Tuesday Night Numenara

Stairway to Heaven

In Which the Party Continued Exploring…

…the cavernous room they discovered atop the Beanstalk’s ribbon. Having convinced themselves they had made a full survey of the lower section, they climbed the staircase to the upper chamber.

Within the upper chamber, they discovered a dead body sporting a BroForce tattoo. Deciding he should be returned to his bros, Wally fashioned a crude parachute and unceremoniously threw him out of the hole in the wall.

The upper chamber was adorned with lifeless control panels, which Astro and Balfor hotwired using one of Balfor’s batteries. They got it right on their second attempt, and we don’t touch the first panel anymore.

Pondering the pictures on the displays, they discovered that main power for the chamber is actually delivered through the Beanstalk ribbon itself. Balfor put just about everything he had into jumpstarting the charging cycle, and barely managed to bring the machinery to life without burning himself out (or up) in the process.

They were greeted with an ominous control panel containing an up arrow and down arrow. Realizing they were in a massive elevator. they chose to press onward and upward.

The immense acceleration of the elevator nearly crushed the party, but fortunately Astro has the g-forces covered. She was able to re-activate the elevator’s gravity regulator, and manually control the g-forces for a smooth ride. Of course, then she got bored and nearly peeled all the skin from her body by trying to touch the ribbon while the elevator was moving. Fortunately, sanity prevailed—this time.

At Last, the Party Reached the Top of the Beanstalk…

…and exited through the top hatch of the elevator into a a series of dimly-lit maintenance tunnels. There appeared to be an issue with the standard door mechanism, probably due to there being a massive hole ripped through part of it.

Astro hacked another panel and opened an egress into a proper hallway. Following the halls, they discovered a pair of long-dead, non-human bodies. Argent believed they seemed similar to Varjellan anatomy, but closer inspection reduced them to little more than coarse dust.

After a bit more meandering around what seemed like a circular hallway, they took a radial path into a massive central chamber, extending upward beyond their ability to see in the dim light.

It was right about this time, they heard a scuttling noise…

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The Open Door

The party chased after the scuttling sound through several hallways, catching little more than the briefest glimpses of their quarry. The chase ended at an open doorway flooded with light.

Armen was swift enough to see the silhouette of a large, gorilla-like creature waving a signal to enter quickly. As a smaller creature, reminiscent of a large rodent or small dog, bounded into the open doorway, the larger creature slipped into the door and slapped a panel on the wall, closing it behind him.

As the party looked around, they noticed the alcove by the doorway was in disarray, as if there had been some commotion. They noticed overturned furniture and boxes about, and there was a splatter of fresh blood.

Wally tasted the blood. It had a pungent bouquet, and a greasy mouth-feel. There were not-so-subtle notes of rot and filth, and it had bitter, metallic legs.

Astro went to work hacking the planet panel, and Wally “helped.” Eventually the two were able to open the doorway into a small chamber with another doorway, beyond which lay a corridor. They passed through a doorway in a small temple-like structure carved into the face of a rock cliff, exiting into a bright forest clearing.

As the door of the temple closed behind them, the party entered the clearing, and Armen immediately climbed something. In this case, it was a tree, and he was greeted with a stunning view of a lush forest abutting rolling hills and pastoral grasslands. Beyond a river lie a denser forest surrounding a towering tree-like structure.

Their revelry was cut short as Astro was backslashed by some hideous lanky abhuman, with long clawed hands, a horse-like mane of hair, and a toothy grin going literally from ear to ear. Armen immediatly shot its smug face (in its smug shoulder). It demonstrated its shared interests by slowly removing the arrow and licking its own blood.

Not to be outdone, Wally jumped down from his perch, stabbed the creature with his dimensional sword, and licked it clean. This was not so bright, as it burned his tongue, and he was completely unable to appreciate any subtle flavors it may have contained.

A second abhuman, all muscle and no head (its hideous face is embedded in its chest and stomach), attempted to strike back at Wally, but was deftly dodged.

Balfor attempted to strike at the mind of the first abhuman, but was rebuffed, while Astro just stared at it slackjawed sized it up.

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What Did the Fox Say?

The battle with the abhumans begins in earnest. Armen, Argent, and Balfor gang up on the grinning monstrosity, as the headless hulk is fettered by Armen’s defenses. During the melee, a new creature appears, leathery skin stretched over a skeletal frame with large spiky bony protrusions. It strolls unhurriedly toward the conflict.

As blows are traded, the grinning abhuman steps back to lick its wounds (quite literally, with its disgustingly-long tongue). Before it is able to recover any further, Balfor’s onslaught combined with the final shot from Argent’s railgun topple the foe to the ground, allowing Armen to finish it with a double-footed curb stomp.

The fight shifts toward the headless hulk, as it tries to grab Armen in a great bear hug. In a deft maneuver, Armen stops the attack cold with a quick elbow to the bridge of where its nose would be (roughly where a human’s solar plexus would be). Balfor and Argent are distracted as a blob of caustic goop is flung onto Armen’s back. Some brief flailing (and hedge magic) later, the goop is gone, and they spot a strange bulbous abhuman hiding in the trees, wearing a simpleton’s smile when it’s not distending it’s jaw to launch its terrible loogies.

The spiky skeleton finally makes its way to the party, where it grabs Balfor’s arm, and attempts to sever his hand. Fortunately, Balfor’s quick reflexes keep all hands on deck. Armen and the headless hulk continue to grapple with one another until the hulk bull rushes and lands atop him, with only Argent’s expert crossbuckler maneuver protecting his soft underbelly from the creature’s hungry, slavering…underbelly.

Though Argent skillfully shoves the spiky skeleton into the path of an oncoming loogie, the battle seems to have reached a stalemate, until a small fox jumps down from a tree and plants a tiny rapier between the shoulders of the stretched-leather skeleton. The enraged monster attacks like a whirling dervish, but a skillful riposte from Argent’s verred, leaving the creature open as the fox climbs over Argent’s shoulders and plants his rapier firmly in the creature’s empty eye socket. Balfor finishes the job as he fires off his magic missile, landing solid blows on all three foes, and crushing the skeletal skull.

Meanwhile, a gorilla has emerged from the same tree the fox jumped from, and with a mighty blow from his staff, cracks the spine of the headless hulk. Armen takes the opening, and plants his foot directly into the creature’s gut. Since that’s where his mouth is, it goes quite further into the creature’s gut than anticipated. Though it gets a quick nosh off Armen’s knee, Armen gives a final crushing kick to the monster’s gullet, and it dies, vomiting its last all over Armen.

The globular horker makes a break for it, jiggling and running in a most disturbing fashion, unexpectedly quickly away from the battle. Armen manages to land a final parting shot, sending the creature tumbling head over heels, but it manages to limp away.

The battle over, the three ponder their new temporary allies, and attempt to communicate. The fox says…something, but it is unintelligible to the party. Argent tries to communicate, but the fox seems similarly confused. He and the gorilla begin conversing, and the gorilla begins grunting and gesturing with increasing emphasis. Finally, the gorilla pulls something like a book from beneath his robe/poncho, and points to the party, and to an intricately detailed and embellished picture of what appears to be a man. Boregal (Kevin) finally chimes in and says “oh for crying out loud, he’s asking if you’re human.”

The conversation is interrupted as a bloody bear stumbles from the woods, and the fox rushes to meet it.

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The Heart of the Forest

After the defeat of the abhumans, Argent tries to tend to the bear’s wounds as best he can. The fox and gorilla appreciate the effort, but recognize he needs more intensive care—he needs the water of life. The gorilla hefts the large animal and carries him off into the woods.

The party follows, and chats with the duo using Boregal Kevin as a translator. The duo do not seem to fully understand or trust the party, but are happy for them to follow. Along the way, they come across a Stonehenge-like monument within the woods. In the center is a broken altar. Astro wants to investigate, and after a brief discussion with his cohort, the fox identifies the monument as Kellon’s Altar, and determines it is best the party wait here while the gorilla goes on ahead.

Astro determines the altar and stones around it are Numenara, and appear to be part of some kind of holographic imaging system. She decides to try and fix it, but is beset by madness. Still mired within the workings of the altar, she suddenly declares that she herself is Kellon, and begins to converse with the fox without Boregal’s Kevin’s aid.

Astro Kellon tells the fox that the situation is more dire than they know, and that there is another party in play. The Heart of the Forest must be found quickly. Upon receiving this message, the fox leaves to inform the king, and tells the party to wait at the altar. The king will want to meet with them, but they could cause too much of a stir if they waltz into town.

The party has had a big day. They climbed the beanstalk, found a space station, chased a talking fox, and fought some abhumans. They decide this is a good time to get some rest. Astro decides to continue working on the altar, and Wally decides to “help.”

Hours later, Astro notices Wally half-inside the opened altar, tangled up in wiring. Apparently he got comfortable, as he is fast asleep. Trying to wake him up and move him out of the way, Astro uses some exposed wiring to shock Wally. This backfires, as the current causes Wally’s muscles to sieze, locking Astro into a brotastic bear hug.

Everybody else rests well for the night. Astro gets no sleep at all, and as such, is the first to hear approaching footsteps. She attempts to float away like a balloon, but is unable to escape the iron grasp of Wally. A great lion emerges from the woods, flanked by the fox, gorilla, two wolves, and an entourage of woodland critters.

A conversation is attempted, but the shock that locked up Wally all night had rather deleterious effects on the mind of Boregal Kevin. The king refuses to speak through an intermediary, and the gorilla informs the party that they will all be taken to the Tree of Life to be baptized.

The tree of Life is the largest tree any of the party have ever seen. Wally and Armen immediately resolve to climb it, only much later coming up with some excuse about investigating the theft of the Heart.

As they enter the town at the base of the gigantic tree, most of the animal inhabitants they see either stare at them in awe or quickly turn and find somewhere else to be. They are led to a circular stream surrounding the base of the great tree. A ceremony is prepared and performed, which culminates in the party being successively drowned in the stream by the elder gorilla.

After the ceremony there is feasting and drinking, but the party awakens in the early morning with no memory of what happened that evening. They do have a new and exciting method of communication which allows them to telepathically “talk” to each other by vocalizing their thoughts to any other party member within earshot. This also allows them to converse with the animal residents of this kingdom.

The king informs them that the Heart of the Forest has been stolen. Without it the water of life is losing its potency, and eventually will cease to flow. The water cures their infirm, gives their children the gift of speech, and allows the carnivores to subsist on plants and fish, without molesting the otherwise prey species of the kingdom. Without the heart, their kingdom will die.

He tasks them with helping to recover the Heart. He knows that the return of the demons (abhumans) began shortly before the Heart’s disappearance, and he has heard rumors that the Avians have been hardest hit by the demonic invasion. He also informs the party that the Reptilians have, for many years now, been requesting more and more of the Water of Life in their regular dispensations. They have attempted to usurp the Tree of Life and control of the kingdom at other points in its history, and the king believes they may have been hoarding the Water in anticipation of cutting off its flow.

The king also tells the party that the demons are believed to have been appearing from the temples, and that there are three known temples: one in Kellon’s Wood (where the party came from), one in the Avian lands, and one in the Reptilian lands. He leaves the party’s course of action to their discretion, so Wally and Armen decide the first thing they will do is climb the Tree of Life, the sacred tree that none shall climb, to “search for clues.”

The king tells the party he will allow the excursion, if they swear an oath to recover the Heart. They do, and Wally, Armen, and Astro climb the gargantuan tree to reach the spherical chamber woven with spiralling branches near the tree’s canopy where the Heart usually resides. They find an empty pair of pliths—one from the floor, and another from the ceiling—from which it appears the heart was removed by force. The good news is that these Numenara devices do not appear to be broken, so if they can recover the Heart intact, they can re-install it.

Not content to leave well enough alone, Wally and Armen attempt to climb to the top of the tree, but are abruptly halted by an invisible barrier within the canopy. Upon further inspection, this barrier is not actually invisible, but its surface is painted with a high-resolution projection of the top of the canopy.

The trio takes the fast way down, and informs the king of what they found, though they keep their discovery of the projected canopy to themselves. They decide their next move will be to foray into the Reptilian lands to investigate..

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Snake in the Water

The party set out for the reptilian marshes, but then realized they didn’t know where they were going, so they headed back to the city to recruit a guide. Joined once more by the fox they met in the woods, they decided to go to the temple in the marsh.

Along the way, they were followed. Their first encounter was with a chameleon, but it ran away when Wally poked it. After that, they noticed a much more ominous shadow trailing them in the waters along the path. Wally waded in to check it out, but this time when he poked it, whatever it was did not run away. It moved to get between him and the land, but he deftly jumped the creature and rejoined the party.

As they crossed a land barrier, they looked back to see a giant snake slithering up and over the barrier and into the water on the other side. It continued following them for several hours as they trekked through the ever more densely-forested marshlands. That is, until it abruptly rose from the water into their path, and told them to wait for the king.

A short time later, a large cobra in a tiny cape arrived, followed by his scaly entourage. He was going to introduce himself as king, but Wally dispensed with the pleasantries. The king wanted to know who they were and what they were doing in his kingdom.

In the resulting conversation, the party mentioned that they were humans, but not of Kellon’s tribe. They were seeking the heart, and the king seemed not to know that it was missing. The king was strangely more interested in the fact that they were humans not allied with Kellon, and began pressing them to attempt to change the balance of power in the valley.

Wally and the king engaged in a long conversation about politics that mostly went over his head, but he figures the snakes didn’t like the way the lion was running stuff, and that the furries weren’t always in charge, and the snakes want their turn, or whatever. Astro said whatever she thought the king wanted to hear, which was some manner of agreement with this.

After some time griping about politics, the Snake King re-realized the heart was missing, and that was a more pressing concern. He left the party to go make some preparations on his end, but left them with his most trusted advisor: a small salamander.

The party made their way to the temple doors, and Astro worked her magic on the control panel. Leaving their animal friends behind them, they entered the corridor beyond. The bland hallway lead to a bland elevator, and not being able to read the panel, they surmised little more than the fact they were at the top. They punched the button to go one floor down.

This put the party in another hallway, but this one had signs and doorways. The first door led to some sort of office or work area, but did not seem to be in use. They split up and checked other doors. Wally, Balfor, and Astro found similar offices, and found some kincknacks: Wally found a crystal pyramid with a lifelike rendition of the Tree of Life inside, Balfor found some superconducting materials he saved for later, and Astro found a big strong magnet she decided to leave behind.

Argent found something more interesting, though. His room, rather than a workstation, had a row of tables adorned with clusters of equipment. He touched a screen behind one of the tables, and it came to life showing nothing more than an animated logo. He then touched all the screens to see if there was anything else, and the last one flickered to life with the image of Kellon before he turned it on.

After asking what they were doing on his ship, Kellon told the party that the heart had been stolen by another outsider. He told them that the heart hadn’t left the ship, but he couldn’t locate it using the ship’s systems, so it was probably in the forsaken sections, barricaded off from the valley and their current location. He told the party he could reconfigure the nanites in their brains (that allowed them to understand the animals) so that they could read the ship’s writing, but it would take him some time to bring the systems online.

The party decided to camp here for the night,and Kellon would be ready for them in the morning.

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The A-Team

Kellon’s Coffee Talk

The party woke up in the medlab, newly registered to the crew roster and upgraded nanodes allowing them to read the terminals around the ship. They had a bit of a Q&A session with Kellon, and discovered that the ship was built over 250,000 years ago as an interstellar colony vessel, and Kellon was a member of the original crew. The ship’s mssion to seed an Earth-like exoplanet with Terran flora and fauna.

However, due to unspecified political turmoil, the originating government had scrapped the mission and stranded Kellon and the rest of the crew at the top of the beanstalk. The crew put themselves into stasis to wait out the unrest, but the government itself collapsed, and the space program was lost entirely over the years. After several centuries of being stranded, the crew gave up their entire civilization as lost, and assumed they would never be recovered or their mission resumed.

They instead used the terraforming resources of the ship to create an artificial habitat and by going into and out of stasis, bred the animals in the valley over millennia into sentience and their own society. During the intervening ages, however, the crews bodies eventually began giving out, and one by one they would become unable to wake from their stasis.

Many of the crew turned to genetic self-manipulation to attempt to increase their longevity. This tended to result in eventual insanity, and the crew began devolving into abhumans. The remaining human crew sealed the RHEA valley and a few sections off from the rest of the ship in an attempt to protect themselves and the animals from the rampaging abhumans.

Now that Kellon has made contact with other humans, he asked the party to accomplish 3 tasks:

  1. Seal the entrance of the ship to prevent the Heart of the Forest from being removed.
  2. Obtain entrance into the “forsaken sectors” of the ship, where the abhumans presumably have the Heart
  3. Locate and retrieve the Heart

Kellon also asked the party to, if possible, find a way to exterminate the abhumans. He would like to re-introduce his sentient animals to the Earth (or another planet if the ship can be restored and equipped), but does not want to risk populating the world with the abhuman monsters as well.

To accomplish these tasks, he advised the party to recruit help from the animals. He mentioned that any animals venturing into the forsaken lands would likely be making a one-way trip, so he asked them to form small teams, with the party as his A team, and assemble at least a B and C team for backup. He also agreed to use the automated fabricators to create equipment to aid the party.

Aside from creating a self-sealing barricade for the door and a remote interface module to allow Kellon to access the forsaken systems firewalled from the RHEA systems, he allowed the party to design their own equipment. Astro designed a breastplate that can use gravity to push or pull nearby foes. Armen designed a durable suit of armor with special gecko-based climbing capabilities. Balfor upgraded his “teleportation bracelet,” and Wally crafted a suit of armor full of holes with a giant novelty horn in the middle and some kind of butterfly wing tuille contrivance in the back.

Even More Exposition

With promises of newly-minted loot awaiting them, the party headed out to accomplish Kellon’s first task, and seal the ship’s exit. As they placed the gear-shaped barricade on the door, it began to automatically bar and weld the door shut. Yes, Wally touched it.

Minutes later, a tall, thin, robed figure approached from the woods. In a somewhat less-than-polite manner, he introduced himself as Gordevont, and asked them to open the door so he could leave. After some back-and-forth, the party learned that Gordevont has been up on top of the Beanstalk for about as long as Kellon, and he was visiting the ship in search of the Heart and its antimatter power source.

He less-than-patiently explained to the party that the Beanstalk station’s orbit had been decaying since main power was lost, and he was attempting to use the Heart as a power source to correct the orbit before the Beanstalk snapped and the station and everyone on it came crashing down to Earth. This is a matter of some urgency, as he has only about 100 years to correct the orbit.

It turns out it was he who had taken the heart, though the abhumans have relieved him of its possession. He mentioned this was not his first foray to this ship, and not his first attempt to use the ship’s resources to correct the failing orbit. The theft of the heart seemed to be a somewhat drastic measure.

The party wanted to introduce him to Kellon, though he mentioned that a) he was already acquainted, and b) Kellon was dead. After some more back-and-forth, it was revealed that the Kellon the party has been talking with is nothing more than a semi-sentient AI construct built from Kellon’s brain scan to keep the RHEA running after his death.

Gordevont was hesitant, but eventually agreed to at least observe the party’s plan to recover the heart, as they made bold claims to be able to restore main power to the station. As a display of their newly-forged alliance, Wally looked up his cloak while he slept.

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Wreck Room

Forward Assault

Our Heroes collect their gear from Kellon, including 3 computer interface devices, 2 breachlock cutters, and a sweet chameleon cloak for Argent. They coordinate a defensive position for the animals of the valley around the entrance to the lower decks, and head into the darkened tunnel with a small menagerie of volunteer companions: Their fox friend and his wolf compatriot join the team, and though the gorilla expresses interest in coming along, his mentor says he is needed above. Two of the avians, an eagle and a falcon, join as scouts. A small monkey volunteers to come, and a large alligator sort of tags along.

At the end of the tunnel, they find an open elevator shaft. The elevator car is stuck below, and the entire group (even the alligator, with a graceless “jump”) manage to climb down to the car’s roof. They find a crudely burrowed hole leading down through the floor, and climb through it into a very large room. The room is dark and strewn with overturned furniture and debris. Following the wall so as not to get lost, they come upon two glass-enclosed chambers with unknown markings along the floor. Upon entering one of the chambers, it lights up brightly, also flooding the larger room with its light.

As Astro moves to investigate the second room, she is attacked by a tentacle monster—in this case, an abhuman torso with large tentacles for arms, legs, and a head. She runs away, while Armen beats the thing to a greasy pulp. It didn’t come alone, though, as a grotesque cadre of abhumans emerges from the shadows to do battle with the party.

After a rollicking melee, the abhumans lie dead, and the party explores the room further. They locate a locked door at the end, which their crew member status does not grant them access to. They use one of their breachlocks enter the door, and nurse their wounds while they wait for its lasers to cut through.

A Bridge over Troubled Waters

On the other side of the door, they find the ship’s bridge. Most of the consoles and systems seem to be operational, though there are plenty of warnings and alerts being reported throughout the ship. In the center of the three-tiered bridge there is a strange puddle of pearlescent liquid.

The party examines the consoles, and they attach one of Kellon’s access devices to one of the systems consoles. While Kellon attempts to interface with the bridge, Astro locates a rough map of the ship in the form of a diagnostic readout.

The ship is comprised of 4 decks, with the large upper deck consisting solely of the domed valley habitat where the party had entered. The 2nd deck is split between the bridge and rec room/cafeteria on this side, and the laboratories and fabricators on Kellon’s side. The 3rd deck is a ring shape surrounding the main engines, power plant, and machinery of the ship. Ops and engineering are located nearest the elevator on the party’s side, with the general crew quarters and a large section labeled “Tombs” on the opposite. The lowest deck, comprising what appears to be the majority of the ship’s volume, is simply labeled fuel and materials storage.

Turning their attention back to the bridge, the party investigates the pool in the middle of the room. Kellon is not aware of such a feature being part of the bridge. To test the waters, Astro throws in a mug she scavenged from the mess in the previous room. Rather than splashing into the liquid, the mug bounces dully with a wet thud, and then begins to sink slowly, as if the pool were made of oobleck. Only after the mug has come to rest do ripples form on the pool, and it begins to expand upward forming a dome shape…

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Shipwreck(ers)

Oh Captain, My Captain

The puddle of goop in the center of the bridge continued to rise, until it formed the shape of a face, and began speaking to the party through their brainites. He identified himself as the captain, and demanded to know why they had invaded his bridge. The party tried to impress upon him the danger the ship was facing, and swore they were trying to help save it.

The captain, however, was unmoved. He mentioned there was a more immediate threat to the ship in Legion, the hive mind of the abhumans inhabiting the lower decks. However, he said he had a plan, and the threat was about to be dealt with once and for all.

The heart had fallen into his posession, and he planned to use its nano-fabrication to construct a flesh-eating swarm of nanites to scour the ship clean of the fully-organic abhumans. He considered the animals in the valley above to be acceptable losses.

The party tried to convince him they could find a better solution, but about that time Kellon finished hacking into the bridge’s systems, and the captain’s mood shifted from preturbed to hostile. Kellon only then became aware of the situation, and identified the captain as a mutineer named Vandar.

The negotiations then deteriorated, and feeling the conversation was going in circles, and sensing that the captain was largely composed of numenara, Astro attempted to interface with him. This shifted the negotiations to a more weapons-based form.

Vandar activated the bridge’s automated defense turret, and began attempting to engulf the party members. Armen landed a nice crushing blow on Vandar’s face, but ultimately furthered his aims, as he sank into the pool. The rest of the party, along with their animal companions, joined in the fray.

Astro continued trying to interface with Vandar, and discovered that while he was a living creature—the pool was revealed to be composed of a thinking material—she was able to make the interface because the captain was tightly coupled with the ship’s computers. She also detected a third machine in the mix, but was kicked out of the interface by Vandar.

Armen was able to escape from Vandar’s clutches with some amazing acrobatics, and the help of their two raptors. Kellon identified an asset in a weapons locker, and began trying to access it. Wally helped with this by using a brute force hacking method to attempt to defeat the security systems. …With his sword.

The battle was pitched. The wolf was felled by the laser turret, and the falcon was crushed by the captain, but Balfor was able to destroy the turret, and Astro was able to activate the heart, distracting the captain.

Finally, Kellon and Wally managed to open the weapons locker, and found 3 overloaded energy rifles inside. Armen landed a shot on the captain, disintegrating one side of him, and melting a part of the floor. Warning messages appeared on some of the screens. Wally fired his rifle at Vandar, and further burned away some of his mass. More warnings appeared on the screens, and the bridge’s lights turned red.

Around this time, Kellon expressed a doubt, but before he could elucidate, the fox took revenge for his fallen comrades with the final energy rifle, and finished off the captain. Warning klaxons filled the bridge, and Kellon explained that the captain had become so integrated with the ship’s computer that neither could function without the other. The ship was experiencing cascading systems failures.

Abandon Ship

Armen jumped down to retrieve the heart from the pool where the captain had been, and landed in a caustic puddle. The heart was too heavy for him to lift alone, so he asked for help from the burly alligator. As soon as the alligator hit the puddle, his skin began to burn, and he had to be extracted. With help from the armored Wally and the gravity-wielding Astro, the party got the heart off of the bridge.

Wally and Armen began carrying the heart to the valley, while Astro and Balfor helped Kellon survey the extent of the damage. They did not find a way to fix the ship’s systems, but did discover that the valley dome was actually a lander module, and could be jettisoned from the ship.

Just then, Gordivaunt burst onto the bridge wondering what was going wrong. He barged onto the console, and tried to figure out how to save the ship. Ultimately, he decided the ship could not be saved, but they needed to try to prevent the systems overload from destroying the station. He devised a plan, but needed the party’s help.

The first part of the plan was to get the heart back to the forest. Along the way, Gordivaunt revealed he was a master meta-metallurgist, and created a new program for the nano-fabricator. He told Kellon to activate it once the heart was back in place. The party then headed back to the bridge to board the captain’s yacht.

They met up with the fox and the monkey when they returned to the elevator, and found the scarred alligator right where they left him on the second level. As they returned to the bridge, abhumans began to break through the floor. More distressingly, a giant hand made up of the combined bodies of dozens of abhumans punched through the hole and began to spread it wider. The alligator fell behind, and was torn apart. The party hustled.

They made it to the lift to the yacht just as the abhumans began to overrun the bridge, and jettisoned from the ship. As they flew clear, the viewscreen showed them a view of the Beanstalk station, ringed by debris and derelict ships, though with a few still attached.

Gordivaunt pulled the ship around, and pointed at the nose of the large settlement ship. A ring of a gleaming red alloy had grown around the docking clamp of the ship, the fruits of Gordivaunt’s work with the heart. Armen lined up a firing solution on the ring, and fired one of the yacht’s missiles at the ring. Rather than destroying the ring, it acted to shape the explosion and neatly sever the ship from the station.

Kellon launched the domed valley from the main ship, and Armen launched the yacht’s final missile. It punched through the ship’s hull at Gordivaunt’s precisely-calculated location, helping to push the ship further from the station.

As the valley began to slowly drift away from the ship, the giant hand re-emerged from the newly-created hull breach. It was followed by another hand, and a horrifying head made from a mass of writhing abhumans. Legion began to reach toward the escaping yacht, but the abhuman bodies succumbed to the vacuum of space, and the giant began to crumble.

Finally, a series of explosions began to wrack the ship. The first fired a jet of flame through the hull breach, acting to thrust the ship away from the station, where it safely detonated without causing any noticeable damage.

Bon Voyage

Gordivaunt returned the party to the station, and wished them luck on returning power to the station, as they had promised to do. He reprogrammed one of Kellon’s hacking tools to act as a communicator so they could reach him when they needed. He then took the yacht back to his ship.

When they were back on the station, the party asked the fox and the monkey why they had come with them. The animals explained that they had not been allowed to return to the valley, as they had been in contact with the abhumans and their forsaken sectors, and Kellon could not risk the corruption spreading to the rest of the valley. This must have been what he meant by a one-way trip.

The party returned to the elevator, and were surprised to find that it opened moments before they arrived. They were more surprised to be greeted by the barrel of a rifle, being held by Flint IronStag.

He and his Brobot butler had travelled up the Beanstalk to find the source of a clear but mysterious threat against the Broforce: the body of their chapter’s founder had fallen from the sky, scrawled with the cryptic message “Show me what you got.”

Will the party be able to locate this mysterious enemy?

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