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MarianFrae

Charon 5 (official)

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It was nice to relax in an area where she didn't have to worry about trials or anything like that. Unless there would be more tomorrow... "Where will we be headed next?" she asked no one in particular.

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Cefiyaen tunnels - Faelyn, Sarona, Tek-Zem, Lennie, Riven Silver

 

Settling Lennie as comfortably as possible I moved over to the boiling pot to get a whiff of what was cooking. Looking over at Faelyn I raised one eyebrow in question as if to say 'is this stuff edible?' She simply winked at me and grinned which told me she would take care of making it as palatable as was possible.

 

Making myself comfortable on one of the unoccupied beds beside Lennie I thought about Sarona's question. The way she worded the question it sounded as if she was including me in the group.

 

"I do not know why the four of you are here. I am here simply to trade if the Cefiyaens have something I desire or can be used in trade elsewhere. I might also be persuaded to offer services in trade should they be something they can use. Sarona, why are you here? Are you with the other three or alone?"

 

Lennie was exhaused and had fallen instantly asleep, but she was moaning which meant she was still in too much pain. While awaiting Sarona's answer I rummaged through my rucksack in search of blocodador. It would block the pain and sedate her and though I would have to wake Lennie to take it she would sleep better for it.

 

Measuring out the correct dosage for someone Lennie's size and in her condition I added a bit of water and stirred until it dissolved. Waking Lennie and helping her to sit up I coaxed her to drink it. She laid down again and fell asleep quickly.

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Cefiyaen tunnels - Faelyn, Sarona, Tek-Zem, Lennie, Riven Silver

 

While Tek was leading us back to our room I hesitated in answering it's question. Tek had been with us such a short time, and such that it was, it also seemed like a lifetime. Tek was one of us now. Once you've tasted the outside world of your home it is hard to go back and stay. So I decided to share my thoughts.

 

"Tek, I think the others are in trouble on Wanderer. I've been getting mental messages for a while now. First they started with Yen and now Runner. Yen was asking me about vampires and what I knew of them. Now Runner has contacted me and is concerned about Adrian and Aldrich. I'm assuming they are vampires or associated with them. She said they may not be there when we get back; that the others are too strong. She said she would send to me when the coast was clear for us to return. I'm deeply concerned about them."

 

We reached our room and I started cooking the Gnaz Beast Stew again. It wasn't half bad and it would feed all of us and I'd fix something veggie for Sarona. Riven, before she went over to continue taking care of Lennie, took a sniff. She didn't seem like she was sure this could be made to be tasty. I winked and smiled at her and returned my attention back to the stew and Tek-Zem.

 

We hadn't gotten to talk much while on the ship so there was a lot we didn't know about each other. However trust was one thing we both had to do now.

 

Looking over to see if everything was okay my eyes drifted over to Sarona. So very quiet... so sad looking... such beauty... She was just asking where we were going next and just as I was about to answer her, Riven started telling us her story. Quite interesting. Maybe we could use her services to track the black box. I would have to remember to ask her.

 

Answering Sarona, "Tek-Zem wants to take us to meet the Queen of it's colony. I'm not sure how far it is from here. I think tonight we eat, rest, and recuperate. Maybe we can share a little about ourselves with each other since we're going to be traveling a far distance together."

 

I returned to cooking and gestured to Tek that it should tell me it's thoughts.

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"Druid Riven Silver, I would gladly negotiate for trading on your behalf... I am sure my people would be interested in whatever goods you have for barter."

 

I turned back to Faelyn... She had lowered her voice, apparently because she did not want the other females to hear.

 

"It is good that you are concerned about Runner, Shaed and Yenhomet. But if Runner deems it unsafe for you to return, then you should not... We should make the best of our time here, female Faelyn. We could potentially obtain something from my people that could turn the tunnels in our favour."

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"SHAED!" I rolled my eyes, "He's lost in whatever he used to block me out. Wanderer, set up some shielding by Yen, please." I set the gun down and memorized a bullet. Once the shield was up, Wanderer began buffeting me from all directions. 12 out of 60 bullets hit me. "Again." This time only 3 hit... and those had been deflected- just not enough.

"You are doing well, Runner."

"None can hit me. Again." Three more times, I was buffeted. Each time one or none hit.

"You are well prepared, Runner."

"I still have bullets hitting me. I can't afford to get shot, Wanderer."

"I highly doubt you will be shot at like this, Runner. You are pushing your-"

"Shut up and shoot, Wanderer."

"Of course, Runner." 5 more times- one out of 300 bullets hit, "I won't do it again, Runner. The odds of you getting shot are 1:300. You will wear away your power."

"Yen, shoot me."

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"Hmmmm?" Yen had barely paid any attention to the

Runner's activity while she was focused on the console, reworking technical code.

 

"Yen, shoot me."

 

The Runner's request finally penetrated the mechanic's concentration, and she turned to see what she had been doing. Hundreds of stray foam blanks were scattered all over the floor.

 

"Still worried about a little ammo, Runner?" she quizzed, a stray thought suddenly occurring to her. A realization came to mind, it made sense, but somehow no sense, either.

 

"You don't need to dodge a hail of the bullets, Runner" she found herself saying, "you've already done that, you have to dodge the one that is going to strike.

 

With that she picked up her rifle, loading it with ONE foam bullet, and swung it around, taking aim at her friend. "This is the real one," she said firing directly at the Runner's heart.

She visualized sleek deadly metal, gleaming with a diamond hardness, streaking with unbelievable swiftness toward the center of the Runner's being, certain to explode, tearing her beating heart from her chest on contact.

 

Suddenly her light speed vision activated, and the she saw the slow motion bullet turn grey, it's tip heated to a red glow as it tore through the air, tracers of red light in it's wake.

 

It looked real.

 

As she watched at light speed, her own body frozen at a normal pace, she could see every detail of the one shot she had just fired. It was frightening, the inevitable slow line of the single bullet advancing toward the Runner's breast, as though nothing could stop it.

Why did this bother her when the Runner had just quelled hundreds of ammunition?

 

Some premonition warned her that something was wrong, this shot was not the same as the others, and it was too late now....

 

beware the illusion of real bullets appearing to be foam.....a wicked laugh slid through Yen's mind, slimy, like blood on a fresh kill.

(@Marian - gettin' bored, lol :mwah: do anythin' ya want with this.. :D )

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Cefiyaen tunnels - Faelyn, Sarona, Tek-Zem, Lennie, Riven Silver

 

"I thank you for that offer, Tek-Zem, and gladly take you up on it. As of right now I don't have a lot since I'm on my way to re-supply. I'm down to one small medallion of titanium and seven metal trinkets that humans call charms which are worn around the neck; two platinum, two copper, two silver, and one iridium. I have herbs, of course, but I'm down to a personal supply at the moment and have none to spare. It would help if you could tell me what would be of interest to Cefiyaens so I might bring what would be of value to them."

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Wanderer Starship, Maintenance Bay - Shaed, Yen, Runner

 

My jungle fantasy finally slips away, my mind comin' outta the trance as Runner takes on a fury o' bullets. Pretty entertainin', watchin' her pelt herself with the things... good for her too, I guess, since she seems ta get better with each round. Dunno what Wanderer's complainin' 'bout... so much that Yen has ta take up the gun herself!

 

But the bullet she loads is... "No!" I cry as she pulls the trigger. Time seems ta slow as I fixate on the bullet, burstin' on outta the barrel o' the gun. It's a live round. It'll kill Runner if it hits her. If I could only move fast enough, I'd rush in front and take the thing in the shoulder. But I can't. I know I can't. A desperate scream rips from my spirit, everything I am willin' the bullet ta turn away, willin' it not ta kill my friend.

 

The moment passes. The bullet streaks across the room'n buries itself in a wall... shortly after havin' turned 90 degrees in mid-air. I stand, starin', unable to believe.

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Yen heard Shaed shout "No", desperation in his voice a split second after the round left the rifle. As she stared at the red streak marking it's passage, heading straight at the Runner, it suddenly turned, deflected, and slowing her vision to normal she saw it strike the wall.

 

But it left no mark. Shaking, she could see Runner was unharmed, so she half ran to the spot where it should have struck, but there was nothing, no sign of a bullet, not a scratch on the wall. "What is going on?" she gasped, looking over at Shaed she ran back to the tray of bullets, and there were no live ones on it, just blanks.

Her nerves on edge, tears filled her eyes and she struggled not to cry.

 

Someone was playing mental games on them.

 

Wanderer's voice filled the stunned silence, "I warned you about tiring yourself excessively, Runner, your alter ego seems to have come out to play."

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Cefiyaen tunnels - Faelyn, Sarona, Tek-Zem, Lennie, Riven Silver

 

The Gnaz Beast stew was almost finished, I added some herbs and dried potatoes and vegetables. Listening to Tek-Zem, I knew it was right. We needed to concentrate on getting through the tunnels and to it's Queen. Still my concern for the others lay heavy on my soul.

 

"Tek, I know you're right. We need to concentrate on getting through the tunnels. We still don't know what else lies ahead for us. And it will be a pleasure when we meet your Queen."

 

I continued cooking and whipped up some veggie soup for Sarona, remembering she didn't eat meat. I stirred the stew again and walked over to Riven. "I heard you say you would trade services. We're in need of a guide once we get out of these tunnels on the other side. If you're native to this planet and have been trading, maybe you can help us find our distination with the map we have. Would you be willing to help us?"

 

Hearing a cape rustle I turned to Sarona. "Are you doing okay, Sarona? I'm fixing some veggie soup for you. Will you require more. I can hydrate some of those berries for you also if you'd like." She had been plenty quiet, and at the same time, very effective in her magic with the hot gems and the fungus. We were very lucky to have her on our team.

 

I was wiped out. I needed a bath, food, and a good long snooze. Lennie was out like a light. Hopefully she was in very little pain and would heal well while she slept.

 

I pushed back the thoughts of the others as I walked over to the stew and waited to see if Sarona wanted anything else.

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My eyes darkened, "Elrendil." A deep, dark laugh erupted from my throat, "Yes, dear? You named me."

"What was that?"

"Just a little game."

"Nothing is just a game with you."

Ah, you finally let me in.

"Why don't you occupy the rodent's brain for a little while, eh? Have a little fun with your man in a boy's body? We both know he's not strong enough to resist you."

What? What are you talking about? Of course I-

Suddenly both Elendril and Adrian were in front of me. I smiled touched at my lips, "Ah, so I can project, hmm? Well, good... can you feel as well?"

Adrian suddenly bent backwards in half.

----

An agonized scream broke out in The Arrow.

----

"So you can... and, you, Elendril? What would hurt you but wouldn't hurt me?" I reached into her memories and found the one. "A boy... the boy." Elendril's eyes went wide. "The boy who turned your heart to stone."

A boy with golden brown hair and emerald eyes was suddenly beside her. He embraced her and kissed her passionately. Her eyes filled with light and tears. My own watered. Pulling from her, he whispered, "You betrayed me." And blood soiled his white shirt.

"NO! NO! Terick! No, I didn't... it- it was an accident! Terick!" an agonized cry rose in her throat but caught in her throat- turning into a sob. Adrian broke contact and Elendril was too distraught to do anything.

I fell to my knees, "Fine, Wanderer, you were right."

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Yen barely had a chance to catch Shaed's eyes through her tears and say "You deflected it! But what was it?",

before the Runner began talking to herself, finally collapsing to her knees, exhausted by the conflict within her.

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((the projection, you would have seen. ;)))

I turned to Shaed, "I said you could do it. Have more faith in yourself. Good job." I picked the bullet up. It was still real... but not. I rubbed my hands across it and it turned to dust. Mentally, I was exhausted, emotionally, I was confused... but situationally, I was overjoyed and proud- proud to have people who cared. Proud to be the kind of person who would cause caring.

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Cefiyaen tunnels - Faelyn, Sarona, Tek-Zem, Lennie, Riven Silver

 

"My world is not as dangerous as Tez-Mar made it out to be... I am sure our journey will be a smooth one, and that the Matron Queen will bless us on our way..." I comforted Faelyn with the common Cefiyaen saying, fully aware that I was perhaps not as confident about this lie as I should have been. "We should set off soon, the journey will be far longer, it should take us several days if we wish to travel into the heart of Cefiya."

 

I turned to look at the injured female whom I believe was called Lennie... She had already succumbed to the effects of her hibernation cycle...

 

Satisfied, I turned to face the Druid female, and began to humbly advise her on trading tactics. "I believe metal would fetch quite a decent value. If you have any organism parts from the surface, or... elsewhere... I think they would be good for trade as well. Maybe they would interest researchers like Tol-Dya..." This was followed by a short pause, for me to maintain the heat of the boiling water, before I resumed.

 

"Female Riven Silver. If you do not mind me asking, how did you learn of our colonies? We have not had contact with the surface until a few days ago... It is suprising that you possess knowledge of our existence."

 

Distracted, I turned for a moment to face Sarona, eager to see what berries and veggies were... But her food looked the same to me as all the other samples of alien sustenance I had seen.

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"No thank-you, I don't need anymore. I don't typically eat much. And I'm fine, why?" She was typically quiet around humans, but she assumed they would have realized that already. She typically only opened up to animals.

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Wanderer Starship, Maintenance Bay - Shaed, Yen, Runner

 

Emotions broil in me like a ragin' storm as so many things happen at once. Runner's near death. The deflected bullet. Adrian and Elendril showin' up right in fornt o' us. Yen's tears...

 

Mind pulled every which way by the chaos, I do the only thing that makes sense to me. Runner seems fine, even if she looks kinda worn out, so I move ta Yen's side and embrace her. I pull her ta my chest, kissin' her face and whisperin' soft reassurances inta her ear. She asked what it was, and I know she's as confused as me... but I don't have any answers for her. This is about the best I can do, ya know?

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"I'm going to eat and rest for a while." I stood slowly and walked to my room, There is some silver lining here, after all, Faelyn. I believe they're in love. Shaed and Yen are in love.

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Shaed's embrace strengthened Yen, but not enough to quell a nagging sense of guilt, she turned her head, relieved to watch the Runner climb to her feet again, saying she was going to get some rest.

 

"I just keep messing up where she's concerned, I almost wish I hadn't manufactured that gun." she said snuggling closer in his strong arms.

"I keep getting this nagging premonition that it's going to be used against one of us, instead of being a defense. Maybe I should have Wanderer dismantle the ones here, Faelyn still has hers, and I'm not sure what good a rifle will be against a vampire anyway."

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"Easy, love." I brush back a strand of her hair, puttin' it back behind her ear. "Any ordinary ol' gun can shoot Runner dead, so there's no sense blamin' yourself on cookin' up this one." I hold her close, drawin' her head in ta rest on my pec like a pillow. "Now why doncha tell me where she'd be without you'n your Wanderer, eh? Stuck alone on this hell hole in some tin can of a ship, that's where. Ya think she'd stand any chance against vamp boy then?" I give her a little squeeze. "She needs ya, love, like I do."

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Cefiyaen tunnels - Faelyn, Sarona, Tek-Zem, Lennie, Riven Silver

 

Nodding to Tek-Zem I said, "Sounds reassuring, as soon as we've eaten and rested a bit we should be good to go."

 

"Gnaz Stew is ready if anyone wants any. Grab a bowl or cup from your pack and come get some."

 

Looking over to Sarona, "Your veggie soup and berries are done. Just concerned that your magic didn't take too much out of you. Figured if I fed you good and plenty then you would recover your strength from your spell casting."

 

I listened to Tek-Zem and Riven talk while I ate. I must have put different spices in last time, this tastes better, or is it because I'm so hungry.

 

Finished eating I stepped behind the curtain and rinsed off in the tub. The warm water felt so good on my skin.

 

And just like that, there she was again, Runner, telling me Yen and Shaed were in love. Kinda surprised me since Yen was the one not wanting the kitty loose.

 

How the tables do turn my dear Runner. We're fine here and are getting ready to travel to the Queen. Tek said it would be an uneventful journey. One can hope. I will rest now for the journey.

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Cefiyaen tunnels - Faelyn, Sarona, Tek-Zem, Lennie, Riven Silver

 

"I am indeed native to the planet and have trekked quite a bit of it before falling into a more or less habitual route. To answer Tek-Zem's question, I found the tunnel entrance quite by accident. I had no pre-existing knowledge other than myth. Though myth usually holds a grain of truth it is, as a rule, much too far in the past to lend it much credence. Cefiyaens are the exception to that rule."

 

"For the most part I am an up front and in-your-face type of gal. I beg to differ with Tek-Zem's description of the Cefiyaen tunnels not being dangerous and the journey being a smooth one. Tez-Mar may have been exaggerating to an extent, but my guess is that the reality is a bit closer to her description than to Tek-Zem's. I prefer to know what the real deal is in order to prepare for as many eventualities as possible."

 

"As far as trade goes, you know what I have at this time. If you are interested, I figure you will let me know as well as what you are willing to trade in return."

 

"There seems to be some urgency to your journey. I have done all I can at this time for Lennie. I cannot guarantee she will be able to travel as soon as you would wish to leave. There is a good possibility that I will be able to help you find that which you seek. You need to decide what you are willing to trade for my services."

 

"In the meantime I will take advantage of the facilities to clean myself up and get a bite to eat." After having said my piece I stood, checked on Lennie to find she was still sleeping soundly, and went behind the curtain to get rid of the days grime.

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Shaed’s reassurances made her feel a little better, but apprehension remained, haunting Yen. “I just HATE having my mind messed with.” she replied resting her head against him. “Too many things can go wrong working on this equipment, where the detonate button is millimeters from the disarm key, without some psionic interference trying to confuse the difference.”

 

She looked up at him, “What did you just do, moving that round out of the way like that? Can you do it again?”

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I'm silent a moment. Truth? All this psi had me worried too. I was only just beginnin' ta develop defenses, and the enemies we'd be up against were already experienced pros.

"I dunno if I could do it again." I say after a sec. "That feelin' ain't exactly easy ta call up on a whim, ya know."

 

"I believe that assessment is correct." A familiar metalic drone. "Shaed's psionic potential appears to be significantly lower than yours or Runner's, at least so far as telekinetics are concerned. The last effort, in which he moved only a small mass, was likely near to the current limit of his ability in that regard." I snort, a bit miffed at havin' my own lack o' power explained ta me.

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Cefiyaen tunnels - Faelyn, Sarona, Tek-Zem, Lennie, Riven Silver

 

I contemplated what Riven had just said, wondering what we might have that would be of interest to her. Then it struck me... our air to water converter. I wondered if Tek could duplicate it thereby having one for Riven.

 

Pulling Tek aside I asked, "Tek, do you think you could duplicate our air to water converter? I think it owuld be of much use to Riven out on her travels. If I could trade the converter for her services that would help us on our journey also."

 

Pausing only a second... "And Tek, what's this she's saying about the journey being more like what Tez-Mar said? Is it indeed going to be dangerous for us?"

 

I waited to hear what Tek had to say.

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"We'll just have to count on the Runner, she knows more about this than we do. It's spooky, but we must have all awakened for a reason, inexperience or not, I think Adrich de Tremere made a mistake attacking us mentally in advance. For some reason, I'm more worried about him in person. We'd better hide our skills the best we can from him, though." She shook her head, brushing her curls against him. Standing on tiptoe, she brushed her lips against his.

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