tagSci-Fi & FantasyStarfinder: The Jade Regent Pt. 02

Starfinder: The Jade Regent Pt. 02

byDragonCobolt©

Starring

Lucithana as Hana Song

Kitty as Nora

Nathan Ravenwood as Rakain

Jason as Sam

Cyrano Johnson as Xata

*

Previously, on Starfinder: Hana, Nora, Rakain and Sam - childhood friends and currently unemployed 19 and 20 year olds -- decided to set out together on an adventure with their shared friend, Amieko Woodwise (a local orphan.) However, while exploring the nearby ship graveyard, they found that one of the crashed ships might have something to do with Ami's mysterious past...and so, the friends and adventurers set forth to explore the ship that might hold all the answers they seek...

It was a scene from a nightmare - the only light came from the comunits held by Ami, Sam, Hana, Rakain and Nora. This created a bizarre kaleidoscope of light and shadow, reflecting off rusted steel and ancient ceramics. But enough lines of metal were focused forward to overlap the immense, furred spider that had emerged from the bowls of the ancient crashed ship that had been the source of the skeleton attacks on the goblin village.

The spider was big enough to bowl someone over - and proved it as its furred weight bore Ami over, knocking the young woman onto her back. She grunted as dust that collected on the shipswamp's uneven ground filled the air, screaming at the top of her lungs.

Which, to be fair, literally anyone would do when tackled by a huge, furred spider, whose red eyes glowed along its black carapace. Its fur brislted outwards, and green venom dripped from its opened maw!

"I'm already real freakin' tired of getting jumped out here!" Rakain yelled as he drew his pistol.

"You're telling me!" Ami squeaked, pushing at the spider - but then the creature leaned forward and chomped down on her shoulder with a loud crunch. Ami screamed again, then kicked the monster in the center of its chest. It reared backwards and Ami clapped her hand to her neck, blood seeping between her fingers -- her face pale with pain.

Hana put her fingertips to her head, focusing hard, making her eyes glow blue as another blue glow surrounded the creature's head. The spider screeched - blood pouring from each of its eight eyes as the glow intensified, then cracked away with a faint whomp sound. It remained standing as it bobbed in agony, limbs twitching and writhing. The rest of the party tried to find a way to get at the spider without hitting Ami. But as they moved, a shape in the darkness to the east of the melee moved. A glow surrounded it and a song rang out -- high and beautiful, almost angelic.

From the figure in the darkness, a beam of bright white frost flew outwards, illuminating the figure for a single moment -- they were female. The beam shot between Hana and Rakain - then slammed into the spider's chest, sending it rocking backwards on its hind legs. As it staggered backwards, Ami rolled away from the spider and scrambled to his feet. It landed and hissed - starting to advance forward, clearly still alive...and pissed.

At the sound of the song Sam's head snapped to the unknown person approaching from the shadows, until that bolt of light slammed into the giant spider. Friend for now, figure that out later. She took a short dash to put herself between the spider and her companions, covering Ami's retreat and attempted to slam her armored fist into the beast. The spider lurched to the side - and Sam's fist smashed into the ground, bending the metal with a crunch, but leaving the spider unharmed.

Rakian felt his blood boil at the sight of Ami's bleeding shoulder. His arm snapped up and pressed to the symbol of Desna on the choker on his neck. His other arm thrust out, palm open. Fire flared at his fingertips. "Eat this, you freak!" he roared. A jet of flame burst from his hand like a geyser, making the temperature around him dip drastically. It smashed into the spider and lit up like a torch. Flames burned along its furred hide and it screed, then toppled to the side. It curled up, legs twitching and tugging together as it shrank under the heat of the flames.

As the flames died down, Ami cheered weakly. "Woo, we got him. Team work..." She wobbled, then fell to one knee, before falling to her side - hair fanning around her head like a black halo.

"Ami!" Rakain yelled, moving to her side. He knelt down -- his tail lashing from side to side, hard enough and fast enough to cause the air to crack. "Shit, I knew I should've learned some healing spells."

Emerging from the darkness came the mysterious figure who had assisted in the fight. She was a small, slight android girl with golden brown skin. She was clad in a small black tunic dress, jacket and boots, with little sigils mobile on the skin beneath. Circuit patterns glow and fade beneath her skin. Her skin lightened as she looked with relief at the spider's smoking corpse, then up at the strangers. She moved toward the bitten one with concern but also some hesitation.

Hana, ignoring the stranger for the moment, moved over to check on Ami nervously, trying to see just how bad her wounds were. "Don't worry, R-man. You've got me to take care of that biz." She said, trying to sound upbeat and chipper. As Rakain and Hana knelt beside Ami, the young girl groaned, her eyes fluttering open. Her face looked pale and her arm lifted weakly as she batted at Hana's face with the strength of a sleepy kitten.

"Mm' fine...just...tired..." Ami groaned as the strange android stepped into the light cast by their com units and the still flickering spider.

The android bit her lip, then asked: "Is your friend alright? I am sorry I did not act more swiftly."

Rakain's head swung towards the newcomer, scaled hand hovering around his laser pistol. "Who are you?" he snapped. Sam, meanwhile, was alarmed to put it mildly. She wanted to rush over to help Ami but was all too aware how little she could help in the moment. So she put herself between the approaching figure and the group and forced herself to take a more relaxed posture.

"Chill," Nora urged while moving to stand partially in front of Rakain.

The android held her hands up in a placating gesture. "I..." She hesitated for a moment and then said: "I think I am called Xata."

"Did you do that cool magic beam thing?" Rakain asked.

Ami mumbled. "Thought it was sexy who did that..." She said, her voice faint and dizzy sounding. As she spoke, Hana's hand gently petted her head, smoothing her hair back.

"It just... came." Xata frowned slightly. "These things happen when I sing. I am glad it was helpful this time."

"What's up, fellow beep boop?" Hana said, quite cheerful and emotional for an android, but her blue skin, red eyes, and glowing veins of neon red on her body made it hard to believe she was anything else. "Good news is that Ami should be up and moving soon. It's just a paralytic poison." She sighed.

Rakain relaxed visibly, nodding at the newcomer. "Cool. You okay yourself?"

Sam let out a sigh of relief at the news.

Xata's eyes flickered as she referenced the phrase 'beep boop.' Her programming flagged as 'socially inappropriate' but she laughed anyway, a little too loud. The other android filled her with a desire to...please her. And the others. Xata wasn't entirely sure why, though.

"So you did fire that shot," Nora said. She peered through messy, short cut black hair with clothes a repairwoman might wear. She had an artificial left arm with a little bot styled like a long-bodied mammal clinging for support. The ferret drone cocked its head, recording the new android with its camera eyes.

"Oh, I'm Hana by the way." Hana said to the other android, smiling as she pulled back a bit from Ami, not wanting to crowd her. Resk stood and rolled his shoulders as he nodded, his purple eyes flicking back and forth between the newcomer and Ami.

"Rakain," he said.

Xata said: "Yes. I suppose I did." She smiled wanly, approaching the group and holding her arm out at a ninety degree angle in Appropriate Greeting, patting her curly hair self-consciously into place as she did so. "I'm thankful for our encounter. My name is Xata... Estin." She thrust her hand out -- letting it hold in the air.

"I'm Sam," Said, bowing her head as she took the offered hand. Xata shook her hand with a quick, jerky motion.

"So, whatcha doing out here?" Hana asked curiously, her eyes flashing to Ami as she took Xata's hand. Xata shook her hand -- then kept holding on. Hana blushed, then slowly took her hand away from Xata after a moment, gently, but firmly. Breaking into the awkward silence was Ami, who sat bolt upright with a gasp. She almost smashed her forehead into the back of Rakin's butt, her arms flailing around as she shuddered and wriggled.

"Ack! Ugh! Eugh!" Ami squirmed, then scrambled to her feet - only to then fall forward with a yelp again, as if her legs didn't quite remember how to work. "Wow, okay..." Ami gasped - her braces glinting in the light of the comunits as she looked around. "Note to self: Spiders...are way worse when they're as big as a house..." She rubbed her shoulder with a wince and then her eyes fell on Xata.

"...did Hana turn red while I wasn't looking?" Ami asked, looking a bit out of it as she wobbled back and forth.

Xata cocked her head in confusion. "Your companion's pigmentation is unchanged."

"..RACIST!" Hana said, thrusting her finger at Ami accusingly. Her finger almost bumped Ami's nose, sending the other girl stepping backwards. She blinked - then looked from Xata to Hana. She turned bright red. "I-I knew you were two different...I..." She blushed harder. "T-The...poison did it?" she stammered.

"I don't think we could get Hana to blush at all, let alone that much." Sam teased.

"Zero shame," Rakain deadpanned, winking at Xata. His tail was no longer lashing the air with agitation -- instead, it merely twitched.

"You could try." Hana said, pouting slightly, then sighing, "I will forgive you, Ami. And all you need to do is give me your soul." She said cheerfully, her hands going to her hips, thrusting out her smallish chest proudly.

"So haw are you feeling Ami?" Sam asked, stepping over and patting her shoulder.

Ami leaned against Sam's arm, scowling at Hana. "For the last time, no!" She sighed, then?bit her lip. "I...am feeling...kinda wobbly..." She sighed. "I guess e-everyone's going to force me into the back of the group again, aren't you?"

"Well, that or someone carries you?" Sam said with a shrug.

"...Do you want to be at the front if we see another giant spider," Nora asked, turning about to give Ami a confused look.

Xata blinked at Hana's reference to souls. She watched the group in silent confusion, frantically referencing "social interactions" in her database Ami bit her lip. "No..." she admitted to Nora, rubbing the back of her neck.

"So.. what you're saying is, if I ask you again, you'll be forced to say yes now?" She said to Ami curiously. Then, snapping her finger, she turned to Xata. "Oh! Fellow ro-butt, this is Ami. She's a secret princess." She put her finger to her lips, "Seeeecret."

Xata nodded earnestly. "Your secret is safe with me, Your Grace." She gave Ami a formal bow.

"Laaast of her line," Nora added over her shoulder before looking to Ami. "Don't bards usually support from the back with song magic anyways?"

Ami blushed. "I am NOT a princess!" She exclaimed. "That's...you're just...making stuff up!" she stammered, looking completely flustered. "No, Xata, I'm just the daughter of an innkeeper!"

"You do not have the curves to be a halfling." Nora said, using her hands to sculpt the shape of Bentha's ample curves. For some reason, halfling women had the same amount of titties and asses as human women -- compacted down onto frames their size meant they put H in 'thhhhhick.' Ami glared at Nora, crossing her arms over her chest with a blush.

Sam snickered at their teasing and decided to not join in. "So Xata, where are you from?" She asked casually.

"I'm with Nora on this one," Rakain said, eyeing Ami's figure. Though he didn't seem to mind the fact that Ami was somewhat on the thin and sleek size.

"Oh, Clankulon!" Hana rubbed her hands together as she looked at Xata. "What kind of mage are you? Ami's a bard because of her royal lineage, Rakain's a techno because of his race's intellectual bent, and I'm a mystic due to my android's clear connection to nature." She nodded sagely.

Nora playfully stuck her tongue out at Ami, "You know what I mean, goof. She's still your mom and raised you."

"Well I wouldn't say we as a race have an intellectual bent," Rakain said, sticking his long lizard tongue out at Hana. "Just me."

Xata was looking at Ami with fresh interest. Song? But she broke off the question and tried to respond to the others. "I... am compelled to make music. It sometimes has effects. I think I would qualify as... some kind of..." She blinked and said: "Technomancer?" And she went on, "I came here from Absalom Station. Forgive my confusion. I have not been awake very long."

Ami crossed her arms over her chest, looking stubborn. "Just because I was found with a coin from this mysterious ship, and that the ship has...treasure on it and I'm an orphan doesn't...mean I'm a princess. What if I'm just the daughter of a crew person?" She shook her head, then blinked at Xata. "I've heard that androids, when their previous soul is tired being in this plane, move on - and a new soul comes into the body." She glanced at Hana. "I also remember you telling me that you're basically going to have to be pulled out of your body by main force, because you're never leaving here." She grinned. "But...uh..." She shook her head. "N-Not that it's bad that you're in...that your old soul...left or anything!" She said, blushing as she looked at Xata, looking worried - as if she thought she might have crossed some android taboo.

"I made it quite clear that after the universe has been dead long enough I'm sure no one's bringing it back, I will be happy to move on." Hana nodded, as if that was a perfectly reasonable statement. "And honestly I'm hoping your mom was a courtesan, so you're forced to follow in the family business. I've been saving up money every since we found the coin in hopes!"

Ami stuck her tongue out at Hana.

"Well.. that and a potion of gender reassignment." Hana grinned wickedly back at Ami. Ami added fingers to her ears to make her face even more intense.

Xata was still looking at Ami with interest - clearly a bit baffled by how...not a princess she was acting. "I do not know if that is what happened. But thank you, Princess Ami." After the reference to a mysterious lineage, she had cross-referenced with her cultural database and was now convinced Hana's initial analysis was accurate. Too many stories referenced the trope. "A bard of royal lineage is of great interest to me. Perhaps we can discuss Castrovelian concertos at some future time." She restrained herself from chattering on as she was tempted to do.

Sam just shook her head in amusement at the antics of her friends. "So if no one objects I would like to invite you to join us Xata. It's not exactly the safest out here alone."

Xata coughed. "Ahem. Agree. Also, subject change. I believe my programming brought me here to find something on this ship. Is it so for all of you as well?"

"Arn't gender serums cheap now?" Nora asked with a glance to Hana.

"I didn't say I'd been saving for long," Hana pointed out. "Also, my programming is mostly something about banana cream pies and long division. I tend to ignore it." She nodded.

Ami blushed, grumbling. "I'm going to be called Princess like, every freaking day of my freaking life now...and, personally, Xata, I prefer music like Kalen Perosh and Glimmer Stardust..." She grinned. "You know. Ones with lyrics and cool beats. And rap verses!" She seemed to have also recovered considerably from the encounter with the spider - she was standing straighter and taller now.

"If we thought we could have gotten away with it we would have started sooner Ami," Sam rumbled.

"Don't listen to her. Her room's filled with posters of Justin Beeper-" Ami sprang forward, clapping her hand over Hana's mouth, trying to silence her. "S-Shut upp!" She squealed. Hana smirked wickedly, grabbing Ami's hand playfully, holding her in place as she licked her palm. Ami squirmed and then her hand dropped down, away from Hana's mouth. Hana continued: "And One Dimension! She likes Liam the best!"

"I donnnnnnnn't!" Ami wailed.

"I'm the weird old school one who likes Ronny Credits..." Nora sighed, rubbing her cheeks. Her little bot let out mechanical little cluck noises in response. Nora rubbed his nose.

After a moment Xata spoke: "My analysis indicates the sophistication of 'rap verses' remains critically underrated, Your Grace. As is Justin Beeper. I commend your taste." Xata looked sidelong at Hana and smiled hesitantly.

"You know," Ami said, looking at her slick palm. "You all successfully made going into a dangerous, possibly haunted spaceship seem like a less bad option..." She bit her lip, then turned and started for the cargo hold - if she was nervous about spiders, she didn't show it.

"Mission successful then," Sam joked and followed after Ami, catching up to her and walking alongside her. Hana giggled.

"It's not my fault! It is my unnatural hunger for human flesh! ...wait... shit, that's zombies.." Hana frowned as she followed after the Tian woman. Xata grinned and followed them, seeming less uncertain now. It felt so right to be walking into a dangerous place with a group of companions that she could even forgive Hana's unfortunate hunger for human flesh for the moment. Rakain followed after everyone, just feeling relieved that they were all still alive after the fight with the spider.

Nora gave the giant spider a good kick as she passed before trailing after the group. "Welcome to this ragtag band of weirdos Xata. Hope you enjoy the stay."

Xata gathered up the case with her violin and turned to Nora. "Thank you for the welcome, adventuring companion!" Her circuits glowed with pleasure at saying the words. She decided to Attempt Small Talk: "Have you done violence to many strange creatures yet?"

"A weird shapeshifter..." Ami said, nodding.

"We ding dang dun a whole heap'a violence on that bloke." Hana said, slowly switching from one accent to the next.

"And a tentacle beast, which may have been a weird shapeshifter since said shifter went for the tentacle approach as well." Sam noted as they walked up the ramp leading into the crashed starship. The interior of the cargo hold was large - clearly designed to hold a great deal of material. It was also...empty. A few ancient rusted crates of metal sat in the corner, their sides caved inwards, revealing nothing but tumbled together scrap. The ceiling was decorated with dozens of cobwebs from the spider - and the only exits other than the main door they had walked through was a pair of doors that led to a pair of stairs - one heading upwards, and the other one heading downwards.

Ami frowned, looking back. "W-When we tell the story, can we not talk about the number of times tentacles grabbed me?"

"Sure!" Rakain said. "We'll just talk about where they went." He grinned wolfishly.

"If it makes you feel better, every other story I've written about you involves tentacles." Hana said, smiling as she swept her com's flashlight around the cargo hold.

Rakain laughed

"You know, if I am a princess, I might be able to have you all thrown in a dungeon..." Ami said, her voice playfully severe. "Uh...though, up or down?" She asked, shining her phone's light between the two doorways.

"Shapeshifters and tentacle beasts were both serious problems during the Thyst Rebellion. That seems only correct." Xata nodded, then frowned as if not sure how she knew that. She added: "I am sorry to hear you were discomfited, Princess Ami."

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