Monday, August 15, 2011

Episodes 39 & 40: Xoe's Last Hope

After two days in space, the Dragonfly and Tradesman had finally reached Rachhakka Kuunka, the lizardman's planet. As Takemiya reported that he was being taken into a descending path around the night side of the planet, Saladin ordered Xoe, Ragnar, Takemiya, Kobayashi and Holth to act as an away team and reconnoiter as they saw fit. He (along with the comatose Xeno and the Guidos) would keep a safe distance above the harbor where they could watch and give aid if needed.
Saladin would soon learn there are no safe distances...

Moments after docking near the Deathspider, an ancient lizardman priest emerged from a large triangular building and began to gesticulate towards the Tradesman. Lacking a both docking papers and a translator, Kobayashi cast a Charm Person on the poor old coot, and Holth convinced him (through a rather comic pantomime) to come aboard and be bludgeoned into unconsciousness. Ragnar and Xoe proceeded to loot the coot to the sum of some gems and a mysterious pawlike amulet.

Funny how, in retrospect, no one ever even suspected that the amulet might've had something to do with what followed...

At this point, 8 lizardmen were observed hauling a great cube of cargo out on a palanquin. It seemed to be made up of smaller wooden cubes and was headed for the cargo ramp of the Deathspider. Takemiya decided to go invisible and have a closer look, which (of course) meant delivering a leg sweep to the hindmost lizardman, causing him to stumble and fall. The palanquin reeled as the rest tried to maintain balance, but just before the load tumbled into the water, the crew steadied the load and trampled their poor, fallen comrade to death.

Seeing this from above, Saladin decided to wake up Xeno and update him on the situation. Xeno, steeped in nightmares, low on blood sugar, and drenched in a baconey sweat, hurtled himself to the deck of the ship and, peering down, made a well thought-out decision based on a wealth of factual evidence and a sound understanding of tactics.

He grabbed Saladin and Aramis by the hands and shouted "Dave! Take us down there!"

In his haste, Xeno hadn't noticed that the clouds were beginning to circle around the ship in a manner that more than slightly signified the approach of a Time Storm. Not that that would've helped matters much, but it did, along with his sister's acquisition of a gnarled monkey paw, start to explain the die rolls that followed.

{30} Xeno, Saladin and Aramis found themselves in the belly of the Deathspider. Boxes and boxes lay stacked around them, a warehouse of cubic proportions. On the other side of the room, through an open door, they could see the palanquin being hauled into the ship. Aramis began praying to Iryien. Xeno pulled out Dave and began sneaking towards the door. Saladin began teleporting unknown cargo of evil origin into the hold of his ship without giving the remaining crew any advanced notice...

Outside the ship, Takemiya waited until the palanquin was well inside the hold before quietly and invisibly making his way up the ramp, and {1} setting off a trap. With a BZZZTTT!!!! he found himself hurtled upwards and plastered to the ceiling, unable to move. Two lizardmen were alerted to the trap, but are confused as to why they didn't see a victim. They explored the ceiling with their spears and lo! blood started to drip from an invisible being! An intruder! As the lizardmen started to 'explore with extreme prejudice', Kobayashi raced up the ramp to save his dying mentor. He cast a Hold Person on the lizardmen, but {1} the spell rebounds and froze Holth instead.

Meanwhile, Xoe was looking for a quieter entrance into the Deathspider, and found one significantly higher up. She silently clambered up and over the scorched grillwork of the exterior of the ship to where Ragnar had earlier blown a hole in the hull. She cautiously peeked through the shattered wall of the spider and saw... Hundreds of crates. Thousands of boxes. Whatever it was that these lizardmen were dealing with, they were dealing wholesale. Knowing Chang Kai Eel and Fundus were involved only added to the overall sinister feel to whatever these boxes held. Xoe scanned the chamber and performed a little math in her head. What was it that Xeno had said about calculating spherical solids? And why did she remember something about pie? Well, the hold was certainly big enough and she'd always to try out that Wand of Fire...

At that exact moment, Xeno had successfully snuck up behind the lizardman who was hauling the last crate of the day into the hold. He was looking forward to tomorrow, his first day off in a fortnight; he and his wife were heading to the temple to gain the high priest's blessing for their new clutch of lizlets. Seven new mouths to feed had caused him to take on the extra hours, but at least for one day he'd be able to relax, put his feet up and-

Xeno looked down at the dead lizardman and noted with interest that their brains were a lovely shade of green. "Well then," he thought, "time to just hop up on top of these boxes and {1} aaaarrgghhhH!" An avalanche of boxes threatened to bury Xeno - only the fact that a few broke open allowed him any respite. A chill slunk its way up his spine, however, once he realized that he was in serious danger of being overwhelmed by a sliding mound of lizardman condoms...

Ben Firenze was a changed man. Not only had he survived a Time Storm, but he had been ravaged by Temporal Weevils and nearly slain by a Clockwork Golem. He had been left for dead twice, and was now looking for those damned gnomes to give him a ruddy good piece of his mind. It was easy to pick out Xeno's Lifeline - his was the only one he'd ever seen that had a polka dots - but following it had proved a little problematical. Traveling on the Temporal Prime was fairly easy over short distance, but moving between planets was fraught with peril. One wrong step and you pop out inside a star and then it's "Bye, bye bacon!" But Ben took his time. He'd plotted it out. He planned to emerge on Xeno's ship, which was safely docked and unguarded at the moment...

Ben stepped out into the humid night. He turned just in time to see the figure of Xoe silhouetted against the open bay of a giant spider ship. He had taken one step towards her when he noticed her pulling a wand from her pack. "Xoe, you're not stupid enough to cast a fireball onto an enclosed space like that are you?" he whispered under his breath. He sighed, and prepared a Slow Time spell, just in case.

Xoe leveled the wand at the crates of insidious cargo.

She rolled a one.


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