tagSci-Fi & FantasyStarfinder: The Jade Regent Pt. 09

Starfinder: The Jade Regent Pt. 09

byDragonCobolt©

Author's Note: Sorrrrrrrry for the delay. There has been a small mini-dragon running around my cave, brought by my sibling. He's just as adorable as Brash, and requires far more attention. So, only two days late, here is some STARFINDER! :D

Starring

Lucithanaas Hana Song

Kittyas Nora

Nathan Ravenwood as Rakain

Jasonas Sam

Cyrano Johnson as Xata

Previously, on Starfinder: With the location of the sentient sword, Suishen, in hand, our heroes now brave yet more dangers to get it back by sneaking onto the funeral barge of Asvig Longthews' former boss.

The shuttle that held the Mr. Johnson of the former shadowruner Asvig Longthews wasn't held in the nice shuttle bays.

It wasn't held in the bad shuttle bays.

It was held in the crappiest part of the shittiest level of the darkest corner of Kalsgard - an area of low hanging industrial pipes and gurgling machines, narrow corridors illuminated only by safety lights behind huge, spinning fans. It was a place as unpleasantly humid and hot as other parts of the station were cold - moisture collected on the ceiling, dripping down in slow patters of unpleasant warmth.

The ground was grated - metal rusted in some places, with thick, rough looking screws that attached the gratings to place and creaked as Sam, Hana, Nora, Xata, Rakain and Amikeo walked down the corridor, heading for the shuttle-port that held the funeral shuttle. As they walked, Ami shook her head slightly. "So, can I add my voice to Hana's statement that...I...can't wait to get off this station? "She asked, her voice pitched low over the distant thrum of machinery and hiss of steam.

As she spoke, Sam - who was leading the way - found the bulkhead leading into ORE PROCESSING-298. The paint on the door was old and peeling, indicating just how long it had been since Kalsgard has actually acted like a mining station. This was the berth that led to an old ore processing section of the station ,which was currently where the funeral shuttle had been attached.

With left the mystery...

Who puts a funeral shuttle down here!?

But as they considered that question, a loud clunk and squishy scrunch noise came from the far side of the door - and the low, frantic squealing of a rat being suddenly silenced.

"Who," Xata asked as she furiously scanned her databases, "would put a funeral shuttle down here?"

"And let rats have run of the place," Rakain muttered, drawing his gun.

Ami shuddered slightly - then blinked as she glowed a faint white for a moment, then faded. She gasped. "T-The Kami just did something!" She said, wiggling her fingers. "I think Suishen is near...w-which we knew, but...still, it's good to know..." She gulped.

The faint sound of chewing was coming through the bulkhead. Like something big was munching on something smaller.

Nora blew out a breath and held her hand out quickly. She urged her bot to jump down and peak forward at whatever the noise was real fast as she showed the feed to everyone on her wrist. Xata heard the munching sound and held position, her posture taut as she awaited a signal from Miss Woodwise or Nora.

"It would be down here to prevent it from being found." Sam offered through the comm, her paranoia having kept the armor's faceplate up in that mask as she led them, pausing to get the scouting feed from Nora's drone.

The little ferret bot hopped off Nora's shoulders, then skittered forward. IT stuck its tiny nose forward, peering under the bulkhead's frame, finding a hole in the seal, then looking there.

In the darkness of the ore loading dock - the massive space filled with automated machinery that had long been left to rust and crust over with age - there was a huge...form. Many limbed and chitinous, with black coloration - save for a few dull red flashes that the emergency lights of the machines illuminated. But whatever it was, it held the twitching form of a rat - blood pattering onto the floor as it ate noisily.

It looked to be roughly the size of a small horse...maybe bigger.

It was. Fucking. Huge.

"Holy rusted metal!" Hana whispered.

"Can we go a damn day without running into something horrifying?" Rakain grumbled.

"Do we have to head that way?" Sam asked, not exactly pleased with the sight.

Nora's expression went taut as she took a few careful steps back so that she was behind Sam. "Think it's distracted with food, so we can probably sneak past fast if we're careful," She whispered.

Ami sighed. "The map Korra gave us gives this as the best route - unless you guys wanna go back half a mile, go out the airlock, walk along the skin of the ship..." she shook her head slightly.

"Upside, if we run into something horrifying, we can take care of it.." Hana muttered slightly. Ami nodded, then lifted her hand for a solemn fist bump from Hana.

Xata said: "We should perhaps not risk something horrifying coming from behind us. Perhaps we should take care of it."

Hana fist bumped back the other woman, then nodded at Xata, "Or getting out to horrify someone less competent."

"Quite." Xata said, seriously.

Sam nodded. "Then into the rat's nest. I just hope there isn't a pack."

Nora let out a breath, "I'll lob a flash grenade around the corner real fast. Once it goes off we'll hit it?"

Xata unlimbered her katana. "We may have work to do, Foundling," she told it. She had heard that Famous Warriors sometimes spoke to their weapons. And nodded agreement to Nora's point.

Hana frowned, "Kind of hope there is actually. Much better we take them out now then run into them later." She nodded to Nora. "Sounds like a good plan."

Ami grinned, giving her a thumbs up as she drew her own laser pistol. Sam readied her blade as well, waiting for the agreed moment.

"I've got a few new tricks up my sleeve since our last big scrap," Rakain said. "Let's make it happen."

"Cover your ears, close your eyes. When you feel the grenade go off you'll be safe," The mechanic blew out a breath and nodded. She dug around in her bag for the grenade and checked it fast. Keying a few things on her wrist she closed her eyes and muttered to herself before turning to toss the grenade around the corner and duck quickly back behind the metal to protect her eyes. Hana moved into cover herself, covering her eyes and ears to keep from getting blinded. Xata Followed the Instructions. Sam took the moment needed to protect herself from it's effects.

The grenade flew forward, tinked around the corner - and as they tensed, there was a loud flash and the hideous spider-like monster, with large, crab like arms, reached out and thrashed its limbs...and dropped from where it had been hiding, arms flailing - and charged at the door, clearly far from blind, hissing with fury!

Sam dashed forward to meet the crab of unusual size before it got close enough to grasp at her companions. Those steps turned into a lunge as she thrust her blade forward. The blade bounced off the side of the chitinous, crablike monster as its claws reached towards Sam. Sam stepped back - but then both claws grabbed either side of Sam's body, lifting the amazonian woman up and off her feet, squeezing with a dull groan and creak of metal!

Nora leaned around the corner after a moment, watching Sam while holding something to her shoulder. She had been practicing and getting better with the laser rifle they had managed to acquire and finally felt comfortable bringing. Good thing as the sleek, dark weapon fired a searing bolt that struck the creature. Her drone missed though, much to the chagrin of Nora's programming.

The searing beam of light scored into the hideous creature's side, sending it staggering. It screerched, dropping Sam to her feet - the massive woman landing with a grunt! Hana raised her hand, whispering softly as she wiggled her fingers, the ground under the crab-beast becoming glossy and slippery. The crab-beast's legs skittered wildly and almost comically as it flailed its arms above its head, hissing like a steam kettle, then landing on its belly with a loud THUMP!

Rakain lunged forward, keeping his footing on the slick surface and kicking off, jumping atop the prone creature. His hand glowed venom green with what looked to be sparks flitting off it, and he slapped his palm down on the space crab's husk. The space crab hissed and screeched, thrasing its limbs as it tried to throw Rakain off it's back as steam hissed from a nearby vent - clouding the scene momentarily.

Xata balled up a fist, sang a Chant of Chanticleer's Electrifying Wisdom and swung at the creature! Sadly, the creature managed to jolt away from her at the last moment, there were difficulties after all, trying to slap a monster that was skidding around on greasy ground, with a massive Vesk riding it like a pony. Ami - trying to get her pistol to angle at the creature, didn't quite manage to get a clear shot.

"Yeeeeeee-haw!" Rakain whooped.

Sam had managed to keep her footing with being dropped from those crushing claws, and turned her attention to them as they flailed about- their owner having trouble keeping steady on the magically slick ground. She took that to her advantage as she noticed the way the hardened armor folded around it's joints as it moved, and as it tried to bring one of those massive arms in to maintain it's balance she slipped under it's reach and slammed the impossibly sharp edge of her blade home into the joint. The spider twitched as the sword slammed home again and again - then hissed softly, then laid still. AS it lay there, Ami peeked over Nora's shoulder. "Is it dead?" She asked.

Blood seeped through the grating - dripping down, along with the magically summoned grease.

It seemed it was.

"Dead," Nora said after a second, watching as well as Sam stood over the creature. "I hope. Should probably set it on fire as a safe bet."

Hana nodded, dismissing the grease from the ground. "Wonder if it's good to eat.." She said curiously.

"Who knows what sort of parasites it carries." Sam said in a tone of disgust as she took a step away from the blood and grease and went about cleaning her blade again before stowing it.

"That IS one of the points of cooking." Hana snickered.

Xata shot a shining look at Sam, who of course had prevailed. Ami snickered. "Well, it is a crab..." She said - but then a loud BANG echoed out from ahead of them - and a low hiss - a sound that each of them recognized as the sound of a fuel injector being detached...

The shuttle was getting ready for launch!

Rakain hopped off the creature's corpse. "I dunno if that's a good idea, given the nanobots made out of my blood that I pumped into it," he emphasized. "Shiiiiiit, we gotta move!"

"Yeah, let's go." Hana said, heading in the direction of the sound.

Ami nodded. "That we do!" She scrambled over the corpse, rushing forward. Xata flashed into motion behind her. Sam quickly followed the rest of the group. They all arrived to find that the ore processing area...was empty. The large shuttle they had hoped to hyjack was currently merrily floating away - about ten feet beyond the shimmering, semi-permeable force field that kept the air in and space out.

"Balls!" Ami said, then grabbed the hood of her armor, unfolding it and snapping it into place. "This is a bad idea!" She ran forward, then dove through the force field - sailing out into space...and grabbing onto the airlock of the shuttle, swinging around in microgravity to wave at them as the shuttle continued to drift away.

"What the fuck is she doing?" Rakain yelled, grabbing at his head spikes in panic. Xata fought back the urge to call out. Surely Miss Woodwise had to know what she was doing?

Hana sighed, "How about letting the people who won't actually die in space do that shit?" She called out, running to join Ami grabbing the shuttle.

"Beating me to the punch." Sam said before tapping an unseen button, her armor giving a hiss as it sealed and she followed the foolhardy pair. Nora cursed before taking a deep breath. Picking her drone up she went sprinting after Sam, leaping to follow the rest. Seeing Sam make the leap, a grumbling Xata sealed up her armor and followed, as it were, suit.

"Maybe someone stay back so you can get our damned ship!" Hana cursed as she grabbed tight to the shuttle.

"This is dumb, this is dumb, this is so goddamn dumb," Rakain muttered to himself, engaging his suit environment and following his companions.

Hana sailed out into space, transitioning from the thundering noise of the interior of Kalsguard to the utter silence of space. She grabbed onto the side of the shuttle next to Hana, while Rakain, Xata and Nora arrived as well - all of them grabbing onto the side of the shuttle. As they clung to the side, Ami grinned shakily. "So, uh..." She said, her voice crackling over the radio. "That worked. Anyone know how to open this door?"

As she asked, the shuttle's engines started to glow - getting ready to turn on...and accelerate away from the station!

Hana grumbled slightly, crawling along the side of the shuttle, looking for a door. "Got it," Nora said over their coms. As she hung to the shuttle she keyed at her wrist, using her own computer to hack into the shuttle airlock and cycle it to their side. Xata gave Nora a huge grin. She had never had a doubt.

As Hana crawled around, Nora hacked and Ami chuckled. "T-That may have been...a bit hasty..." She said, watching the engines glowing brighter and brighter as the airlock door hissed open, light shining from within!

"No shit." Hana sighed as she moved into the shuttle, "Now we just have to hope the controls on this thing still works..."

Sam followed them inside as she synced her tablet with her comm to boost it's strength and range, reaching out to the Sunwolf. "Alfie, do you read? Please grant me access to navigation." She requested kindly.

Ami snickered. "Well, it's a day long flight to the sun...and Brash the dragon is on Sunwolf. He won't let us down..." Ami blushed as they stepped into the airlock - the artificial gravity of the ship preventing them from feeling more than a faint sway as the engines kicked on.

"This is Alife, I read you," the faint voice of the holographic halfling came through Sam's tablet.

"We're kind of pressed for time here," Rakain added hurriedly on the channel Sam spoke on.

Ami rubbed the back of her neck, muttering. "I...I'm just...sick of everyone else doing the dangerous stuff..."

"Everyone else is not an Imperial Space Princess," Xata reminded her mildly.

Hana sighed softly, "You have to gauge risk versus reward. Two members of our group can be thrust into deep space and survive, and you my dear Ami, are not one of them."

"Lets save any form of lecture for being on the Sunwolf when we have the sword, ay?" Nora asked as she keyed at her wrist, slipping in to the airlock with the rest. "Lets finish this first."

"We're all just partially sex-crazed lunatics who are tagging along for this wild ride," Rakain said, patting Ami's shoulder. "Let us do the heavy lifting.

"I tale exception to partially sex-crazed," put in Xata. "But I agree with Rakain."

Ami sighed, then muttered. "I'm a sex crazed lunatic..." She said, sounding mullish as the Sunwolf started to move to intercept their ship - but it'd take a few minutes to get there. Looking around, they saw that the first deck of the ship was completely empty, though there was a set of stairs heading down to a lower level.

But Ami did look somewhat chagrined - avoiding meeting Hana's eyes.

"So.. since we're here, let's find that sword." Hana said, smiling slightly, clearly wanting to put the awkwardness behind them.

"Okay then," Nora said, blowing out her breath. "how about, until one of us is an all knowing god, we stop acting like we KNOW WHAT IN THE STARS HOW THINGS WORK. We all STARTED in that little podunk junk yard with Ami, so STOP selling her skills SHORT. Now LETS get that DAMNED sword."

Ami nodded to Hana, then blinked slightly as she looked at Nora, grinning. "A-And here I thought I was grumpy..." She said, shyly. "Um, question..." She paused. "Does anyone else hear that?"

"Thank you Alfie." Sam commented as put the tablet away, satisfied with her quickly drawn up set of instructions for the auto pilot to follow. "Yes, let's check the ship out."

Xata held Foundling at the ready and began to move, then halted at Hana's suggestion. "Hear what?"

Each of them heard a faint rattle of chain and clink - something like chains being tugged around in the lower decks of the ship.

"Aaaaaand that's not creepy," Rakain said, grabbing his gun again.

"No," Xata agreed. "It is Extremely Creepy."

"I swear, if we are having to deal with the undead again, it isn't going to need a grave." Sam complained as she retrieved her sword.

"So.. think maybe the guest of honor isn't as dead as his men thought?" Hana snickered slightly, "Nah, bunch of clever, upstanding fellows like them would never get confused like that."

"...they...didn't send out a living person to get buried, did they?" Ami whispered. "Ugh, yeah, exactly..." She nodded at Hana.

"We must Seek Him Out." Xata's tone wasn't as resolute as her words. "That is what Heroes Would Do in this situation."

"If it looks like a zombie, I'm blasting it," Rakain said. "No hesitation."

Ami stepped forward, heading towards the stairs - but staying off to the side. She shone her flashlight down, then whistled. "Well, there's definitely gold down there..." She said, casually. Sam nodded and started for the stairs, taking lead as she went deeper into the ship.

"Who's going first? Sam or Rak?" Hana smirked slightly, following the others.

Xata followed the group. Rakain looked at Sam and held up his fist. "Rock, paper, scissors?"

"Hey Nora, you got control of this ship's gravity?" Hana asked curiously.

Sam smirked and humored the Vesk. She gave him a pair of quick shakes of the fist to signal their start of the game, and snapped her finger out into the shape of a gun before continuing. "Just be glad Brash isn't here..." Ami said, grinning slightly as they headed down the stairs - finding the lower level of the ship was, indeed, filled with gold. There were gold chairs and some piles of gold and a few paintings and portraits. Funerary goods. There was also a sleek, curved, katanablade...held in the hands of a rotting, desiccated corpse of a massive Wulfen man - his once blond hair turned to seaweed, his body smelling of salt and rot.

He shambled around - chained to a coffin, and his left eye gleamed...it was a pale white stone, not a real eye at all.

"...ew..." Ami whispered, quietly.

Rakain sighed and raised his gun. "Fucking. Zombies."

"We must lay him to rest," Xata said after consulting her Tropes. The undead creature looked up at them...and then started to shamble forward - and each of them saw that the chain was long enough to more than easily let it reach them!

Hana frowned, then thrust her hand out, a massive cloud of glittering dust, adding to the shine of the gold in the cabin, coating the undead being and making it insanely visible, and hopefully blind. The undead captin lifted his hand at the last moment, gurgling, salt water dribbling from his mouth, then continud to step forward - not seeming very blind at all as he lifted the curved blade...and brought it whistling down towards Hana!

And smashed it into the ground as Hana stepped back a single half inch, a single lock of her hair hitting the ground, but leaving her otherwise unharmed!

Sam stepped into the gap between the undead captain and her companion, her blade slashing out in a set of hard and fast strikes. He was fasted than she expected though, his blade parrying her blows.

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