Science Fiction The Oracle
#31
Episode 18: Divinity

Ardelle ducked her head as she followed the others into a bright cavernous area deep within the wrecked remains of the mammoth ship. 

"Whoah..." Elliot breathed and stopped causing Ardelle to bump into him. She stopped hand on a worn and rust-caked metal door frame and blinked. 

"Yeah..." She agreed.

She shielded her eyes, and looked up at what once must've been a huge buckled rip in the roof of the ship. now, Much of the bulkhead above had been removed somehow and trimmed down into a huge circular, rough-hewn hole that allowed sunlight and water to cascade down. Bright sunlight shimmered reflecting from a crystalline waterfalls that plunged from the roof of the ship and fed a myriad of meticulously-cared-for plants and pools and rock gardens arrayed before them. 

They had walked perhaps a half hour through the shattered bowels of the massive ruined ship. In most of the corridors and rooms, metal plating drooped and rusted like scales from a dying fish. Large hills of earth had plunged up where the impact of the ship had once upon a time smashed into the ground.

This place was certainly different from the usual shattered interiors of the ship they'd passed so far as they moved further deeper into the shattered wreck. In the center of this outdoor garden of Eden, a painstakingly manicured and carefully-set pool glimmered with reflected water. It was in a perfect circle. In the center of the pool a large obelisk of stone with ancient rune-like carvings jutted halfway up to the roof. The upper most part of the plinth caught the afternoon sun and the symbols that caught the light seemed to glow with an otherworldly light. 

"What is this place?" Private Chubbs asked.

"I could spend my next month leave here, and not want to leave," Private Claxton said, his mouth open in a wide gape as he took in a large breath of oxygen-rich air that smelled of green and water and sunlight.

"Whatever it is it, it must be important to them," Ardelle said. "Look at that obelisk. Look familiar?"

"The...symbols. They look similar to the underwater ruins, don't they?" Elliot said.

Ardelle nodded. "I was thinking the same thing. I wonder what they say..." 

The path their feet now trod upon was set with smooth, bright, clean, metallic plates. There was no dirt or mold or rust or other detritus. The plates must've been made from some non-rusted interior deck plating, Ardelle reasoned. Perhaps they were to lacquered against the weather to maintain that sheen. The path spiraled inward leading to the obelisk. Then the path continued around the obelisk and spiraled out to an exit on the far side of this large garden.

Their hosts motioned them forward and they followed the path in hushed whispers.

Along the path were arrayed larger-than-life stone statues. Their carvings were blocky, rudimentary even. But their implacable angular faces stared down as if trying to communicate some dark portent. Right hands were outstretched palms forward and slightly slanted down. In warning? In a blessing? It was hard tell with those implacable faces. In each right palm was embedded a large white circular stone. In left hands were held aloft some sconces and they could see large torches in place for night-time use.

They followed the pathway, and began to walk by the obelisk. A carved set of stairs broke off and up to a narrow bridge that ran above the pool. The path above the pool opened up into a circular, marble-like dais that went around the entire base of the plinth. Above one side of the dais, hung two large curved swords. They crossed each other in perfect symmetry. What was more, they appeared to be held aloft by magic... or, Ardelle reasoned, perhaps it was just a creative use of anti-gravity pods that still had some life in them? As they passed by, the pommels of the swords began to glow slightly and then dimmed as they moved beyond the obelisk.

They were led out of the large exterior garden and back into more ruined interior corridors for perhaps another fifteen minutes, then into another circular room with cushioned seats. They were invited to sit. Torches were on the rust-covered walls and burned sending smoky tendrils up into the darkness. Vines and creepers crept down from some upper levels of beams of missing plating lost in darkness. 

Sevshyyn went to the wall and blew on a huge curved horn that was attached to a podium in the center. A thrumming rumble of sound vibrated under their feet from the long blast. Echoes of the blast called back to them.

As they waited, other members of the Chameleon race appeared. These were all older men, most with gray in their hair. Some were thinner than others, and carried a more scholarly mien. They were surrounded by an impressive-looking group of large men, some with wicked-looking melee weapons, and wore some sort of heavy scale armor.

"Corporal... we could use some of them in the marines, don't ya think?" Claxton asked. "Looks like some of them might even be bigger than Chubbs. Who are these guys."

"Look like some kinda honor guard," Chubbs murmured sizing them up. "They don't look so tough."

"Yeah right, those weapons they have look like they could cleave through even your thick head."

Chubbs grunted but kept a firm grip on his weapon.

They newcomers chittered amongst themselves in their odd languages of pops and clicks and whispered scrapes. They were led by an older man, his back bowed considerably with age and he moved with the aid of a polished wooden cane that tapped on the plating underfoot. Long strands of braided silver hair hung about him. A circular amulet with twin curved blades hung about his neck. Dark intelligent eyes passed over their group then doubled-back in surprise as they passed over Lt. Morgan and Ardelle. Then slowly back to Private Chubbs.

He slowly approached and lowered his head in deference, and stopped in front of Private Chubbs. Then the old man, with some difficulty, lowered himself to his knees, took off his amulet and held it up above his head, presenting it to the large armored man.

In a ripple of movement and murmured whispering, the entire assembly was soon bowing before them.

"Uh... what's happening," Chubbs asked his eyes widening.

"Don't let it go to your head, Private," Corporal Whately said with a rueful grin and a shake of his head, "But it looks like you just got promoted."

"I did? By who? And to what rank? And am I supposed to take this thing?" he waved a hand at the amulet that glinted in the torch light.

"By them," Lt Morgan smiled. "And yes, I think he's offering it to you."

"Hah! Don't tell me he just made you a Chief, Chubbs. Chief Chubbs.... You like that? Am I supposed to call you that now? How about Chubby Chief... Or Chief Chubbster?"

Private Chubbs ignored him and stared down at the man who was prostrate before him, forehead to the ground.

"Can you make him stop doing this bowing thing, Corporal?" Chubbs asked.

"I am powerless before your might, oh Great One," Coropral Whately said with mock sincerity.

"Not you too..." Chubbs groaned.

"Hey take that necklace thing already," Claxton encouraged a smile creeping up his face. "All hail Chief Chubbs!" Claxton barked a laugh rich with mirth.

"Shut up, Claxton! Before I bust your chops!" Chubbs shot daggers at Private Claxton and his face grew red from all the attention. But he eventually gingerly took the amulet from the old man's wrinkled hands and gave a nervous smile of gratitude. The elderly man quickly lowered his eyes to the floor again but remained prostrate.

"You need to raise your vision of potential of your fellow soldier, Private Claxton," Lt. Morgan smiled. "If I'm not mistaken, he ranks higher than even a Chief now."

"Higher than Chief?" Claxton asked. "What is he then, some kind of Seargent." 

"Private Chubbs, may I present my congratulations...and be the first to welcome you to the pantheon of the gods."

"Whaaa---?" Chubbs faltered and his face blanched.

Claxton nodded with a sigh. "Like I figured, a Seargent after all. They're the only gods we've ever known, right Chubbs?"

Eventually, after some difficulty, Chubbs with the help of the others managed to get the elderly man and the others of his retinue in the room to rise to their feet. Introductions were made. The elderly man announced himself as something that sounded like Khuxtoxlrinzgsk, but with considerably more scraping and popping sounds. 

Ardelle abbreviated his name to Khux.

Time passed. 

The sun dropped below the horizon and darkness fell on the company. Rooms were provided for their use and rest. 

Later, they regathered in the large room and food was brought in on heaping platters made from deck plating with polished wooden handles. Chunks of steaming red meat basted in a spicy yellow sauce and green tubers and bright purple tangy fruit made up the main course. Other lesser meats and roasted vegetables on skewers also followed. These were served by smaller figures of the Chameleon race, young women, Ardelle thought. These were in white robes and they cautiously approached Private Chubbs on their knees, holding the platters of food aloft with trembling arms. The other men among the humans were also reverenced as possible divines. Chubbs, flanked by his two fellow warriors ate like kings. Or like gods, Ardelle amended.

This day had grown stranger and stranger, she decided.

Other women passed among the caste of leaders, serving them. The honor guard kept the growing crowd of people at bay. 

"You've noticed it right? They're strict patriarchal society?" Lt. Morgan murmured as she watched the various social interactions between the genders.

"What does that make us?" Ardelle sniffed. "We mere women who travel the stars in the presence of our 'manly' gods?"

"Hmmm. I'd guess they consider us as consorts to our divine Private Chubbs," Lt. Morgan said.

"Consorts. I'll pass," Ardelle frowned.

"What? Had enough of men?" Lt. Morgan allowed another rare smile to grace her lined face and she took a sip of a woody flavored drink. It had a heady taste.

She ignored the small jab and speared a peace of steaming red meat, and after a tentative sniff that made her nostrils twitch from the spices, plopped it into her mouth. Hot juices and flavor exploded along with a spicy warmth. The food was exotic and different and yet somewhat reminiscent of a creamy yellow curry she loved to eat on earth. 

Strange... here she was so far a way on an alien planet, eating alien food, yet one bite awakened memories of her fiance Justin Stevens and dates she'd gone on with him to an expensive Thai restaurant. She wondered what he was up to. What would he think of this place? As time passed families began to gather on the outskirts of the room and in the corridors, as word of their arrival spread and soon, judging from the torches, Ardelle guessed there were probably hundreds of people present, maybe even thousands, and many of them probably waiting for a their first look at...gods from the stars.

"Ma'am, excuse me, but you might want to take a look at this." Elliot had sidled up to them. He scratched his nose and after a moment, then presented the amulet Chubbs had taken from the man to Lt. Morgan. It gleamed in the nearby torchlight, the twin carved swords with crossed points.

"What's this? The amulet Private Chubbs was gifted?" Lt. Morgan asked.

"Yes Ma'am. I noticed something interesting. These, um... these look like terminal points. There and there. See? I think... well, I think more than just a necklace. I took some readings with some of my tools and found something."

"Readings?"

"I think these points," he touched some fine metal ends on one side of the inner device, "are input output terminal points."

"You mean for a computer?"

"Yes, ma'am like a data coin," He said.

Lt. Morgan leaned forward, her eyes boring into Elliot's "So you're saying the amulet contains data coins..."

"Well, some sort of data storage, yes. At least, I think so. I'm not a hundred percent sure, but I'm fairly certain."

"What in the stars is this primitive race doing with that!" Lt. Morgan asked holding it to the light.

"Ma'am it looks like the inside of it--not the outer decorative layer of the amulet, but a protected interior--it looks like it's made from the same material as this colony ship."

She turned the amulet over in her hands, rubbing her hands across the carved swords. "Can we interface with it? Find out more?"

"We can try."

"Good. Do it. Ens. Leath, you and Crewman Elliot go back to the shuttle. Run some tests on that amulet, and let me know what you find out. I'll keep my comms on and monitor things here.

Elliot nodded and slipped the amulet it into his pocket as Ardelle stood to join him.

"Also, make communications with the Oracle and know we aren't going to make rendezvous tonight. I'm sure Captain Alestranda will make an exception given the importance of what we've discovered."

"Yes ma'am." Ardelle saluted. With Elliot in tow, him bearing the strange amulet in his pocket, they passed through the honor guard and exited the hall.

--- GM Questions ---

Where does the Chameleon race take them?
Neatly / Extravagent

In the ship?
(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yes, but...

But it's combined with nature... cool.

Must be a pretty important place they're taking them to. Is it some kind of shrine?
(Likely | 9[d10]) Yes

What's in this shrine?
Carefully / Tranquil

It's peaceful... what else is there? I'll ask the MAG.

Pages of info, twin swords in an arc, arrow touching water, firey claw, fiery man, blade or obelisk with runes, flower, vine, trap.... cool. That gives me some ideas.


Hmmm. 


Are the humans reverenced as gods?

(Somewhat Likely | 7[d10]) Yes


Are the Chameleons a patriarch society?


(50/50 | 8[d10]) Yes
Reply
#32
Nice job! I'm really enjoying this, definitely feeling the sense of wonder. Smile Hoping you write more soon.
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#33
Thanks Lana! I do hope to get back to it soon. I've just been...busy lately with real life. That pesky real life always gets in the way. Wink
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#34
Episode 19: Xenodoc

Aredelle and Elliot stepped out from the hull of the colony ship and approached the shuttle outside the colony ship. The shuttle fit in with the jungle, it's sleek menacing lines and dark armored hull made it look like some massive predatory bird. Running lights running on lower power mode, illuminated the greenery nearby in a soft amber glow.

The jungle at night hooted and chirped with ceaseless nocturnal noises.

"I don't know how anyone could get used to all this?" Elliot said and he waved his hand at the dark trees around them and the ceaseless chatter. "How does anyone sleep."

Ardelle grinned, "I recommend earplugs."

"Earplugs..." He groaned. "I knew there was something I left back on the ship."

"So, I take it you weren't exaggerating when you said you've never really been earth-side?"

"Nope," Elliot grunted, and scratched at the red stubble of a slightly unshaven face as he walked beside her.

"Well, for growing up on the lunar bases, you're handling standard gravity well."

"Sargent Cisco didn't hold back. Our PT regimen in Basic Training was a real killer. But I see why they were necessary. Cisco had us in the grav sims every day so we'd be just as fit as the earth-trained sailors. It also helped that the navy's ships' gravitational systems all mimic the standard pull. I got used to it quickly enough. Though those first few days I wanted to puke my guts out."

Ardelle smiled, remembering her own first few days at Basic. She had never ran so much in her entire life. Her side started getting a stitch just thinking about it.

Elliot swatted a cloud of buzzing mosquito-like insects. "Stars above, what do they see in me?!" He jogged few steps passed the cloud and slapped at his clothing.

"An exotic feast," Ardelle said as they entered the clearing where the shuttle was and approached it. "They've never had alien before."

"Well, I certainly don't intend to stay. I hope they're not too dissapoin--"

Something flew past Ardelle's head and slammed into the hull of the shuttle with a dull thunking sound. At the same time, Elliot cried out as another projectile struck his back. He shouted in pain and gave a muffled curse. They dove behind one of the shuttles' struts and clambered up to a crouch.

"We under attack?" Elliot gasped.

"Don't know. You okay?" Ardelle scanned the tree-line with her pistol lined up and ready to fire.

"Just bruised," he said rubbing at his back. "A rock, I think."

Ardelle studied the tree-line and saw dozens of shadowy shapes resolve into view. They stood just within the trees. She could tell that they were chameleons, but strangely enough, all were stooped, some worse than others, their back bowed over causing them to move in a shambling lurching fashion. Some carried weapons with primitive blades. Others had tree branches as clubs. Still others carried rocks. They waved their weapons threateningly and some threw their rocks. Luckily, the thrown objects were hurled rather clumsily, as if those throwing them couldn't use their limbs well. Most bounced off the armored hull. Some fell close.

"What are they doing?" Elliot asked.

"I think they mean to do us harm," She said.

"Why?" Elliot asked. "I thought we were dieties... or something."

She shook her head and narrowed her eyes. "I'm not sure."

"They sound different," Elliot said.

He was right. These new Chameleons didn't speak in the pops and clicks as the others did. Occasionally, they did, but it wasn't constant. Most of the time, it sounded as if the sound couldn't escape their jaws well and the result was a slurred, compressed array of sounds more grunting than clicks and pops. 

"Ma'am," Elliot said, a warning tone in his voice. "They're getting closer."

About fifteen of the Chameleons had lurched forward, stooped and stumbling, but they were snarling. As they came onward, their skin color seemed to shift to the mottled green black of the dark shadows. Then abruptly, it'd return to some default color or flash out into something alarmingly contrasting. It was almost as if they couldn't quite control their camouflage.

She sighted her pistol on the nearest ready to fire if need be. The group came on.

Elliot cursed and brought up his own pistol. "Are we really going to have to use this thing? Why in the stars are they attacking us? I thought we were gods or something. Or at least Chubbs was--"

She couldn't place it either, but she studied their rigid forms as they advanced. Some of them dragged their weapons on the ground. Others were so bent forward they could barely lift their heads up.

One of them, a gigantic specimen, strode haltingly forward, the movement was obviously difficult. She could hear his labored grunting and breathing. 

"He's huge," Elliot said. "Umm, let's not let him get close... okay? Even if they can't throw rocks well, those arms look like they could easily snap even Chubb's neck."

"I wonder... maybe they're sick or hurt? I think--"

Just then, a new Chameleon dashed out of the trees, and interposed itself between Ardelle and Elliot. A large banded quarter staff spun with ease in its hands, making a whirring sound.

"What? Is that--?"

"It's Drix," she said.

"The one we saved from the horned beast? What's he doing here?"

She just shook her head and watched, her weapon still at the ready.

The group of approaching "stooped ones"--How else should she refer to them, she wondered--turned on Drix, slurred grunts mixing with hard breathing.

She wished she could communicate with these aliens. Maybe the techs and linguists aboard The Oracle would be able to come up with something and--

Before Ardelle could react, Drix leapt forward. In a series of graceful steps, he spun around the giant's clumsy blow through the giant's guard and then behind him. Then, twisting his hips, he swung the end of weighted staff at the half giant. A cracking sound erupted and chunks of the giant's side and part of his chest came free, spinning fragmented, like shattered crystal. The giant collapsed to his knees, dropping his weapon, his face white from obvious agony. His hands clasped over the wound, slick with blood.

"What just happened?" Elliot asked.

"Stars, only know..." Ardelle breathed. She had expected maybe some ribs to break from that blow, not the being's chest to explode like half-formed glass. The large chameleon groaned and fell over to his side. 

Drix let loose a string of pops and clicks and slowly advanced on the next closest of the stooped ones, all the while the spinning staff blurred the night.

Ardelle gripped the landing strut with her left hand. She looked over at Elliot, "Cover me if any get close."

"What?" Elliot asked. "Look I've had Basic. That's Basic with a 'B'... not advanced combat training. You know I'm an Engineer, right?"

"Don't worry," she smiled, pressed his shoulder and ran to the fallen giant who lay gasping on his side. She holstered her pistol and knelt beside him. His entire right side of his chest was missing, like it had shattered. Without any alien life to study, up until this point, Xenolobiology was still a thing of the future. She stared at the side leaking ichor and saw shards of hardened flesh. She touched one of them and felt the thin edge of skin, hard like the edge of crystal. Her brain started firing off a hundred questions.

She was no medic, but she knew that bleeding had to stop. 

She looked up and saw that Drix was engaged in a stand off with the others. They weren't advancing but seemed to be having a heated conversation. "Elliot! Get the crash bag in the shuttle. Now!"

"But you said to cover--" 

"Just do it!"

He nodded, ran to the shuttle bay door. He keyed in a code then darted inside the shuttle as the doors hissed open, spilling dim light onto the surrounding grasses. After several long seconds, he darted to her side with the bag. The thing's breathing was getting shallow. It stared up at her with... what? Loathing? Fear? Both?

"Are you going to save it? It tried to kill us?"

She ignored Elliot and yanked the bag open. Ripping open the wrapper on a large adhesive bandage, she hovered it over the thing's wound. The giant tried to push her arms away, but the alien was weakening quickly. She brushed his huge arms aside and slapped it over his wounded side. The bag fastened onto the chameleon's flesh, and a small monitor on the side of device flickered on and green text scrolled across a screen giving vitals: 

Blood pressure and O2 in the blood readings came on. They were erratic. 
Blood type read "UNKNOWN".
Heart rate was climbing.

The giant's face grew slack, as a battery of antibiotics and painkillers entered its blood stream. And his eyes closed.

The heart rate dropped to something she hoped was normal for this species.

"Ardelle Leath... the first Xenoparamedic," Elliot breathed, offering a faint smile.

She felt the moist grasses through her pants. "You can keep that to yourself," she gave him a flat stare.

"I'm just saying that...you know, history in the making and all that."

She leaned back on her knees and gingerly fingered the crystallized flesh again.

"What happened to it?"

She shook her head. "I don't know. Must be some kind of sickness...maybe."

Then she cursed.

"What?"

"Blood pressure is dropping!"

She slapped a button on the heal kit, and the medical package released stimulants into his blood stream. The large alien's eyes flickered opened, and it groaned, a hand like a sledge hammer whooshed absently through the air, causing them to duck. The blood pressure kept climbing.

"No!" She called on her comms.

"What is it?" Lt. Morgan's curt voice cut through the line.

"We have a situation," she said, and she gave an abbreviated account of the night's happenings.

"We're on our way," Lt. Morgan said and the comms went dead.

The word DANGER scrolled across the screen, backlit in red, and the heart rate graph kept climbing and climbing.

"Come on!" she tapped other buttons, trying to adjust the flow of medicine into the blood stream, but she was no medic. 

The graph line that had been climbing like a jagged mountain side, suddenly dove back down and flat-lined.

The bandage gave a dull beep... beep.... beep.... and a new word appeared on the screen: 

DEAD 

------

Ardelle held the styrofoam cup of something like lukewarm coffee in her hands.

They sat in the floor of the shuttle's side bay, their feet dangling over the edge watching the dark jungle. The marines formed a protective semi-circle around them, their guns hung loosely but easily able to be readied. The stooped ones had left, chased off by Drix who now also stood guard. He eyed the guards who eyed him back but they all stood in silence. The dead body of the fallen half giant chameleon lay in the jungle grasses.

A crowd of chameleons, the worshipful kind, stood outside the shuttle, chanting or murmuring. Praying maybe? Ardelle wondered.

"You did what you could, Ensign," Lt. Morgan said. 

"It's just... I wanted to save him."

"Why? Elliot said it tried to kill you. Your report also said just as much."

"It's about...McCoy," Ardelle said, and her voice faltered. "I... don't know. I know it doesn't make any sense... But these aliens this others were stooped over and deformed almost. Some could barely move. Something is wrong... I just wanted to help, but...I couldn't."

"No one blames you. We don't know anything about their physiology. The drugs in the crash kit probably killed him." 

"Then I shouldn't have used them. I should've have--"

"Ensign!" Lt. Morgan's firm and commanding voice jolted her from her sullen reverie and she spilled lukewarm coffee over her pants. 

"Ma'am?" She stood, confused but alert and at attention.

"You should have what? Been a doctor? I don't want to hear that nonsense out of you anymore! Understand?"

Ardelle still felt confused but she stood at rigid attention. "Ma'am, may I--"

"I am speaking Ensign!" The Lt. face was inches from hers. "You need to learn to live with your decisions. And not live with them, but to stand by them. We can't have officers second guessing themselves at every phase. Learn from mistakes and move on. Do you get me?"

"I think so Ma'am."

"Uhhh, Ma'am," Elliot's voice cut between them. "I opened it."

"You want. " He held the pendant in front of them and touched a device. I was right. This does contain some kind of data. And it interfaces with something...."

"With what?"

"Judging from it's metal, I'd say with something on the colony ship."

They all stared at the mountain of metal and jungle and earth that hid the moon and stars from that side of the heavens.

She called up to one of the pilots who was playing cards with his mate in the cockpit. "Get me a comms channel with The Oracle!"

"Yes Ma'am!" one of them said.

"The Captain needs to know what's happening," Lt. Morgan explained. "Ensign, setup a science bench. We need to study these samples. She held out the glass-like flesh in a sterile container and passed it over to her. We need information. And tomorrow, we're going to find out what that does," she pointed at the pendant that glinted dully in the amber ambiance of the shuttle's interior.


--- The Results ---

They're at the shuttle outside the massive crashed colony ship. It's night time. Jungle sounds all around them.

Are any chameleons following them?

(50/50 | 10[d10]) Yesand...
And there's quite a bit of them. Are they hostile?

(Very Unlikely | 9[d10]) Yes +Event: Proceedings / Illness
Ooooo.... Interesting twist here. I didn't see that coming.

VU and I got a yes... Hrmmm. The ones in this group are sick and they're angry and very hostile. I suppose they're hostile because they believe the gods have cursed them with their disease. Maybe if you kill the gods, the disease will go away? Who knows what they're thinking...

What is their disease. What are its symptoms?
I'll use the MAG:
tentacle or whip smiting a bowed backs, star with planets orbiting, spoon, data chip, padlock with a music note, exploding sun or hyperdrive lines, mountains, more music notes, radar/sensor screen.

I guess from that I'll say some kind of bone disease or infection that effects the back and locks the jaw so they can't sing...(ie speak) and can't eat solids. 
They can only grunt. Lock jaw? 

If left untreated then what...?
Body parts become hardened and fracture and shatter (crystallized fragmentary mountains).
Weird. But okay. It's sci fi. Anything is possible I guess.

Can these diseased chameleons still shift colors/skin tones?
(Somewhat Unlikely | 7[d10]) Yesbut... +Event: Care / Leadership

Yes, but I'll say it's not as effective as the healthy ones .

Hmmm. Positive event... sounds like the new Deity in Town, the Grand Chubbpa is being taken well care of... Smile


Do the diseased ones actually attack?
(Likely | 6[d10]) Yesbut...
Yes, but not en-masse. They're still wary of the gods and their magical powers.

Are Ardelle and Elliot surprised?

1d6 + 2
vs
1d6 + 1 chameleon, +1 dark, +2


Elliot and Ardelle
6 = 4[d6]+2

Chameleons
8 = 4[d6]+4

Do they get hit with an initial volley of primitive weapons?
(Somewhat Likely | 1[d10]) Noand...

Is that because they're sneaked up on?
(Likely | 4[d10]) No +Twist: Emotional event / Changes the goal

If they aren't attacked with a volley of weapons, nor are they sneaked up on. Then how are they attacked?

MAG... help me obi-MAG-nobi! (bug, being in light, door, heart with crown, conversation bubbles, anvil, tree with fruit or eyes, flying circular projectiles, scythe-like blade)

They start to get attacked... rocks and such fly wide (flying projectiles) but Ardelle and Elliot are missed. 
An emotional event changes the goal. Someone intervenes. A chameleon guard with a large scythe-like blade -- the one who had been wounded earlier by the beast that day comes to their aid.
He convinces the hostile group (conversation) that you don't attack your gods (being in light).


But that convincing might take a little while, does it?

(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...
It'll take a long while, in fact they're not completely leaving, but at least they aren't approaching.

Do any come close, trying to get around Drix to get at Elliot and Ardelle (+1 there's a lot of them. -2 they just saw drix take down one of their own quite handily (SU)
(Somewhat Unlikely | 3[d10]) No

Doe the pain killer knock out?
(Somewhat Likely | 7[d10]) Yes

Are his vitals holding?
(+2 crash bag, -1 alien = SL)

(Somewhat Likely | 1[d10]) No, and...
And he's going to die, unless he gets quick medical attention.
Reply
#35
Just spent the past few weeks catching up on “The Oracle” and I’ve really have been enjoying your story. A ways back you asked about format and I felt I should wait till I caught up to comment, mainly to see what you’d settled upon.

For what it’s worth, I prefer to see question and generator rolls within the body of the story. One reason is that I like to see the author’s thought process in “real time,” seeing how they handle the “cards they are dealt,” so to speak, as they are doing so. The other reason is that it helps separate what parts of the story are influenced by the GM engines and what parts are purely from the author’s imagination.

The exception to the above, however, is when for narrative purposes it is better to withhold information from the reader so when it is revealed it is more surprising or unexpected to the reader. For example, a question strongly indicates that the detective's brother is the murderer he is hunting down, however, that information will not be pertinent for another several paragraphs. In a case like that, I would either let the reader know I am asking some secret questions that will be revealed later, or simply not say anything and reveal the Q&A after the event happens.

As far as your transcripts go, do what feels right and what suits your style best. Just putting this out there in case you were still contemplating which way to go in future chapters or stories.
Reply
#36
Episode 20: Terminal

"What do you think?" Ardelle asked Elliot. 

Late afternoon soon slanted through a weather-eaten gash in the side of the mammoth colony ship. Vines and greenery pressed down into the musty interior. She pulled at them, cutting off some of the plants with her knife to let in more light. 

She and Elliot were perhaps three hundred feet off the ground, about ten decks up from the "bottom". Though realistically, the bottom had smashed well under ground. From her vantage point, she could see that the jungle rolled out beneath her undulating, like a vast blanket of green with little wrinkles that made up changes in elevation.

Elliot hunched over a rust-eaten console tinkering. Then he stood and put a fist in the small of his back and stretched. "No go. This room is just like all the others we've seen so far: nonfunctional. This ship is an official derelict."

"Great," she sighed. Ardelle keyed in her comms and communicated the lack of findings to Lt. Morgan.

They had split into two groups: Elliot and Ardelle in one group and the Marines in the other. Lt. Morgan had remained back with the shuttle continuing to study the glass-like tissue sample from the chameleon and providing communications support to the two teams. 

For the entire day, they had been ducking through corridors, climbing up shafts, but try as they might they could not find any functioning terminal. In all the rooms and floors they had investigated, anything that looked like a consoles or electronic device that they had found so far, had been pocked and rusted beyond repair. So far, the marines hadn't found anything useful either.

"Captain Alestranda is coming down planetside," Lt. Morgan announced over the comms channel. "She wants to meet the chameleons herself. She'll be arriving tomorrow. The Oracle ship suffered some communications damage. Wrap things up. I want you two back down here before dark."

"Yes ma'am," Ardelle said through a stifled yawn. She had been up much of the night, examining the tissue sample, but so far hadn't been able to figure out what had caused the tissue to harden up like crystal. There was...something, but she hadn't been able to pinpoint the problem. She'd left her findings for Lt. Morgan to look over.

She leaned out the massive gash in the ship's side, and holding onto the side of the hull, she peered out. Colorful birds darted in and out of similar pitted holes in the ship's hull beneath her. Clouds were lit orange in a beautiful sunset.

"Ma'am?" Elliot had brushed away some soil and found an exposed handle of something in an interior wall that had been buried beneath layers of detritus that had blown in through the gash over the years. A few dead leaves gusted about them as a stiff breeze momentarily stiffened against them.

"What is it?" she asked squinting against the dust kicked up by the breeze.

"A handle," Elliot said.

"Uh yeah, I can see that. But what does it do."

"Heck if I know." He bent and studied it a little. "From these grooves, though, it looks like it's meant to twist. Let me a hand."

Together, they heaved to the right, and after some rusted resistance, they were met with a hissing sound of released air. They continued to turn and then they pulled the handle towards them, and a long slender box approximately six feet long three feet wide and a foot in height and made of some sort of light-weight metal composite slid free from a shelf of some sort.

"What do you know?" Elliot smiled. "Something that isn't entirely rusted through. How's that for a change?"

His hands moved over the surface searching for some way to open it. He found a button which he pressed, and the lid hissed open. An electric blue goo was infused with light of the afternoon sun. 

"Looks like some kind of gel packaging," Ardelle said. She moved her hand downward, and the gel retreated from her hand. There gleaming in the afternoon sun were several strange-looking squarish-looking devices. They were perhaps three inches wide and appeared to be made of the same light-weight composite. She moved a finger along one of them. "What are they?"

"Dunno. But whatever they are, they're in good repair."

"We better get this back to the Lt," Ardelle said, standing.

Elliot nodded. Together, they divided up the devices among their backpacks and slowly made their way back down precarious rusted corridors and rappelling down corroded elevator shafts, back to the spongy terra firma around the shuttle.

---

Night was typically dark in the jungle. This was due to the green canopy above them that cut out most star and moon light. Some light from the heavens did filter down through the shuttle's clearing. They'd also discovered that some trees emitted a kind of phosphorescent glow, resulting in patches of utter darkness interspersed with eerie-looking glow-in-the-dark trees.

Morgan ordered the new devices stowed board the shuttle for future study, and they compared notes. The marines hadn't found any useful terminals. In fact, all the'yd found was a faster way through a lower level by means of Claxton falling through one of the ruined deck plates. He suffered a hairline fracture in his ankle and now hobbled about wishing someone had brought crutches or a hover sled.

The chameleons whispered in their strange popping clicking whenever Claxton limped past them. Ardelle wondered if perhaps the idea of gods being injured did not sit well with their theology.

They stowed their gear aboard the shuttle and moved back into the ruins of the colony ship for another night of feasting with the locals. Elliot had taken a preliminary look at one of the rectangular devices they had recovered and found out that they required some kind of power source to activate. He had started creating a modified power pack that could interface with it.

While they had been investigating the colony ship, Lt. Morgan had continued to look at the samples and ran additional tests.

"It's an unusual virus." She explained when Ardelle had asked her about it.

"A virus?" Ardelle asked.

"Yes. One that genetically alters or twists its host -- or at least that's its effect on our chameleon friends." 

"And this group contracted it?"

"Yes, and once contracted, it permanently affects the host's genetic structure. And that's not all--it also is passed onto the next generation."

They had then made their way back into the colony ship. 

Lt. Morgan walked ahead with Corporal Whately by her side. Behind them Chubbs supported Claxton. Behind them, as had been typical whenever they moved about the main floor of the colony ship, a small cadre of chameleons followed behind at a respectful distance. One of them was Drix, who ever since the attack, had, if anything, grown even more watchful of Ardelle.

The group moved through the "Eden Room" again.

Ardelle again felt a sense of awe of being in that place. One of the moons hung in the sky, dripping amber yellow light. The waterfalls seemed to flow like thick shimmering honey in its light and the pool reflected gold.

"Why do you suppose they build this?" Elliot asked as they followed the winding pathway beneath the shadow of the monolithic statues. In the distance a score of chameleons dressed in simple clothes tended the garden.

"I don't know. Maybe it a temple of some sort."

"So, a shrine to their gods? Is that what those statues are?"

"Could be," she murmured in thought. 

"I wonder if Chubbs will end up with his own statue." 

Ardelle grinned at the thought and they walked forward in companionable silence. 

As they moved onward, her eyes focused more fully on the obelisk in the center of the pool with its strange script and the twin curved blades that hung suspended in the air above it.

"Anti-gravity pod right?"

"That's right," Elliot said. "I took a look at it last night while you were looking at that crystalline flesh sample."

She slowed to a stop one hand scratching her head.

"What is it?"

"I wonder..."

"What?"

"Where's that data storage device?" 

He fished the device out of his pocket and handed it to her.

She turned it in her hands, noting how the amber moonlight glinted off its silvery metallic surface. "We've been looking all over the colony ship for some kind of terminal to accept the device...what if..."

Excited, she trotted forward down the path and toward the obelisk.

"What?" Elliot asked again, following her.

"What if we've been looking in the wrong spot?" She stood at the base of the stairs that led up to the dais and the small bridge that led to the base of the obelisk. She looked up and down the stone surface.

"What do you mean?"

"Come on," she said. She led the way up the stairs. Elliot followed after. 

Behind them, Claxton and Chubbs paused to watch them, and the group of chameleons moved past Claxton and Chubbs and moved closer to the obelisk, but then stopped, waiting perhaps twenty feet away from the base of the stairs.

"What if it connects to that?" she pointed to the obelisk. They had moved across the narrow bridge and now stood directly in front of the panel with it's rune-like markings. 

She pulled out her data pad and found the camera feed she'd taken while underwater near the strange underwater glowing device. These markings..." she pointed to her pad and then to the panel on the obelisk. "I'm sure they're related."

"It does look like the same script," Elliot said. He ran a hand through his curly red hair.

"Look!" she pointed at a portion of the script in the center of the panel that they had taken for characters or runes. They were small, block-like depressions, or holes, perhaps the size of her thumb and about a fist apart from each other. "We've been assuming that these have been diacritic markings in the script of whomever made these markings."

"And?"

"And what if they're not?"

His eyes widened. "You don't think..."

"There's one way to find out." She took the strange device and fingered a small hidden button. Elliot had discovered it last night during his investigations. The device twisted open and revealed two rectangular oblong prongs that also twisted into view out of the metal.

She paused for a moment, then slid the device's rectangular pins into the two squarish holes. And with a satisfying clicking sound, it latched into place.

"It fits!" Elliot said.

For a moment, nothing happened. The obelisk lay dull and dark, lit only by the amber moon above.

Then, lines of energy began to glow near the top of the stone where the swords floated. The lines were pale, electric-blue. They moved down the sides of the obelisk, as if etched into the stone, then spread to other lines that lit up sides of the obelisk, and then moved onto the embossed runes themselves lighting up each one in an electric-blue. 

A humming sound began to emit from the obelisk and they both took a step back. The pool reflected the electric energy from the obelisk. They were certain that something long dead had just come back to life.

Shouts echoed behind them as Lt. Morgan, Whateley, Claxton, and Chubbs as well as the chameleons inside the Eden Room all stood in captivated awe as the bulb-like lights beneath the slanted palms of each statue began to glow. The Chameleons all fell to their knees.

"How is this thing getting power?" Ardelle asked. She fingered on her armor-mounted camera.

Elliot shook his head, "I don't know, but we know that the large ring-like devices we've found here and on Spenalk 2 all work on some kind of gravitational energy, right?"

"Right," Ardelle replied. "And that's about all we've been able to determine. Once we make contact with the science team we left on Spenalk 2, maybe they can give us more specifics about how everything actually works."

Elliot nodded. He took out a device and snapped into his tablet. "Gravitron readings are climbing. As I suspected, it's using gravitational energy to power it."

"From the anti-grav pod above it?"

He shook his head. "No. The readings are too strong to come from that. I suspect it's from the underwater device."

"You found it!" Lt. Morgan's lean face mirrored Ardelle's own excitement as she and the marines joined them. "Well done!"

The marines were nervous and had their fingers on their weapons.

"Elliot says it's powered by gravity... from the underwater ring."

"Makes sense," Lt. Morgan said staring up at the obelisk and then hovering her fingers over the script.

"How do we read the data on the device?" Lt. Morgan faced Elliot.

"Excuse me?"

"The data on the device. How do we read it?" Her tone becomes a tinge less patient.

"Ma'am, I don't know. This is all alien tech. We're just lucky Ensign Leath figured out that this is the terminal." He paused and scratched behind one ear. "In fact, the data on the device might only be a key code that activated the... terminal for whatever function it's supposed to perform," he waved his hand at the obelisk.

Lt. Morgan frowned but said nothing as she studied the obelisk herself. She traced her finger along the now-glowing runes.

A large crowd of chameleons was pouring into the Eden Room, speaking in excited groups, while yet others still streamed inside. The device glowed and thrummed with power, and soon the entire Eden Room was filled with hues of amber and blue.

"Our audience is growing," Lt. Morgan said. "Let's get to work and figure out what this thing does."

A few minutes passed as they studied what to do.

Then slowly, almost imperceptibly, the twin blades atop the obelisk, now also began to run with lines of energy. They split apart and each blade floated down on streams of altered gravity. They twisted and slid, blade first, into two slots that had opened on either side of the obelisk near the base of the obelisk.

Then the rune-like panel split along a glowing line down its center and it slid apart, revealing a dark hole. From the hole, a metallic tray slid outward atop which was attached clear glass sphere. 

There was a blinding flash, and blue light from the sphere sprang to life.

It took a moment for them to realize that they stood inside a moving holographic image.

------- GM Responses -------

Can they get comms with The Oracle?

(Likely | 6[d10]) Yes, but...

But its garbled and filled with static.

What would cause that?

Heal / Elements

Ah, I think it's because of all the asteroids in the system. I think one of the elements of the ship (communications package) had been hit by a particularly large asteroid and was undergoing repairs.

But is their message understood by the Captain?

(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes

What does Cpt Alessandra do about it?

Cpt Alestranda...

Intolerance / Outside

She wants to see for her self (doesn't like being on the outside anymore). So she'll be coming down to their coordinates with a contingent of marines.

Meanwhile back on the ruined colony ship...

Do they readily find the input terminal?

(Somewhat Unlikely | 5[d10]) No

Do they find it before Cpt Alestranda arrives?

(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes

Is Alestranda delayed?

(Somewhat Likely | 2[d10]) No

So they find the terminal and it flares to life.

--- Regarding the Disease ---

Does Ardelle discover the alien virus?

Clever 2 + Science 2 = 4
I'll say the difficulty is Hard (so 10).
She'll have to roll a 6 to figure it out.

5 = 5[d6]

Nope. Close. We'll say Lt. Morgan finished up while Ardelle and the others are looking for the terminal.
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#37
(05-27-2019, 03:16 PM)Teviko604 Wrote: Just spent the past few weeks catching up on “The Oracle” and I’ve really have been enjoying your story. A ways back you asked about format and I felt I should wait till I caught up to comment, mainly to see what you’d settled upon.

For what it’s worth, I prefer to see question and generator rolls within the body of the story. One reason is that I like to see the author’s thought process in “real time,” seeing how they handle the “cards they are dealt,” so to speak, as they are doing so. The other reason is that it helps separate what parts of the story are influenced by the GM engines and what parts are purely from the author’s imagination.

The exception to the above, however, is when for narrative purposes it is better to withhold information from the reader so when it is revealed it is more surprising or unexpected to the reader. For example, a question strongly indicates that the detective's brother is the murderer he is hunting down, however, that information will not be pertinent for another several paragraphs. In a case like that, I would either let the reader know I am asking some secret questions that will be revealed later, or simply not say anything and reveal the Q&A after the event happens.

As far as your transcripts go, do what feels right and what suits your style best. Just putting this out there in case you were still contemplating which way to go in future chapters or stories.

Hi Teviko604. Thanks for your comments! I love hearing from my readers. I get what you're saying. I enjoy the GM rolls embedded as well in the stories that I read. It's been easier for me lately to just dump the GM rolls at the end due to formatting etc issues. I find it's sometimes time consuming to click that Encode for Forum button and then locate the specific pseudo HTML codes to put in. But I'll experiment with it some more and see what I can do. Thanks again.
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#38
Episode 21 - Apocalypse


The huge sphere of blue light shifted, moved, and twisted in 3D space. Images formed within the sphere.


“A hologram,” Elliot breathed as symbols passed in front of his face.


“We’re too close,” Lt. Morgan said, and she and the others stepped back out of the glowing sphere of light.


What does the data show?


Propose / Dreams

We'll say that means schematics of the original pre-ruined ship as well as the proposed layout of the colony on the planet.


“What is it showing?” Ardelle asked as various schematics flashed into view.


“It’s a ship,” Lt. Morgan said. She looked around them. “This ship, if I had to hazard a guess.”


The schematics showed deck upon deck of floor plans and designs. Images passed and rotated into thousands of vast sheets containing thousands of ship parts, each with hundreds of what looked like tolerance specifications, flashed past them in dizzying speed.


Elliot’s mouth began to drop open, probably in mouth-watering awe at all the knowledge growing before them.


“They must’ve stored their database in that obelisk,” Ardelle said, her voice dropping to a reverent whisper.


The crowd behind them was nearly as silent as the vacuum of space as the chameleons watched in dumbfounded awe at the spectacle unfolding in front of them, the trickle of water into the pool ebbed with their own breathing.


A humanoid made of blue light appeared in the hologram display, a chameleon, but this was a female and it was somewhat genetically different, thinner and shorter, one of the ancient ancestors of the current crop of chameleons.


The layout shifted to show buildings, layouts of buildings on the ground, colony plans. What appeared to be a date stamp in the bottom right of each image was made of blocky angular rune-like characters. It spun and shifted to something different with each plan. The colony plans where upgraded to plans that showed large towns, then cities.


A map appeared of this world, the mammoth continent prominent with dots for planned settlements and cities in viable locations some at mineral sites, some at or agricultural.


What else does it show?


Deceive / Masses


And what else? I’ll use Mr. MAG...


hand with lightning in it, nail in foot, screwdriver and screws/tools, body with tears in it, grenade, caution/warning symbol, cloaked figure with sword, wheat, some bug like creature


The colony settled by the ocean and founded a city. They harnessed the elements (lightning) and worked the land (wheat), and built (tools).


Did they found other cities too?


(50/50 | 6[d10]) Yes, but...


But the city on the sea was the seat of power. It harnessed the power of the under sea device. The gate allowed them to use gravity as a near-limitless energy source. But its side effect was something unintended...


The 3D view panned and zoomed about a huge city by the sea shore. It started with the bare design of streets, and the skeletons of buildings. It shifted to a time-lapse video and a thousand thousand suns passed overhead and in a rapid-fire stream of images the city became a staggering stone metropolis with great spires and plazas. Hundreds of thousands of Chameleons walked the streets and clambored about their lives.


Plans flashed in and out of view for other cities, and soon, perhaps a dozen other cities flashed into existence across the continent. Trade commenced between the obvious seat of power and wealth, the city by the sea and the other smaller settlements and cities.


In the distance, the jungle grew around the hulk of the colony ship.


Did the chameleon race create the circular device under the ocean?


(Very Unlikely | 1[d10]) No, and...


No and it's not clear who did.


The circular device is very very old.


But over time they did learn some of its secrets.


Great open mines soon dotted covered the land and in one, a huge metallic device comprised of a large platform and strange large metal rings of unknown origin was found buried in a great cavern. Over a period of a dozen years, it was slowly and carefully moved to the great city by the sea.
More time passed, perhaps seasons came and went. Clouds and stars and moon and sun flashed overhead in dizzying streaks of light. The moving images slowed, and the city by the sea was emblazoned with light and energy as they learned to harness the gravitational power of the ringed device.


Technology changed and improved. Vehicles and powerpacks that ran on this blue electric light were produced in abundance... and weapons. Wars were fought, over the device. Outer cities banned together in confederations and marched on the city by the sea, but they were no match for sea-side residents’ power and technological advances. None could match their prowess and might as flashes of blue energy exploded among the advancing troops, cutting them to shreds.


The fighting stopped. The capital city’s power was unmatched and peace reigned once more. Trade re-commenced.


But then something happened.


I’m hiding these GM results and my thoughts until the end.


The view shifted to show a security feed from the room built around the round device with its platform and rings.


And...something...came through the ring-like device out of the spinning rings and the glowing field of energy.


It was dark, backlit against the light of the ringed gate. The creature, perhaps the size of a large mastiff, boasted angled legs with the leaping power of a grasshopper and the agility of a cat. Scythe-like claws and an ebony-black exoskeleton reflected the light in the room. A mouth opened and saliva dripped from a maw of razor sharp teeth.


“What is that?” Lt. Morgan breathed.

Ardelle had no answer, but the feel of danger was palpable as fear rippled through the onlooking chameleons who watched the hologram at first with fascination and awe and then with horror.


The security cameras in the room tracked the mayhem.


Slitted dark eyes on the creatures sleek heads rotated and focused on the rooms inhabitants, a group of perhaps a dozen scientists.


They tried to run. To get free, through a large sliding metal door.


But the creatures were both fast and cruel, stealthy and cunning. They leapt on scientists and workers, tearing them limb from joint, piercing flesh. Ichor covered the floor and the walls. The alien creatures moved in a coordinated fashion as if guided by some overarching intelligence.


More and more creatures streamed through the gate.


Finally, an alarm went off in the facility and flashing strobe lights cast jarring shadows on the floors and walls as the creatures darted about.


More security feeds showed the creatures dashing through the halls, leaping through windows onto scurrying technicians, repair personnel, guards, and scientists.


Other security guards rushed to the scene, and streams of blue energy flashed down hallways smashing into the insect-like race of predators, vaporizing some, but the creatures moved quickly, some of them leaping from ceiling to floor, impossibly hard to track.


Still, the Chameleon defenders fought on, falling back behind strong points that had been hastily set up as more troops rushed into the facility.


The fighting continued on different cameras in different hallways.


And then a lone creature prowled into a control-room, shots rocketed into it, slamming it into a wall, splashing black viscous fluid across the room, but three more leapt in after him, overwhelming the guards, and the security feeds inside went dark.


The hologram shifted to an exterior view, to chameleon troops racing to the scene. Fighting continued.


Eventually, brownouts occurred, and a day later, the city went mostly dark as did all the others who relied upon the blue energy from the gravity rings.


Media and news outlets tried to get a view of what was happening. Guards with weapons and armor kept them at bay.


Riots erupted, civilians fighting against the police and the military in massive crowds.


An official on a stand, a smarmy-looking politician or diplomat if Ardelle ever saw one. He addressed the crowd in soothing pops and clicks. Media outlets carried his image and message to all the cities. Diagrams appeared and flashed behind him as he spoke addressed a part failure in a transformer as the reason for the blackouts.


Ardelle shook her head in a half amused frown that politicians were likely the same, no matter how alien the race.


Hours passed, the public was urged calm, riots were put down.


And then the creatures broke out of the cordon the police and military had put around the building. Fighting flared in the streets as the insectoid bugs leapt on the defenders. More troops rushed into action. Insectods leapt upon civilian chameleons with heedless abandon, gashing and biting.


The politician escaped in a hover vehicle to safety.


In a series of attacks, the military regained part of the facility and was pushed back again as fresh Insectoids rushed into the fray pushing them back.


Days passed. The chameleons fled the city. The military struggled to regain the streets and take back the facility with the gate.


Finally a decision was made. Vehicles were running out of power as were weapons. Something had to be done.


A special military squad was chosen. They came at night airlifted in a hover vehicle into a walled section of the city where they entered the subterranean network of tunnels. Military bodycam views showed the squad moving beneath the city using subterranean tunnels built for water, energy and sewage. They encountered some resistance and lost half their number getting into position.


A shiny metal device with blue energy was placed carefully into a drilled shaft that went down under the near the facility building. Blocky runes counted down a timer. The squad attempted exfil but was met by fresh Insectoids. Blue flashes underground followed by a wave of energy that expanded in all directions.


The shot changed to an ariel external camera. The wave of energy expanded in a huge smashing sphere. It met the facility and the wave of energy grew even larger. It smashed the city. It cracked the land. The city and miles of continental shelf sloughed and splashed down into a churning and frothing ocean.


Strands of blue energy arced underwater as the ocean swallowed the city in a dark watery grave.


More time passed. A year. Two. Three. Battery stores were quickly running low.


Divers and submarines powered from military stockpiles were sent to investigate. The formed huge massive stone spikes underground and attached it around the ringed gate device, a possible warning of danger future divers not to activate the gate.


Dozens of years passed.
The dozens become a score.
The score a century.


Technology died in slow gasping halting breaths.


The chameleon race broke up into tribes and large family groups.


Infighting occurred.


Plagues and disease finished off struggling populations. The other cities died out as trade and energy dried up.


Civilization fell.


Fallout caused mutations. Chameleons, infected with bites from the insectoid creatures, infected others. Doctor records showed skin and organs from those bitten or clawed turning to a crystal-like substance that twisted and deformed the skeletal frame. These were hunted and killed. They in turn fought and died.


The jungle grew around the ruins of the colony ship. A small enclave of scientists armed with stores of batteries and cameras remained behind to record the fall of their civilization.


With their last battery packs they came together and stored their history in the large obelisk. The jungle grew around them. The jungle creatures hunted them.

The final image was of an older chameleon wearing the data key pendent about his neck. He wiped tears from his face and said something Ardelle and her companions could not understand. Others stood behind him, a look of concern on their faces for the unknown future of their race.

The final images in the hologram were of the underwater, ringed, metal device, superimposed with the predatory prowling clip of an insectoid with wicked-looking blade-like limbs.


The hologram died.


--- Remaining GM Answers ---
But then something happened. It was unclear in these final recordings. But the holo-image showed fighting (grenade) between the chameleons and a strange bug-like creature (bug). These creatures came through the gate-like device (lightning again).
Initially this incursion was contained.


The public was deceived about the threat (above Deceive Masses). But then they broke out, and fighting raged in the streets. They stopped the initial assault and destroyed the bodies of the bugs.


They then went in and tried to shut down the gate, but something in gravity had become warped (from the bugs maybe?) and backfired and cracked the land.


The city and the gate fell into the sea.


Losing their energy and communications with the main city. Life-giving trade faltered and the remaining colonies eventually died out. Survivors used remaining diving suits and created the spikes around the gate as a kind of intergalactic warning sign. As power packs and batteries ran dry, they retreated back to the wrecked colony ship.


Those injured by the bugs gained strange genetic deformities / deficiencies that warped them.


They became the stooped ones.


Eventually, power died out in the ship's computer cores. An access key was copied by the last caretaker of the ancient computers with a warning not to mess with the gates. That key is embedded in the pendant device.
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#39
And that is how you take chapters upon chapters of GM Engine inspired loose ends and tie them all together in one cohesive explanation!

Bravo, my friend!  Good Job!  Cool
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#40
(05-31-2019, 04:22 PM)Teviko604 Wrote: And that is how you take chapters upon chapters of GM Engine inspired loose ends and tie them all together in one cohesive explanation!

Bravo, my friend!  Good Job!  Cool

 Thanks! Blush I could have drawn it out farther, but to be honest, there are other story elements I rolled up months ago that I wanted to get back to and explore. To do that I had to move things along significantly here. Thanks to the MAG for helping me bring it all together.
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