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14/04/2017
Sharky
Feredir
Hector
Hurricane Hannah
Flayer

We heal up and decided to head back to the teleporter. Flayer says that it way have recharged over night. When we enter the room it looks like it was recharged! Flayer concluded that we can use the teleporter once per day. Any other time, you need a 5th level spell or two 4th level spells casted at the same time.

The party decides to head down through the teleporter in the morning. We see signs that the previous battle was cleaned up. Feredir spots tracks on the ground that go from the south hallway where we did battle to the north at a slow rate. And the same set of tracks came back and headed south quickly than the tracks that went north.

Hurricane Hannah casted a sphere of invisibility and we huddle together with her to stay as quite as possible. We decide as a group to head north to see what is there. We are figuring the cyclops are to the south and we are hear for the crystal/jewel not certain death.

As we head north, we notice a pair of doors surrounded by rubble. It looks like we would need to excavate to get to the door. We are trying to be stealthy and decide to move on. There are several passage ways that are closed with rubble and another teleportation circle in the floor. Feredir notices that the space appears to be "unused". There are two columns next to it, but so far they have not animated as we try to sneak pass. We come into a room that a dome ceiling that rises 80 ft over head. In the center of the hall, there is a 30ft high egg shaped structure with stone stairs. The stairs end before a stone wall that is carved to look like an eye. The stairs and eye have tiny stars that are projecting constellations overhead on the wall of the room. The eye in the wall is in circled with glowing runes. There are several areas in this room where it caved in. But there is a set of big brass doors that are intact to the west. Flayer says he knows the language and thinks the ruins say "If you remove your eyeball, you can feed it to the Eye of Specialness". Feredir says the tracks lead to the stairs, but he is not 100% sure since the stairs are made of stone.

We continue huddled together to check what is on the other side of the egg shaped (eye shaped) structure. We find another set of doors on the opposite side and a passage way has another set of more rugged doors and the rest of the passageway is caved in (and therefore blocked). Flayer casts detect magic on the door and it detect magic (faint). Flayer casts the unlock spell on the rugged door and the rest of the party stands off in case something happens when the door opens. Flayer says the door had an arcane lock spell on it. The knock spell will keep it "unlocked" for 10 minutes.

Sharky with bull strength attempts to open the door. We all push together and the door opens! The room is a vault! However no one has been in this room for a century, so most of the stuff is rotted and unusable. The items appeared to tributes. We cast detech magic and find the following magical items: net, pearl, rod, potion (neutralize poison), scroll and wand(wand summon monster IV).

Open another door and it is a storeroom filled with incense. Flayer notices the sense and says that the sent could be a potent incense called Irthava incense. It is an inhaled drug that causes blindness and give bonus to wisdom check (d4 bonus).

We open the other door and a wall of silent/darkness was there. Flayer, Sharky and I go in and it is pitch black and make no noise. We spend a good 10 minutes wandering around the room and find sitting pillows and a number of incense. It was a meditation chamber.

Feredir decides to use the incense and he is blinded. He claims he can see a crack in egg structure. He says he can sense the stairs and wants to go towards the opening the eyeball. Hannah casts fly on him before he goes through the crack. The rest of the party's plan is to try to follow him. But we see Feredir turn into a shadow (non-corporeal) and steps in. We are unable to follow him through the solid wall.

Feredir is hit with dark energy and loses 3 levels. When taking the gem, the room becomes viewable to us. We see Feredir grab the gem. He screams and trapped in the gem! An undead cyclops (gholdako) appears and breathes on Hector and I. Hector becomes permanently blinded! It is resistant to weapons, cold, fire, channeling, and undead traits. Can do a blinding breath attach 1d4 rounds!

Our party engages the two gholdakos! After a tough battle and Hector almost dies, but we are able to defeat the two gholadoks. In the process, Sharky is hit by the dark energy that comes from the crystal. I help heal Sharky and Hector while Hurricane Hannah and Flayer go after the crystal.

Flayer discovers upon looking at the crystal that the gem is the gem of serenity. The gem has been tainted and as long as the gem is affixed in its pedestal bad things will continue to happen. We discovered during the battle that the gem dims when Hector casts a channel against undead. Hector casts a channel, the gem dims and Flayer is able to pull the gem from its pedestal and we all head to the treasure room to rest.

We stop here for the night. We need to decide on what to do with the gem. Feredir is trapped in it!

FYI - Sharky has taken damage from what appears to be mummy rot?

Loot:
From Vault Room -
Non-magical Items stored in shrunk chest:
gold necklace 1,000gp, vase 1,500gp, 18-100gp pearls, 318pp, 5,536gp, 854sp, 1,266cp

Magic Items:
net of snaring (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic/all-spells/n/net-of-snaring/), +1 distance net - range of 40ft touch attach. Grows 2 size categories when activated) - Sharky is carrying
pearl of power - (know the command word) - Recall a spell of 3rd level
Rod of wonder - (Command word is known)- Hannah is carrying
Potion of neutralize poison - Flayer is carrying
Scroll of Divination - Flayer is carrying
Wand of summon monster IV - Adele is carrying

Adele made her second save on the curse!
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Chris
Posted by the GM
Iron Gods
The Doctor is out, the Cleric is in
Beginning of Session
Technological Dungeon (120 Minutes)
Afternoon, 15 Gozran 4715
Level 3

The account...
* Of killing a new tribe of vegepygmies and taking the stuff they took from their birth corpses
* Of continuing to ignore the chemical accident
* Of finding, healing, and returning Khonnir with the help of a 6th level cleric's entire spell list and one disguise check
* Of returning a ring, and stealing a drink
* Of Kramlun's misguided belief that Watch knows what a bribe is
* Of a man with nothing to lose finding the thing he lost

End of Session
Torch
Evening, 16 Gozran 4715
Level 4

What rocked
* The Jinkin Gremlin from the first session coming back, and Yohuali using his Black Cat ability to make it miss.
* Sanvil Trett is heading for a confrontation, probably with Watch, and she won't even know why he's upset. Could get dangerous, because I can't imagine her de-escalating the situation.
* "Spread the word: I'm looking for a buyer for my alien skull and spirit."

What could have improved
* I didn't feel like I portrayed the dungeon very well, I kept forgetting little details (the power coming back on in the decontamination room, the skulks who hated Khonnir)
* Similarly, I could have backed off and let the players narrate some stuff. I was stretched kind of thin trying to handle the mad dash back to Torch for help. Next time I want to let someone else narrate a scene so I have time to collect my thoughts.
* I shouldn't have stepped in to nudge things toward a solution with Khonnir's nanite problem. Sometimes it's better to shut up for a while.






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Steve
Posted by the GM
Forsaken Stars
The crew rescues Chet from Enis' house
At the farm coming up with an approach plan, Joe's communicator signals an incoming video call. He answers and Sergeant Teray looks through Joe's display screen.
“Captain Anderson,” Teray says with a bite. Joe can easily tell from his face as well that the man is angry about something. “I've got a recovered electronic monitoring device that came off one of your crew and I can't help but notice you're all in the general area which is was found. You care to explain what's going on?”

Joe explains the distress signal Rayburne had received that morning and tells of their investigation, including the encounter with Lum and Zed. Sergeant Teray explains that the marines who recovered the arm band were being prepared to intercept the Show Time crew members if Joe hadn't answered the call. He suspected they were trying to flee into hiding, but with the detailed and reasonable explanation, the Sergeant's anger subsided and he wanted to know more. He asked how much the man called Zed, whom they let go alive, knows about who the Show Time crew is and the chasing marines. Joe answered that he told Zed they're just a private ships crew and that marines were looking for the man they kidnapped.
Sergeant Teray told Joe that the electronic monitor arm band they recovered from the quick stop was Chet's. Teray said he'll call the marines off and asked what Joe plans to do next. When Joe answered by asking for assistance, Sergeant Teray said he can't get involved. He explained that the farms in that area of Vorta are controlled by crime bosses. Since organized crime cannot survive in the extremely well governed major cities, these criminal groups have taken a stranglehold of the farming industry. They run businesses too important to the survival of all remote space operations, as they produce the food supply shipped off planet. However, this gives them opportunity to smuggle illegal goods off planet as well: drugs, weapons, etc. Sergeant Teray explains that his authority is strictly in space operations, and planet based law enforcement gives the farms a wide birth as their crime does not effect the lives of those living on Vorta and the agriculture is so essential. He tells Joe that if they're going to do something to help Chet, they're on their own. He'll personally monitor their activities and keep certain actions quiet, like braking Vorta's weapon laws for example, as long as “whatever happens on that farm, don't let it leave the farm.”
Joe asked if some assistance could be provided in the way of equipment, and Sergeant Teray agreed to have a drop of some less used gear dropped to them ASAP.
"I could get some weapons out of surplus that no one would notice missing for a couple of days. I can't get you any currently used tech, so you'll have to carry a power pack for any energy weapons and I can't get you any power armor or full combat armor. However, I could send some old armor that isn't used in the field anymore. Likely no one will notice, but if someone stumbles on the fact there's missing mothballed gear, I'll tag it to a black op. Everything MUST be returned when you are finished at the farm."
Sergeant Teray arranged for two laser rifles, a box of 6 frag grenades, climbing gear, and three poly-carapace suits of armor for the group. In addition, Rayburne requested his personal equipment.

Treatimus requested the climbing gear and told his crewmates that the best approach would be to ride their grav-bikes out wide and approach the valley from the back, where Enis' house backed against a cliff. They would avoid the obvious approach and hopefully be in and out before the other two houses in the valley found out what was going on. They waited a couple hours for the supply drop, and a couple more for the fall of darkness. They left their grav-bikes parked a reasonable distance away as not to be heard, and made the approach to the cliff.

At the cliff's edge they could see the large house below. The trees were cleared behind the house all the way to the cliff's wall, but off to the side is a two story garage with the trees cut back only 20 meters from there. So Joe, Ray, and Treatimus walked along the cliff until they could rappel into the cover off trees and approach the house towards the garage. Treatimus skillfully tied the knots, and each rappelled down and sneaked through the trees. When they got to the rear of the garage they saw a door. Inside it was empty of people, occupied only by its likely usual residents: two fancy grav cars and mechanic's equipment. They spot a set of stairs going up, and Treatimus takes the lead. Keeping his awareness on the slightly open door at the top of the stairs, Treat looses his footing and loudly stumbles. They hear movement in the room and Ray steps ahead of Treat to open the door and look in.

BOOM! Shrapnel sprays into the stairs from a shotgun blast hitting the door frame. Treat leans in and gets a shot off with his laser, but it burns into the couch the gunman inside is using for cover. Taking a second shot he hits the same smoldering spot on the couch and his beam goes through. He hears the painful yell of the gunman as he sees him drop behind the couch. Rayburne dashes in with his broadsword and finishes the man off with a stab. The room is a simple apartment above the garage occupied by no one else. Joe ran down the stairs to watch the entrances to the garage on the main level making sure no one hears the noise and flanks them from behind. Treatimus and Ray come back down the stairs with the room above cleared, and Joe takes point as they exit from the garage. As they open the door the light inside silhouettes them from behind. Joe quickly spots a man carrying a shotgun who had just walked out from the main house. The man was calling out a name as he looked to the second floor of the garage, probably of the man they had just killed, and cautiously walking toward the first floor door. The same door Joe just opened. Luckily Joe was quicker on the reaction and his shot was dead on, hitting the man square in the torso. Without armor the laser rifles made quick work of the house guards, this one in particular dividing the man's upper half from his lower.

The door the man left open to the house brought them into a large kitchen. The Show Time crews' route took them into a hallway with several doors. The first opened on their right went into a rec room, a man by the window must have seen what happened and was waiting for them. When Rayburne opened the door he's greeted by a shotgun blast to the chest.

Thankfully, the poly-carapace armor absorbed the shot leaving his body unharmed. Treatimus stepped in right behind Ray and hit the house guard in the shoulder with a laser blast. The man dropped to a knee but kept in the fight. Joe stayed in the hallway to act as rear guard and Ray charged in with his broadsword, a wide and powerful swoop finding the kneeling man's neck, severing his head. In the hallway another shotgun totting guard rounded the corner ahead towards Joe, yelling out with shock and pulling the trigger. Joe's armor protects him from a load of shot to the chest and Joe returns the favor with his laser rifle. Again he finds his mark and the beam of energy blows the man's torso hollow. If anything, their raid so far has made it clear first hand to Joe the difference of having armor and not.

Rayburne exits the cleared room grasping the hair of a decapitated head with a frag grenade in its mouth. Joe lets the star marine run ahead and takes the shocking sight in stride; he had no idea the level of violence that might reveal itself in the protection he'd hired for the Show Time. Behind the next door they find an empty restroom. The hallway ahead turns left into a large, vaulted entry foyer, or another unchecked door wait right ahead at the corner of the hall. Rayburne opens the door and finds stairs headed downstairs. “Stairs down?” Joe says from behind. “I bet they hold prisoners in a torture basement. Let's go down.” The group quickly continues ahead, moving like they'd trained for this together. Despite the fact that they hadn't Ray's experience boarding ships, Treatimus' police experience, and Joe's general go with the flow... it was all adding up very well at the moment.

The basement below was open, void of any interior walls and as large as the footprint of the house. On one side of the area were various size crates, tables covered in strange items and equipment, and on the other side of the room a man tied to a chair flanked by two armed and armored men. Ray charges in without hesitation, reaching one of the guards before he had time to react. His gyro-stabilized broadsword went through from shoulder to hip like warm butter. The second guard reacted fast enough to turn and get two shots into Ray. He felt the warm sting of steel penetrate though his armor and into his flesh. The solid punch of the auto-shotgun put Ray back and made him stumble back onto the ground. Treatimus fired a laser shot into the guard, hitting him well and knocking him down in pain. However, the guard's armor kept him alive and he sat up, auto-shotgun ready and still a threat. Joe's shot quickly followed and finished him off. The violent and sudden chaos in the basement had just as suddenly ended. Rayburne looked at himself and found more of his own blood than he cared to see. Joe went to the man tied to the chair and saw that it was indeed his engineer, Chet. He untied him and Treat looked to Ray.
“We gotta keep moving,” is all the marine said as he got back to his feet.
As Joe was loosing the last of the rope form Chet, Treatimus and Ray looked at the tables on the other side of the basement. Treat's law enforcement knowledge helped him recognize the supplies and equipment. As Treat was looking it over, Rayburne had partially disassembled a grenade.
“This is a lab for making combat drugs and stims,” Treat said to Ray across the table.
“I'm setting this grenade for three minutes,” Rayburne answered. With that, he set the grenade on one of the tables and headed for the stairs.
Freed from the chair, Chet grabs the two auto-shutguns lying on the floor and follows Joe to the stairs. As the other three start heading up the stairs Treatimus grabs 4 vials of each finished drug, shoving them in his armor's pockets, and follows after the others.

Leading the group, when Ray gets to the top of the stairs he sees a house guard and ducks back for cover.
“Boss!” the man shouts. “They're coming back up!”
Ray finds a good friends as an easy answer to his problem: a grenade. You know Ray's motto, 'you can never have too many grenades.'
He squeezes the trigger buttons and gives the small device a throw around the corner towards the open foyer where the yelling guard was. The detonation is louder than anything so far. Air rushes towards them, shrapnel pelts the hallway wall outside the stairway's exit, and debris off the walls slides across the floor. Ray leads the way and the others follow. Chet, Joe, and Treatimus continues, but Ray props himself at the corner keeping cover on the foyer until everyone gets to the kitchen. Through the smoke and dust he doesn't see any movement, until he sees the guard on the floor push out into view. They exchange shots, neither hitting anyone, and Ray runs after his companions. With Chet and Treatimus already outside, Joe is at the kitchen's exits waiting for Rayburne to follow. Seeing Ray run from the hall into the kitchen, Joe readies another grenade as they both exit the house and he tosses it into the kitchen behind him. The explosion booms behind them as they pass the garage and go back into the trees, running to the cliff's face where their ropes wait.

The reach the ropes and Joe waits to be the last. As they're climbing back up the cliff the pandemonius scene they left behind from their quick strike could be heard through the trees. With Chet, Treatimus, and Ray back up the cliff, Joe starts his climb and hears another explosion behind. This one's different, as a couple secondary explosions can be heard with it, and they sound slightly muffled. The timer for the grenade Ray had left on the lab table had run out. Joe slips on the rope, his strength failing him and not lasting for the whole climb. Ray shouts down, telling him to wrap his legs on the rope and hold on. The three men at the top haul Joe up the rest of the cliff. With everyone safely out of the valley they make their way to the grav-bikes.
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Carl
Posted by the GM
Return to Eberron - 5e
40. In the thick of it
Night in the Dreamscape crept upon the entrance to Toadwallow Caverns like a skulking thief, the leaden grey sky darkening slowly, before dropping to a deep dusk in the blink of an eye. Cedric watched Beon pick his way slowly across the marshy terrain of the Toadwallows, leading the other catatonic captives by the hand, who followed him without protest.
His heart panged at the thought of these innocent victims being left to fend for themselves but Alfrigg’s soldiers-wisdom had been enough to make him see the right of the situation, however much it pained him.
“There be other battles to fight,” Alfrigg had stoically proclaimed, sheathing his fearsome axe across his back. “Would ye win the battle there only to lose the war here?”
Alfrigg was right. The dwarf was not normally the most philosophical of people, but he understood war, and whilst the marshy and ephemeral landscape they found themselves in may not seem the most obvious of battlefields, something told Cedric that the battle they fought here was of critical importance to the fate of Aundair and maybe even the nations beyond.
What a strange path we have travelled, Cedric mused, his gaze going to the large, iron cage across the clearing as he settled upon the porous outcropping that marked the entrance to Toadwallow Caverns.
It lay slightly askew now and had sunken a little further in to the swampy ground, but it was still an imposing structure.
It must weigh half a tonne, Cedric thought with some sense of awe.
Images flickered in to his mind, intruding on his thoughts. Fiery eyes and a never-ending cavern in place of a mouth; all within the face of a delicate gnomish woman. He wasn’t sure what to make of it. This place was strange.
Like a dream, Cedric thought with an ironic smile.
He cast a surreptious glance at Selph. The wizard had busied himself with the Potion of Healing and had a small flame burning beneath the bulb of the flask, warming it slightly.
Cedric caught occasional flashes of green as the gem in Selph’s palm caught the light. The image flickered in his mind once more. Fiery, malevolent eyes. More like a nightmare, Cedric thought, and pulled some rations from his pack.

Stupid elf, Selph thought as Aernard disappeared down the rocky length of the passageway, ranging and scouting ahead. Why didn’t he just tell me to use Message before he left, Selph thought grumpily, annoyed at Aernard’s silent mocking of his misunderstanding, folding his arms and staring intently down the tunnel.
He suspects. Kill him as well my love.
Selph’s eyes widened as the thought caressed his mind like a lover whispering in his ear.
He looked about, suddenly self-conscious, imagining for a moment that someone had actually spoken to him.
Alfrigg stood stolidly beside him with axe in hand, as implacable as ever. The Priest and Druid watched down the corridor, weapons at a low-ready, occasionally exchanging a whispered word.
No one else. No one. He was virtually alone.
Never alone my love. Never alone.
The whisper came again, this time like a touch on the back of his neck. He shuddered involuntarily, momentary pleasure tingling down his back.
Again Selph looked at his fellow party members to see whether anyone had seen his reaction. They continued to focus their attention down the passage.
He breathed deeply, unsure of what to make of this sudden tumble of emotions. Fear. Adoration. Urgency. Love. Hatred. Love. Hatred.
Never alone.
Selph shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts and focus on the task at hand. He caught sight of Aernard returning, creeping up the passageway in a silent crouch.
Suddenly he wondered what he had been thinking about. Becoming senile in my old age, Selph thought with a smile, the feelings of a moment ago now completely gone.
He initiated Message again, but Aernard had reached the party before it was needed. He motioned the party in and Selph leant in to the huddle they formed.
Aernard relayed what he had seen in a low voice, using hand motions where appropriate. Selph nodded as they decided on a plan of attack. He thought he heard something and cast a quick glance over his shoulder, looking out on to the marshy clearing, but there was nothing there.
I’m getting old, he thought again with some amusement, besides it’s not like I’m alone. I’m never alone.

A muffled whisper was all Aernard heard before Thysper suddenly threw his hands upward.
Ahead of them, thick, ropey vines seemed to spring from the rocky floor of the cavern and writhe about like fibrous tentacles. They grasped at the Thrall Guard and at the massive, charcoal-coloured Hell Hound, pulling at their limbs and entwining themselves around their bodies.
Aernard took his cue and released his own natural magics, a hemisphere of silence emanating from the large, wooden door on which the Thrall and Hell Hound stood guard.
The sounds of their struggles was suddenly cut off as the magic took hold, and Aernard snatched up his bow and began firing.
The Thrall immediately began slashing at the entangling vines with its scimitar, cutting them away in swathes and within moments it was free and had moved a short way to it's right.
Aernard smiled as it tugged upon a long chord and the bell mounted on the wall began to swing metronomincally, the clapper swaying back and forward against the mouth.
An alarm's no good if it can't make a sound, Aernard thought, pleased by his own foresight. He raised the arrow smoothly to his cheek and fired, the projectile streaking unerringly towards the Thrall and thumping in to its forearm, pining it to the cavern wall behind and stopping its pulling.
That's one, Aernard thought, and sent another arrow at the struggling Hell Hound, which battled amidst the mass of vines. The arrow struck true and the beast let out a silent, fiery howl.
That's two!
Aernard stowed his bow and drew his weapons. The cacophony from behind him told him that the rest of the party were not far behind and he dashed forward as the Thrall wrenched its arm free impassively, the arrow still sticking through its arm.
A streak of green to his right showed Thysper had joined the battle and the Hell Hound thrashed about in silent fury as a projectile suddenly sprouted from its eye, fire spewing from it's mouth like coughed up blood and a sickly black ichor leaking down its muzzle.
Aernard met the Thrall as it advanced with a flurry of blows, striking in a clatter of steel.
Alfrigg dashed past and on towards the Hell Hound, massive axe in hand, then Cedric moments later, a large crossbow held ready.
A blast of heat erupted to his right, smothering both Alfrigg and Cedric, but both seemed to weather the fiery exhalation with little distress.
Aernard caught a glimpse of the beast, which now thrashed about blindly, snapping randomly with his fanged maw, a large bolt also protruding from its other eye.

A few moments later, Aernard wrenched Little Tooth free from the now lifeless body of the Thrall.
Alfrigg gave a grunt as he also pulled the blade of his axe free. Both Alfrigg and Cedric looked none the worse for wear, and if anything, each a a strange flush to their cheeks.
"This be obvious enough to me" Alfrigg offered, looking upon the cavernous entrance to Toadwallow Caverns for the first time.
"They be supplyin' an army."
"I agree," Cedric offered, adding the weight of his martial tutelage.
"This is obviously some kind of forward supply depot."
"And taken by force," Aernard replied, pointing to one of the many mangled corpses lying about.
"Aye. And I'm no hedge-doctor, but these don't be the skeletons of any Bullywugs I've heard of" Alfrigg said.

The three warriors stood considering the answers. They were all experienced soldiers. They knew the implications of supply lines and strategic caches. A gathering army.
Aernard considered the massive disturbance he had felt to the south, just a few miles from their position.
Fiends. Thousands of them. As fearsome an army as he could consider, and certainly one that could turn the War.
He had thought that entering the Dreamscape and chasing the Queen would lead them further from the War.
But suddenly, here they were again, behind enemy lines, and in the very thick of the conflict.
He looked upon the thick, oaken entrance to Toadwallow Caverns, considering what might be beyond.
I need a drink, he thought, and decided to check whether the supplies included any liquor.
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Steve
Posted by the GM
Forsaken Stars
A distress signal leads the Show Time crew out into the rural farms of Vorta.
The small shuttle ride from the Vortian Navy carrier to the planet's highport was quiet. Chet sat apart from the rest and never made eye contact. Everyone's personal gear was in a crate that would in highport storage and accessible if anyone wanted to retrieve items.

When the shuttle landed, Chet approached the rest of the crew.
“I need some time away. Not sure how to deal with this, being crew of a ship that... well... I'll be visiting home for a while. Guess I'll see you all when Sergeant Teray has more on the investigation.”

The rest of the crew goes to the planet surface as well, not wishing to spend their time waiting in highport. Although its a massive low-orbit station, it still doesn't provide the free feeling of being in open atmosphere.
Mara finds a clinic to keep busy at, passing the time while still collecting medical practice hours for her license. Joe gives her a couple hundred credits of spending money to make it by while she's away from the crew.
“Well don't be strangers,” she warmly replies. “I understand why Chet's taking this whole thing so hard, but I know you're good people; this wasn't your fault. Keep in touch, we can always get together when I'm not working at the clinic.”

Joe, Ray, and Treatimus rent a small apartment in the Vortian star city. The elegant structures of the city fill the view from their windows with the prominent stem of space the elevator column from lowport to highport reaching above everything.

A couple days pass uneventfully. The crew blends in to the city and passes the time leisurely. On a news stream they see Captain Hanio speak: the Captain they met on the moon to receive their shipment. It appears that he survived and must have left the area of the moon before the bomb detonated.
“We have lost 612 military personnel and 250 additional are in medical treatment. A quarter of our base's infrastructure on the moon has been lost or damaged in this attack, making it the largest scale attack every carried out against Vorta. The investigation is pending but I would like to assure the citizens of Vorta that they should not fear a further planet-side attack. We have one centrally involved member of the attack in custody and will release more information pending further investigation.”

The next morning Rayburne receives a message from an unknown sender on his comm unit. It simply reads: 'R68-43.817,120.332'
He can't understand how the message had come through. The only people that knew his user channel were the Show Time crew, and if it was from one of them it wouldn't show as an unknown user. Then it stood out to him. The first part, 'R68', was the military root transmission code for a distress signal. The second part were geo-coordinates. With planet based coordinates the first place to logically look would be on Vorta, so he checked them on his comm unit and it placed a pin on a map: a rural town 112km away. Specifically, it looked like a small structure.
Rayburne tells Joe and Treatimus, and they agree it needed looking into. They were all getting bored laying low in their apartment as it was and this provided a perfect excuse to see more of the planet.

The crew got some of their gear: armor and concealable weapons. Nothing major, but something to cover them in a scrap and easily concealed to keep them out of trouble with planetary law. Next step was transportation, which was solved with the rental of three grav-bikes, with the insurance of course. Not only were they faster than a grav car, but they couldn't deny that they were also damn cool. Heading out of the city Treatimus jumped on his grav-bike like it wasn't his first time, and zoomed off into a traffic pattern to take them out of the city. Joe was more cautious and took it easy, following Treatimus' lead. Rayburne, having never ridden a grav-bike but having the fearless approach of a star marine, jumped on that crotch rocket like he knew who was boss. When he pulled back on the throttle he wasn't quite prepared for what happened next. The bike blasted forward and tilted back until the nose was pointed straight for the sky. It took all his strength to not slide off the bike and fall to his death. He moved his grip off the throttle and grasped the bike by the frame. The speed slowed and the bike leveled itself, allowing him to reset and reconsider the power between his legs more seriously. With more caution and respect, he slowly flew the grav-bike in the right direction and got more accustomed to its handling.

A three hour ride took them to a small rural town. If they flew the grav-bikes higher in the sky they could see the towering star city back in the distance, but on the ground it was like the technological metropolis didn't exist. There was the technology of modern convenience around that was a part of daily life, but instead of buildings there were trees, instead of grav traffic there was an occasional rabbit or deer. The coordinates Ray received took them right to a lone quick stop store: snacks, minor food items, and power recharge stations for equipment or vehicles. Rayburne and Treatimus go inside while Joe rides around the perimeter. Joe finds nothing out of the ordinary but a pile of trash behind the store he decides to pick up, and inside Rayburne notices nothing strange so he just quietly buys a snack. Treatimus, being the experienced lawman, casually asks the clerk some questions.

The store clerk says “a couple guys from one o' da farms was in that morning, had 'nother feller with 'em. Didn't recognize t'other, but those two were Lum & Zed. They work Big Daddy Enis' land.”
After further questions the clerk couldn't provide much more about the third man, but he did say something else happened. “Few hours later some marines came in here asking questions who'd been in ma store t'day. Told 'em not many, no one 'portant. Don't take kindly to official folk out here so I hardly said squat. One gone to the restroom back there said the service terminal in the shitter's been tampered with. He come out with this cloth strip thingy seemed real 'portant to 'im. T'others saw dat n'ay left.”

Treatimus got a general idea where the lands of this 'Big Daddy Enis' lie, and after sharing the information gathered with his cohorts they headed out into farm land. Taking some altitude they got a view of the landscape ahead: organized grids of crops being worked by automated machines with a large barn situated in the middle.



A couple men could be seen working at the barn and that's where they thought they'd pickup their next lead. A large bulk of a man is outside the barn loading grain from a chute leading from inside the barn into large metal containers. He notices the three grav-bikes stop and the riders approach.
“We don't take visiters,” the brute shouts. “What d'ya want!?”
The second worker takes notice now, a taller, skinnier man.
“What's going on out here?” Joe asks.
The large man widens his shoulders and takes big steps towards Joe, a show of intimidation. Rayburne steps in the way before the gap is closed, and now the brute stands nose to nose with the former star marine.
“What's it look like dipshit!?” The man's voice booms right in Ray's face but projected to Joe. “This is a farm!”
Treatimus steps up to Ray and the big farmer. “We're looking into a distress call that came from around here. You know where Lem & Zed might be?”
That triggered the big man. He swung his arm back and landed a punch right in Raybune Cobb's face. The skinnier one ran into the barn while Joe jumped back on his grav-bike and zooms into the fistfight. He buzzes past Treat and the farmer, swinging a large pipe and hitting no one. Treatimus tackles the farmer away from Ray and takes him to the ground. Rayburne heads into the large open barn doors searching for the skinny farmer, and once he crosses the threshold spots the man coming back with a shotgun in hand. Rayburne quickly ducks back behind the frame as a blast rings out, sending wood splinters flying from where the shot hit. Ray draws his pistol.
Meanwhile, Treatimus struggles with the big man on the ground. Treatimus feels his leg trapped and can't react fast enough; the brute farmer flips him to the ground and mounts on top of him. A solid punch rains down on Treat's head. He knew lying on his back with the massive man on top of him was a recipe for disaster, so with quick thinking he manages to reach his knife and gash the farmer's arm.
At the barn door Rayburne leans in with his pistol and spots the shotgun toting, skinny farm worker coming closer to the door. He quickly takes aim and lands two rounds on target, dropping the thin man to the ground in a heap.
In the ground combat the muscled brute sits up, trying to back from the knife after feeling its burning slash. He grabs Treat's arm, gaining control of his knife hand. The two are grappled in a test of strength, the knife still in Treatimus' hand but turned around pointed back at his neck. The large farmer starts to put his strength and weight into it, Treatimus giving his all to slow its decent towards him. Then the barrel of Rayburne's gun appears on the side of the farmer's head.
“Get up. Let go of the knife.”
The man realizes he's caught in a no win scenario and surrenders. Treatimus takes to his feet and assures the others he's alright.
“When Enis finds out you're all dead,” the big man said, threateningly despite being held at gunpoint.
“Where's Lum and Zed?” Ray asks.
“I'm Zed,” the brute answers.
“Then Lum's the dead one,” Ray returns coldly. Zed's lack of response confirmed his suspicion. “Who'd you have with you at the convenience store this morning?”
“Brother of some kid that's not following directions. Enis had us kidnap him and he's being held for … encouragement.”

Zed explained that after they stopped at the store they took the prisoner to Enis' house, then they came to work their shift on the farm. First the Show Time crew was telling Zed he'd lead the way, but Zed refused and told them they may as well kill him now. With some convincing they got Zed to sketch a map of the farm and the valley that led to Enis' house.
“You work for Duke?” Zed asked after he knew his fate was sealed. “One of the other farms?”
Rayburne and Treatimus agreed they should finish off the thug, but Joe stepped in and took over. As the captain of the Show Time, neither man decided to interrupt him.
“We're not out to kill, we just think someone we know might need our help. We have to find out who sent us a distress signal.”
Joe told Zed if he didn't warn Enis and left the farm they'd let him live. Zed tells them Enis has one personal body guard, keeps two men guarding the prisoner, and six other guards in his house. If the two other houses in the valley know they're coming they'll have a lot more of Zed's people to deal with. Joe thanks Zed for his cooperation and tells him he can go.

“Hey,” Rayburne calls out. “One last thing.”
Zed stops walking away and turns back. Ray steps up and delivers a solid punch to the farmer thug's face.
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Epic!