Remnants of a Slain God

I.S.I.S. Lost Logs II
Pre Murk

Earnest and I managed to collect ourselves after that… thing crashed into the mining vessel. His injuries were more severe than mine. A shattered kneecap, dislocated shoulder, and a cracked tibia; not that surprising considering his refusal to wear anything more protective than that tacky labcoat. I managed to get away with only a cracked rib and a broken wrist. We did what we could to treat ourselves as quickly as possible before starting to wade through the twisted wreckage of the ship. Not much was salvageable, but as we dug deeper we started to find the bodies of the digging team in a most disturbing manner. Each of them had had the flesh evaporated completely away from their skeletons, but even stranger were the markings that had been etched upon their bones.
Earnest had a difficult time deciphering it, but he did manage to make out a recurring character which he told me was the most ancient language he had ever seen. It said ‘suffer.’ Neither of us liked the look of it, and even I was a little hesitant to keep sifting through the rubble. I could tell just from the weight of the air that this was old magic. I had come into contact with it personally before, and it never really leaves you. After looking for what seemed like no time at all we found the object in question. It seemed to be radiating a kind of psychic aura, and it was as if it wanted to be found. It was a black box. The same kind you’d find in Deathshadow class ships. These things are meant to take a beating on the front line, but you’d never believe it if you hadn’t seen it because this one didn’t even have a scratch.
I told Earnest to stay back because neither of us could tell what might happen when we retrieved it. I reached down to check if it was safe to touch, and it wasn’t even hot. It should’ve been scorching, but it was… unnaturally cold. I picked it up while giving Earnest the okay to come take a closer look when the ground started to shake. It didn’t feel like an earthquake… no. It was the bodies of the crewmen. We looked up to see the bones vibrating their way towards a central point where they started to arrange into a hulking monstrosity made of bone and black smoke. In place of one of its arms was a long serrated blade formed from scraps of the ship mixed in with the bones. This was the most powerful necromancy I had ever seen.
Static
Damn thing is outdated. We’re docking soon anyway. I’m cutting this here.

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The Murk Expedition: Part 6
Duality

My communications with the ground team have finally returned after three days of information corruption and inability to contact them. They’ve filled me in on the major details and I’ve managed to recover a fair amount from their body cams corrupted data. However, this new data paints a better picture of the events going on on Murk, and it is unsettling, as I fear we’ve not seen the worst yet.
After losing all communication and guidance, they wandered through the forest which we’ve now identified as a region known as “The Lost Woods”. It is rumored that only a select few can give guidance to the exit and all attempts otherwise would end if failure. It is also said that even a disembodied soul cannot escape these woods without this guidance, resulting in commonly occurring and powerful supernatural activity from wandering spirits. Only the most experienced shamans can stabilize the powerful effects of these woods to allow passage. As luck would have it, they were under the watchful eye of such a shaman, known by her local village as “Gran”.
To test their abilities, she guided them through the woods to the temple of duality, a church dedicated to the harmony between chaos and order. Residing in the temple were two priests: Pure, a dravé priest of order, and Turbulence, a varanid priestess of chaos. The temple was divided in half, each side representing their particular aspects. All seemed well at first, as they were most gracious hosts, granting food, lodging and protection to my ground team. However, ancient rites set forth long ago would force their hand to action.
In a central chamber, on a microplanet, they were forced to take sides and fight for one priest and their aspect. With assistance from the ground team, the side of chaos prevailed despite the efforts of Pure and his radiant golem. To save the life of a irradiated and dying chaos guardian, a monster hunter troll, Kejarisel expended all of his mana and was bedridden for a time. He was cared for by Turbulence, who they had now gained as a powerful ally. She had decided she would take over the temple and attempt to disrupt the enchantments of the forest long enough for them to find their way to the only one she knew could leave: Gran. With the team recovered and a few corpses now hidden under a seemingly infinite amount of pillows, it was time to depart.. and it was not long before they spotted someone whom they did not expect would soon attempt to take their life.

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I.S.I.S. Lost Logs I
Pre Murk

Static
Is this thing on…? Whatever. I wouldn’t normally do this, but Earnest seems to think that if we should die during this haphazard adventure then these logs might divulge some kind of worthwhile information to any survivors. I’m not exactly sure how it would help. If we’re dead then it means things have gotten out of control for mere mortals…
I’m rambling. About one year ago Earnest and I were performing some… covert archaeology in the Lambda system for a high paying Vulk contractor. This job wasn’t particularly interesting, in fact Earnest nearly had me cause a cave in just so he wouldn’t have to suffer the rest of the dig team any longer. After three days of nothing but hauling in precious metals from the catacombs we received a weak distress signal on one of the comms. We were prepared to ignore it at first, but shortly after the initial signal died down every single piece of electronic equipment went berserk.
I nearly had to put a bullet in the foreman’s head to calm the lot of them down. After doing some decoding on the electromagnetic waves being given off by the equipment we managed to decipher the message. In all the time I’ve known him I have never seen Earnest so intrigued. All of the electronics, digging equipment included, were being bombarded with a signal encoded in every language. The message was the same each time.

O̽ͮͤ͆̈́͗̋̓҉̼H̸͚̙̥̟͊̓̈́̍ͬ̀͝ ̧͓͕͍̎̐ͣG̵ͨ͌͑͂́҉͙̻̰̣̣O̪̰̺̘̙̼͎̝ͣ͂͌̀̎̽̅̔͊D͚͖̰̅̈́ͩ͗̀.̯̖͕͙͖͗̍͐ͯ̃̓͐.̫̝̪͇͍͚̦̂̊ͦ͌̚.̌̐ͣͤ̃ͫ̎҉̸̣̬̺͔ ͍̗̻̘̼̭͖̾ͣͦͥ̂́̚͝T̯̲̤̮̖̟̝͉̓͑̇̅̑ͭͥͦHͭ҉̛͕̰̘̺͖̰Ȩ̾ͪ̍̂̈ͬ͛͡͏͉̩̳̣̘ͅ ̣̤̦́̐̏̓̑̅̃͑͝P̴͙̼͓͛̊ͣ͢͡A͋̃҉̹̣I̴̤̝̯̪̟͐ͦ̒ͨ̉͟N̈́̋͋̃̄̑̐̀͏̩͓̫̱̰̭.̸ͧ̓̿̄͊͆͗̌͏̥͍͚
̴̧̟̠̮͓̻̻̝̣̔ͣͣ̏ͪ̇ͤH̭̠̱ͫ̽͗͡E̱̣̰͖͈͚̺̳̩ͨͯ͊͋̓ͨL͍̩̪̫̞̈́̓̏̃́̀͢P̋̓̌̔̆̃̆ͤ̂҉̝͙̺̲͔ ̶̖̝̥͍ͥ͜͠M̧̡̲̬̤ͣͭͬ̂E̴̼̮͕̦̟̮͙̦͐̅.̶ͪ͛͂̾̌͆̇ͣ̅҉̷̙̪̯̹͚̲ ̛̥͉̜ͥ̓ͦ̃̇̊ͧḨ̛̜̘̝͎̻̬͚̲ͥ̔ͯ̒͑E̲̮͔̳͙̰͈͊̄ͭ̓͗ͤ̂ͫ̀L̘͖̲̮̦͊͂̀ͪ͞͡P̱̝͖̖̖̙͙̰͈̑ͤ̅͆̆͊ ̧͇̞̼̲̭̜̑́M̯͚ͮ̍͜Ë̖͓̭͚̭̥͂̍̊͗ͭͧ̄̈́ͅ.̐͆̏̚҉̵̥̬̫
̶̵̞̠̪̘̼̘ͤ̍͗ͣ̾̈ͯ͋̓͢S̵̼̮̗͓̪͓ͤ̆͡T̴͇̍ͫͬ̃O̵̭̬̝͍͎̺̯̦̯͆ͦͨ́P̙̲̘̼̹̯̻̮̳̽ͩ̿̚̚ ̬̤̟̠̞ͥ̄̄̆͂ͦ͑Ṭ̸̡̠̻͍͈̈́̑ͦ̑̔H̴̷̰͓͙̬̙̫̓̂͐ͩ͞E̖͇̰̜͍̍͐ͪ̾͜͢ ̨̗̤͚͖̬̌ͬ͆ͭ͆̎̾ͯP̴̴̻̞̳͕̦ͨ̊͐ͥÀ̢͙̱͎̞̙̥̜́͗̑͛͋͝Ĭ̶̭͖̮̭͚̳͓̋͑̏ͨͫ͐̾̚̕N̴̹̝͌̏ͫͥͨͪ.̸̜ͨͩ͢
͉̪͎͍̬͓̲̐͗̽̊ͩ̕͢͜S̶̢̲̟͛̈́̿̈́͘T̟̼͓̳̹̳͇ͩ̎̈́ͣͧͯ̌Ő̩̜͕̠ͪ̔ͭ̕Ṕ͖ͦͭ̊͆̋ ̡͓̳͈̾̎̇̎͑̅̇̆́T̸̨͉̼͐ͪͮH̷̘̤̞̔̈́͡È̪̦̙̯̣̠̘̬͋ͭ͐̓̚̕͟ ̉͆̉͊ͬ͗͂ͮ̍́͏̙̪͍̬B̩̫̖̟̱͕̗̈ͤͮ̐ͥ̀ͣͧ͛͞L̵̙͚̙̳̼͆́̓Oͥ̋͊ͭ̅̿̓̚͘҉̬͈̜̗̖͈̱̟O̵̰̦̖̖̲ͮ̈̃ͦͧ͗͋ͯ̚D̫̲̥͙ͬ͌.̷̮̳͚̭͖͔̜͗ͦͮ̇
̉ͩ̀̈̀͏̲̰̫̭̙͍͚S͑̉͐͌͏̡̩̹͜ͅT̍̿̔ͣ̚͏̻͓O̴̶̵̤̝͖̊̎̃P̗͓͕̪̆̋ͥ̽͌̾ ̷̖͙̠̺̙̤̺̤̪̌̌̑̚T̛͚͌ͬͬͨ̽ͥ̐͋͝H̡̝̖͆͂͑ͦ̐͠͠E̙̤̘̠ͮͣͫ̿͑͑͂̄͝ ̡̧̯͈̮̥͙̤͈ͭ̽̃ͫͮ͋͐͆͘M͚̺̦̹͙̒̀͛ͦ̃͆̿̎̚Ḁ̵̻͙̝̠ͬ͐ͥ̄ͪͬ͜Ȇ̵̷͇̘̣̹̠̠̌ͯ͂̉͜ͅͅL̛͔͕̼͎͖̄̇ͪͣ́͝S̸̖̝͇̍ͮT̸̰͕̯̳̣͍̒ͬ̌̈͋̔͑̑̐͢͜R͖̟̣̘̊ͭͥ̇̑͆̏̏͟O̻̦̙̤̹͒̽͛̄ͧͤ̓͟͠M̳͎̏ͦͦ͂͗ͩ̾̌.̘̗͕̬̟̗̭̱͌͜
̷ͣ͗̂͏͓͇̝̜̟̰̻̣Ḅ̼̦̌Ẽ̝̲̪̤͔͕̇́̄͌ͣͅͅF̭̟́̈́ͩ̐̈ͪ͋̿Ȏ͎̖̲͕̞͓̬͌ͫͪͧ͟R̷̨̛̼̭̳̻̭ͩͫͩͤ͒E̵̫̣͎͛̎ͭ̃̈́ͮ͋͌͠ ̪̫͓͓͆̀̃ͫ̂̿̄͗͝ͅI̗̫͇̺̹̱̱̪͒̂̀͠Ť̺̼̊ͧ̊’̻̳̪̲͙̬̬̉̓̈́͋͗ͫ̄̕Ş̢͍̹͆̾̿͗̉ ̥̮͔̟̝͉̤͙̮͂͛̑͗̄̇ͧ͂̑T͓͙͎̆̊́Ơ̛̼̰̳̦̱̽̑͊͂ͬ͜O̸̡͕͓̤͙͊̐ͮ̏̃̉͛̄͞ ̨̛̭̘̖͓̹̩͓̝̈́̽ͣͦͦ̀L͙͚̲̺̰̤̻̬̔̑̉̅ͨ̓̏ͦ͢Ả̶̙̺̖͚T̴͔̫̙̻̥͓̬̾ͣ̎E͎̳̯̫ͯ̈́̀ͯ̾͝͝.͎̩͍͍͉͎͊̿͗͗̂̄͝

The rest of the dig crew couldn’t take the noise, and left. Probably the wisest decision for them I thought… At the time. Right as they were trying to take off in the mining vessel it went dark. All equipment stopped stone cold. Then we heard a sound. It was distant at first, but it soon grew to a roar so loud I couldn’t hear my own thoughts. The source? A small object falling through the sky at impossible speeds towards the dig site. Before Earnest or I could react it crashed into the ship. Nearly obliterating it on impact. We were far enough away from the ship to escape the blast with only a few broken bones and lacerations… but the rest of the crew weren’t so lucky. Steel your mind. The next log I record may shatter your sanity… assuming you’re still sane that is.

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The Murk Expedition: Part 5
Toothbreaker's Camp

Just as it seemed that subject known as Necromorpha was about to engage with my ground team, a mysterious elf appeared riding atop a hanhon. His mere presence seemed to have spooked it, resulting in a hasty retreat for the moment. He introduced himself as Aiur of Capria, a former ally of I.S.I.S. it seems.. Interesting.
Aiur and my ground team did a substantial amount of trading, including for vital information. He seemed to think one of the “great evils” was on the move nearby, a demonpact Orc named Toothbreaker. This was the big boss orc keeping all the various tribes coordinated, so the sooner we took care of him, the sooner the roaming orc and grukk packs would turn on each other and take care of themselves.
Aiur also reclaimed elven ally and gave us the assistance of a human working alongside him, Kejarisel.
The ground team followed his directions and ambushed the Toothbreaker’s forces in the stormy night. Note to self: A psionicly silenced heavy mech makes a devastating enemy and Grukks are capable of making a dire mess when crushed by said mech. The Grukk scout, a Revenant blademaster, and Changeling shifter and another orc warrior made up his force, but he was by far the most intimidating. His flesh was covered in a fierce fire, but he remained unburned. It took several critical blows to fell him. I suppose the intelligence we bartered for was worth it, as we only caught him in the early stages of his demonic gifts.
Kejarisel was the only one to sustain a heavy injury during this battle, losing his feet from the ankle down from a sword strike.
However, as they approached to return I had lost all signal from my team. What is going on?…Are they still alive?

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The Murk Expedition: Part 4
Scavenging and Shootouts

My contractors decide it best to split into two groups: One to continue their venture and another to take their injured companion, Bellisa Redcoat, to seek medical attention. Lloyd and Vinyasa volunteer for the latter team. Why they did not simply ask me for my expertise in treating her wounds, I do not know. Perhaps, they fear I would performed unconsenting experimentation on her. Understandable, considering I’ve never yet encountered a woman who can morph into a bear. Given the chance, I might bearly be able to contain myself.
Vinyasa seemed to have a hired gunman to bodyguard him who had been stalking my contractors, very clever. After the events with the hermit, Vinyasa seems to have put him on loan to our party. Javier Zel, a Zelford sniper, seems somewhat quiet, but very focused and lethal. However, there seems to be more to him than what he shows.. hm.. perhaps I’ll have ISIS stalk him later for further intelligence gathering.
While the contractors took refuge with the strange hermit, I conducted my first round of experiments on our newfound creature. Due to the location of its discovery and its gelatinous physiology, I’ve codenamed it Necromorpha.I find it fascinating that such an unassuming creature at its core can cause such damage. Luckily, I managed to save most of the samples I had obtained from it before it spontaneously revived itself with an apparent second wave of vitality. Or perhaps the creature is more intelligent than previously though, and was biding its time.
Necromorpha had apparently produced enough of its gelatinous form to escape from its containment. It soon began to absorb ship components, furniture and anything else it came into contact with into itself. While simultaneously sabotaging my ship and gathering strength, it came after me. It shot out a pilfered desk from itself with surprising speed. I managed to avoid most of it, but the edge had managed to catch my jawline.
Luckily, ISIS managed to singlehandedly delay the creature and save my life while I pulled myself together to pilot the ship and retrieve the ground team. I remembered how ineffective standard weapons were against it, so I loaned a few of my personal weapon rigs, some old flamethrowers some of my other contractors had to sterilize and remove leftover bits from the old bio labs. Ah, the smell of burning mysterious alien jelly sure brought back memories of the good old days.
My contractors, with some light effort were able to push it to an airlock door, which my engineer graciously opened for it. It had taken some important components, but I was relieved to see it plummet from near orbit. That’s when it opened up and made a sort of parachute and began to land safely. Of course, I should have known better. It never is that easy. Like with most things in my life, I should have had it killed with fire when I had the chance.
I needed the replacement parts so I once again sent the ground team out to retrieve them. Unfortunately, the area was infested with great swarm troops moving through. I figured it best not to tell them. They might rush the job and come back with the wrong parts. They did encounter a small team, but they managed well. Only two newcomers, a construct and a elven girl died during the engagement. Oh, and my engineers robot was destroyed, but he doesn’t seemed too concerned.. Perhaps, this isn’t the first thing he has sent to its death.. Note to self: Possible agency command candidate if he survives.
It seems Necromorpha has gathered some great swarm weaponry and is rounding the corner.. I’ll continue this log after this engagement. I really like to see how this goes. ISIS! That emergency popcorn stash! I need it!

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The Murk Expedition: Part 3
Necromorpha and the Hermits Trials

The ground team encountered a specimen I just had to have in the hellfire mine catacombs! It was composed of a strange transparent gelatinous ooze and had obviously enveloped a large amount of bones, decayed bodies and whatever else it encountered among the tunnels. It clumsily crawled at a surprising speed and didn’t leave much room to maneuver around it. Our guide, Vinyasa, refrained from using his fire clan abilities, due to the extreme flammability of the mine. Wise move. With a barrage of most ineffective weapon barrages, they eventually managed to reveal a core controller. It was what appeared to be a xytan fetus. This was simultaneously disturbing and fascinating. They managed to subdue the creature, which dissipated the ooze and they were able to eventually travel out of the mines.
After making camp for the night, they traveled on foot for another day before reaching their destination by twilight. It was the supposed dwelling of the hermit, to whom both Vinyasa and Mayor Brazenbeard had referred us to. However, in view was simply a scenic cliff and waterfall scene that poured into a crystal clear pond and running river. I thought it would be a perfect spot to have a picnic, but I soon changed my mind. When approached, the lake became engulfed in a spontaneous flame.
Luckily, we had our fire clan member who was kind enough to part the flames. About that time a bear came rushing out of the woods. The ground team noticed something was a bit strange and held their fire when it suddenly shouted to them," Don’t shoot!“. I’m fortunate to have a team smart enough not to shoot a talking bear. Then, if a talking bear wasn’t enough, it shapeshifts into an elven girl. She happens to be the sister of ”/characters/valen" class=“wiki-content-link”>Valen, one of my groundteam members. They converse and Valen takes off, with her taking his place. Well if he doesn’t come back, then I don’t have to pay him. I never promised to pay this girl, so I guess I’m okay with it as long as she doesn’t get shot up on her first mission or something.
They travel beyond the waterfall into a carved out tunnel (Fantastic. More tunnels.). They are soon stopped by what they are unaware is a hologram of a djinn. The djinn interrogates them as to why he should let them pass. After some careful persuasion, he lets them pass. They then encounter a grukk hologram who stands in their path. To his side are some very real statues holding rifles. Things seemed to be going well until the greenhorn decides to just bypass this test and was proceeded to be shot up on her first mission. While stabilizing her critical injuries, the Melian contractor, Umbra, managed to bribe the grukk with some leftover catfood. They proceeded to another test, an orc blocking the path. While itching for a fight with my ground team, it was avoided by them explaining their story, telling about the mysterious golden glowing figure that nearly killed us.
They finally reached a chamber, deep within the complex, that glowed with electrical energy and strange technology. A taoto sat silently in the center of the room, hooked into a tangled mass of wires. The taoto seemed to have a good idea that they were coming and our reasons for being here. (even that reason.) He’s an apparent “datastream reader”, a cult dedicated to machine god that focuses on foresight. I’m not entirely convinced of its “prophecy”, but it wouldn’t hurt to check into, considering he seems to know more than he’s letting on.
According to his prophecy, there is an evil xytan sorceror, called “The Maelstrom”, who has come to this world and will bring about six great evils which we must stop at all costs. Only after his threats are vanquished will these “Guardians of Light” allow us to leave this world alive. Something about them being the spearhead of divine intervention and raining down apocolyptic fury down on this world soon… etc. etc. Kind of zoned off when he started with the epic religious babble.

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The Murk Expedition: Part 2
Siege of Firestone Falls

Despite having a gunship destroyed, the science vessel passed through the digestive tract of a colossal space serpent and having most of my expedition team dead before we even step foot on this planet, I’m feeling pretty confident about this mission. I don’t mind that hundreds of thousands of credits were wasted and that I’ll have to send letters to grieving family of the crew. That’s just fine. Really.
Despite the setbacks, we manage to practically crash land our ship into the nearest populated town with a starship port, Firestone Falls. The town is built around the once lucrative hellfire mine, but has long since been abandoned since the underground fires started. The precious firestone material mined from its depths was a choice material to be refined into starship fuel. However, this flammable rock now just feeds that flames that have been burning for decades deep in the mines.
We were greeted by a suspiciously gracious dwarf mayor, Grimwald Brazenbeard. From his agency bios, hes some warlord who took advantage of the evacuation and pressed most of the town to continue working the mines. He lost an arm in a town uprising that was instigated by a rival. He managed to survive and quell the uprising, then had a new mechanical arm made. Supposedly he had quite a reputation for being quite draconian, but from what I experienced, all he wanted to do was drink and argue. He was kind to us, but he was far too crude for my taste. Plus, there was the overpowering smell of strong whiskey and salted meat that exuded from his breath and beard. Very powerful.
The ground team decided they needed some armor and weaponry, so they bartered and traded with Brazenbeard in return for their light gunship, which was mostly wrecked and out of missiles. They got what they wanted, including some free genemods from the local geneticist in town. Hope it was worth it. During their shopping spree in the town they met with a fire clan zelford, Vinyasa, who warned them that staying with Brazenbeard would get them killed because an orcish raiding party was on their way. However, because this zelford seemed a shady sort, they largely ignored him and instead enjoyed his complementary drugs as token of goodwill. Architect forbid you need to be sober in case something serious went down.
Then something serious went down. The ground team, showing their loyalty and thriftiness, decided it best to hightail it out of town by stealing their freshly bartered away gunship. Whoever recommended these guys should be sacked. Was probably one of the dead crewman, so I suppose they get a free pass this time. Anyways, surprise! The mayor was actually inside the gunship. He warned them that flying off right now would be a terrible idea and that instead we should stay and help him fight.
Valen, our elf mercenary, convinced the rest to stick around and try to fight. No sooner than this decision was made, Orcish catapults and siege equipment begin to be used by some surprising stealthy orcs. This invading party of Orcs and grukks managed to invade the town, despite Brazenbeard and the town guards best efforts. I managed to take off in the ship long before the idea of stealing the ship was put into motion. I can always get another ground team if necessary.
While they put up a formidable resistance for a while, eventually the city was overrun and the mayor sent out the emergency order. The entire town was set ablaze to kill as many of the invaders as possible. Before evacuating, Krysek, our vulk punisher, managed to score a devastating blow to the one who seemed to lead the invaders. Alarmingly, the leader stood back up and simply watched as they fled the burning town. They managed to escape the fires, taking Vinyasa, the fire zelford as a guide, and headed into the mines.
They traversed for several hours, deep into the mines dark and twisting turns, enduring the searing heat and choking smoke. I was watching from an armchair, sipping a coffee that I.S.I.S. had made me while the others were plotting their thievery. They deserved what they were getting. I deserved what I was getting.
Eventually, they were nearly discovered by an orc party that had gotten lost down in the mines. They had planned to attack alongside the other raiding group, but orcs aren’t the brightest creatures. The ground team managed to evade most of them, but then that’s when they saw it…….

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The Murk Expedition: Part 1
Starships, Serpents and Slag

Hello. My name is Doctor Ernest Hoffman. I’m the leader of this expedition.

Our primary public mission was to gather live specimens from a mostly abandoned world for research. The types of specimens, reasons for their capture, and secondary missions are classified. Identities and information of key crewmen are classified and off the record. My expedition team consisted of a personally selected group of scientists and crewman along with military contractors who would provide security for our operations. We were in orbit above the planet murk when tragedy struck.
We encountered a derelict vessel that had been damaged in a most peculiar manner. Instead of signs of explosives or laser weapons, this ship appeared to have been sheared repeatedly and torn to shreds. To satisfy the curiosity of the crew, we dispatched some of our contractors to perform an out of ship venture to investigate the ship and retrieve the blackbox. Upon their return, they reported seeing a strange humanoid figure that glowed gold and seemed to toy with them. We decided to have them stay put, thinking perhaps their suits were contaminated and were hallucinating.
Then a golden glow painted a runic figure into the void and from its center poured a colossal serpent. One of our two gunships, the Dragonview, engaged this target and was promptly and violently sheared in half. The two pieces crashed to the planet, and I assumed all crewmen aboard are dead. The Cypress, meanwhile, went to pick up our contractors and was also destroyed with a deadly blast of energy breath. As I was soon to be targeted anyhow, I ordered our science vessel, the Furtherance, to retrieve the stranded. Our larger ship was outfitted with better shields but was quickly being destroyed.
My crew began to become affected by a strange affliction, causing their eyes to glow golden and to become murderous to anyone not affected. The only ones not affected were myself, my personal bodyguard I.S.I.S. and the contractors who had been out of ship. When they had arrived, I ordered them to clear the ship of all afflicted and quarantine themselves. However, as the serpent began to devour the ship, the time needed for caution was absent. We needed out and fast.
The contractors managed to clear the decks of the afflicted and free myself and ISIS from our panic room. By that time, the entire ship had been swallowed hole. Along with my engineer, Bartholomew Draccus, we managed with some quick thinking, to route the ships power to the propulsion. We drove the ship straight through the digestive tract and powered through before the acid could melt the hull.
This creature that summoned the serpent now revealed itself and seem to offer safe passage onto the planet. We quickly accepted and flew what was left of our mangled ship to the planets surface.

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Heroes of a Fallen Sky: Basic

A Terran Alliance dropship delivered the new recruits to their ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Trooper) basic training under the sizzling outback sun. Among the fresh meat was Harper Valen, the top clearance sniper transfer, Felicia Zana,the Melian ex-crusader melee expert, and Dallas Chester, the heavy weapons and explosives expert. They got a taste of the rough training that was ahead from their drill instructor Ullrich Magnus. After hours of training, they finally got a break where they met their next squad mate. The former penal legion soldier was locked in a metal box being carted around by military personnel. Out of curiosity, Harper and Felicia asked around, and eventually Harper asked them outright. To stir up the recruits, they threw him in the box with the naked and handcuffed Xu Chen. After a short fight in close quarters and a vigorous box shaking, Harper was released to resume training and Xu was taken to be processed.
They eventually came back together for full contact hand to hand training. Harper ended up effortlessly beating the malnourished Xu, with the close call of a knife being thrown into the mix that would have given Xu the edge (Pun intended). Felicia ended up killing a Swidek recruit by instinctively using powerful claw slashes. She did not end up getting in trouble, but had to remember to hold back a little more in training. Dallas was taken to the medical facilities after smarting off to Magnus and getting his nose broken. There was an arguement made between Xu and Magnus about the Swidek body and it was agreed that Xu could get it cooked up and eaten. The rest of the recruits ate delicious food at the mess while the unaware Xu had traded his meal time for a Swidek shank. Harper, being the nice guy, smuggled him a baked potato that was promptly found and smashed by the senior officers, but a piece of garlic bread was also revealed later by Harper, which Xu ate with gusto.
While the others training vigorously, Xu had made a deal with a Dwarf senior officer to help with maintenance for cigarettes, considering he already had vigorous military training. Over the weeks they worked together and became an offical squad under Dallas Chester’s leadership and had made the cut, avoiding the numerous deaths and dropouts in ODST training. They arguably agreed on the name: Star Badgers. (See emblem at the top)
They finished up their training with a simulated combat scenario using Braggadocio sim-gear. The Star Badgers took a machine gun mounted jeep down a winding dirt road to a concrete fort they needed to secure. Xu drove, Harper sat in a passenger seat with his rifle at the ready, Dallas took the gunner position and Felicia relaxed and enjoyed the ride. They were ambused by a mortar team, but Dallas and Harper were able to detonate the shells with well placed machine gun and sniper shots in the air. They easily wiped out the men on the mortars and continued to take out the rest of their squad.
The fort was close as a limpet grenade was launched from a window at the vehicle. With more gunfire, they were able to stop the explosive in the air. Harper then blew away the soldier who launched the grenade. When they reached the door, traps were placed and Xu stealthily snuck inside and slit the throat of the last remaining defender.
They valiantly held the fort from all the other squads and earned top honors. They heard from the Dwarven senior officer that there was a possible involvement in Helixia.

6 Years later: In orbit of Alligita Prime, the Star Badgers are being shaken up and motivated as their squad a few other choice task groups are being dropped onto the world as one of the first assault groups.

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In Good Hands

Mordrick and his crew began their descent out of the Hangman Mountains cave. After being guided by the Nosferatu, they reached the exit. Though Jack Carter had to be restrained by the Kilden Pitch Black from attempting to kill the Nosferatu, they all made it out alive. A small dropship arrived piloted by Benjamin Foster to pick them up and take them back to the interceptor Starship that run off the Baraka. Foster informed them of how glad he was that they were alive. He brought Richard Ray Gastley and Sarah Shorttail to the medbay, where doctors were standing by. For nearly completing the job, Sarah was rewarded with a bionic leg, just as good as her actual leg, that the doctors installed. Richard, however, had slipped into a coma and but was brought to stable condition.
They waited for Hank Wolfe to arrive and receive his Godshard for two days before he showed up. Then in walked the most beautiful man they had ever seen, with the Wolfe Pack mercenaries literally rolling out a red carpet and scattering rose petals in his path. He socialized with the crew a while before finally popping open the drone container. There it was, in the form of Braugh-Ghul‘s still beating heart. After some initial confusion, Taranath explained that in its current form, it would have to be eaten to receive its power. He gets his mercenaries to pull out the fancy china, silverware and a lot of steaksauce. After he eats the heart, without spilling a bit of steaksauce on his rhinestone studded westernwear, he explains that he is really Conrad Reingard. He urges the supposed Jakarus Crackedclaw to reveal that since last they saw him, he had been replaced with Cyx. Before they could retaliate, the Wolfe pack mercs and the Changelings ordered them to drop their weapons. After hesitation, they gave in and were ordered onto the dropship, along with Foster.
While Conrad forced them to try to bargain their way out of their execution, many feelings about Mordricks captaining skills were shared and used as a distraction to get the mercs to lower their guard. Chauncey and Mordrick were the first to make a break and fight the mercs and get their weapons back by the time they landed. Eventually most of the mercs were killed and Conrad just laughed as he knew this was the easier way to do things, since he never really trusted Mordrick anyways. Cyx transformed into a 10’ stronger variant and Conrad changed into a 45’ monstrocity (see top of the post).
After a long fight that was ended by taking out Conrads legs and everyone assaulting his skull and eye socket that exposed by Kilden ripping out an eye. They won but Taranath was injured significantly and Foster will be never be the same after being doused with Cyx’s special acid formula all over his head and face, though they barely kept him alive until he received proper medical attention. The talks of insubordination of Mordricks captaining came up again and tempers were flaring. The real Hank Wolfe showed up along with Ziezl Baron, awarding every member with 100,000 Credits for their service. Baron recognized Richard as someone who owed him a substantial amount of debt and took custody of him (Dragged his comatose ass onto his ship) and ended up making a bargain to work with Jack Carter, who he was impressed with. Carter left with Baron and Sarah took Kilden and Taranath with her to go help out Chauncey. Chauncey decided to take a break from almost getting killed every day under Mordricks service and open up his own candy store. He was the only one who left on good terms with Mordrick. Zip ended up staying with Mordrick as he still owed him a left debt, and surrendered his cut of the money. Mordrick had used that money to purchase Taranath to bring back Starlight one more time, in good time.
Mordrick left the others on his newly restored ship they handed to him, the new Traitors Mark. There is no doubt he would continue his adventures after he took some time off. After all, he did have that offer from Foster to become a member of The Agency and he had a large portion of cash and a ship.

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