Haumea Colony

A Play-by-Nova roleplay game.

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Between a Comically Inaccurate Creature and a Fire-Breathing Dragon

Posted on Wed Feb 22nd, 2023 @ 10:47am by Jason Bray & Seshi Macae & Caithlin t'Leiya & Cornelius Warner MS & Lieutenant Gunnar Arnason & Raikael t'Leiya

Mission: Roll With It
Location: Bray Building
Timeline: MD 02
2868 words - 5.7 OF Standard Post Measure

A rumble from outside their current room had Jason's gaze at the door. "... I would volunteer myself as the first out, but maybe we could find a way to scout what's going on before any of us have to leave and see what's going on."

Rather than one of the adults, a response came from Raikael, glance flicking between the others present, ending on Zoe, perhaps judging her most likely. "Anyone got like a mirror or something? We could try and sorta look around with one without having to step out yet..."

As the door opened up, the blinding, golden light from the treasure room they had traversed vanished, replaced by the familiar halls of the Bray Institute's interior. Just beyond it, the sight of the great, green dragon tousling with an equally-gargantuan, translucent white creature was what would greet the group. Jason gasped in equal shock and horror.

"Ah, that's a simulated version of one of the former denizens of the planet!" he stated in a hushed whisper to the group, "We don't have a name for it yet, but there are accounts of it's existence with the bits and pieces we've found in the caverns. Remarkable! I'll have to tell Mr. Lotor his simulation does indeed work!" He paused, eyes toward the group, "... When it isn't causing mass panic, of course."

I could think of a few names for it; but they wouldn't mean anything to most of you, Caithlin thought, suppressing a shiver at the sight. With a voice that was even quieter than Bray's, she gestured subtly past the creatures to the rest of the group. "They are occupied with each other. And therefore not with us. If we wish to leave, this may be our chance to do so."

"That used to be on this planet?" Zoe asked, aghast as she stared at the monstrosity fighting the dragon.

It was a valid reaction, but not one they had time for. "Questions on archeology later," Gunnar said hurriedly, placing himself in front of the her and Raikael. "Right now, Ms. t'Leiya is right. If we're going to leave before the winner turns its attention to us, this is the time to do so."

"I absolutely refuse to believe that is an accurate reconstruction," Cornelius mused behind them. "But if we are going to sneak around we need to get it away from the door," he noted, nodding that both creatures were relatively close to the portal in question. "Chances are we can see which one is more pissed off, and try and lure the second away to be attacked. Jason, I distinctly remember the dragon being mad at you, and it looks to be evenly footed. Want to distract it?" It was a joke, but maybe the next best idea, as the barkeep dug around inside his bag of tricks, seeing if he might have something.

Joke as it may have been, it sprung the reckless archeologist into action. Jason stomped forward, hand on his ridiculous wizard's hat. He made a gesture, and small missiles of light flew through the air, hitting the dragon's rear end. While the attack seemed to be harmless to the great beast, it got him to turn around and glower.

Undeterred, Jason took the moment to clear his throat. "Great and foul dragon!" he shouted in his best impression of every fantasy holovid he had ever seen, "Why do battle with this hideous creature? Are you not brave enough to face me? Have you turned to cowardice?"

Sure enough, that did it, and with one giant swipe of the bony creature's face, Deragona turned his attentions to the small wizard man. "I see they've flushed you out of my horde." The dragon would not get another word in edgewise, as the great, questionably accurate demon had latched itself onto the dragon's back, letting out a hideous scream.

"Oh, surely the great Deragona can muster enough strength for two whole threats!" continued Jason.

Reaching both hands out in a wild grasping motion, Cornelius let out a combination of curses in Federation common, Romulan and Klingon, with some mixed in Ferengi slurs he'd once picked up. "Move," he hissed towards younger girls, and drew the sword he'd recovered, while dropping the cloak he was wearing entirely. He checked on one of the four daggers around his belt, before slamming a hand into his bag and pulling one of the bottles. It was likely toxic, likely caustic as well, and if the monstrosity fighting the dragon turned to them broken glass and dangerous materials in the face would be a good tool to slow them.

"Mister Arnason, shield the girls and drive them to the door," he added, and nodded towards Caithlin. "If they turn on us, I'll draw their ire, you go for the back."

Caithlin draw the sword with her own outfit, and moved into position with a return human-style nod.

Taking that literally, Gunnar brought his shield up and stepped in front of the girls. "Let your aunt handle this," he told Raikael, hoping to pre-empt the sort of thing he'd learned to expect from young Romulans. "That goes for you too," he added to Zoe, both because knew human teens could be nearly as bad (he remembered being one after all) and to ameliorate Raikael's tendency to resent being the 'baby' of the group, and then try to prove that she was not.

Raikael pouted for a moment, but she stayed behind Gunnar, though she drew her dagger...just in case. Caithlin threw a brief but approving glance towards Gunnar at his move, and before she turned away from them back to Cornelius and the task at hand, lowered her voice and looked right at Gunnar locking eyes with him, with a subtle gesture to include Raikael in the statement as well: “If this starts to go badly; do not engage; run.”

"With a creature much larger than us?" Seshi asked, albeit rhetorically, "I thought I'd wave a basket of grapes at it."

The group's creeping went unnoticed, but the giant creatures were still at each others' throats while Jason warded the dragon's attentions from the others. Stray fireballs and falling debris from the cave and the gold pile would prove to be the most dangerous hazards.

But, as the group neared the exit, it was clear that Jason was in over his head; avoiding debris, calling the dragon names, and simply dodging out of the way when attacks were directed at him. He was not a fighter, and it could catch up to him in the form of a giant tail whipping out towards him. He froze, instead of dodging as instinctually as he would have liked, as the tail fell upon him.

Caithlin cringed - Jason was not, in her opinion, known for his survival instincts. Hopefully whatever compromise had been done to the program would still not allow outright for anyone's death; but an overloaded system could fail in safeties as easily as it could fail in main goals; even one without some element of hamhanded Ferengi design in it.

"Mr Bray!" Gunnar started toward where the tail came down, then froze, torn between aiding an injured man and duty to protect the girls.

"I'M ALRIGHT!" came the call, and a robed arm stuck out from the holographically-wavering, green tail. The dragon, having pinned the odd creature, stared down at Jason in disbelief, as the archeologist stepped out from where the tail was projected. "I'm alright! Looks like the plan's working!"

Part of the plan is working; but part of the plan may just have gotten harder, Caithlin considered: The fact that Bray appeared not only alive and even uninjured but literally able to step through Deragona as if she were not, for a moment, all there, would seem to indicate serious compromise on the part of the program and the computer. But it also meant that that very erraticness added a new element of unpredictability to anything they might do: Would, if she or Cornelius moved to strike either of the creatures, they be substantive at the time to be struck? Or would they hit at the wrong moment; phrase through their opponent with their weapons...then have the misfortune to have that status change at just the right moment for the creature to score a hit on them, instead?

This was not any part of what Gunnar would consider a plan that was working. Zoe apparently agreed as she gave Arnason a shove. "Go get the idiot! I'll take care of the Romulan kid."

"Excuse me?" Raikael raised one petite eyebrow, incredulous, and rolled her eyes at the same time, gripping her dagger. "I was the one who had the tell you what to do during the Mimic fight; so I think that'll go the opposite way around." She did not, however, rush over towards the rest of the scene; perhaps keeping her distance at the moment mostly by fancying herself as Zoe's protector.

Caithlin, meanwhile, must have seen Gunnar's motion somewhat towards them all after Zoe's shove out of the corner of her eye, and barked out at the trio (the quintet, really, if one counted Seshi and Yu as well as Gunnar, Raikael, and Zoe) without bothering to take her eyes truly off the main fight: "No! I told you if this started to go wrong to run."

Finding himself once again in the odd position of quasi-member of household, or perhaps loyal retainer, Gunnar cast a look upward as if asking whatever deity might be out there how he got himself into these things. However, on some level, it was where he was at, because his jaw set at the repeated admonition to run. If she thought he was going to just leave while she risked life and limb... "Zoe, Raikael," he said, voice pitched carefully low enough that a Romulan not right next to him wouldn't hear, as he positioned himself between monsters and the short path to the exit. "Stick close enough to protect each other and run."

Raikael hesitated for a moment, but it was less of a moment than otherwise might have been expected for her age; or for Gunnar's earlier observations of her age and species combined; but now the flipside of that was in play: She was just old enough to have absorbed like a marinade the idea that for her, Caithlin's word was nearly law, and that perhaps played more into her next actions even more than her old babysitter's words: Her head of house was telling her to run, not once but twice now, and despite her misgivings, those misgivings weren't enough to override the reflex to follow that order that tugged insistently at the preteen: She grabbed Zoe's arm and started running, leaving the adults all behind.

Shoving his hand into his sack, Cornelius squinted, suddenly overcome with an inability to see through the thick glasses. Wiggling his head back and forth until they slid off his nose, he found that he could actually see properly now without the lenses. Pulling his hand free, he glanced at the sack in his hand, and prayed the program was still working as intended for that element at least. Giving it a heavy throw, the bag slammed into the side of the monstrous creature trying to chew on the dragons arm. It hit with a heavy thud, and then exploded into a thick black cloud of smoke, obscuring vision for it and the dragon. "Us too now, let's get out of here!" He darted towards the entrance, stopping at the mouth to ensure the girls were free and pause to wait to see if the creatures gave chase, while also keeping an eye on Gunnar's recovery of Bray.

Caithlin took up a position against the opposite wall, throwing one arm out for a moment to exhort Seshi and Yu to follow the path Raikael and Zoe had taken, then returning both hands to grip the sword; offset on opposite sides as they were waiting for Bray and Gunnar (She spared a brief annoyed glare there for a moment; that would have to be a discussion later - did the man never follow orders in a fight?!? She'd thought that part of his fleet personnel record was an exaggeration; but here was the same damn sort of behavior), between them the pair resembled a pair of door guardians, almost.

As soon as the girls were safely away, Gunnar sprinted for Bray. The man was now partly obscured by Warner's cloud of black smoke, but it would hardly be the first time Gunnar had had to find a downed comrade amid smoke and debris and at least this time the smoke was serving as cover. "I've got you, sir," he said softly, grabbing Bray's arm and pulling him up, ready with the other hand to clamp his mouth shut if he called out. "Best get out while we have cover. Can you run?"

In his haste, Jason had not given thought to the idea of fleeing. He was actually having fun in the middle of all this chaos; something he would have to take up with the salesman later. Whoever installed this program deserved praise; it was so adaptable! But, as Gunnar pulled him aside, Jason's plotting bubble was burst. "Yes, I absolutely can." To prove his point, he stood upright, bouncing on the balls of his feet. "Shall we?"

Note to self: Check Bray for head trauma once we're out of here. However the medical officer paused only a moment in surprise, then quickly nodded and pointed Bray toward the exit, just as a dragon head swung toward them, nostrils puffing, which was clearing away swashes of smokescreen at an alarming rate. "Yes, run!"

Pushing Bray in front of him, Gunnar threw his shield over his back, using the only protection available to cover himself and the last of the party as they ran for the door.

Aside from the running, it would not take much effort for the group to escape. Perhaps it was the fact that the dragon had bigger and badder things to worry about than a pile of adventurers. Despite the loud snarls and sounds of battle, the image of the two beasts through the smoke cloud flickered. The giant piles of gold that surrounded them started to vanish, and in their place was the sight of decor and walls that were familiar to the Bray building.

By the time the group was at the mouth of the ‘cave,’ they were exiting via Bray’s large, glass doors. Trees and wooden buildings flickered, their original form showing through underneath, with their fantastical wardrobe in a similar state.

For Seshi, her sweeping robes were holographically projected over a similarly colored anarkali gown, but she seemed to be unphased. “Progress, yes?”

"So far." Caithlin said carefully, guarding the rear of the group as they moved. For a moment, the sword in her hand flickered too, not vanishing entirely but flickering out into a silvery-white dagger with an inlaid grip made of no metal available on Earth, the weapon that lay beneath the holographic overlay. "If we reach the barrier, we should attempt to see if we can penetrate it now."

"I think we don't have to worry about that," Cornelius said, pointing to the sky. Pieces of it were missing, hexagonal sections of the real sky poking through where clouds should be. Where the sky should be whole, it was faded, with two types of light mingling as the world around seemed caught between the faux world created by the holograms, and the real world beyond. "Looks like whatever we did is starting to collapse the program entirely. Any of you have a commbadge to try hailing someone?"

As he reached the others, Gunnar felt the weight of armor seemingly dropping on and off his shoulders. Looking down, he almost make out the words on the t-shirt he'd been wearing before he'd suddenly been covered in the Conan get up which was now flickering in and out like Caithlin's sword. "I have a comm," he said, and tried to tap it. Several times, each one thwarted by solid armor replaced the tantalizing glimpse of commbadge. "Argh!" In pure frustration, he pulled the armor off and flung it on the ground ...only find himself standing shirtless a moment later when armor faded out, leaving a crumpled t-shirt at his feet.

"Yeesh." Zoe rolled here eyes and plucked the commbadge from the pile. "Are you sure that berserker persona didn't rub off?"

Arnason's eyes narrowed briefly, but he simply took the badge and straightened. "Thank you," he said as calmly and politely as possible, before tapping it. "Haumea, Arnason. Please come in."

The commbadge made its tell-tale chirrup, before a voice from the other end responded.

"Arnason, this is Haumea, and boy are we happy to hear from you."


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