tagSci-Fi & FantasyStarfinder: The Jade Regent Pt. 06

Starfinder: The Jade Regent Pt. 06

byDragonCobolt©

Author's Note: Everyone is eighteen!

*****

Starring

Lucithanaas Hana Song

Kittyas Nora

Nathan Ravenwood as Rakain

Jasonas Sam

Cyrano Johnson as Xata

Previously, on Starfinder: The adventuring party arrived at the Brineice Asteroid to find it infested by dire corbies - immense humanoid ravens - led by a wicked Tengu. Defeating him and his ogerkin technical support, our heroes continued down to the next level of the asteroid, seeking out the Kami that may hold the clue to the next step in their adventure.

*****

The stairway leading down into the second level of the base was low and cramped, the air close, the breath coming from their mouths in pale fog clouds. Ami was, by main force, pushed into the middle of the group, where she could be protected - which made her look somewhat cross as she walked along the stairs. However, as they walked forward, both SAm and Rakain held up their hands, stopping the group as they stood at the very bottom of the stairs...

Rakain raised a finger. "I hear noises," he muttered. "Sounds like more corbies."

"Yeah, they're cleaning up something and in a pissy mood about it. Probably distracted enough we can get them withouth giving them a chance to fight back." Hana said, nodding.

Ami nodded, drawing her pistol slowly and as quietly as she could, pressing her back to the wall, ready to creep out once the way ahead was cleared out. Xata's katana was at the ready. She prepared to follow the others' lead. Sam readied her sword in a similar fashion. Rakain drew his pistol and padded forward into the room at the bottom of the stairs.

As they crept forward, their bodies moving soft and silent, the only sound being the faint creak of the metal steps. They clustered around a door, looking around it...and saw that the next room over was clearly some kind of communal eating area. The whole place was filthy with grime and blood...and a single severed finger, pale green and plucked up by one of the corbies, who ate it down eagerly.

The rest of the carbies were busy at work, scrubbing the floors and the walls and...well, they did not seem to be working very hard at cleaning. They were mostly pushing the grime around as they muttered to one another.

"When we're done here..." Rakain muttered. "I am taking the longest shower. Ever."

Sam silently chuckled. "Can't argue that." She whispered in reply.

Hana snorted, waving her hand and sending subtle electric sparks over the vesk's form, then the large woman, cleaning them both. Xata held her peace, just watching. The rest seemed to be unsure about just what to do for the situation, until now when they had the jump on others it was still provoked by the surprise or near discovery of their presence. Here they would flat out be the aggressors here.

So Sam dashed out into the room at full tilt and put herself behind the Corbies. Her blade flicked out in a crossing arch as she took advantage of the surprise.

The blade slashed out and the corbie who had just stood, his hands on the mop. His beak thudded as it landed in the murky water that had been used as the cleaning solution - but even as the corpse fell, Rakain started to act! He peeked out of his hiding spot, took aim, and fired. The pistol shot struck one of the corbies in the side, punching a hole through the matted feathers and the flesh beneath. While not fatal, it did make the beast sit up and take notice.

Hana leaned over, firing off one of her small beads, cursing as she flew so far off the corbie she felt it was better to not mention it and hope everyone else assumed she wasn't getting involved. Xata, rushing forward, slashed out her sword and decapitated the wounded corbie, leaving only one, who was already opening his mouth to cry out in alarm!

Nora brought her pistol up with a calm breath and took aim while the drone on her shoulder opened it's mouth and took aim. Both of their bright beam shots struck the same corby in the same exact spot, leaving a seared crater before the corpse fell. As the bodies hit the floor, Ami lowered her pistol. "You know, guys, I'm never going to get any better if I don't get a chance to shoot anyone..." She said, grinning slightly, stepping with a wince into the filthy room. The lights were low and dim - but the interior was a warren - there were corridors in every direction, twisting and winding outwards. A quick count said there were almost eight ways out of the room, each one vanishing into the dimness and curving corridors. In the distant, they could hear the cries of happiness from corbies, echoing and distant and almost impossible to track.

"To be fair, Ami, I keep getting to shoot at stuff and I never get any better, so the two things might be completely unrelated." Hana snickered slightly, putting a mark on the door the entered through.

After assessing the room Sam clicked open her comm channel. "Pick the nearest cardinal direction and clear them one by one?"

"That's a lot of doors to clear, Sam," Rakain said.

"I could send my drone around to scout, but figuring this place every passage might lead back into another," Nora commented as she looked about. After a moment she tapped at her wrist and hummed.

Ami nodded. "That's not a half...bad...idea..." She said, quietly. "Will your drone go unobserved?" she asked Nora.

Hana nodded, "Sounds good to me. Drone it up."

Sam nodded in agreement.

"Climbing claws and optic systems girl, you tell me," Nora said as the little drone on her shoulder flickered and changed colors like a lizard would to blend in. As she tapped a few buttons, Nora found that the sensor she had in her exo-comp could detect the energy signature that had drawn them here...and had drawn the pirates to Ami. It was radiating from about...ten meters...

Directly down.

As she found that, Ami nodded. "Then off with you, cute drone ferret." She said, reaching out and rubbing the drone's nose.

Nora's camera clicked on to display Ami's face while the ferret drone nuzzled her hand back before jumping off Nora's shoulder. The drone quickly skittered off down a passage, moving to climb along the walls and ceiling for protection before disappearing into the darkness.

As they waited, Ami frowned. "So..." She whispered. "It's weird that we've managed to kill their leader and there's still a shit ton of evil in this place. It feels like they should all just crumble to dust, right?"

Hana snickered, "It's like they don't have the decency to murder themselves to satisfy our need for a proper narrative form."

"Takes...days, maybe months even for a full organization to crumble. Usually it splinters with various lieutenants taking their faction and heading off," Nora said, pursing her lips.

Sam shrugged. "It's not something magically bound and dependent on his existence." Sam said as a nod to Ami. "And in that process of tearing itself apart it often does even more short term damage than before as it flails wildly without a purpose."

Ami nodded as the drone came to the first of the rooms and stopped - making a quiet chirrup over the com unit, the view showing that the chamber held what looked like a horse sized fucking bat. It was huge and furred, with a pair eyes closed tightly, a faint red glow shining from under the lids, while its feet clung to the ceiling as it hung there, clearly asleep.

"Well, danger one found. Giant bat." Nora said with a wince. She displayed the image on the nearby wall for all to see. "I'll just...edge around that."

"No complaints here," Rakain muttered.

Nora urged her drone around the bat and kept it exploring, watching while detailing her own little map in the corner.

Seeing as they were going to be a moment, Sam examined the dead in the room for anything of value or note.

"Anything good, Sam?" Rakain called.

The drone skittered forward, evading the bat easily. AS it moved on, it came to a through a set of rooms that had been utterly abandoned - they appeared to be old storage rooms, filled with components and devices, each one left to rot and rust. Then it came to another storeroom...and this one...this one was oddly dusty. There was no sign that they had ever had anything within. AS the drone looked around, a tiny hint of motion was detected. The camera zoomed...but it was just a tiny looking skull, resting in the corner of the room. It hadn't moved.

But then as the drone started to go, another hint of motion came from the same area - the skull was in a slightly different position when the view zoomed in again and they could all see it.

"..how does whatever it is know when the drone is focusing on it?" Hana said in confusion.

Rakain gulped. "More skeletons. Great."

Sam just held up her hand showing a dirty credstick. "Nothing else of note on the corpses." She said as she slipped it into the pocket she was using for undivided loot.

"It might see the drone." Nora said before falling into a mumbling tirade of curses. She keyed a few buttons and whispered a prayer under her breath. The drone settled. A slow, long time came...and then the skull shifted, floating upwards. With a swirling gust of energy, a small green coat appeared underneath the skull. It looked a bit like a dog's skull, floating above a cape that hung around invisible shoulders, making it look like a small puppet, made by a child...save for the fact it floated by itself. It rattled as it started to drift around the room, looking about inquisitively, as if trying to find the drone.

"That's right you facacta bonehead. Float around all dumb, stupid calcium deposit..." Nora muttered under her breath.

"Alright, this one is on me. I made mention of magical dependency." Sam cursed under her breath.

Ami bit her lip, checking the map. "At least it's out of the way, so we can avoid it if we need to. Is it evil?" she asked, looking at the two wizards of the group.

Hana, looking at the screen, winched. "...yeesh... it's... basically a dead kid's spirit. It's just sad and scared and honestly we'll be doing it a favor putting it down..."

"Oh..." Ami said, her voice soft.

Nora flinched visibly. "Alright, just...ouch. Is it...dangerous?"

"It'll defend it's room," Rakain said. "But won't leave it. Long as we don't stick our noses in there we'll be fine."

Hana frowned, "Wonder if we can get some corbies in there."

"Could probably lure them in there. Or the bat." Nora shrugged. She hadn't stopped watching the screen, her fingers just waiting to order her drone to bug out.

"I dunno if a kid ghost is enough to kill THAT thing," Rakain said.

"Well, um...lets keep scouting," Ami said, nodding. "See what we have to work with." She said, smiling ever so slightly as she did so. Nora nodded. She held her breath, waiting for a moment the skull would turn away before ordering her drone to quickly skitter out of the room. She felt guilty but kept pushing her drone to explore.

As the drone skittered forward, it came to a room that made Rakain growl quietly under his breath...for it was a chamber that had once been a temple-shrine, dedicated to the goddess of Desna, who was the boon of travellers and wayfarers. Perfect for a spaceport. But someone had taken a chainsaw to the beautiful statue, cutting the wings down to make them appear to be four wings, rather than two. The face had been despoiled and altered, with false tusks added, while two extra eyes had been drilled in, and the statue was covered with dried blood. Bowing before it was a corbie bedecked in red robes, bowing and murmuring soft prayers - and a single name was clear as it hissed and chittered.

"Lantashu...Lantashu...Lantashu..."

They all recognized that name.

They had turned the statue of Desna into a statue of Lantashu - the goddesss of monsters.

Nora blew out a breath as a bit of rubble fell from her drone's perch. She watched the scene and couldn't help but wince. "Damn, that's not good..."

Rakain's tail lashed. "Not really feeling bad about giving all those corbies the power line treatment anymore," he snarled.

Ami nodded, squeezing his shoulder. "So,we have a giant bat and a corbie priest..." She said, quietly. "But still no stairs down..."

Hana snickered, "Well, we HAVE only checked three out of eight doors."

Sam remained silent in the commentary, instead using her tablet to map out the base. No doubt Nora was keeping track and she wouldn't have trouble remembering them, but still best to keep a backup. Ami snickered, sticking her tongue out at Hana.

"But I want a way down nowwww!" She said, playfully as the drone clattered on. It checked room after room - finding a series of chambers that were clearly made to house Corbies...but they were empty. So the corbies were either dead or in the third level. Then it came to a chamber filled with computers - though most of the computers had been left to rot, several were still clearly functional, with data-caches within...a computer room! As the drone skittered around, though, it found something very strange...

One of the computer terminals was active and had a still running video on it. A pair of gorgeous drow girls rubbed their breasts against one another, kissing sloppily as they rubbed soapy oil into their ebony black skin. Sitting on the chair that was set out next to the terminal was a huge, thick black purple dildo, clearly modeled off of a dragon's member. It was unoccupied, though...

But...still slick?

Then the drone squeaked as it was picked up, the camera swinging around wildly as it was held up and a pair of glaring golden eyes filled the camera. Then the camera was pulled away and they realized the drone had been scooped up by the harpie, Zaiobie. The view was angled to look at her face and she looked extremely grumpy as she glared mutely at the drone.

"Erm..." Rakain said, mashing his mouth into a line. "Did we interrupt something?"

Ami - her cheeks bright red - whispered to Nora. "Does, uh, the drone have a speaker?"

"Don't suppose you can talk to her through the drone?" Hana said curiously.

Ami snickered. "Great minds...steal from greater minds!" She stuck her tongue out at Hana.

"Yes, but those greater minds are very forgiving of your theft." Hana smirked back.

"Well, we found her atleast." Sam said with a shrug. Nora keyed a few buttons on her wrist, mumbling to herself before pausing. She went silent, staring for a moment before coughing lightly.

"Sorry to intrude?" Her voice came from the drone in the room. The harpie blinked, looking surprised to hear Nora's voice. Then she opened her mouth, then closed it. She paused, then set the drone down to aim at the screen - the two drow girls vanished and a word processor came up a moment later.

WHO ARE YOU?

"We've got your voice and we'll give it back to you if you promise to be cool and not go about killing people or stealing shit." Hana said casually.

"That. Shot the asshole tengu too." Nora added, "The drone can lead you back to us if you're willing." She commanded her drone to make friendly dooks in response. There was a long pause. Then the girl typed away.

YOSHI IS DEAD?

Since the camera was aimed at the screen, they couldn't see her face.

"Yep, totally dead." Hana said cheerfully, her hands on her hips.

Nora looked up at the ceiling and mouthed something to herself. She closed her eyes and held her wrist out to Hana so she could take over being a better social person. There was a short pause. Then she typed: GOOD. COME HERE AND PLEASE GIVE ME MY VOICE BACK.

He was named Yoshi? Who names their kid Yoshi?" Sam ask, a bit taken back.

"Tian probably," Nora whispered before keying a few things then looking to Hana.

"Don't ask me," Rakain said, folding his arms. "And I'm not going to her, she should come to us."

"..tengu?" Hana said, shrugging slightly. "So, guess we should go talk to her then? There a safe way to get to her?"

Checking the map, she saw that they could head straight there without needing to run into anyone else...but they would be dangerously close to the shrine's room - but the door was closed there, so there was some sound baffling.

"Just be sneaky and try to walk quietly here..." Nora pointed out along the path on her map.

Ami nodded, then smiled. "And, hey, if...Yoshi was as much of a dick to her as he was trying to be to me, she'll be happy he's dead!" She said, clapping her hand on Nora's shoulder.

Hana nodded casually, "Let's go then!" She said, smiling brightly. "Besides, Rakain, going to her means we get to see her sex toy!"

Rakain looked thoughtful.

As the group made their quiet way forward, they came to the computer room in only a few moments. The door was closed, but they found it unlocked - as it hissed open, the harpy spun around her chair to turn to look at them, petting the ferret drone in her lap absently. She had actually tried to get herself modest - meaning that she had tossed a light shirt over her shoulders, covering her bared breasts, but leaving her thighs and pert pussy entirely exposed. She stood, then blushed and held out the ferret to the group.

Nora moved over to gently take her Ferret, looking up at the harpy. She smiled a little in response and murmured 'Thank you' before stepping back. "Sorry for the weird meeting. I think...Hana, you have her voice right?"

Sam couldn't help but smirk at the scene, quite amused. Rakain looked pointedly at the wall, feeling his scales burn in embarrassment. Hana pulled out the globe of shimmering energy from her pocket, offering it to the woman, "Here you go, you need to do anything special with it?"

The harpy grabbed the globe excitedly, then popped it into her mouth. IT flowed into her throat, and a pale red glow came from her skin. She breathed in, opened her mouth...and no sound came out. Her face fell and she hung her head forward. Then she slumped down on the chair, looking utterly despondent. She put her hand on Hana's hand, biting her lip.

Hana blinked, "Um.. why didn't it work?" She said, frowning slightly. "I mean.. the hell?" She sounded irritated. The harpy sighed, quietly, still squeezing Hana's hand, her brow furrowing. Xata looked at the creature curiously. She couldn't help feeling an unwonted sympathy.

"Was there some magic mumbo jumbo we were supposed to say to get it to work?" Rakain asked. Without much to go on Nora brought her wrist up to try and dig through anything she could about voice magic.

Hana frowned, "You're sure you were supposed to swallow it to make it work? Not break it or something?"

Xata frowned, thinking to herself. She could try Telepathic Messaging the harpy to facilitate communication. Give her at least the facsimile of a voice.

Sam shrugged. "Not a clue, never seen a voice restored from it's theft."

Deciding that it was a good idea, Xata began to hum quietly, putting a hand to her temple. She sent a Telepathic Message to the harpy: I can Make Your Voice Live Again through me, an echo of it anyway. If you will tell me what to say.

Hana frowned, "Huh.. that.. sucks.. do you know why Lamash.." She looked to the others, realizing that she hadn't told the others what she had been hearing telepathically for the last few moments. "Sorry, she got cursed by Lamashtu, then Yoshi stole her voice, so apparently the goddess just muted her.. for some reason.."

The harpy looked between Xata and Hana, then bit her lip, opening her mouth - and they could all hear her voice in their minds: I don't know why the demon-queen stole my voice. But...the curse is still there.

"So, break that shrine and then we might break the curse?" Nora offered.

The harpy stood, her wings flaring behind her. But that would bring the curse of the demon-queen on you!

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