tagSci-Fi & FantasyStarfinder: The Jade Regent Pt. 04

Starfinder: The Jade Regent Pt. 04

byDragonCobolt©

Author's Note: Everyone is eighteen!

Starring

Lucithana as Hana Song

Kitty as Nora

Nathan Ravenwood as Rakain

Jason as Sam

Cyrano Johnson as Xata

Previously, on Starfinder: Ameiko Woodwise - in truth, Amieko Kaijitsu, a lost princess of the distant Tian Star Empire - and her friends have finally left their home in their own custom built starship, the Sunwolf. Setting course for the pirate base that is the source of the ships trying to claim Ami for unknown and nefarious reasons, they have chosen to head first to Absalom Station - the center of the Pact Worlds - for supplies and information.

*****

The Drift.

It had been given to the races of the galaxy three years after the end of the Gap, while a million worlds had been struggling to recover from the loss of memories and associations. It had pulsed into the minds of savants and been encoded spontaneously into the arms of servo robots. The designs for Drift Drives had been found on data crystals and painted on the walls of primitive civilizations - and so, each civilization built their own version, their own design, their own variation on the singular creation.

The engine within the Sunwolf was sleek and yet cobbled together, a great big whirling spinal mounted device that punched a hole through the walls of the Prime Material and into the vastness of the Drift itself. It had been built by Nora, and so the ride was quite gentle.

"Oooh..." Ami whispered, her eyes wide as she looked out of the vastness of the Drift. It was a swirling, purple and blue haze - crackling with nimbus of thunder and lighting that roiled away into geometric patterns that could be barely seen at the edges of the horizon. But it was not empty - no, there were a few chunks of rock and earth, and even a tree that tumbled slowly past the screen.

"Da funk?" Ami asked, her brow furrowing.

"The Drift Drive operates on a principle of translation," Alfie said, sounding quite helpful. "Every time a ship travels from the Prime Material and into the Drift, it drags a small portion of their universe in with them - roughly the same size as the ship in question. This only occasionally causes dangers for Drift travelers, as...well..." She coughed. "Hell has spaceships too."

"Oh, right thanks for..." Ami blinked. "Anyone else see that glowing?"

They did. For a pale, pulsing white light had started to fill the bridge. But it didn't come from the windows. It shone from Ami! Her body glimmered with the white light, making her seem to shine as brightly as flashlight.

She squeaked. "Eek!" she looked at her hands, then started shaking her arms, trying to get the shine off her. "What is going on!?"

Xata looked at Ami. Her developing social routines indicated that echoing her concerned tone would not be helpful, so she went for Reassuring instead. "It is probably nothing?" She couldn't keep the question mark off the end of the sentence, though. She ducked her head forward and started to scan her databases frantically.

"Totally not you blowing up!" Hana said, smiling brightly, "Maybe you're half-celestial and this is how we're all finding out?"

Rakain took Ami's wrist in his hand and raised it gently, feeling her pulse underneath his fingers. "Didn't know being Tian princess gave you night light powers," he snickered.

"...Uh, does the arcane lab have a magicmagoo scanner?" Nora asked, cocking her head.

Ami scowled. "That's great..." She said, angrily, then blushed as Rakain took her wrist. holding her, Rakain could actually feel that her skin was quite a bit warmer.

"It does," Alfie said, nodding to Nora. Xata finished skimming through her database and found...nothing on this. Sam nodded, having glanced at Ami's glowing body before turning her attention back to the controls and readouts before her.

"So, someone versed in magic should check you out." Sam said, a little worried.

"I can do it," Rakain offered.

"Well, uh...you always do love groping me, Rakain, Hana..." She said, pursing her lips slightly. "And Xata, of course. To the arcane lab?"

Xata nodded, trying not to let the frustration show at her lack of recall. "I am sure Rakain can find the answer if I cannot," she said.

Rakain's tail flicked. "I'll save the groping for later when you're not glowing like a firefly," he said.

"I'll head with you guys to get a different perspective on things if needed." Hana said, smiling. Nora took a quick moment to link the engineering systems to her arm before slipping herself over into by the science station, keeping an eye on the things she could understand.

"I will remain on the bridge, then," Xata offered. Her mind was still echoing ALFIE's phrase Hell has spaceships. Ami chuckled.

"If you want!" she said, quietly, while Sam found the autopilot controls and kicked them on. The Sunwolf's engines started to purr quietly as it accelerated them through the Drift. Walking together, they passed through the central area of the ship - the large table for food and dinner and drinks and poker - and then to the engineering section of the ship. Taking the door labeled ARCANE LAB, they found that it was a sleek, well appointed chamber only slightly ruined by the fact that, rather than windows, the far starboard wall was dominated by glowing power interlinks for the gyro-laser for this side of the ship.

The lab itself had a large scanning device, a permanent summoning circle, and a deployable containment unit that looked like it was built to snap down around any summoned creature that was...cranky.

Ami sighed and sat down - still glowing - on the scanner table. "So, what's wrong doc, is it fin-rot? Please tell me it's not fin-rot..." She said, trying to imitated a cartoon character they all liked - and doing a remarkably good job of it too.

Rakain cracked his knuckles. Then he made a face. "I have zero clue on how to operate this stuff," he said.

"Nope! You've got crabapples! Should be coming in any day now." Hana said, nodding sagely. She snickered, moving over to the scanning devices to try and get some scans of the young Tian girl. As the scanner whirred to life, it hummed and buzzed, spinning a slow circle. Ami watched it nervously. Once it had finished, the scan read outs filled the air before a holographic display - flipped so that Rakain and Hana could read what was there. Both being mages, they had trained in studying arcane phenomenon...and they saw that the read out was clear.

Ami was sending - and receiving - a form of semi-divine signal, pulsing from the direction of the Diaspora. It was tied to her spirit, her essence...and it was enhanced and made more clear by entering into the Drift. It wouldn't "shut down" until she was brought back into contact with whatever wanted to...well...say hi.

"Well what do you know?" Rakain muttered, able to make sense of the readings as he peered at the screens. "You're basically a living homing beacon."

"Bad news, Ami.. you're going to die." Hana said, sighing.

Ami blinked. "What!?" She asked. "Is it some kind of magical attack!? Like, something is homing in on me?"

Rakain shot Hana an arch look. "No, you're not," he deadpanned.

Ami kicked Hana in the shin.

"You have like sixty, seventy years tops. Assuming magic doesn't come into things." Hana said, jumping back to dodge Ami's kick, then sticking her tongue out at her.

"Hana, focus up for a minute," Rakain said, studying the display for a moment. "The signal's coming from the Diaspora. I'm wondering if it's possible to narrow it down even further..." He started fiddling with the controls. Ami snickered.

"Please, I plan to live forever." She shook her head slightly as Rakain tapped a few buttons and bright up the device required and...boom. The signal was coming straight from the Brineice Asteroid, the very base that they had planned to go to - after Absalom Station.

Rakain folded his hefty arms. "What could possibly be on an asteroid broadcasting a signal like that? Into the Drift no less?"

"So, great, thanks, glow." Hana grumbled, "Go to where you are already going!" She shook her head. "At least this won't draw any attention on Absalom Station." She grumbled. "And I assume some kind of ancient Tian artifact."

Ami blinked, then stepped away from the table. She walked around, then frowned as she looked at it, then looked at her. "Well, that also explains how the bad guys were able to find me," She said, then glared at the signal. "Do you guys think you can make...a blocker thingy?" She asked.

"..maybe?" Hana said, frowning. "I mean it seems like some high level magic to block.." She said, sounding unsure.

Ami frowned. "So, the best way to deal with it is to head for the Brineice Asteroid and kick bad guys in the shins?" She asked.

"I was kind of thinking that, yeah." Hana sighed softly. "I mean did we really need to go to Absalom?" She asked, sighing. Rakain rubbed his chin.

"That's your call, Queenie. And I'm all for a spot of shin kicking," he said, nodding.

Nora couldn't resist and tabbed the intercom after a moment, having been listening in out of curiosity. Her face appeared on one of the screens of the Arcane Lab, looking at the trio. "Why not send a message along the lines of 'Hey, on our way. Lighthouse mode off please'? ...if possible," She added after a few seconds. Xata shot Nora a look of gratitude. She'd been dying of curiosity too.

"Lets ask everyone else on the bridge," Ami said, nodding slightly, then stepped away from the table - then blinked as she heard the intercom. She grinned at Nora, then looked at the others. "Is that possible?"

Hana sighed, her brow furrowing as she thought. "I... don't think it's something someone purposefully turned on. I think it's an automatic system, and so.. people wouldn't know how to turn it off, assuming it's possible."

The talk of going to the asteroid concerned Xata. She wondered aloud, her voice carrying over the intercom: "Might it not be useful to find out something about the asteroid before going there? Is that not why we are going to Absalom Station?"

Rakain shook his head. "I don't think it's possible for us to silence the signal. Most of us are still novices at spellcasting, and I don't want to muck around with magic of that level." He looked to Ami, concern on his scaled features. "Don't want to take the risk of hurting royalty myself."

Nora hummed and clicked her tongue over the com, "I don't get magic much, so I'm thinking of it like a two-way link or something. If you can pulse the connection or something, could that work like communication?"

"Or cranking up the signal. Or just making it a general broadcast to everyone around.." Hana sighed slightly, "There's way more ways that it could go wrong, and they are honestly way more likely..."

Ami bit her lip slightly. "That'd require turning it on and off, right?" She asked, her brow furrowing. "Oh, yeah, what Hana said." She nodded, then turned to face the intercom. "Sam! Do you think you can get us close to the asteroid and drop us out of the Drift without drawing the attention of anyone near by?"

"Assuming the enchantment doesn't start playing the Tian national anthem the second we come into orbit.." Hana muttered.

Ami snickered quietly. "True..." She winked at Hana.

Rakain snorted, the leaned close to Hana and whispered, "What does that sound like?"

Sam shrugged, despite being over the comm would mean the gesture was lost on the rest of them. "I can do my best on that- but this is a space ship and we are punching a hole through the fabric of reality." She pointed out. "But it should be possible if we have cover behind something large enough, maybe?"

"Well, hey, there's loads of asteroids..." Ami smiled. "So, I leave it up to my loyal retainers." She grinned slightly. "If we go to Absalom, I can stay on the ship so as to not...glowy glow everywhere and draw attention. Or we can head straight to the BIA, what do you guys think?"

"Well, why were we headed to Absalom? I was totally paying attention and not playing Flappy Drake, but I figure restating it is a good idea.." Hana said, nodding - her grin wry.

"I would feel safest if we could learn something about the destination. I met you all by charging in blindly," Xata allowed, "but we will not always be that lucky. I personally hope we can find someone on Absalom who knows more than we do." She frowned. "Of course we would have to be Crafty about it."

"We were going to offload all the junk we got from the pirates., Hana." Rakain pointed a claw in the general direction of the hold. "Though I don't know how comfy I am with Ami being a homing beacon to Desna knows who, I agree with Xata. We should gather some information at Absalom before we head for the asteroids."

"Just making sure that it's worth it to us." Hana said. "So, guess Ami's sleeping in one of the cargo containers until we leave."

"Offload loot, gather intel quietly." Nora said with a nod to herself.

Xata's expression cleared as she added: "Public databases on the infosphere indicate that the Brineice Asteroid is dangerous. Likely a pirate haunt. Ships vanish there." She looked incongruously pleased. "My cross-referencing circuits are growing more efficient."

"Well, that's great," Ami said, shaking her head. "T-That you're getting better at cross-referencing." She sighed. "But there's something else we need to consider. Those ships had to fly to Akiton to attack us - did they signal back that they were getting destroyed? Or do the pirates think the attack went off hunky dory and are sitting on their butts?"

"Absalom will have enough civil defense around that an attempt on her from another space ship should be near suicide. There are concerns about her being taken off of the ship but there are things we can do to lockdown the ship for her protection while there." Sam pointed out. "It should be the safest place in the system for her."

"I think it is unlikely the pirates will sit on their butts." Xata agreed, thrusting her finger into the air dramatically. "Pirates are noted for their devotion to physical fitness."

"I would honestly guess butt sitting based off the intelligence those pirates displayed to be honest.." Hana said, rubbing her chin.

"If they do think it went hunky dory, best not to inform them that they're wrong." Rakain moved next to Ami. "Gives us more time. And Sam's right - Absalom is very secure." He looked around for some wood to knock on, remembering in the skeletons that had sprung to life on the Kiajitsu Star.

Ami frowned. "But if we take two days to get to Absalom, then...that's two more days for them to get ready for us, you know?" She blushed, then sighed. "I...so, you'll just leave me on Absalom, then?" She asked, her brow furrowing.

"We're not going to leave you on Absalom," Rakain said, putting a gentle hand on Ami's shoulder, his claws teasing where her shirt's neckline opened to her shoulder. "Just keeping you safe there."

Hana snickered, "Well, we'll be leaving you on the ship while we go to Absalom, not leaving you on Absalom.." She grinned.

Sam mused to herself and checked the starcharts. Her fingers tapped a few buttons, bringing up the view of the station.

"Nobody is ready of us," Nora said with a laugh.

Ami blushed and chuckled quietly. "Well, good to know..." She said. "I'd hate to spend the rest of the adventure jammed in a bin."

"I mean," Rakain grinned. "We can share a bin if you want." Ami punched his shoulder with a wide grin.

"..anybody got any bodypaint?" Hana asked curiously, wiggling her fingers at the other woman curiously. Magic crackled around her body, making Ami look down at herself curiously.

"Yeah- Ami makes a point. We would be burning multiple days to deal with the pirates should we head to the station first. It's only a day away form here. If we take too long, if they don't know those ships got shot down then they may send more to find out what happened," Sam said, slowly.

Ami blinked as her skin turned into a different color - shifting and becoming a bright gold, then black, then red. Her glowing aura didn't change in hue, though, even as Hana continued to wiggle her fingers slightly.

Rakain looked at Hana. "How are you doing that?" he asked.

"...magic?" Hana snickered, "Token spell. THE cantrip." She said cheerfully, "I was just thinking we could try disguising her.." She said, changing Ami's skin to the same color as the glowing light.

Xata raised an eyebrow. "Infosphere data indicates that pirates do tend to rely on scout ships for defense. If we wanted to surprise them, it is possible we could do so." She shrugged. "Ultimately the decision is Miss Woodwise's."

Ami blushed as she watched her skin turn bright white. "No, it's- I don't want to be your boss, Xata." She bit her lip. "But I prefer to go straight to the pirate's, personally..."

"Oooh, add pretty lines and she'll look like a beepboop," Nora added.

"Going direct to the asteroid does provide the possibility of doing violence to more Evil Adversaries." Xata's circuits glowed at the prospect. And also at Nora's idea, with hit a chord with her. But she tried to stay focused.

Hana toyed a bit more with the minor illusion, putting circuit lines on Ami's skin, wiggling her fingers slightly. Xata bit her lip. Ami looked very stimulating like that. Ami blinked as she looked somewhat like a celestial android. She blinked and grinned slightly. "Well, uh, nice..." she said, looking down at her skin, then looked at Hana. "You just want more beepboops to bump, don't you?"

Rakain bit his lip slightly and turned his body to hide the fact that he was insanely turned on by Ami with android circuit lines.

"I'm with Ani on this one." Sam noted. "The sooner we take care of them the better. The station is in the wrong way."

Ami blushed, looking at Rakain. "Y-You know, the examination table did seem pretty sturdy..." She said, smirking slightly at his examination of he circuit lines.

"You do know the intercomm channel is still open. But you do have a day at least." Sam teased.

"Focus, hornballs." Hana snickered, snapping her fingers under Ami's nose. "You can bone after we decide." She stuck out her tongue. "And you have the silly idea I only bang beep boops." She said cheerfully. "But.. well, how much can we buy with the scrap we have? Remember, going to Absalom means equipment as well as info."

"I still vote Absalom," Rakain said, moving a bit closer to Ami, holding himself back from reaching out and grabbing her body and tracing the circuit lines with his claws. "The erm...information we can get there could really prove pleasu- beneficial!"

"And armor. Supplies. Things we could really use to take on the pirates. So...Risky or preparatory routes," Nora said.

Ami shivered as she was caressed and stroked, her nipples perking up immediately underneath her thin shirt. Being a small chested girl, she tended to go braless, something all of them could appreciate.

"I'm going to point out that they are probably already relatively prepared for attacks, so giving them another few days will not have as negative effect as we might fear," Hana said.

"Hana makes a good point." Xata was trying not to notice Ami's nipples. "On balance of data, if we were to Vote like certain ancient democracies, I would still Vote for preparatory. Though I see the appeal of the alternative."

"Plus I know it's gung ho, but I almost want a bigger challenge," Rakain admitted, stepping into Ami's personal space and blatantly staring at her erect nipples. "More challenge makes the... spoils more rewarding."

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