5840/Catch and Release

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Catch and Release
Date of Scene: 13 May 2018
Location: Koprulu Sector <KS>
Synopsis: Pending
Cast of Characters: 6381, Yang Xiao Long, 673, 632, Starbound Flotilla, William Pauwel, Kotone Yamakawa

Nova Terra (6381) has posed:
    The warpgate that everyone is directed to is an artificial one and clearly not Terran in construction. The polished gold plating and blue crystalline accentuations are nothing like Terran technology. There are some Terran devices interfaced with it, but it looks more like a jury-rigged connection rather than a fully compatible one.

    However, this is definitely the right place: A Dominion military installation positioned behind a large prominent structure. Those who saw the news report will recognise it as the Emperor's Palace. The base is pretty bare, the forces all out fighting judging by the sounds of battle in the distance. Terran and alien aircraft occasionally zip overhead as they dogfight in the air. And, of course, up high in the sky is the partially eclipsed sun.

    Nova is naturally already here, currently standing in front of a large crate. Inside are various bits of equipment, which Nova is picking from as she arms herself. Behind her, a man with power armour gloves is currently fiddling with the glowing reactor on the back of Nova's suit.

    Off to the side is another man in rather official looking attire. A sash hangs over his chest, adorned with medals. On his shoulders, ornate cauldrons hold up a cloak. This is all rounded out with a sword at his waist. He is flanked by a squad of Marines. He asks of the man fiddling with Nova's suit, "Are you sure this will work, Reigel? Hierarch Artanis was not happy that we knew he had this information, let alone willing to give it up easily. It took some convincing, so I would not want it to be a waste. Not to mention what it'll cost us if this mission fails."

    A little distracted equipping herself, Nova asks quickly, "How much convincing?"

    The cloak-wearing man smiles a little at her behaviour, but indulges her and answers, "Fifty thousand minerals worth."

    Nova pauses for a moment and nods, "That's a lot of convincing."

    The tinkering man, Reigel, answers, "Yes, Emperor. The alterations to the Moebius Reactor will allow Nova to trick the Tal'darim security on their warpgate." Reigel closes the panel, "Finished. However, it's likely only going to work once. They'll change their security when you are discovered."

    Nova nods as she finishes as well, sliding a magazine into her canister rifle, "Right. So Plan B for the escape." She turns to face the Emperor, resting her rifle against her shoulder, "I'm not about to let those bastards wipe us out." She turns her head to look at the various elites as they arrive, smirking, "Besides, I'm not going alone." She nods in greeting to them all.

    The Emperor takes a step forward once everyone has arrived, "I am Emperor Valerian Mengsk, leader of the Terran Dominion. I thank you all for your willingness to assist us in this dire situation. If you succeed, you will be helping to save countless lives and will of course have my gratitude." Pause. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have a battle to win. Good luck to you all." He gives everyone a parting nod before turning and heading back towards the palace, his Marine guard following.

Yang Xiao Long has posed:
    Yang was already here when the Protoss warped in. She watched in horror as those beams began sweeping the civilians, and jumped quickly to directing people away from the courtyard and into side streets, where the beams would have a harder time targetting them. Once she's gotten people moving, and managed to sweet talk some others to take over directing 'traffic' as it were, lilac eyes turn up towards those ships.

    She makes her entrance to the Terran Base, riding the remaining hulk of one of them, still punching her explosive payload into the side of the hull. "I. HOPE. YOU'RE. HUNGRY! CUZ THERE'S PLENTY MORE WHERE THIS CAME FROM!" her rough, fairly shrill warcry carrying over the sounds of battle as the craft smashes down into the ground, and grinds to a stop just outside the terran perimeter. Yang chuffs, hopping off the wreck and walking over while dusting her hands. "Yo." she scans her eyes across everyone, then locks onto the Emperor and approaches him with a too sweet smile. "Heeeey buddy." Her gauntlets fold away... and once she's in range, she jabs him in the face. "That's just on principle, don't fuck up or the next one's with the gauntlet /on/." she says, turning away towards Nova. "'kay, what's the plan sweet cheeks?"

Nova Terra (6381) has posed:
    The attempted punch does not go unnoticed by the Emperor, who shifts to the side at the last moment. In the same moment his sword is swiftly drawn, coming up to stop near Yang's neck, "Your advice has been taken under advisement." Seems that the weapon was not just for show as Valerian displays his impressive swordmanship. Not that the blow would have killed Yang or anything.

    Valerian returns his blade to its sheathe, waving off the Marines who had all raised their weapons at Yang and were ready to fire. Valerian simply turns, returning to the palace.

Rory White (673) has posed:
    Rory White has forsaken her humanoid form for this mission. When she appears... it is as the sleek, full-sized robotic 'lioness' covered in modular hardpoints and a few attached Saucer drones.

    She stops only briefly to answer the Emperor's comment with her own. "They tragically seem to be operating under a misunderstanding! Hopefully the battle can end without this becoming any worse."

    Indeed, her goal is going to be finding the Protoss leadership and asking them to hold their vengeance until a proper investigation can be carried out!

Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     Septette strides through the gold-and-crystal warpgate with clanking footsteps, one hand resting on her leather satchel. As she glances up at the ships overhead, she twines a gossamer thread around her fingers and pulls it taut... then stuffs it back into her bag when Nova brings up an infiltration plan.

     One dreadfully heavy hand claps on Yang's shoulder, squeezing it a bit too tight for comfort as the little war machine hastens to clarify: "I do apologize for my acquaintance here- Mr. Mengsk, I presume? Such is a customary greeting in her strange culture. Please, feel free to respond in kind." She smiles sunnily and lets go of Yang's shoulder as Mengsk draws his sword, as if quietly daring the fiery pugilist to contradict her.

     "What needs breaking once we get in, Nova? Looking for anything in particular, or just clearing out everyone onboard?" Their entry method sounds distinctly unreliable, but it'd be rather impolite to speculate on negative outcomes already.

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
"Don't wh--"
"I know you're thinking about it."
"I don't think! That's my gimmick."
"No, I am being serious. I know you will be standing in front of an emperor."
"I'm feeling spry today, maybe I'll be cartwheeling in front of him."
"And I know what being near an emperor will tempt you to do, and that is why I am saying, do not do it."
"Uuuuuugh, fine. I won't do the cartwheels."
"That's not what I meant."
"Won't do what you meant then, but that means no promises on the cartwheels."

    George beams in from orbit and makes his drop-pod-like landing right near Nova, flickering a soft red as he slings a heavy laser rifle of some kind over one shoulder. Once again, he's here with the slim powered EVA hardsuit, face still obscured by the flat red visor. When Yang arrives, DRAMATICALLY, and delivers the punch, George makes a happy, highly approving noise. It's not that he hates Emperor Valerian, it's just that he hates emperors as a concept. "Hey! Hey, if she gets a free punch, do I get a free punch too?" George asks gleefully, but he isn't expecting a serious answer.

    He heads to Nova instead. "Alright, lay the plan on me. Busting in with that thing?" He gestures to the warpgate. "What's the other end? Big ship, command station, what's up? We doing one of those disk runs? It's been years!" What in the hell is a disk run? George seems ready to jump right in though, seeming like he'll make a dash for the warpgate as soon as Nova sounds an all-clear. Either he's very experienced with a small-team rush like this, or he's horribly, horribly irresponsible. Maybe both.

    Maybe he's just making a hobby out of seeing how much and how often Septette can pull him out of a lethal situation.

William Pauwel has posed:
Hoo boy that's one heck of a machine, isn't it? A giant golden gate festooned with brilliant, blue crystals. There's another more recent addition to it that's a little out of place, though.

Because William Pauwel has spent the last few minutes almost rubbing his cheek against the warpgate like some kind of technophiliac cat.

"Oh wow look at this," Will squeals, poking at an arrangement of glowing khaydarin crystals. "How do these work? What's the power source? Oh man there are barely any movin' parts, are there? Ahahahahahaaaaa~"


Oh. They're briefing. Will hops off the side of the gate and sliiiides into frame with a grin on his face and a tilted hat on his head, "Hey there! So uh. What's on the docket for today? If there's more of these machines on the other side, can I take some of them?"

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa finds the warp gate design style to be interesting it's not really Terran or anything like her own world would do. Save for the biggest out showing of wealth at best. She looks at it and sees the bits of Terran gear on it here and there, she would take a moment to look around until she spots Nova she's quiet for the moment and then the Emperor speaks.

"I hope we can pull this off and thank you."

The Protoss are a major concern given her experience with elder races in the multiverse they tend to have egos that you could colonize on. She's about to say more as Yang goes to punch the Emperor.

She has her weapon out trained on Yang, ready to fire but it is diffused and she'll lower her weapon.

"All right Nova what's the plan? I have experience acceding alien technology if it's needed."

Nova Terra (6381) has posed:
    The crashing Protoss ship nearby does cause Nova to look. But when Yang walks away from it, Nova seems impressed. But then the blonde does something stupid and Nova briefly considered whether she should intervene in it. Of course it's over before she has a chance to decide.

    Nova watches the Emperor leave before turning to face the gathered elites, "Alright. This plan is a little more difficult than the last one. The enemy is the Tal'darim. A faction of a hyper-advanced race called 'Protoss' whose lifestyle revolves around concepts like 'the strong lead and the weak die'. Suffice it to say they're very warlike and we're likely going to face some tough opposition. The plan is to get aboard that-" She points upwards towards the object partially eclipsing the sun, at which point George poses his question. Nova blinks but nods, "Y-Yes, actually. A big ship. So, we disable it, forcing it to retreat. And hopefully when faced with the prospect of fighting the entire Dominion fleet without it, its friends will follow." Nova appreciates Rory's enthusiasm for peace, but from what she knows of the Tal'darim... To part of Septette's question she answers, "We're not going to be able to clear the entire thing. So we'll hit its weak spot... We deactivate the shield around its core. The resulting harmful energy released should force them to pull out and power down... Or they all die."

    Nova turns and begins walking towards the warpgate, nodding to Will, "We'll be getting on board by accessing the warpgate they have up there. It's normally protected by security measures but our friends in the 'Daelaam', a more friendly Protoss faction, have given us a way to temporarily bypass it. As well as information to navigate and disable the vessel." Nova silently admits it was an impressive negotiating feat on behalf of the Emperor.

    Nova stops just in front of the warpgate, turning to face everyone, "Time is a bit of a factor. So let's get to it!" She steps backwards into the device.

    Arriving on the alien vessel presents everyone with a rather impressive sight. It's huge. And it's possible to tell this due to the unusual design. Ceilings are practically non-existant on the ship. And often even walls are done away with, simply leaving open rooms and walkways. The material is similar to the warpgate they just entered, but the colours are off, being black with red crystals.

    Clearly the ship is encased in some kind of shell keeping the atmosphere in. Additionally, it's obvious that the group is now in space, judging by the planet visible beneath them. Through the open parts of the ship, a battle outside can be seen. Protoss ships go up against Terran ones. One such large Terran vessel appears to be charging energy in its forward weapons array, before unleashing the massive blast towards the ship the group is currently on. But the blast strikes an energy barrier, which glows on the impact and spreads the energy out. A different Protoss vessel lumbers into view, numerous small craft darting out of bays and swarming the Terran ship. Small explosions rock the hull until it finally gives in and explodes in a large blast of light.

    The entire battle waging around them is very surreal though, considering there's no sound. In fact the only thing the group can currently hear is themselves and the constant, quiet hum of energy.

    Nova appears to hear something else though as she says, "They're aware of us." She lowers her visor over her eyes, tapping the controls on her wrist armour for a moment before saying, "Come on, it's this way." She starts to run off across one of the walkways.

Nova Terra (6381) has posed:
    It's not long before the first problem presents itself. An energy barrier suddenly appears in front of the group, blocking the path forward. This is joined by the sound of something warping in behind them. Their appearance is distinctly alien in nature, though much of it is covered up by high tech armour with the same colour scheme as the ship around them. One of them 'speaks', in that his mind echoes inside everyones, "Intruders! You will die by our blades!" Blades of pure red energy appear from the emitters on their wrists. They then begin to charge.

    Nova raises her rifle, firing off a burst of bullets at the closest one. They strike a glowing shield, failing to get through. So Nova fires again. Meanwhile she says, "We need to get that barrier down!"

William Pauwel has posed:
Upon passing through the warp gate, there's a sound that can be approximated as that of a pot of tea tripping its steam whistle. After a cursory check, it becomes clear that the source is... The young, cybernetically enhanced gunslinger-slash-engineer who had, only moments ago, been reduced to a squealing schoolgirl at the sight of the Daelaam warpgate.

He appears to be emitting a high-pitched noise, much of which is likely audible only to cats or dogs.

"It's all /so cool!/" Will squeaks, giddily following Nova deeper into the vessel. He does not seem to grasp the gravity of the situation. Or rather, the fact that he's IN SPACE on an ALIEN VESSEL filled with UNFATHOMABLY ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY has just overwhelmed any sense of danger he might normally have possessed.

And then they run into a barrier.


"Uhhhhh," Will stares at the terrible, glowing red blades and unlimbers his favorite sidearm. Terminal Judgment blazes with blue-white light in stark contrast to the blood-red Bane Blades. It lasts only for a moment before the plasma fades to those by-now familiar half-visible ripples of electromagnetic madness. Will draws, aims, annnnd...

Turns and fires pulse after pulse of chaotic electromagnetic energies right the barrier blocking their advance.

Hopefully this crystal technology is as sensitive to EMP as anything else!

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    "Oof." George mutters, heading through the gate and readying his rifle. "This is bad stuff. The usual good breach deal doesn't work if there's no cover, no easy ways of breaking lines of sight and all. Don't lose momentum either way, but we'll be losing a lot of blood while we run." As if immediately responding to him, suddenly a barrier blocks his way, and he's menaced from behind! "Oh son of a bitch. Just like I said too." George keeps towards the barrier as best he can, and keeps out of the fight with the incoming Protoss.

    His business is the business of subversion. Using his keen sense of MECHANICAL ENGINEERING, he tries to locate points of vulnerability. Emitters, conduits to emitters, infrastructure that could be protecting it... The whole suite of stuff that keeps this thing working, he tries to identify, and then subsequently quite aggressively and quickly deconstruct or interfere with using a startling array of tools stored in his Matter Manipulator, surprisingly focused and direct for someone under potential fire from incredibly menacing energy armblades if someone doesn't keep him covered...!!! Ideally, he can disable the electromagnetic shielding -- maybe making a gap in some faraday caging or something like that -- and let William's burst of electromagnetism kill the rest of this barrier, before George dashes through!

Yang Xiao Long has posed:
    Yang doesn't even flinch when the sword is brought to her throat, and that heavy talon rests on her shoulder. "Yeah, yeah. Greeting. Whatever. Lets go punch some aliens in the face." she responds, both to the Emperor, and to Septette, smirking at the latter. She's literally here to punch dudes. "Okay, so, advanced warlike aliens, getting on their ship using other aliens tech, and breaking the first set of aliens toys. Got it." Yang rolls her shoulders, cracking her neck, then her knuckles, before following Nova through the portal. All those weapons that were raised at her? Not even acknowledged.

    Some would call her reckless and crazy, she calls herself a brawler. She looks around at the ship. "Gee, you'd think they were the bad guys or something." she quips. The space battle gets a bit of awe from her, "Woooow." but then they're moving, so she follows along. The barrier goes up, and she deploys her gauntlets, bringing them up defensively as the aliens teleport in. "I can punch it, or punch them, your call!" she says back at Nova, setting her feet, ready to move.

    William starts firing at the barrier, so getting in close would be unadvisible. That determines her course, and she kicks off to close with one of the approaching Zealots. She ducks and weaves as they try to slash at her, using her smaller frame to get in under the blades, and unleashes a flurry of punches, slamming her fists into his shield in the same spot, each one accompanied by a loud burst of shotgun fire, and a blast of explosive force.

Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     After Nova, Septette tries to be the first through the gate: whatever horrors lie ahead, better they're sprung upon her first. Unfortunately, that means she's effectively in the rear when that barrier appears and blade-wielding aliens teleport in behind them! One of them cants its head, as if trying to communicate something--

     Psycho-intrusion attempt screened and logged.
     Known Enyo vector, verbal payload.
     Mental checksum re-verified. Resuming...

     --but whatever it is, she doesn't get the message. Their intent is clear enough anyway! Her talons carve sparking grooves into the high-tech floor as she sprints forward, flick-extending one of her armblades and enchanting it to glow red-hot in the same motion before swinging it at neck height at one of the alien warriors.

     She lets out a wordless staticky howl as her blade clashes with the plasma shield, and extends sharp claws from her other hand before raking them across the zealot's barrier as well! If she can look inhuman and scary enough, maybe they'll focus on her more than the breachers behind her!

Rory White (673) has posed:
    This MARVELOUS Alien Engineering is going to send the Argonauts into a TIZZY when Rory forwards the XP of this encounter to them. She unleashes her Saucers the moment they're aboard, the four Silvery drones unlatching from her back and floating off to try and map and scan everything in sight. Every little shred of data about materials, layout, visuals, energy readings, is being collected and beamed straight to Rory over her Mesh connections!

    Of course this provides the group with a nice map, if they can tap into the TacNet she's providing!

    But Rory herself? She's following right along with Nova!

    --only to encounter a form of communication that she was NOT expecting! Words, right in her head. AAAAAAH!!

    This does cause a JOLT of alarm to go straight through the AGI, who immediately queues up a self-diagnostic on her own mental integrity. But on top of that?

    On top of that, she OPENS HER MAW and --


    Objects the size of baseballs go flying out towards the Protoss warriors. And on impact with anything, they SPLATTER... harmlessly? or maybe not so harmlessly. The goo bursts out in every direction like a Pharaoh's Serpent, except instead of being super brittle and fluffy... this stuff is fluffy (and breathable) but hardens like CEMENT.

    Perfect for getting people stuck to ceilings, each other, or just bound up in an uncomfortable mess of hardened foam.

    "I do not wish to use lethal force on soldiers who are just following orders! Your commanders are being deceived!"

    And she's hoping she'll be able to figure out where exactly they are so she can try to negotiate with one...

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa says "Sound like a 'wonderful' group to deal with." She looks up with concern at the size of the ship, she's only seen ships that big in the hands of a few groups all of them tended to be very old, and advanced also brutal. Such as the Imperium of Man, and with what Nova says? This group of Protoss seems to keep to that trends. "Understood Nova, lets get to it."

Knowing there were other Protoss who were not so hostile. She makes note of the Daelaam and then gets ready to head out.

There is progress made but then well they got a problem, Kotone gets her rifle out and knows.

The aliens seem to be telepaths and Kotone reaches for a couple of grenades of freezer foam which she'll launch at the Protoss warriors hoping to aid in restraining the Zealots.

If this works she'll have the breathy room to take a crack at the barrier.

Nova Terra (6381) has posed:
    Protoss technology is rarely obvious, often concealed within the ornate structure. So it does take time for George to identify weak points in the projected barrier. But soon he has a target as he begins to de-construct the systems maintaining the barrier. It begins to flicker ever so slightly and he works his magic, but it's not an instantaneous effect. Joined by William's EMP blasts it does begin to have a more noticeable affect, but it's still taking time. Time that the Tal'darim warriors intend to capitalize on.

    Yang's gauntlets strike energy shield repeatedly, each time the resulting glow weakens in strength. It seems like the shields have their limits and sure enough, after several strikes-during which the user has been swinging his deadly energy blades at Yang-the shield finally disappears with a flash. And Yang's gauntlet then strikes once more.

    However, the Zealot is able to blunt the blow against his twin blades, briefly skidding backwards. His voice echoes in Yang's mind, "You are strong, Terran. Killing you will be a privilege!" He lunges at Yang once more with those glowing blades.

    Septette's engagement follows much the same process. She's able to break through the shield with her combination of armblade and talons. However that's only part of the way to beating the Zealot as he charges Septette, unleashing a series of swings with his blades that are precise and dangerous. Likely part of some super advanced alien martial arts or something.

    Rory and Kotone's mutual idea is good in theory, unfortunately the energy shields sported by the Zealots they are firing at make it less than effective. The launched concrete and hardened foam attacks strike those shields, splashing over them as the materials harden. The attempts seemed to have drained their shields considerably, evidenced by Nova firing at one and having her bullets pierce through to batter the armour he wears. However the Zealots are unfortunately not trapped, once more charging towards the two.

    It's clear by how the battle is progressing that these aliens are not so weak as the Zerg than most here have fought in the past. What these aliens lack in numbers, they make up for in toughness.

    Thankfully it's at this point that Will and George's efforts make progress. A pulse of energy suddenly rips across the structure projecting the barrier. The barrier isn't completely deactivated, but it's flickering in large enough periods for the group to start slipping though. Nova herself jumps through one of the openings, once more firing on the charging Zealots, some of whom are getting close to George and Will. Nova then gets an idea, "Rory! Kotone! Use that stuff against the barrier. Create a wall!"

Yang Xiao Long has posed:
    Yang crosses her arms to block the blades, the energy sparking against her own energy shield, her yellow Aura flaring to reinforce her arms against the attack. Accompanying the blazing Aura, flickers of flame begin to lick up from the large mass of blonde hair, lifting it up a little to begin billowing, as if in water. "Sugar, you ain't seen nothing yet."

    Yang's body 'explodes' sending a dome of kinetic force out around her as her hair ignites. "I. BURN!" The detonation should have staggered the Zealot, and following up after that, she slams her fists together, ducks low and brings an uppercut under the Zealot's guard, firing the shotgun mounted in the gauntlet at the apex of the strike. She then backflips away, firing her gauntlets forwards to fling herself through the flickering barrier to join the others. She skids along the ground, then kips herself up to land in a crouch and bleed the rest of her speed off with sparks flying from her grounded fist.

William Pauwel has posed:
You know, if Will wasn't on QUESTIONABLE TERMS with so much of the Flotilla, he might think about picking up one of those awesome matter manipulators. Or maybe he'll go and do that anyway, one of these days. Wouldn't be the first day he's stolen something from the spacefarers.

But, that's for later! For now, Will (Bill) and George (George) have managed to weasel their way through the barrier. By nook or by crook, they punch several holes into the psionic fabric. "It's open," Will calls to the others before DODGE ROLLING through one of the barrier-holes. "Let's go, guys! Go go go!"

He turns as the others make their way through, firing bolt after bolt of electrical impulse at the onrushing zealots. Covering fire! That might at least buy them some time to build that wall.

Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     Now that the barrier's down, Septette starts making a fighting retreat towards the rest of the party- she's uncomfortably overextended, and getting separated from the group could prove disastrous. She has no idea what kind of cutting power those glowing blades can bring to bear, and the alien's fighting style is wholly foreign to her experience. More prudent to stay on the defensive for now.

     Rather than block the red blades directly, she strikes the zealot's forearms to throw them off-balance. They're strictly melee combatants, so Septette intuits that backing off will force her adversary to advance in turn- she leaps back behind the barrier, waits for the lunge, and intercepts the incoming sweeping blows by grabbing the zealot's wrists!

     She raises her leg as if to kick the zealot in the face, now that their guard is open- but in a display of inhuman flexibility and coordination, she grabs them by the neck with her talons instead! In one smooth movement, she lets go of the zealot's wrists and throws them back into a segment of the flickering barrier right before her pattern recognition indicates it's about to re-solidify! "There's my contribution. Now let's go!"

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Personal shields are not something Kotone has had to account for much and this is going to be a problem for her. still it has some effect it's weakened the shield enough to aid her allies in punching through and they are now charging again,. Kotone however is faster than the would expect a typical Terran to be, she moves as Nova calls out.

"Got it!"

More freezer foam goes up into the air for the barrier now as several more grenades are chucked at the barrier.

She also start moving at rapid inhuman speeds once there's a way through she's going to gun for it at her top on foot speed.

Rory White (673) has posed:
    Rory's of a state of mind to agree with Nova's assessment. It's a good thing that the material in its unexpanded state is tiny! Because she's carrying two canisters of it inside her Morph. And she gets an idea to take a moment to SPEW a thicker pile of it in front of the Zealots, hoping they'll be unwise enough to step in the mix as it begins to catalze with the air and expand-harden as before.

    At best, maybe it'll trip them up!

    It certainly gives her enough time to abort facing them head on and instead dash along after William and George, turning to spew a good gob of the stuff and turn her head about this way and that to spread it around and foam up the barrier!

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    "New girl!" That must be George's name for Nova Terra. "Directions! We gotta go nimble, break line of sight!" George's tactics probably aren't all that different from that of a Ghost, probably, but his are much more likely to have the Yakkety Sax theme played over them. He holds the flicker as long as he can to open it up for his allies, and as soon as it's done, he jams a chunk of ripped-up ship material into the gap to brace it just for a few moments and surges in himself, covering his head to keep chunks of that foam from getting at him!

    He's gotta head for their objective! That power core, hopefully he can angle towards it on Nova's directions and get right into dealing with the next inevitable problem that stands between him and the core. Getting to engineering has never been this hard, but he does understand releasing the highly dangerous power into the station well enough at least! "Guessing they can go through the damn barrier things?" He calls out, swearing. "Any way we can make 'em /not/ able to get in there?" Were there any... /polarity/ bits or something he can swap around, at the next barrier he might find?

Nova Terra (6381) has posed:
While the infiltration team are dealing with the Zealots, Rory's drones go about mapping the ship's interior. They are free to do so easily, thanks to the open nature of the design. In fact despite the ship's size it doesn't take long, because much of the ship is just OPEN SPACE. In fact the more that Rory scans, the more it becomes clear just how alien the design is. There are entire sections which are completely separated from the core, just floating out there. And there's no obvious layout. No obvious cargo bay, sleeping quarters, medical bay, armory. And most importantly, bridge. There are numerous alien lifesigns spread out through the ship, hundreds of them. But it's hard to pin down exactly what one might consider a command center.

    Yang's uppercut is dead on, although it's kind of hard to uppercut these Protoss with their armour designs including rather large neck guards. But still, Yang is able to find enough purchase to send the Zealot flying and crashing down to the floor once more, for the moment not moving.

    Septette's assumptions about the Zealot's actions are correct, the alien following her as he continues to try and slash and stab her. This unfortunately means he falls for her plans, finding himself grabbed and thrown. Just as he's passing through an open spot in the barrier, it closes, the energy slicing through his armour and body with ease. His top half continues flying, eventually crashing down some distance away. His back half just slides down the barrier to rest on the floor. Ouch.

    Combined gloop fire from Rory and Kotone splash against the partially active barrier, beginning to pile up and form a wall. Some of the Zealots try to rush through regardless, but their weakened shields give way at the worst time and they suddenly find themselves caught within the tough glue. The team has brought themselves a short breather, the path blocked.

    Nova begins to run, taking several turns as she leads the group towards their objective. Along the way she answers George, "Even if we did, the Protoss are masters of warp technology. They'll just teleport past them."

    The next obstacle comes not in the form of another barrier, but rather a bridge. Specifically a bridge of pure light stretching over a large gap in the ship's structure. Moments before the group reach it, the projectors on each end slide back into the structure and the bridge vanishes. Nova comes to a stop at the edge, looking over it into space. She glances around, then quickly walks over to what looks like a console nearby. She examines it for a moment, then says, "I... Have no idea how to operate this." Nova looks over at Kotone, "Kotone, you said you were good with alien tech, right? Can you take a look?"

    In addition to where the group are standing, there are several platforms floating in the air above them. Initially not of much concern, they become so when a sound similar to before alerts the group to more Tal'darim warping in. But unlike the Zealots they were fighting before, these machines are larger, standing on four pointy legs on the floating platforms... But they do have Tal'darim heads poking out of a front section.

    Nova alerts everyone, "Slayers, above!"

    Weapon ports built into their central bodies begin to fire, unleashing short streams of red light towards the group below.

Yang Xiao Long has posed:
    Yang runs along with the group, hair billowing behind her as little ember-like particles of her Aura float off of it. She comes to a stop, skidding slightly on the smooth floor, then snaps her eyes up at the teleport sound. She purges the spent shells in her gauntlets, sending a shower of empty cartridges clattering onto the floor, reloading with a pair of different racks. One yellow with gold tips, the other cyan with dark blue tips. She jukes to the side, letting the incoming bolts hit where she was a moment before. She rolls out, then punches upwards, sending out alternating bolts of icy energy and electrical. The bolts have some very mild tracking, trying to slam into the center mass of the spider-like Slayers. "Hey, Ugly! I HOPE YOU'RE HUNGRY!"

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    "Oh, great, why even have these bridges anyway? Why not just teleport directly into everything? Christ, worse than the wizards." George grumbles angrily, keeping pace directly behind Nova. He's slightly less attentive, though, nearly falling over the edge as he encounters it! "Augh! What the fuck!" He calls out, trying to balance. Glancing to one side, he shakes his head angrily. Kotone or Rory could do this, but...

    Then comes fire from above! Fuuuuck! George has no cover! There's no walls, no side tunnels, nothing! There's... No walls. OH! Covering his head desperately, barely avoiding a lethal dead-on blast from the foes above, he dashes to the edge of the bridge segment, leaping over the side and latching his grappling hook to the underside! It probably isn't long enough to get him across, but it's enough to bring him to the edge of the walkway on its underside, using the walkway itself as cover as he braces his rifle under one arm and opens fire with heavy, concentrated blasts targeting the head of the creatures, trying to punch through their shields and pierce their brains with more precise than powerful fire. "TONE!" He calls out to Kotone. "Get us outta here quick as you can!!" He knows he can rely on her, but he'd rather not rely on her for a /long time/, you know.

Rory White (673) has posed:
    "Kotone and I can give it our best--" Rory begins but the next moment... well, she has tiop-notch scanners across that body for a reason. Dorsal cameras spot the Slayers dropping down almost instantly, and Rory's quick to react. The red beams splash down, clipping her in the side and slamming into a paw, but she nimbly leaps away with mathematical precision.

    Unlike the Zealots, these are machines, and they're also WAY too big to try and incapacitate. So she triggers her Matter manipulator storage and decompresses a pair of ... oh dear.

    ROCKET LAUNCHERS with a dozen tubes apiece load onto her shoulders, angling, and... FWOOOOOOOOSH!!

    It's a small Missile Massacre as high explosives go flying on the best propellants she's got, guided by tiny shifts in their fins by nano-control surfaces!

    The missiles, notably, are going for limbs, weapons, and support structures, but NOT the heads.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
The plan has worked well enough, they have made it through and now they are finding their way deeper into the ship at least somewhat soon they will find another thing. She takes a moment to look at the alien tech.

"I'll take a look."

The Protoss were pyschic right so were the X-rays of X-COM earth's higher castes from the looks of it maybe she can run with something there. She makes for the console and will attempt to get a work a number of programs boot up as she gets to work trying to figure it out she'll have to trust her allies into keeping the Slayers off her.

She's not alone as she'll open a connection to Rory as she gets to work here.

"On it, I don't want to stay in these guys sights any longer than I have to."

Thankfully her experience with the X-rays may end up being a boon here, as she works away. With the help from George and Septette that should give her some serious breathing space with two fighters like that covering her back.

Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     A trio of small hovering drones teleport in around Septette, each projecting a person-sized hexagonal energy shield in front of itself. They disperse around the platform, providing mobile cover after the initial volley- each one can only take a couple of hits, but that might still make the difference for her squishier allies! One of them moves to cover the console, protecting Kotone as she interfaces with it; the other two remain free-roaming.

     "Hang in there! I'll try to thin them out!" Septette takes a running leap off the platform and rockets up to land on the underside of one of the higher floating platforms, where she hangs for a moment with the aid of her sharp wall-gouging talons. A few stray bolts come her way, but ricochet or fizzle off of the incomplete tan plating. She crouches 'down', then springs off of the platform with enough force to dent the alien alloys and flares her micro-thrusters as she hurtles towards one of the lower Slayers!

     Rather than try to break its shielding or attack the exposed head, she simply rams into its top-heavy upper section with her shoulder, bringing her full ton of deceptive weight to bear in an attempt to send it careening off into the void below! How much stability can those spidery legs have, anyway?

William Pauwel has posed:
Everyone makes it through intact! Somebody makes it through... not intact. Will squawks and leaps back from the severed remains of the Tal'darim Zealot as it flops lifelessly on this side of the barrier. "Jeez," he breathes, his heart throbbing in his chest, "Close one--"

A blast of blood red energy streaks by Will's ear and slams into the makeshift concrete barricade. He jumps, sliding back another few feet. What!! Slayers? Above!?

Will flips himself over, scrambling up onto his feet, only to find himself needing to dodge another trio of blasts. One scrapes his cybernetic limb, blasting away a lattice of strange, black alloy he has bootstrapped to his arms. It did its job, though-- he's intact.

And, more importantly, he's able to lift his gun and fire. White-blue bolts of dense plasma streak up at the spider-like walkers, sizzling dissolving into a variety of exotic particles and waveforms as they make contact with the Tal'Darim shields. But if they can penetrate, then... Those spiders might not have a very nice time of it. The Ancients did not skimp on their energy weapon designs.

Nova Terra (6381) has posed:
Shots from George's rifle and Yang's gauntlet pound into a couple of the Slayers. They don't look too interested in dodging, no doubt due to their size. The flare of their shields dull with each shot and it looks like they will soon fail. However before the two can get their final shots to pierce, each Slayer vanishes in flashes of light. Accompanying flashes reveal their return on another floating platform, further away from the immediate battle. They begin to shoot again, one aiming at Kotone as it realises her intent, but Septette's shielding protects her for a short moment.

    The same thing occurs when Rory's missile barrage. They explode across a couple of the Slayers on a platform, but just as the shields are about to fail the Slayers teleport away, leaving their still healthy comrades to sufferer the remaining barrage. All the while firing back at the metal lioness with their red beams.

    Unfortunately the Blink teleport capability of the Slayers is not revealed to Septette until its too late. The Slayer she had knocked off its platform plummets for a short moment, before vanishing and reappearing on another one. On the bright side, her impact had drained its shields a fair bit!

    Being one of the last to shoot, Will is actually able to find some of the already weakened Slayers. One explodes in a blast of debris as its shield is penetrated and structure breached by the plasma bolts.

    The Slayer barrage has lessened very little due to their trick of avoiding death. But thankfully Kotone is able to work out a method to reactivate the bridge. The projectors move back into place and the light reforms. Nova starts to run over it, shouting back, "Keep moving!" It's a bit of a run to the other side, but once she reaches it Nova ducks behind the console on that side and starts taking pot shots.

    As the group begins to cross, the Slayers start to blink down in order to start following across the bridge. The rain of red bolts from them intensifies as they try to shoot those crossing.

Yang Xiao Long has posed:
    Yang shifts from shooting at the Slayers, to firing her bolts at the incoming red shots, intercepting them as best she can. She's pretty adept at intercepting Nevermore feathers, fast as arrows and heavy as pikes, but they're physical objects, so her efforts may be in vain. She's moving across the bridge, dashing away before turning and firing again. Her gauntlets start to glow faintly from the repeated discharges, and then she takes one of those bolts square in the chest.

    She flies backwards from the impact, sliding on her back across the threshold of the other side of the bridge. She looks to be out of the fight, maybe even dead at a quick glance.

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    George slings the rifle back over his shoulders, activates his hullwalking EVA gear (it's for walking on hulls in zero gravity!) and awkwardly stomp-runs as fast as he can upside down on the underside of the bridge, trying to continue using the light-bridge as cover from the fire and hoping against hope that lasers won't go through it. "I'm not down here, don't shoot at me. I'm not down here, don't shoot at me. I wish I could have done this /twenty years ago/ when it didn't make my knees make the worst noises. I'm not down here, don't shoot at me." He mutters in an anxious half-panic, hoping that the others crossing above is going to make sure he doesn't get hit with highly lethal lasers. Even just a few stray shots are making huge boiled and ablated splotches on his hardsuit armor!

    Hopefully they'll get across in good time, and George can swing back onto the walkways using his grappling hook and a swift kick-off launch! Down and then right back up again! And dashing madly onward, since just because they're on the other side of a bridge gap doesn't mean they're not still shooting!

Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     As their shields shatter under the Slayers' fire, the drones take a cue from George's tactics and dart underneath the platform to 'recharge' before they can be sniped out. Septette hops off of the hovering platform, lands on one of the drones' energy shields, and springs off of that to land on the bridge!

     "Don't turn it off don't turn it off TURN IT OFF NOW!" She slides onto solid ground on the other side of the energy bridge and emulates a sigh of relief- which quickly fades to a more serious demeanor as she looks over George and Yang. "Punchdrunk Blondie's-" fingers on wrist, checking pulse for a moment before her grunt confirms it- "out of it but alive." Sept scoops her up almost effortlessly and throws her over one shoulder, using one of the other drones to cover her back. "George, what kind of shape are you in under that tin can of a suit? We got any healers?"

Rory White (673) has posed:
    Wow! Kotone figured it out under this much pressure! Roryis impressed.. because she had to help beat back the Slayers. And that hasn't gone well. Her efforts to dodge are fueld by highly precise mathematical calculations that depend on her body being relatively undamaged... and as the lasers carve gouges into her - however grazing - she starts to get damaged joints, and loses one paw entirely. The flexbot can handle this, of course!

    In factm, as soon as they're all on the move again, its metal surface ripples weirdly as fresh Microbots cycle in to replace the damaged ones, which are relocated to servve as mere armor plating.

    This machine cannot 'regenerate', but it is comprised of thousands of tiny little robots all linked together, and many of them are interchangeable, replaceable, and expendable.

    "Well done! ... These Protoss are extremely cunning and persistent, and they have a terrain advantage here. We should avoid prolonged fights."

William Pauwel has posed:
William Pauwel has a plan!

Now, if someone like, for example, August Kohler were present, he would immediately issue a veto. Will would ignore it, of course, but still! William Pauwel's Plans (tm) have a certain track record associated with them.

They tend to be... messy.

And so when the first words out of his mouth are 'I HAVE A PLAN' and the next ones are 'TRUST ME IT'LL BE FINE,' immediately the red flags start to rise. Will hisses as a bolt of crimson energy sizzles nearby as he surges at top speed across the light-bridge. There's a strange mechanical whirring that accompanies his charge-- careful inspection would note that it's coming from a set of servo motors apparently built into his armored boots. A series of wheels engage and scream underfoot, responding instantly to every lean and turn and allowing Will to inexplicably advance while simultaneously facing back across the bridgeway. He needs the stable firing platform to do what comes next.

Will times it well. Just as soon as Septette retrieves their waylaid little dragon, Will's weapon morphs into something very much similar to a grenade launcher. The light within loses its color, becoming something stark white and unusually solid. He fires, lobbing shining, blinding spheres across the bridge, each one arcs overtop a different emitter. A split second later, and his gun has returned to its original form--

Will fires again, a quick fan of precisely aimed shots, each one connects with each of those glowing spheres... which burst, unleashing shockwaves of raw kinetic force in an airburst right overtop of several of the bridge emitters.

All he has to do is force them back into their housing long enough to cut the Slayers off-- or to drop them into the void. He'll take either one at this point.

They'll... probably be fine, right? Right.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone is working away, with mechanical speed at this point she's not even trying to hide things, there' no real time to slow down. She is now open to attack the Slayer is coming for her and she's so intently focused on her work? Without outside help she's going to have a bad day, thankfully she has cover from Septette and she keeps on working, finally after some serious effort she gets the bridge online.

"Thank you, I owe all one."

That's all she has time at the moment to say to those who protected and watched over her. This is said while she moves to get the heck across the bridge but notices they are following, at this point Kotone kicks in her therm-optic Camo cloaking hopefully to make herself a lesser target.

She does fire back a few shots at the chasing Slayers.

"Agreed we need to cripple the ship, not fight every Protoss on board"

Then William has a plan,

Nova Terra (6381) has posed:
    It seems the bolts of red can be successfully intercepted, as Yang's shots prove. Unfortunately it looks like she can't keep it up for long as she is hit while crossing. Thankfully though she doesn't appear to be much of a target once she's on the ground, the Slayers assuming she's dead.

    George's plan works quite well, for both him and Septette's drones. The Slayers cannot fire through the bridge, or get a good firing angle on him on it's underside. So he is spared their attention for the moment. As George continues on, Nova jumps up from her cover to follow, "No! The other way!" She begins to head down another path, hoping the others follow shortly.

    Kotone's camoflauge is effective as the Slayers lose sight of her. They stop firing, switching targets to some of the others.

    Soon enough, everyone makes it across the bridge just as Will's plan comes into effect. The kinetic shockwaves shake the emitter on this end, slowly pushing it back. The bridge of light flickers a little, until finally the emitter is forced back into its rest position. The bridge vanishes, those Slayers that were on it beginning to fall. Their blink abilities kick in, sending them teleporting back to the edge. But it's on the starting side and once there... They don't follow. It does look like the gap is too far for them to teleport across.

    Another quick breather available, Nova leading the others forward. She agrees with Rory's words, "We're not going to be able to defeat them all. We just need to complete the mission!" She ducks around a corner, "We're almost there!" They come to a dead end, a room with numerous indentations in the floor. They look important. Nova explains, "Teleport pads. Get on!" She moves over to the nearby console, starting to manipulate it, "Thankfully the Daelaam instructions included this part." Looks like they didn't anticipate the bridge issue. Once everyone is on a pad, Nova activates the sequence and runs over to one herself.

    Everyone is engulfed with light, which then quickly fades to reveal a near identical teleport room. However, the exit from this room leads out into a large interior room. In the center, several large floating panels are orbitting a massive crystal. There are numerous console at the base, but they all look rather complex. Nova walks towards the center of the room, saying, "That's the generator for the core shield. If we can just destroy that-"

    Nova is cut off by the sounds of incoming warps. More Tal'darim arrive. After materializing, the one in the center of the group can be seen literally hovering several feet in the air. He's not as heavily armoured as the Zealots encountered earlier, but his armour is quite ornate. The lack of a proper neck guard also shows these aliens don't have mouths... Which probably explains the telepathy. Around this Tal'darim are a number of others. However they aren't armoured at all, simply wearing some modest clothes as well as a gauntlet on one hand.

    The one in the center raises his hand, a red orb of light beginning to form beyond it. He announces to the group, "I am Ascendant Senrik of the Tal'darim. Your foolish endeavour ends here!" He unleashes the large orb, sending it streaking towards the group to explode in a flash of destructive psionic energy. Nova is caught in the blast, sent flying by it and striking a wall. The other Tal'darim do not move from their position or attack at all, they just wait.

    Nova groans quietly, slowly picking herself up as she says, "Destroy the generator..."

Rory White (673) has posed:
    Rory really dislieks teleporter technology she knows nothing about! But in a hurry, there's no real choice otherwise. So she just goes with it...

    All the way to when the group is surrounded. Rory's feline form claws to a halt. She thankfully has more optics than just the obvious ones - a number of tiny cameras all over her form give her a great idea of just how big of a problem this is.

    And she realizes she might have a chance at getting THROUGH to these warriors.

    "Tal'darim warriors, I am Rory White of the Commonwealth Paladins! The Defenders of Man are not here! They have deceived you just like they are deceiving the Dominion and even the Zerg! We all want them brought to justice! So I ask you to withdraw your forces and let us cooperate in rooting them out! ... I will have no choice but to try and force your withdrawal, otherwise. I cannot allow the bombardment to continue. The Defenders of Man will frame this attack as a sign your presence cannot be trusted! It is a misinformation campaign!"

    Well. She's a very direct person when it comes to such things, as always, but she has to at least try. Once.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone shaking the Slayers gives her more time to act and a move on, soon they are all across the bridge. Just in time for Will's plan to come into effect it seems to woirk as they have a breather Kotone will take the time to reload.

"Cripple the ship and get the hell out Rory. That's what we're here for!"

She'll keep moving and then arrive at a dead end.

"So they told us how to get past this?"

Oh it's a teleporter it seems and soon she's ported away with everyone else as they looks to the attacker and the generator.

Kotone will uses the Mater Manipulator at her hip and her SMG is gone replace by a heavy rail rifle that's more suited to a power armour to use. She holds it like it's a normal rifle and she'll take aim for the core and open fire with control chain of shots from her weapon at it, she doe snot sit still though that would be a bad idea for her to do so.

Yang Xiao Long has posed:
    Yang isn't quite as 'out' as she first appears, hauling herself up to her feet and shaking herself out. "Those things pack a punch." she says, picking at the scorched jacket and tank top. "I liked this outfit..." huff. Not like you were NEARLY KILLED, Yang. Priorities.

    She uses a booth, then watches as Nova gets sent flying away from that blast of psi energy... She doesn't know the Ghost, but she's an ally, and that's enjoy to send the Blonde off. "GGGGGRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Her form detonates again, her flowing blonde hair burning like flame, and her lilac eyes turning a baleful red. She fires behind her, launching herself forwards, straight at the floating guy. "YOUR NAME COULD BE SHIT FOR ALL I CARE!" she screams, aiming to smash her fist into the lack of a mouth. She's insanely strong, and that translates into a higher launch velocity from the sheer force her Semblance imparts to her.

Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     After carefully setting Yang down, Septette takes a moment to give herself a once-over and check for injuries while waiting to be warped. Exoskeletal plates are holding fine, but her shawl is pocked with scorched holes where the Stalker bolts passed through it, and there are light nicks on her forearms from the Zealot's blades. Enchantment matrix evidently needs to be recalibrated to deal with point-blank psionic energies, and the shawl is salvageable with some patches.

     Sadly, her sartorial self-diagnostic is cut short by a flash of light and a hostile welcoming party. She's immediately concerned about these unfamiliar entites: anyone brave enough to carry a weapon but no armor is probably dangerous! The one with his hand crackling with energy, likely even moreso. Without a clear idea of what he's capable of--

     Psycho-intrusion attempt screened and logged.
     Atypical Deimos vector, probable verbal payload.
     Integrity diagnostics positive. Resuming...

     --she has to treat him as a serious threat, a suspicion that's validated a moment later when the psionic blast downs Nova! The crimson energy clears, revealing Septette still standing, her arms unfolded into uncanny assemblages of blades and smoke rising from her shoulders as her shawl burns off. She takes a step forward, purple eyes alight with concentration as she raises one hand. "Someone cover Nova and the saboteurs. I'll help here."

     A long twisted spear of magical ice materializes in front of her palm and launches towards the Ascendant's center of mass! As it impacts his plasma shield, it'll shatter into dozens of sharp shards, hopefully depleting the personal barrier even further.

William Pauwel has posed:
One of Will's plans worked! Without anything terrible happening to anybody! It's a miracle! Will laughs all the way to the teleporter pads, riding a high so strong that he barely even stops to poke and prod at the teleportation system's technology before turning to run after the others. He has good reason! There's something even MORE amazing further down this way, isn't there!?

There is.

A massive crystal core, pulsing with unknown energies. Will's jaw drops as he approaches it, reaching a mechanical hand out to try and brush gently against that massive gem--

And then he's bowled over by a tremendous burst of psychic force.

Will screams as the energies convulse across his body. He is not psychic-- he's barely even magical in any way, shape or form. But once, some time ago, the young Chaser made contact with the very living will of an entire world. It took something of him, something which may yet have grown back. The psychic shock has left him at once keenly familiar with and definitely vulnerable to such an onslaught.

Crimson power surges across his body, over his mind. He yells in a manner utterly bloodcurdling as his limbs flail as if to try and strip the force from his flesh. And then, there's a sound like a hammer smashing into steel.

A mechanical arm strains as it forces Will's body upright, crimson lightning still arcing across his body. The pain is excruciating. But, he's still conscious enough to feel it. That means he's still conscious enough to move. To act.

Will gave part of himself to act as a conduit for the Will of a Planet, once upon a time.

Perhaps that part has yet to regrow, but...

Perhaps that planet left something behind as well?

Will roars as he lifts his weapon to the crystal. Terminal Judgment, the final weapon forged from the wisdom of the Tellurian Ancients, glows with a light that contrasts so brilliantly against the hateful crimson of the Tal'Darim crystal constructs. Light as if from the heart of a newly minted star ignites within the cannon as it seems to struggle to expand to contain it. The weapon's technology nurtures that power, gathers it and grows it until it can hold it no longer. A voice, crystalline, clear and perfect resounds through the chamber.

                         Jeans Mass Limit Exceeded                          
                      Protostellar Ignition Initiated                      

Will depresses the trigger.

Suddenly, the reason for all that strange, black shielding covering his limbs becomes clear. It's Ancient Metamaterial-- a substance capable of absorbing an astronomical amount of thermal energy. He needed it, for the express purpose of unleashing Terminal Judgment's power and surviving the ensuing stress. A sphere of roiling, churning, white-blue plasma the size of a Crucio Siege Tank erupts from the weapon's barrel and blasts upwards at the massive crystal at the center of the room. Will is blown back by the recoil, his boots skidding across the platform until a new mechanism built into the armor there is able to deploy a set of struts to arrest his forward momentum.

He drops to a knee, red energy still crackling painfully across his skin. But...

...Was it worth it?

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    George is well familiar with teleport pads, and has no ethical issue with being disintegrated and cloned elsewhere. Wait, that's not how Protoss teleportation works? Oh thank goodness, the Ship of Theseus is saved. He dashes out of the teleport chamber and towards the generator core shield. And theeeere's the Protoss again, George doesn't even /stop/ when the guy talks. "Hi! It's gonna take a /lot/ to end me being foolish, sorry!" He shouts out, stumbling and being launched forward by the sudden blast that slams into the group.

    He reaches into his matter manipulator. Power drill, left hand. Hydraulic crowbar, right hand. Everyone else is laying into that central figure; George is breaking off, heading for that generator! While he could try to smash it, it's a little more sensible to pry, drill, and rip at the thing itself. Tear open anything that looks like it might open, slice conductive materials, drill out anything that glows... And try to smash anything that gets near him with brutal head-focused melee. He's not liking the look of those unarmored units, expecting that they probably deliver some kind of psychic punch instead.

Nova Terra (6381) has posed:
    George is able to mess with some of the tech at the base of the generator. Beginning to cause arcs of red energy to arc between the crystal and the sections orbiting it. Kotone's rifle meanwhile starts to dig into those sections, blowing holes in to them and adding to the discharging energy.

    "No! It is your words that are deceptive." Rory's pleas for civil discussion fall on deaf... Do Protoss even have ears? A quick look at the Ascendant reveals that they do not. Nor noses, or the previously mentioned mouths... Huh. Well, anyway, the Ascendant continues telepathically, "We were monitoring the Terran transmission. We know the leader of the Defenders of Man is here. Their transgressions require her and her compatriots to die! And we will accomplish that by wiping them from the face of this planet!"

    Unfortunately it does seem like the Tal'darim are just a bit too warlike, not to mention greatly arrogant, to agree to any terms. However, Rory's words are not completely pointless as they serve as a good distraction. Septette's ice spear is able to break the Ascendant's shield, shattering it into light. It's at that point that Yang comes flying in at high speed. Her powerful punch connects with the side of the Ascendant's head, sending him flying and smashing into a nearby wall. The rest of the Tal'darim that arrived are... Oddly stationary. But their purpose soon becomes clear...

    Streams of red psionic energy begin to rise out of the still Tal'darim, joining together into one that flows towards the Ascendant. His badly smashed body convulses as the energy enters it and he quickly rises up into the air once more. The stream of energy quickly ends, the group of Tal'darim collapsing to the ground. They're not dead, but they are damn near it. Meanwhile the Ascendant seems to have fully recovered from Yang's powerful blow, raising his hand one more to threaten the group.

    It's at this point that Will's ultimate weapon is fired. The massive blast of plasma streaks towards the crystal core of the generator, smashing into it. There's resistance at first, the sound of rising energy suggesting the crystal is somehow defending itself. But with the damage the generator has already received, it cannot survive. The crystal is finally overwhelmed, exploding into shards that show the entire room.

    The Ascendant looks on with shock, exclaiming telepathically, "No! Impossible!" He seems to forget about the elites, floating towards the consoles in the room in order to try and salvage something. Those with sensors will be able to detect the rapid rise of radiation. Not immediately harmful, it will be soon if they don't escape.

    Nova has managed to get to her feet once more, making her way back to the teleport pads they used to reach the generator room, "Come on! We can't stay." She puts in the sequence given to her for their escape. It's only once all the others have made it to the pads that she activates it, making it to one herself just in time as they are all engulfed in light.

    The teleport feels longer this time and once the light fades, everyone will find themselves back on the planet below. They've returned to the Terran base where they all arrived! The shadow cast upon this part of the city begins to recede, the mothership eclipsing the sun in the sky above beginning to move away. The Tal'darim ships in the air begin to warp away and the sounds of fighting in the city slowly lessen, before going entirely silent.

William Pauwel has posed:
Will sees the panic on the Tal'darim Ascendant's face. Somehow. Protoss don't exactly have expressions, but regardless, Will can just tell, under the brim of his hat and the glare of his own shot-- that guy... Isn't happy.

Well. That's just dandy.

Will chuckles as he disappears into the light moments before a cascade of deadly radiation pours over where he once was. When he emerges, he's on his feet for about a second... Before toppling over onto his back with a long, pained groan.


Septette Arcubielle (632) has posed:
     Septette seems, briefly, torn between following Nova's plan and trying to finish off the Ascendant. The rising radiation levels won't be a concern to her for a while yet... but being left behind on a ship that might warp to parts unknown is a much more pressing concern. In truth, the decision takes her only an instant to make- but there is value in putting on a show of her reluctance.

     Back on the surface, she picks the remains of her shawl out of her collarbone and rolls her shoulders, wincing when something snags with a metallic groan. She peers up at the sky, shading her eyes with her hand, and smiles. "We did good. Even Yang."

     After a moment, she feigns remembering something and digs around in her satchel. "Oh, George- you almost forgot... aha!" Triumphantly, she holds up a green floppy disk and presents it to the Captain. Judging by how it's been stressed and half-melted, she must've had it on her the whole time. "Lucky someone here has more presence of mind than you, huh?"

William Pauwel has posed:
But! Will did not just come out of this adventure with a bunch of new lumps, one hell of a psychic burn and all kinds of new appreciation for the agony of living. He brought something along with him.

Clutched in one hand is a sizable crystal fragment, still pulsing erratically with unknown energies.

It seems he took something with him to study...!

Starbound Flotilla has posed:
    George looks up from his work just in time to see the oncoming Will-Beam, and swear and shout on his way out of the generator's vicinity. The work, at least, is done; George can get out of here! He dashes back, shouting back to the Ascendant: "No hard feelings!" The mad rush to the teleporter is a familiar one, and George can feel this taking much longer... And then they're back! "Damn, you weren't kidding about these guys having good warp tech." He says, scratching the side of his helmet in a purely rhetorical gesture. He immediately wanders over to Will, and checks around. "Anyone here gonna mind if I takebacksies on his robot arms?"

    But Septette is here to distract him from trying to steal William Pauwel's parts. He laughs! THAT DIIIISK. "Hahaha, whaaaat, hey! Always knew that even the psychics would still be usin' these." No doubt they weren't, but George is fully willing to make the claim that good human floppy diskcraft is eternal and superior, even in the context of high-powered psychic space-empires. He takes the burned and warped disk carefully, as if it were an alien treasure as valuable as William's crystal.

    Then he watches the battle lessen and dry up over time. Unfolding his helmet, he start smoking again, of course, and just sort of watches the lights much more peacefully.