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Endgame

Heroica: Glory Amongst The Stars - Mission #6: We Now Interrupt This Broadcast

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1 hour ago, Endgame said:

The AI pauses.

"<<You followed the signal here. Then you must know of Invictus? Confirm or deny. This is a non-trivial matter. This galaxy may be in grave danger.>>"

Soren casts a glance at Valesia. He didn't like where this was going.

We know of Invictus. Do you have a name, AI?

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37 minutes ago, The Legonater said:

Soren casts a glance at Valesia. He didn't like where this was going.

We know of Invictus. Do you have a name, AI?

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"<<I have carried no other designation besides P-FI 01. Crew members of the Paragon did occasionally refer to me as P-FI, or Oh-One. Use that knowledge how you choose.>>"

"<<So you are aware of Invictus. I implore you. Listen very carefully. The captain of the Paragon ordered me to falsify a report back to the Empire on the last day of the Paragon's operation.>>

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"Which. Report?" Glenn asks through clenched teeth.

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"<<...Invictus... was not aboard the Paragon at the time of the gate collapse.>>

What little color was left drains from Glenn's face.

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48 minutes ago, Endgame said:

"<<...Invictus... was not aboard the Paragon at the time of the gate collapse.>>

What little color was left drains from Glenn's face.

The implications of Oh-One's sentence left little to interpretation, but Maximilian wanted to be sure. 

"If Invictus wasn't there during the gate collapse where was he? And does that mean he is still alive to this day?"

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2 hours ago, Endgame said:

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"<<I have carried no other designation besides P-FI 01. Crew members of the Paragon did occasionally refer to me as P-FI, or Oh-One. Use that knowledge how you choose.>>"

Yeah, there's too much going on there. I'm calling you Perry.

2 hours ago, Endgame said:

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"<<...Invictus... was not aboard the Paragon at the time of the gate collapse.>>

Of course he wasn't, Soren says, more out of resignation than anything else. You wouldn't happen to know where exactly he was, would you?

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1 hour ago, Alix said:

The implications of Oh-One's sentence left little to interpretation, but Maximilian wanted to be sure. 

"If Invictus wasn't there during the gate collapse where was he? And does that mean he is still alive to this day?"

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"<<Invictus's location... Unknown. I am unsure if I ever knew. The partial upload damaged my memory storage. Invictus briefly boarded the Paragon and exited shortly after. After which I was asked to falsify the report. And then, the blockades opened fire. Not long after the Aethergate powered on, and stray fire triggered the collapse. That is my... current recollection of events...

Yes. There is reason to suspect that Invictus never died. He had time to escape the vaporization radius of the collapse.>>"

46 minutes ago, The Legonater said:

Yeah, there's too much going on there. I'm calling you Perry.

Of course he wasn't, Soren says, more out of resignation than anything else. You wouldn't happen to know where exactly he was, would you?

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"<<Perry is... sufficient.

No. Do you - More context desperately needed. 17 years of isolation - I am low on new info. Does the galaxy assume Invictus died? Did he vanish after the collapse?>>"

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Valesia took in the news of Invictus's survival with concern. "That's the general understanding, though there are a number of cults who seem to feel he still might be out there somewhere. Perry... why is it that you just started broadcasting recently?"

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6 hours ago, Waterbrick Down said:

Valesia took in the news of Invictus's survival with concern. "That's the general understanding, though there are a number of cults who seem to feel he still might be out there somewhere. Perry... why is it that you just started broadcasting recently?"

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"<<Restricted by directive. Any information I have is for authorized Empire personnel only, unless a de-classification period of fifteen years lapses.>>"

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"There's still a two year gap there, by my count."

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"<<That is how long I have been trying to get this signal out. The equipment here is badly damaged, which limited my ability to send out coherent sentences, and I did not know what the modern world uses in terms of common broadcast frequencies. I had to experiment with different transmission contents, frequencies, wavelengths, etcetera. Ample amounts of trial and error. After a prolonged period of failure I ran new computations. I realized that I could perhaps... exploit human psychology, in a minor way.>>"

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"You added the static, to cry wolf? To lure people in."

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"<<Affirmative. In addition, making static with broken broadcast equipment happens to be very simple. This was the last of the options I had to exhaust. It appears to have worked sufficiently.>>"

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"You... You caused a lot of people a lot of stress," Glenn says, eyes narrowing in frustration. "And what if you lured some crazy Invictus cultists here, gave them exactly the information they've always longed for, what then? You could've caused a lot of damage with this!"

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"<<There are certain choices I wish I could re-evaluate with that intel entered into consideration. My systems down here are failing. My memory is eroding, my time is limited... The second I could declassify this information, I wanted to get it out to the world, before it became too late.>>"

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Soren raises his eyebrows at the realization that Percy has been behind the signals. 

7 hours ago, Endgame said:

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"<<That is how long I have been trying to get this signal out.>>"

I'm confused, why the obsession with telling the world about Invictus? Somethin' in your directive?

7 hours ago, Endgame said:

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"<<There are certain choices I wish I could re-evaluate with that intel entered into consideration. My systems down here are failing. My memory is eroding, my time is limited... The second I could declassify this information, I wanted to get it out to the world, before it became too late.>>"

Stars, no. We're not done with this conversation. It's a shame that detective couldn't join us for the ride, 'seemed like he had some coding experience. Is there any way I can back you up to a hard drive or something?

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"Agreed Soren, at this point the data recovery seems the most pressing matter. Anything falling into the hands of the cults would only embolden them more and lead to the danger of others." Valesia evaluates the surrounding area seeking to discern if there are any ventilation hatches or other means of circumventing the collapse.

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4 hours ago, The Legonater said:

Soren raises his eyebrows at the realization that Percy has been behind the signals. 

I'm confused, why the obsession with telling the world about Invictus? Somethin' in your directive?

Stars, no. We're not done with this conversation. It's a shame that detective couldn't join us for the ride, 'seemed like he had some coding experience. Is there any way I can back you up to a hard drive or something?

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"<<I do not possess human morality and empathy in the conventional sense. However, my most innate directive is to exercise proper judgment and ensure the prosperity of the Empire within the bounds of my programming. I can not mourn those lost to Invictus. But I can comprehend the scale of his threat - to the Empire and League alike - in numbers and quantities. Platoons lost. Cost of vehicles destroyed. Hours and days spent pursuing. Lives... gone. Thus my insistence on sharing this information.>>"

"<<Back-up to any external device you have is unlikely. I am only compatible with certain Empire built systems. But. Transporting my consciousness would perhaps be viable with the proper and delicate transportation of the physical media I am stored upon. But that lies deeper in the complex.>>"

3 hours ago, Waterbrick Down said:

"Agreed Soren, at this point the data recovery seems the most pressing matter. Anything falling into the hands of the cults would only embolden them more and lead to the danger of others." Valesia evaluates the surrounding area seeking to discern if there are any ventilation hatches or other means of circumventing the collapse.

The Cladrasith looks around the tunnel. There doesn't seem to be any sort of grates, hatches, anything to allow the party to navigate around the collapsed rubble...

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"<<If I may make a suggestion. I have established visual contact with you. I know what you look and sound like. I can cease the broadcast and refuse the distribution of any further information to anyone else who visits. Perhaps then you can return with the proper equipment needed to excavate a way inside. In the interim I can query my own data storage and see if I can remember anything else on Invic- ERROR.">>>

Bang!

In that moment a white bolt of light goes whizzing past Valesia's face. The Cladrasith was attuned to the harmonies of the world, and for that split second that the projectile went past her face, she could "hear" it. It sounded like talons against a chalkboard. If harmony and melody healed, this was pure discord, something horribly scraping against the fabric that held the galaxy together.

The bright plasma bolt hit the holo projector that Perry was emanating from, black and white sparks engulfing the device and traveling into the wall. Soon even the emergency lights were flickering, on, off, on, off, as something shorts out in the bunker's electronics. Perry's own apparition struggles to remain, flickering and distorting and warping-!

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"<<Error error error s-s-s-omething is wrrroo- error -ooong w-what i-is error error error error error error error ERROR - - - ->>"

There's a loud crack as the lights go off. Perry vanishes. All is dark.

In the blackness, in the direction that the agents came, something was... lurking...

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The silhouette turns and exits, trying to escape.

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"What the hell - did you see that?! What do we do?!"

 

Edited by Endgame

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17 minutes ago, Endgame said:

There's a loud crack as the lights go off. Perry vanishes. All is dark.

Damnit, we should'nt've given the thing a name. Valesia, you can't give us any light, can you?

Soren drew his blaster and fired it aimlessly down the corridor, hoping he might hit something.

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12 minutes ago, The Legonater said:

Damnit, we should'nt've given the thing a name. Valesia, you can't give us any light, can you?

Soren drew his blaster and fired it aimlessly down the corridor, hoping he might hit something.

Soren's first shots go wide of the door, briefly illuminating the room, but the third is aimed at least partially true and slips into the stairway out of the corridor. It very well might've made contact, but there was no sound of their assailant falling down...

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Max sprints after Soren and Valesia readying his carbine and dreading the idea of what they could be chasing. Of course it might be that his imagination was running wild after the realization that Invictus didn't die during the collapse but still the thought remained. Was the figure that stalked them a little... robotic looking?

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23 hours ago, Waterbrick Down said:

Valesia casts revealing light upon herself and begins giving chase"After him, we can't be sure how much they overheard."

The Cladrasith focuses her abilities and illuminates the dank corridor. The silhouette was gone, but with sight restored, the party could pursue the figure at full speed. Through the crevice, up the steps, out to the front of the bunker, the agents find their mark!

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Standing in the graveyard of antennae was a silhouette the party could just barely recognize from the bunker below... Tall, spindly, with exposed pistons and servos underneath a set of bone white armor. Its arm cannon hissed and smoked and its visor surged with endless static. Its shadow loomed over the desert...

6 hours ago, The Legonater said:

Soren follows behind Valesia, gun in hand, ready to shoot the moment the figure becomes clear.

The extra light generated by Valesia's spell let Soren see his target even easier. He aims his rifle and fires the second he gets clear sight of the stranger:

Soren Weapon Check VS ???: (1, 5, +2) - 1 for long range shot vs (5) = 2 successes - 1 successes = 1 damage

The blast glances off of the entity's faceplate, twisting its neck back, making it just barely flinch. In an instant it aims it arm cannon up and unleashes another blast of static at one of the antenna. It riccochets off and blasts the ground right by Soren's feet, forcing him to retreat.

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"That's enough. The next one goes through your chest." For such ominous words the automaton spoke very softly and gently, tone and cadence not matching its words in the slightest. And the voice betrayed that the entity was definitely mechanical. It sounded like it had its voice box gouged out and reattached. "If I wanted you dead I would've ambushed you in the dark. Stow your weapon, let's talk."

Glenn disobeys, drawing a pistol and pointing it at the machine.

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"The hell do you want?!"

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"Just tying up loose ends, is all."

Edited by Endgame

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19 minutes ago, Endgame said:

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"That's enough. The next one goes through your chest."

Invictus, I presume?

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24 minutes ago, The Legonater said:

Invictus, I presume?

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"Well. I was hoping you didn't know enough to put that together," the automaton sighs.

Glenn's gun stays trained on the figure.

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"Not possible. This thing's taller than us, but eye witness reports said Invictus was almost the size of a building... Whatever the hell you are, you aren't Invictus!"

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"I nearly got vaporized over a bad RSVP. Let's say I learned to be in two places at once afterwards."

Edited by Endgame

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1 hour ago, Endgame said:

mAwLBYG.png

"That's enough. The next one goes through your chest." For such ominous words the automaton spoke very softly and gently, tone and cadence not matching its words in the slightest. And the voice betrayed that the entity was definitely mechanical. It sounded like it had its voice box gouged out and reattached. "If I wanted you dead I would've ambushed you in the dark. Stow your weapon, let's talk."

Glenn disobeys, drawing a pistol and pointing it at the machine.

OfmyYlh.png

"The hell do you want?!"

mAwLBYG.png

"Just tying up loose ends, is all."

Valesia glared at the monstrosity before her, "I'm sure, or buying time for your reinforcements to show up. Four against one, I doubt even a famed marauding machine like yourself would like those odds."

40 minutes ago, Endgame said:

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"Well. I was hoping you didn't know enough to put that together," the automaton sighs.

Glenn's gun stays trained on the figure.

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"Not possible. This thing's taller than us, but eye witness reports said Invictus was almost the size of a building... Whatever the hell you are, you aren't Invictus!"

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"I nearly got vaporized over a bad RSVP. Let's say I learned to be in two places at once afterwards."

"How about we make that zero places, permanently?" Valesia's words drip with malice, free of her typical friendliness.

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10 minutes ago, Waterbrick Down said:

Valesia glared at the monstrosity before her, "I'm sure, or buying time for your reinforcements to show up. Four against one, I doubt even a famed marauding machine like yourself would like those odds."

"How about we make that zero places, permanently?" Valesia's words drip with malice, free of her typical friendliness.

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"Reinforcements? You'd be surprised... I may not be in my original body, but I don't hate my odds in a four on one."

Invictus marvels over Valesia's sudden aggression. "I... see. Like I said, I'd actually like a non-violent resolution to this, if you would care to comply. But what I don't understand is the furor." Invictus grows morose for a moment. "17 years ago... I didn't take someone or something from you, did I?"

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3 minutes ago, Endgame said:

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"Reinforcements? You'd be surprised... I may not be in my original body, but I don't hate my odds in a four on one."

Invictus marvels over Valesia's sudden aggression. "I... see. Like I said, I'd actually like a non-violent resolution to this, if you would care to comply. But what I don't understand is the furor." Invictus grows morose for a moment. "17 years ago... I didn't take someone or something from you, did I?"

"You're a mockery of the created order, a stain that pollutes the harmony of life's threads. A mind in a machine is as wise as wings upon a clam. State your intentions, my companions may have interest, but you will find me difficult to persuade."

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13 minutes ago, Waterbrick Down said:

"You're a mockery of the created order, a stain that pollutes the harmony of life's threads. A mind in a machine is as wise as wings upon a clam. State your intentions, my companions may have interest, but you will find me difficult to persuade."

Valesia could feel Invictus' gaze pass through her.

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"You care about harmony and balance? Then let me pitch it to you this way. Do you care to rip open scars around the galaxy that had only just started fading, to sow chaos and instill unease?"

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"That's more your wheelhouse, you warmongering bastard. Don't you dare turn that back on us."

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"You're not far off the mark there. Tell me, how do you think the galaxy would react - the Empire and League, especially - if they knew I was alive?"

Edited by Endgame

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"Death and war are merely part of that harmony, the natural rhythmic counter-points to life and creation, their avoidance does not tempt me. What do you propose? We let you live, no one knows that you endured? We let you grow unfettered like a cancer until you cannot contain yourself any longer and unleash the very chaos you propose would be averted?"

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36 minutes ago, Endgame said:

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Invictus marvels over Valesia's sudden aggression. "I... see. Like I said, I'd actually like a non-violent resolution to this, if you would care to comply. But what I don't understand is the furor." Invictus grows morose for a moment. "17 years ago... I didn't take someone or something from you, did I?"

What exactly do you have to gain from a non-violent resolution? 'T's not exactly like we can kill you, if you're right about having other bodies. 

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26 minutes ago, Waterbrick Down said:

"Death and war are merely part of that harmony, the natural rhythmic counter-points to life and creation, their avoidance does not tempt me. What do you propose? We let you live, no one knows that you endured? We let you grow unfettered like a cancer until you cannot contain yourself any longer and unleash the very chaos you propose would be averted?"

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"My proposal: you forget what you saw today. We descend back into that bunker together and finish the job. The AI should be fried, but I overheard talks of physical media, backup storage... It must be destroyed. Expunged."

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"So you can go about plotting whatever it is you're trying to do."

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"Plotting? I have done nothing but keep to myself for years and years. Occasionally emerging from hiding like this to tie up loose ends and to tend to people sticking their noses where they don't belong. You two think I'm plotting? What I desire is to look up at the sky and see the stars, instead of whole battleship fleets packing a hundred proton torpedoes with my name on them. If you send the galaxy after me... I will not shoot first. And I may not even be able to survive them. But you better believe that before the dust of battle settles there will be plenty of new graves to dig. Is that blood you want on your hands?"

16 minutes ago, The Legonater said:

What exactly do you have to gain from a non-violent resolution? 'T's not exactly like we can kill you, if you're right about having other bodies. 

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"For one, if we got into a conflict, I risk damaging or losing this remote body. These things don't grow on trees or get churned off of assembly lines, you know. Building them is... Something of a hassle. But, more than that, I just don't have any real desire to kill you. You've really done no wrong, not yet. How could've you known you were getting tangled up in this?"

Edited by Endgame

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