5835/The Opposite of Unearthed

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The Opposite of Unearthed
Date of Scene: 03 May 2018
Location: The Great Ocean
Synopsis: Pending
Cast of Characters: Starbound Flotilla, William Pauwel, August Kohler, 632, Staren, 673

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    Deep belowground.

    Pavo's near-shattered armor is piled up awkwardly near where William has come to rest, wedged under a chunk of stone that's right at the precise height to bonk him on the head as soon as he wakes up. Pavo appears to have awoken maybe a half hour to an hour earlier, probably the result of the combat stims still in her system, and she's... Not near William Pauwel. It looks like she didn't take any opportunity to finish him off, or maybe cautiously assumed that he'd wake up in the middle of it and kill her.

    The immediate surroundings are... Strange. This isn't remotely like a normal stranding situation. Pavo's made some kind of makeshift furnace in one wall, and reshaped another section into a weird furnace that she's formed out of scavenged chunks of Concord equipment or bits of Prospekt machinery. It's burning a little hot, and Pavo has jammed the outlet made of scrap metal up the tiniest little crack where wind can be felt.

    Pavo isn't here. She's a ways up, because a path has been dug up, and piles of dirt and stone can be seen to the left and right of the mouth of the shaft pointing upwards. William could hear it long before he could see her at the end of a short but surprisingly substantial spiraling path up, grunting and urgently smashing a path forward with a makeshift pickaxe, and a shovel strapped over her back.

William Pauwel has posed:

That's the very first thing that William Pauwel says as he wakes up from what was almost certainly yet another self-inflicted tactical mishap. He didn't expect to say 'ow' very first thing until he was at least fifty years older, but HERE HE IS. At least it's for a pretty good reason, considering the rock he smacked his head into on the way up. Still, though.

Who'd be so rude as to put a rock /right there/ for someone to bonk their head on first thing in the morning?

"Oh," Will observes as his eyes move from scanning his surroundings to finding the source of that TANG-TANG-TANG of metal on stone, "Right. Her."

The Chaser groans, rubbing his head as he rises only to remember that his arms are HORRIBLE METAL THINGS now, and stops before his hair gets too tangled in the space-steel joints. How long's he been out, anyway? Looks like Pavo's had ample time to... Build something of a base down in here. How strange.

Will creaks upright, his hand going to find and retrieve his weapon. Terminal Judgment's light splits the darkness, shedding a pale blue glow into the collapsed cave network. At least he knows he's not dead. But neither is she. Will feels oddly conflicted about this.

"Looks like we've got ourselves in a bit of a mess, eh missus deity?" Will drawls, making his way up behind the distinctly unarmored Space Bird. "Thought you'd have just punched your way outta here with that divine might of yers."

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    Pavo turns to Will, acknowledging he's awake with a grunt and a nod. "Boy, you think I'm doing anything but that? I'm a god. If a mortal strikes me into the underworld I'll claw my way right back out, same as any proper god ought to. You think myths are all specific about the /time/?" She slams her pickaxe hard into a chunk of stone in the way, crumbling it, and then turns back to him, picking up a heavy-looking drill apparatus. "Matter Manipulator's main converter near failed for some reason. Can't get mining beams working. I know for a fact my Flotilla's up there. We don't have time to reach the surface like this before the radiation seeps in and tests my godhood a little more than I'm comfortable with. So," She shoves the drill in his direction.

    "You. Dig. Now. You're going to be a proper god of the tectonics or you're gonna be a corpse. Put that goddamn arm to work, I couldn't get it off you." She tried to steal his arms, and of course she didn't mention that FIRST. George DID mention that William's human-aesthetic arm was good for mining, though, didn't he? It looks like she's recycled the arm on her power armor to make some kind of fancy whole-arm-mounted drill. "And don't start mortal-whining, because it's still a good, proper myth if I gut you down here even if it kills us both. Dig like a deity of the planet's own moving or don't bother digging at all, you meddling little shit."

    She pulls out her shovel and begins urgently clearing out parts of the path, pulling out pieces of support that she can re-weld together with a scavenged welder nearly out of juice. She has REALLY quickly decided on how acceptable it is to work with Will, but the way she's been saying it is /strange/.

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    Biteblade and Seft (of all people) have set up a little rescue op above. They've gotten decontamination facilities in the crater where the mineshaft was established, on the most steady ground they could find. They've been snaking exploratory shafts down, designed to optimize the chance that Pavo, digging up, will make it out. But Seft... Isn't here for Pavo, or she doesn't seem to be, so she's gone far more focused on depth than on width. Meanwhile, Biteblade has been trying to track armor power signatures and other suchlike with a smaller camp outside the mineshaft's collapse zone, where a heavy display tries to scan the complicated labyrinth of dangerously cramped spaces created after the collapse.

    Any who join them here will need good footing, lest they descend into one of the many downward shafts. They'll probably wanna join up on the main camp, where the two Flotilla members return every so often to coordinate, though seemingly not to work together on the same matters. Outside, it's terribly dark, and dust still settles from the collapse; chunks of the earth itself fall in every so often as the stability of some remaining support or another fails abruptly in the background.

August Kohler has posed:
August should be resting. His right arm was horribly burned (luckily not third-degree), and in an immediate aftermath scenario, he shouldn't be out of bed. The pain is awful, and using his arm at all is hell. But Will's missing. And no matter what, August isn't going to leave someone he cares about behind.

August's right arm is covered up in bandages, unexposed hand showing old scars. He is armed with a gun and a knife, though he always is. Never go unarmed, ever. The redhead uses a flashlight to approach towards the camp, moving to coordinate with Seft once he realizes she's focusing on Will based on how they're digging and what Biteblade said on the radio.

"Hey. Tell me how I can help. My right arm's screwed up right now so I can't do much heavy lifting, but we still need to find him." August's tone is frustrated and exhausted, but he's trying to not be a dick to her, atleast. "If you have any tools I can use, let me, otherwise...well, I don't know. Never been involved in an operation like this." August pauses, realizing something. It makes him pretty nervous.

"How long do you think it's been? Would have the radiation set in yet, how deep they probably are?"

Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     Septette's eyes are kept to the ground as she makes her way towards the smaller Flotilla camp- or eye, at least, since her hair is currently tastefully arranged to hide an empty left socket. The ruined earth shifts uneasily beneath her feet in some of the less-stable regions, and at one point she drops to all fours and scurries with unsettling ease to better distribute her atypical weight.

     It may well be the minute seismic effects of her approach that alert Biteblade of her presence before her energy signature lighting up the screens does, but if the Floran doesn't leave her post, Septette will slip inside the tent and try to "sneak" up and scruffle her leafhair- a gesture that could only ever be effective if Biteblade feels like humoring it.

     "I'm sure you've got some automated digging stuff set up already," she says after the requisite introductions, "but please, tell me if there's any way I could help. I don't want Pavo being irradiated- if she mutates a third eye or something, you know she'll only become more insufferable."

William Pauwel has posed:
Will answers Pavo with about the flattest stare a guy can make when he's hungry as sin and buried halfway into the planetary crust. It's pretty flat. "Y'all still on about that and we ain't even in the middle of a tussle? What is with you and this whole 'god' thing, anyway? I mean, y'all are free to believe what y'all want, but I don't gotta be a god to do some diggin'--"

Pavo shoves a drill into Will's hands! He looks at it and just sort of... shoves it up onto the top of his industrial limb. Terminal Judgment folds in on itself, transforming into what looks to be, essentially, a tiny plasma torch. It looks like Will's doing a bit of welding. "I mean," he says, looking pointedly AWAY from the sputtering, molten, fusing metal. "I don't remember y'all bein' like this the whole time I've known you. What the heck happened?"

It takes Will a moment. The drill sputters and whirrs. In short order, the thing comes to life and Will takes it to the wall with... Not /quite/ gusto, but there's a sense that this isn't the first time he's done this kind of thing. "You know," he says carefully, "I think I might be able to do this faster with my gun."

Staren has posed:
    Staren has returned, in the same body and armor as yesterday. There hasn't been time for repairs -- it's still scorched all over and looking like it started to melt in spots.

    He's honestly surprised that ONLY two of the Flotilla are here. Actually, he says that to Biteblade when he checks in at her sensor station: "I'm honestly surprised that ONLY two of you are here. I know none of us get along great with Will, even if he's a member of Daedalus... but what about for Pavo? Or did Albert and George and Moonfin figure you two are enough?"

    Looking over her setup, he comments, "I think the mine is probably too deep for us to get much useful at this distance. If you've got a spare GPR I'll take it down with me." He offers. He stays long enough to hear her reply, but...

    Then he goes to find Seft, setting up rapelling (or is it abseiling?) gear on the surface with motorized pullies that can hopefully pull him back up with multiple lines. He kind of didn't figure out how to make this body fly yet.

    He's also brought with him the golem from the intial exploration and its cable setup, with more of the rapelling lines, a metal humanoid about his height with embedded cameras, radio, speaker, and microphone. It's been hurriedly repaired since he heard Rory was interested, with obvious weld marks where deteriorated mass was replaced. She can jam it just like one of her drones!

    To August, he replies, "It's hard to be sure, since we haven't allowed anyone to stay exposed for too long, but normal radiation can kill in a day or two if it's intense enough." he states matter-of-factly.

    And then, down he goes into one of the shafts, using the matter manipulator to dig down ever further and hopefully get in sensor range of... something.

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    "Greeting. Oh, hello Mr. Kohler. It's like Staren's said, we're not sure if the radiation would have gone to lethal levels by now. We've got deconamination and recovery facilities set up to deal with some heavy exposure, but... Well, there's not much more to do than that." Seft explains, as August arrives. She digs into her own Matter Manipulator, producing a small, stocky piece of brassy and glassy equipment with a strap to hook up the upper arm for easier carrying, looking equal parts industrial and medieval. "Hopeful. Here, try this. It's a mining beam. Shouldn't be too heavy if you don't mind a bit of lopsided soreness."

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    Biteblade does seemingly feel like humoring Septette, and allows the scruffling playfully... Albeit in a lightly stressed way. "Ssskeleton frieeend! Hey... Hi. Yeah, floran need to make sssure bird friend isss sssafe. You wanna get drone deployment podsss around?" She gestures to a corner of the tent where a few heavy pods are available. "Floran better at working head-on than usssing drone. Think, ssskeleton friend can find good placesss, ssspend way more time in underground natural cave, right?" She sighs a bit. "Been weird lately, but bird friend isss ssstill bird friend. Ssstill need to keep sssafe."

August Kohler has posed:
August nods to both Seft and Staren grimly as they mention it could have been lethal already. He just sucks in a breath. "Well, Will's too much of a fool to get killed by radiation. He has to be fine." The German laughs, but it sounds as if he's mostly trying to reassure himself, moving to grab the tool as Seft pulls it out and hands it to him. He moves to strap it to his left arm, putting the pressure there and trying to minimize how much he puts on his right arm.

"As long as I can help, it's worth it. Point and shoot?" August gestures to the device, before moving to join with the digging, trying to assist in speeding up the process. He's mostly silent, clearly having no idea what to say or do and trying to focus on finding his friend. It's eating at him.

Rory White (673) has posed:
    Rory's starship takes up a position high, high in the sky, broadcasting an I.F.F. to all parties below a good three minutes before the ship's teleporter thrums to life, and sends her down into the crater via a tight light beam.

    The Morph she's chosen for this operation? Is her human-looking Synth, with the frilly white labcoat, fair skin, innocent face and long blue hair.

    At first it seems that she's come empty-handed... then the air sizzles again and FSHOOOOOM! Down beam more things. All in all, the teleporter deposits:

2x - A sort of tank/capsule filled with a bubbling blue-green liquid that looks big enough to hold a person, walking on six insectile legs.
2x - Big, boxy machines that move on piston legs and are equipped to the teeth with manipulator arms ending in crushers and drills.
4x - Small saucery orbs the size of frisbees that spread out and begin scanning the ground across the spectrum alongside the ship flying above.
2x - Weird arachnoform robots with bodies low to the ground, occasionally stopping to deploy sonar pulses.

    "What happened? I see a clear cave in. But what triggered it?"

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    "You're right, I wasn't like this before." Pavo says, surging back into her digging. "Used to get fucked over plenty by the divine types and their righteous claims that they're special and they've got some special right to the world. And back when you knew me? That was before that Sunborn piece of shit Samea tried to get into my mind." That last word is spoken with such force that she nearly instantly crashes straight through the rock she's working on next to William.

    "I looked straight at the champions of the shiny, beautiful, righteous gods, and I saw just how petty and stupid and inane and /mortal/ they looked. And it made me realize just how worthless godhood is. And just how easy it is to qualify. Make some miracles. Smite some sinners. Speak some wisdoms. Work with all the power a person can have. And then you might as well be a god, /right/?" CRASH. "SO I'LL MAKE AND TAKE AND BUILD EVERY POWER I NEED, 'TIL NOBODY CAN DISBELIEVE." Her voice goes imperious and divine, that same tone William heard during their fight.

    Then she looks to him and /scowls/. Less at his suggestion, more at his... Lack of gusto? "Then hook the damn thing up to a mining plasmalens or something, I've got plenty of those. But get your ass in gear. You dig with heart like that, we might as well be digging down. What's separating you from a proper tectonic deity? You've got tools, you've got your guts, and you've got a beating heart and breathing lungs, and enough energy in you to last another couple hours guaranteed. Nobody here's gonna be able to disbelieve you but the rocks, and you've got enough to deal with them. Buckle down, get your ass in gear, and reach some goddamn divinity. You want to die a mortal, or live a god? You believe in yourself or not?"

    She goes back to crashing her pickaxe with far more energy. "I'll be damned before I let myself have ever gotten thwarted by some mediocre piece of mortality." Her tone is vicious and seemingly even angry at William in a way, seemingly finding his lack of deific dedication to be like a personal insult.

Staren has posed:
    Staren's about to start rapelling down the shaft when Rory beams down with various drones, including a couple of Dr. Bots. Those will be useful! "Who triggered it, you mean." He glances to August, then back to her. "But that's not important right now. We need to find Pavo and Will. They fell in just as everything was falling apart. I'm hoping if we dig down deep enough, sensors will be able to detect Pavo's attempts to dig herself out. Careful, there's dangerous radiation down there. Those dwarves look like they should last, but if they break or you want something humanform, you can try jamming the golem. It should last pretty long." He jerks a thumb at it. "It doesn't have a proper sense of touch, though. Was kind of just a proof of concept."

    Septette is here too! Staren waves. "Hey, Septette! Look, we're both magic robots!" He holds up a hand for a high-five.

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    "Too many cooksss ssspoil broth." Biteblade says to Staren. "Floran caresss mossst about bird friend, ssso here to ressscue bird friend. But robot friend isss here for chassser friend. Wantsss to keep him sssafe. Ugh. Should hear robot friend and bird friend fight over goofball chassser friend." She rolls her eyes, which looks REALLY weird with black sclera.

    Seft has polite, friendly greetings with Staren; differences though they may have, she still considers him a workplace friend. "Friendly. Hello Staren. Thanks for coming to help, and good luck. Let us know if you can get a peek of them, I think they'll be digging upwards." Nothing in the first shaft, or the second. Seft will probably be asking Staren to focus on "patrolling" ranges. The radiation level is likely not immediately lethal or immediately dangerous, but likely very dangerous for staying down there more than a day at their probable depth.

Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     Septette's expression softens into a light frown- when was the last time Biteblade sounded droopy and concerned like this? She idly scans her mind for those criteria, and hits a wall of fuzzy static. Maybe she's forgetting. That haze didn't always feel quite so opaque.

     "Pavo's changed. For the worse. You can feel it in her voice, let alone her actions. But keeping that canary in the coal mine any longer than necessary isn't going to fix anything," she replies, shouldering a couple of the hefty drone canisters and 'gluing' another to her back with ice. "I figure I'll be mostly fine down there. And if I'm not, well- I'll send you the bill." Her frown flips to a wry, slightly shaky smile, trying to emulate and reciprocate Bitey's weariness.

     She bumps into Staren and Rory on her way out. Both her arms are full, but when Staren offers her a high-five, she grins and sets down a canister solely to indulge him. It takes her a moment to recognize Rory's voice- confusion is evident on her face, but it quickly fades to a polite acknowledgement.

     Septette gives one of the canisters a gentle shake, and peers over at the edge of the hole. She points at one of the visible supports holding up a chunk of the earth near them. "Hey, Staren. I know this is weird, but- think you can bring that one down for me? Hit it about two-thirds of the way up. It'd be a big help."

     She could likely snipe it with a fireball herself, couldn't she? Weird.

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    "Affirming. Point and shoot." Seft says, giving a nod. Both her little flickery eye-icons swap to a quick thumbs-up symbol to give him encouragement. "Informing. Just shout to people to be ready if you do any digging around a support structure." She moves to try to help get everything into place, so August's arm doesn't get overstrained. "Grateful. Thank you for the help, Mr. Kohler. You should probably be resting, but... It's appreciated."

William Pauwel has posed:
    Pavo explains her circumstances. Will actually goes silent at her words, except for the slow grind of steel chewing into stone. "I'm sorry," he says into the dead air. His voice sounds... Not angry. Not even sad. There's a note of genuine empathy there, a resonant compassion in his tone. "I didn't know. I figured it was bad, but I didn't realize... /how/ bad."

There's no plasma lens. Will doesn't need it for this job necessarily. Judgment unfolds in his other hand, transforming from handcannon into something that looks very much like the business end of some kind of heavy machinegun. Bolts of stark white force erupt from the weapon, pulverizing rock into rubble which is shortly thereafter cleared away by a brief spell of drilling. A stone fragment carves a bloody scratch in Will's cheek, but he drills on as if he hadn't felt it.

"I've met a god before, you know? Goddess. A spirit of a dying planet. And you know, I learned a few things about divinity, then. That sometimes, they really ain't all that much different from humans, just they like to put on airs that they're something that they ain't. But you get them in a situation that sets them off-balance, and suddenly it all falls apart and you see what's underneath all the bluster and the divine whatever-it-is, and it's just a person there."

Will advances, wielding in one hand an unfathomable flame of castigation and in the other a makeshift digging tool. He says nothing about Pavo trying to yank his arms off his body. Honestly, he'd be surprised if she didn't try something like that. "I'm not interested in becoming a god or a devil or whatever," he says as he punches through another layer of rock. "S' like you said, there's nothin' much to bein' a 'god' I don't think. Get some worshippers, some responsibilities. But it ain't something I aspire to. Buildin' a shell of divinity for people to gander at-- somethin 'worthless' like that ain't worth all much to me."

A moment of digging passes, then Will asks: "What's wrong with livin' as a mortal, and what's bein' a god got to do with believin' in myself?"

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    Normally it would be Albert chatting with Rory, but right now it's Seft instead. "Greeting. Hello, Miss White. Thanks for coming to help." She gives a polite little greeting nod. "Grateful. Just leave your drones internetworked with ours, and they should be able to make sure not to interfere with each other." The results of the initial landing scans are being very... Uninformative, sadly. Pavo and William must not be near enough the surface, or maybe one of them isn't being quite as loud as they ought to be just for right now. It's good to keep them patrolling, but there's just not that much useful data to grab right now.

Staren has posed:
    Staren would smile at Septette's indulgence, but has only a mirrored visor and speaker grille for a face.

    She wants an explosion? Staren's been hesitant to employ such for worry of collapsing some of the tunnels they've already dug down, but... well, it's a chance to get seismic readings, so once Biteblade and Rory have confirmed they're ready, he pulls the missile launcher from yesterday out of his bag, swaps magazines to a different type of ammo, and takes aim down into the hole. "5... 4... 3... 2... 1..." *FOOMP-FWSSH-BOOM!* He turns and starts to run for cover just as the high-explosive minimissile goes off. Not that there's so much danger from the explosion at this distance, but he'd prefer not to get caught in it if the ground around the hole collapses.

August Kohler has posed:
With the assistance, August is properly pointing and shooting mining beams to assist. He does speak to Seft before he heads off to immerse himself in it. "I can rest when I'm dead. He needs help right now." There's a brief pause as he says as much, before turning to her again. "Thanks for trying to help him out. I don't know you well, but I appreciate it anyways. Guess the Flotilla's all sorts, huh?" Conversation's distracting from both the pain and the worry, so it helps, even if he's clearly kind of awkward about it, pausing at points to figure out what to say. "Let's get them both out of there, yeah?"

And then there's the sound of the explosives from Staren's side. August winces, and moves to do his own side of the digging deeper.

Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     Septette takes off at a decent jog towards the explosion, still carrying her drone canisters. For a moment it looks as though the ground it was supporting isn't going to collapse- but then she leaps into the air and lands squarely on top of where the column was positioned. On impact, a chunk of earth half the size of a baseball diamond breaks off from the lip of the hole and begins sliding down like an express elevator with her on it!

     There's quite a bit of dust, both from the impressive explosion and from the semi-controlled landslide. When it finally clears, Septette's standing atop the chunk of earth far below, waving up at the Elites above. Then she takes off towards the deeper winding tunnels, canisters in tow- it's time for some nostalgic labyrinth exploration!

Rory White (673) has posed:
    As usual, Rory doesn't quite have much expression to go on. Despite the clear attempts made at having her current appearance look pretty respectably human and appealing, her utter stoneface kills what, in normal circumstances, would be a young woman who should seem very concerned and distressed as Staren goes poking down the hole!

    Even with Septette emerging with some unknown canisters - which get quickly scanned by EVERYTHING Rory has on hand for a few seconds - she seems not surprised or distraught. If anything? distracted.

    Because her mind is sifting through the input of her dozen drones and it has little to spare for niceties like making sure she's smiling, frowning, bunching her shoulders up, or whatever is appropriate at the moment.

    All she can afford to do is comment, "The substrate is interfering with soundings. I have no data on this material to compare against..."

    Once Seft approaches though, she does look her way. Rory's eyes soften a little even though her lips remain firm. "Seft! It has been some time. Glad you are well! Synchronizing now. Pavo and William.... I wonder if they are astute enough to send any sort of signal to guide us. This could take a great deal of time otherwise."

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    "I know they're just people." Pavo mutters angrily, moving in to strike whenever that machine-gun fire of kinetic force reaches a layer or a buildup that it can't break. "That's the point of it all. They put on these big shows, they make all these big claims, they say so much about their special divine rights, and they're just /people/." She glares towards him in a short break here. "I don't hate the gods for being down at our level. I hate them for pretending they're not. I hate them for the pride, the presumptuousness, the self-righteousness, and most of all, I hate them for building up these systems and worlds where what you're born with, you're stuck with. Where not being /able/ to believe in 'em with all your heart is something you're stuck with from birth, but your fault anyway."

    "I'd rather live a life being an insult to them."

    "You wanna know what being a god has to do with believing you can do what needs doing?" She says, shoving aside and setting up supports for the upward spiraling path. "Because believing you're something defined by inability means you're already stuck in that box. Nobody gets anywhere impossible if they only believe in the things everyone else all agrees is possible. If you believe you're some sad little mundane getting by in the world then that's all you'll ever be. If you believe you're a god and you can do mythic work, then all you gotta do is convince fifty one percent of the people you meet and that's what you'll be. Down here the only beliefs that matter are ours. So are you some little mundane, or are you /more/?"

    She... Falters a moment. She looks nauseous, and her stomach heaves badly, the sign that she vomited earlier and can't anymore. Mild radiation sickness, if William could recognize it. A little bit of leaking fluid from her mouth gleams with magical shimmering, as befits the irradiated underground. "We're starting to run out of time." She says, in a tone that's angry at William but also at nobody in particular. "Some mundane doesn't hit the surface before we die. That's a fact, Pauwel. That's not what happens to the mortals in stories like this." She powers through the disorientation and hefts up her pickaxe again. "So are you planning on digging with your heart or not? You've dug with your mortal hands, and now with your divine tool. Now what are you gonna be that breaks out of the underworld?"

    Sometime around the moment William answers, there should be a very sudden, abrupt rumbling.

Staren has posed:
    With that taken care of, Staren rappells down one of the holes others aren't in and goes to extend it down with the matter manipulator while his robotic friends bicker over the radio.

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    "Mmmh... Floran thinksss, isss really complicated. Good, bad, hard to sssay for how bird friend isss now. Floran thinksss, maybe better in a few waysss. Hasss better ambition than 'money, murder' now. Isss even helping sssome people, now! Firssst time Floran ever sssee bird friend try to help other people. But..." Biteblade makes uneasy gestures and follows Septette out. "Isss bird friend, better or worssse. Floran needsss to help bird friend."

    She follows along, and the canister Septette's taken rattles slightly as drones within ready to deploy. Whatever Septette is planning, she can get them deployed right at the proper moment with a solid prod at the right control part. She makes sure to ready the gathered drones for Staren's blast, whatever the purpose may be, to make sure everything stays stable and prevents lower chambers from crushing downward at least.

    And then she watches Septette... SURF the canister down? Bringing that into the far lower zones ought to be effective, though she'll have to rely on the drones to handle digging since now the chambers are a bit more locked off against each other. They'll be quite helpful there though!

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    Seft gives a gracious nod to August. "Uneasy. Yeah, we're all sorts. I wish I could be more like the sorts of paragons of the Watch and Paladins, the ones who are more... well-regarded in a lot of ways, but this is the most I can do, really." She gets back to work, now trying to rearrange Staren's patrols and Rory's scans so they'll bring Septette closer to places she suspects Will might be, by working together with August on certain low-depth tunnel-digging. If it all comes together, surely they can get to William in time...

    And Pavo, she reminds herself, her eye-visor rolling its eyes with a visible 9_9. Can't forget that they're rescuing Pavo too.

Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     Septette goes on a full-blown spelunking adventure, using information collected from the others' scans and the helpful seismic data to arrive at a nexus where several tunnels cross. She's probably hidden from Rory's prying eyes here, so she takes a moment to reinforce the nearby ceiling and walls with magical ice to prevent any sort of cave-in before slamming down the canister and activating it.

     "Your little guys should be coming online," she calls out over radio. "Go ahead and see if you can find anything useful, Seft."

     With that, she starts wandering the halls, finding potential weak-points in the caverns to elementally reinforce. The last thing they need at this stage is a collapse.

William Pauwel has posed:
    "So you hate them, and so you... want to be like them?" Will asks between one stanza of the strange rhythm of excavation the two of them seem to have fallen into. "I mean. Sure, a lot of gods are like that, but... A lot of them just do it out of habit, you know? They're like people like that. Some of them are bad seeds, but others are just caught up in it, and others don't like the flim-flam at all. I mean, I know this one time there was this one goddess who, like... Well! A gentleman doesn't kiss an' tell. Eheh."



    "...But, look. I think you're... Getting yourself twisted here, maybe," Will says, briefly pausing in his upward climb to help Pavo set up a strut here and a support beam there. "I get what you mean; chasin' after the impossible is what I /do/ for a livin', but... Listen to yourself! Talkin' like one of the bad 'uns. 'Mundane.' What's wrong with jus' wantin' to live a simple, quiet life like that? Not everyone's interested in burnin' their lives out for power, you know? The pursuit of happiness is jus' as valid as anything else. Often, goin' for pure power, for recognition or whatever. That's when things go... wrong. For you and for the folks 'round y-- hey, are you okay?"

No. No she's not.

    Will stares agog at the birdwoman as she... Dry-heaves? He's about as magical as a lump of lead, but even he can recognize what he's looking at. But why is she feeling it when he's not? Is it the arms? Judgment? Maybe being active in the mines for so much longer than he has is responsible. But she's right-- soon, he'll start succumbing too. And then...

    "Don't y'all underestimate 'mortals,'" Will says severely. He stares at his arm and his gun, brow furrowing. "That's the thing. Most gods. They don't know how death is. They don't get how precious livin' is. /Those're/ the real bad ones. But mortals never really forget, right?"

Just then, there's a great, big, thundering kaboom somewhere far, far above.

    Will stares straight up, then... Braces his weapon at the ceiling with one massive, mechanical arm. "I ain't gonna die here. Neither are you. Don't need to be a god to give the reaper the business. Come on, Judgment. Firin' safeties off! Let's gamble on this Last Shot!"

    In what is possibly the second ill-advised action in the past twenty-four hours, Will bids the weapon in his hand to surge with the power that scourged a world. Blue-white power erupts from the handcannon's barrel, surging upward into the molten rock and pockets of roiling, arcane irradiation. It goes further and further and further and... Still, it's not enough to cut through.

Not fully.

But Will is banking on one of two things. Either:

A: That rumbling was /someone/ looking for them and those somebodies might be able to pick up on either the counter-rumble or the spike of energy underground, or...

B: That rumbling was the weird arcane crystals starting to violently decay and he's about to set off a massive chain reaction that blows the mine back open and possibly kills them.

Two-thirds chance it's their way out. Those are odds Will's willing to roll.


(T-that's how probability works, right!?!?)

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    Surging through the rock, the beam thins as it travels, its power scattering as layers and layers of stone diffuse its concentrated energies, until it's merely a pencil-thin stream in a broader wave of heat. But with the drones that Septette has seeded far, far below for Biteblade, combined with a lucky patrol from Staren using data from Rory in one of the many shafts that August worked with Seft on, it should, SHOULD be possible for a little hint of energy to pop up on the network.

    There's a minute where Pavo waits, more silently. She may be contemptuous, but she's not impatient; she knows she can criticize what he decided to do if and when it shows it was the wrong choice, and not a moment before. That doesn't make her critical expression any less critical. But it does mean that, hopefully, Septette or one of the drones will be somewhere near where the "round" pierced its tiny, thin line upwards rather soon, meaning that the broader group can immediately work on digging a shaft directly to the trapped pair! And at least let them know they'll be pulled out soon.

    In the meantime, Pavo smiles broadly along the entire length of her beak. "Pauwel, I don't underestimate mortals. It's mortal dreams that go nowhere. It's mortal thinking that solves nothing. It's mortal ambition that achieves nothing. Anyone can think like a god, dream like a god, achieve like a god. That's the point. The point was never not being mortal, the point was showing that all these things the gods do can be done by whatever they'd throw aside as just plain mortal."

    And then she steps to the gap he's cut in the rock, shields her eyes against falling dust and rock, and peers up, hoping for a sign of life or a flicker of light.

Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     Septette leans against the wall in some nameless corridor, surveying her girders of magical ice as she rests for a moment. Normally she'd be implacable, unswervable- but something just doesn't feel right. Some twinge of distant energy ripples through the drones' sensors, and a bracing sense of familiar anticipation thrills her metal bones. Danger approaches.

     Her eyes shut in thought as her cognition revs up to surreal speeds. She tries to fit the observed energy signature, received only microseconds ago, to known profiles, acting as a glorified number-cruncher more than an expert. Time and time again- no match. It's an intractable problem, one that she could spend subjective weeks meditating upon-

     And then a needle-thin ray spikes through the stone below, comes up at a steep angle, and plinks her temple with a noise like someone flicking a teacup.

     The yggdroid rubs the side of her head before getting down on all fours and peering down the itty-bitty hole with one eye. "Ruuude," she calls out, just in case they can hear her way down there. "Rude as hell."

William Pauwel has posed:
Terminal Judgment may look small, but Will has all the faith in the world that its power was enough to pulverize a path all the way to the surface. Sure, it might be a tiny little path thin enough that an ant could barely make it through, but it's still a path. A starfield of motes flicker and crackle against the ambient, magical radiation surrounding the pair of involuntary spelunkers. Will peers up after the disappearing radiance of his skyward shot, huffing in mild disappointment that there wasn't an earth-shattering kaboom. But that just means that Option A still has a possibility of playing out, doesn't it?

"You know," Will replies to Pavo as she goes up and into the fresh crevasse, "More people would understand y'all better if y'all /started/ with that explanation 'fore launchin' into all the talk of superiority and sacrilege and what not. I still think it's a load of guff, though."

"Ain't nobody's heads gonna turn if they find out a god snuck the first kiss outta a goddess."