**Interlude: Marduke Station

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ikenbon
Posts: 854
Joined: 23 Jan 2009, 00:21

**Interlude: Marduke Station

Post by ikenbon » 13 Nov 2020, 02:25

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- '[Location: Hydion System / Time: 13th Sol, 0500 Hours]'

[CHAT] Syhiver slowly lifted a shaking hand and struck a thin, black, death stick. The electronic
'cherry' flashed red... then yellow... and finally green... before he pressed it beneath his catfish
whiskers and took a deep inhale.

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'He could see his reflection in the glass of the cockpit ahead of him, lying
faintly transparant against the great expanse of darkness and stars. Torn to shreds. Patches of
scales missing. His body gaunt. His scales seemingly even more silver now than when he left Taldega
IV. His bare chest was wrapped in bandages beneath the open spacer's jacket he bore. His eyes
slowly fanned down towards the flashing microphone that was recording the steady, and heavy flutters
of his gills, and the fast palpitations of the heartbeat.'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- '"..........Mission Log.........."'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'The derelict drifted on an ill-gotten course, sailing like a wounded dragon
through the great expanse. Its engines sparked, and shuttered, threatening to drop out of hyperspace
at a speed that would send its captain through the windshield at thousands of miles per hour. Its
frame rattled and shook, as its interior lights, and life-support systems flashed in warning. A more
miserable pile of matchsticks, or desperate vessel could not have been found in the entire west galaxy...
but despite all odds... it limped across the lightyears.'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'Seven times Syhiver had to abandon his captain's chair to head into its depths
and gamble with its arc-reactor. Would it explode? Would the whole ship come roaring into real space
like a meteor disintegrating against the atmosphere of a planet made of lead? Every few hours the
Icerian freighter stolen from the ship graveyard of the Mithria Asteroid would arrest itself, and
force the Kanassian to abandon his attempts to document the final hours upon Cordican in his normal
fashion. Not that Syhiver didn't appreciate the distraction. Something about the events upon the
asteroid had left him at a complete loss of understanding.'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'By the hand of fate alone, the freighter reached the edges of the Hydia system,
and at the first alert of a planetary body, Syhiver drove the heap out of the flashing stream of
stars. Tears practically spotted his cheeks at the sight of an Imperial Waystation, and when the
ruin of a starship was finally brought down into one of its docks he spent nearly an hour in his
captain's chair simply rocking, and shaking with relief beneath the bright, halogen lights that
streamed in through the windshield.'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'On shaking legs he finally stood once he had composed himself from the harrowing
journey, and his retreat to the command deck, and eventually the ladder of the ship, was made with
his cybernetic arm braced against the cramped walls of the freighter for support.'

[CHAT] Syhiver blinked as he reached the astroturf of the stardock and stared out across the rows of
starships that were neatly lines adjacent to his wreck before his his gaze slowly shifted ahead of
him to where he had finally arrived, the HUD of his optic implant slowly flashing with an update to
his position for the first time in two months...

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- '[Location: Marduke Station]'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'He had arrived at an Imperial Waystation. A small, dome satellite where Icerian
cruisers, and personal starships could refuel, and their crews could refresh themselves. It was
large enough to accommodate roughly three city blocks worth of shops, casinos, bars, interstellar-
roach motels, brothels, and (buried somewhere in-between these more immediate necessities) a small
number of stores that offered general goods, and services. It was neon lit, with bright fuchsia, and
dark blue lights flashing for attention behind backdrops of yellow, and white bulb-boards.'

[CHAT] Syhiver let out an uncharacteristic chortle of emotion. A frayed mixture of excitement, and
unbridled abatement. A disturbed, and giddy sound.

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'With the death-stick still drooping from his lip from beneath his catfish
whiskers, his hands fell to his chest and smoothed his jacket nervously as he began to storm forward.
His gait was awkward and off-balance from the change in gravity, giving him a drunken stride as he
entered into the lights and sound of the satellite. Without bothering to even close the open ramp to
his ship he approached the lights of civilization like a hermit of the desert, desperate to drink in
the waters of an oasis that had long shimmered on the horizon, beyond care whether it were a promise,
or a mirage.'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'As the sounds and sights enveloped him, Syhiver felt as raw and lost as his time
as a tadpole among the GEM domes of BRAID. The movements, and conversations of the myriad of alien
races that wandered between the brightly lit facilities felt menacing after two severe months of
utter isolation. His instincts, brought to unbelievably high alerts from his time on the Cordican
Mining Facility, saw only a throng of threats. Ghettis, Hydians, Saiyans, Icers, Yardrats, and other,
nameless mutants of the 'verse stared at him as he shuffled past with looks of such bewilderment,
that his mind could only interpret them as threats.'

[CHAT] Syhiver hadn't drank liquor, or alcohol in years, but at the first sight of a tavern, he
pushed through the swinging doors, and limped to the bar beneath a sinister canopy of black lights.
Normally he might have spent a moment in the doorway, letting his eyes rove over the booths and
their occupants, or exploring the dark corners, and exits should the evening turn for the worse...
but tonight, he was little more than a desperate man in need of spirits. He struggled to pull
himself into a stool at the bar, but once he had, he drew a nearby ashtray towards his chest, and sunk head
first onto the hard-top with such an overwhelmed expression that it was several minutes before the
bartender who passed by finally cleared his throat to draw the Kanassian's pupils up from staring
into his own palm.

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'The bartender, a thin Ghetti with yellow skin speckled with patterns of green
splotches, nodded hesitantly towards him before reaching for the glass and several bottles. The cold
glass of liquor found its way to the Kanassian's hand shortly later, although Syhiver barely become
aware of its presence before its exterior was dripping with condensation, and the ice had nearly
dissolved. His eyes had fixated on a dark corner, and his death-stick had nearly burned down with
power completely, as some vagrant memory of the Mithria Asteroid played out in his mind.'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- '"That was the closest I think I've ever been to the edge..." He said to himself
as he lifted the glass and pressed it to his mouth, drinking the entire drought nearly in one,
ceaseless gulp before sucking his lips afterward. "I should be dead eight times over..." A kind of...
calm fell over him as he acknowledged that reality, and the fact that he was alive. "I survived...
Somehow... I survived..."'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- '"You alright, buddy?"'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'The Kanassian turned to the figure seated several stools down from him at the
bar, a Hydian whose head was half shaved to accommodate a disfiguring rash of Lykanrot that marred
the entire left side of his head and had caused his ear to shrivel into a sickly leaf. He was
dressed in a despairing fashion (nearly as despairing as Syhiver), but at least seemed to have some
sense of decency. Syhiver stared at him as if he were miles away, on a distant part of the landscape,
and little more than a silhouette in the distance.'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- '"I said, are you alright? You're muttering to yourself."'

[CHAT] Syhiver looked down at himself as if he had spilled his drink over his lap, searching his
person for an answer before finishing his glass, setting it down, and then picking up his death-
stick from the ashtray to take a long drag while furiously 'not'-nodding his head.

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- '"Of course, never better."'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- '"Just seems like you..."'

[CHAT] Syhiver blinked slow, and deliberately.

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- '"...Like you just saw a Ghost."'

[CHAT] Syhiver stepped out of his chair, his leg throttling backward and sending the stool beneath
him flying back where it exploded into a shower of splinters against a billiard table. Before the
violent motion had even caused the other denizens of the dive to startle the Kanassian closed the
difference between himself and the strange. His cybernetic limb shot forward to the throat of the
Hydian, gripping him and lifting him out of his chair. His flesh hand, still holding the shot-glass
smashed it against the hard-top and then drew the shattered edge up and raking against the Hydian's thr----

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- '[01000100 01110010 01100001 01100111 01101111 01101110 01100010 01100001
01101100 01101100 00100000 01001001 01101110 01100110 01101001 01101110 01101001 01110100 01111001
00100000 01010000 01110010 01101111 01100111 01110010 01100001 01101101 00100000 01001100 01101111
01100111 00111010 00100000 01010011 01110101 01100010 01101010 01100101 01100011 01110100 00100000
01100101 01111000 01110000 01100101 01110010 01101001 01100101 01101110 01100011 01101001 01101110
01100111 00100000 01100101 01111000 01110100 01110010 01100101 01101101 01100101 00100000 01100001
01100111 01101001 01110100 01100001 01110100 01101001 01101111 01101110 00101110 00100000 01010010
01100101 01110111 01101001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01110000 01110010 01101111 01110100 01101111
01100011 01101111 01101100 00100000 01101001 01101110 01101001 01110100 01101001 01100001 01110100
01100101 01100100 00101110]'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- '"Stranger? I asked if you were alright?"'

[CHAT] Syhiver was still in his stool. The glass was still in his hand. The Kanassian's eyes went
wild with bewilderment just before his stomach began to turn. He apathetically nodded his head to
the Hydian, and then stood up from his seat and began to grope his way towards the dive's lit signs
for a restroom. Pushing through the door he reached a sink just before his guts began to empty
themselves in a grotesque waterfall of yellow-green pus. He wretched without regard for the handful
of other occupants, his eyes practically turning backward into his skull as his intestines and lungs
expunged every droplet, bit of matter, and molecule of the Mithria Asteroid that had coated is
innards.

[CHAT] Syhiver stared at his reflection in the mirror for a long moment when he finally came up for
air. The discharge of his guts was still glistening on the wreath of scales that fell from his chin.
His eyes were sunken into their sockets, and he looked quite green around the gills. His head
finally turned down to the bowl beneath him where the fluid he had expelled was slipping (far too
slowly for his liking) down into the grate of the drain. There was a speckle of shimmering green
light amongst it and his finger fell down and finally scraped a small sliver underneath his nail
that he brought close to his eyes to examine.

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- '"Warpstone..." He murmured in confusion.'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'As Syhiver's eyes drifted back up to the mirror facing him, he caught the
reflections of the passengers of the dive as they shuffled towards the sink and washed their hands.
Their faces were... pixilated... jumbles of jagged lines, blurred splotched-patterns, and low-rez
masks, like a texture stretched over a low-polygon wire mesh.'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'The Kanassian left the washroom in a sudden state of emergency. The hallway that
connected the washrooms to the main bar seemed to break several times, and loop, going on into what
felt like infinity. Syhiver's heart was beating furiously in his chest. It felt like it was going to
explode. Each drum was like a God hammering the stars on an anvil of the sky, beating embers of light
into suns.'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- '"GHOST?"'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'There was no answer.'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'When the infinite hallway did finally break and reach the bar-room, Syhiver
struck his hand out, grasping a bottle out of the bartender's hand as he was in the middle of mixing
a drink as his cybernetic limb flicked out a small wad of bills and he headed back out through the
doors. He struck the bottle to his mouth, like it were the succor of a mother's teat as he began to
frantically search... His eyes cut through the night, trying to focus through the after-trails that
the neon signs left as his pupils grazed them. Like walking through an aurora he stumbled forward.'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'The Kanassian's wild gait brought him crashing into the ranks of several
passerbys. Most shouted, made distinct gestures with their hands and fingers, or puffed their chest,
but otherwise let him pass unscathed. At worst he inspired a number of brutish aliens to shove him
out of their way, and barely acknowledged their loud threats as he continued forward on his berserk
mission. "There has to be one..." He groaned between sips of the bottle, but it wasn't until the
vessel was nearly empty, and he had nearly made his way all the way across the satellite that his
eyes finally flashed in recognition of what he sought.'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'The BRAID agent's optic-implant displayed the name of the establishment that he
stood before, but it had become a stream of symbols and falling, fragmented code that might as well
have been alien heiroglyphics. The Kanassian tossed the bottle to the side, following the lights
onto a porch and through the doors. A young Hydian looked at him from behind a counter with a
mixture of repulsion, and surprise as the Kanassian's head swiveled slowly across the walls, taking
in the flash cards, and photographed prints that hung on display.'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- '"You looking to get inked, traveler?"'

[CHAT] Syhiver slowly turned to the young man, with a gaze that was thousands of miles away and
simply nodded.

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- '"What did you have in mind?"'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'The Kanassian struggled to a roll up a sleeve of his jacket that had long been
torn off, his fingers twining the empty air with such a drunk, and exasperated delirium that by the
time he finally seemed to accept the situation he offered no apology, and simply pointed to the
scales of his underarm, close to the wrist expectantly. "Here. I want it here."'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- '"...Okay, but... like, what do you want inked there, man?"'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'Syhiver swayed on his feet, his right hand pressing against his temples as he
struggled to think. He blew through his mouth, seemingly making a 'raspberry' with his tongue a few
times before standing back up in a manner that made him seem quite mad. "You do Smartlight
Inkings?"'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'The Hydian hesitantly nodded.'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- '"An hourglass. I want an hourglass. Five minutes of sand between turns."'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'The Hydian tattooist considered the disheveled assassin before him for a moment,
and strongly considered turning him away, but with a sigh finally nodded and pointed to the room in
the back where a black chair covered in wax paper was prepped. "Your artist will be with you in just
a few minutes. This your first?" He leaned to get a better look at Syhiver from a different angle,
but to his dismay, the drunk 'fish' was bare of any prior work. "Well, don't worry, old timer, it's
not too bad, and you're loose enough. Probably won't even feel it."'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'Over the course of the next three hours, Syhiver drifted between states of
complete out-of-body experiences, drunken fits, and piercing doses of lucidity. The tattoo artist
who had been chosen for the Kanassian's Smartlight Tattoo had to suffer through a number of
scattered, incomprehensible dialogues, but his subject (or perhaps, simply his canvas), was
practically catatonic, and rarely even reacted as the needle pierced his scales and filled it with
electromagnetic-ink.'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'The design was fairly simple. Syhiver hadn't given the artist much to work off
of other than the bare principle, but the Hydian did his best to add small touches, and flairs. The
Hourglass itself, that was to say, the main 'structure' of the design was a simple, jet-black
outline, but the grains of sand were drawn with the Smartlight Ink. It was a deep, dotted pattern
that required the artist to program each bead of sand to fall in sequence, and subsequently light a
corresponding bead in the glass at the bottom. The effect, in the end, was that over the course of
five minutes, one sphere of the hourglass drained into the other, back and forth in real time on the
Kanassian's scales. It was simple, but polished. Not the artist's finest work, but it served its
purpose.'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'It took some doing to finally get the Kanassian up off the table when the tattoo
was finished. He had, more or less, passed out from exhaustion (or simply from being boozed to the
gills), and even more pressing a matter to exchange the zeni for that transaction. When Syhiver
finally stumbled out the door, the two Hydians looked towards one another as if the last few hours
had been a surreal dream. '

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'Even with a few hours of 'rest' under his belt, the effects of the alcohol had
barely worn down, but Syhiver took much more solace in the new 'clock' that had been etched into his
scales as he attempted to make his way back towards his ship than those narrow hours of reprieve
could have granted. He found himself counting the beads as they fell from glass to glass as he
walked, seeming to focus on his steps and take comfort in knowing how far he could propel himself as
they fell.'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'Control... the tattoo gave him a sense of control, and acted as a symbol that... he
wasn't losing his mind. Now he could rely on something. Now he had an anchor to weigh the strange
sensations he had been experiencing for these last few months. Now he could at least attempt to
account for himself.'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'Somehow, as he swam through these thoughts, he somehow arrived at his
destination. The derelict rested like a beached whale upon the stardock of the Marduke Station, its
ladder still open. Syhiver stopped in his tracks as he approached, his arms falling to his side as
he took stock of the situation with a sigh.'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'A number of scavengers, thieves... or perhaps worse... were gathered beside the
vessel. They were stripping components from the interior. Piles of rubble, and slag lay excavated
from the Icerian freighter like the fat, and tallow of a gutted beast. What they hoped to sell from
such an ancient wreck, Syhiver couldn't even begin to imagine, but his arrival caused them to pause
their burglary, and turn. A few of them carried sparking electrified night-sticks, while others
clearly bore laz-pistol holsters on the outside of their pant legs, or beneath the bulk of their
coats. There were seven of them in total.'

[CHAT] Syhiver: -- 'Syhiver gave a heavy... exhausted huff as they began to approach... and then
slowly slipped out of his spacer jacket, throwing it to the ground. He glanced at the hourglass on
the underside of his forearm, counting the beads in his mind before turning back up just as a
crackling nightstick swung towards his temple.'


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Upd4tin6 M1s5ion Log....

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