*The Last Survivor-Sanctum Aftermath*

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*The Last Survivor-Sanctum Aftermath*

Post by Dumastin » 04 Aug 2017, 12:09

[CHAT] Thousand slowly opens a single eye, his head tucked under his right and sole remaining arm, connected to his torso by a long, improvised length of cable harvested from the remnants of his ruined right leg. His left arm and leg, and a big chunk of his torso are completely gone, his nanomachines having temporarily replaced the missing main power conduit. His artificial skin is completely gone, his appearance one of an armored skeleton having been exposed to dragonfire. Intermittently, sparks fly and arcs of electricity flit across his moving parts as he drifts grimly back towards the scene. His scanners barely function, their range slashed to less than a tenth their normal ability, yet he sweeps them back and forth exhaustedly, searching for a trace of anyone, anything...

[CHAT] Dumastin: -- 'Thousand would, however long it took, find that he came online in a place of safety. Not drifting through space, but surrounded by dim red lighting; the source seemed to be some sort of chemical-based emergency lighting. He laid on padding over metal, which he'd probably quickly recognize as a style of medical table. There was only one life sign in the area, elsewhere... The metal looked new, and the construction was very similar to that he'd seen aboard the Platinum Legacy. Maybe it had survived?'

[CHAT] Dumastin: -- 'Beside the one lifesign, there was very little. There was a trickle of power running through the equipment, barely enough for life support. There was no sign of his friends, or the Crimson Queen's energy signature. Barely even traces of magical power, more ambient than focused.'

[CHAT] Thousand dazedly takes note of his surroundings, his scanners bringing him no joy. No energy he recognized, and but one trace of life to be found. Taking measure of his energy reserves, he begins to hover up above the table. Immediately, he lists hard to the left, the absence of many energy projection points having taken their toll. He crashes hard into the nearby wall, crumpling down to the floor. He tries again, this time overcompensating and slamming against the wall on his far right. An electric arc forms between his hip joint and the nearby wall for a brief moment, nonetheless further draining the androids ebbing reserves. Finally, he manages to achieve a mostly stable, albeit slow hover, gradually working his way towards the detected life sign. 'Not just me.... who....'

[CHAT] Dumastin: -- 'A human came upon him in what looked like some kind of service corridor; narrow and, like the medbay, dimly lit. "You're online? That's pretty surprising. I guess Ascended-type androids are a lot tougher than regular ones." He held up his hands. "Probably don't recognize me. My name is Silas, Silas Henries. I'm... or, I guess I was, the wielder of that sword. Soulmirror." He looked at Thousand. "You should rest, and recover whatever energy you can. There isn't enough power to recharge you or anything. We're kinda stuck here for a while longer."'

[CHAT] Thousand finds himself drifting slowly, almost imperceptibly to the left as he floats before Silas. 'What happened? Last I remember, Sam had attacked her head on... where are we? Where is Sam? Where is the Queen?' He shakes his head a moment, noticing the drift. He pauses, then shifts back over to the right and holds still a moment, before once more beginning to drift almost imperceptibly to the left. 'I've got to.... they called me back to help...' He fails to notice the drift, this time, until he bumps into the nearby cooridor wall. Another momentary electric arc, another minute drop in energy levels. Swearing, he rights himself once more. 'Where are we.... What happened...'

[CHAT] Dumastin: -- '"I..." Silas's face fell. "Before he went offline, Prime said something about..." He looked away from Thousand. "This is, he called it the Platinum Legacy? Some kind of spacecraft, although when I went outside to fetch you it didn't look like any spacecraft I've ever seen. The planet is just, just gone, I don't know how to tell you anything different. Not exploded, although it looked like it was ready to. Aside from one big chunk of it, it just up and disappeared. Prime got really incoherent there for a while and wasn't making much sense, especially once the power started to drop..." He looked sad. "I think you might be the only survivor. I felt a lot of energy signatures fading out toward the end of the battle."'

[CHAT] Thousand droops, his face -literally- falling, his eye going still for a moment as the connection to his head his briefly interrupted, the head dangling just below his waist by the cable, rotating back and forth slowly. He gestures into the air with his single hand. 'The only one? I Ca-' He begins to twitch, repeating that syllable many times before recovering seemingly out of nowhere. 'Ca-Ca-Ca-Ca-Ca-Ca-Ca-Ca-Ca-Ca-Ca-Can't be the only survivor. I just can't! What happened to the planet? What of-' it happens again...' 'of-of-of-of-of-of-of-of-of-of-of-of-of-of the Queen?!?'

[CHAT] Dumastin: -- '"Calm down, you've got to settle down before you shake yourself to pieces!" He started to draw closer, but drew back again. He didn't want to get electrocuted, nor did he want to further agitate the unfamiliar android. "She's got to be gone by now, whatever happened. Prime said something about her only having an hour to live? It's been several. And I told you, the planet..." He sighed. "Come on. If I get a cart and pile you in it, will you settle down long enough to go outside and have a look for yourself?"'

[CHAT] Thousand hesitates for a long moment, shoulder drooping, before tucking his head back under his arm after nodding it (rather morbidly, really). 'I... yes. Something non conductive would be best...' He drifts own to the floor gently, settling himself down for the moment. 'I have to see-see-see-see-see...'

[CHAT] Dumastin: -- 'Silas walked away, and came back a short time later pushing a handcart. He'd layered some kind of rubber sheeting over it, and was wearing a heavy set of rubber gloves, as well. Carefully, he helped the android up into the cart, then pushed it along the dim corridor until he came to an airlock. Sighing, he pulled down one of the emergency masks and pressed it to his mouth, a slight glow illuminating his face as the survival mask projected an low-power energy screen across his skin. Silent, he guided the cart through the airlock and waited for the pressure to cycle.'

[CHAT] Dumastin: -- 'When the airlock opened, he started to guide the cart down a ramp. It almost looked like they'd landed on the Sanctum; all around where the Legacy was laying was stone, much like the Sanctum's rocky, unpleasant terrain. And there was ice, too, just as there had been on the Sanctum. But the stars were moving... slowly rotating overhead...'

[CHAT] Dumastin: -- 'They were on a chunk of rock, sliced cleanly from the surface of the Sancum, and tumbling slowly through space. And overhead, amidst the starfield, was a great void. "That's where the planet ought to be. I can't make any sense of it, I've never seen anything like it. There's no debris, no dust or gas or anything. Just... that emptiness."'

[CHAT] Thousand stares up from the cart for a long time, wordlessly. Thousands of scenarios play through his mind, but not one leads to the end result he is able to observe above the pair. He opens his mouth, closes it, opens it again, and close it once more, thinking to himself. Sam... Jules... Elphlane... Dumastin... Rizion... Requius... all gone. It was just too much. He makes eye contact with Silas again, his mouth moving as if he were trying to speak, but not a word coming out. His eyes dim a moment before focusing back across the void above, sweeping back and forth unbelievingly.

[CHAT] Thousand would not be processing this blow anytime soon, mutely gazing up above the planetary fragment. And the loose ends came to him, then- what of Jules' many children? What of Jaraid, and Flay? The people of New Requiem? (It's all too much...) he thinks to himself, his lips moving but not a sound coming out. (So many left behind... this wasn't their time... none of their time...) His grip on his own head tightens, the metal groaning a bit in protest.

[CHAT] Dumastin: -- 'The human looked up at the sky, wondering himself what had happened there. He hadn't known most of those people, nor had he had much love to spare for Dumastin, but he knew enough to know that they'd fought bravely and died fighting something that, at any cost, had to be fought. He could respect that. He... "Who were they? Those people. Their stories, if you'd care to tell me. I only ever knew the Namek, and much of his story is still a mystery to me. Especially since Arlia." He sighed. "That one reminded me of Max..."'

[CHAT] Rabka stood in front of the command seat on the flag-ship of the full force of the Alliance fleet. A few days ago their ally had been attacked and over powered, the orders to form the full fleet came two days later. Scout ships were tracking a fleet capable of sweeping over the Alliance, and now the Alliance had finally organized itself in response. What was odd was the Fleet's sudden departure from the inner-rim planets and heading for what hadn't yet been charted by Alliance forces. They had lost track of the fleet, but were using the residual ions from their faster than light drives... Long range sensors were reporting..

[CHAT] Rabka: -- 'Odd distortions of the very fabrics of space were leading to... Inconclusive sensor scans... Tactical spoke up, "Sir, we've located the end of the trail. ETA until we drop out of FTL is two minutes." Admiral Rabka rubbed his smooth pail face, his brow furrowed and low causing the lines on his Changeling face to crinkle.. The fleet the Alliance had detected was at least three times the size of the entire Alliance fleet... This fight would be an uphill one... "Alright, put me on fleet-wide..." The communication officer nodded, "This is Admiral Rabka, fleet wide. Gentlemen, raise shields, those of you capable, deploy armor. Prepare all munitions and prepare for a Final Solution Strike upon positive identification." The Admiral was unsure if they could succeed in taking down a fleet so much larger with conventional munitions. However, the nuclear options was presently available and he fully intented to use it. '

[CHAT] Thousand shifts slightly in his cart, resting his head against the edge, tired eye turned toward Silas but seeming to look through him, and begins the long-winded process of spinning the tale to the man. A brief description of what the android knew of Dumastin- a longer recounting of his experience with Jules. A veritable book on Sam, Requius, and Elphlane. Almost nothing about Rizion. His few encounters with Max himself in the mindscape. He spoke not only of recent events, but of his first activation and encounter with Sam, the trials of Zeon VII, the struggles against the Culexis plague, and later the Thorned, his farewells to everyone, and finally a recounting of what he remembered of the events of the recent battle. All delivered with a fatigued, almost-disconnected voice, and a misty, unfocused eye that seemed to stare at nothing. ‘And now… their tales have ended.’ That last bit came out as little more than a rasping croak. Had the android been in better condition, a lot of emotion may have come across in that discussion, but lacking even the artificial flesh structures that modulate his voice, it came out flat and emotionless, save for that catch at the end.

[CHAT] Dumastin-Silas leaned against a rocky spur and listened as Thousand talked. He didn’t interrupt, until Thousand wound down at the end… “I knew Julian and Max. Dumastin, too. I flew with them briefly, aboard their ship, before Arlia.” The Thorned, he knew all too well. “I… I’m sorry.” He crossed his arms and sighed. “We’re still stuck here for a while longer. Prime brought in some kind of dropship and picked up the demon soldiers that were here, but I stayed behind. There’s supposed to be a rescue ship on the way, but it’s taking some time to get here, I suppose. Like I said, Prime was acting really off there at the end, before the Legacy’s power failed completely.” He shook his head, then paused. “That’s…” He raised his head, scanning the skies. “Is someone there?” The answer came in the form of tiny pinpricks of light in the sky. Hard to see on a planet, but here on this dark chunk of rock, the strobes of hyperspace transfers were plain enough to see.

[CHAT] Narrator: The Valiant Flame emerged first, followed immediately by nearly three hundred other Alliance ships of various designs. "All batteries pick your..." He stepped back into his seat, reading his tactical display... This system was... A mess... The end of the trail, there was a planetary body... Well, kind of a planetary body... Half a planetary body... And sensors were reporting severe damage... "The hell..." &gHe muttered to himself, "Scan for life-signs, and someone tell me where the hell the fleet from Arlia is?"

[CHAT] Narrator:A second later, "Sir, we're detecting unusual levels of residual Meta-energy in this region. Whatever happened, was big." His coms officer spoke nervously, "There are also rather large fields of debris, the remnants of hulls indicates whatever is left of the fleet is floating around our own." The Admiral rubbed his chin, "Prepare an away team of our elites. That 'half' of a planet might have some answers..." He returned to his feet, "Admiral Rabka to all ships in the fleet, maintain your readiness status and await further orders."

[CHAT] Thousand jerks there, suddenly, as the numerous points of light begin to appear in the sky above. ‘No…. not more of them? They can’t have more reinforcements, they just can’t…’ He attempts to scan them for data, but in this state he just plain doesn’t have the range on his scanners. He hangs his head for a moment (again, literally), before turning his one functioning eye towards Silas. ‘If that’s more of them… you should clear out. I can try and buy you a little more time…’ He hesitates, sullenly, before asking. ‘One last thing- I don’t suppose you have a cigarette?’ The android assesses his power reserves. (If I consume the remaining fuel charges and utilize the last of my energy… three bursts, is about all I could manage. Not much versus a fleet… barely a delaying tactic…) He speaks once more ‘People need to know what happened here… go…’

[CHAT] Dumastin-Silas shook his head. “You can barely hold yourself upright. You’ve done enough, android. And if someone’s going to carry the message, it’ll be you.” He stripped off the rubber gloves and narrowed his eyes, looking closer at the sky. He dug in a pocket and pulled out a piece of kit from his old days on the New Haven police force. It was probably illegal to have one now that he was a civilian, but he’d found the transponder-snoopers frequently used by New Haven salvage crews to have quite a number of legitimate applications in his former line of work, and it had been among the gear that had been quietly “lost” from department inventory in what he suspected was a parting gift of sorts. He fiddled with the snooper for a minute, then frowned. “Well, that’s… unexpected.” He looked back up at the sky and tapped on the side of the snooper, causing the screen to fuzz slightly, but the data readout stayed the same. “I don’t have the ship registry data to reference, but I recognize the code header as Alliance fleet.” He lowered the snooper and looked over at Thousand. “Were you guys expecting the cavalry or something? Either way, it looks like they’re here. Bit late.”

[CHAT] Thousand stares oddly at Silas for a long moment, shifting a bit in the cart, the rubberized surface squeaking in protest of his movement. ‘Alliance forces…? I have no idea, honestly. I was away when the battle started, and it was already well under way when Dumastin summoned me to the front. Expected reinforcements -for either side- wasn’t something I was aware of, and never really had time to get up to speed. I fear I don’t even have much information about the very adversary we faced.’ The android stares upward. He had had his fair share of run-ins with the Alliance in his time, and in most cases they did more harm than help. Arriving late to the party, as it were, their ability to help seemed all but nil, whereas their ability to harm… He wonders, for a moment, if his power reserves would last him through the expected interrogation and paperwork, whether he would manage to stay active long enough to begin repairs. Shaking his head slightly, he continues. ‘Hopefully, that is what they’re here for, and there’ll be some gratitude at not having a fleet to face…’

[CHAT] Dumastin-Silas put away the transponder and moved closer to the cart. “Alliance? I don’t know that I’d count on it. Maybe they’re here to pick over and salvage Dumastin’s tech. Or to claim something else he had stored here, who knows?” One of the pinpricks in the sky was growing larger, and rapidly so. “Oh, I suppose they’ve noticed us. You know, it’s also possible they’re just following the energy signatures. I’ve never heard of energy-detection tech being able to pick up Ki at interstellar distances, but then again, I’ve never heard of power being thrown around like this, either.”

[CHAT] Narrator: That approaching dot resolved itself into the shape of what looked like some sort of fast-assault lander bearing Alliance colors and insignia. It touched down on the stone, and a ramp dropped from the center, covered over by the blue glow of an atmosphere containment field. A short time later, a small group came down the ramp; three human men and an Icer, it looked like. They stepped out onto the stony terrain. “Identify yourselves!”

[CHAT] Thousand nods quietly to Silas. ‘My own scanners are the most sophisticated that I am aware of existing, and even their effective range at maximum gain is limited to a few dozen AU… interstellar distances are quite a bit beyond that. Then again, given what we…’ The android goes silent as the Alliance personnel arrive. He toys with the notion of playing dead, given that his placement in the cart likely made him appear as little more than scrap, but thought the better of it. A grating sound issued forth from the android- under normal circumstances, this would be a perfect imitation of clearing ones throat, though it was little more than a force of habit given the circumstances. He speaks to the newcomers: ‘Thousand… just Thousand. No Alliance citizenship. Veteran of the Battles of Zeon VII, The Thorned Conflict, and the Battle for the Sanctum. I do believe you’ve arrived a bit late… surely your scanners detected the debris field?’ He pauses another moment, his eye directed downward, before looking back up at the four. ‘We were wiped out… nearly to a man… but we held on, somehow…’

[CHAT] Dumastin - While Thousand introduced himself, Silas found himself taking a step to the side to better position to defend Thousand if they were attacked. After Thousand finished his introduction, he spoke up in turn. “Captain Silas Henries, New Haven PD. I wound up here while… investigating the events surrounding the Thorned.” They didn’t need to know he was retired; he had enough friends on the force to likely weather the fallout if it came to trouble, and if they thought he was here in an official capacity they might be less likely to be rough, especially since New Haven was friendly with the Alliance.

[CHAT] Narrator: Two of them came forward, inspecting Silas and Thousand closely. “This whole system is a warzone. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Will you two surrender to our custody while we investigate? What happened to the Arlia fleet we were tracking, and what was the source of the Ascended energies detected from this system? We were shocked enough when we picked up ki energy so far beyond the expected boundaries of the system, but the amount of it in use must have been staggering…” The human was looking down into Thousand’s cart. “Notify Engineering that we need basic triage for a damaged android.”

[CHAT] Thousand sighs, an odd buzzing sound in his current state, before replying. ‘Even if I were inclined not to surrender, I’m not exactly in any kind of condition to resist right now. I’ll answer whatever questions you have, though I was not here for the entirety of the exchange.’ He takes a rattling, and highly unnecessary breath, before describing -in brief- the struggle with the Arlian fleet and its reinforcements, the way the defenders barely hung on at each stage. Left unsaid, but implied by his wording, was how big of a difference a reinforcing Alliance fleet may have made at each particular stage. Then came the recounting of the direct struggle vs. the Crimson Queen, though the androids memory of the events was highly fragmented for a number of reasons. Reaching the end of his spiel, he glances over to Silas for a moment, before looking back to the closest Alliance soldier. ‘It is probably best, in all honesty, that you arrived late. I daresay that, given how the very end went, at best we may have another survivor or two, and a much higher death toll for this fiasco. And, er… basic triage only, please. I’ll need to sign off on any repairs or modifications to be made, I usually handle my own maintenance…’

[CHAT] Silas seemed to relax, his arms coming down out of a defensive posture. He still watched the human closest to Thousand warily, but he seemed willing to go along with their request. Certainly, he figured that resistance wasn’t going to do them any good; they were outmatched and lacked a transport. So he didn’t protest when he was led aboard the lander, nor when Thousand’s cart was pushed up the ramp.

[CHAT] Narrator: The soldiers brought them aboard the assault lander, where they were treated with decontamination protocols and given basic scans. The troopers were quiet, though, on the trip over to the flagship. Still, their treatment was polite and efficient. While the engineers that came to scan Thousand didn’t have the parts to effect real repairs, even if the Android had been willing to accept them, they did offer him a power hookup as a recharge point to supplement his own reserves while his auto-repair kicked in, and also offered to bind his exposed circuitry with insulating tape to reduce the electrocution risk. They didn’t have any Android crewmen, though, and thus no facility for replacing or manufacturing compatible limbs. In any case, once they were immediately seen to, the two of them were brought to a comfortable, if bare, meeting room, presumably to wait for either interrogation or new information.

[CHAT] Thousand, while in somewhat better shape than previously, somehow managed to look -worse-. Ribbons of shiny black insulating tape seal off the stumps of his missing left limbs, the entirety of his ruined right leg, and various sections of his torso and neck, save for a small section of exposed circuitry on his torso. A number of scrap parts have been added to his bin, and the android appears to have an ant infestation, as his microbots stream from the section of exposed circuitry, to the various bits of scrap metal, and back. Most of the repairs could wait, but the temporary replacement that his nanomachines had assembled for the major power conduit was just that- temporary- and needed immediate replacement, the microbots using the nanobots as a template of sorts to facilitate the rebuild. The androids head is perched on a corner of the cart, the rotating collar bound to the cart via more insulating tape, allowing him to look around, at least, if not granting him any real mobility. His head swivels, turning the functioning eye towards Silas, the androids grating voice deadpanning to the man: ‘As many briefings and debriefings as I’ve had to sit through with this lot, they ought to offer me a commission and back pay…’

[CHAT] Dumastin-”Yeah, they do love their paperwork. I once took down a guy, an Ascended wanted in Alliance space who managed to sneak his way to New Haven.” He grinned slightly at the memory. “Took him down hard and fast maybe ten paces outside the space port. His rap sheet deserved it, anyway. He never saw it coming; I guess the idiot figured that he’d be safe since New Haven isn’t technically an Alliance member, but we’re glad to extradite in the case of scum like him, and we’re used to Ascended getting rowdy.” He shook his head, a slight smile still on his face as he came to the conclusion. “I swear, that bastard spent less time on New Haven soil than I did in my office, fielding comm calls from Alliance liasons and filling out reports.” He looked over to the android, face growing more somber and showing concern. “How are you doing in there? You must be in even worse shape than I thought.”

[CHAT] Narrator: Silas was interrupted by a human in uniform entering the conference room. He nodded to them and went to take a seat at the table, where he could see both Silas and Thousand. His uniform seemed mildly better tailored than most, and the rank insignia… “I am Admiral Rabka, in command of this response fleet. Now that you’ve had a chance to rest, I was hoping you could answer some questions I have about what went on down there.” He leaned back in his seat, his face carefully controlled and giving away little that he didn’t want to share. “My scout team has conveyed your original reports to me, but there are gaps that I believed needed to be corrected.” He laid a thick casefile on the table and slid out a set of printed photographs, then slid them across the table, nodding for Silas to hold them up so Thousand could see as well. “First of all, I’d like to hear what you can tell me about… these.” One was a picture of Requius, the other looked to be recent photos of the derelict Platinum Legacy. On the Legacy photos, the odd cogwheel sigil Dumastin had adopted as his own was highlighted. “The picture on the left is of an Alliance contact and asset who was reportedly in this area, and who dropped contact abruptly. She has not been heard from since. The other is a symbol reportedly being used by an individual wanted for questioning, although to this point we don’t know who that individual is.” He left Silas holding the photos, waiting to hear the answers.

[CHAT] Thousand regards the photographs for a long moment, before beginning to speak in a hollow voice. ‘Requius… she…’ The android faltered for a moment, lapsing into silence, before directing his gaze to the floor. ‘Killed in action, when…. Reinforcements……..’ It was all just starting to really hit him. ‘And... that… Dumastin’s sigil… missing, presumed…. Dead…’ The androids speech grew quieter and slower with each utterance, finally trailing off altogether after the word dead. Requius, Sam, Jules - gone. Dumastin, missing, presumed dead. Elphlane, dead. Did he…? No. He didn’t have a single friend left among the living. Most of his acquaintances, even, were gone. ‘Plectere’s putrid taint, they’re gone… they’re all gone…’ The words were initially uttered somberly, but soon the android appeared to be having a fit of some sort. ‘All gone… all gone…’ He spoke, the words taking on an almost musical quality despite the grating tinnishness of the robotic voice. ‘All gone… all gone…’, the words now interspersed with hideous, keening giggles. ‘All gone!!!’ The android almost shouted the last word, his good eye glowing a fierce, blazing crimson for a moment, before returning to normal, the android seeming to settle down for a moment, the head swiveling back and forth on the edge of the cart. ‘Sorry… a lot to process, I don’t…’ He shakes his head again, harder, refusing to speak further on the matter for the moment, ignoring the Admiral for now and looking to Silas. ‘I’m… managing. The most critical of the repairs is nearing completion, but it will be a long time before I’m back to normal. And that’s just the physical damage. I think… this has done a number on my head too…’

[CHAT] Narrator: The ship shuddered suddenly, and the admiral sat bolt upright in his seat. He pulled out a comlink and held it to his ear. “Report.” He frowned, listening for some time. He set the comm down on the table and turned his gaze to Thousand directly, then over to Silas. “There’s new information, and I suppose you should be aware. Some sort of spatial anomaly in this system, located exactly where our charts say an uninhabitable planetoid should be, just… Ruptured, I think, may be the best term. In any case, the planetoid seems to have reentered normal-space from wherever it was. Our sensors are picking up traces of unexplainable energy signatures and the remains of advanced technology, but…” He shook his head. “No life signs, I’m sorry. In fact, the planetoid itself seems to have been nearly shattered. The pieces are all there, but they’re only really held together by their own gravity.” He sighed. “The entire fleet? The wreckage we’re reading through this system, you people really smashed the entire fleet? There’s a general alert issued. Ships that have been stood down for storage for over a decade are in the process of being reactivated, because there were serious concerns that the standing fleet wasn’t strong enough to stand up to this. And now it’s gone, and I find you two at the center of it.” He shook his head. “Absolutely unbelievable. And I don’t have even a shred of proof to bring back to my superiors outside of wreckage and sensor readings I’m not even sure we can trust.”

[CHAT] Thousand gapes at the Admiral for a long moment, jaw hanging open listlessly. The single eye narrows slightly. ‘So sorry if we’ve -inconvenienced- you. I don’t suppose my own sensor logs would be considered a reliable source… I want to go there. I need to see it. How much longer do we have to stay here? Do you have a cigarette?’ The androids good arm places two fingers against the detached heads lips, miming a smoking motion. ‘Or maybe a whole carton…’ The normally steady-to-the-micrometer hand shook as though the android were a human with a degenerative neural disorder. ‘And… I want to address the Alliance. Tell the people who and what was sacrificed for them… clear some names…’ The androids hand slumps down to rest, drooping partway over the rail of the cart. The android reflects momentarily on how “heroic” a figure he must be cutting at the moment, some part of him noting further how his thought processes were scattered at the moment, fruitlessly trying to correct what was not, strictly speaking, error.

[CHAT] Narrator: The admiral leaned back and sighed. “I think you misunderstand me.” He looked over at Silas, who was sitting back and watching the Admiral closely, then back to Thousand. “If you want to address the Alliance, then I can see if it can be set up. I had thought that, maybe, you wouldn’t want to deal with that… because you do know that if you do, you’ll wind up as the face of this entire thing?” He shrugged. “You’ll be a hero across the entire Alliance if people find out who you are. Your face known on every world, most likely. People will associate you with the victory. But if that’s your wish…” He muttered into the comlink again, briefly. “You two are free to go, pending the completion of our survey of the planetary wreckage. You’re welcome to participate if you want, under supervision. Your sensor logs, if you’ll volunteer them, would be a valuable source of data on what transpired here. I’ll offer you transport wherever you want to go, again pending the completion of our required surveys of the system and the wreckage.” He cracked a wry smile. “The only thing I can’t offer you is a cigarette. Strictly forbidden aboard-ship, I’m afraid.”

[CHAT] Thousands eye dims briefly at the last word, but he ignores the desire for a smoke for the moment, focusing on the more important bit, speaking somberly and earnestly. ‘I DON’T want to be the face of the thing, but people need to know what happened here, and what was done for them. Everyone I had lost their life in this. And nobody will name me hero- I will tell it true, I will provide video playback, even though it will show the world how completely ineffectual I was. But they will know the names of the true heroes. If that means that everyone will know my face…’ The mishapen skeletal metallic structure that makes up the androids face gives a -hideous- grin, eye glittering. ‘I just won’t put my face on first!’ The android laughs out loud, a jarring whiplash to his mood, as if this was the funniest thing anyone had ever said. He quiets down again rapidly. ‘Some of my friends were mistrusted, even hated, and unfairly. I couldn’t save them- not one of them. Couldn’t even help. At the very least, I can set the record straight on them.’ And then the android frowns. A fleeting thought crosses his mind, a fantasy that somehow all of his friends had lived. But something bothers the android about this thought, yet he finds himself unable to bring his mind into sufficient focus long enough to nail it down. He realizes he has been staring silently at the Admiral for nearly a minute now, and diverts his gaze downward. ‘It’s… complicated. I don’t know how much help I can be with the surveys in this state. I have parts onboard my ship that can aid in my recovery, but it’s half a galaxy away, headed here on autopilot. Would be weeks to get here, I don’t suppose you’d mind going a bit out of your way to drop me there at some point? After the surveys, of course…’

[CHAT] Dumastin - Silas spoke up, then. “I’d like a chance to check on the planetary wreckage, but aside from that, I’d appreciate transport back to New Haven.” He looked to Thousand. “Why don’t you come with me? It may not be your own parts stockpile, but there’s tech at New Haven that might be able to help get you back on your feet, so to speak. I might be able to get a faster ship there, as well, maybe even save you some time.” He turned back to the Admiral, frowning slightly. Thousand seemed a bit unhinged, and it saddened him to see it. He had only barely met the android, but he had seemed solid and dependable in the moments he’d seen him before the battle erupted on the Sanctum’s surface. Even if he’d survived, the android seemed… a little bit broken, now.

[CHAT] Narrator: The Admiral looked between the two men slowly. “If your ship is that far away, it’s probably outside of Alliance space, isn’t it? I’m not able to go that far out, but it’s possible I could arrange the loan of a shuttle. It won’t be fast or fancy, but I believe that would be possible.” He nodded to Silas. “New Haven, on the other hand shouldn’t be much trouble. We can arrange for your transport there once our system survey is complete and we’ve made our reports. There will probably be some sort of interview session for both of you once we make rendezvous with the rest of the Fleet, but that shouldn’t take too long.”

[CHAT] Thousand, forgetting for a moment that his head is currently secured to the side of the cart with copious amounts of tape, attempts to bow his head towards Silas, managing only to shift slightly. He coughs, gaze flitting to Admiral Rabka, to Silas, then back. He closes his eye for a moment, then re-opens it. ‘More interviews… hopefully it won’t be too much time.’ He rotates to face Silas once more. ‘I think I will take you up on it, I imagine I can grab a smoke a lot quicker with a stop at New Haven too…’ The android merely guessed, not having visited the place, and having investigated it little. ‘I’ll need to get in contact with my ship, which will mean improvising my main transmitter. It’s currently headed here, so a rendezvous from here would be pretty straightforward, but from a different location, well… space is big.’ He then turns back towards Admiral Rabka, setting his normal levelled stare against the officer. ‘I would recommend keeping the fleet on high alert for now. The immediate threat may have been neutralized, but the loss of so many ascended has most definitely shifted the balance of power. In all my years, I’ve seen maybe two occasions where an… unintentional shift in the balance has led to a good outcome. I fully expect threats- new and old- to start coming out of the woodwork after this. Though… I doubt I have to tell a military man all of that.’ The androids mind drifts to thoughts of what was to have come before all this. (How will the denizens of New Requiem get by without Requius? And Sams children… where are they? They’re surely still alive, right? And Jules’ children… and Dumastin’s discussion before about looking after his heir- is their still an heir? Gotta keep it together, Thousand… Who’s going to look after the lot if you go to pieces? Who’s going to pieces? You are. I think I’m handling it as best as can be expected, thank you! Oh, is that why you’re talking to yourself in your head, then? Who asked you? You asked you, and you answered you.) The second voice in his head was both his own, and not- it seemed both perfectly measured and logical, while at the same time utterly chaotic- but how was such a disconnect possible? And despite being his own voice, it seems a touch effeminate? Familiar, in a sense, and brought the memory of Haggis to mind… the android opts to ignore this development for now, knowing he’ll have to deal with the entirety of the recent experiences over again whenever he gets around to shutting down for maintenance. (Like a kid afraid of having nightmares, except my nightmares are a lot more real…) He coughs again, speaking up once more. ‘Sorry… I’m kind of struggling to wrap my head around everything right now, I AM paying attention to you guys…’

[CHAT] Dumastin - Silas looked up from the table with a frown. “Oh, the Admiral left about twenty minutes ago. Looked like you bluescreened, or whatever it is Androids do, so he figured he’d leave you to sort it out. Are you okay?” Silas stood and was looking over Thousand with concern on his face, visually checking over the android for signs of new or old damage. “They’re working on system scans now. They’re moving pretty quickly, so by my understanding they should be around to New Haven to drop me off in the next couple of days… You too, if you still want to come.” He reached over to the table and crumpled up the empty wrapper that went to the sandwich he’d been eating when Thousand woke up, then pitched it at a trash can and sat back down, shaking his head as the wrapper bounced off the wall and onto the floor.

[CHAT] Thousand stares at Silas for a moment. (Twenty minutes? It didn’t seem that long…. What is going on with me?). Nonetheless, he attempts to act nonplussed, deflecting with a bit of sarcasm. ‘Oh, yeah, totally fine. I was just trying the bipedal form on for a little while, this state I’m in is far, far better.’ He winces a bit at the harshness of his voice, recalling how big a part his artificial flesh played in shaping his voice and vocal cues, and after a brief pause continues. ‘Sorry, that was meant a lot more lightly than it came out. Physically speaking, I’m in rough shape, but nothing I can’t fix at this point- the critical stuff is more than patched up enough to get me by until I can make some full repairs. Mentally though… It’s going to take a while to sort through this, and the way my mind is structured, that will mean reliving it. It will not be easy, and I’m honestly dreading it.’ The android leaves it at that for now- reliving a traumatic experience was something that Silas could understand, but he has no way to communicate the full intricacies of the experience, or the torturous nature of dealing with inconsistent data at the same time, the depth of analysis he will find himself irresistibly compelled to perform. And the icing on the cake- the flood of even more inconsistent, inexplicable data courtesy of Haggis’ assistance. The android has no idea how to communicate exactly what was still before him to Silas, and simultaneously felt no need to- leaving it in terms he COULD understand, even if they were inaccurate, was enough. (Not to mention… if I give voice to what’s actually going through my head now, I’m like as not to be confined or disassembled. Is there a mental institution for androids?) That second voice, also his own but not, chose that moment to return. (Maybe not now, but maybe they’ll open one just for us! Look, there’s barely room for one of me in here right now, I don’t need this. Have you considered that I’m exactly what you need? How do you figure? Well, maybe this is a coping mechanism. Are you a coping mechanism? How should I know- maybe YOU’RE MY coping mechanism! But that doesn’t-. What, make sense? Yeah, good point, none of this makes sense, why should this? You should tend to the man, keep spacing like this and even if you DON’T explain whats going on, you’re likely to be held for observation. Yeah…) The android clears his throat again, speaking to Silas once more. ‘Sorry about that, a LOT on my mind right now. I’d welcome the change in scenery, it’d likely do me some good.’

[CHAT] Dumastin - Silas nodded. “Is there any way you can… delay the process? Stay awake for a while?” He didn’t know enough about androids to know the answer offhand. “I don’t know if he can help you at all, but I mean to go see Prime once we hit New Haven. There are also a lot of roboticists on-planet that might be able to help…” He shrugged. It was only a suggestion, but it was the best one he had. “I’d suggest just finding your ship, but if it’s that far out, even if we can pick up a fast interceptor in New Haven it’ll take a week to get you there.”
[CHAT] Thousand’s hand and arm reach out of the cart, stroking his chin for a moment. ‘I can stay awake as long as I need to. Though if I push it too long, I’ll have a full buffer and won’t really be able to benefit from any further information I may come across- or something already in memory might be discarded at random if the new data is deemed sufficiently important. At any rate, I really -can’t- shut down until I’ve made some more significant repairs…’ He pauses a moment, scratching at his chin- a metallic screeching sound issueing forth, given the lack of artificial skin on either face or hand. ‘Prime can definitely help me. There’s a Helios comm integrated with my ship. I could contact it right now if my transmitter wasn’t hosed.’ The android started to speak further, when a familiar “Plink!” sound is heard. Thousand swivels his head to a nearby porthole, only to find his missing hand floating outside- the fist had ricocheted off of the crimson queen rather ineffectually some time before, and is remarkably undamaged compared to the rest of the android. ‘Well. Looks like one less repair I’ll have to make, at the very least…’

[CHAT] Dumastin - Silas turned to look at Thousand. “Helios… When Prime brought a dropship to pick up those demons that were inside the Legacy, he mentioned something like that before he left. What is a ‘Helios,’ anyway?” He frowned. “He also mentioned that the network was down. Seemed to be grumbling about it, said he was having trouble acting in proper coordination without it. Something about damage to a hub that it used? Apparently he’s trying to fix it, but it sounds like that’s not an easy task without…” He cut off. Without Dumastin. He’d walked into that one, and his fist tightened. He still wasn’t sure the galaxy was better off without the Namek. “That’s...that’s yours? Well, uh. Huh.” He paused, then went to a communications panel set onto the conference room’s wall. He pressed a stud to activate it and spoke briefly into it, paused, then sighed and repeated himself. “They’re sending out an vacuum-maintenance drone to collect it.” He turned back to Thousand, his eyes drifting again to the severed hand floating in the void. What were the chances…? Unless the thing was still homing on Thousand somehow?

[CHAT] Thousand made to shrug at Silas’ remark, though the motion utterly failed to happen given his condition, and he utterly failed to notice said failure given his distraction. ‘I don’t know how exactly it works myself, I’ve been meaning to study it but I havent had a moment to spare. It’s a high-bandwidth communication tech that seems to have no latency regardless of distance. Impressie, for sure, but if it’s down…’ The android sighs. ‘I know my ships last location, course, and speed, and if I can get close enough to it I can link up with it via more mundane means. So it’ll just be a matter of triangulating it’s rough location.’ The android pauses a moment, then guffaws loudly. ‘Trigonometry! My ass is riding on Trigonometry!’ The mood whiplash is real. It seems that everything is either horrifying or hysterical, with little in between. Calming down from the laughter after a long minute, he nods to Silas. ‘Yeah, that’s the hand from my missing arm. Took a potshot at the queen towards the end, didn’t do much I’m afraid. It’s normally linked to me and can return regardless of distance, but in my current state it had difficulty re-acquiring my position. My hands have a bit of limited intelligence of their own, enough to follow simple instructions when detached at the very least. Comes in pretty handy.’ He narrows his eye slightly. ‘I can’t issue it commands at the moment, or I could navigate it to an airlock on my own…’

[CHAT] Dumastin - Silas nodded. “Well, we ought to be able to track it down without a lot of trouble if we can get a ship on New Haven, even if this ‘Helios’ is damaged.” He paused, watching with concern as the android started again with the mood swings. Maybe, he thought hopefully, maybe that was… normal for the android? He sighed, the hopeful thought dying quickly. No, that didn’t seem likely. He looked again at the window, still mystified by the presence of the wayward body part, then paused as what Thousand said hit him. He rubbed his forehead and groaned. “Oh, no. That pun was awful, Thousand. Why would you do that to me?” He couldn’t help but laugh, though, then he added with a grin, “Yeah, I guess that someone will have to give you a hand…”

[CHAT] Thousand snickers a bit. 'I mean, this is a serious issue, we really need all hands on deck, and I'm not pulling my weight here!' He chuckles again, quietly, before taking on a more serious tone. 'Old habit of mine, humor -particularly bad homor- as a deflection and coping mechanism. It must seem awfully irreverent sometimes, but... I know I'm not ready to embrace the magnitude of whats just transpired.' A few of the antlike microbots climb up the side of the cart and onto the androids face, converging on the damaged eye as if inspecting it. Meanwhile, the detached hand taps at the porthole a few more times, at an increasing rate, before finally stopping, turning, making an obscene gesture through the porthole, and hanging there, awaiting the EVA team. The ridge on Thousand's forehead where his eyebrows would normally appear raises upward a moment. 'How... strange. Hand's processors are only about as complex as that of a bird, I'd find it hard to believe that sufficient for them to understand and use the bird.' He ruminates on this for a moment, then yawns loudly. 'At any rate, looks like we'll be sticking together for a while yet. Any guess how long we'll be held up here?'

[CHAT] Dumastin - Silas shrugged. “Alliance can certainly take its time, but on the other hand, they did bring a full battlefleet. With all this support, I can’t imagine a full system survey taking long. Plus, he said that they had additional units being reactivated, didn’t he? That’s not a small undertaking, you’re talking about people’s commissions being reactivated and a lot of mothballed hardware being checked out…” He made a rude gesture back at the hand. “I’ll bet they may have paused the emergency build-up based on preliminary reports, but I doubt that they’ll start standing down the reactivated fleet elements until a full report comes in. I don’t know how the Alliance finances look, but I imagine that there’s plenty enough reason to put a rush on it, if only just to get recommissioned people back into civilian jobs and off of the fleet payroll. So I don’t think we’ll be stuck for very long.” Something occurred to him, something he remembered, and he burst out laughing again. “And birds are smarter than you might think. I once knew a guy who built some kind of drone rig using a cybernetically-modified parakeet as the brain module. Pretty clever, actually, and it was capable of some cool tricks. Had to scrap the project, though. Short attention span.” He shook his head. That had been funny. The drones were meant to be a sort of automated patrol surveillance system, and they were pretty clever at following a specific individual, but they had a bad habit of getting distracted by shiny objects and the like.

[CHAT] Thousand shakes his head, rotating in place on the collar. ‘Fair point about birds, I suppose. And you’re probably right- though I suspect it’s ill advised to have the fleet stand back down, given the de facto power vacuum that’s been created. But… money is money, I suppose.’ For most of the androids life, he had had little use for money, though that changed some years back when his own personality had started to assert itself more strongly, and he had begun to develop a taste for luxury. Even then, relying on money for survival, logistical support, etc had never -really- been things the android had had to deal with. ‘I probably ought to get better with it, seems that a lot’s going to fall on me in the near future, and I’ve never so much as balanced a checkbook. The maths ought to be simple enough…’ The corners of the androids mouth droop downward slightly, his thoughts going out to the young ones who likely aren’t even aware yet that they had become his charges. Briefly, unbidden and dark, the thought crosses the androids mind that it may be easier for all parties involved, were the young ones to not have survived after all. The androids mouth falls open in shock at himself, though he doesn’t give voice to it- he felt little in control of his own mind at the moment, but dared not give voice to his concerns- eyes and ears were everywhere, and the android just -knew- that among them were those who would jump at the chance to take him apart, see how he works. He realizes how he must look at the moment, and produces a very fake and delayed yawning sound to accompany the gaping mouth before closing it. ‘Sorry. I’ll just be glad to get moving once we do. The less time I spend as a liability like this, the better.’

Silas and Thousand would go on to endure several more interviews with higher and higher ranking officers of the Alliance before being allowed to move on. Despite Thousands urging, the general takeaway that the Alliance had was that the immediate threat was dispatched, and that it was likely safe to stand the fleet down- though the civilian leadership may well decide differently upon receiving their report. A few days later, the pair were allowed to leave for New Haven via shuttle. (TBC)

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Joined: 23 Jan 2009, 00:21

Re: The Last Survivor-Sanctum Aftermath

Post by ikenbon » 05 Aug 2017, 14:09

Very good roleplaying. Thousand really puts on a show here with poses and speech that express his grief and disbelief and the outcome of the battle for Sanctum without over exaggerating. He is also supremely focused on what happens next rather than letting himself get dragged under by what was lost. He warns the Alliance how the disappearance of so many powerful Ascended is liable to beget a flux in the galactic powers as the voids these individuals once filled are left as empty thrones for the taking, and makes plans to address the alliance and "tell the story" as it were and perhaps clear the names of his deceased companions.

RPP rewarded.

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