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Shadow Tide [IC] - Page 3
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  1. #31
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    Richard Looks over at Tayla and her various people she dragged with her. although since her name, Tayla Tagge suggested that she was a member of the family that owned Tagge. Which in and of itself was telling. Also this meant that this site had rather more interest and horsepower behind it than what he had surmised even with them bringing him all the way from the Corelia system. Richard now knew he would have to be more watchful and on his toes than before. Rick moved a bit toward Tayla while still being in the area of his group, like he was just moving a bit to relieve pressure on his feet, he really wanted to hear more from the people talking to her, As it could give him the edge he needed. For what he did not know, he did know he might be paranoid about this whole thing, but things seemed to be getting more and more high power, and that meant corruption, lots of senators, bureaucrats, and all the people looking for a slice of the pie. Richard hoped that all he had learned so far in school and at his dads shop would be able to get him through this.

  2. #32
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    As Halkus greets and approaches Talya and her group, the young heiress' face brightens noticeably, from no-nonsense disinterest to warm, approachable, "Doctor!", she says, her voice smooth as silk as she crosses the distance to the professor in a few lithe strides, "It's good to see you again! My father sends his regards as well. You've prepared gear for us? You are too kind. I take it we will be entering the temple without delay, then?"

    As they meet, Talya and Halkus exchange a brief embrace, which causes both Tyko and Arna to tense visibly. While it's clear that the young woman and the aging professor have a friendly connection beyond this project, it's also clear that they're both professional enough to stay focused on the task at hand.

    "Renna Roco, please meet Talya Tagge."
    "I am very pleased to make the acquaintance of any associate of Dr. Halkus that he holds in such high esteem.", Talya responded with a dazzling smile. From her conduct, it's difficult to tell if Talya is genuinely that enthusiastic, or if her poise and training are simply that effective. Either way, it's disarming to many people normally put off by her entourage, "Allow me to introduce my personal assistant Sestia, as well as Arna and Tyko, who handle security for me."

    Before Renna can respond to this sudden attention, Halkus speaks up,

    "We'll catch up later, when you're back from the site, T." And that last, "T," only Dr. Halkus could ever get away with such a term of endearment for the young noble woman.
    Though Talya is temporarily a bit take aback by Halkus' informality (especially in front of so many subordinates!), and indeed feels her skin warm ever so slightly despite the chill, not a bit of this plays across her expression. Without missing a beat, she responds sweetly, "Absolutely, Doctor, I look forward to catching up with you."

    After this, Renna leads Talya, Sestia, Tyko, and Arna to their gear packs, and as Tyko helps Talya slip the shoulders of her stylish white, fur-lined cold-weather jumpsuit into the utilitarian harness of the pack, she wastes no time in engaging those she assumed were to be her de facto peers in the study.

    "Greetings, I am Talya Tagge, these are my assistants Sestia, Tyko, and Arna.", she says, nodding to each one in turn as her arms are busy finding a comfortable position for the harness straps, "I'm an archaeolinguist, and I look forward to working with each of you on this dig."

    As she speaks, Talya is positively beaming, a picture of gregarious innocence, despite what her family name may suggest. In truth, she's eager to prove herself as an academic to academic peers. Too often, she felt she'd been given special consideration due to her name. Surely, there were times where a little notoriety helped, but ever since she was a young child, Talya had suffered/enjoyed an independent streak a parsec wide, always out to prove that she could rise to challenges on her own, without the support of others. Hopefully here, she had the chance to be judged solely on her own merit.
    W.W.G.D. - What would Grimace do?

    What kind of dust?
    Dirt-laced dust. Probably originating from the ground.

  3. #33
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    Richard turned to Tayla as she came up and introduced herself. He smiled as he thought to himself "well at least she does not appear to be stuck up."

    After Tayla introduced herself he greeted her "Nice to meet you Tayla, Sestia, Tyko and Arna." Richard nods to them, he would have shaken their hands but Taylas arms where busy and the others looked disinclined for various reasons. "I am Richard Johnson also an archaeologist, also have a degree in galactic history focusing on myth's, legend's, lore and anything to do with them. Hopefully we can compare notes on what we see on this dig." He smiles, this could be a very interesting dig Richard thinks.

  4. #34
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    Calisia was at first surprised to see the black-uniformed storm trooper officer, his presence so at odds with the other scientific personnel, but it did indicate that someone somewhere thought doctor Halkus' work was of great import.
    "Tomorrow morning, Aramathus, you will be with us, here. Today, we'd like you to have the opportunity to at least see the temple."
    He nodded, though frowned a little too. If tomorrow I'll be doing something else but today I'll be going to see this templecwhere'll my work be tomorrow? It's concentrated somewhere else?
    He then followed Renna, gathering his gear. He picked up the hold-out blaster, turning it over in his hands a couple of times. It was surprisingly heavy for such a small object. In truth he had never held a gun before. It felt cold and unusual. He quickly put it in his pocket and hefted the rest of the equipment assigned to him.
    He glanced with interest at the large bronzium sphere, the glow emitted from it piquing his interest but before he could advance and examine it doctor Halkus explained about the temple they were about to be let loose within. Though he was still somewhat in the dark about it all, it sent a shiver of excitement up his spine and he had to suppress a smile of childish giddiness. The prospect of exploring somewhere new, even if they weren't to be the first ones there. He barely noticed Renna scolding her fellow redhead.
    Calisia followed the good doctor with his eyes as he went across to greet another group emerging from the turbo lift. He seemed to know one of them well, judging from their greetings. An old colleague? An ex-student of his? She was accompanied by three others who, unless Calisia was mistaken, seemed deferential toward her.
    "Greetings, I am Talya Tagge, these are my assistants Sestia, Tyko, and Arna. I'm an archaeolinguist, and I look forward to working with each of you on this dig."
    He couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at her name. First storm trooper officers, and now a Tagge! Part of him wondered if she was here on her own merits of because daddy was pulling strings, letting his daughter get her hands dirty, playing scientist before some other whim took her.
    Still, she had a killer smile.

    "Calisia Aramathus, astrophysics," he said with a nod, "Not yet sure how much good I'll do us in a temple, but...h he shrugged and smiled.

  5. #35

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    Originally posted by Ronin He then followed Renna, gathering his gear. He picked up the hold-out blaster, turning it over in his hands a couple of times. It was surprisingly heavy for such a small object. In truth he had never held a gun before. It felt cold and unusual. He quickly put it in his pocket and hefted the rest of the equipment assigned to him.....
    "Calisia Aramathus, astrophysics," he said with a nod, "Not yet sure how much good I'll do us in a temple, but..." he shrugged and smiled.
    Renna has been eyeing Cali since he pocketed his small blaster. She smiles up at him now, saying, "Here, you three...." and pats the holstered identical weapon clipped to the belt encircling her overalls.

    She draws her weapon, careful to hold it nose down and away from the group. She points at the safety switch, "Of course you'll want to keep your weapon pointed away from others, toward the ground is probably best. This switch is the safety. Make sure yours is on, especially if you're going to carry the weapon in a pocket," and with this she winks at Cali. "It's probably best to use the holster."

    As she speaks, Rod, arms folded over his chest nonchalantly, saunters toward the group near the bronzium sphere. The man in the black stormtrooper uniform looks toward him sharply. Rod turns abruptly back toward your group as if he'd had no intention of going anywhere near the researchers at the large metal orb.

    Still holding the business end of the piece toward the floor, Renna turns it slightly to show the power level light bar. "You probably won't need to use this thing, but just so you know, this bar indicates that the power cell in my blaster is full. You won't likely need to replace yours any time soon. If you're in a situation that demands lethal force, first turn the safety switch off, then point the weapon at your target and pull the trigger." She looks somewhat nervously at each of you as she holsters her weapon. "There might be some time for us to do some practice shooting inside."

    She watches to see if each of you has holstered their blaster, likely attentive to safeties, before turning on her heals toward the standard-sized pressure door, following the other eight researchers, who (probably in approval of Renna's lesson) smile politely back toward your group.

  6. #36
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    As Richard holsters his holdout blaster he smiles. It reminded him of some of the lessons his dad gave him when he was a kid. of course they where with the slug thrower pistol but the same things apply. From everything the was happening he felt good that he could defend himself should the need be there. He looked around and hoped that they would get going soon.

  7. #37
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    "Nice to meet you Tayla, Sestia, Tyko and Arna." Richard nods to them, he would have shaken their hands but Taylas arms where busy and the others looked disinclined for various reasons. "I am Richard Johnson also an archaeologist, also have a degree in galactic history focusing on myth's, legend's, lore and anything to do with them. Hopefully we can compare notes on what we see on this dig."
    Talya, who now seemed well situated with her pack, and was now adjusting the utility belt, responded in kind.

    "Ah...yes", she replied, "I'm sure each of us have something...unique...to contribute."

    For their part, Talya's entourage behaved as if they hadn't heard Rick, organizing their packs without a second glance in his direction.

    "Calisia Aramathus, astrophysics," he said with a nod, "Not yet sure how much good I'll do us in a temple, but..."
    Talya arched a red-brown eyebrow in polite interest as Cali trailed off. She gave him the benefit of a few moments of silence before her expression finally broke.

    "Charmed.", she finally cut the exchange short, her voice flat and indicating she was anything but.

    Eager for any change of topic, Talya was somewhat relieved as Renna spoke.

    "Here, you three...." and pats the holstered identical weapon clipped to the belt encircling her overalls.

    She draws her weapon, careful to hold it nose down and away from the group. She points at the safety switch, "Of course you'll want to keep your weapon pointed away from others, toward the ground is probably best. This switch is the safety. Make sure yours is on, especially if you're going to carry the weapon in a pocket," and with this she winks at Cali. "It's probably best to use the holster."

    As she speaks, Rod, arms folded over his chest nonchalantly, saunters toward the group near the bronzium sphere. The man in the black stormtrooper uniform looks toward him sharply. Rod turns abruptly back toward your group as if he'd had no intention of going anywhere near the researchers at the large metal orb.

    Still holding the business end of the piece toward the floor, Renna turns it slightly to show the power level light bar. "You probably won't need to use this thing, but just so you know, this bar indicates that the power cell in my blaster is full. You won't likely need to replace yours any time soon. If you're in a situation that demands lethal force, first turn the safety switch off, then point the weapon at your target and pull the trigger." She looks somewhat nervously at each of you as she holsters her weapon. "There might be some time for us to do some practice shooting inside."
    As soon as Renna makes a move for her weapon, Arna immediately imposes his muscular form between the researcher and his charge, even as Tyko steps in close to Talya's back scanning the area behind her and even Sestia, ostensibly a personal assistant, makes a discrete step into a more favorable position. Talya, for her part, found a reason to kneel down on one knee, her hand hovering near the zipper of her jacket, much like her companions.

    After a long moment, Renna proceeds with her safety briefing, and Talya and her group relax visibly, though Tyko gives Talya an exasperated look and Sestia shakes her head, grinning almost imperceptibly in spite of herself. Arna, for his part, merely frowns suspiciously at Renna few a few moments, never moving form his position between Renna and Talya. The latter eyes Rod for a long moment as he starts toward the bronze orb, then thinks better of it, the woman's eyes narrowing slightly at his behavior.

    As Renna wraps up her speech, Talya seems to mentally snap back into the moment, quickly and adeptly checking her blaster's charge and safety before jamming it comfortably in the belt's holster, which she has adjusted to ride low on her thigh. She then follows with the rest of the group toward the pressure door.
    W.W.G.D. - What would Grimace do?

    What kind of dust?
    Dirt-laced dust. Probably originating from the ground.

  8. #38

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    The pressure door could just as easily open onto the cabin of a luxury cruiser. Everything in this station is so immaculately new. Just inside, the long tube of transparasteel hallway stretches and winds only slightly to a point far beyond. Through the walls of tubular interior, Ando Prime's ocean floor can be seen clearly -- it is at your feet, in fact, just through the glass. Ridges of dark sand are traversed by the tracks of small whitish crustaceans, and the ice far above diffuses a neon-violet blue over everything.

    A small dynamo-driven car (the kind ground crews use on busy docking bays) is awaiting you here near the threshold. Two stout passenger cars are attached, each able to hold six riders. Renna takes the place behind the steering column; Rod bounds into place behind her, place his feet on the front car's back gate.

    Once all are boarded, you can hear the dynamo quietly spin, and the small train lurches at firsts, and then quietly rolls along the stresscrete tiles that floor this undersea passage at a surprising clip. The framework passes as a staccato of ribs flip-flip-flip-flipping past. Exiting this tube, you are suddenly under the immense web-work of transparasteel and plasteel girders. The tile continues to a platform on which is repulsor skiff is parked. The area surrounding is muddy rocky sea floor. Here and there the husk of an urchin or clam can be seen drying in the now-open, moist air. Several researchers can be seen digging in various locations, and several ASP and PK series droids can be seen helping these humans, or waiting to do so. The scent of salt remains.

    Approximately 60 meters beyond, the immense walls of the Kratketh Rift draw together in a cleft that rises over 300 meters. The Lattice rises behind you and forward in the direction of the cleft like the hood of a colossal cobra. Where it becomes a dome closing over the tops of the canyon walls, ice has hardened snugly against the exterior of the lattice -- undulating white, fading and feathering downward into the surrounding lazuli waters. Cradled high in the cleft is a pyramidal structure that has obviously been cut from the surrounding stone. A string of damp steps begins at the sea floor, rises from a pile of rubble at the walls' base and winds, switch-backing, upward until it disappears at a dark gaping opening -- like the mouth of a saberjowl awaiting prey -- in the structure.

    "The skiff'll spare us the stairs," Renna says, and walks over to it, embarks, takes her place behind the control column. Her brother lifts himself to sit at the edge on the far side of the vehicle, legs dangling, one arm around a post of the side rail.

    Once you're all aboard, the craft rises gently with an increasing pitch of repulsors. Renna turns the craft in a slow one-eighty-degree turn, and guides it upward and forward toward the dark opening far above. The ceiling of the lattice that holds back the ocean draws closer, and through it can be seen a magnificent crystaline expanse -- like a sky solidified into a grotesque mass of white and sapphire jewel stretching from horizon to horizon.

    In little time, the hewn-stone edifice stands colosal at the prow of the skiff. The craft hovers long enough for you to take in the site. There are no seams that would in any way suggest the temple is built by the stacking of blocks. It's surface is perfectly smooth. There are no decorations, statuary, nor adornments of any kind on the building's exterior. The one-meter-wide stairs that would have carried you to this height have gradually expanded to accommodate the ten meter-wide threshold just above the building's base. It is toward these that the skiff glides, and through the broad rectangular portal.

    The interior is lit by glowrods strung high along the nine-meter tall walls. Renna sets the sled down gently and turns to all aboard. "Here we are," she says dryly." There is a resounding of her voice from the back of this chamber. The other researchers quickly disembark, heft their gear over shoulders, and head off toward an opening at the right of the large wall opposite the entrance. This wall is probably that of a vestibule. There are large stone columns along the left and right of this immense chamber. Like the outer walls, the surfaces of the interior are smooth, that is except for that wall directly opposite the entrance, the one behind which the other researchers have begun disappearing. It appears this vestibule wall has been etched with mathematically precise rows of glyphs, pictographs, characters, or some other kind of lines of code.

    Renna waves her hand dismissively at the members of the group that have just left. "They've been here at least a half-dozen times. What is really interesting is what can be found by new sets of eyes. Feel free to travel about. Learn what you can, make notes -- of course -- when necessary, and if you find any artifacts, hail me on comms so we can extricate it together."

    She then walks toward the back wall in the same direction as the others, points to the opening on the right, where the other researchers have just disappeared. "There're stairs there." Then pointing to the left, she says, "That side's a dead end," and one can easily imagine a spearmen in the dark recess awaiting an overconfident, charging invader.

    "And this," she sweeps her hand before her to indicate the carved mosaic, "has us all baffled. There's also one very like it upstairs." Her hands are on her hips now as she stops to look at the relief. "Our former linguist," she begins, looking over her shoulder for an instant at Talya, "worked on deciphering it before leaving us. I don't know if he made any progress."

    Entrance Level


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  9. #39
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    Richard looks at the carved mosaic. He sees something that very interesting. He walks over to Renna and whispers in a voice the only they could here, " have you guys found and Whuffa Worm Remains?"

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    And then, having gained those last few feet, we did indeed stare across the momentous divide and over the unsampled secrets of an elder and utterly alien earth. - At The Mountains of Madness, H.P. Lovecraft


    "Charmed."
    Cali, despite his cold weather gear, felt the temperature drop significantly. Likewise, he too was rather relieved when Renna began her explanation about the weapons they had been issued. He coughed uncomfortably at her disapproval of his putting the pistol in his pocket and made sure everyone saw him put it in the holster after Renna had finished talking. He still wasn't entirely sure why they'd been given the blasters - what were they likely to need to shoot? It was so cold down here surely nothing was alive to threaten them? The most threat seemed to be coming from the -how had the Tagge woman introduced them? Her assistants - the way they reacted when Renna drew her weapon. It wasn't that they seemed jumpy. Quite the contrary, but their reactions were more like those of bodyguards than scientific personnel.

    He followed the others through the pressure door, along the transparasteel corridor, eerily lit from above by light filtering through the ice, a frozen firmament, far above. Calisia spent half his time, sat in the small dynamo-train, gazing up at the frozen ocean, and the rest peering through the tube at the ocean floor below. It was a unique experience and reminded him once more of the tales he had heard of the Gungans and their submarine homes. He found it fascinating and it somewhat reminded him of space.
    Through the tube they came out into an area of exposed sea bed, a network of girders rising up around them, a scattering of researchers and droids already at work. They could have been upon the surface of a moon or an asteroid but for the strong salt smell.
    The sight of the scientists, droids and scattered detritus of the ocean floor was soon swept from his attention by the sight of the Kratketh Rift rising up hundreds of meters before them. It was breathtaking. He cast his gaze over the massive wall of stone, his eyes following the steps hewn in it - by who? - rising up, up to a pyramidal structure high in the cleft. It had to be the temple he had been told of.
    As they rode the skiff up the face of the Rift Cali could see that the steps grew as they neared the temple and that fane itself was, it seemed, a structure comprised of a single mass of rock! Nearing it he gained a better sense of its scale. Its sheer vastness. The skiff was swallowed by a portal some nine meters in height, within which Renna set the small vehicle down.
    The vestibule in which they found themselves was smooth-walled but for the oppose wall, upon which were carved all manner of glyphs and relief carvings.

    "They've been here at least a half-dozen times. What is really interesting is what can be found by new sets of eyes. Feel free to travel about. Learn what you can, make notes -- of course -- when necessary, and if you find any artifacts, hail me on comms so we can extricate it together...There're stairs there...That side's a dead end...And this...has us all baffled. There's also one very like it upstairs.
    Much of what Renna said fell on deaf ears as far as Calisia was concerned. As soon as he had stepped from the skiff he had felt a low, bass hum. At first he had looked back at the skiff, checking if she had kept the repulsorcoils running or the power source on backup but that wasn't it. He looked about, trying to trace the source of the...it wasn't simply a sound, he realized, it was a feeling...and his eyes settled on the far wall with its elaborate carvings. He moved toward it, looking for anything suggestive of technology, his eyes telling him he was destined for disappointment yet the sound in his ears, the feeling in his chest, telling him that it was there.

  11. #41
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    "And this," she sweeps her hand before her to indicate the carved mosaic, "has us all baffled. There's also one very like it upstairs." Her hands are on her hips now as she stops to look at the relief. "Our former linguist," she begins, looking over her shoulder for an instant at Talya, "worked on deciphering it before leaving us. I don't know if he made any progress."
    "How's that you say? 'Left you.'?", Talya asked.

    When the situation called for subtlety, she could be as tactful as a bothan. This situation did not call for it.

    [Allow for response.]

    Eventually, Talya gazed back up at the tableau for a long moment, making a few marks and notations on her datapad, before commenting, "I should very much like to see the second inscription...as well as any notes my predecessor may have left."

    Her entourage, for their part, mostly just stuck close to the Tagge woman. occasionally, only one at any given time, they'd branch off to check out some interesting feature in detail, only to return to Talya's side within a minute or two.

    ...and his eyes settled on the far wall with its elaborate carvings. He moved toward it, looking for anything suggestive of technology, his eyes telling him he was destined for disappointment yet the sound in his ears, the feeling in his chest, telling him that it was there.
    As Cali moved toward the inscription, he brushed past Talya, who was inspecting the markings at a distance. For the briefiest of moments, a flicker of annoyance flashed across the woman's countenance, but as quickly as it came, it was gone, giving way to a sympathetic smirk that raised her already high cheek bones. Though this one may not have been the galaxy's finest conversation partner, he was clearly interested in the dig.

    Slowly, cautiously taking a few steps following the young man, Talya asked, "What is it? Something look famliar?"
    W.W.G.D. - What would Grimace do?

    What kind of dust?
    Dirt-laced dust. Probably originating from the ground.

  12. #42

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    There are moments when things fall into place too perfectly. The galaxy itself shows us this. All those spheres at just the right distances, spinning at just the right rates, always skating the line between the order that permits life and the chaos that can take it away. The moments when things fall into place for a being are like that, too -- allowing or taking life. And this is the balance, the line on which Uda Barmek had been trying to place the lives of those who'd depended on work in the Kratketh rift before Halkus had shown up. It all began shortly after he'd received his first solo assignment, when things, a person actually, had fallen into the right place. That place being a barstool in the Cliffside, not far from the table where Uda sat contemplating how to pull this thing off.

    The assignment, in word, was simple enough: "Justify a military presence on that frozen rock in less than one hundred rotations." Lankin had known even then that Halkus was holding out on him, and that'd be the way it'd stay. Uda wasn't sure a "military presence" was any kind of solution. A well-placed individual such as himself might be a better idea. Certainly not himself Uda accepted. He was far too new at the game... though he was getting the hang of it. Oh yes, he was getting better, and of course he had his edge -- the gift he'd inherited from his mother, that way of making beings feel things, that way of making them feel compelled. He'd watched his mother do the same thing when she was a relief worker during the Clone Wars. For her, it was always a matter of bringing comfort to those losing hope. He'd found he could do the same thing. Like that balance on which the planets subsist, this gift could be tipped toward other outcomes, and Uda was, after all, his father's son.

    This little gift had helped him do quite well at the academy, helped him outshine others who might otherwise have been more worthy. No matter. Only results, in the end, really matter. When he had caught the eye of Par Lankin in their team operations on Bellassa, it became clear just what kind of results Uda preferred. It had been this little gift that had helped Uda read the depths of Wes' anger that first night in the Cliffside, and it had helped him read something else, too. A kind of kindred echo yearned from a dark place within Wes to be put on the path of a greater purpose. Uda was happy to oblige. On that firs night it was easy. It was as if Wes had become some kind of amplifier, casting out and weaving the web of ire through the room. There weren't many in the Cliffside that time, so the young operative was not sure this approach could yield results, but after about a week of seeing Wes Loo's words affect the minds, emotions, and even actions of those gathering to staunch anxieties in drink, Uda was convinced this tactic had potential. Besides, there was something about the maroon pool of emotion he could set into motion that he began to feel fed him in some way. He could see it in Wes, too.

    Soon, Uda saw to it that Wes had whole rooms stomping and hollering, fuming, over the presence of Halkus' project. Uda would find an out-of-the-way table, focus on Wes, and once the miner began to rave, a chaos would begin to brew, anger would begin to steep. On one of the Cliffside's slower nights, even Halkus' bastard son -- Rod was it? -- became vexed.

    "Woo vrok breeshta! Krog bloo glagror!" He dug it up! We'll tear it down! The Aqulaish chanted, and this became something of a slogan for a movement. It had not been difficult for Lankin to see that credits began showing up in Wes Loo's account, along with an anonymous communique: "Because we so appreciate your efforts."
    Soon, Wes felt inspired to purchase cheap transport for himself and a few choice followers over to Ando where Wes would seek out dens of despair, and in a matter of days build a following. That Wes was able to detect, as it were, the right establishment at the right time, was somewhat remarkable. But then again, Uda's efforts were a factor in this, and the young operative found himself recalling a surely-by-now-outlawed HoloNet documentary that explained how the Jedi had formed bonds with their students that served as conduits bridging their talents and helping the older, more adept "teacher" show the "youngling" new paths and powers. Something similar was happening between Uda and Wes, though Uda would never reveal his roll. He did however approach Wes in the persona of a new follower. Doing so allowed him to stay close to Wes. Uda was careful to not take any roll of prominence in the group, however, remaining to appear an inconspicuous pawn, leaving the advisory roll to that Aqualish hanger-on, Prob Hambla.

    Soon (with nearly two hundred armed fellow malcontents) the two returned to Ando Prime where they rekindled the fervor that had ebbed some since they'd been on Ando. In a week's time, they became a force of nearly 600. There was a short time, a matter of days, when Uda was called back to Dessitious to help with the Tagge situation. Little came of this for him -- or he'd been unable to make any ground with the baronessa's proxy -- Sestia was it?

    Back on the AP, Uda found no ground had been lost on that front. Wes' little army began talking about gathering out on the ice, and within two days Uda found himself less than 12 miles from the KRRF. By morning these tents will be down, Uda considers. And all these speeders will be singing, the brewing angers will be ablaze. He was a little grateful for the brief time away. On his flight back to the ice fields he'd pondered just how exhausting setting such a storm into motion could be. In a day or two he could let go. The damage will have been done out on the Rift, but only enough to justify the hammer's fall. He gazes up through the vapors of his breath, rests his eyes on the terribly close "star" that moves terribly fast just above the purple and red cloud smudged descent of Ando's light. There it is now, the young operative muses, Lankin's destroyer. By this time tomorrow the beings in these tents will be slaughtered, and I'll be up there, where it's warm.



    Twenty-two RA-7 droids had been assigned to the Kratketh Rift Research Facility. Eighteen had been, upon arrival, designated to menial monitoring and errand duties, or had been assigned to mid-rank researchers. Two had been assigned to the maintenance detail for the purposes of translating at service interfaces. One had been assigned to Renna's quarters and was currently being transferred to Talya's suite. And one, L7-RA-7, had been assigned to Halkus' personal laboratory.

    On the day these droids arrived, Halkus placed L7 in the care of Dr. Soorkoot, who then spent four days overhauling the automaton. This entailed (Soorkoot assured) a number of memory and functional upgrades, aligning mastery protocols prioritizing Halkus' commands, and the removal of all surveillance apparatuses. This droid then became an indispensable aid to Dr. Halkus' lab assistant, Charlee Tope. On many occasions, Charlee voiced her appreciation for L7's capacity for data interpretation. On the morning L7 identified the last element needed to re-synthesize the compound in the casks discovered on level four of the temple, Charlee had no trouble getting Halkus to lift classes of vitajuice in a toast to the insectoid-headed lab steward.

    Seventy-eight snowmice later, L7 was able to reconstitute, and thereby establish the probable use of, the compound found in the casks by replacing an undeterminable (probably decayed) element with cobalt-54. Looking at the result in the microscope, Halkus smiled, saying, "You know, Charlee? If it weren't for the the metallic aspects, I'd say it's structurally a little like nerf-pox." They each laughed.

    When snowmice were injected with this newest compound, they fell into a state of hibernation remarkably unusual for its low rate of REM activity. "It could have been something used by early spacers to prepare for those long pre-hyperdrive journeys," Halkus began to speculate. A simple phenothiazine injection was enough to bring any inoculant back to consciousness.

    The substance (which the two researchers had taken to calling Nannarium for its distinctive blue color) bore no apparent adverse side effects upon its subjects, and after successful trials on several species of monkey, Charlee volunteered to be the first sentient subject. She remained in a state of hibernation for over four weeks. Halkus brought her back to consciousness ten days prior to the arrival of the new researchers. Upon waking, Charlee reported a mild sense of euphoria, and a strong urge to free all of the lab animals and run off to volunteer her services to the free clinics on Coruscant. Apart from the mild nausea and headache, the experience left her feeling an overwhelming empathy for others. Oddly, she reported no increase in appetite, and her body showed no signs of nutritional deficiency. Her mental and physical functions remained optimal. Apart from the mild side effects, it was as if the young woman had simply enjoyed one very good night of sleep. The headache was gone after several hours and a cup of lightly creamed Chandrian tea.

    "If it was something used by those ancient spacers, they might have appreciated someone doing something about that headache, wouldn't you say, Charlee?"

    "It's really not that bad, Dr. Halkus," the younger scientist said, blowing steam from the top of her mug. She was just more than a silhouette against Ando's new morning light. Beads of water rolled down the warm transparasteel dome behind her, and a surge in the ion condenser above sent a blue flash through the low-lit room illuminating her for an instant. Her pretty face so full of health, Halkus allowed himself to be enamored for an instant, admiring her courage and commitment to discovery.

    Another voice, innocuously pleasant, stole him from the moment: "I will see what I can do, Doctor." L7 turned from the pair of researchers and shuffled back to his lab station. Halkus, too, busied himself with exploring the further possibilities for Nannarium. He'd insisted that Charlee rest, and that she would remain under observation for two weeks.

    What Halkus already knew, prior to injecting one of his most beloved students with the stuff, was that Nannarium operated a bit like a symbiote. In this case, it localized along the central nervous system, where it slowed hormone activity, and redirected hormone production in ways that benefitted its own cells while sustaining its host in a state of suspended animation. The only thing this substance would have left them needing for sub-light travel, Halkus pondered, would have been a means to protect the bodies, and, well of course waking them upon arrival. The phenothiazine they had found acted as a purgative of the substance, or organism as it were, from the CNS. Any society with the wherewithal to build ark ships could easily create a timed-injection system. But we haven't found any evidence of such ships here, he reminded himself. Only that projector Soorkoot and his team are puzzling over down in the bay.

    "Is Nannarium not unlike sandwasp venom?" L7 asked one day during their early testing, and at the time Halkus dismissed any ideas with such morbid suggestions, preferring to be lost in the flow of his work, and considering the service these discoveries might soon provide the galaxy. The good doctor would often admit that this tendency was also a flaw. He might go whole days immersed in his work and forget to eat; or, more dangerously, forget to sleep. And that was the case this time, so much was his excitement. In less than three weeks, he and L7 synthesized a new version of the serum. L7 proposed addressing the chiral nature of the cobalt isomers by making use of lommite as a resolving agent in order to achieve an L-hexol species of the compound.

    The results were astounding. It seemed so obvious, now. Observing this distillation under the microscope, Halkus' scientific curiosity was cause for an ethical dilemma, to be sure, but the weight of this was overridden by the passion any genius bears for his work. Such a subtle change, L7. What have I allowed you to do? The scientist stepped away from the microscope, threw his head back to drop saline into his eyes. "Where have I seen something like this before," he asked himself while stepping over to gaze out over the ice through gentle sheets of water pouring down the dome.

    All things aside, Halkus was certain that the cobalt-54 serum was a worthwhile contribution to the field, so he asked L7 to catalyze four of the eight casks they had salvaged from the temple. Looking back at the cobalt-lommite compound (deep sapphire in its beaker), he weighed the possibility of destroying it. His neck was now sore with fatigue. Was it yesterday Lankin told me that Talya would be arriving? He looked back out the window at the cold dusk sky, watched a bright orbiting object careen over Ando's parting glow. A mining craft, he guessed.

    He turned back toward the work table and dropped a small cartridge of the cobalt-lommite serum into a hypo-syringe and walked over to the tank of snowmice.



    Richard: Richard looks at the carved mosaic. He sees something that very interesting. He walks over to Renna and whispers in a voice the only they could here, " have you guys found and Whuffa Worm Remains?"
    "I'm sure I don't know what you mean," Renna says to Richard. He can't be sure that she is avoiding his eyes, or if she is attempting to address the concerns of all present. "If you are interested in remains," she continues, now brightening, "you'll be able to visit level 19 when we return. The entire level is dedicated to the fossil remains we have excavated."

    Talya: "How's that you say? 'Left you.'?"
    "Well, yes, in fact," Renna begins, and it seems she is attempting to stifle a little embarrassment.

    Rod smirks, "Piece of work, that one. Took his notes with him, too. I tell you, if I ever happen across him, I'll have a few choice words."

    "If you'll recall," Renna picks back up, "this is an Imperial project, after all. And though it is stated clearly in your contracts that researchers are to submit all findings to the facility for cataloguing, it should go without saying that when you're part of a team you should at least leave records to help the next scholar."

    "I'm sure he won't get too far," Rod speculates darkly.

    Renna's attention is now on Cali. She is suddenly very curious about what he is up to.

    Talya: Slowly, cautiously taking a few steps following the young man, Talya asked, "What is it? Something look famliar?"

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    Richard looks over at Cali as , Talya asked, "What is it? Something look famliar?". Richard Walks over by Tayla and looks at Cali and then the Relief. Taking a Deep breath Richard says " The character Images on that relief, I saw in a book that Makes Mention of the Way wardens of Laseel" Richard pauses briefly and looks around before going on

    "Now the People of Laseel credited much of their success and advancement to being they called Way wardens. Beings who in their words "Stepped from balls of light to teach and advise them and often to take tribute or resources from their world". As viewed by the Laseelians, the Way Wardens watched over them from a planet far from their own. Now the Laseelians Disappeared from their planet, as in went extinct or emigrated to another world about 90,000 years ago."

    Richard pauses again. He shifts his weight on his feet. He then looks up and to the right as if trying to see into his brain and considers what to say next. "Now about 10,000 years before the Laseelians disappeared from their world, the Kwa had started a multi-system empire. The Kwa originate from Dathomir, which is the third planet in that system, the second planet is Laseel. So I think the Way Wardens of the Laseelian people where the Kwa. So I also think on the advise of the Kwa the Laseelians with Technology given to them from the Kwa, did not die out but moved their entire race from Laseel to here. Which the Kwa could do themselves instantaneously, or Laseelians built some sort of space Craft to get here. One thing I should mention is that the book I read also Mentioned A planet Named Nahsu Minor in the inner rim as a place the the Laseelians could have gone to. So Laseel is a Jungle world, Nahsu Minor is a Jungle World and This Planet used to be a Jungle World. Another thing I find Interesting is that from Dathomir in the galactic North, draw a nearly straight line towards the Galatic SSW through Nahsu minor over by the Hapes Cluster all the way down to here. Which Would Indicate a route that they took to get here. stopping at Nahsu Minor to resupply perhaps. That is not in my mind a coincidence. However They got here I defiantly believe the people who constructed this place and guarded it are from the planet of Laseel. And if this is a temple, and considering their connection to the Kwa, That would indicate that this temple could be a Star Temple." Richard finishes and considers the implications of what he just said.

    Richard takes in another breathe and shakes his head bit like he is coming out of a trance. He looks around to see what peoples reactions are.
    Last edited by Vice Man; 24 January 2012 at 08:17 PM.

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    "The character images on that relief, I saw in a book that makes mention of the Way Wardens of Laseel. The Way Wardens...Now the Laseelians disappeared... 90,000 years ago...Now about 10,000 years before the Laseelians disappeared from their world, the Kwa had started a multi-system empire...advice of the Kwa...not die out but moved their entire race from Laseel to here. Which the Kwa could do themselves instantaneously, or Laseelians built some sort of space craft to get here...Nahsu Minor ...So Laseel is a jungle world, Nahsu Minor is a jungle world and this planet used to be a jungle world...Dathomir in the galactic North...Hapes Cluster...stopping at Nahsu Minor...And if this is a temple, and considering their connection to the Kwa, That would indicate that this temple could be a Star Temple."
    Calisia caught snippets of what Richard was saying, the mention of instantaneous travel causing a reflexive frown to appear upon his head, his attention focused upon the hum. He could feel it in his chest and his head, both a sound and feeling akin to slightly mis-tuned lighting strips. After spending months aboard an orbital observation array he was accustomed to picking up the slightest hum. And as he approached the glyph-decorated wall he knew that the hum was coming from the very center of it. For the moment he ignored the others' questions and, turning his head so he could place his right ear against the cold, hard stone, he listened, nodding to himself as he confirmed that it truly was coming from within the stone. He then crouched, still listening, then moved about the wall, before finally turning back to face the others and jerking his thumb toward the surface.
    "I don't know about temples, but there's a hum coming from within this wall. I don't know if it's a power source, but something powered lies behind it, running vertically through it."
    He looked to Renna, "Have you tried x-raying it? This place may look primitive but either whoever built it was into archaic-religious architecture yet wanted the powered comforts of home...or someone came later and put it in. In which case there would be evidence of alteration. Hell, either way there must be some evidence of whatever's in there."
    He nodded toward the steps up, "'Kwa' and 'Laseel'...these symbols are clearly Richard here's territory. I need to take a look upstairs, try to find out how far this...this hum...extends."
    He cursed himself for only bringing his recorder. It was alright for basic surveying work but was hardly a scientific instrument. He'd need some proper instruments to see what was beyond the rock.

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    Talya hears out both of the scholars, then has a brief, murmured exchange with Sestia, before offering up her own opinion.

    As Rick and Cali are speaking, she continues to make notations on her datapad with a stylus. Eventually, she speaks up, clearly addressing Rick.

    "Very interesting theory...if I may ask...how did you arrive at such a complete and thorough explanation?", she arches a red-brown eyebrow at him, though her expression is merely inquisitive, and perhaps a bit skeptical...not mocking.

    She then turned to Cali, "I can't hear it. Does it sound like a power conduit?"

    As she speaks, she starts moving around the sides of the engraving, searchign for signs of modification that might have been left from a post-build modification.

    "Some of these characters look familiar to me.", she mentions, almost offhandedly, "But I wouldn't want to stir false hope, so I'd like to gather information, do some research, and deliver my findings once I've had the chance to more fully understand what we're seeing here. I'd also be interested in investigating some of the other floors so that we know what else we're dealing with..."
    W.W.G.D. - What would Grimace do?

    What kind of dust?
    Dirt-laced dust. Probably originating from the ground.

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