Outlaw Star: Distant Star Era

Episode 19 - No More Bullshit Side Quests?
Never stop! Never stopping!

PREVIOUSLY, ON OUTLAW STAR DISTANT STAR

Deliver the strain of Bloat to "public" George.
Bring the original sample of Bloat to the FASF.
Figure out what to do with Izzy and Tiny.

Altuunius, held at gunpoint, is being marched towards a hovercraft by a mysterious rat-faced shape-shifting assassin. Altuunius has the Bloat sample. Altuunius tries to negotiate with the assassin, who is not down to conversate. 

"They said you was not to be killed, but not that you wasn't to be maimed." -shady assassin boy

Altuunius learns from the assassin that they have been hired by a fellow Jaguardian to have a chat 'under extreme duress.' The driver of the car is some kind of Saurian cyborg man – a manborg, if you will – the first Saurian seen on Hoseki Station. Altuunius tries to read his mind, but comes up against a mental block.

"I wouldn't do that. " -the mysterious Saurian
"Say no more, I'm going with you." -Altuunius, on comms
​​​​​"WHAT DO YOU MEAN, 'she's going with him'?!"  – Khalef Kokotl

The assassin reveals that it cost them a lot of money and took them a lot of time to find Altuunius. They begin making their way into the higher-end spacedocks. The duo reveal that they have been sent to recover Altuunius for a specific party: Erranius, their estranged sister. Altuunius has been relaying all this information over to the crew through their comms. Before the assassin notices that Altuunius is doing this, Altuunius overwhelms him with a barrage of psychic ennui. This causes the shapeshifting assassin to have a sad time and completely drop his guard, and the Saurian stops the car.

"What did you do!?"  - a confused and angry Saurian
" WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" – Khalef Kokotl, over comms

Back at the FASF base, the resistance troops are a little bewildered as to where their promised disease sample might be. They are a bit more bemused to find that the search and recovery party has returned with an entirely different quarry than expected: the erstwhile Shiltovian scientist Iztlactli, bloody and bruised, and the Tepitizin, the four-armed albino Shiltolvian abomination.

The party is not in great shape. Kokotl's arm has just begun to regenerate. Sharna Marsh-Marsh and Faj Smash-Smash have been exposed to the Bloat. They're currently ensconced into gigantic mobile isolation chambers – which are basically just enormous hamster balls with angry sick kitties in them. Sharna is doing her best to resist scratching the hives caused by the Bloat, which spreads it. Faj is not having such luck.

"We need the cure for Faj!" Brytner Swiitner 
"And me!"  
Sharna
"You're resisting it so far, you'll fine!" -Brytner Swiitner​​​​​
"We need to save Altuunius…but more importantly, we need to save me." -Sharna

Sharna is restless but fatigued (-1); Faj is too incapacitated to move (-4). The DICC has decided that they are going to stay behind and anaylize the course of the disease in Faj and possibly try to cure them. 

"If Sharna does not survive, please return her body. It would be very nice to have some more…samples." -DICC

Khalef Kokotl's left arm is slowly regenerating. Tepitizin - Tiny – is busy tending to its 'father'  - Izzy - while Benny tries to help. Swiitner tries to persuade Tiny to come with them and complete the mission and make its father's life easier. Tiny wants to stay with its father now, but seems willing to help out later.

In order to make their way over to the docks as fast as possible, the crew commandeers the ice-cream truck that belongs to the ice-cream parlor that the FASF have commandeered for their base. The ice-cream truck has a springy Silgrian's clown head on a spring on the top.

The One is driving, Kokotl is in the passenger seat seated on Swiitner's lap. Sharna is crammed into the back in her iso-ball, rolling around helplessly in the back and getting spattered in ice cream. 

One cruises right on up the station roadway, while Kokotl makes phone calls. Kokotl successfully manages to order the shut-down of the upper-class spacedock, claiming that there is a possibility of pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Saurian man-droid has pulled a scatter-railgun on Altuunius and has told her to stop.  Altuunius Taunts the Saurian, telling him that it knows that he can't kill it (+11). Enraged, the Saurian tears the seats separating them open to glare. Altuunius screams its "girliest scream" and bombards the assassin with chauvinism.

"I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M GOING TO DIE IN THIS KIND OF CAR AT THIS SPECIFIC INTERSECTION!" -Altuunius

Skabis, a bit overwhelmed, dives in front of his comrade Ashlee to try and talk him down. Altuunius tucks and rolls out of the car. Altuunius looks up to see a giant springing Silgrian head in clown makeup speeding up the roadway, blasting Clair de Lune at an incredibly accelerated speed.

The truck nearly mows down some old grandmother in her shitty floating car.

As the ice-cream hover-truck speeds by, Sharna Marsh-Marsh flies out in her iso-ball and launches straight into the air as Altuunius steps in. One and Ashlee make eye-contact as Kokotl uses Swiitner's Caster gun to blast the mercenary's car away with a beam of piercing light. Sharna Marsh-Marsh bounces harmlessly to the ground, and rolls back into the floating truck. The old grandma screams and swears at the truck, which immediately speeds off.

Kokotl reports that the old grandma and the damaged truck are the suspected pathogenic sources, but Swiitner tosses the babushka a cup of ice cream, which she seems to appreciate.

"What's with your sister?" -Sharna Marsh-Marsh
"We don't have gender. My sibling, however, is a backstabbing bitch." -Altuuinius

The crew drives away to head back to the FASF base, having recently reunited.

"You don't understand. For the last few years of my life, I haven't been able to trust anyone." -Altuunius
"Oh, Lady Altuunius. We don't trust you either."  -Koko

Altuunius reveals that there is a "public" and "private" George Luo. The "private" George Luo has been secretly manipulating the different Shiltolvian liberation fronts. This information causes Kokotl to have a minor crisis of identity. 

"We side with whoever can heal me the fastest…" -Sharnas

Swiitner does a brisk business out of the side of the ice-cream truck. Where is the crew going to go?

  • Benny's Best ice cream parlor, the base of the Fourth Archeropteran Shiltolvian Front 
  • George Luo's private laboratory

Altunnius connects to George on his private line, who expresses his concerns for Altuunius and the safety of the crew, giving them the directions to the private laboratory. The crew decides to go to George Luo's private laboratory, where they are greeted by the cybernetic Yeti and a few scientists and personnel that they do not recognize. George's science staff synthesizes a cure for the Bloat in about an hour, while the crew recuperates.

☑ Deliver the strain of Bloat to "public" George.

Kokotl eats a tremendous amount of meat by itself in the kitchen, regenerating its arm completely.

Upon being administered, the cure makes Sharna Marsh-Marsh cry like a baby. A medic named Mike administers the cure to Sharna and gives a copy of the cure to Kokotl, who uses a medic check (+7) to copy the chemical compound and will not be able to replicate it at will. Sharna Marsh-Marsh is liberated from her bubble.

The crew returns back to the FASF base. Faj is not in good shape; he's too weak to even eat ice cream. Kokotl administers the cure to Faj, who does not cry, much to the chagrin of Sharna. Kokotl shares the cure synthesis information with Benny, telling them that it was all its doing.

☑ <s>Bring the original sample of Bloat to the FASF.</s> Bring a cure for the Bloat to the FASF.

He immediately feels better! Kokotl also tricks him into signing a document that he will not ask for additional wages, and that he is classified as a "bodyguard", which is set to an incredibly low "competitive" rate, that will be paid out "quarterly." Sharna Marsh-Marsh, embarrassed and horrified, challenges Faj Smash-Smash to various games. He wins them all, handily, turning out to be a savant at games. Enraged, Sharna Marsh-Marsh punches Faj Smash-Smash in the face.

"OH, REAL MATURE. GLAD WE DIDN'T GET MARRIED!" -Faj
"The feeling is mutual!" -Sharna

The DICC returns with blood on its paws.

"Today has a been a good day for learning." -DICC

Kokotl presents the information on its datapad about the Bloat cure to the DICC, who "inadvertently" downloads all the information on Kokotl's datapad. One and Kokotl have a brief conversation in secret.

Altunnius uses their street smarts to learn that their sibling is lodged at the Nebula Hyatt penthouse. Altuunius also learns that Skabis and Ashlee were not found on scene, and that the old driving grandma is being detained and supervised by security forces.

Izzy and Tiny have been cooperating with the forces of the FASF. Tiny occasionally waves coyly at Swiitner whenever it sees him.

Altuunius announces that their sibling has closed in on their location, and maybe that the crew should deal with them or flee the station. 

"I don't think that will be a concern right now…" -Kokotl
"Which is why I think it will be a concern right now." -One 

Kokotl proposes that the crew make their way to run Sharna Marsh-Marsh's errand. The crew makes their way to One's ship.

Now what is there to do?

The current quest is:
☐ Uncover the origin of the blockage on Grovian Death-Slugs to help Wong.
 

Other quests:
☐ Deal with Errannius' and their retenue.
☐ Skabis and Ashlee are still at large.
☐ Find out who has stopped the "special shrimp shipments" to Wong's Famous Noodles.
☐ Steal Melfina Khan's research.
☐ Investigate the Ctarl-Ctarl empire purges.
☐ Discover the nature of "The Plan" that Chaz Zabrick and George Luo has.
☐ Obtain a bigger ship.
☐ Obtain a "big fuck-off body" for Reggie, who is still locked in a firewall in Reggie's ship.
☐ Seek the Galactic Leyline. 

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Episode 18 -

OBJECTIVES:

<input name=“Deliver the strain of BLOAT to &quot;public&quot; George.” /> Deliver the strain of BLOAT to "public" George.
<input /> Figure out what to do with Izzy. 
<input /> Attempt to track down Tepitzin, the Shallot abomination.

The battle is won. Brynhold Swiitner loots three scorched Caster shells from the body of Johnny White.

Kokotl and Patch have a brief exchange about the merits and necessity of hunting the Tepitzin. 

"Do you smell what Turock is cooking?"
"Turock is a fine hunter, but I see no reason why-"

Kokotl convinces Patch that it'd be more prudent to return the BLOAT vial to the Fourth Archeopteran Shill's Front.

After ​​​​​​Faj Smash-Smash has hog-tied the shiltolvian scientist Izzy, Sharna Marsh-Marsh takes him away and properly ties the scientist before returning it to Faj, causing the bewildered behemoth to believe he's been subjected to a marriage proposal. After some miscommunication and lots of hurt feelings, Faj throws down the bound and bloodied Izzy and runs off down the tunnel, inadvertently running after the abomination. Koko challenges Patch to pursue both Faj and the abomination, causing Patch to sprint off ahead in a hunting frenzy. Kokotl picks up the bound and gagged scientist and hoists it over its shoulders, hurrying behind. Swiitner and DICC hang back, encouraging the One to take the initiative on this chase. Sharna is chasing Faj to try and calm him down.

Patch finds a break in the trail and stops to smell the road. Faj has run to the left, going to cry; the abomination has run to the right. Patch chases after the abomination; Sharna goes after Faj. The One relays her instructions to Brynhold and Monster/DICC.  

"Follow the tail juice." – The One

Koko slices off Izzy's tail – it's probably fine – and uses the blood from the tail to distinguish between the two paths, using crude stick figures.

Meanwhile, Sharna and Faj are having a heart-to-heart. Faj is curled into a ball, sobbing hysterically. 

"I thought we had something special!"
"Maybe one day! A long, long, long, LONG day away…in the future."

Sharna offers to help Faj find an ideal mate, while also persuading him to continue protecting Kokotl and serve as his meat shield. Sharna will even write him a letter of recommendation! Faj believes that he has now been hired on as part of the crew: now he thinks Kokotl needs to pay him.

"Let us run, yes?" -Faj Smash-Smash

One arrives just in time to witness the Tepitzin absolutely brutalize Patch, having thrown him in a wall. When Kokotl attempts to negotiate with the Tepitizin, it notices that Koko's carrying its "father" — and proceeds to brutalize Kokotl [2 wounds] as well. Swiitner, impressed with the strength of the creature, applauds it and asks what it wants. Tepitizin develops a huge crush on Brynhold Sweetner, because of course it does.

"I want to be left alone…why do you hunt me!?" – Tepitizin

One takes advantage of its distraction to jab it with her Stun Injector, throwing the Tepitizin off its game. 

"Oh, you all came into the same hole."
"We sure did."

Faj and Sharna arrive to the mayhem. Faj goes over to check on/harass Kokotl. Swiitner attempts to use its stun gun on Tepitizin and manages to knock it down. Sharna attempts to punch it in the face, but its tiny arm catches her fist. Tepitizin flings Sharna into Swiitner, inflicting a wound on Sharna and knocking out Swiitner entirely. The One lands a slicing blow on the Tepitizin, inflicting a sizable wound on it, and Sharna tackles it with her energy claws, but the thing JUST WON'T GO DOWN.

Koko manages to stabilize Izzy, causing the Tepitizin to stop attacking everyone and calm down. Somehow, Kokotl convinces the Tepitizin – "Tiny" – to carry all of their unconscious comrades back to the surface.

En route to the surface, Sharna Marsh-Marsh and Faj Smash-Smash are exposed to the Bloat. They'll probably be fine, but right now they're very sleepy.

Benny and the rest of the Fourth Archaeopteran Shill's Front are suprised and horrified, but Kokotl explains the situation to the bewildered revolutionaries as the Ctarl-Ctarls are put in isolation. Sharna is able to resist the urge to scratch and spread the infection; Faj is not.

"Koko…"
"Yes. Sharna?"
"Kill me…let me die with honor."
"Later, Sharna."

 

 One of the FASF's doctors explains that the Ctarl-Ctarl will probably be fine, because they have the sample, right?

Meanwhile, back on the ship, Altuunius is enjoying a nice cup of Space Coffee, waiting for George's contact Boxter to arrive. He does, but he looks anxious. Altuunius reads his mind to learn out that he's actually Skabis, a mercenary for higher. Though Altuunius tries to emotionally overload him and then shoot him, Skabis is able to get one over on her and 

Monster/DIC
One
Altuunius

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Episode 17 - Viva Las Plague-us
A whirlwind of death and failure!

PREVIOUSLY, ON OUTLAW STAR DISTANT STAR

The FASF - the Fourth Archaeopteran Shill’s Front – is licking their wounds, literally and figuratively. Benny appraises the crew of the situation, explaining that the initial assault forces have met with some stiff resistance through the tunnels. Benny mentions that he would have preferred to have abandoned the tunnels entirely, but will hold off on securing them until things go thoroughly FUBAR.

Benny hands off the access tunnel map to Kokotl, who uploads it for the rest of the crew. The secret lab, it is revealed, is found at the back of an abandoned Mr. Chippy's Restaurant.  Benny, as a messenger and speakeasy operator, declines to join the crew on their mission. A small contingent of Shiltolvian rebels has been <s>coerced</s> convinced to lead the crew to their destination.

Private George would like a sample of the Bloat, in order to synthesize a cure for it. But otherwise, if the Bloat must be destroyed…somehow.

"Do we know how to destroy it?" -Monster/DIC
"Not one bit." – Benny
"How do we handle it?" - Sharna Marsh-Marsh
"Don't." – Benny

The crews have been equipped with special hazmat suits to keep them as safe as possible. One's suit has been filled with water, allowing her to operate at peak physical efficiency, but inhibits her natural Notice [-2].

"Private George said Public George shouldn't know about things and also mentioned something about…um…pass it directly to…private George, and not Ibast. I don't know how, I don't know who, so…welp!" -Benny

Benny exits the scene. Kokotl, rolling a 7 Intimidate, has inspired the Shiltolvian escorts – Patch (regenerating an eye), Stumpy (regenerating his tail), Righty and Lefty (both intact) – while embarrassing the rebels remaining…with one exception, a meshugge with a yellow crest. He's probably fine and definitely not bitter about it.

As the squad makes their way towards the two main paths leading to the laboratory, Kokotl and Patch notice that there's less vermin in the sewer than there ordinarily would be. Brynhold Swiitner can hear scrabbling off in the distance: for no vermin, there's a surprising amount of visceral sounds coming from the right and that the left path has fewer lights.

Stumpy, growing frustrated, teeters off to the left and Lefty and Righty go off to the right while Swiitner tries to explain the situation. Faj and Koko form the Tower of Power – Kokotl jumps on Faj's back –  to lead. Patch, who has a deep and bassy voice for a Shiltolvian, follows behind while Faj reminisces about his glorious time as a meat shield for the Ctarl-Ctarl Empire. The DIC notices that some of the lights have been melted in an unusual way, but believes they must have been mistaken…

-I say sir, there seems to be an unusual circumstance regarding the lighting fixtures; I'd fancy an opportunity to examine… 
-Do be quiet, whelp! I care not for what you fancy! Attend to our task at hand!

~Patch and Kokotl, a conversation in Shiltovian 

Patch tries to tell Kokotl that there's something wrong with the lights, but Kokotl ignores it and tells them not to touch anything. Shortly, Stumpy's body is discovered. Kokotl and Patch have a brief discussion about the oncoming Bloat, but something else is wrong…

Is…nobody noticing our melting suits? – Swiitner

Patch approaches the body with a glow-stick, finding an aerosolized cloud in front of it that seems to have deteriorated Stumpy's suit and killed him. Throwing the glow-stick into the cloud, more bodies infected with Bloat can be seen. Some of the shiltolvian corpses, aside from being infected with Bloat, also seem different. They're more reptilian, scaly, and bigger than normal shiltolvians; their skin is marked with patches of absent pigmentation, not unlike vitiligo. Unlike Stumpy's body, which has violently exploded with the Bloat and been smeared all over the walls of the tunnel, these bodies are simply enormously large and misshapen, pulsating with pustules that seem to contain active aerosolized Bloat contagon.  

DIC disengages from Monster, which immediately begins to paw at its suit trying to get it off, before being stopped by Sharna. DIC interfaces with the ventilation system in order to clear the tunnels of the Bloat gas. As the Bloat gas passes over plastic items on its way out, such as the glow-stick, it deteriorates them.

Moving on ahead, the crew gets their first sight of the White Shallots. They are decidedly not normal shiltolvians. They are bigger – five feet, compared to the four feet of the [tall for his race] Khalef Kokotl. Their features are less avian and more reptilian: their bodies, instead of covered with the rich and gaudy plumage of normal shiltolvians, are covered with scales and a downy discolored fuzz. They display none of the neuroses or anxious tics that define normal shiltolvians, composing themselves with a reptilian patience and calm.

The Shallots…they see themselves as true shiltolvians. Their scientists went through and took all the…[what's the word?]…trash out of their genetics. -Patch

Huitzltzadik, they're hideous. – Kokotl

One of the Shallots sniffs the air, possibly noticing them. The One and Sharna, leading the pack, attempt a hasty and stealthy withdrawal into the shadows while activating their weapons. Unfortunately, Sharna's energy claws make a distinctive whirring sound, and light up in the dark.​​​​​​

Those favoring a stealthy approach might consider disabling the factory settings on your NRGYKLAWZ™. But why would you do that? They sound AWESOME!!! – Section I.3, "Activating Your Energy Claws", NRGYKLAWZ™ Operations Manual

This obviously attracts the attention of all of the Shallots, who prepare themselves for a fight. Enter combat.

Faj. It is time. -Kokotl
Oh yeah, I'm feeling it. -Faj Smash-Smash

The fight begins with Faj pushing Sharna back and out of harm's way. Faj then spins around the corner and hurls Kokotl, spear-ready, right into the chest of the lead Shallot.

Qa'pla, old bean! – Kokotl, translated from Shiltolvian, followed by cackling

Altuunius makes a hasty retreat down the hallway past the combat and into the ventilation system, successfully avoiding the sight of the Shallots and combat altogether. The One plunges her swords into the second Shallot. The third Shallot rushes Faj, who is able to keep it at arm's length with no effort considering the massive size advantage, and Sharna is going for the flank when Swiitner takes a shot with his Caster gun, configured into sniping mode, and blasts the third Shallot into the wall.

Unfortunately, these Shallots are tough little brutes. the first Shallot grabs Kokotl's face, stopping its bloodthirsty cackling, surprisingly not dead despite its massive injuries which are already beginning to heal. One and the second Shallot become locked in fearsome grappling, despite its grevous wounds. Slumped in the corner with a monstrous hole in its stomach, the third Shallot begins to heal immediately, fixating its gaze on Swiitner with murderous intent.

It turns out that the Shallots heal much faster than conventional shiltolvians. It doesn't matter, though: Sharna plunges her energy claws into the shot third Shallot, through its big dumb face, decapitating it entirely. The hole in its stomach stops healing.

At last. – Brynhold Swiitner, space deviant

As Altuunius advances through the ventilation system, she notices three more Shallots preparing for combat and an albino shiltolvian - one Johnny White - who is arguing in the Shiltolvian language with another shiltolvian - Iztlactli, or "Izzy" – while holding onto a chain attached to…something big, that remains just outside her field of vision.

Swiitner and One brutally dispatch the second Shallot, while Faj trips and nearly falls on top of Patch in an effort to assist Kokotl. Sharna advances on the remaining Shallot, the one grappling with Kokotl, and punches past Kokotl's head to explode the Shallot's face with her energy claws, denting the floor.

Thank you, Captain Sharna. -Kokotl
WHAT'S YOUR ANGLE? – Sharna Marsh-Marsh

Kokotl takes a bite out of the charred flesh of a Shallot, revealing a nasty metallic foul taste.

The One kicks open the door to the next room, to come face-to-face with four Shallot reserve forces, Izzy, and Johnny White, who is holding the leash of a shiltolvian abomination: an albino behemoth seven-feet-tall with two sets of arms; it has one set of tiny Shiltolvian arms that seem adapted for finesse and dexterity, and a set of gigantic gorilla-esque muscular arms that fold behind its back in a manner similar to bird wings and allow it increased mobility and general carnage. The mutant covered in downy white feathers with an enormous crocodilian maw chained shut by a muzzle, but that muzzle looks like it's about to come off any minute now.

Altuunius and the DIC, watching from the shadows, decide to take action while this chaos unfolds.

Please hold on to this fucking cat, meow. – DIC

The DIC disengages from Monster as The One immediately dispatches one of the four reserve troops, slicing its arm off and slicing it clean in half, while winging another one. It glares at her, preparing its energy claws as its wound heals…and Kokotl appears behind it, impaling it through the back of its head, and electrifying its corpse. Its remaining comrade, enraged by this attack and the sight of the khalef, leaps at Kokotl, plunging its fangs into Kokotl's shoulder, tearing apart…

MY SWEATER! -Kokotl

Brynhold Swiitner takes aim with his Caster, loading one of his antique magical shots. He fires a solid beam of energy at Johnny White, exploding in a blast of staggering light – disorienting the One – and a powerful shockwave, which knocks away both the monstrosity and Izzy.

Chaos! – Brynhold Swiitner

Johnny White has been damaged quite badly, but it slowly emerges from the wreckage of some computer banks, regenerating and pulling bits of glass and metal out of its alabaster body…

Swiitner.

Sharna attempts to attack the Shallot attacking Kokotl, barely missing. Izzy, recovering from the initial shock, makes a beeline for the fridge. Johnny White, getting his bearings, draws a Caster carbine from his back and takes aim…

FOOLISH PEEEEEOPLE! – Johnny White, first and last words

…and with a single shot the Caster carbine, having been damaged in the blast [critical fail], accidentally sucks Johnny White's entire top half – and the gun itself - into a black hole.

The Shallot monstrosity, completely disoriented from the blast, runs straight for One…and runs straight past her and tears straight through the wall to her right [critical fail, again].

Meanwhile, the DIC goes straight for a computer bank and attempts to interface with it. As Izzy tries to grab something out of the fridge, DIC turns on the incinerator and obliterates Izzy's arm and half his face. This naturally causes Izzy to fall over and away from the fridge in pain. Altuunius steps over Izzy's mangled self and snatches the Bloat sample.

In this pitched and bloody battle, the crew managed to defeat Johnny White and his Shallot forces…and the only casualty was Kokotl's sweater. 

After looting Johnny White's body and discovering three Caster shells, Swiitner looks into the tunnels, where the Shallot abomination seems to have wandered off…

End combat.

See you, space cowboy…

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Episode 16 - Dine Another Day?
As the station goes, so goes Wong’s!

Dine Another Day

The story starts with a zoom-out from the beady bloodshot eye of Kokotl, who is watching the doors of the banquet hall swing open. The banquet hall opens with George Luo sitting at the head of the table. Ibast is on his right side, Reyna on his left. Chaz seated next to them. There's four corporate types wearing dark suits and sunglasses standing behind them. Everything is totally fine and not nefarious. 

Notice rolls.

Koko: 7
Sharna: 12
Swiitner: 5
The One: 6
Altunnius: 4
DICC: 6

The security cameras in the room are covered; there's no feed going into this room. Ibast is packing heat. Chaz does not look as bad as he did, he's "maintaining" on some chump tier shit but he's coasting a'ight. "Space drugs, these things happen." There's a lot of activity behind the door in the far room, which Koko thinks smells amazing.

Altunnius rolls a Psionics check of 11 to check mood of George, who is decidedly not happy, despite his stone-faced appearance. 

Koko cavalierly enters and sits at the far end of the table, directly across from George, as the rest of the crew filters in behind him. Faj sits down next to Koko. The crew sits down around the table. The doors close behind them.

George Luo extends his warm regards to The One, and promises to transfer the money owed as promised. DICC and Luo have a brief dialogue in which Luo becomes interested but Chaz expresses his displeasure for DICC.  

George asks <Captain> Sharna and Koko why things got botched. Koko rolls an Administration roll of 10 to provide a perfect bureaucratic spiel — a half-hour production — to completely baffle George and Chaz to dissuade their respective rages. 

"When you can't beat them, bore them." – The New Adam Smith Bible, Krugman 5.11

Aster the guard claps for Koko. ​​​​​​Sharna is able to tell Luo that two of Chaz's bodyguards – Vekna and Amaranth – won't be a problem. Reyna whispers into Luo's ear, enough for Sharna to hear, that Vekna's got a contract on his head and that he won't be a problem. Sharna rats out Chaz's relationship to Crabfingers to Luo. Luo is surprised to see that Shimi is somehow still alive and indifferent to Viridian's absence-by-sacrifice.

"Oh yeah, he's definitely dead." -George Luo on noble sacrifice

Swiitner rolls a Notice to get a precognitive flash on how this could pan out: a flash of guns or dinner comes out. George asks Swiitner if his relationship with Crabfingers will be a problem. Swiitner answers no. Dinner comes out. Kokotl immediately starts devouring food. Regional delicacies are placed in front of everyone. The One has their regional delicacy – grey gruel – placed in front of them, a dish that displays a remarkable texture that is sensually pleasing to consume. Swiitner gets a series of tubed vegetables, his personal favorite, but this brings back bitter flashbacks to the Meeting That Went Awry. DICC gets a platter of undifferentiated meat product, which Monster likes but prefers that it had been alive. Faj loves his spinach puffs. Koko has some living food on his platter, which Monster tries to steal…

Koko rolls a 5 for Fighting and DICC rolls an 8, allowing them to steal some of Koko's food. Before Koko can eat DICC, more food is placed before him to pacify him. George Luo and Chaz Zabrick make their exist, not without Chaz cussing out DICC and Sharna flirting with him to distract him.

No drugs in the meal…this time. Dinner goes off without a hitch. The use of the entire banquet hall for the evening has been left to them.

QUEST COMPLETEOBTAIN CHAZ ZABRICK

"Ctarl-Ctarl do not eat spinach puffs." -Sharna Marsh-Marsh, continuing to hurt Faj Smash-Smash's feelings. 

Melfina Khan works for PRIME, a Terran peacekeeping exploratory group that boldly goes, with a defining characteristic of deadpan sarcasm. As the reader knows, should the One find Melfina Khan for Crabfingers, The One's debt to Crabfingers will be absolved and The One will fully own their ship.

All feline paws in this universe smell faintly of Frito's. Swiitner smells faintly of sandalwood and cinnamon.

After reading the headlines of a newspaper, Kokotl passes it along to distract the DICC while pulling The One aside to make a "generous" offer to work together to reach common goals. The One later reports this to her coworkers, to the consternation of Swiitner and DICC. Meanwhile, Kokotl tells Sharna that he was able to convince The One's crew to help her on her noodle quest, and actually thanks her for her help, which obviously makes Sharna very suspicious.

Altuunius excuses themselves to take another personal call. Notice checks.

Only The One notices Altunnius leaving, and informs the DICC to see what that discussion is all about. Monster is left to wander around the table, nibbling scraps. DICC rolls a Repair of 4 to get up into the vents and head in the right direction to just in time to not overhear Altuunius's short conversation, and notice her leave, which DICC reports to everyone. 

"I'm not saying I don't want us to go, I just want us to be terribly anxious and have a bad time."

Altunnius mentions wanting to go to an ice cream place and wants the rest of the crew to come with. Koko says that they should all accompany Altunnius to this place, saying that it would serve as an excellent team-building exercise, even as Altunnius desperately tries to distance itself from her. Faj helps convince everyone to help, and off they go. The Silgrian running the ice cream shoppe is being very generous, setting out ice cream, which Koko conspicuously does not eat. Altuunius melts Koko's ice cream for him with a brûlée torch, while Faj just eats tons of ice cream.

Notice rolls were made. Sharna notices that the Silgrian - Benny – is quietly getting other customers to leave. The shutters are going down on the storefront and Benny is getting very nervous. Altuunius eats some ice cream and it makes her head sex organs palpate with delight. Benny attempts to force-feed Koko some ice cream which ends up with Kokotl being drugged while still being aware and Benny getting his hand mangled. Faj is catatonic. Turns out the ice cream is dosed with something.

Benny explains the Bloat

"The Bloat is not a disease, it is a design." Benny explains that Altunnius works for the Shiltolvian Liberation Front, as he binds Koko's limbs and mouth. Altunnius is one of their best agents. There has been a recent schism within the Shiltolvian Liberation Front: The Fourth Archaeopteran Shill’s Front (FASF) and the Shiltovian Front of Archaeopterix IV (SAFA4). The SAFA4 is headed by an albino shiltolvian named Johnny White, a zealot who leads an elite force known as the White Shallots [ha ha get it]. Under his leadership, the SAFA4 has taken on a decidedly shiltovian supremacist bent.

“I fight for equality, not surpremacy.” – Altunnius
“That’s cute.”  - DICC


Benny explains that the Bloat is a special bioweapon commissioned by the SAF4 designed to kill non-Shiltolvians. However, the scientist who engineered the plague accidentally made it affect everyone, but particularly Saurians, Silgrians, and shiltolvians. Since then it has quickly spread out of control and threatens to doom the entire station, and perhaps ultimately the entire shiltolvian race. Would our intrepid adventurers lend their aid?

“That depends, meow. Are you going to pay us?” –DICC
“The cat’s a mercenary!” –Benny
“They’re ALL mercenaries.” –Altunnius

It seemed like they weren’t going to help. “As the station goes, so goes Wong’s!”

With a mental blast of 8, Altunnius tries to convince the crew to go along with it.

“I know it’s annoying, but we have to stop this genocide! Jesus, we’re Prometheus.” – Swiitner

Sharna, embarrassed at being made to feel pity, tries to escape before DICC challenges Sharna to stay. Faj frees Kokotl, who very reluctantly agrees to assist the cause and stop the Bloat. Benny is surprised that a khalef would assist, and Altunnius mentions that he works for “public George”.  Public George vs. Private George is apparently a thing.

Benny talks the squad though two tactical options to infiltrate the hidden lab to destroy all Bloat bio-data and cultivars before the SAFA4 can get their hands on them. The two options are:

1) go through the relatively unsecured main access to the quarantine zone, encountering few Shallots and mostly quietly avoiding hidden tunnels, avoiding those infected with the Bloat

2) go through the network of hidden tunnels and access ports known by the SLF, likely encountering the White Shallots who will be using those same tunnels to reach the laboratory themselves

Naturally, the squad chooses the latter route. In an uncharacteristic display, Kokotl volunteers to serve as bait for the White Shallots, believing that the zealots will not be able to resist the opportunity to dispatch a khalef. The shiltolvian rebels are split between admiration and contempt for the bureaucrat, and the chapter comes to a close as a sea of hissing space raptors raise their voices in a chorus of screeches and hisses, zooming in on the wide and bloodshot eye of a shiltovian revolutionary…

SKREE RAH RAHH
HISS AAKRAH AANAGH
SKREE SHREE SHILL AAAAH

-Shiltovian love sonnet

 “Love Wong’s and prosper!”

“Two Wongs don’t make it right.”

"Las Plague-us"

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Episode 15 - Shil Problems? or Shil Solutions
Slippery Jack's family will go hungry this day because of you!

Players: Aron, James, Jess, Maya, Rich, Skylar
Experience points: 2
Bonus xp for entire party: 1

En route to station, Chaz's requests for a party went sadly unsatisfied for perhaps the first and only time in his life. Slippery Jack's many children will not eat this evening.

Altunnius received communiqué from a mysterious source about a mysterious subject, and overheard was the mysterious voice of a famous shill scientist, who everyone thought was and is definitely dead. They weren't having a good time. Anyway, Captain Kokotl heard that voice and proceeded to <s>threaten</s> carry out a trust-building exercise with Altunnius about trust and loyalty. A peaceful resolution was reached and everyone walked away happy and on the same page.

Ibast and a handsome Yeti intern stopped by as the crew arrived to put Chaz in a box and quietly whisk him away, and thus mission was accomplished. Word has it, however, that George Luo is not terribly happy with the total absence of subtlety with which the mission was executed.

Word further has it that the space station has come down with a nasty case of The Bloat, whatever that is. I guess makes exothermal creatures get all bloated, then like…ruptured?  I forget what happens after that. I'm sure they get better. It does something else to ectotherms.

Kokotl immediately set off to <s>save face</s> clarify the situation. The One, Brynhold, and DICC followed in close pursuit to <s>get paid</s> provide moral and ethical support for their beloved captain. 

Meanwhile, Sharna went off to check in with Wong, and the pressing urgency of the noodle situation was given grave new urgency.

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Episode 14:

Players: Aron, James, Jess, Maya, Rich, Skylar
Experience points: 2

Coming soon…

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Episode 13: Let the chips fall where they may...
Insurmountable odds, yada yada, teamwork, let's do it, etc, etc...

Players: Aron, James, Jess, Maya, Rich, Skylar
Experience points: 1

When we last left our heroes things had gotten very interesting….Viridian was doing psychotropic shots with Chaz while being watched by Amaranth, Koko and Faj were face to face with Shimi, and Sharna was falling to her possible doom off a balcony.

In the midst of all this a new team of independent contractors, mercenaries taking their ease after finishing up a previous job , were contacted by George Luo with an offer. Hearing of some complications from Radar and getting reports of rioting and explosions from the resort, George took it upon himself to call in some reinforcements. Both teams were sent basic info and images of the new team, some taking the other being called in as insulting, others oblivious to the new players because they were busy falling.

BUllet points…will flesh out later.
Dic fanned out, found Chaz while Brynhold was distracted. Maya and Skylar spotted each other.. a tad rude. leave the turkish sector.
sharna stopped decent and u turned out for blood.
koko tried to calm the situation down.
shimi put Faj through a window…party stops…and then tossed him off the balcony. He passed Sharna on his way down to the pool.
Sharna gets a hit off but it is reflected by forcefield. he jumps off balcony and fades away, promising to see you again soon.
Brynhold takes a stunner and temporarily drops Amaranth.
Everyone decides to flee. Some parting shots but mostly running.

While running down hall, explosion behind you. Amaranth summons red troll beast.
Koko bolts.
Viridian summons his sword wielding brother, Celadon, and runs toward troll
Maya turns to fight
Dic shuts off the lights and sets off sprinkler (and also kills the elevator)
Sharna also turns to fight
Brynhold is handsome (and also tries to rally everyone together)
Altunius strips.

Dic makes an ied…knocks Amarnth to the floor
Viridian tells everyone to leave, he’ll handle Amaranth. Celadon vaults over Troll and tackles Amaranth through a wall.
Altunnius takes her stealth suit and stuffs Chaz in it
Koko drags him to stairs while calling Zig for an extraction.
Zig calmly mentions that Crabfingers may take issue with that…being that he is there.
Sharna wounds Troll by crippling its arma fter it missed smashing her.
Brynhold invokes the power of theme songs and poitive thinking to encoutage his compatriots
Maya slashes Troll…full on sliding fatality.

The group runs dwon the stairs, mingles with other fleeing guests, and manages to get out of Sindrome Hotel as Security is starting to swarm the area. Green and red lightening and fire can be seen coming from the penthouse floors above them.

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Episode 12 - Dinner Date with Disaster
You can come to the party, you just can't come in me.

Players: Jess, Rich, Skylar, Tim
Experience points: 1

When we last left our heroes Dinner wit Chaz was just as awkward as one would think.

Viridian, in an attempt to stay low key, followed behind the rest of the group heading up to dinner. Viridian, failing in that attempt, assisted and was possessed by an amorphous intelligent cloud named Morph, won a jackpot and room off of a free pull slot machine, and was escorted by a host to the same elevator that the rest of the party was headed to.

Dinner was filled with misdirection, angry stares from Amaranth, the delicious (yet tricky) fine dining on death slugs, and eventualy the invitation to join Chaz at a party in his new suite.

A quick call to Party Inc and a full on bacchanalian rave was in full effect. Altuniius retired to the bouncy house labyrinth and was last seen in lube alley. Chaz (fueled by various drugs) led his guests around the revelery and finally managed to let the group know that he was willing to Go with them and meet George to continue with the “plan”. The only problem was the body guards….all three needed to be dealt with. Sharna, whose rapport with Vekna was very friendly after he forced a noodle vendor to make her a bowl, managed to convince him to head off and run her errand/side job for Wong (of Wong’s famous noodles). A few persuasive rolls later and Vekna had quit his job, gotten a bounty placed on him, and headed off to find a way to get Wong’s shipment of death slugs and mushrooms. Amaranth was in a dark corner exuding murder and hatred…he would probably not be as easy to dispose of.
Koko had managed to find a familiar face in the crowd, Faj Smash Smash…his large Ctarl-Ctarl friend from the earlier riot, and set off to track the elusive third bodyguard. Koko tracking his unique scent, Sharna tracking Koko, and Viridian getting information from Chaz over drinks. He didn’t know much about the last body guard just rumors about his background as a Kei Pirate and part of the Anten Seven (which is impossible since they died out almost a century ago). He goes by the name Shimi.
Koko, Faj, and Sharna find Shimi and he beckons them out to the balcony. He offers them a drink and seems initially intrigued by them. However, talk turns to Chaz and their interest in him which Sharna states is “professional”.
“Professional? Now that is a pity”
Quicker than anyone could react Shimi then grabbed Sharna and flung her off the Balcony.

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Episode 11 - Bad Seed
Right you are K-K-Ken.

Players: Jess, Rich, Skylar, Tim
Experience points: 1

When we last left our intrepid crew, they had managed to escape a riot but were left in an interdimension Drunk Tank. (I need to update the wiki with what the Matmos is….and yes, I am still a little mad at myself for not going with Ytiruces for he name). The stage was set for a show down between Amaranth and Viridian where old loyalties didn’t matter (Chaz thanks you for the save Koko and Sharna). Companion warriors (Viridian ’s brother vs the red ogre beast) clashed until security finally intervened and order was restored. When the group was finally released the big news was the forfeiture of the big fight and the disappearance of the fighters, it being the first time the Matmos has ever intervened in a fight. All bets were off and investigations have started into the anomalies found in the betting computers. Chaz in the end was grateful for the save from the riot and the proximity to Crabfingers Kobyashi (who most likely got out of the riot, but current whereabouts are unknown).

On the train back to Chaz’s hotel a few things have come out. First, Vekna definitely knows Sharna. Second, Amaranth does not like anyone. Third Chaz knows George and said something very interesting about “a plan” being ready.

Viridian separated himself at the station and headed back to the ship (also did a little shopping for Zig)…Radar was no where to be found.

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Episode 10 - At Odds! Who's Messing with the Vekna Fang-Fang Fight?

Players: Jess, Rich, Skylar, Tim
Experience points: 2

In the Elttab Main Colosseum, the main attraction for the evening – the fight between Vekna Fang-Fang and Hipyra will be underway following a series of undercard fights.

Koko in the cheap seats, populated primarily by Ctarl-Ctarl spectators, had almost provoked a major confrontation with a particularly large Ctarl-Ctarl.

Sharna Marsh-Marsh and Viridian Tir, in the high-roller seats, are keeping an eye on Chaz Zabrak and his mysterious bodyguard.

Alutunnius manages to sneak their way into the control room, where all information related to betting in the arena is processed. They learn that Chaz has not actually placed one of the larger bets; it is suspected that crime syndicates might be responsible for the larger flow of credits.

During the first undercard fight, Koko endears itself to some of the surrounding Ctarl-Ctarl in the crowd by vociferously cheering on the Ctarl-Ctarl contestant, but when that contestant loses, Koko begins to spread rumors about potential sabotage.

The party notices that as spectators become particularly unruly, they are accosted by mysterious shadowmen, who appear from the shadows and are able to instantly pacify an opponent and remove them from the stadium.

Chaz Zabrak is joined by a powerful underworld figure, the infamous “Crabfingers” Kobayashi, and his [[formidable robotic bodyguard Mr. Wall]]. Chaz is startled by Crabfingers’ presence, but he maintains a gregarious façade. Crabfingers proposes a two million credit bet on the main event off the record, betting against Chaz’s champion, Vekna Fang-Fang. Sharna overhears this exchange.

During the second undercard fight between a group of Blue Sun mercenaries and a vicious swarm-mind, Koko specifically encourages the Ctarl-Ctarl mercenary with loud cheers, further ingratiating itself to most of the surrounding Ctarl-Ctarl, specifically one particularly large Ctarl-Ctarl with the surname Smash-Smash. When only the human member of the Blue Sun mercenaries survives the fight, Koko implies foul play against the Ctarl-Ctarl contestants, beginning to pique the concern of other Ctarl-Ctarl spectators.

When the main event begins, Vekna Fang-Fang and Hippolyta face off. Though Hipyra is enormous and exceptionally dangerous, Vekna is tiny but seems unfazed by the sheer bulk of his opponent, but is certainly rattled when he notices Sharna watching him from the crowd. As Sharna makes her way closer to Chaz and Crabfingers, she notices a mysterious figure in the rafters.

Alutunnius, frustrated with the difficulty encountered in trying to glean the identities of the betters without revealing their presence in the system, decides instead to randomize the bets, before making their way out of the arena entirely.

Viridian, noticing that something is amiss on the big screens and realizing that his own bets might have been sabotaged, corresponds with Ziggy, pleading with him to do something to call off the fight. Zig grudgingly agrees.

Sharna introduces herself to Chaz, who is charmed with her. Crabfingers disregards her presence at first. As Sharna corresponds with Viridian related to the unusual circumstances of the fight over the comms-link, Crabfingers manages to overhear and is…displeased. He demands Viridian join them, and when Viridian obliges, Crabfingers nearly crushes his head with his mechanical hand.

Crabfingers orders Sharna to sabotage the fight, recognizing that Vekna behaves unusually when he sees her. He sends Mr. Wall to lead her right up to the ring, keeping Viridian as a hostage under the specific condition that “Vekna lose the fight.”

Outside of Elttab, Alutunnius meets with Matt, and proceeds to blow his fragile little human mind. Alutunnius convinces Matt to bring her to a security outpost, making another request that makes him supremely anxious.

While held hostage by Crabfingers, Viridian attracts the attention of Chaz’s mysterious bodyguard, who seems to recognize him and is fixated on him.

As the fight goes on, it is clear that Vekna has a natural advantage of speed and agility, seemingly having the upper hand. However, Sharna’s taunts and efforts to distract Vekna are effective, allowing Hipyra to land a series of brutal hits.

Koko, noticing Vekna’s unusual behavior and sudden downward spiral, insists that someone is sabotaging Ctarl-Ctarl fighters, demanding that the Ctarl-Ctarl must defend their honor, whipping the crowd into a frenzy. The Ctarl-Ctarl begin throwing themselves at the cage, demanding that Vekna transform to reassert his advantage in the fight. The shadowmen begin showing up in force to bring order. Koko manages to convince Smash-Smash to rush the stage, riding atop his shoulders. When shadowmen accost Smash-Smash and disappear him, Koko is let off with a very stern warning, as Koko has technically not broken any Elttab rules.

Vekna is reluctant to transform, but is obviously distressed by both the presence of Sharna and his body getting bad things done to it. Sharna, in an effort to distract Vekna further, throws herself at the ring. This goads Vekna into snapping and transforming, startling Hipyra and causing him to back off. The combined assault of the Ctarl-Ctarl hordes and Vekna’s own formidable power destroys the ring, and Vekna leaps out of the ring and into the now riotous crowd.

Viridian exchanges some tense words with Chaz’s sinister bodyguard, and it is implied strongly that the two share a close and unpleasant history. Crabfingers becomes irritated with the events unfolding, while Chaz nervously tries to maintain the illusion of confident bravado.

Alutunnius convinces Matt to bring her to meet the shadowmen in their “office”. Claiming to be a covert ally of Chaz, she talks the mysterious force into teleporting the crew – as well as Chaz – out of the unstable situation in the arena before harm can come to them. The shadowmen agree, but also insist on teleporting the rest of Chaz’s entourage with him, over the protests of Alutunnius.

Koko, atop the shoulders of another large Ctarl-Ctarl and awash with bloodlust, encourages the Ctarl-Ctarl to defend their honor in the face of this obvious foul play and purge all non Ctarl-Ctarl from the arena. Many spectators flee as the Ctarl-Ctarl mob goes berserk, attacking everything around them, including Hipyra, Crabfingers, Chaz, and Viridian. Shadowmen attempt to pacify the crowd, but they have limited numbers and thus choose to instead form protective perimeters around valuable targets.

Viridian watches as Crabfingers holds his own with little difficulty against the advancing Ctarl-Ctarl, noticing that the shadowmen do not move against him even when he brutally executes several Ctarl-Ctarl in defiance of Elttab rules. Chaz’s bodyguard is able to keep Chaz protected as well, demonstrating a frightening ability to cripple opponents with fear. Sharna manages to get one last taunt in at a confused and furious Vekna, heading towards Viridian in an effort to extricate him in the chaos.

As the situation becomes truly bonkers, Ziggy sets off the sprinkler systems in the arena, ending the fight and further confusing the crowd. The shadowmen converge on Viridian, Koko, Sharna, and Chaz, seizing them and teleporting them away…alongside Chaz’s mysterious bodyguard and the yet-unseen third member of Chaz’s entourage. Viridian, as he is teleported away by the shadowmen, makes eye contact with Chaz’s mysterious bodyguard and pledges to fight…

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