Our intrepid crew formulated their plan: Use the alien shuttle to get to the ship that attacked them, and then blow it up. Blastwave and Starry Night installed the engines from the Blue Dreamer's shuttlecraft into the alien ship, and Ensign Ladybug is reasonably sure that she can get the ship to the target.
The team is ready and equipped for their mission to the alien ship. Should they fail, it means certain death, but the fate of their own ship and crew hangs in the balance…
>>195997 The four of you, as well as Tila (the explosives specialist) and Ladybug.
You could easily fit the rest of the crew in here, if you wanted. There are four remaining members of the security team who have remained on the ship: CPO Charmer, PO Upanga, Sugar Bowl, and Breezy Skies.
>>196008 "There's no point in crippling their ship if they slaughter everyone on ours. If we want to face as few of them as possible it may be possible to use the breaching charge to get in as close to their engine room as possible."
>>196027 In order to make room for the IFF, Starry had to take out the drone's motive systems. It can swivel in a 360-degree arc, but it can't move. You'll have to carry it into battle, and it takes a turn to set up.
You seal the cargo bay off from the rest of the ship and open it up to the cold void of space. You can't see the alien mothership from this angle, but you know it's only a few thousand kilometers from the Blue Dreamer.
Ladybug fumbles with the alien controls for a moment, consulting her translation tool the whole time. She finally presses a button she assures you is the autopilot, and the alien craft slides out of the cargo bay and into the starry night.
"The alien ship has stopped moving towards the Dreamer," she says, reading her translator's interpretation of one of the many glowing panels at the front of the cockpit.
"I think it's waiting for us."
You can let the shuttlecraft continue its voyage towards the alien ship, presumably headed for its own hangar bay, or you can try to alter course.
You decide to let the alien craft continue on its course. Soon you sight the enemy vessel in the cockpit's viewing window. While it's roughly the size of your own corvette in mass, it's shaped considerably different.
It's very angular from the outside — its main hull is roughly pentagonal, you think, though it's rounded out by small plates, like the sort of geodesic dome they use to make basic colony buildings.
The most striking part of the ship are two long, protruding "tusks" out of the front of the ship — at least you think it's the front. What seem to be engines are at the back, after all. You can't tell what they are from here, but Blastwave recognizes those tusks as the ship's main weapon. You don't see any visible windows.
The shuttle positions itself between the long tusks, and you see a huge doorway open up at the middle of the ship. This has to be the hangar.
The shuttle slowly slides through the opening, and you find yourself in an enormous hangar bay — easily three times as tall as your own cargo bay.
You can't see anything from this angle, but you feel the hangar's airlock grind shut behind you. The shuttle is currently closed, but you can open it at any time. What do you do?
>>196056 "Yeah, it's this button, I'm pretty sure." She presses a button, and two huge searchlights on the front of the vessel begin to flash on and off.
"Oh, that's not it." '1d10'
>>196057 You say your prayers to a cold and unforgiving universe. Your mind is awash in the crushing reality that you're hundreds of light-years from the mountains and eyries of your home, separated from your family and anyone you ever loved by unfathomable distance and time. Far from finding comfort in the night, as you usually do, you find only coldness and fear.
>>196059 She presses another button, and you hear a series of low grunts come out of a speaker mounted in the ceiling of the shuttle. The grunts are followed by high-pitched wailing, like the blast of an ill-tuned trumpet, and then the grunts return.
>>196063 She holds up her translation tool and waves it around a little. '1d10'
>>196061 "Third time has to be the charm, right?" She presses yet another button. And a camera display pops up on the cockpit's viewport. It pans for a minute or so, giving you a good view of whatever is around the immediate area of the shuttle. 'r2 1d10'
>>196067 You don't see anything on the camera immediately. There are several large stacks of boxes in front of the shuttlecraft, however. It looks like this is a combination hangar and cargo bay, just like your own.
>>196063 "I don't know. I haven't gotten to hear any of their speech, so I have no idea what they're saying, sorry."
>>196068 You set up the turret so that it faces towards the doorway.
>>196096 >>196097 You lean out of the ship's hatch and give a quick look around. You see some movement from behind the cargo boxes.
Before you can take advantage of this observation, however, the boxes are sent flying about the hangar, struck by three charging multi-nosed pachyderms. One strikes the side of the ship with a thud, rocking the shuttlecraft back and forth for a moment.
They aren't wearing the space suits you encountered before, but they are wearing thick armored plates around their bodies. Everyone please roll for initiative.
The lead alien is on the gangway now. It doesn't look like the gangway can hold more than one alien at a time.
>>196122 >>196119 The turret's first shot misses wildly, striking a cargo bin and vaporizing it. The second shot grazes the lead elephant in a gap in his armor.
>>196128 Your laser rifle spits out a rapid fire of laser bolts, but the heat given off by the weapon causes you to change your aim at the last minute. One of the rear aliens hits you in the paw with his ray gun. You grit your teeth a little at that.
>>196137 In a fit of bravery, you rush out onto the gangway and strike the lead pachyderm in the face with your cutlass. The sword sings a high-pitched whine as it cuts through the air before landing on his enormous ears. You leave a huge gash in his left ear. You doubt it did any critical damage, but it has to hurt. He stabs at you with his trident, but he fails to hit you as you dance in the air.
>>196142 Your laser rifle fires a supercharged shot at the leader. The laser bolt strikes his right shoulder, mostly landing on armor. The laser boils off a significant quantity of armor, however, and enough singes his skin to make him let forth a huge trumpet noise from his trunks.
>>196145 The turret once again misses its first shot before hitting the lead elephant on the top of his head.
>>196146 You attempt to fall back, only to be caught by the pachyderm's center trunk. He shakes you violently before throwing you off of the gangway and onto the deck. You are now helpless.
>>196147 You attempt to engage your charging unit's radioactive function, only to mildly irradiate yourself. You shut it off before it can do any real damage, but you feel a little sick.
>>196148 You line up your gun's sights with the lead pachyderm before firing the sleep ray just as he seems ready to charge the whole boarding team. He careens over the side of the gangway and lands on the deck with a huge thud, only inches away from Gabrielle.
>>196150 >>196152 The turret goes haywire for a moment, shorting out briefly before landing a bolt on Astro's back. Most of it's absorbed by your space suit and armor, but it still burns badly.
>>196153 You leap to your talons and paws, waving your cutlass at the pachyderm standing on the deck.
>>196154 You lean out of the hatch and take aim. Your laser fire is deadly accurate, nailing the second pachyderm squarely in the jaw and leaving a long burn pattern across his face. He roars in pain and attempts to return fire, only to fire uselessly in the air.
>>196157 You follow up your nerdy comrade's attack with a plasma bolt from your rifle. The plasma squirts out of your rifle in a bright purple and white ball before landing on the deck between the second and third pachyderms. It burns both very badly.
>>196160 The turret stops shorting out for a moment and fires at the creature on the gangway, hitting its legs in a shower of bright red laser confetti.
>>196161 You fly towards the shuttle's hatch. Right before you get inside, however, a pachyderm laser blast hits you between the wings, sending you tumbling to the deck once more. You hit your head badly on the floor, and you see flashes before your eyes.
>>196162 As you attempt to draw a bead on the third pachyderm's eyes, the second one finally gathers himself from that plasma blast, firing a single ray blast at your head. Your helmet takes most of the damage, but your corneas burn from the intense light.
>>196164 The charge unit sparks to life, only to peter out at the last moment. You really ought to run a diagnostic on this thing when you get back to the Dreamer.
The second pachyderm — the one on the gangway, attempts to get up.
>>196166 The second pachyderm climbs to his feet and moves up the gangway.
The turret nails him in his armor plating, but this does not stop his advance.
>>196167 You again leap to your feet, ready for action, though your head is still very sore.
>>196169 You try to shake off the laser burns, but it doesn't work. Your shot misses terribly, and the pachyderm on the gangway fires at you twice while you hang out of the hatch. You crumple over from the pain. Your suit lets you know that your stomach is very badly burnt, but you knew that from the intense feeling of excruciating pain, as well as the smell of burnt fur and flesh.
You are now helpless.
>>196170 He easily dodges your laser shot and returns fire with a blast of his own. Your arm gets caught in the blast and you let out a yelp of pain.
The second pachyderm is at the top of the gangway by now. He prepares to charge the interior. Everyone who isn't helpless and who isn't AFK (so, Blastwave) roll twice — the first for your action, and the second for the dodge.
Tila attempts to fire at the pachyderm. '1d10' 'r2 1d10'
>>196175 The little goat leaps backwards from the charging alien and frags him with a shot to his side, slicing open a long gash across where his ribs probably are. Yep, those are ribs.
>>196176 The turret whirs and clicks before shorting out.
>>196177 You effortlessly dodge the clumsy pachyderm's assault as your laser rifle's surpercharger kicks in, burning the skin across the back of his skull and sending him crashing to the deck. He's still inside the shuttlecraft, but he's down for the moment.
>>196178 As I said, you didn't need to worry about rolling out of the way. He only charged those standing.
You quickly reach for the sleep-ray packs and load your ray pistol before shooting the giant in the stomach. You hit him dead-on, but it's not an ideal location. He'll probably only be out for a little while.
As he falls from the combination of Blastwave's impeccable accuracy and your sleep ray, you make an ill-advised roll under him. His falling legs land on top of you, knocking the wind out of you.
>>196180 You fly inside the shuttle and dodge the alien's falling body. You drag Astro out from under him and return him to his feet after applying some steroidal anti-burn injections.
>>196184 The turret ignores the fallen pachyderm in the ship for the one outside of it, hitting the approaching pachyderm
>>196186 You fly over to Blastwave and pat him on the back.
>>196187 You switch to the anticoagulant radiation setting on your pistol — not a setting that the RSF Marines encourage, but one that might be necessary. The plasma arcs out from your ray pistol, landing across the alien's flank. The wound gushes dark red blood.
>>196188 You sight the alien with your visor and land a laser bolt square between the eyes. The laser doesn't appear to have done much permanent damage, but he's down for the moment, stunned and bleeding.
The second pachyderm attempts to wake up '1d10'
The turret fires 'r2 1d10' 'r3 1d10'
The first alien attempts to wake up, too. 'r4 1d10'
Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 4 = 4 / Roll #3 10 = 10 / Roll #4 2 = 2
>>196192 The turret, faced with no moving targets, fires a long blast of laser at the pachyderm lying in the center of the shuttlecraft.
>>196194 Your movement startles the turret, which fires at you. It slices open your space suit, and you feel your right hind leg is torn open. You crash into the shuttle's deck. You don't feel very good. Maybe you need some of that medicine yourself.
You are helpless.
>>196196 You take the time, but the disruptor setting shorts out the laser rifle for a moment, and your paws are burned. As you drop the laser rifle, its disruptor blast does not shut off, and you burn a good deal of your torso, as well.
You crumple to the shuttlecraft deck. You are helpless.
>>196201 You mercilessly frag the helpless elephant. He squirms a little but remains unconscious as you slice open his belly. The wound cauterizes instantly, but it's still a gruesome sight.
The turret fires: '1d10' 'r2 1d10'
The first pachyderm tries to wake up 'r3 1d10'
The second pachyderm tries to wake up 'r4 1d10'
The third pachyderm tries to get up 'r5 1d10'
Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 3 = 3 / Roll #3 4 = 4 / Roll #4 7 = 7 / Roll #5 1 = 1
>>196219 >>196220 Tila dodges the flailing trunks as she applies sonic wrench to turret. It seems to be fixed, whirring to life once more.
The third pachyderm finally manages to get to its feet and runs up the gangway.
>>196222 >>196228 As the disruptor charge powers up, you leap out of the way of the elephant's trunks. He still manages to stab you with his trident, which causes you to miss. You frag one of the shuttlecraft's consoles, and it erupts in a shower of sparks.
>>196227 You roll out of the way and attempt to fire into the elephant's eyes. Instead, he whacks you with one of the trunks and sends you sprawling…
>>196225 Until Gabrielle picks you up. The Griffon dodges the pachyderm's tendrils mid-flight before picking up Astro from the ground and depositing him on his feet once more. She bandages an open gash in his leg and stabilizes his wounds.
>>196233 You emerge from that access hatch full of wires and stuff and blast the pachyderm. Or, rather, you would, but he kicks you in the head. Ouch.
>>196259 The turret can't see anything from this angle. Both aliens are on the deck underneath the gangway, and it can't sight them. It whirs and clicks before hibernating.
>>196261 You push yourself back onto your paws and administer a quick dose of euphorazine. You're still badly hurt, but you probably won't die if you get hurt again. Your training tells you that you still need medical attention, however.
>>196265 Your laser rifle goes wild in your hooves, practically leaping out of your grasp as you shoot at the third pachyderm — underneath the gangway. The laser rifle's shot veers into the shuttle. You are burned and thrown to the deck, helpless.
>>196267 The engineer's shot strikes you in the face. You are badly burned, but Gabrielle's quick attentions keep you on your feet.
>>196263 Starry Night's laser fire also hits you, though the wound is not so bad.
>>196275 Both pachyderms rise to their feet and shake off the sleep ray. The first is obviously more stunned than the second, though he is also noticeably less wounded.
>>196276 You strike the third pachyderm in the armor plating around his head. It boils off in an instant, saving him from the worst of the blast, but he is still burned.
>>196277 >>196278 You both take aim at the third pachyderm. Blastwave hits him in the back of the neck, sending him stumbling. Gabrielle leaps up and slices the pachyderm with her cutlass. It sings as it lands in elephant flesh, and it becomes firmly embedded in the elephant's skull. The alien creature crashes to the deck, dead.
Gabrielle pulls her sword from the alien's skull. It's coated in deep red goo and purplish brain matter.
>>196279 With the others focused on the third pachyderm, you land a shot on the first, leaving a small gash on the top of his forehead.
The last pachyderm stomps his feet and prepares to charge. Everyone roll twice — first for action, then to dodge.
>>196286 >>196289 You artfully dodge to the side as he charges past, you line up the plasma bolt perfectly. It lands on his back, burning him as it boils away.
>>196288 You fly up and over the pachyderm, but you cannot land a blow with your sword. Instead, he jabs at you with his trident. The blow he delivered to your leg is hardly a grave wound, but it hurt.
>>196290 You barely dodge the pachyderm, and the resulting blast from your laser rifle hardly touches him. While you were a bit shaken up on the play, he didn't really touch you.
>>196292 He nails you with his ray pistol before slamming into you with his tusks, gouging your belly and slicing it open. You're wounded, but you manage to stay on your feet.
>>196308 You blast the alien on the ground. His rib cage is plainly visible after the wound you deliver.
>>196309 You attempt to patch yourself up with a dose of euphorazine, but you administer far too much, and you throw up in your helmet for the second time today.
>>196310 You graze the creature, but don't manage to harm him much.
>>196311 You ignore the pain and focus on your work. Red phase plate to green phase plate, crosswire the safety mechanisms, and then emulate all of the best pitchers back home with a perfect strike to the creature's wounded sides. The power pack becomes lodged in the alien's rib cage. He lets forth a final trumpet before it explodes. Also for the second time today, you explode an alien elephant, though this time much more completely than the first half-job. His remains land throughout the hangar bay, covering the shuttlecraft and cargo bins with dark red flesh and blood.
All of the aliens are dead.
We'll pause here for the night. We'll figure out a night to pick it up again later.
Our crew landed the alien shuttle in its mothership and established a foothold in the alien warship. Though the fight was difficult, with the help of Starry Night's laser turret and a great deal of plasma fire and improvised high explosive, the crew of the HMS Blue Dreamer defeated a squad of pachyderms that attempted to repel them.
The boarding party now stands in the hangar bay. It is a huge, open space, much taller than their own ship's cargo bay. Towards the bow of the alien ship (well, presumably it's the bow) is the hangar bay door. Towards the stern are stacks and stacks of cargo bins.
>>198478 You still feel a tad nauseous, but you manage to keep down your stomach's few remaining contents long enough to suture up Starry Night's belly.
>>198479 You trip over one of the bins. Inside is a bunch of what appear to be small shelled nuts.
>>198484 The cargo bins aren't very neatly stacked, you notice, and you can't see over them without trying to climb up over them. You hear something rustling near some of the boxes on the starboard side of the bay.
>>198501 You note that these aliens weren't wearing any sort of space suits. Instead, they were wearing some sort of heavy ablative armor. You rip off one of the panels, but you're not sure what use it will be to you.
>>198500 You point your laser rifle at the bin and quickly press the button that pops it open, keeping the barrel of the laser fixed firmly on the bin the whole time.
The bin opens in a flurry of feathers. You hear a loud screeching noise as soon as the lid pops off, but there's no movement for a second. Then, the figure inside emerges slowly, its two huge, yellow eyes fixed on your gun.
In front of you is what looks like a huge bird — long-billed and covered in deep purple feathers, roughly as big as you. It clatters at you in an alien tongue for a moment before supplicating itself before you — both wings outstretched on the ground as it kneels in a kowtow.
>>198503 The feathers scare you, ironically, and you dive behind one of the other bins. Not your finest display.
It's has a pretty similar physiology to the birds of your home planet, you note: Brain up top, two wings, two legs, two eyes. The gastrointestinal and cardiovascular tracks look strange, but you're no doctor or biologist.
The only weird bits of its physiology are the two sets of feet and talons on the end of its wings, somewhat like a bat.
>>198521 You try to set up a fortified position using some of the cargo bins and bits of blasted alien armor, but it falls apart as soon as it comes together. Oh, right! You should weld it together instead of precariously balancing everything!
>>198520 Sweet. Maybe I can scavenge something el- is that a giant bird. … Nope. Just gonna ignore that. Not even gonna get involved with Gabrielle's freaky cousin or something. Search through the crates for any parts for a propulsion system. Should I lay off on trying to build up the turret some more?
Ladybug climbs out from where she was hiding and trots out to your position. She sees the alien bird and runs up to it, waving her translation tool the whole time. She starts chattering at the bird in an attempt to communicate with it.
>>198529 You can do whatever you want. You don't find anything that looks like a propulsion system. There's some jars of something in this bin.
>>198533 You weld together a few bins. You have a reinforced position now at the bottom of the gangway that leads up to your shuttlecraft.
>>198536 Your catbutt is really nice. If you had to guess, it was better than 80% of the catbutts out there. It's really round and pretty, even stuck in a space suit.
>>198535 Ladybug takes off her space suit's helmet to show that she has nothing to hide.
"I… AM… LADYBUG. LADYBUG." She points at herself. "YOU?" She points at the bird.
The bird responds with a series of clicks and whistles. Ladybug's translation tool buzzes as it computes all this new data and spits out some bird noises. The bird, Ladybug, and translation tool talk with one another for a few minutes.
"I think we can talk," Ladybug says. "You'll have to talk into the translator, though. I don't think we can make those sorts of sounds."
"That won't be necessary," the bird says. "I can copy you well enough." Its voice is an imperfect mimicry of Ladybug's — like she was tallking through a short-circuiting radio.
"I am Seedpouch. And you must be the aliens who killed my masters."
>>198539 Your instrument fails to accurately estimate the cattbutt's prettiness.
>>198538 It's full of some sort of paste. Looks like zinc carbide — the sort you use to seal up the antifusion drive's leaks.
>>198540 Your welding job isn't that good, and you doubt it will hold up to any sort of fire.
>>198545 "A slave? No, I'm a…" he whistles at the translation tool and its computerized voice says, "SERVANT."
"…a servant. The Broken Tusk clan pays my people for my services as a manservant and translator."
>>198544 He clucks in what seems like a laugh before saying, in an eery version of your voice, "I am a silly-looking alien."
>>198543 You find some wheels. They look like they go to something bigger, but they should easily support the weight of the turret. You'll need to fashion a drive train of your own, though, if you want it to work.
>>198548 You don't see any doors nearby, save for the giant hangar bay door behind you. It works pretty well, you think.
>>198551 "T-That's not me at all!" I huff and give him a glare. "Anyway ya jerk, your masters are a bunch of dicks that attacked us. If you're working for 'em then tell me why I shouldn't smack you around right now!"
>>198561 "…So you butts kill a bunch of our crew without warning and want us to take your surrender seriously? Pfft. Be glad I'm a sweetheart." I roll my eyes and turn around, then scout out the place. No visible doors, right? What about access hatches or vents?
>>198565 "That is the way of the…" "UNIVERSE" "Yes, that."
>>198566 You give yourself a pretty bad shock when you try to cut a power coupling from a maintenance hatch.
>>198569 "You have shown that you are stronger than my masters. Honor demands that I surrender and be…" "ABSORBED" "…absorbed into your clan. I will help you, but you must promise to take me with you."
>>198579 You attach the rifle to it. +1 to hit now.
>>198580 You wander through the boxes for a few minutes before reaching a clearing. Extending up from the center of the clearing, all the way up to the ceiling, is a long translucent tube.It radiates light from the inside.
>>198583 "Hey! You find something over there?" I push my turret-cart of death over to him. >>198585 "Mm. Ideally, I'd like to rig some kind of flight based propulsion system to it, so it has more mobility, but this'll do fine enough for now." >>198587 "It supported my weight, so… sure, I guess?"
>>198611 >>198612 >>198613 >>198617 >>198619 You all (plus Ladybug and Seedpouch) step into the shaft. You skin tingles a bit, like you've been charged with static electricity, and you begin to rise slowly towards the next deck. In a few seconds, you see an exit from the shaft. You may exit here, if you wish, or you may continue to the top deck.
>>198616 "This ship has a crew of ten, not including me. Two of the Broken Tusk Clan were sent to your ship, and three were sent to deal with you when you arrived here. There is the doctor and the engineer and the clan leader, too. The last two warriors were with the captain when he sent me to translate for your surrender, but he may have sent them elsewhere after I left."
>>198627 You step out of the lift and look around. There don't seem to be many bulkheads on this ship — it's just like an enormous cargo hold. Towards the bow, you can see a few lumps of fabric on the deck — beds, perhaps?. It's far too dark for you to see much past that. It seems these aliens have better night vision than ponies or dogs.
>>198646 >>198648 "Yeah, it's detecting something. Towards the bow. Probably more of the bastards." >>198647 "After the beating it took back when we boarded? Hell no! …Plus, imagine. If we brought this ship ba-" >>198651 "Forget the rewards! Imagine the sheer TECHNOLOGY in this ship! Imagine the leaps and bounds we could advance if we brought this back!"
>>198665 "Pffft. It's hard to tell since you're already a sweet red, but if I didn't know any better I'd say you're blushin'. Got a thing for big barrels?" I run my claw along the turret and wink at her
>>198672 >>198673 "Find a place to stow your barrel after we get back to the ship. Here's the plan. We cripple the ship and signal the Bluedreamer to come along side and pull close enough for the rest of the security team to board. If they have to they can use the emergency tethers to tie the ships together. While they are doing that we fight our way back to the hanger to keep the landing area clear."
The squad moves down the corridor towards the stern of the vessel, and towards the low hum of what Seedpouch assures you is the engine room.
The engine room is a huge cavern, extending up the full three decks of the ship. In the center is a huge antifusion drive core, far larger than that which powers the Blue Dreamer. You can feel its raw power in the deck you stand on.
The room is arranged like some sort of square grain or missile silo — in the center is the power drive. Around the outside bulkheads is a long clockwise-spiraling gantry, leading to the top and bottom of the room. You can't immediately see any pachyderms in here, but the gantry is opaque, so anything immediately above or below you can't be seen.
>>198722 It's currently facing away from where you would need to plant the bomb. But it is nearby. It would almost certainly be incinerated in the blast. Anything that was on the top of the gantry would be. It would be advisable to get out of the engine room before detonating the bomb. It has a remote detonator.
Staying stealthed while planting the bomb would, of course, require rolls.
>>198729 You disable the plasma injectors. In seconds you feel and hear the main power go offline — the dull red glow from the antifusion drive dies away, and you feel the gravity begin to fail before secondary power switches on.
>>198747 "Even with their advanced tech, I highly doubt they can run their engines on secondary power. And besides, do you really want shrapnel and debris from the bomb floating in zero gravity?" >>198749 >>198750 I- "Ladies, please."
>>198795 >>198796 You hide at the bottom of the gantry. Ladybug and Seedpouch hide, too. The gantry is a thick metal deck, however, so it is opaque — you don't have to worry about anyone seeing you.
>>198797 You attempt to hide by flying into the gantry. The sound of your helmet slamming into the metal deck echoes throughout the cavernous engine room — silent, save for your racket, thanks to main power being offline.
Your noise, in addition to the sudden disabling of main power, summons at least one elephant. You can hear stomping around somewhere at the top of the gantry, probably in the corridor. The sound of trumpets and low grunts bounces off of the bulkheads and reaches you at the bottom of the room.
>>198827 >>198828 >>198830 The photon grenade bomb ignites into a tight ball of fusion-powered destruction. The roar from the explosion can be felt from the other side of the ship, you're sure, though your suit's helmet blocks out most of the noise.
The intense heat at the top of the engine room instantly incinerates everything in its immediate area. You feel it burning on your backs and heads, though the gantry and your suits save you from the worst of it.
The explosion is over within a microsecond, but the bulkheads at the top of the engine are still glowing red hot when you look up to survey the destruction. The top of the gantry is gone — melted. Most of it is pooled in a corner of the engine room opposite your hiding place.
You see a single pachyderm at the top of the still-intact portions of the gantry. Evidently, he was far enough down the gantry to survive the blast, though it looks like he's badly burned.
The gantry above you begins to give way, bending down from the stress from the explosion, as well as the pachyderm's weight. Within seconds, he comes crashing down on you.
We'll pause here for the night. Starry and Gabrielle will need to roll to dodge the elephant. They'll do that next time.
Our RSF boarding party attacked the alien engineering room, knocking out the engineer and planting a makeshift bomb in order to destroy the ship's main power. They incinerated a few aliens in the resulting blast.
Starry Night and Gabrielle stayed behind in engineering to make sure the bomb went off smoothly. While they avoided the worst of the blast, one of the pachyderms sent to investigate the commotion in main engineering survived the explosion, as well. The catwallk that circles the main power core has collapsed, and the alien is just about to fall on our heroes…
>>204528 >>204529 The pachyderm teeters over the edge of the gantry before losing his footing and falling the thirty or so feet to the catwalk below. Gabrielle, with her cat reflexes, dodges the falling pachyderm effortlessly, but Starry is smacked in the head by a flailing trunk. His helmet takes most of the damage, but being struck by a weighty trunk in freefall still smarts pretty bad.
The alien lands on his side and strikes the ground hard, but soon he begins to shake off the fall. Burns up and down his back bear witness to the extreme heat and radiation of the jury-rigged photon bomb, but the elephant is still alive.
>>204552 You wait until the last possible moment to attack — too late, in fact. You are gored on the alien's tusks, but not before you slash him across the eyes with your cutlass. He trumpets a scream of pain and pushes you to the side.
>>204553 >>204554 You effortlessly dodge the elephant's clumsy charge and, hoping that its problems are confined to a faulty charge, you throw it back at the alien. Just as it reaches the alien's body, you tag it with a blast of laser fire. The grenade erupts as it crosses the alien's back, adding further burns to his already-wounded body.
The alien falters from the blast but stays on his feet. It's clear he's near death, but he shows no sign of giving up.
>>204559 For the first time in ages, your charging device clicks and whirs to life, sending out an electric signal to your allies' weapons. Their weapons will function with a fire effect for the next two rounds.
>>204569 >>204571 >>204572 The alien roars and lunges at the three of you with its trident and tusks, threatening to impale Gabby and Starry with his pointy accoutrements.
Gabrielle leaps into the air, raising her cutlass high in both claws before slicing downwards, She cuts off all of its trunks before it can stab anyone. The sword, now white-hot from Blaswave's charge unit, instantly cauterizes the elephant's wounds.
The alien screams and prepares one final, desperate charge. Starry Night fires at the creature, but to no avail — it won't be stopped. Starry rockets up into the air to avoid the charge.
But Blastwave takes aim with his laser rifle and lets forth a seething jet of hot plasma fire, cutting the elephant's skull in two. Its body hits the ground with a sickening thud and slides forward a few more yards before coming to a stop inches in front of Blastwave's boots.
>>204579 I take a few sighs of relief after the elephant goes down, smacking my head as I come to a realization and jet over to my turret, reactivating it and nosing under it, setting it on my back. "I don't think that was all of them…"
>>204588 I jump on the turret. "We go burn up all the other alien things and take their ship." I lay my head against Ladybug. "That hurt.. guh. Egghead, I'll let you lead me around. Ladybug, you stay still like a good pillow."
>>204631 >>204635 >>204641 Blastwave configures his communicator to transmit back tot he Dreamer. There's a delay of roughly thirty seconds, but you soon hear Captain Giles' voice on the other end of the transmission.
"Blue Dreamer here, boarding party, we read you."
You tell him of your plan and instruct him to bring the ship alongside the alien vessel. He tells you that, with the ship only capable of half power, it will take a few minutes, at least, to arrive. Your security team will need a place to enter the ship, too.
>>204659 "It'd be easier if we just cast a line out to them and have them exit out like that. Properly docking the ships with each other, especially with alien tech would take to long and would attract too much attention."
You all head down to the hangar bay. Fortunately, the ship's lift beam continues to work, even on auxiliary power. Seedpouch finds a spacesuit in the cargo bay and puts it on. He also tells you where the bay door's controls are.
>>204763 "I know Blacktooth well, but I've never known him to listen to much reason.
"It is likely that your bomb attack — if he knows what happened — shut off any chance of convincing him to surrender. He may think you are a dishonorable opponent now and refuse to submit to you.
"One of you could challenge him to a duel, though… That may convince him of your honor, and he would probably surrender before you killed him. He would likely not allow you to surrender, however."
"There may be other ways, but I do not know."
>>204765 "That he is. And the doctor is the closest this clan has to an…" "INTELLECTUAL" the translator spits. "…yes, thank you, Ladybug."
>>204766 "Oh, they wanted to take you as a prize. You are an alien ship. You have value as a curiosity, if nothing else, and the lesser clans of the Paathi are always looking for new worlds to conquer."
The crew valiantly slaughtered the wounded pachyderm that attacked them. They then called the Blue Dreamer and brought it alongside the alien warship, and the RSF security team boarded the ship.
According to Seedpouch, the ship's commander should be on the top deck. The ship's doctor may or may not be with him. In any case, the crew needs to either neutralize the pachyderms or convince them to surrender…
>>206174 "Paathi rules of dueling are flexible and subject to the agreement of both parties. Blacktooth is unlikely to see you as much of a threat, and he does not have much of a bargaining position, so he may allow you to bring a lot into the fight.
"But convention dictates that only what can be worn can be brought into the a duel between two bulls. And since your turret cannot be worn…"
>>206172 "That is correct. You are, I am sorry to say, probably greatly inferior to him in physical combat. Cleverness is advised."
>>206179 Well, you think, you can do a lot with duct tape and glue these days. It would probably hinder your mobility a lot, though.
>>206180 "Blacktooth is a noble bull Paathi, a veteran of many battles and the conqueror of Yantos. I am sure master Starry Night is brave and strong, but Blacktooth is a formidable warrior. One does not rise to become leader of the clan without proving oneself above all his brothers, and the Broken Tusk family is a strong one. Strong, but small."
>>206182 As you begin work on the turret, you remember that you can just remove the wheels and carriage. Of course! The turret is now attached to the back of your suit, rigged to the chin controls in your suit's helmet. It will automatically fire when you turn it on, just as before.
Nonetheless, attaching the turret has compromised some of the suit's ablative armor, and even with your jetpack, you'll be a little less agile that before.
-1 to all dodge rolls. The turret works as before. It will fire at your enemies as though it were dual-wielding laser rifles. It has, thanks to your previous modifications, 4 wounds. Should it be broken, it will be very difficult to repair it while it is on your back. -2 to repair rolls for it.
>>206183 You realize that you could easily turn the combination into a nifty espresso machine. Canterlot-style coffee is difficult to get out here on the frontier, so you store that plan away for the return voyage.
>>206188 You're giddy like a little kitten. The sight of Starry's strapping frame carrying those big, long guns is almost too much for you. You lose yourself in the moment as the laser rifles twitch and track your slightest movements. You know it's silly, but they look like they're eagerly waiting to spurt out a hot jet of plasma fire over the first enemy they see.
>>206192 You think you can reinforce your suit to take some more damage if you cannibalize some of the ablative armor from the dead elephant in the engineering room. Also, you could rig an ejection system for the turret, so that if it breaks you can easily lose it.
>>206223 You're able to control your healthy stallion libido. You don't even think about Gabby and Ladybug sensually _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
>>206225 Just as it should be. Can't have anything distracting me from the fight! >>206226 >>206227 "Onwards it is then." I walk over to the elevator and ride it to where the ship's commander is. "Well Seedpouch?"
All of you, plus Seedpouch, Ladybug, and the rest of the security team, pile into the lift shaft and slowly rise towards the top deck. The gravity beam deposits you in a corridor on the top deck. Towards the stern is main engineering — you can still feel the heat from the photon bomb's blast. Towards the bow is the first doorway you've seen on the ship, extending several meters into the air, tall and wide enough for several of these monstrous aliens to pass through easily.
Seedpouch turns to you and says, "This is the command deck. Ahead of us is the control room."
"If you want a duel, let me go ahead. I will explain what happened to Blacktooth and make your challenge formally."
"He is almost certainly in there. If you want, of course, you could go in there and just shoot him now…
Seedpouch approaches the door, walking inside as soon as it whooshes open. You can barely see inside the doorway — it is almost pitch-black inside.
The door remains open, and you hear a loud series of trumpet blasts and the sound of something being thrown against the bulkhead, followed by a few smaller blasts that sound like they were filtered through a tinny radio — undoubtedly that is Seedpouch.
Seedpouch emerges from the command room in a few minutes, looking a little bruised.
"I have made your challenge. He will accept. He doubts your prowess, and will allow you to use whatever weapons you may carry. His terms are as follows: If you best him, the ship and its remaining crew are yours. If he wins, however, you are honor-bound to surrender your lives and your ship to him, and you will return to his clan's planet as a prize.
Seedpouch opens his mouth and imitates elephant noises once more, beckoning you all to follow him.
As you enter the command room, a bright light turns on and illuminates the center of the room — a high circular platform bare of any furntiture or control panels. Looking around, you can see that there are dozens of control panels strung out along the outside of the roughly trapezoidal room. At the front of the room is what appears to be a large computer screen — currently dark. It is not dissimilar from your own bridge.
A huge, pale-white elephant stomps out of the darkness and climbs to the top of the platform. True to the name, Blacktooth's mouth is full of inky spiked teeth. He lets forth a guttural roar, like a whale song being dissected in slow motion, and stomps his feet several times.
Seedpouch bows and issues his introduction for his former master. "Lord Blacktooth, master of the Broken Tusk Clan, commander of its navy, conqueror of Yantos, Imperial Knight and Banner of the Seven Winds."
Seedpouch then bows and screams something in trumpets and grunts. He waves to Starry to take the platform.
>>206300 Even upside-down and after sustaining quite a jostling, your turret manages to track its target. Its first shot misses, but its second dead-on, ripping a gash across Blacktooth's ivory face. Blacktooth falters to the ground, stunned.
>>206314 You channel your burning spirit into the best cheer you think of. It's a primal scream that tells everyone around you, even that big, hulking brute that's pummeling your friend up there, that you and the RSF are not to be fucked with. +1 to Starry's next roll.
>>206319 With Blacktooth stunned, you rise to your feet, ready to beat this guy's head in.
>>206327 >>206331 The thought of that laughing asshole alien makes you seethe with quiet rage. You channel all of those feelings into your aim, and you hit the stunned alien with your ray pistol dead on. Its arc of plasma fire cuts into his white flesh, revealing dark red, blubbery insides that ooze almost black blood.
Your turret's fire hits him in the ribcage, searing him badly and causing him to scream in pain.
He tries to rise to his feet. '1d10'
The turret fires '1d10' 'r2 1d10'
>>206336 You stop cheering and start gyrating lasciviously. -1 to Starry's next roll.
>>206377 The turret strikes the charging elephant in the front left leg, causing him to stumble slightly.
>>206382 You avoid the incoming pachyderm like one of those goatish matadors, throwing your charge pack at his back legs. It explodes just as it reaches his back right hindquarters, burning him horribly.
Blacktooth falters and drops to the ground. His breathing is heavy but shallow. He grunts something in his unintelligible language, and Seedpouch announces, "He surrenders!"
The alien who was standing in the darkness watching the ordeal rushes forward and begins to tend to Blacktooth with an array of alien medical instruments.
>>206390 I quickly put Ladybug on my back and charge Starry Night, giving him a big hug. "I knew you could do it! So big and strong and smart there's no way you could lose!" I give him a few more hugs before I start tending to his injuries
>>206409 "Each clan operates independently, for the most part. It is most unlikely that another ship will be here soon, though this region of space was seen as a prime area for future expansion. Other lesser clans will likely pass through this area, but perhaps not for several months."
>>206411 You rip off Starry's suit and bandage up his wounds more thoroughly. You even manage to laser-mend his back leg together again. Neat!
>>206413 After Gabrielle's ministrations, you do a jaunty little victory dance.
>>206437 "Based on their mentality, I would guess that they consider themselves part of our 'clan' now, perhaps even Mr. Night's. They might need minimal guard until we can get towed to a proper drydock."
Ladybug and Seedpouch talk over the specifics of Paathi prisoner relations. You are expected to provide food, water, and adequate living quarters for the immediate future. Surrender involves incorporation into the victor's clan, and so it seems that, for the moment, Blacktooth and the doctor are members of the crew (or at least they see themselves that way).
>>206456 Seedpouch turns to you. "The ship is, of course, yours. They will stay here, if you wish, but I advise that posting a guard may be seen as an insult. A forgivable one, perhaps, but an insult to their honor nonetheless."
>>206459 "Perhaps. We can take it as a pledge of good faith for now."
>>206462 "We have taken a largely-intact alien ship and several members of the crew. There is plenty to do, medic. I suggest we start by taking a full inventory of what loose gear we can find while the Ensign gets to work deciphering the bridge controls. The engineer could get to work restoring the plasma injectors, while I should establish a secure link between our ships…"
>>206483 It is an utterly alien technology. You are reasonably certain you could just replace the plasma injectors, but you still did a lot of damage to the control systems. Maybe if the engineer had survived…
The High Command received the HMS Blue Dreamer’s message 24 hours after Giles sent the buoy, and five days later a squadron consisting of the First Fleet’s flagship, the Celestia, and several other ships arrived at the tiny corvette’s position. The squadron towed the Dreamer and its alien prize back to the homeworld. Starry Night had his wounds tended to, as well as his other… desires. The rest of our intrepid crew took the voyage home as on opportunity for a well-earned rest.
The weeks that followed were a flurry of debriefings and reports. But, soon, you are all summoned to a formal audience, attended by the Lord High Admiral Moon Blossom, as well as Princess Celestia herself.
The lavish ceremony is a fete for the Royal Space Fleet’s victorious heroes. All of the Blue Dreamer’s boarding crew – Astro, Blastwave, Gabrielle, Starry Night, and even Ladybug – are awarded the Luna’s Crescent for Gallantry, among other awards.
Starry Night, especially, is singled out for his decision to face the Pachyderm captain alone. He is appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of Twilight, an order of chivalry of much esteem (as well as a hefty stipend). Giles, after undergoing the customary court martial for all but losing his ship, was promoted to Commander and made executive officer of the HMS Hurricane. Ladybug was promoted to Lieutenant and assigned to the diplomatic corps – her dream job. Doctor Miwa transferred to the Hurricane to be with Giles, while Chappy decided to retire from front-line service. He now runs a restaurant in Manehattan.
Your decision to duel the Paathi commander and take him and his doctor as captives has vast implications for the future of Pachyderm-Equestrian relations. While Equestrian scientists (and especially Blastwave) got to work attempting to replicate Pachyderm technologies, the far greater result of the encounter was the beginnings of a dialogue between the Paathi Empire and Equestria. Without the surrender of Blacktooth, it is likely that the Paathi clans would have seen Equestria purely as a lesser species to be conquered. All-out war was averted, thanks to all of your efforts.
What you do from here is up to you, but you know that the thanks of billions of ponies, dogs, griffons, zebras, and other creatures go with you, wherever you end up.