. Quick public transport and clever infrastructure giving a helping hand, you soon find yourself in front of a rather dingy looking storefront named &quot;The Second Chance&quot; in the more run-down<br /> [19:16] &lt;ST&gt; parts of the asteroid.<br /> [19:17] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;I&#39;ll stay out here for now, keep a look-out. In case there&#39;s trouble, I&#39;ll know.&quot;<br /> [19:17] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Good to hear."
[19:20] * Nate_Loomis walks into the place like he owns it. "Hello? Anyone here?"
[19:20] * Surra perches on the nearest light fixture and has a look around.
[19:22] <ST> "Can I help you?" A bonono with a tired-looking expression swings down from the rafters, a pair of wire-frame glasses framing his face and dressed in a wrinkled shirt, suspenders and dress-pants.
[19:23] * Nate_Loomis lifts his head and takes a step back. He scowls. "Yeah, you work here?"
[19:25] <Surra> "(Of course he works here, Nate, what else do you think he'd be doing here? Have some manners.)"
[19:25] <ST> The bonobo scowls back. "Yeah, I do. What do you need?" There's a name-tag pinned to its chest reading: 'Mark'
[19:26] * Surra clears her metallic throat. "We're looking for a gentleman named Morteza Bey, and we heard he resleeved here recently?"
[19:28] <ST> "7Lots of people do. I hope I don't sound pissy when I remind you of the fourth paragraph of the Personal Integrity clause? We aren't legally allowed to share information about our costumers unless you've got a warrant."
[19:30] <ST> The bonobo, sorry, Mark does, in fact, sound a bit pissy.
[19:30] <Nate_Loomis> "You do sound pissy."
[19:31] <ST> Mark pinces the bridge of his nose, "
[19:32] <ST> "Look, sir, I've had a long day and I'm about to close shop. Unless you've got a warrant, or some equally good reason for why I should divulge any such information to you, I'm going to have to wish you a good day."
[19:34] <Nate_Loomis> "Uh, look. We're undercover agents investigating a murder. I'm breaching all sorts of protocols here – " he looks at the name tag, "- Mark., just for you, just by telling you this. Please, be a good samaritan and give me and my team acces to your records? We'd really appreciate it."
[19:35] <ST> Mark gives Nate a look.
[19:37] <ST> "Right."
[19:38] <Nate_Loomis> "Obviously, you don't have to. But I'd really want to nail Bey for that murder. And it'd even stop his chain of robbing sleeving places. Guy's had like, what, fifty, sixty sleeves so far?" He looks at Surra and Tony with a raised eyebrow, urging them to act along.
[19:38] <ST> Mark looks at Surra and Tony.
[19:39] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Last I heard. Mighta been more since.&quot;<br /> [19:39] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Yeah, I&#39;m not the numbers guy.&quot;<br /> [19:42] &lt;ST&gt; The slightest hint of doubt appears on Mark&#39;s face... or maybe he&#39;s just crinkling up in frustration.<br /> [19:43] * Surra shrugs and shakes her head. &quot;Fifty-seven. I actually read the briefing papers.&quot;<br /> [19:44] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;How did you even hold them with wings?&quot;<br /> [19:44] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Do you... have any credentials?&quot;<br /> [19:45] * Surra shuffles the visibly clawed hands on the wrists of her wings.<br /> [19:46] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;We&#39;re undercover, silly.&quot; It is Nate&#39;s turn to give the monkey a look. &quot;You think we&#39;d get anything done here if we just went around flashing sec credentials to anyone who was willing to look?&quot;<br /> [19:47] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Uhh...And you&#39;re sure it&#39;s this guy?&quot;<br /> [19:48] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Of course we&#39;re sure. What, you think we made up a name for kicks?&quot;<br /> [19:50] &lt;ST&gt; Mike still doesn&#39;t look entirely convinced.<br /> [19:50] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;And what did you say his name was?&quot;<br /> [19:50] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Morteza Bey."
[19:52] <ST> Mark sighs and produces a small, handwritten note, "This is the handle we were told to reach him by for payment; you didn't get this from me, alright? I don't want anything to do with this."
[19:52] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Of course. Thanks a lot.&quot;<br /> [19:52] * Nate_Loomis winks at the monkey.<br /> [19:53] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;And we were never here.&quot;<br /> [19:53] * @Tony_Sanchez takes the note.<br /> [19:53] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Of course. Thank you very much, we won&#39;t bother you again. And,&quot; she gestures to Nate, &quot;sorry about him.&quot;<br /> [19:53] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Yeah, sure, whatever.&quot;<br /> [19:56] &lt;ST&gt; He follows you to the door, closing it and locking behind you.<br /> [20:01] * ST (STsorcery-drt1gv.bredband.comhem.se) Quit (Quit: VLOKFLIOJT)

[19:26] <ST> With that out of the way, the group can return to Surra's spacious compartment, inform Froot of their finds, and potentially pursue this lead as well!
[19:27] * Coz is now known as Froot
[19:27] <ST> "Everything went okay in there?"
[19:28] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;More or less.&quot;<br /> [19:28] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Well, we may have just strongarmed an innocent person into revealing confidential data, but otherwise, yes.&quot;<br /> [19:29] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Whaddaya mean may? That's exactly what we did."
[19:29] <Nate_Loomis> "Strongarmed? He was perfectly
[19:30] <Froot> "Unless you killed him after you go the info, then everything went real smooth."
[19:30] <Nate_Loomis> "Strongarmed? He was perfectly pleased to be of service to the law."
[19:30] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;No, he&#39;s alive and well, and he doesn&#39;t want to be reminded of what happened so we&#39;re probably safe on that count.&quot;<br /> [19:30] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;We&#39;re on Locus, Nate. There is no formal law here.&quot;<br /> [19:31] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Right... good thing we&#39;re on Locus then. What&#39;d you get? Found the location of Bey?&quot;<br /> [19:32] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Got a mesh handle. I'll do what I can with it."
[19:33] <Nate_Loomis> "Anyway, where's your bathroom?" Nate turns to Surra.
[19:33] <ST> "Think he's going to talk? Just saying the guy might've been less than open about resleeving for a reason."
[19:34] <Surra> "Door at the end of the kitchen. And yes, I keep the necessities there for client convenience."
[19:35] <Nate_Loomis> Nate winks at her before disappearing through the door she showed him.
[19:36] * Tony_Sanchez gets out his ecto and starts poking away at it.<br /> [19:37] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes observes Tony fiddling around with the device, but says nothing.<br /> [19:42] &lt;Froot&gt; &quot;If he&#39;s a mammal, he&#39;ll talk. Mammals always talk.&quot; Froot flicks a tentacle back and forth dismissively.<br /> [19:48] * @Tony_Sanchez looks up from the ecto. &quot;...Sweet fuck all. Only thing I managed to turn up&#39;s that he&#39;s acquainted with a Reclaimer called Antonin Saul, who&#39;s probably in Earth orbit at the moment so I can&#39;t exactly call him up for a chat.&quot;<br /> [19:49] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes gives Froot&#39;s comment a small chuckle, but then nods at Tony. &quot;I haven&#39;t got anything about this guy either, so I&#39;m thinking he&#39;s a small fry. Meaning he&#39;ll be more scared of us than we of him.&quot;<br /> [19:49] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Antonin Saul? I heard he was around here, drinking to forget. I got the impression he and Bey had a relationship that turned sour.&quot;<br /> [19:49] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Oh, he's on Locus? Might hit him up, then."
[19:49] * Tony_Sanchez returns to the ecto.<br /> [19:54] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Do you know how long ago they split up, Surra?&quot;<br /> [19:56] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;I&#39;m afraid not. And I would really, really rather not call my... contact again. She might get the idea that I actually like her company.&quot;<br /> [19:57] * Froot seems amused, waggling the tips of his tentacles. &quot;You always pay for information, one way or another.&quot;<br /> [20:01] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Got anything?&quot;<br /> [20:02] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "His muse took a message. Didn't sound best pleased that I'm asking about Bey, but oh well."
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[20:04] <ST> "Damn. Well, we've got the guy's handle, we could send feelers out to see if he's willing to talk."
[20:05] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;If you feel like it, go ahead.&quot;<br /> [20:05] &lt;Froot&gt; &quot;Might as well. Depending on how sore he is over the breakup, we might get something good out of him.&quot;<br /> [20:05] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;We&#39;ve got the lead in the Jovian Greeks too if this turns up nothing.&quot;<br /> [20:06] * Idran (Idransorcery-0no3op.epic.com) has joined #heresy
[20:18] <ST> "Or the White Khans."
[20:18] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Unless I&#39;m missing anything, the Khanhs are our only lead left on Locus.&quot;<br /> [20:18] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Guess we're gonna have to tangle with them."
[20:21] <Froot> "I'll do some digging, figure out a way to approach them."
[20:22] * Surra nods. "You're probably the best person for the task."
[20:23] * Froot flicks one of his arms (or legs, depending on your perspective). "Usually. One of you can keep an eye on Saul."
[20:24] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;I got in touch with his muse already, I&#39;ll do that.&quot;<br /> [20:25] * Surra looks over to the bathroom door, and hops up onto the counter beside it. &quot;Nate, are you all right in there? You&#39;ve been rather a while.&quot;<br /> [20:27] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Yeah, I&#39;m coming!&quot;&nbsp; After a brief moment of pause, he actually does come out of Surra&#39;s bathroom. &quot;Thanks! Great bathroom.&quot;<br /> [20:28] * Surra looks at him sidelong, but will take the compliment. &quot;Thank you.&quot;<br /> [20:28] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes gives Nate a long, hard look too, but says nothing.<br /> [20:30] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;So, kids! What&#39;s the plan?&quot;<br /> [20:31] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Froot is approaching the White Khanhs, and Tony is making contact with Bey&#39;s ex.&quot;<br /> [20:31] * Nate_Loomis winks at Xerxes.<br /> [20:32] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;You and me?&quot;<br /> [20:35] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;We wait.&quot;<br /> [20:36] * Idran (Idransorcery-0no3op.epic.com) Quit (Quit: SorceryNet Kiwi WebChat)
[20:40] <Froot> "Might have something. White Khans build themselves up a solid territory that they're suddenly letting slip. They've cut off their outside contacts and aren't striking back at rivals on their territory." Froot drums his tentacles on the side of the stool. "They've been erratic, violent and messy, moreso than ever before."
[20:42] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Some sort of internal trouble?&quot;<br /> [20:44] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;That&#39;s strange behavior for a small Triad gang.&quot;<br /> [20:46] * Idran (Idransorcery-0no3op.epic.com) has joined #heresy
[20:47] <Surra> "And what else have we come across lately that's been erratic, violent and messy?"
[20:47] <Froot> "Doesn't feel like a power struggle. Feels more like… Hmm. What I'm digging up says they're smart, the kind who make their living intimidating and making agreements. They act as informants to head off riots, they've got a protection pact in place. That doesn't fit 'exceedingly brutal and messy' hits."
[20:47] * Froot points a tentacle at Surra. "Exactly what I was thinking."
[20:48] * Nate_Loomis looks between the two animals. "What?"
[20:48] <ST> "You think they might have something to do with what Yu was looking for?"
[20:48] <Surra> "Have you really suppressed the memory of that 'snuff film' so quickly?"
[20:50] <Nate_Loomis> "Oh, that thing!" He shrugs. "Wasn't that bad, now that I think on it."
[20:51] <Surra> "Then was it really necessary to vomit in my sink?"
[20:51] * Nate_Loomis lets out a short chuckle.
[20:52] <ST> "Starting to think we might not find Yu alive…"
[20:53] <Froot> "Probably not. But we'll her research back if it's still there."
[20:53] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;I started thinking that when Froot narrated the snuff film, I&#39;ll be honest.&quot;<br /> [20:54] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;We might still find her, or at least her stack. We&#39;re not even a day into this... investigation, I&#39;d say it&#39;s far too early to give up hope yet.&quot;<br /> [20:56] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes nods at Surra, &quot;Of course, it doesn&#39;t change anything, but if these White Khanhs have been... exposed to something, we need to be ready for it. I know you can handle yourself in a fight,&quot; they nod to Froot, &quot;As for the rest of you, now would be a good time to do a backup... Did you find out if there&#39;s any Khanhs still around or have they all gone underground?&quot;<br /> [20:57] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Has Firewall got a backup facility around here we can use?"
[20:57] <Froot> "I'll need to pull in a favor for that." He holds up a tentacle and hunches down as he gets to finding that out.
[20:57] <ST> "They don't, I'm afraid. But you could always try the place we were at just now…"
[20:58] <Surra> "We did promise him we wouldn't bother him again."
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[21:00] <Nate_Loomis> "The monkey? He loves us."
[21:01] <ST> "Surra, you know any place that can help us out?"
[21:05] <Surra> "No, I can assure you he does not. But there are plenty of backup services on Locus – I use Warren and Hargreave, they've never failed me yet. It might be easier for us if we all make our requests separately, rather than going in as a rather… conspicuous group."
[21:07] * Idran (Mutter@sorcery-kskb4n.epic.com) Quit (Connection closed)
[21:08] <Froot> "What do you know, there's a White Khanh on Locus. Sammy Li. No sign they farcasted or bugged off the station. They haven't been seen in logs for months but… looks like someone else showed up in the Barrows right after Li disappeared. Nia Zheng, no log-ins previously."
[21:08] <Froot> "Says she's a minor red market operator."
[21:09] * Nate_Loomis narrows his yes. "You think she knows where Li went?"
[21:09] <Froot> "I think she is Li."
[21:13] <ST> "Sloppy. Could've tried to space it out at least, have their muse leave some prints behind for a while more to throw someone off the tracks.
[21:13] <ST> "
[21:15] <Froot> "It's rushed. I'm guessing if Nia is Li, then they didn't have time to set up shop proper. Or… they might not be worrying about anybody looking for them, if the rest of the Khanhs ended up like those humans in the Greenhouse vid."
[21:18] <ST> "So that's one more string to pull at. I knew you'd be good picks for this mission."
[21:21] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Thanks. So, we gonna check out that Khanh?&quot;<br /> [21:21] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Thanks!&quot;<br /> [21:22] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Well, we&#39;ve still got Bey to talk to. If anyone&#39;s up for that.&quot;<br /> [21:23] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Yeah, but we won't know where he is unless he phones back."
[21:23] <ST> "You… haven't called him?"
[21:24] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;I did. Already said that. He didn&#39;t pick up, so I left a message with his muse.&quot;<br /> [21:24] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> (disregard)
[21:25] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;...wait, fuck, we&#39;ve got Bey&#39;s handle, haven&#39;t we.&quot;<br /> [21:25] * @Tony_Sanchez goes back to the ecto.<br /> [21:25] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Yep.&quot;<br /> [21:25] * Surra facewings. &quot;Still think we&#39;re good picks, Xerxes?&quot;<br /> [21:30] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Oh, here we go. He's picked up."
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[21:35] <Nate_Loomis> "What're you gonna say? Hey, about that one video where your head gets impaled on a pole-" He never finished the sentence, bursting into giggles instead.
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[21:35] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Hey Xerxes, is anyone gonna mind if I let Bey know we&#39;re with Firewall?&quot;<br /> [21:36] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Well, you&#39;d be lying since you&#39;re not, yet.&quot;<br /> [21:36] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;So no, I don&#39;t think so.&quot;<br /> [21:36] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "For Firewall, then."
[21:36] <Surra> "Nate, what on Earth is wrong with you?"
[21:36] <ST> "Depends on what you'll tell him. I might have to kill you if you divulge too much."
[21:36] <Froot> "He's probably high."
[21:36] <Surra> "… What were you doing in my bathroom?"
[21:36] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Fuck it, I&#39;ll take that risk.&quot;<br /> [21:36] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;What?&quot;<br /> [21:37] * @Tony_Sanchez hasn&#39;t looked up from the ecto through this entire conversation, and he&#39;s absolutely not about to on Nate&#39;s behalf.<br /> [21:37] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Nothing!&quot;<br /> [21:38] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;He&#39;s high.&quot;<br /> [21:39] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Higher than the bird. Unless she flies.&quot;<br /> [21:39] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;That video turned your stomach, and now you&#39;re giggling like a lunatic over it.&quot; She flaps into the bathroom, really hoping she doesn&#39;t have to dispose of drugs paraphernalia.<br /> [21:40] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;The octopus thought it was funny.&quot;<br /> [21:41] * Idran (Muttersorcery-ivu.dmv.175.166.IP) has joined #heresy
[21:41] <Surra> "You vomited in my sink!"
[21:43] <Nate_Loomis> "Oh yeah. I can't believe I did that."
[21:48] <Froot> "The octopus thought it was sloppy and unprofessional work."
[21:48] <ST> "Nate, we're going to need you to focus for now."
[21:48] <Nate_Loomis> "I am focused!"
[21:51] <Nate_Loomis> "It's not like I'm doing anything."  He gestures to Tony. "He's the one having a heart to heart with Bey."
[21:51] * Surra flies out, with a small, empty bottle in her claws, and waves it alarmingly close to Nate's face. "/Nathan Loomis!/ I invited you into my home, despite you having shown nothing but disdain for me, and you go and pop pills in my bathroom! I knew you had no respect, but what on earth gives you the right to get high in someone else's home?!"
[21:51] <Nate_Loomis> "That's not mine."
[21:51] * Idran (Mutter@sorcery-ivu.dmv.175.166.IP) Quit (Connection closed)
[21:52] <Surra> "Well, it damn well wasn't in there before you went in!"
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[21:53] <Nate_Loomis> "They aren't pills anyway."
[21:54] <ST> "Sorry Nate, but you're the worst liar I've ever met."
[21:55] <Surra> "Whatever the hell was in there, whatever the hell you're high on right now! Xerxes, what on earth possessed you to think this man would possibly be any use to Firewall?"
[21:57] <ST> "Oh he's useful, alright."
[21:57] <Surra> "Care to elaborate?"
[21:58] <ST> "You'll see."
[21:58] * Nate_Loomis grins at Surra. "Yeah! I got us Bey's info, didn't I?"
[22:00] <Surra> "Yes, by utterly browbeating someone and endangering his business."
[22:00] * Froot picks up an item off the counter and tosses it at Nate.
[22:01] <ST> "Keep it down, Tony looks like he's onto something."
[22:01] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;No, don&#39;t worry, I can concentrate just fine while you all goof off.&quot;<br /> [22:06] * Surra makes a small uncomfortable grinding noise as the trinket goes flying, and she abandons the pill bottle as she darts to intercept it.<br /> [22:07] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Browbeating?&quot;&nbsp; he says, as whatever Froot tossed hits him straight in the face.<br /> [22:08] * Surra catches it moments after it bounces off Nate&#39;s face, and glides over to Froot to replace it exactly where it was. Froot gets a long, disapproving look.<br /> [22:08] * Nate_Loomis blinks. &quot;Was that neccessary?&quot;<br /> [22:09] &lt;Froot&gt; &quot;Yes. I wanted to know if you&#39;d be any good in a fight while high.&quot; Froot turns to Surra. &quot;Let him soak up the damage if we get pinned down somewhere. It&#39;s going to be all he&#39;s good for.&quot;<br /> [22:10] * Surra shakes her head in despair.<br /> [22:11] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Anyway. Y'all done screwing around for the moment?"
[22:11] <ST> "What'd you find?"
[22:11] <Surra> "I dearly, dearly hope so."
[22:13] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Bey said Yu and a fork of his were infiltrating a White Khanh hideout called the Song Cai Flower. He lost contact, but not until they&#39;d sent some footage back. Also, he&#39;s retiring to Europa to raise broccoli and get over the trauma of recent days.&quot;<br /> [22:13] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "You want to watch? I'm only partway through so I don't know what it'll be like. Might get grody near the end."
[22:14] <Surra> "Once again, I'm happy with a recap."
[22:14] <ST> "Song Cai Flower? Anything you've heard of, Froot?"
[22:15] * Tony_Sanchez forwards a link to the vids to the rest of the gang. Anyone who&#39;s interested is welcome to have a look.<br /> [22:15] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Oh, also he said Nia Zheng's a psycho, so watch out if we decide to check on her."
[22:19] <Nate_Loomis> "Are we?"
[22:19] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Depends whether we can find out enough about the Flower without her.&quot;<br /> [22:21] &lt;Froot&gt; &quot;We are. It&#39;s one of their few stations that hasn&#39;t been taken over yet. Dexter Vo runs it now, took it last year. Says it was a bloody coup. And I&#39;ll take the link.&quot;<br /> [22:21] * @Tony_Sanchez passes it on.<br /> [22:21] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;I&#39;ll take your recap over Nate&#39;s.&quot;<br /> [22:25] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "It's mostly speck drone footage of Yu and a bot that probably holds Bey's fork sneaking around a freighter. Got a partial layout, and footage of some guy going past them. The other vid is that guy eating noodles."
[22:26] * Froot reviews it. "It's footage of Dexter Vo. And of Yu. She was infiltrating the Flower. And there's one of those humans from the Greenhouse."
[22:26] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Oh, that&#39;s Vo, eh?&quot;<br /> [22:26] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;That&#39;s one of the exsurgents we saw.&quot;<br /> [22:27] &lt;Froot&gt; &quot;Khahns, exsurgents and Yu, all at the same place. Looks like we&#39;ve got a solid lead.&quot;<br /> [22:28] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Seems that way, don't it."
[22:29] <Surra> "So, do we know where the Song Cai Flower is?"
[22:31] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Yeah, it&#39;s in the Jovian Greeks. Got the coordinates here.&quot;<br /> [22:32] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;That&#39;s where the other thing is.&quot;<br /> [22:32] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;It&#39;s Casa Arturo hab. Where Wang said Yu was going.&quot;<br /> [22:33] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;That thing.&quot;<br /> [22:33] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Can Firewall get us some morphs over there?"
[22:35] <Nate_Loomis> "I want to request something better than this one,"  he frowns and scratches above the knee. "I'm still not half sure it's not clean."
[22:36] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;You realise you could get it tested.&quot;<br /> [22:36] &lt;Froot&gt; &quot;Why does it matter? You&#39;re just going to pump it full of drugs.&quot;<br /> [22:36] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;They&#39;ll foot the bill... Last I heard, they had full egocasting and resleeving facilities... bouncer morphs the easiest to get a hold of.&quot;<br /> [22:37] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;It&#39;s what they got for me when I casted! I thought it was going to be some weird blackmailing meeting, not being recruited for a snooty covert ops. Didn&#39;t think I&#39;d need it for more than a few hours.&quot;<br /> [22:38] * Froot (conceptofzesorcery-7sl78l.ed.shawcable.net) Quit (Quit: Leaving)
[22:38] <Nate_Loomis> "The one I've got back home's an exalt."
[22:49] * Nate_Loomis waves a hand through the air, seemingly out of nowhere.

[19:43] <ST> Getting your business in order, whether its through coercion, subtle convincing or outright trickery, you walk into the farcasting offices relatively confident that there is a morph waiting for each of you at Casa Arturo.
[19:44] <ST> Froot will come along later, holding out for another octopus-morph to become available.
[19:44] * Nate_Loomis is now sleeved in a high-end Exalt. One that is compeltely STD-free. He double checked.
[19:45] * Tony_Sanchez is sleeved in another Splicer. It even resembles his last one, although it&#39;s a bit taller and more gaunt.<br /> [19:51] * Surra negotiated for another opteryx, though it&#39;s much more rugged and workaday than her own. Paint scratches and minor dings that weren&#39;t worth the repair bill litter the frame, but she finds its wings and tail balanced and its walk steady and not too unfamiliar.<br /> [19:53] * Nate_Loomis also has boobs now and is very good looking, if he says so himself.<br /> [20:01] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes seems a bit uncomfortable, having gotten sleeved into a significantly newer case, lacking much of the previous one&#39;s... character<br /> [20:02] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Alright, we&#39;re here. No time to check out the rockets, our next step is getting a ride to the Song Cai Flower...&quot;<br /> [20:03] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Gotcha. Who's booking the tickets?"
[20:04] <ST> "We're going to have to hire a ship, or book one."
[20:06] <Surra> "To the port, then, I take it?"
[20:08] <ST> "I guess so… better take care of that sleeve, Nate. I can't imagine that came cheap…"
[20:12] <ST> Xerxes glances at Surra.
[20:12] * Surra tilts her head in response.
[20:13] * Tony_Sanchez glances back.<br /> [20:14] * Nate_Loomis flashes Xer a grin. &quot;I&#39;ve got sources.&quot;<br /> [20:16] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Considering what we might be going into, I hope those sources are okay with getting it back in less than stellar condition...&quot;<br /> [20:22] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;I&#39;m a little more concerned about the morphs, to be honest. I do hate renting...&quot;<br /> [20:23] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Like before, this place is all about the Autonomist rep... and that&#39;s not something I&#39;m heavily invested in, anyone want to pick up the torch, go right ahead? I&#39;d prefer a shuttle that won&#39;t implode in between habs...&quot;<br /> [20:23] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "I think we figured out last time I'm in the best standing with the Autonomists. I'll take the lead."
[20:24] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Can any of you fly a shuttle, or do we need a pilot too?&quot;<br /> [20:25] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;I can, more-or-less, but it&#39;s been a long time since I&#39;ve needed to.&quot;<br /> [20:25] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;I&#39;m half-decent.&quot;<br /> [20:25] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "I'm willing to settle for half-decent."
[20:26] <ST> "I'm… decent."
[20:26] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Even better.&quot;<br /> [20:26] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "So, no pilot needed."
[20:27] <Surra> "That'll save us some explaining, at the very least."
[20:27] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;And one less person to protect from Exsurgents when we get over there.&quot;<br /> [20:28] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Wait, thos monsters are there?&quot;<br /> [20:29] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "We saw one on the video Bey sent. Were you too high to remember?"
[20:29] <Surra> "Does that question even need to be asked, Tony?"
[20:29] <ST> "He was very high."
[20:32] * Tony_Sanchez pulls out his ecto and looks to see if any shuttles are up for rent.<br /> [20:35] * Nate_Loomis rolls his eyes. &quot;Whatever.&quot;<br /> [20:37] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;How&#39;s the connection on that thing, Tony?&quot;<br /> [20:38] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Not bad, thanks."
[20:39] <ST> After a little while, Tony finds what he's looking for, there is indeed someone who rents out shuttles here… but it seems their last model's been rented! And the company belongs to someone Tony knows very well, Iosaiah Banks.
[20:41] * Tony_Sanchez pings Iosaiah to see if he&#39;s up for a chat.<br /> [20:51] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Now we just wait for him to stop chatting someone up again?&quot;<br /> [20:51] * @Tony_Sanchez gives Nate the thumbs-up.<br /> [20:51] * Nate_Loomis returns it half-heartedly.<br /> [21:01] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> [20:39] <ST> One of the guys you worked with back on Mars as an infugee
[21:01] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; [20:40] &lt;Tony_Sanchez&gt; As in, he was another infugee, or an overseer, or...?<br /> [21:01] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> [20:40] <ST> Indeed, another infugee, a very businessy kind of guy who was always talking about striking out Rimwards once he worked off his debt.
[21:01] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; [20:40] &lt;ST&gt; Kind of a hustler, but not a bad guy.<br /> [21:01] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> [20:42] <ST> "Tony fucking Sanchez! Ain't I a monkey's uncle, what the blazes are you doin' in this backwater pisshole?"
[21:01] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; [20:43] &lt;Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Just passing through on the way someplace else, I&#39;m afraid, but now I know you&#39;re over here, hows about we meet up sometime and shoot the shit?&quot;<br /> [21:01] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> [20:44] * Tony_Sanchez logs a note somewhere his backup will find it, if the worst happens, that Iosaiah's on Casa Arturo.
[21:01] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; [20:47] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Didn&#39;t think you&#39;d ever get off Mars, the way you were griping. Glad to see I was wrong... but passing through? To where? You going Jovian or what?&quot; he chuckles, &quot;I&#39;m kidding, I&#39;m kidding. Anyway, hell yeah! This place might not seem like much, but I swear they put fucking jet-fuel in the Java here. That shit burns worse when it goes out, if you know what I&#39;m saying!&quot;<br /> [21:01] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> [20:49] <Tony_Sanchez> "Hahaha don't even fuckin' joke about Jupiter, man. And after being in a computer for ten years, I think the flaming shits would just make me feel more alive."
[21:01] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; [20:49] &lt;Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;As for where I&#39;m going... a ship round these parts called the Song Cai Flower. I hear you made it big in shipping these days, don&#39;t suppose you&#39;ve got a spare shuttle kicking around I could borrow?&quot;<br /> [21:01] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> [20:51] <ST> It takes a little while before Iosaiah responds, and when he does his jovical tone is gone. "Fuck you wanna go there?"
[21:01] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; [20:52] &lt;Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Rescue op. Got a couple missing people over there, and I&#39;m gettin&#39; paid to help extract them.&quot;<br /> [21:01] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> [20:52] <Tony_Sanchez> "If it weren't for that, believe me, I wouldn't want in the same gravity well as it."
[21:01] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; [20:54] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;You don&#39;t want to mess with the White Khahn, Tony. They&#39;ll fuck you up, I heard they grind people down and make fucking noodles out of them.&quot;<br /> [21:01] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> [20:54] <Tony_Sanchez> "Swear down you won't pass this on, Io?"
[21:01] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; [20:54] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Mum&#39;s the word.&quot;<br /> [21:01] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> [20:55] <Tony_Sanchez> "Worse than that. They got an exsurgent outbreak."
[21:01] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; [20:57] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;You&#39;re fucking kidding me.&quot;<br /> [21:01] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> [20:57] <Tony_Sanchez> "Believe me, I wish I was. I wish I fucking was."
[21:01] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; [21:00] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Alright, I&#39;ll send you my private shuttle if you&#39;re going. But you better fucking tell me all about it when you come back.&quot;<br /> [21:01] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> [21:00] <Tony_Sanchez> "If I make it back alive, I will."
[21:02] <ST> "Fucking Tony Sanchez." And with that, Iosaiah cuts the connection.
[21:02] * @Tony_Sanchez puts his ecto away. "Alright, got a shuttle sorted out. Sorry about the wait."

[19:28] <ST> Thanks in no small part to his vast network of contacts amongst the less credible and likeable strata of transhumanity, a ride has been secured by Tony. It is a cramped little thing filled with sharp edges and things to hit your head on, but beggars can't be chosers. The ride to the Song Cai Flower is a few hours of eventless flight away and the crew can at best occupy themselves with some old
[19:28] <ST> holonovellas and a rather vast collection of exotic pornography, courtesy of Iosaiah.
[19:31] * Tony_Sanchez browses Iosaiah&#39;s library when the sensor station isn&#39;t beeping at him, and copies over anything that tickles his fancy.<br /> [19:33] &lt;ST&gt; Not surprisingly, the man&#39;s tastes haven&#39;t changed. He&#39;s into some kinky stuff... and some pretty engaging dramas too, from the looks of it. They&#39;re all in Arabic, or with surprisingly poor Mandarin dubs.<br /> [19:39] &lt;ST&gt; It&#39;s a fairly uneventful trip, aside from Tony stumbling over some truly vile porn in a subfolder labelled &quot;wedding photos&quot;. Nate is hot, Surra probably doesn&#39;t care and Tony is too traumatized to know any better... and thus, the Song Cai Flower appears. At least what you think it is, your ER optics are connected to the ship&#39;s sensors, and thus you all see the pleasantly tyrian circle indicating<br /> [19:39] &lt;ST&gt; the station, although it is by far too far away to see with the naked eye.<br /> [19:40] &lt;ST&gt; And honestly? Space makes it really hard to see stuff in it.<br /> [19:41] * @Tony_Sanchez does his best to put Iosaiah&#39;s awful, awful tastes out of his mind and looks at the boring viewscreen instead.<br /> [19:42] &lt;ST&gt; Fairly soon an enhanced view of the station comes into... well, view.<br /> [19:42] &lt;ST&gt; Except for its rotating toroid habitation ring, the Flower is typical of pre-Fall-era freighters. At the rotating section&rsquo;s axis is a chain of long, cylindrical modules, from a windowed greenhouse on one end to the ops center on the other. In the center is a big, blocky utility module, from which extend a long docking spar, solar panels, and a reactor. The torus is painted red and the modules<br /> [19:42] &lt;ST&gt; forming the axle green, both colors dulled by vacuum<br /> [19:42] &lt;ST&gt; ablation, and scarred here and there by microasteroid impacts. The overall effect is gaudy gone sinister.<br /> [19:48] * Surra points out several spots on the ship. &quot;Look, here - extra fusion rockets, more than you&#39;d need just to manoeuvre the ship.&quot;<br /> [19:48] &lt;ST&gt; You are not yet within signal range of standard shuttle/station sensors, nor the wireless mesh network.<br /> [19:49] &lt;ST&gt; Unless the ship is actively looking for others, it&#39;s a safe bet you&#39;re undetected.<br /> [19:53] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Yeah. Wonder where they're going in a hurry."
[19:54] <Nate_Loomis> "Makes sense though, doesn't it? If I had a ship I'd want it to be fast too."
[19:55] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Yeah, but there comes a point where you&#39;ve made so much of it engines and fuel tank that there&#39;s nothing actually in the ship worth moving around.&quot;<br /> [19:57] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Not to mention that in space, more speed greatly contributes to the &#39;equal and opposite reaction&#39; if you hit something. And then there&#39;s the problem of manoeuvring at five kilometres per second...&quot;<br /> [19:57] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "It's fairly easy. Space is kinda huge, so you ought to see anything long before you crash into it."
[19:57] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;It&#39;s only rocket science.&quot;<br /> [19:59] * Nate_Loomis scratches his neck. &quot;Space drag racing?&quot;<br /> [20:00] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;I can only imagine the insurance premiums.&quot;<br /> [20:02] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Anyway. I don't think we'll figure out anything more from here, so I guess we're just waiting until we get in and dock."
[20:02] <Nate_Loomis> "Soooo. We going in or are we gonna orbit them and hope they don't notice?"
[20:02] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Going in. We won&#39;t accomplish anything from outside.&quot;<br /> [20:05] * Nate_Loomis leaves Tony to his porn to find Xerxes. &quot;You see anywhere suitable to land?&quot;<br /> [20:06] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Not from here, we&#39;d have to get closer...&quot;<br /> [20:07] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;And how much closer can we get before they decide to shoot us down?&quot;<br /> [20:10] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;If we can get close enough, and any of you are good with the mesh, we might be able to turn their sensors off completely... and as for how close... their sensors outstrip ours, but since they haven&#39;t sent us a hail yet I can only assume they&#39;re not being too careful. The closer we get, the higher the risk of course.&quot;<br /> [20:11] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;I can try that,&quot; Nate perks up.<br /> [20:14] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "You gonna want a hand with hacking their sensors or you think you can manage yourself?"
[20:15] <Nate_Loomis> "I… could do it. Probably."
[20:15] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Have fun, then. You change your mind, let me know.&quot;<br /> [20:15] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Alright... I&#39;ll get within mesh-range then. Tony, you focusing on the sensors or are you still sifting through porn?&quot;<br /> [20:16] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "A bit of both, but I'm paying enough attention to the sensors."
[20:17] * Nate_Loomis clears his throat, getting ready to to do the dirty work. If he knew where to start.
[20:17] <ST> "Then here… we… go…"
[20:18] <ST> The ship's thrusters slowly move you towards the steadily growing dot in the distance.
[20:20] * Nate_Loomis is looking very immersed in fiddling with the mesh.
[20:23] <ST> The ship is approaching, and the sensors pick out three different-sized airlocks that you can potentially dock with, a 1-man, 4-man and 10-man lock.
[20:24] <ST> The sensors of the Song Cai Flower are active, and a ping is received.
[20:24] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;How&#39;s it going, Nate?&quot;<br /> [20:25] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;It&#39;s going.&quot;<br /> [20:27] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Okay, then."
[20:28] <Surra> "They're onto us, aren't they?"
[20:28] <ST> "…Well, their computer has definitely logged our presence…"
[20:28] <Nate_Loomis> "Look, I said I'll take care of it, okay?"
[20:28] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;You did. I&#39;m not sure why I trusted you.&quot;<br /> [20:29] * @Tony_Sanchez does what he should have been doing to start with.<br /> [20:29] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Wait!&quot;<br /> [20:29] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;We&#39;re not alone.&quot;<br /> [20:29] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Or.. maybe we are? But there&#39;s something else around here. Another ship.&quot;<br /> [20:30] * Surra has a look over the sensors.<br /> [20:31] &lt;ST&gt; Surra can&#39;t see anything<br /> [20:32] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;It&#39;s not active or anything, vut there&#39;s definitely someone on there.&quot;<br /> [20:34] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;They&#39;ve... locked on to us. I don&#39;t know if it&#39;s manual or automatic, if that&#39;s any consolation.&quot;<br /> [20:34] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Tony, how are we looking?&quot;<br /> [20:34] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Gimme a minute…"
[20:35] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Yeah. It&#39;s automatic, ship&#39;s trying to decide if we&#39;re a threat. I&#39;m trying to persuade it we&#39;re just debris passing through.&quot;<br /> [20:41] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Can&#39;t we just pass by it? Would that convince it we&#39;re not an actual craft?&quot;<br /> [20:41] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Given that we&#39;re going to need to dock, that&#39;ll only delay the inevitable.&quot;<br /> [20:42] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;We can check out the other ship. Flower doesn&#39;t seem to have detected it.&quot;<br /> [20:42] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;We&#39;re getting close... what do we do?&quot;<br /> [20:43] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Nate, are you absolutely sure that&#39;s another ship out there?&quot;<br /> [20:43] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Alright, a slight course change oughta convince it for a while. Might buy me enough time to hack its sensor array and hide us, might not, but I think it's worth a go."
[20:43] <Nate_Loomis> "There's someone on it, but they're not answering!"
[20:44] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Gimme co-ordinates, Nate.&quot;<br /> [20:47] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;We&#39;re.... reeeeally close.&quot;<br /> [20:47] &lt;ST&gt; And you are, you can see the airlocks with your eyes now.<br /> [20:47] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Yeah. You made that adjustment I sent you?"
[20:48] * Nate_Loomis reads the coordinates out loud to Tony.
[20:48] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Alright. I&#39;m a little busy, but if anyone else wants to check those out, that&#39;d be grand.&quot;<br /> [20:48] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes adjusts the trajectory, it&#39;s close enough that you might actually scrape the side.<br /> [20:51] &lt;ST&gt; And you do. Your little shuttle scrapes along the side of the old freighter, but neither of you are damaged much by it except for some scraped paint. Honestly, that was a close one.<br /> [20:52] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Hope Iosaiah won&#39;t mind that.&quot;<br /> [20:52] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "If he does, well, we'll cross that bridge when we get there."
[20:56] <ST> "…We pursuing that lead Nate got?"
[20:56] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Worth a go.&quot;<br /> [20:57] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Alrighty then...&quot;<br /> [20:57] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;It&#39;s legit.&quot;<br /> [20:58] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "…Huh. Looks like it is."
[20:59] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Anyone else wants a crack at figuring out what it is, that&#39;d be grand.&quot;<br /> [21:00] &lt;ST&gt; Soon enough you spot her. She&#39;s anchored to a small, dust-blackened ice asteroid quite a bit away. Your sensors wouldn&#39;t have picked her up, everything is running on minimal power, but she&#39;s right where Nate told you she was.<br /> [21:01] &lt;ST&gt; On the outside, the Kesyrah is a sleek, stealthy ship with larger than normal engines for its class. The fuselage is matte black, with some strange angles thrown in to foil radar,<br /> [21:02] &lt;ST&gt; The only markings are double Xs in dark gray on the port and starboard engine pods. The starboard airlock has been blown, probably cut open from the outside with a plasma torch.<br /> [21:03] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Well, I think that would be what happened to Yu and Bey.&quot;<br /> [21:05] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Might well be. Wanna check it out?"
[21:06] <Surra> "We really ought to. If we're lucky we might find their stacks."
[21:07] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Or something about what they learned while they were aboard the Flower.&quot;<br /> [21:07] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "I think I've got her sensors foxed enough that we don't need to worry about it."
[21:08] <Surra> "Well then, bring us in."
[21:08] <ST> "Alright… I think we can dock to the airlock…"
[21:10] <ST> Xerxes does, in fact, bring you in, and hook you to the airlock. "It'll take a few minutes to create a breathable and pressurized atmosphere in there… better get ready for anything."
[21:10] <Nate_Loomis> "Few minutes should be more than enough."
[21:11] * Surra takes a moment to find her calm before walking into a potential exsurgent death-trap.
[21:11] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Alright then.&quot;<br /> [21:11] * @Tony_Sanchez grabs an ecto and tries to probe the Kesyrah&#39;s systems.<br /> [21:15] * @Tony_Sanchez puts the ecto down again. &quot;Her computer&#39;s off.&quot;<br /> [21:15] * Nate_Loomis rubs at his face, as if fighting off a nasty migraine. &quot;Whoever&#39;s in here... they&#39;re not alive anymore.&quot;<br /> [21:17] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Alright... pressure&#39;s been stabilized, it&#39;s ready to enter whenever you&#39;re ready... it&#39;ll be really fucking cold, though.&quot;<br /> [21:17] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Nothing&#39;s alive on here at all.&quot;<br /> [21:18] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Well, if the thing was in vacuum, that's a pretty safe bet."
[21:18] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;And I can handle the cold.&quot;<br /> [21:18] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "We going?"
[21:19] <Surra> "No reason not to."
[21:21] <ST> The airlock hisses and emits quite a bit of steam as it slowly slides open, revealing the frost-coated interior of a ship quite possibly even less roomy than your own. Fitted with specialized thrusters, the Kesyrahholds the bare necessities for space survival. Whatever personal belongings were on board are all floating around inside, having spilled out from two forcefully ripped open duffel
[21:21] <ST> bags.
[21:23] * Surra looks over the floating belongings in case there's anything identifying or otherwise useful.
[21:23] * Tony_Sanchez keeps his handgun ready. We did remember to get some firepower between resleeving and poking about a Triad spacecraft full of Exsurgent gribblies, right?<br /> [21:25] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt;&nbsp; /me takes a cautious look around the place, looking to find the someone that was rude and wouldn&#39;t answer any pings.<br /> [21:32] * Nate_Loomis heads on over to the cockpit.<br /> [21:33] * Surra fishes out a couple of cards registed to Yu. &quot;She was here. Probably Bey, too.&quot;<br /> [21:34] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Yeah, this was probably their ride over."
[21:37] <Nate_Loomis> "Tony?"
[21:37] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Yeah?&quot;<br /> [21:40] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;You&#39;re not a mriacle worker by any chance?&quot;&nbsp; He points to the mesh in the pilot&#39;s seat, several bullet holes in its chest. The stack is completely crushed.<br /> [21:41] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Not last I checked, no." He peers at the mangled wreckage.
[21:41] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Guess we can bring back what&#39;s left of the stack and see if anyone can pull anything off it.&quot;<br /> [21:43] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Then again, with how badly damaged it is, I'm not sure it's worth the trouble."
[21:44] * Surra shudders a little at the sight of it. "It never hurts to try."
[21:44] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Unless the stack&#39;s infested with Exsurgent shit, say.&quot;<br /> [21:45] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;... true.&quot;<br /> [21:46] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Really, I don't know what we should do with this thing, if anything."
[21:47] * Nate_Loomis frowns at the flexbot. "Exsurgent or not, that thing's completely dead."
[21:47] <Surra> "Anyone have a Faraday container handy?"
[21:48] <Nate_Loomis> "As far as infected stacks go, that one's pretty safe."
[21:49] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Good to know, Nate.&quot;<br /> [21:51] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Are you being scarastic?&quot;<br /> [21:52] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Not even slightly. Swear down."
[21:53] * Nate_Loomis turns to Surra. "He being sarcastic?"
[21:54] * Surra keeps quiet.
[21:54] * @Tony_Sanchez is not, in fact, being sarcastic, if Surra hasn't guessed.
[21:55] * Surra figured that, but it's funnier to watch Nate get worked up over it.

[19:25] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Unless there&#39;s anything else someone wants to do here, we probably oughta get over to the Flower.&quot;<br /> [19:26] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;No more delaying the inevitable, I suppose.&quot;<br /> [19:26] * @Tony_Sanchez pops back aboard the ship they came in on, and gets back to fucking with the Song Cai Flower&#39;s sensors over the Mesh.&quot;<br /> [19:27] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;This shuttle isn&#39;t going anywhere, that&#39;s for sure.&quot; Xerxes nods at the anchoring to the asteroid, &quot;I&#39;m thinking it&#39;s safe to leave for now.&quot;<br /> [19:28] * Nate_Loomis scoots over to where Tony is messing around on the mesh. &quot;You forget your muse at home or do you just not have one?&quot;<br /> [19:29] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Nah, I have one, I'm just better at this than Jonny is."
[19:30] <Nate_Loomis> "You left him at home?"
[19:30] <Nate_Loomis> "I mean, if I had a muse called Jonny.I'd probably do the same."
[19:32] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Nah, got a copy running in my head and another on this thing.&quot; He taps the ecto. &quot;He&#39;s good at different stuff than I am, so we split the work.&quot;<br /> [19:36] &lt;ST&gt; Your shuttle once more approaches the Flower. Its weapon systems remain inactive as you drift closer... but it becomes painfully obvious that the only way to get aboard is to connect with one of the airlocks... all of which are within firing range of the Flower&#39;s defensive systems.<br /> [19:37] &lt;ST&gt; Tony messes with his ecto furiously, typing in one command after another, whilst Xerxes pilots you ever closer to what awaits...<br /> [19:37] &lt;ST&gt; Time feels like it&#39;s running on spare batteries...<br /> [19:39] * otten (ottensorcery-s86ooa.dynamic.amis.net) has joined #heresy
[19:39] * Nate_Loomis (androirc@sorcery-fu8.jc2.76.176.IP) Quit (Ping timeout: 121 seconds)
[19:39] * otten is now known as Nate_Loomis
[19:41] <ST> The sensors once more pick out three different-sized airlocks that you can potentially dock with, a 1-man, 4-man and 10-man lock… which one do you pick?
[19:50] * Nate_Loomis looks over at everyone else expectantly. His gaze rests on Xerxes the longest.
[19:50] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Let&#39;s go with the four. I&#39;d rather not have to spend too much time cycling people through.&quot;<br /> [19:51] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Whatever you say, boss.&quot;<br /> [19:51] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Agred. It&#39;ll also be easier if we need to get out in a hurry.&quot;<br /> [19:54] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Uh, are we leaving anyone to guard the ship?&quot;<br /> [19:54] &lt;ST&gt; As you move closer to the docking spar extending out from the ship you notice two LLOTVs docked along the length of it, looking gutted with their engines and power supplies missing.<br /> [19:54] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Froot can handle that."
[19:54] * Nate_Loomis casts an uneasy glance towards Froot. "Whatever you say, boss."
[19:55] <ST> The octopus morph gives a non-committed wiggle with one tentacle.
[19:58] <ST> Xerxes brings you in to dock with the 4-man air lock, all the while with the large weaponry remaining perfectly still. The void of space outside is completely devoid of sound, and there is a strange quietness about the Flower too… but one resembling more the slumber of a large animals.
[19:59] <ST> "There's no pressure past the airlock, you'll need to wear your suits past it… umbilicus probably got fucked by micro-asteroids."
[20:00] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Thanks for the warning.&quot; Tony taps a patch on his clothes and a space helmet unfolds.<br /> [20:01] * Surra does absolutely nothing. Only the flesh is weak.<br /> [20:13] * Surra &#39;s voice frowns a little. &quot;What sort of sensor suites are you all running?&quot;<br /> [20:14] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes is more machine than man, so no need for a suit there either.<br /> [20:14] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Mark 1 Eyeball and associated."
[20:15] * Nate_Loomis does the thing.
[20:18] <ST> "All right, arm yourselves. We don't know what's waiting for us…" The airlock hisses as it releases, quickly draining your shuttle of atmosphere as it's sucked out into the vacuum of space, the umbilicus indeed quite damaged.
[20:19] * Tony_Sanchez readies his handgun.<br /> [20:19] * Nate_Loomis also pulls out a handgun.<br /> [20:20] * Surra lacks conventional hands to carry a gun, but claws and talons will do.<br /> [20:27] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes carries a shotgun, getting up and approaching the airlock with well-trained readiness as the hatch slowly slides open. It&#39;s painstakingly slow, the outside a long, neon-yellow plastic tunnel that slowly and slightly coils back and forth further away from you like the body of a snake.<br /> [20:27] &lt;ST&gt; It is, as far as you can tell, empty.<br /> [20:27] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Lead on, Xerx."
[20:27] * Nate_Loomis lets out an audible sigh of relief.
[20:29] <ST> Xerxes gives a non-committed grunt, but takes the lead, shotgun raised to one metallic shoulder as you step out into the long, winding tunnel connected to the main body of the hab. Spots of absolute blackness surround you where the material has been perforated, and the faint luminescent glow from the lamps makes it appear as if you're walking into something disease-ridden.
[20:31] * Tony_Sanchez tries to stay aware of his surroundings, looking from corner to corner.<br /> [20:31] * Surra keeps close to the front of the group, building a detailed 3D map of the place and watching for even the slightest sign of life.<br /> [20:34] &lt;ST&gt; The spar continues for about ten meters, ending with another airlock. It&#39;s fritzed, the control panel looking like it might have melted, and the frozen remains of an arm juts out from the forced-closed lock.<br /> [20:35] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Damn."
[20:36] <ST> "Avoid it if you can, could be infected… anyone want to try to force the lock open? I'm no good with electronics…"
[20:37] * Nate_Loomis turns away from the arm. "See, maybe we needed two people guarding the ship."
[20:38] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;We have two people who&#39;re good in a fight. I&#39;d rather have at least one of them on the away team.&quot;<br /> [20:39] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "I can have a go at the lock, but it looks kinda burned out. No promises."
[20:39] <Nate_Loomis> "I meant me."
[20:39] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;You wanna go back, be my guest.&quot;<br /> [20:40] * @Tony_Sanchez whips out his ecto and has a poke around with the door controls.<br /> [20:42] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;You&#39;re backed up, worst case scenario. Stay frosty.&quot;<br /> [20:42] * @Tony_Sanchez pops the control panel open and shorts a few wires together.<br /> [20:43] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;No, I gotta return this sleeve in one piece. I&#39;ll stay with the other one who can fight.&quot;<br /> [20:44] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Whatever you like."
[20:44] <ST> "Nate, did you check the LLOTVs?"
[20:44] <ST> "The ones inbetween us and our shuttle?"
[20:45] <ST> "Just saying, if I was an exsurgent wanting to get the jump on some intruders, I'd be waiting in one of those so I could get at them alone."
[20:46] <Surra> "While you're doing that, I'll go around and see if I can't find a hole I can fit through. I might be able to get it open from the other side, or at least see what we're getting ourselves into." Surra begins to walk up the side of the Flower with the help of her morph's grip pads, looking about for somewhere she could stick her head in.
[20:46] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Take a peek, sure, but I&#39;m not sure fooling around alone through there is a good idea.&quot;<br /> [20:46] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Are you *trying* to freak me out even more than I already am?&quot;<br /> [20:47] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Just saying, there&#39;s safety in numbers.&quot;<br /> [20:47] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;I said I&#39;ll stay!&quot;<br /> [20:47] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;We&#39;re going in here. There&#39;s a long walk back to the suttle.&quot;<br /> [20:47] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;All right, then. I&#39;ll patch you into my visuals, if you want.&quot;<br /> [20:48] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Didn't sound like it." Tony strips the insulation off a wire, cuts another, and splices them together.
[20:48] * Nate_Loomis sighs. "I guess thats a 'yes' on trying to freak me out?"
[20:50] <ST> Xerxes chuckles. Tony, meanwhile, manages to get the airlock to open, the disembodied hand peacefully floating away into the umbilicus.
[20:50] <Surra> "All the airlocks I see are welded shut," says Surra from across the ship, "but there are vents, and they're still releasing hot air, so life support is still at least somewhat online in there."
[20:51] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Vents releasing hot air? They&#39;re letting their atmosphere leak out?&quot;<br /> [20:52] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Looks like it, but they&#39;ve clearly still got atmosphere in there to vent.&quot;<br /> [20:53] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Ain't gonna last forever. Maybe they don't realise there are holes outside, maybe they're just chumps, maybe their hardware's so fucked they can't do anything about it, but something is definitely wrong in there."
[20:54] <Surra> "Do you want me to make my way back to you, or shall I keep looking around?"
[20:55] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Probably oughta come back. We&#39;re through the door.&quot;<br /> [20:55] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;On my way.&quot;<br /> [20:57] &lt;ST&gt; The airlock in between is empty, there&#39;s no body to be found, and the small, cramped room is about 3x5 meters big, badly lit and filled with strapped down boxes and containers.<br /> [20:59] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;We should be fine for another 50 metres or so.&quot;&nbsp; Nate looks like he&#39;s about to throw up.<br /> [21:00] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Thanks, Nate."
[21:00] * Surra takes a cautious look at the containers, though she doesn't risk touching or opening them.
[21:00] * Tony_Sanchez passes through. Any other doors?<br /> [21:03] &lt;ST&gt; The airlock closes behind you, hisses and slowly the pressure stabilizes and oxygen begins to pump in. Some warning lights start blinking and the airlock on the opposite side of the room opens up slowly, revealing...<br /> [21:03] &lt;ST&gt; A utility bay.<br /> [21:04] * @Tony_Sanchez looks into the bay.<br /> [21:06] &lt;ST&gt; It seems to be a well-equipped, but poorly kept one. On the ceiling above you are banks of power storage and monitoring gear, as well as a small airlock. There are two more standard airlocks on the opposite sides of the bay. Left and right of the airlock you just entered are service airlocks, the cramped kind that are used mostly for maintenance. Beneath you there are two more airlocks, one of<br /> [21:06] &lt;ST&gt; them clearly another opening to space (Surra would have perhaps found it eventually, unless it&#39;s welded shut), as well as another service crawlspace.<br /> [21:07] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Any idea which one we should go through?"
[21:09] <Nate_Loomis> "The safest one?"  He sniffs.
[21:09] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;And which one&#39;s that?&quot;<br /> [21:19] &lt;ST&gt; Surra meticulously checks behind each of the airlocks but finds that behind them, there seems to be no motion going on. Everything is very still.<br /> [21:22] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "So, what next? Just head for the crew quarters?"
[21:25] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Or Operations, I suppose, which is at the front.&quot;<br /> [21:26] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Operations will give us the best idea what happened here.&quot;<br /> [21:27] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Fair enough, then."
[21:27] * Tony_Sanchez opens the airlock towards Ops.<br /> [21:30] &lt;ST&gt; You enter the machine shop of the Song Cai Flower, half-floating into a large room containing huge cornucopia machines, a fair amount of smaller makers, material storage, tools and a pair of repair tender rocket sleds designed to move heavy equipment out to docked shuttles. There&#39;s a pair of flexbots racked on one wall, but they don&#39;t seem to be sleeved into... There are also two large service<br /> [21:30] &lt;ST&gt; airlocks, again on a side facing away from where you entered, and possibly welded shut. One of them seems to be occupied by one of the rocket sleds. Nearby are also a bank of vacsuits...<br /> [21:30] &lt;ST&gt; In the center of the room is the immense joint around which the station&#39;s crew torus rotates. Two of the torus&#39;s four spokes have lift shafts built in, while the other two have dimly lit open floatways with ladder rungs running along the sides...<br /> [21:32] &lt;ST&gt; There are bins haphazardly shoved underneath a workbench, sized from 20 cm to over 2 meters. Atop the workbench is an old perimeter defense drone fuselage.<br /> [21:33] * Nate_Loomis is now known as otten<br /> [21:34] * AndroUser (androircsorcery-s86ooa.dynamic.amis.net) has joined #heresy
[21:34] * Surra examines the bins under the workbench, just in case there's something in there.
[21:34] * AndroUser is now known as Nate_Loomis
[21:34] * otten (otten@sorcery-s86ooa.dynamic.amis.net) Quit (Connection closed)
[21:38] <Surra> "Erm. I think I've found what Yu was looking for, anyway." Surra grabs one of the smaller bins in her talons and flaps backwards to awkwardly haul it out, revealing several chunks of military satellite.
[21:39] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Well, that&#39;s something. We gonna run those back to the shuttle, or bring &#39;em with us?&quot;<br /> [21:41] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;...This is Myrmidon hardware. Our objective&#39;s to get Yu back, but I&#39;m gonna make the call and say that if we can bring these too, it&#39;ll help. Be careful though, we don&#39;t have any fucking idea how this Exsurgent virus spread...&quot;<br /> [21:41] * Surra looks as leery as somebody without a face can at the Myrmidon kit. &quot;I think we can make some assumptions.&quot;<br /> [21:42] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Well, that's something. Doesn't answer my question, though."
[21:42] <ST> "Let's make sure we have a clear route back before we carry any of this with us… looks like it'd take a few walks to get it all aboard."
[21:43] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;It was a pretty clear route in, you think that might have changed?&quot;<br /> [21:43] &lt;ST&gt; Suddenly, a klaxon rings out.<br /> [21:43] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Fuck, get behind cover!&quot;<br /> [21:43] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "On it!"
[21:43] * @Tony_Sanchez gets behind cover.
[21:43] * Surra disappears under the benches where she hauled out the crate.
[21:44] <ST> Luckily, the machinery in here provides quite a sufficient amount of cover.
[21:44] <ST> As Surra scurries in underneath the bench, she bumps it, and the fuselage on top of it drops to the floor with a loud clang.
[21:45] <Surra> "Shit."
[21:45] * @Tony_Sanchez winces.
[21:46] <ST> One of the airlocks, the one unoccupied by the sled, opens up, and a swarm of drones drift in through it, maybe half a dozen.
[21:50] * Surra stays as still as possible.

[19:35] <ST> One of the airlocks, the one unoccupied by the sled, opens up, and a swarm of drones drift in through it, maybe half a dozen. Surra is hidden under the workbench, Tony behind some machinery, and luckily for Nate, Tony had the sense to pull him with him in behind the machinery. Let's just hope that these drones aren't there to specifically root them out
[19:38] * Phasmatis is now known as Surra
[19:38] * Fats is now known as Tony_Sanchez
[19:39] * otten is now known as Nate_Loomis
[19:45] <ST> The drones stop in their tracks and swivel around a little bit before suddenly changing their path towards Tony and Nate's hiding place.
[19:46] <ST> They're each about the size of four humans or so, so quite big and bulky, with large containers built into their bodies and something that looks like a pulse cannon at the front. Luckily, perhaps, it looks fused into place and thus the whole body will have to move for the weapon to fire in other directions.
[19:47] <ST> Xerxes sends you a message labelled urgent: read.
[19:47] * Nate_Loomis tries to sound nonchalant as he pings Tony. "This is not good."
[19:47] * Tony_Sanchez reads Xerx&#39;s message on his ecto<br /> [19:47] * Surra reads urgently.<br /> [19:48] * @Tony_Sanchez also shoots a quick &quot;Sure ain&#39;t&quot; back to Nate<br /> [19:48] * Nate_Loomis has his muse read it and TL;DR it for him.<br /> [19:49] * Surra holds very, very still.<br /> [19:49] * @Tony_Sanchez replies to Xerxes. &quot;Thanks!&quot;<br /> [19:49] &lt;ST&gt; The light from Tony&#39;s ecto seems to have attracted the attention of one of the drones which begins to hover towards the spot where Tony is hiding.<br /> [19:49] * @Tony_Sanchez turns his ecto off.<br /> [19:49] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Beep. Boop.&quot;<br /> [19:49] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; Last time he checked, Nate&#39;s new hot morph wasn&#39;t water or minerals. Hopefully the drones will see that.<br /> [19:50] &lt;ST&gt; The drone, no longer scanning the light, turns back to the large machinery that the two are hiding behind, emptying its contents into it before drifting away towards a docking back against the wall.<br /> [19:53] * Nate_Loomis lets out a sigh of relief.<br /> [19:55] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Beep.&quot;<br /> [19:56] &lt;ST&gt; One of the drones swivel around to where Nate is hiding.<br /> [19:56] * Nate_Loomis is very ver still.<br /> [19:56] &lt;ST&gt; Not hearing anything else, it too joins its brethren in the docking station, active lights dimming as it recharges. And once more the machine shop is quiet.<br /> [19:57] * @Tony_Sanchez throws a nut across the room to see if the things are really off.<br /> [19:57] &lt;ST&gt; The fuselage is semi-blocking Surra&#39;s ability to come out from beneath the work bench. It&#39;s a perimeter drone, unlike anything else aboard this ship.<br /> [19:57] &lt;ST&gt; That you&#39;ve seen so far.<br /> [19:58] &lt;ST&gt; There is no response from the drones.<br /> [19:58] * @Tony_Sanchez stands up and dusts himself off.<br /> [19:59] * Surra examines the situation she finds herself in. She makes a few careful attempts to wiggle out past the drone without disturbing it. &quot;Hrm...&quot;<br /> [20:03] &lt;ST&gt; It is turning out to be a very challenging, almost impossible feat to perform, if Surra intends not to touch the drone. However, it seems that the thing isn&#39;t turned on.<br /> [20:05] * Surra cringes internally, and resigns herself to wiggling past the thing and hoping.<br /> [20:07] &lt;ST&gt; With a bit of fenagling, Surra manages to escape with minimum contact with the drone. Xerxes walks up to it and lifts it up, putting it back on the workbench. &quot;Haven&#39;t seen one of these for years, not since back during the war... it&#39;s heavier than I remember them being...&quot;<br /> [20:12] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Had the same sleeve last time?&quot;<br /> [20:14] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Pretty much, I&#39;ve been using this model for the last... hm... 20 years or so, give or take a few nuts and bolts.<br /> [20:15] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;A fellow synth for life, eh?&quot;<br /> [20:16] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes plays a quiet midi-version of &#39;A Synths life for me&#39; from somewhere in their chassi. &quot;Took the first chance I could get. Flesh is weak.&quot;<br /> [20:17] * Surra extends a wing for a high-five. &quot;This is why I moved out past the Belt.&quot;<br /> [20:20] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Well, we moving on?"
[20:21] <Nate_Loomis> "No."
[20:21] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Why not?&quot;<br /> [20:21] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes returns the high-five!<br /> [20:21] * Nate_Loomis sniffs. &quot;There&#39;s like.. a thing in the room.&quot;<br /> [20:21] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "What and where?"
[20:22] <Nate_Loomis> "I don't know! Right ahead!"
[20:22] * Surra doesn't have a face, but she's still visibly thrilled… until Nate mentions 'a thing'.
[20:22] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Can&#39;t be any more specific?&quot;<br /> [20:23] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes has their gun out in a second. It&#39;s big and doesn&#39;t look very nice at all.<br /> [20:23] * Nate_Loomis sniffs again. &quot;I can go and look if you want, but I might not come back in one piece.&quot;<br /> [20:24] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "We oughta stick together unless there's a damn good reason to split up."
[20:24] <Nate_Loomis> "Oh, we can all charge in there together if you're into suicide pacts."
[20:25] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;No need for suicide. If it&#39;s some big exsurgent gribbly we can&#39;t beat, we<br /> [20:25] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> 'll go around."
[20:26] <Nate_Loomis> "It's huge. And bad."
[20:26] <ST> "Where is it? In the Torus, or ahead?" Xerxes points to the only airlock besides the one they came through (that will still lead to something inside the ship).
[20:28] <Nate_Loomis> "Uh, ahead, I- I think. I don't know. My head is killing me."
[20:29] * Surra looks between Nate and the others. "Are you… going to be all right?"
[20:29] <ST> Xerxes doesn't look too surprised that Nate can apparently detect life forms.
[20:29] * Nate_Loomis rubs a hand over his face. When he drops it, blood is smeared around his nose.
[20:29] <Surra> "Oh dear."
[20:30] * Nate_Loomis gives Surra a nervous laugh. "Not if I get mauled by one if those things!"
[20:32] * Surra backs away a couple of steps.
[20:34] <ST> "That would be the Ops Center… if it's like you say, it might be worth checking out the torus first…"
[20:35] <Nate_Loomis> "Or we blow up the entre ship and get off before the thing takes us with it."
[20:35] <ST> "Not before we find Yu."
[20:36] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Yeah. We still got a job to do.&quot;<br /> [20:37] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;... The Torus, then?&quot;<br /> [20:38] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Seems that way."
[20:43] <ST> There's two spokes that lead up to the Torus. There are elevators that are supposed to run up and down them but… neither seem to be turned on. You could do that, or simply ascend them manually at a slow, but less obvious pace.
[20:43] <ST> There would also be some exposure to direct space but nothing your suits won't handle.
[20:44] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Reckon we oughta go the subtle way. We can take the lift if we need a quick exit, maybe.&quot;<br /> [20:47] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes nods. &quot;Unless they&#39;ve blocked the passage up, it&#39;ll be a cake walk to get to the Torus.<br /> [20:48] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Downhill and everything."
[20:48] <Nate_Loomis> "Least we don't need to climb."
[20:49] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Probably oughta, from that height the drop would hurt even at partial gravity.&quot;<br /> [20:50] * Nate_Loomis groans. He raises an arm to inspect the suit. &quot;DOn&#39;t these things have like, jetpacks or something?&quot;<br /> [20:50] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;We&#39;re not floating there Nate, once we get into the torus there&#39;ll be gravity levels you&#39;ll be accustomed to.&quot;<br /> [20:51] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;It&#39;ll be like swimming. Stop complaining... how&#39;s that nosebleed?&quot;<br /> [20:51] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Some of 'em have an EVA pack, but they generally aren't rated for much thrust. I'm not sure what the gravity is at the ring, but I wouldn't want to find out if your pack's thrust is enough to bring you to a safe stop."
[20:52] * Surra just attaches herself to the side of the elevator shaft with her crazy gecko feet. "I really don't see what all the fuss is about."
[20:57] <ST> Xerxes starts climbing effortlessly thanks to their non-fleshy limbs of steel
[20:57] * @Tony_Sanchez doesn't have any of those or much skill at climbing, but he does the best he can
[20:59] * Nate_Loomis is likely better than Tony at climbing, but is still missing the gecko feet.

[19:37] <ST> The climb is a long but not particularly arduous one. The elevator "shafts" to the torus extend out into naked space, but thankfully the ship's automated defense system destroys any passing space junk big enough to be a threat before it can reach any of you.
[19:38] <Nate_Loomis> Hopefully it doesn't mistake us for space junk.
[19:39] * Surra freezes and sends a message to all the others. "Stop now. Someone's coming out of the hatch."
[19:40] * Tony_Sanchez stops<br /> [19:41] * Nate_Loomis is glad to stop.<br /> [19:41] * Nate_Loomis (androircsorcery-paa.jc2.76.176.IP) Quit (Client exited)
[19:41] * Nate_Loomis (androirc@sorcery-paa.jc2.76.176.IP) has joined #heresy
[19:43] <ST> You spot it too, someone moving towards you in a vac-suit. The helmet's eyeshield is polarized and it is impossible to tell who they are by sight.
[19:45] * Nate_Loomis looks around in panic, trying to spot a hiding place.
[19:47] <ST> The person is getting closer, there are no hiding spaces. You are climbing the equivalent of construction beams in the middle of space.
[19:48] * Nate_Loomis pings the rest of the group. "Uh, guys? What should we do?"
[19:48] * Surra patches everyone into her visual sensors. [They're armed.]
[19:49] * Tony_Sanchez whips out his ecto. &lt;Keep going and hope for the best.&gt;<br /> [19:50] &lt;ST&gt; The person suddenly stops before Surra, moving a hand up to their eyeshield and it shifts into transparancy, revealing the face of Yu.<br /> [19:51] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Fuck. Yu, the hell you doing here!?&quot;<br /> [19:51] &lt;ST&gt; Yu motions for her throat and makes a cutting motion with her hand.<br /> [19:52] * Surra flaps back a couple of metres from the proximity before taking control of her nerves again.<br /> [19:52] * Nate_Loomis scrunches up his face.<br /> [19:53] * @Tony_Sanchez watches apprehensively.<br /> [19:54] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Are you... with... whatever... illness there is here?&quot;<br /> [19:56] &lt;ST&gt; Yu looks at Surra, then shakes her head, again doing the cutting motion at her throat.<br /> [19:56] &lt;ST&gt; She then points up to where she came from and beckons you to follow.<br /> [19:56] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Are you... dead?&quot;<br /> [19:58] &lt;ST&gt; She looks surprised, then shakes her head again.<br /> [19:58] &lt;ST&gt; She begins to climb up again, holstering the beamweapon she was holding.<br /> [19:58] * Surra looks to the other three, then takes a few steps after Yu, still maintaing a cautious distance.<br /> [19:59] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;We don&#39;t have time for charades, dammit!&quot;<br /> [20:04] &lt;ST&gt; Yu continues to climb, and soon she&#39;s through the airlock at the other end.<br /> [20:04] * @Tony_Sanchez follows Yu.<br /> [20:04] * Nate_Loomis is staying put until he gets some answers.<br /> [20:05] * Surra pokes her head into the hatch to have a look-see before she fully commits to going in there.<br /> [20:09] * Nate_Loomis sighs and tugs at Surra to follow. He sets on climbing after Yu and Tony.<br /> [20:11] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;I beg your pardon?!&quot; Surra fluffs her feathers and waves a talon in Nate&#39;s direction. She hops up into the hatch, and refuses to look at him the whole time.<br /> [20:13] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;What? You were stalling.&quot;<br /> [20:13] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Like you weren&#39;t!&quot;<br /> [20:14] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;I was trying to figure out the fuck she was on about!&quot;<br /> [20:14] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;And I was trying to figure out if there was anything in here liable to eat us!&quot;<br /> [20:15] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;In the- I told you where it was!&quot;<br /> [20:16] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Nate, that was a drug flashback.&quot;<br /> [20:16] &lt;ST&gt; You enter a small decompression chamber. The walls are decorated with various White Khahn graffiti and the darkbrown, flaked stain of blood on the floor. It&#39;s a big stain.<br /> [20:18] &lt;ST&gt; Yu waits for Nate to enter before she flips the switch, closing the airlock. With a hiss air starts pouring in and the room becomes heated, gravity shifting so you drift in place.<br /> [20:18] * Nate_Loomis floats as far away from the bloodstain as possible. &quot;Okay. Yu. How do we blow this thing up?&quot;<br /> [20:31] &lt;ST&gt; Yu takes off her helmet. She looks ragged, like she hasn&#39;t showered for days, and her eyes are sunk in. She&#39;s definitely been through some things.<br /> [20:31] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;There are homemade explosives in the crew quarters. We can take it to the engine room and blow this whole ship up.&quot;<br /> [20:32] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes nods slowly, &quot;So, where&#39;s the other agent?&quot;<br /> [20:32] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "And that won't leave any exsurgent fragments drifting anywhere they might hit something?"
[20:32] <ST> "Dead. Killed by that monster."
[20:32] <ST> "No, it should destroy everything."
[20:33] <Nate_Loomis> "The- thing in the room?"
[20:35] <ST> She nods gravely
[20:37] <Surra> "Then it sounds like we have a plan. Lead on, unless there's anything else we need to know."
[20:38] <ST> "Stay quiet. It detects through sound."
[20:38] <ST> "…Where's your ship? Is there anyone waiting behind in case…"
[20:38] <Surra> [Ohhh. That's what that neck-slitting thing was about.]
[20:39] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Drifting off a docking port, and we left a guard.&quot;<br /> [20:39] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;A guard dog. Well, guard octopus.&quot;<br /> [20:41] &lt;ST&gt; She nods and punches in the code to let one of the doors open, stepping through it, motioning for you to follow.<br /> [20:41] * @Tony_Sanchez follows. Nobody seems to have a better idea.<br /> [20:42] * Surra does likewise. At the very least somebody seems to know what they&#39;re doing in this operation.<br /> [20:42] * Nate_Loomis is not happy about this. But he&#39;s not staying behind.<br /> [20:45] &lt;ST&gt; The corridor you enter is devoid of life. The gravity is Mars standard (38%), meaning you walk with quite a bounce in your steps. Junk and scraps litter to disused corridors and several light installations are either broken, flickering or, ominously, casting a reddish light due to blood spatter across them. Yu moves almost casually, her face fixed in an odd grimace of determination as she leads<br /> [20:45] &lt;ST&gt; you on.<br /> [20:47] &lt;Surra&gt; [Before we destroy the ship, what do we do about the Myrmidon fragments?]<br /> [20:47] * @Tony_Sanchez taps on his ecto. &lt;Take &#39;em with us.&gt;<br /> [20:51] &lt;ST&gt; %Stay on your guard, I have a bad feeling about this.%<br /> [20:51] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &lt;I thought we were blowing the entire thing up.&gt;<br /> [20:52] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> <We were sent to bring the satellite fragments in, so let's do that.>
[20:52] <ST> <If they're safe for transport, we can take them with us, but standard protocol is to ensure there is absolutely no risk of contamination… I'm not a TITAN-tech specialist so I can't judge, but if we need to destroy it, we should.>
[20:53] <Nate_Loomis> <And they're obviously nothing but trouble! I'm not risking unleashing more of that thing!>
[20:53] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &lt;Fair enough. Would you be able to figure out if they&#39;re contamination-free, or should we blow &#39;em up to be safe?&gt;<br /> [20:54] &lt;Surra&gt; &lt;If there&#39;s even a hair of doubt, we blow them up.&gt;<br /> [20:54] &lt;ST&gt; &lt;Yu is the expert, she should know...&gt;<br /> [20:56] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &lt;Is she on our network?&gt;<br /> [20:57] &lt;ST&gt; Yu points to a door labelled &quot;CREW QUARTERS&quot;, pulling her weapon and motioning with her head for you to move in<br /> [20:58] * Nate_Loomis motions back. Ladies first.<br /> [21:01] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes gives the others a questioning glance.<br /> [21:02] * Nate_Loomis motions again. More frantically this time.<br /> [21:02] * Surra once again sticks her head in for a look first.<br /> [21:05] &lt;Surra&gt; &lt;I don&#39;t see anyone in there.&gt; She looks to Yu, and motions with her own head for her to go first.<br /> [21:06] &lt;ST&gt; Yu nods and heads inside, walking through the entrance with her weapon raised.<br /> [21:07] * Nate_Loomis frowns at Surra.<br /> [21:07] * @Tony_Sanchez follows.<br /> [21:08] * Surra also follows, and tugs Nate along too.<br /> [21:08] * Nate_Loomis rolls his eyes, but steps along.<br /> [21:09] * Surra is not above being petty.<br /> [21:10] &lt;ST&gt; &lt;Be ready. We&#39;re walking into a trap most likely.&gt;<br /> [21:10] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> <Don't trust your friend?>
[21:11] <Surra> <After surviving three days after the thing in here tore Bey to ribbons? Whyever not?>
[21:11] <ST> You're about 1/3 down the corridor lined with doors when one of the rooms behind you slide open with a hiss, two armed men stepping outside. Another one comes out next to Yu, a woman with a disheveled appearance and sunken eyes. All are equipped with assault rifles, but thanks to Xerxes warning, you are able to act before they can aim them at you.
[21:13] <ST> Xerxes pulls up their weapon, aiming it square at the woman next to Yu and fires, the bullets plunging into her flesh and splattering blood into the air, globules of it splashing against the walls and ceilings.
[21:13] * Tony_Sanchez dives into cover if there&#39;s any available, and pops off a shot at the ambusher Xerxes shot.<br /> [21:14] * Surra launches into the air, talons extended and aiming right for the back of Yu&#39;s neck to get a vicious grip on her stack.<br /> [21:14] &lt;ST&gt; &lt;There&#39;s no other agent, Yu was acting alone! I didn&#39;t want to be too obvious about it in case someone was eavesdropping on our channel&gt;<br /> [21:14] * Nate_Loomis scrambles for his pistol as he moves for one of the rooms. He shoots and hopes it&#39;s not one of his guys.<br /> [21:15] * @Tony_Sanchez can&#39;t check the message or reply, since he&#39;s a little busy being in a fight.<br /> [21:19] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &lt;Little late on warning us!&gt;<br /> [21:20] &lt;Surra&gt; &lt;What? So what about Bey - wait, no, later!&gt;<br /> [21:21] &lt;ST&gt; &lt;You were told during briefing, I would have thought you&#39;d remember&gt;<br /> [21:21] &lt;Surra&gt; &lt;I thought she&#39;d hired him!&gt;<br /> [21:23] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &lt;Hello? A little help?&gt;<br /> [21:23] &lt;ST&gt; The woman drops her rifle, clutching at the wounds, leaving herself exposed to the bullets fired by Tony. It ricochets off a panel and lodges itself in her neck, making her produce a gargling sound as she falls, as if in slow motion, to the floor.<br /> [21:24] &lt;ST&gt; Yu isn&#39;t expecting Surra&#39;s sudden and close attack and sways with her arms to fight off the feisty bird. Her arms are soon lined with deep red gashes and she drops her weapon in pain, screaming obscenities at the synth.<br /> [21:26] &lt;ST&gt; Nate fires his weapon at the two men, but as he&#39;s also simultaenously trying to find cover, the bullets go wild, lodging themselves in the wall behind the two assailants.<br /> [21:47] * Surra continues to do violence to Yu. Even if she can&#39;t get at her stack, she can certainly keep Yu occupied.<br /> [21:53] &lt;ST&gt; Yu recovers from Surra&#39;s surprise attack and manages to fend off the avian&#39;s attacks successfully<br /> [21:55] * Nate_Loomis , having recovered a bit from the shock of the trap, takes a moment to aim at one of the men with shaky hands.<br /> [22:01] * ST (STsorcery-7do0o8.bredband.comhem.se) Quit (Connection closed)
[22:03] * ST (ST@sorcery-7do0o8.bredband.comhem.se) has joined #heresy
[22:05] <ST> Nate's hands may be shaky, but his aim is true. He fires at one of the men, the bullet hitting its target. It tears a path through his arm, splattering blood and vicera against the wall behind him, sending him tumbling to the ground. Great shot!
[22:08] <ST> Xerxes, not wanting to hit Surra, turns around and aims their weapon at the last man standing. They fire a quick, deadly volley that sends the man tumbling to the ground, several holes where his face once was. The blood splatter misses Nate by an inch.
[22:08] * Nate_Loomis is looking paler by the moment.
[22:15] <ST> Tony fires a few shots towards Yu, but wanting not to hit Surra in the process, he ends up missing, the bullets harmlessly whizzing past.
[22:18] <ST> With only Yu left, a look of desperation crosses her face. She tries to grip Surra by the legs and… succeeds, grabbing each leg and tossing the bird morph into a nearby wall with surprising force!
[22:21] * Surra screeches and flaps her wings and tails furiously.
[22:31] * Surra is having none of this, and quickly gets back to her feet so she can throw herself onto Yu's gun and present a wall of outraged claws between her and her weapon.
[22:33] <ST> Surra gets between the traitor and her gun easily
[22:33] <ST> Nate, meanwhile, is hiding in the opening of the room he's in, gun clutched to his chest and a pale expression on his face as the man he shot is bleeding to death slowly
[22:34] <ST> Yu looks between her weapon and the others before she suddenly steps back, slamming a panel next to the larger door at the end of the corridor and slipping inside!
[22:37] <ST> Xerxes mutters a curse and follows after, firing at the door while running. <She's trying to get away, we need to stop her before she warns someone!>
[22:37] * @Tony_Sanchez can't read Xerxes' message, but he guessed as much. He joins in the chase.
[22:38] * Surra abandons the gun and flies full-speed after the fleeing Yu.
[22:41] <ST> The group follows behind Yu into a sumptuous but rather tacky crime lord pimp den with an immense circular bed, mirrored ceiling, and lots of bad erotic art. Yu is heading towards a panel next to the bed
[22:42] * @Tony_Sanchez opens fire.
[22:42] <ST> Wasting no time, Tony fires at Yu
[22:47] <ST> Except… Tony doesn't fire. In pulling up his weapon, he's somehow managed to trigger the disassembly function for cleaning and repairs. The gun falls apart in his hands.
[22:48] <ST> Xerxes fires as well and, luckily, hits Yu. Several slugs perforate her back, coating the wall in glistening viscera and she collapses to the floor in a twitching heap that slowly grows still as blood pools beneath her
[22:49] * @Tony_Sanchez blinks at his gun, looks at Yu, realises she's probably out for the count and gathers up all the bits. Hopefully he can figure out how to put it together again…
[22:49] * Surra goes straight for the panel on the wall to give herself something to look at other than the unholy decor.

[19:44] <ST> Tony, having gaffed beyond gaffed, finishes picking up his gun as Yu's lifeless body twitches a few times before falling still. Things grow quiet for now, your ears ringing sommeone from the loud noises your weapons were making moments before. Nate is slowly recovering from having shot someone, their body lying next to the other on the floor mere feet from him
[19:47] <ST> Xerxes walks up to Yu and prods her with a metallic foot, the flesh lifeless. "Avoid contact with any bodily fluids, they may carry some form of the contamination."
[19:48] * Surra examines the button Yu was running for, just in case it has any helpful labels or notes on it.
[19:48] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Wasn&#39;t gonna go poking the corpse, but thanks for the warning.&quot;<br /> [19:50] &lt;ST&gt; It&#39;s a communications panel, complete with the handy alert button.<br /> [19:51] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Check your bodies for stains as well, and if possible use a rebreather for now. We don&#39;t know how it&#39;s spread. Likewise, avoid physical contact with me or Surra, we may still carry it.&quot;<br /> [19:51] * Surra does not press the handy alert button. Unfortunately, now she has nothing to distract her from the unspeakably hideous interior.<br /> [19:52] * @Tony_Sanchez taps at a patch on his clothes and re-activates spacesuit mode. He&#39;ll scrub it thoroughly after this.<br /> [19:54] * Surra looks up at Xerxes, a little alarmed. &quot;Oh. Um. Uhh... so what do we do about this?&quot; She the blood on her claws and talons, suddenly realising just how bad this could be.<br /> [19:55] * Nate_Loomis is honestly still shaking in the room he ducked into for cover.<br /> [19:55] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;We will decontaminate before we leave the ship, I&#39;m sure the medbay will carry that kind of equipment... if we&#39;re in a hurry, we&#39;ll just have to be careful until we can get to someplace where we can safely dispose of it... we may have to destroy these morphs, however, if we can&#39;t.&quot;<br /> [19:55] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;...Where&#39;s Nate?&quot;<br /> [19:55] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Don't think he came through with us. We probably ought to go check on him."
[19:56] <Surra> "Okay. Okay. That, that I can manage. Okay."
[20:01] <ST> "Probably…"
[20:01] <ST> You hear a shot from the corridor
[20:02] * Tony_Sanchez looks down at his gun. Is it more or less in one piece, after those few minutes of fiddling with it?<br /> [20:03] &lt;ST&gt; It&#39;s... probably functional<br /> [20:03] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Fuck.&quot; Xerxes is heading back towards the door, weapon raised<br /> [20:03] * Surra jumps up with a start and hurries out into the corridor to see what the hell just happened.<br /> [20:03] * @Tony_Sanchez will have to make do with that. He follows Xerxes, gun at the ready.<br /> [20:04] &lt;ST&gt; You see the man Nate shot clutching at his arm which is bleeding from a fresh gunshot, fired just now. He&#39;s crouched outside a door and Nate is nowhere to be seen<br /> [20:05] * @Tony_Sanchez shoots Fresh Gunshot Man once again.<br /> [20:07] &lt;ST&gt; The man&#39;s head explodes and his twitching body collapses to the floor<br /> [20:09] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes makes a low whistling sound, &quot;Nice shot.&quot;<br /> [20:09] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "I'm gonna be honest, that was luck. I was aiming centre mass."
[20:09] <Surra> "Oh, heaven, don't tell me that."
[20:09] * Tony_Sanchez pops rounds in the heads of the other folks we gunned down earlier, just to be safe.<br /> [20:10] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Look, it was a snap shot and it went in the right target. I'm fine with that."
[20:13] <ST> "Nate, buddy? You all right?"
[20:13] * Surra looks about for where Nate went. "Nate? Nate?"
[20:15] <Nate_Loomis> A voice is heard from behind the door. "Who is it?"
[20:15] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;It&#39;s us, Nate.&quot;<br /> [20:15] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;How do I know you&#39;re not like- like Yu?&quot;<br /> [20:16] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "You don't, same as we don't know you aren't. We're just gonna have to trust each other for a while."
[20:19] <ST> "Nate, I know this doesn't help any but an exhuman infection usually takes at least a few hours to work over a human body and… me and Surra are synths, we can't get infected."
[20:19] <ST> "I can't spea for Tony of course."
[20:20] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;I&#39;m the only one that can. All I gotta say is, buddy, none of us have a hope in hell of getting out alive without help. You&#39;re gonna have to trust someone, and it&#39;s probably gonna have to be us.&quot;<br /> [20:21] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;And I&#39;m keeping my eyes on the two of you... and you&#39;re backed up.&quot;<br /> [20:25] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "So whaddaya say, buddy? Willing to give us another go?"
[20:26] <Nate_Loomis> There is a silence. The door opens, and Nate exists, his suit covered up with a long hoodie.
[20:27] * Tony_Sanchez smiles. &quot;Good to have you back.&quot;<br /> [20:30] * Nate_Loomis sniffs at him.<br /> [20:30] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; He looks down the corridor cautiously. &quot;Is... is he still alive?&quot;<br /> [20:30] &lt;ST&gt; He is most definitely not. He is missing a head.<br /> [20:31] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; This slightly calms him down.<br /> [20:32] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Unless any of 'em can get by with a giant hole in their brainpan, they're all dead."
[20:33] <ST> "None of these assholes look like what we saw on that recording…"
[20:33] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Are exsurgent infections... smart enough to go for subtlety?&quot;<br /> [20:35] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Well, we can hope they all suffered spontaneous heart attacks, but I don&#39;t fancy those chances. I suspect our first port of call should be the medical bay for decon.&gt;<br /> [20:35] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Yeah, absolutely. And since Yu's plan was to blow the ship up, I'm gonna go ahead and say let's not do that."
[20:36] <ST> "Sounds like a plan. If memory serves there shoulld be a rec space and a medbay on this torus…"
[20:36] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Lead on.&quot;<br /> [20:40] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes shrugs, &quot;I can&#39;t read thai.&quot;<br /> [20:40] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Nor I. Either of you two?"
[20:40] <ST> "Buuuut it it should be this waz."
[20:40] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Good enough!&quot;<br /> [20:44] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes leads the way! It&#39;s a bit of a walk through the cramped environment, but thankfully there are no encounters the whole way. Soon enough the doors to the semi-abandoned medspace slide open and lights flicker to life inside<br /> [20:44] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Sure we can trust the medbay on an infected ship?"
[20:47] <ST> Inside the first things you spot are four healing vats, all covered in a thin layer of dust. Further into the room you spot an ego bridge, a fabber and ten storage tanks for morphs, similarly covered in dust, although hummanoid figures can be spotted through the glass of half of them
[20:49] * Nate_Loomis checks the humanoids.
[20:49] * Surra looks at Nate. "Where did you get that hoodie, by the way?"
[20:50] * Nate_Loomis looks at his sleeves. "It was in the room."
[20:51] <ST> "…You cold?"
[20:51] * Nate_Loomis backs away from the container. "Fuck!"
[20:52] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;What?&quot;<br /> [20:52] * Surra flies up beside Nate and peers into the tanks.<br /> [20:53] * Surra then backs away from the tanks very, very fast.<br /> [20:53] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; He points at the tanks. &quot;It&#39;s a fucking breedery or something! For those things from the tape!&quot;<br /> [20:53] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;People sleeve into these things?!&quot;<br /> [20:54] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Might not be voluntary. This is TITAN shit, after all."
[20:55] <Nate_Loomis> "I want off this ship."
[20:56] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;You and the rest of us.&quot;<br /> [20:56] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes walks up to the tank and frowns, then checking the others. &quot;Not all of them are that far progressed... I&#39;m thinking one of these things might have gotten into Yu.&quot;<br /> [20:56] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Into? Like, physically inside?&quot;<br /> [20:56] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Urgh."
[20:57] <ST> "Sleeved into her morph, yeah… Hope she backed up."
[20:58] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Ain&#39;t that standard practice when you go off on a job for Firewall?&quot;<br /> [20:58] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Poor soul... do you think she&#39;s being stored here, then?&quot;<br /> [20:59] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Yeah, standard procedure for crows. I&#39;m worried that she hasn&#39;t gotten in touch with us yet but... who the fuck knows how long it&#39;s been since they got to her. Backup might not have activated yet.&quot;<br /> [21:03] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Could they have, y&#39;know, erased it?&quot;<br /> [21:04] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;...Unlikely, unless they got her to spill where it&#39;s stored... we&#39;re going to have to look into it when we get back. I doubt they&#39;d kept her chip though.&quot;<br /> [21:05] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;We tracked down that guy, didn&#39;t we?&quot;<br /> [21:06] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Can&#39;t they do some Tony stuff to see where the backup uploaded?&quot;<br /> [21:06] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes beeps skeptically, &quot;It&#39;s worth looking into.&quot;<br /> [21:07] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;I&#39;m just saying, we could find her.&quot;<br /> [21:08] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Once we&#39;ve dealt with the slightly more immediate matters.&quot;<br /> [21:09] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "But yeah, we should at least try."
[21:10] <Nate_Loomis> "Obviously." He looks at the tanks again. "I'm still not sure we shouldn't just… blow it all up."
[21:10] <ST> Xerxes nods, "Yu's trained for this, she's no rookie… but you're right Nate, we'll find her."
[21:10] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Like I said, that was what Yu was trying to get us to do. I reckon it&#39;d be a bad idea to go along with it.&quot;<br /> [21:11] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;She was trying to get us ambushed!&quot;<br /> [21:12] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "That also."
[21:12] <Surra> "I've got no idea how to destroy these monsters, but if we remove or destroy the ego bridge, that will at the very least slow the Khanhs down and buy us time before they can send them out again. As for blowing everything up, she said there were explosives in the crew quarters. If there are, then she did indeed want to blow up the ship. If there aren't, it was
[21:12] <Surra> part of the ruse."
[21:12] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;So, either way, let&#39;s not blow this up in case it&#39;s part of some kinda master plan, eh?&quot;<br /> [21:13] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Well, I was thinking if they didn&#39;t actually want it blown up, blowing it up might be a viable option.&quot;<br /> [21:14] * @Tony_Sanchez puts his hand to his temples. &quot;All this back and forth is making my damn head hurt.&quot;<br /> [21:16] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;We still don&#39;t know the full extent of these exsurgents, it&#39;s quite possible an explosion won&#39;t be enough to deal with them. Right now, we should investigate and see if we can retrieve any information from the ship&#39;s databanks, retrieve the Myrmidon scrap on our way out and, if possible, avoid any more confrontations.&quot;<br /> [21:16] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "All sounding good to me."
[21:16] <ST> "Unfortunately… the easiest way to access those banks are from the ops…"
[21:16] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Naturally. Don&#39;t suppose there&#39;s an awkward side door we could take?&quot;<br /> [21:16] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;This ego bridge needs to go, like Surra said.&quot;<br /> [21:17] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Take it, or break it?&quot;<br /> [21:17] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes goes up to it and fires a salvo into the circuitry, answering the question.<br /> [21:17] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Look, all I know is I want those things dead and destroyed.&quot; He scratches at his arm.<br /> [21:17] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Dunno about anyone else, but I'm not fond of the idea of looting an exsurgent ship."
[21:17] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;There ya go.&quot;<br /> [21:18] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "And me too, Nate, I just don't want to scatter exsurgent virus around the Jovian Greeks while I'm at it."
[21:18] <ST> "If we're not heard from after six months, we will automatically be restored from our back ups and a new unit will be sent here. This means that if we have to die to make sure whatever's on this ship doesn't spread, that is a more than acceptable cost."
[21:19] * Nate_Loomis looks at them. "But my new sleeve."
[21:20] <Surra> "Speaking of sleeves, why in the world did you put on a random hoodie you found in the middle of an exsurgent ship?"
[21:21] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;That&#39;s all well and good, Xerxes, but I&#39;m not in a hurry to pop my death cherry if I can avoid it.&quot;<br /> [21:21] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;It was fashionable,&quot; he replies curtly.<br /> [21:21] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Not saying we&#39;re here to kill ourselves, but there&#39;s no reason to leave the job undone.&quot;<br /> [21:22] * Surra has no face, and yet still manages to look unimpressed.<br /> [21:22] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;You&#39;d better not be hiding a cat under there.&quot;<br /> [21:22] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Take the hoodie off, Nate.&quot;<br /> [21:22] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Yeah, absolutely. If I gotta die and lose a few weeks worth of me to keep this shit under control, no second thoughts."
[21:23] * Nate_Loomis rolls his eyes. "Yes, there is a cat under here. I found it on the freaky infected ship and decided to keep it as my pet until it eats me."
[21:24] <Surra> "But clothing from a freaky infected ship is all well and good."
[21:25] <ST> Xerxes' tone is very calm as they repeat: "Take the hoodie off, Nate."
[21:25] <Nate_Loomis> "Look, I hit some wall or something and cut my sleeve! It's better than leaving skin exposed!"
[21:26] * Nate_Loomis he tears it off and tosses it at Xerxes' head.
[21:26] <ST> There is a small scratch on Nate's arm. Just enough that there's been a drop or so of blood.
[21:27] <ST> Xerxes' head is currently covered by a hoodie
[21:27] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;What, exposing your skin to something that&#39;s been on this ship for who knows how long?&quot;<br /> [21:29] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;I panicked, okay! The guy I killed had just come back to life! And how come no one seems to have a problem with that? We KILLED people.&quot;<br /> [21:29] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Yeah."
[21:29] <ST> Nate scratches at the scratch
[21:29] <Surra> "Came back to life?"
[21:29] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Guess I played too many violent video games and got desensitised or something.&quot;<br /> [21:29] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; Scratch scratch.<br /> [21:29] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Don&#39;t scratch it, you&#39;ll only make it worse.&quot;<br /> [21:30] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;That talk of XPs making people violent is bullshit!&quot;<br /> [21:30] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;You people are freaks.&quot;<br /> [21:30] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "You're one to talk, Nate."
[21:31] <Surra> "We're freaks? Where were you during the Fall?"
[21:31] <Nate_Loomis> "What's that got to do with anything!?"
[21:32] <ST> "Everzone, calm down. Nate, you're saying you got that scratch from hitting the wall?"
[21:33] <Surra> "If these people are playing with TITAN tech, we cannot let them do whatever they're planning to do. If that means killing them, that's something I'm willing to do."
[21:33] <Nate_Loomis> "A wall, a table- I know what you're thinking, but it wasn't that guy who got me!"
[21:35] <ST> "I didn't say it was. But if you're sure, you don't mind us running a diagnostics on you?"
[21:35] <Nate_Loomis> "Yeah, whatever. Go for it."
[21:37] <ST> Xerxes takes off the hoodie, tossing it to a corner and points at the medical tube, "Get into that and we'll run the full diagnostics."
[21:37] <Nate_Loomis> "You're fucking joking."
[21:39] <ST> "Do I look like I'm joking?"
[21:40] <Nate_Loomis> "Yeah, I'm not getting in there."
[21:41] <ST> "Tony, Surra?"
[21:42] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;I&#39;ll be honest, I would not touch the medical equipment on this ship.&quot;<br /> [21:42] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Thank you!&quot;<br /> [21:43] * Surra looks between Xerxes and the tanks. &quot;Well, now I know what they&#39;re doing in here...&quot;<br /> [21:44] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes sighs and shrugs again, &quot;Fine. The Exsurgent virus spreads through multiple forms of vectors, but I guess if you&#39;re not up for it, I&#39;m not going to force you.&quot;<br /> [21:44] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Just don&#39;t forget I told you so.&quot;<br /> [21:44] * Nate_Loomis fidgets.<br /> [21:45] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Fine.&quot;<br /> [21:45] * Surra looks back and forth, really not sure where she stands on this one.<br /> [21:45] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;But I&#39;m gonna be eating all of you if I turn into one of those thigns.&quot;<br /> [21:46] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;I suppose decontamination will wait until we&#39;re back on our ship, then?&quot;<br /> [21:46] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; He pokes at one of the med tubes to see how the hell to open it.<br /> [21:47] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;I&#39;ve been KIA so many times I honestly don&#39;t care anymore. If Nate&#39;s infected, it&#39;ll take a few hours for it to show, if it even does, but there&#39;s no way I&#39;m getting us onto any kind of hab before Firewall experts have run these sleeves through the scrub.&quot;<br /> [21:47] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Naturally."
[21:49] <Nate_Loomis> "Hope they pay you a lot, at least."
[21:49] <ST> The tube empties downwards with a sloshing sound, sliding open with a hiss once warm air has dried out the inside. "You can get in if you want Nate, I'm not going to force you… and honestly, there's the risk that they've gotten the virus into these things too. But then, the Exsurgent Virus is extremely fucking unpredictable. Saw something and got a headache? Congratulations, your neural
[21:49] <ST> network got rewired and now you're going to turn into a living, walking bomb within the next 24 hours. Felt a weird smell? Welp, you'll feel the sudden urge to lay eggs in our esophaguses soon."
[21:50] * Nate_Loomis hesitates. "Is that all it does?"
[21:50] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;And of course, hanging around TITAN shit with a cyberbrain is just asking for trouble.&quot;<br /> [21:51] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;All I&#39;m sayng is, let&#39;s get on with our mission, retrieve the shit Yu died trying to find and maybe even get rid of the shit&#39;s that infesting this ship.&quot;<br /> [21:51] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;If you start thinking too much about what the Exsurgant Virus is capable of, you&#39;re going to develop an unhealthy amount of paranoia.&quot;<br /> [21:51] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Unhealthy?"
[21:52] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;You sure about that?&quot;<br /> [21:52] * Nate_Loomis looks at Tony and Surra again for help.<br /> [21:53] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Like Xerxes said, this is your choice, Nate. Go in or don't. Ain't none of us gonna push you whichever way."
[21:53] * Surra nods.
[21:53] <ST> "We can runn a scan on you, I can spot most types of known branches, and guess some unknown."
[21:53] <Nate_Loomis> "Yeah, that was useless."  He rubs at his face. "I can get checked back on our ride, yeah?"
[21:57] <ST> "Sure."
[21:58] <Surra> "Let's go. Either Nate's infected or he isn't, and there's really not anything we can do about it either way. We'll find out one way or another."
[21:59] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Yeah. Time&#39;s a-wasting.&quot;<br /> [21:59] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;All right. Stay frosty, and tell us if you feel anything, Nate, anything weird or out of place.&quot;<br /> [22:00] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Now we either check out the recreational area, or we head back down to the main body of the ship.&quot;<br /> [22:00] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;There&#39;s a big fucking exo-thing up in the front area, that weird enough for you?&quot;<br /> [22:02] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;That&#39;s the ops. Unless any of you are great at hacking, that&#39;s where we need to go to get the ship logs.&quot;<br /> [22:02] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Uh. Tony?&quot;<br /> [22:02] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "I'm pretty good at hacking, yah."
[22:03] <ST> "So far we haven't met much resistance, and considering Yu was going for the alarm, I think they can't communicate outside of the typical means… if we're lucky, there aren't more of those fucks creeping around here…"
[22:04] <@Tony_Sanchez> "Fingers crossed, yeah, but no need to take risks we can avoid."
[22:05] <ST> "All right, we can try that, but if they have anything monitoring the system, if you mess up they'll know where we are… Jacking in physically might attract less attention than doing it through your hardware there."
[22:06] * @Tony_Sanchez cracks his knuckles. "Yeah, fair point, it's a risk either way. But I'm willing to take this one, if you all are."
[22:08] <ST> "Might be a port somewhere in here…" Xerxes looks around before pointing to the half-melted console that the ego bridge was attached to.
[22:08] <ST> "Well then."
[22:09] * @Tony_Sanchez eyeballs the hardware, then plugs his ecto into an undamaged port. "Wish me luck."
[22:09] * @Tony_Sanchez pokes and prods.

[19:57] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Bad news, folks. They know I&#39;m here, and I can&#39;t do anything to make &#39;em think it was a false alarm.&quot;<br /> [19:58] * Surra &#39;s feathers fluff. &quot;Back to the ship?&quot;<br /> [19:58] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Is there any response? Can you like- hack to see what they&#39;re doing about it?&quot;<br /> [19:59] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "I'm trying that, Nate."
[19:59] <ST> "Did they close you off from the data banks?"
[19:59] <Nate_Loomis> "Do they know where we are?"
[20:00] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Yeah, they locked me out.&quot;<br /> [20:00] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "But… found something interesting here. Gimme a minute."
[20:01] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Don&#39;t think they know where I am, just that I&#39;m in their system having a fuck around.&quot;<br /> [20:01] * Nate_Loomis perks up. &quot;What? Can you get whatever the fuck we&#39;re looking for?&quot;<br /> [20:02] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Depends what this file is."
[20:05] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;...So far, it&#39;s a snuff flick.&quot;<br /> [20:05] * Nate_Loomis winces.<br /> [20:06] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Yeah."
[20:06] * Tony_Sanchez goes pale, and puts his hand over his mouth.<br /> [20:09] * @Tony_Sanchez turns his head away from the rest of the party as fast as he can, and spews until there&#39;s nothing left to expel.<br /> [20:10] * Surra backs right off. Why does this keep happening?<br /> [20:10] * @Tony_Sanchez dry heaves for a bit.<br /> [20:11] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes hurries up to Tony, but doesn&#39;t touch him, &quot;Did they attack you through it? What happened Tony?&quot;<br /> [20:11] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Brings back memories.&quot;<br /> [20:11] * @Tony_Sanchez gasps for breath, trying not to pull any of the vomit back in.<br /> [20:13] * @Tony_Sanchez holds his head in his hands for a few moments, and turns to Xerxes once he&#39;s recovered a few of his wits. One look at his eyes and you can tell that he&#39;s been shaken to the core.<br /> [20:13] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "The Khanh boss had a guy's legs fed through a meat grinder. Then he fried the fuckin' mince up and fed it to someone, while the poor fuck was still watching."
[20:14] <ST> "Fuck."
[20:14] <ST> "Show it to me."
[20:14] * Tony_Sanchez somehow manages to look even more shocked. It&#39;s a hell of a feat. &quot;Sure about that?&quot;<br /> [20:15] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Sho-what!? What is WRONG with you?&quot;<br /> [20:15] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;I need to identify who we&#39;re up against.&quot;<br /> [20:15] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Believe me, I&#39;ve seen worse.&quot;<br /> [20:15] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "…Alright, it's your nightmares." Tony forwards the dinner video to Xerxes.
[20:16] <ST> Xerxes watches the video motionlessly, then as it finishes they sigh, "That's not Yu… at least not in her sleeve. In fact, I'm pretty sure Yu's dead."
[20:17] <ST> "She's the one who was being fed into the grinder."
[20:17] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Oh, Christ on a crutch...&quot;<br /> [20:18] * Surra cautiously hops back over towards Tony. She almost extends a wing, before remembering Xerxes&#39; caution, and the blood on her claws. &quot;Even her stack?&quot;<br /> [20:19] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;All right, our mission&#39;s fairly clear. Priority is to get the fragments out from here, but I say we need to try to figure out what the hell kind of long game these things are running. If we get you to Ops, do you think you can give the hacking another go? Just download whatever fucking surveillance data you can get and we&#39;ll have the brainiacs puzzle it together.&quot;<br /> [20:19] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Video cuts out about halfway through, but I hope for her sake they killed her instead of keeping her around after that."
[20:20] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;...yeah, as long as I don&#39;t have to watch any of it.&quot;<br /> [20:20] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Tell me, Xerx. Firewall's got good shrinks, right?"
[20:20] <Nate_Loomis> "What's wrong with your muse?"
[20:20] <ST> "I think it's safe to say she's fucked either way. They either destroyed her stack, or infected her with whatever Exsurgent shit these things got."
[20:21] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Who, me? Nothin&#39; wrong with Jonny.&quot;<br /> [20:21] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;They&#39;ve got the best in psychosurgery, if you want you can soft-reset back to before this too if you want.&quot;<br /> [20:21] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;You can&#39;t ask him for therapy?&quot;<br /> [20:21] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Believe you me, fella, it's gonna take some serious work to unfuck my mind after that. I don't reckon Jonny's up to the task."
[20:22] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;And you believe me, Xerx, if the therapy doesn&#39;t take I&#39;m gonna do just that. Kinda a shit way to pop my death cherry, but if it&#39;s die or see that thing every night, no choice.&quot;<br /> [20:23] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes nods, &quot;Been there, buddy. It fucking sucks. But they&#39;ve got this uplift octopus, fucker could cut out the memory of your 11th birthday cake&#39;s tenth candle without missing a beat.&quot;<br /> [20:24] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "You're not talking about Froot physically cutting my brain apart, right?"
[20:26] <ST> Suddenly there's a voice emitting from the speakers of the ship, echoing down the hallway outside. "Attention, children of Phyong Lê. We have intruders on the ship, here to hurt our beloved mother. I suggest you cease your current activities and direct your attention at the Torus." the voice is sultry and rich, a woman's, and she sounds almost drugged. At several times in the message she
[20:26] <ST> giggles and her tone shifts repeatedly for each reiteration.
[20:27] * Tony_Sanchez taps something out on his ecto.<br /> [20:27] &lt;Surra&gt; &lt;*Shit*.&gt;<br /> [20:28] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Fuck. Nate, I know this has been tough on you, buddy, but do you think you could try to detect where they&#39;re coming from?&quot;<br /> [20:28] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Surra, keep using your radar. I&#39;m worried they&#39;ll be on us before you&#39;ll get a good scan of them though.&quot;<br /> [20:28] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Shit, uh, yeah, I can try.&quot;<br /> [20:29] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Jonny tells me that's some sorta AI talking, by the way."
[20:29] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Who is, I quote, &#39;completely nuts.&#39;&quot;<br /> [20:32] * Surra nods and latches herself on the ceiling directly above the door, running every sensor she&#39;s got.<br /> [20:32] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Sorry, I- I got nothin. I can&#39;t concentrate.&quot;<br /> [20:33] * Nate_Loomis looks legitimately distressed.<br /> [20:34] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes nods, readying their weapon, &quot;All right, two options. We stay here and get pincered, or we make for one of the spokes. Anyone want to pick a direction? Either through the quarters or the rec area...&quot;<br /> [20:35] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Either's probably full of people. Quarters."
[20:37] <ST> Xerxes looks at the rest of you
[20:37] <Surra> "Quarters will do."
[20:38] * Nate_Loomis looks legitimately distressed.Isn't that wheer we came from?
[20:38] <Nate_Loomis> "Isn't that where we came from?"
[20:38] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Is it?&quot;<br /> [20:39] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;I don&#39;t know!&quot;&nbsp; He waves to the hoodie. &quot;The rooms had beds and clothes in them!&quot;<br /> [20:40] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Gotta go somewhere. If you'd rather go through the rec room, we can do that instead."
[20:40] <Surra> "It is, but that means we know the route."
[20:40] <ST> "Quarter's where we came from. All spokes lead down to the core of the ship."
[20:41] <Nate_Loomis> "Quarters it is."
[20:44] * Tony_Sanchez goes through the quarters, then.<br /> [20:46] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes nods and you&#39;re off. Even though nothing in the environment has changed since last you were here, the path back feels much more different. Were you to run into any of those monsters here, the close quarters would all but guarantee that you would need to kill it before you could continue.<br /> [20:48] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes takes the lead, and soon you&#39;re back in the corridor lined with rooms on all sides. The corpses are... gone. Every single body removed from where they were, only the splatter of blood hinting at where they died.<br /> [20:49] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Um?"
[20:50] <Surra> "Don't stop. We have to keep moving."
[20:50] <ST> "Surra's right, don't stop or look into any of the rooms, just keep moving."
[20:51] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Sure, why not.&quot;<br /> [20:51] * @Tony_Sanchez keeps on keeping on.<br /> [20:51] * Nate_Loomis just has his eyes closed at this point.<br /> [20:53] * Surra keeps flying.<br /> [20:54] &lt;ST&gt; From one of the rooms comes a strange grunting, growling noise. It is, however, interrupted as you pass and you hear the unmistaken sound of the exsurgent beasts you&#39;ve seen and heard in vid recordings. Two of them<br /> [20:55] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &lt;We&#39;re not stopping to converse with that, right?&gt;<br /> [20:55] * @Tony_Sanchez &#39;s face puckers up like he just ate a whole lemon.<br /> [20:55] &lt;Surra&gt; &lt;Definitely not!&gt;<br /> [20:56] &lt;ST&gt; You hear the unmistaken sound of sharp claws grating into metal as the monsters appear behind you in the corridor, sniffing in the air and howling at their rapidly disappearing prey.<br /> [21:05] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt;&nbsp; /me pushes at however&#39;s in front of him to RUN.<br /> [21:05] * Nate_Loomis pushes at however&#39;s in front of him to RUN.<br /> [21:05] * @Tony_Sanchez doesn&#39;t need any pushing. Honest.<br /> [21:08] * Surra is seriously debating between staying with the others and finding out what this opteryx model&#39;s top speed is.<br /> [21:22] &lt;ST&gt; There is a strangled sound as Nate is no longer running with you.<br /> [21:24] * @Tony_Sanchez looks over his shoulder a moment, then skids to a halt and readies his gun.<br /> [21:26] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes curses and turns around as well, aiming their gun down the hallway. &quot;Nate!&quot; There&#39;s no clear shot at the creature currently wrestling with Nate, who seems to have slipped out of the hoodie he was wearing, momentarily catching the creature off-guard. Tony and Xerxes are met, however, with the rapidly approaching male exsurgent, all claws, teeth and unmentionables.<br /> [21:26] * @Tony_Sanchez takes aim at the gribbly charging them.<br /> [21:27] * Surra hits the proverbial accelerator, pulls up into a stall turn and swings back around, right towards the creatures.<br /> [21:28] &lt;ST&gt; Correction, Nate is currently being held by one arm, unable to slip away as the beast looks ready to slice him to pieces<br /> [21:37] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Help!&quot;<br /> [21:39] &lt;ST&gt; Seeing these things on a vid is bad enough, but in real life the sheer alien nature of these disgustingly humanoid monsters is another entirely. Grossly engorged sexual organs, filthy talons and jaws with massive teeth, pieces of meat still clinging to the corners of their unnaturally large mouths.<br /> [21:40] &lt;ST&gt; Tony turns to fire his weapons, but his nerves simply cannot handle it. He drops his gun and curls up, unable to act or think rationally.<br /> [21:41] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "No! No no no no no no no no no no no no NO NO NO!"
[21:42] * Nate_Loomis is kicking, trying to break free from the monster.
[21:46] <ST> Nate tries desperately to get away, and to some extent he manages, the beast can't get her… its talons on him, and instead opts to throw him against a wall!
[21:48] <ST> The wall actually buckles inwards as Nate's thrown against it, the audible sound of bones cracking as he slumps to the ground!
[21:49] <ST> Nate is unconscious.
[21:50] <ST> Xerxes isn't fast enough as the critter is upon him, claws and jaws biting and snatching
[21:50] <ST> Its claws scrape against the metal of your robot companion!
[21:51] <ST> Something breaks in Xerxes and pressurized gas starts shooting out. Luckily, it's not their firing arm, but the other one, the right, now looks barely functioning.
[21:52] <ST> "FUCK YOU!" Xerxes retaliates, but before they can fire Surra has built enough speed to ram the creature who tossed Nate.
[21:53] <ST> Surra has built enough speed that when she rams into the thing, it flies backwards, claws reaching for anything to hold onto as it is tossed into another wall.
[21:56] <ST> Unfortunately for you all, the creature doesn't even seem harmed, although disoriented. It struggles to get back up, hissing and spitting in anger.
[21:56] <ST> Xerxes, meanwhile, has levelled their gun at the freak and fires
[21:56] <ST> roll 1d100 vs 70 (plus/minus secret modifiers)
[21:56] <Tomoko_> ST rolled 79 79 – It's not like I can just leave you wondering…
[21:59] <ST> Xerxes fires at the fucker and punctures the skin, the automatic rifle drawing blood!
[21:59] <ST> The creature stumbles, clutching at its bleeding gut, but it is far from finished
[22:04] <ST> The wounded beast attempts to separate Xerxes' upper and lower parts violently with a bloodstained snarl on its lips
[22:05] <ST> Its swipe missed by the centi, Xerxes staggering back as they take aim again.
[22:07] <ST> Xerxes unloads another couple of rounds at the beast before them, expressing about as much as a synth can on their flat face
[22:08] <ST> The monster still stands, even as its chest gushes out blood from the bullet holes.
[22:10] <ST> Surra is snatched from the air, the beasts' coordination surprisingly fast, and it begins to pull at the two metal wings, attempting to tear them off her body.
[22:11] <ST> Xerxes screams a Barsoomian curse and unloads into the beast which trembles before it collapses, more holes than flesh in its shape. It is most definitely dead.
[22:13] <ST> If Surra's model had been of a less than perfect brand, her wings would be missing right now, but nothing says quality like Corvax™, and her sleeve remains unharmed… for now.
[22:16] <ST> Surra doesn't manage to break loose from the thing's grip, but her fluttering, cawing and general commotion is making it hard for it to do any kind of damage to her.
[22:17] <ST> Xerxes aims their rifle at the beast, "Drinks on me if I fuck this up, Surra!" they call out and fire
[22:17] <Surra> "Wait, wha-"
[22:18] <ST> Xerxes fires the rest of their magazine at the creature, puncturing a lung and a leg. The shock is too much to its body and it collapses, next to Nate, dropping Surra and splattering blood all over the place.
[22:20] <ST> It is over.
[22:21] * Surra flutters, climbs, spins, then crashes hard, narrowly avoiding breaking one of Nate's legs with the impact. "Shit, shit, shit…"
[22:22] * @Tony_Sanchez is still curled up in a ball, muttering at himself. "No. No. No."
[22:24] <ST> There is no silence, as the broken arm of Xerxes is making a continuous high-pitched noise, but at least the creatures are no longer screaming. The female is on the floor, knocked out yet somehow still alive, even more obscene like this.
[22:25] * Surra goes to see if the unconscious thing has a stack.
[22:26] <ST> It does.
[22:26] * Surra grasps it in her talons and wrenches it out from the back of its neck, sending it skittering across the floor.
[22:27] <ST> The creature shuts down.
[22:27] * Nate_Loomis is still knocked out.

[19:11] <ST> After a fight, you would expect silence to fall over you like a rug, muting out whatever sounds there are… but maybe it's the adrenaline, or maybe it's the realization that there's more of those things on this ship, but nothing seems like it's changed, despite the death of the two creatures you fought. Xerxes' arm continues to whine in an almost painfully fashion, all the while blood pumps
[19:11] <ST> out onto the floor from the corpse and the uninhabited morph on the floor. Klaxons begin to blare, adding even another layer of sound and stress over you.
[19:12] * Phasmatis is now known as Surra
[19:12] * BestJunkratEU is now known as Nate-
[19:12] * Nate- is now known as Nate_Loomis
[19:12] * Fats is now known as Tony_Sanchez
[19:12] <ST> Xerxes rushes up to Nate, trying to shake him awake. "Nate, get up, we need to get the fuck out of here."
[19:13] * Tony_Sanchez adds a little to the blare, muttering to himself as he rocks back and forth.<br /> [19:13] * Nate_Loomis slowly blinks himself awake.<br /> [19:14] * Surra goes to Tony, gently touching his shoulder with the least bloody part of her wing. &quot;Tony. Tony, come on.&quot;<br /> [19:16] * @Tony_Sanchez keeps on rocking for a moment, then peeks out between his fingers. When he opens his mouth, barely more than a whisper comes out. &quot;Is it gone?&quot;<br /> [19:16] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;It&#39;s gone. Let&#39;s get the hell out of here.&quot;<br /> [19:18] * Nate_Loomis tries to move a broken limb. &quot;I don&#39;t wanna be the one to break out more bad news but-&quot; Nate coughs up blood.<br /> [19:18] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;That thing busted my muse.&quot;<br /> [19:18] * @Tony_Sanchez takes a deep breath, lets it out and repeats, then he slowly, painfully, pulls himself to his feet. He shudders as he does it, and he&#39;s not standing anything like as tall as he was five minutes ago, but he&#39;s upright. That&#39;ll have to be enough.<br /> [19:18] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;We&#39;ll fix it when we get back on the ship, we need to get the parts we found and get the fuck outta Dodge.&quot;<br /> [19:19] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;We&#39;ll watch out for you. But Xerxes is right, we have to move, right now.&quot;<br /> [19:19] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "…yeah." A pause for breath. "Yeah, let's get the hell out. Nate, need a shoulder to lean on?"
[19:20] <ST> Xerxes grabs the leaking gas-vent and pinches it shut with their fingers. The arm is still useless, but the whining sound ceases.
[19:21] <Nate_Loomis> "You know? That'd be pretty nice."  He coughs again. "There's a shuttle at ops. We can escape from there."
[19:21] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Works for me. You still want me to try an&#39; hack them when we hit Ops, Xerx?&quot;<br /> [19:22] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Sure, let&#39;s just not waste too much time. We&#39;ll get the debris from Utilities, get to Ops and then report back to Firewall. This place needs to burn.&quot;<br /> [19:23] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Long as that wasn't their plan all along."
[19:23] <ST> "…What do you mean?"
[19:23] <Nate_Loomis> "Why would their plan be burning!? Just blow this place already! I want to go home."
[19:25] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;&#39;Cause the thing riding in Yu&#39;s body was talking to us about blowing the place, and I don&#39;t wanna risk playing into their hands.&quot;<br /> [19:25] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Mighta been a load of shit luring us into an ambush, mighta been trying to persuade us to do their work for 'em, fucked if I know and I'm not in a hurry to find out the hard way."
[19:26] * Nate_Loomis groans. "You're thinking too much."
[19:26] <ST> "You're right… fuck there's so much we don't know about these things. Try to get the shiplogs, anything you can get your hands on when we get to Ops. Just isolate it, encrypt it, whatever, and we'll have the people back home check it out, safe and sound."
[19:27] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Yeah. Fingers ain&#39;t so steady right now, and the mind ain&#39;t either, but I think I can worm somethin&#39; outta there.&quot;<br /> [19:27] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "First, though, we gotta get there. You wanna lead the way?"
[19:27] <Surra> "Good. Let's move."
[19:28] <ST> Xerxes nods and you head towards the elevator shaft. There doesn't seem to be anything more following after you and the descent is about as easy as it can be, considering your damages. It's definitely slower, but the absence of sound is a welcome respite, even if it is brief.
[19:29] * Tony_Sanchez focuses on putting his feet one in front of the other. It&#39;s far from a perfect distraction from his traumas, but it&#39;s all he&#39;s got.<br /> [19:30] * Nate_Loomis also does his best walking.<br /> [19:30] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes moves in strained silence. They can&#39;t feel any pain, probably, but there&#39;s a tenseness now. The creatures know you&#39;re here. Hopefully they won&#39;t guess where you&#39;re going.<br /> [19:31] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Where are we going?&quot;<br /> [19:32] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Ops, right?"
[19:32] * Nate_Loomis visibly relaxes. "Ops is good."
[19:32] <Surra> "Utilities, then Ops. I think. Or maybe the other way around. Xerxes?"
[19:33] <Nate_Loomis> "We need to get off this thing1"
[19:34] <ST> "That's where we can definitely access the databanks without interference… didn't know they had shuttles there, but who the fuck knows what the Khahns have modded into this ship."
[19:35] <ST> You arrive at Utilities again, the place about as empty as it can be, the drones you saw before still recharging and the boxes with debris where you left them.
[19:35] <Nate_Loomis> "Forget the databanks! They won't do shit if we're all dead1"
[19:36] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;They won&#39;t, but I&#39;m fine riskin&#39; death for a good cause.&quot;<br /> [19:36] * Surra ignores him and goes to drag out the crates of wreckage again. She can&#39;t carry them, but she can at least help get them out.<br /> [19:36] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;You can&#39;t hack while we&#39;re escaping?&quot;<br /> [19:37] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Works better if I can stay connected, and given how badly it went when I tried a remote connection, I'm not gonna trust their wireless."
[19:39] <ST> "It's possible the defenses are down, didn't you tell us the Muse seemed kinda loopy? If we're lucky, it won't expect us to access straight into the central system."
[19:39] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Yeah, that&#39;s what I&#39;m hopin&#39;, only prepared for an attack from outside.&quot;<br /> [19:40] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes manages to find a grav-loader, a cart capable of loading the boxes with magnetic fasteners to keep them stuck. &quot;We need to hurry, fuck knows when they decide to inspect this part of the ship.&quot;<br /> [19:40] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "It goes wrong badly, go ahead an' leave without me, I'll kill as many as I can an' save the last round for myself."
[19:40] * Tony_Sanchez helps pile the crud onto the antigrav dolly.<br /> [19:40] * Nate_Loomis looks like he&#39;s about to jet any second.<br /> [19:41] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;No! Why would you even suggest that? I&#39;ll pull your stack before I let you stay here.&quot;<br /> [19:42] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;We might not have a chance. All right, decision time, do we split up here and some of us head back to our ship, or do we go with the shuttle Nate&#39;s talking about.&quot;<br /> [19:43] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Exactly, Surra. Things go too wrong, you might not have time to wait for me."
[19:43] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;An&#39; if we&#39;re going to the Ops shuttle, better call Froot an&#39; tell him to jet on his own.&quot;<br /> [19:45] * Surra shuffles a little awkwardly. &quot;... Fine. But only as a last resort. And I vote we all stick together - splitting up will only give those monsters more chance to find us.&quot;<br /> [19:45] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Yaeh, let's stay together. That way, we might manage to fight through."
[19:45] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;And thanks, Surra.&quot;<br /> [19:46] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Are you done? This place really isn&#39;t safe.&quot;<br /> [19:47] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "We're as done as we're getting. Let's move on."
[19:47] * Tony_Sanchez pushes the dolly.<br /> [19:49] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes walks at the front, weapon at the ready. &quot;Nate, you sensing any life in there now? Didn&#39;t you say there was something big there?&quot;<br /> [19:49] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Wait a minute, sensing?&quot;<br /> [19:50] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;No? I don&#39;t know. Look, we have to get to ops as soon as possible, okay?&quot;<br /> [19:51] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;It&#39;s safe there.&quot;<br /> [19:51] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes gives a terse nod, &quot;All right, let&#39;s go.&quot;<br /> [19:51] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "He's been doin' it all along, Surra. You only just noticed?"
[19:51] <Surra> "I thought it was the drugs talking!"
[19:52] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;He&#39;s in a different morph to the one that got stoned.&quot;<br /> [19:53] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;I&#39;m here, you know.&quot;<br /> [19:53] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "He is."
[19:53] <Surra> "I just assumed he'd topped himself up in the interim."
[19:53] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;So he gets fucked off his head in your bathroom once and you assume he&#39;s always high?&quot;<br /> [19:54] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Well, when you put it like /that/...&quot;<br /> [19:54] * @Tony_Sanchez cracks a smile. He&#39;s clearly enjoying the banter.<br /> [19:54] * Nate_Loomis shifts uncomfortably.<br /> [19:54] &lt;ST&gt; You walk up to the airlock that connects to the Ops, it slides open with a hiss and you step inside. As the lock closes behind you, light flickers to life and... you realize what it was that Nate had sensed.<br /> [19:55] * @Tony_Sanchez was going to keep on shit-talking, but paying attention to his surroundings seems more important now, for some reason.<br /> [19:56] &lt;ST&gt; A massive... thing... is covering almost the entire surface of the room. It&#39;s fleshy, without any hair, but there&#39;s no body to speak of. Instead, multiple gaping orifices of... of questionable use line the surface, along with five mouths, singing a strange, peaceful song in harmony as three massive tendrils stroke several bulges along the surface. The flesh has covered everything but a few<br /> [19:56] &lt;ST&gt; panels where it seems to have been cut away, one of them being, thankfully, the entry-port to the ship&#39;s main computer.<br /> [19:57] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Oh."
[19:58] * Nate_Loomis looks oddly at peace.
[20:00] <ST> Xerxes pauses… then shakes their head, "Tony… Do it. We need this data… With any luck, this thing can't see us."
[20:01] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;You realise I&#39;m gonna have to walk on it to get to the terminal?&quot;<br /> [20:02] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;It&#39;s okay. We&#39;re safe here.&quot;<br /> [20:02] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Thanks." Even Nate might be able to tell that one was sarcastic.
[20:04] <Nate_Loomis> "Welcome." He doesn't seem to.
[20:06] * Tony_Sanchez starts shaking again.<br /> [20:07] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes sighs, &quot;Can you guide me if I do it?&quot;<br /> [20:08] * @Tony_Sanchez whispers. &quot;I can try.&quot;<br /> [20:11] * Nate_Loomis (ottensorcery-gq76pm.dynamic.amis.net) Quit (Connection closed)
[20:12] * Surra is standing there, incredibly tense, not moving in the slightest. "We can't be here. We cannot be here."
[20:12] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Take my ecto an&#39; plug it in, oughta have a few useful tools.&quot;<br /> [20:15] * varis (varissorcery-gq76pm.dynamic.amis.net) has joined #heresy
[20:16] * varis is now known as Nate_Loomis
[20:17] <ST> Xerxes gives the giant flesh thing a long look before they slowly walk over to the exposed panel, connecting Tony's ecto to it while shooting the mother…thing occasional glances.
[20:18] <Surra> "Hurry, hurry, hurry hurry hurryhurryhurryhurryhurryhurry-"
[20:19] <Nate_Loomis> "It's okay,"  Nate reassures Surra.
[20:20] <ST> "All right… this seems… pretty self-explanatory…"
[20:20] <Surra> "No! No, this is not okay! What the hell gives you the idea that anything here is even remotely okay, Nate?!"
[20:21] * Nate_Loomis looks at her in confusion. "Listen to me. This place is safe. This is where we need to be."
[20:22] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Yeah, it&#39;s not quite &#39;just run hax.exe&#39; but it&#39;s simple enough if ya got some clue what you&#39;re doing.&quot;<br /> [20:22] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;It&#39;s all going to be over soon, okay?&quot;<br /> [20:22] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;It&#39;s downloading...&quot;<br /> [20:24] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Good."
[20:24] <Nate_Loomis> "Just a little more."  He gives Surra what he hopes is a reassuring pat,
[20:24] * Surra jolts as Nate touches her. "Listen, we have to get out of here! Nate's lost his mind, and this… this… is there even a shuttle here?!"
[20:25] <Nate_Loomis> "Hey! Calm down."
[20:27] <ST> "Done! W… What are you doing!?"
[20:27] * Nate_Loomis makes to grab Surra.
[20:27] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Oh, Christ alive...&quot;<br /> [20:27] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;We have to - hey! Hey!&quot;<br /> [20:34] &lt;ST&gt; Surra&#39;s been grabbed by Nate who is... surprisingly strong despite his broken ribs!<br /> [20:34] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; Exalts, man. Good sleeves.<br /> [20:35] * Surra flails violently, with all four pointy ends and the tail for good measure.<br /> [20:35] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Get off get off get /off/!&quot;<br /> [20:35] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes raises their gun, aiming it squarely at Nate. &quot;Should&#39;ve known.&quot;<br /> [20:36] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;Just shut up, will you!?&quot;&nbsp; Nate is holding gripping her tightly.<br /> [20:36] &lt;ST&gt; Nate&#39;s grip is adamant, and any scratches Surra makes doesn&#39;t even seem to register, his blissful expression unchanging.<br /> [20:36] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Just settle the fuck down, all of you, eh?"
[20:36] <Surra> "I see no reason I should be settling down here!"
[20:36] <Nate_Loomis> "Be quiet!!"
[20:37] <Surra> "Let go!"
[20:37] <ST> Xerxes fires at Nate.
[20:38] * Nate_Loomis pulls Surra to his chest and turns around the room. He swings and throws Surra at the cart.
[20:40] <ST> What happens seems to be almost in slow motion. Nate throws Surra hard against the cart, her metallic body smashing into the crates which explodes in a cloud of dust. Xerxes bullet hits home in Nate's stomach, sending him reeling to the floor.
[20:40] <ST> "FUCK! Surra get out of there!"
[20:41] * Nate_Loomis collapses, coughing up more blood than before. His hands are on the wound on his stomach.
[20:41] * Surra flies out of the expanding cloud as fast as she physically can.
[20:41] <Surra> "Shit! Shit! Shit!"
[20:43] <Nate_Loomis> With a loud groan, Nate tries to drag himself back to his feet and crash against Xerxes.
[20:43] * Tony_Sanchez is watching all of this in horror, but he&#39;s shaking too badly to intervene.<br /> [20:44] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Tony, take the ecto and get the FUCK OUT OF HERE!&quot;<br /> [20:45] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes is slammed into hard by Nate, weapon flying out of their hand as they collapse with the mad man atop them.<br /> [20:46] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; Now on top of Xerxes, Nate tries to roll them both right into the cloud where the crates used to be.<br /> [20:47] * @Tony_Sanchez shudders once more, but manages to more or less pull himself together. He sprints across the blob on the floor, grabs the ecto and books it the hell out of there.<br /> [20:47] * Surra descends right towards the back of Nate&#39;s neck, talons extended viciously.<br /> [20:47] &lt;ST&gt; Surra manages to dodge one of the tendrils as it tries to slam against her, the limb as thick as an arm, ending in small, stubby fingers. There&#39;s a deep, resounding roar from the mountain of flesh as it quivers in anger, and... you hear the sudden shriek from one of those monsters.<br /> [20:47] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes tries to fight back against Nate, but they&#39;re surprised and overwhelmed, and within seconds they&#39;re both engulfed by the cloud as well<br /> [20:48] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;GE- GET OUT! BOTH OF YOU! RUN AND GET THIS SHIT OUT!&quot; Xerxes tries to punch Nate off of him.<br /> [20:48] * Surra turns and flees, quickly accelerating to catch up to Tony. &quot;I&#39;m sorry! I&#39;m so sorry!&quot;<br /> [20:50] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Nothin' to apologise about. An' you should carry this, you've got a better shot at getting out if something goes wrong."
[20:50] * Tony_Sanchez holds out the ecto.<br /> [20:51] * Surra takes it with barely any hesitation. &quot;Of course. You&#39;re right. But don&#39;t use that as an excuse to just die for the sake of it!&quot;<br /> [20:52] * @Tony_Sanchez flashes a grin. &quot;Don&#39;t you worry. I still wanna find out if that psychosurgeon Xerx mentioned is as good as all that.&quot;<br /> [20:53] &lt;ST&gt; Xerxes manages to shove Nate off of themselves and scrambles for their handgun, completely enveloped by the cloud. &quot;Sorry this happened to you, Nate. It never gets fucking easy.&quot;<br /> [20:54] &lt;Nate_Loomis&gt; &quot;It&#39;s okay. It&#39;s all going to be okay now,&quot;<br /> [20:55] &lt;ST&gt; Meanwhile, Surra and Tony run out of the room, realizing immediately that there are several of the monsters descending from the torus. One of them is almost down already, soundlessly diving through the low-grav towards you.<br /> [20:55] * @Tony_Sanchez says nothing, but runs with all the strength he can still muster.<br /> [20:58] * Surra adjusts her grip on the ecto, and flies low over Tony&#39;s head. &quot;Grab my legs! I can get us past them!&quot;<br /> [20:58] * @Tony_Sanchez grabs on.<br /> [20:59] * Surra flies on, only slightly hindered by Tony&#39;s weight thanks to the lower gravity.<br /> [21:00] * Nate_Loomis grabs his pistol in turn and points it at Xerxes.<br /> [21:00] &lt;ST&gt; The idea is sound and Surra zooms ahead, built for this kind of travel. The two pass the creature just barely, continuing on towards the next airlock, the maintenance room that connects to the walkway that is where their shuttle is.<br /> [21:01] * @Tony_Sanchez swings from Surra&#39;s legs and kicks at the airlock controls once the two get within reach.<br /> [21:02] * Nate_Loomis fires.<br /> [21:03] &lt;ST&gt; The shot misses, with a margin, and Xerxes spares no time firing back.<br /> [21:05] &lt;ST&gt; The bullet lodges itself in Nate&#39;s chest, and despite the Exalt&#39;s superior physiology, the damage is too much and Nate collapses, unable to keep fighting<br /> [21:08] &lt;ST&gt; Tony&#39;s battered mentally, just barely holding on, but summoning up the strength he might not have thought he had, he gets the airlock open and the two go through. The creatures are far behind you but... past the lock you&#39;re face to face with a blowtorch!<br /> [21:16] &lt;ST&gt; Surra&#39;s quick on the uptake, however, and shifts out of the way from the superheated tool, speeding past the disheveled woman who attacked them. The airlock to the walkway&#39;s open and with the monsters at your heels, you zoomb through it and towards the docked ship.<br /> [21:17] &lt;ST&gt; Within seconds you are once again by your rented vehicle, creatures in hot pursuit. There&#39;s no sign of neither Xerxes or Nate behind you, but Froot seems safe, the headless corpses of two attackers floating serenely in the vacuum, their blood making interesting patterns.<br /> [21:18] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Open up, Froot!&quot;<br /> [21:18] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Can&#39;t let you in until I&#39;ve scanned you for contamination, Xerxes told me.<br /> [21:19] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Wait, no, take off, then open up!&quot; Surra latches herself magnetically to the side of the shuttle.<br /> [21:19] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Get on with it, then, we got some on our tail!"
[21:19] <ST> Alright, Stay on the ship, I'm getting us out of here. Where's the others?"
[21:20] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Nate flipped his lid, Xerx held him off while we escaped.&quot;<br /> [21:20] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Oh, and I've got another snuff film for your collection, I figure you'd appreciate that."
[21:21] <ST> The ship begins its departure and… you see Xerxes. They've ejected themselves out of another airlock, but without proper boosters they're just floating through space. There's two of the creatures on their tail, moving rapidly towards your robotic friend.
[21:21] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Hey, Xerx is off to port!&quot;<br /> [21:21] &lt;ST&gt; You realize that Xerxes is missing their lower body, but.. does have an untouched crate with them.<br /> [21:22] &lt;Surra&gt; &quot;Froot! Let Tony in, dammit, I&#39;ll go get them!&quot;<br /> [21:22] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Can&#39;t... shake&#39;em... take the crate, get it back to Ming!&quot;<br /> [21:22] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;Alright, Tony scans clean, get in here.&quot;<br /> [21:22] * Surra releases Tony and launches herself towards Xerxes.<br /> [21:24] * @Tony_Sanchez hops in the airlock, but doesn&#39;t close the door. He grabs onto the frame with one hand and draws his pistol with the other.<br /> [21:25] &lt;ST&gt; Surra flies off towards Xerxes who seems... thoroughly wrecked. The two creatures following behind them are almost there now, and they will probably reach them before Surra does!<br /> [21:25] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Can ya fly us cloers, Froot?"
[21:26] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; *closer<br /> [21:26] &lt;ST&gt; &quot;I&#39;ll try, but we should seriously get the fuck out of here.&quot; There&#39;s more of the critters making their way towards your shuttle. Apparently they&#39;re quite adept at navigating the vacuum<br /> [21:26] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Damn right we should, but I ain't leaving them behind."
[21:26] <ST> Xerxes tosses the crate ahead of them, towards Surra, with obvious intentions.
[21:27] * @Tony_Sanchez takes aim at the gribbly closest to Xerxes.
[21:29] * @Tony_Sanchez grits his teeth, holds his breath and squeezes out two short bursts.
[21:30] * Surra grabs the crate, aligns herself, and launches off it towards Xerxes. The crate, thanks to Newtonian physics, goes zooming off at an equal and opposite speed.
[21:30] <ST> Two shots fly past Surra and Xerxes. Neither hits their intended targets, but it serves as a distraction. Unfortunately, only for one of them, as the other one grabs onto Xerxes, pulling them closer to rake with its claw.
[21:31] <ST> The one distraction shot actually DOES land, and it sends the creature flying off into the void.
[21:31] <ST> Meanwhile, Xerxes is struggling against the creature, only to have an angry metal bird zoom towards him!
[21:31] <Surra> "Xerxes, I'm really really sorry, but I'm going to have to pull your stack!"
[21:33] <ST> "T…Take Nate too, get it l-looked over!" There's a LOT of things broken in the synths case, leaking fluids and bits all over the place. Xerxes reaches up to their neck and presses a small switch, dislodging the stack and sending it, and one they were holding, flying slowly towards Surra.
[21:34] * Surra grabs the stacks, aligns herself on Xerxes' former morph, and launches back towards the crate.
[21:35] <ST> The creature that was Nate snarls at Surra as she launches herself off of Xerxes' case, back towards the ship.
[21:38] <ST> Surra comes zooming back towards the shuttle, towards Tony!
[21:39] * @Tony_Sanchez grabs Surra, stacks and crate and hauls them into the airlock.

[19:53] <ST> There's only three of you left. Nate and Xerxes both fell victim to the genetically engineered disease that had struck the Song Cai flower and her crew. Thankfully, none of you are infected (as far as you know), and you succeeded in retrieving Xerxes' stack, Nate's having been lost along with his rapidly mutating sleeve. Froot seems deep in thought as he steers you towards the other shuttle,
[19:53] <ST> the lot of you having decided to pick it up on the way back
[19:53] <ST> Thankfully, Nate is not lost, as all of you made backups before you departed. He won't remember what happened, but perhaps that is for the best.
[19:54] <ST> Correction, Nate's stack is with you too!
[19:55] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;I really wish we had something to sleeve Xerxes into, so I could ask if all FIrewall jobs tend to go this tits up.&quot;<br /> [19:59] * Surra just sits there for a moment before realising somebody spoke. &quot;Hm? Oh. I&#39;m sure Firewall will have a spare or something we can sleeve them into when we meet up with them.&quot;<br /> [19:59] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Yeah, no doubt, but that's then. Right now, I don't got much to do but sit and stew."
[20:01] * Surra nods. "Does this ship have a CM? We should get a Faraday container for…" She gestures to the crate, and the two stacks.
[20:01] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Fuck if I know. Could have a look.&quot;<br /> [20:02] * @Tony_Sanchez has a look, because it&#39;s something to distract himself.<br /> [20:07] &lt;ST&gt; There is, unfortunately, no such device connected to the ship, but considering who you borrowed it from, that&#39;s probably to be expected. That, or a black market one that has a 1 in 12 chance of blowing up when you feed it material.<br /> [20:08] * @Tony_Sanchez looks for a metal box or a roll of tinfoil or something, instead.<br /> [20:09] &lt;ST&gt; That&#39;s present, in large quantities. At least enough that you can wrap a few layers around the crate.<br /> [20:10] * @Tony_Sanchez does that, and also with Nate&#39;s stack.<br /> [20:11] &lt;ST&gt; Slowly but surely you approach the Kesyrah, Yu and Bey&#39;s ride here. It&#39;s floating anchored where it was when you left it, as desolate as before.<br /> [20:12] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Surra, don't suppose you can pilot?"
[20:13] <Surra> "I know how, technically, but I haven't piloted in years."
[20:14] <ST> "Should be able to connect this ship's flight computer with that one… It's not going to maneuver well so one of you should keep track of it, but it'll follow along decently."
[20:15] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;Good. &#39;cause I haven&#39;t got a hope, right now.&quot; He holds up his hands, which haven&#39;t stopped shaking since the flesh room.<br /> [20:19] &lt;ST&gt; Froot points with a free tentacle at the airlock, &quot;Out you go, birdie, go fly that spacetomb.&quot;<br /> [20:20] * Surra heads out the airlock to the Kesyrah. &quot;Joy of joys...&quot;<br /> [20:26] &lt;ST&gt; The trip back to Casa Arturo is long and blissfully uneventful. Tony&#39;s hands, despite the calm, refuse to stop shaking, but perhaps a visit to that psychosurgeon Xerxes spoke about, once this is all over, will be able to heal the damage. You return the Keysarah and the ship you borrowed to their rightful owner who, despite the corpse in the cargo, asks few questsions and instead promises to<br /> [20:26] &lt;ST&gt; hook you up with some people in the future if you need help (+5 @-rep to all of you)<br /> [20:26] &lt;ST&gt; With the ships handed in, and your cargo kept under lock and key, what do you do now?<br /> [20:28] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "Well, I promised Iosaiah I'd tell him about it when I got back, so I'm gonna go do that. Maybe talking through this with a friend will help a little."
[20:28] <Surra> "Be careful what you say. The last thing we need is to cause widespread panic."
[20:29] <Tony_Sanchez&gt; &quot;I trust Io. If I tell him to keep it under his hat, he&#39;ll keep it under his hat. But yeah, I don&#39;t want that any more than you do.&quot;<br /> [20:34] &lt;Tony_Sanchez> "While I do that, could ya maybe call Ming and let him know the mission's more or less complete? He'll probably want to wait for the details in person, but he oughta at least be happy to know that much."
[20:34] <Surra> "Will do."
[20:35] * Surra does just that.
[20:39] <ST> Ming doesn't reply in person to Surra, as she only gets to speak with his Muse, but she is assured that an appropriate meet-up point will be set up in due time
[20:42] <Surra> "Hurry up and wait at this point, it seems."
[20:42] * @Tony_Sanchez is on the way over to Iosaiah's office.
[20:43] * Nate_Loomis is a stack.

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