This is a starcraft 1 based quest. I generally try to follow lore and game, but I'm not an encyclopedia and haven't read any of the books. For weaponry and powers I’m not always going to strictly follow canon. This gives me greater freedom to allow character customisation and diversity.>Pastebin: http://pastebin.com/fFXJsf2p>Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Freelance%20Ghost%20Quest>Twitter: @QuestSuperVisorI use D20, best of first three rolls, 1 and 20 are crits and cancel each other out. Skills will adjust DC, not give bonuses, for simplicity's sake. Health is narrative based on the game.The options are a guideline, not an absolute, which is why I will always include a Write in option. Some options I list are good, some are bad, most won’t be really awesome. I leave it up to you to find ways to do that.
>Last time on Freelance Ghost Quest: You physically weakened the Cerebrate and then battled it in its own mind, eventually shattering its mind. After that, you returned to sextus and your protoss allies defending you to find many casualties and a heavily wounded Siladus. Sextus went back to blow up the rest of the Cerebrate’s body while you decided Siladus’ fate.You look down on Siladus, as you can slowly feel the life draining out of him. His stubbornness would get him killed, but you won’t let him. “Thank you, friend, I couldn't have done it without you. And maybe this won't be last time.”With the zealot’s instructions, you manage to activate his recall beacon, hoping that the fleet above might be able to save him. The zealot who instructed you seems to be confident.The zerg seem to be no more threat. What little of them are not running are attacking each other. In just a few minutes time, you’ll be able to get out of here, and the main land force should have started heading over here by now. Sextus gestures something to you. “What now?” He asks.>1. We wait until the zerg clear out and try to reconnect with the main force.>2. We stay until the ground troops arrive, I don’t want to risk being caught in the open by some of the larger zerg that might be running around now.>3. Write in.
Also, to answer an anon's previous question, no, you've never used psionics to heal anything before, so trying it now on an alien whose anatomy you're unfamiliar with is unfeasible.
>>36122410Let's wait for the cavalry to reach us. Even better, let's ask our templar buddies what the situation is, and how that girl we came to rescue is doing.
>>36122410>3. Try to reconnect with the local Protoss forces if we can psychically, see if they need help anywhere.
“Let’s stay put. There’s no telling what’s running around up there now, and there’s just the six of us left.” You say. Sextus nods. You all ease up a bit. After one of them covers the hole in the reaver with some loose armour plates, the four zealots sit down, leaning against the tunnel wall and mending their most serious wounds. You can see that they’re exhausted.“Do we have any kind of radio?” The zealot shakes his head, saying that the rock’s too thick and laced with metals to penetrate with their average comm devices, but you have an alternative.You enter a trance and look for someone very specific as your mind leaves your body. He isn’t hard to locate, being a bright beacon of psionic energy, though he is surrounded by many similar signatures, so it takes some time to find exactly the one you need. When you do, you softly prod his mind and back off again, waiting for a signal to invite you in.A few minutes pass before you get any reaction whatsoever, but then you feel a slight psionic tug and you move to the familiar blue plane.“Artemis! I take it your mission is a success?” Ur’athan immediately asks you.“Pretty much. I killed the beast and we blew up its body, but we’ve sustained heavy casualties. We’re down to just 4 zealots, Sextus and me. dragoons are dead, reaver is a total loss, Varas is gone, and I sent Siladus up with his beacon.”“Yes, I heard of that. Our medical teams are extremely busy but I’ve heard he being tended to.” He replies.“So how are things on your end?” You ask.
“We lost nearly 50% of the fleet, but thankfully the intercepters took the brunt of the damage. None of the carriers went down, though one has taken severe hull damage when a swarm of scourge found an opening. The ground team reports that in their initial strike on the hive they took minimal damage, but they were harassed all the way back to the rendez-vous while taking considerable losses. Once there they managed to hold out surprisingly well though, and your friend Quartus has proven himself a valuable ally in sniping out the more dangerous targets like Queens and Defilers before they could do much damage. All in all they report to have around 40% casualties. Oh, and Squad Leader Arana reports that your cruiser is still in one piece, though…” He looks puzzled for a moment. “She says that it might need a new paint job.”You let out a short laughter, but quickly focus on the more important things. “They’re coming our way now right?”“Yes, They’re carefully making their way towards you, but while the cohesion of the zerg forces has been broken, their numbers are still largely intact. It will be a slow march but one with minimal losses, or so I am told. Expect them at your location within two to three hours.”You nod. “And the girl we came to rescue?”The High Templar looks confused. “The… Girl? Oh, Executor Elthai you mean?” He laughs. “Don’t let her hear you call her like that, or she might ignore what you just did for her.” He winks, but after a few seconds he continues. “I have not had the opportunity to contact her yet. I’ve been coordinating both the extermination of the swarm that’s still harassing us and retrieval attempts of pilots that went and are still going down. Your call is the first time off I’ve had since the attack started. Speaking of which, I should be going now.”>Any more questions to ask?>If not, what will you do to spend the time until the ground force arrives?
>>36123107>Good luck, we'll be waitingI dunno... maybe>meditate and survey the area with psionics, try to figure out if there's any purpose left in the zerg swarm at all, if they are calling to someone to replace their lost command.>or barring that, meditate and contemplate on the last few moments of the cerebrate
>>36123107>Ask if there's any fight in the area we could get to on foot once the Zealots have rested.>Make sure the Cerebrate is dead, as it was regenerating constantly during our battle.
>>36123107wish him well and chill out
“Any place we can reach where we can aid in the fight?” You ask.“I don’t believe so. You’re most likely the safest staying put, but perhaps you can clear out the caves towards the ground force.”You say goodbye and return to your body. You see Sextus peering through the opening between the armour plate and the rest of the reaver, shooting his rifle every now and then, usually with the death scream of a zerg as a result. The zealots are still resting.“The ground forces won’t get here for another two to three hours. Just rest up as much as you can.” You tell them. They all nod.So, now you have time to kill. You start meditating, and reach out around you. You leave your body and look for zerg life forms. You immediately sense several nearby. Each of Sextus’ gunshots reduces that number by one, but there’s still roughly a hundred in the caves nearby. You feel a very large one coming from behind you. In shock, you refocus, but find that it’s in a tunnel behind the cerebrate.It seems like there was an ultralisk digging its way towards the cerebrate chamber, so you’re glad you finished that fight when you did. It’s just wandering around aimlessly now.You dwell around a bit longer, and find a group of more organised zerg. They seem to still have a connection to something, and when you follow the threads, you find an overlord floating above the ground. It seems fairly confused itself, but it is still coordinating what little zerg creatures it can get its hands on. A bit further ahead, towards one of the main hives, and luckily out of the path of the protoss ground forces, you find a large concentration of them, controlling a sizeable army. They seem to just stay there, but you’d rather not provoke them and don’t pry any further.You come back to your body, but not entirely just yet. You inspect the Cerebrate’s remains. Sextus was thorough, and very little of the slug-like creature remains.Roll me some d20’s for sensing.
Rolled 13 (1d20)>>36123567I spy with mind's eye...
Rolled 8 (1d20)>>36123567
Rolled 12 (1d20)>>36123567
Rolled 6 (1d20)>>36123567
>>36123576>>36123583>>36123618Lower DC met, writing.
You sense something on the corpse of the Cerebrate. A strange and eery sensation. It feels similar to the Cerebrate’s mind, but at the same time it’s different. You’re not sure what it is, but you get the feeling that it might still not be entirely dead. The thought worries you, and you return to your body.You stand up and head to the Cerebrate’s corpse. Sextus turns his head as you do and cautiously follows you. Your psionic sight didn’t prepare you for the mess that was made with Sextus’ explosives. There’s not a single patch of rock that’s not splattered with thick red blood, and chunks of gore are lying everywhere. Your matter bombs nearly disintegrated its mass, but Sextus’ work ripped it to pieces and threw it everywhere. You’re glad your mask blocks out smell by default.You kneel down where the creature was once embedded in the creep. Creep which now seems to be slowly withering and retracting towards the corpse. Some of the tentacles on the side are still somewhat intact, and pieces of skin still stick up here and there, some muscle still attached to keep it upright. It’s a gruesome sight, but you manage.Something moves in the corner of your eye, but by the time you turn your head you’ve lost track of it. Perhaps it was just spasms of a muscle? Not with your luck… You stand back a bit, having a nice overview of the situation. And sure enough, about a minute later, there’s another bit of movement. It’s definitely happening where the cerebrate once lay.>1. Ask Sextus’ opinion.>2. Meditate again, psionically watch on the corpse and try to focus on when something moves.>3. Contact Quartus, tell him you’re okay and get his side of the story.>4. Write in.
>>36123769>Ask Sextus' opinion>use psionics to find what causes this movement, whether we missed something or whether it's controlled from afar.shit, we're not leaving until that thing's a goner for sure.
>>36123769>>2. Meditate again, psionically watch on the corpse and try to focus on when something moves.
“Sextus? Did you see that?” You ask him. He nods. “What do you think it is?”He shows his hands forming two fists next to each other which then open, meaning the cerebrate exploding, and then he slowly starts curling his fingers back into a fist. You were afraid he’d say that.You start meditating again, keeping watch over the corpse for a longer time than you had done so before. And sure enough, you feel a spark of the strange feeling rise up as you see something move. You even managed to pinpoint what it was. It was one of the pieces of hide with muscles attached,still standing up. Another spark occurs right next to where you’re watching, and you see one of the small pieces of limp skin pop up as the muscles connected to it grow slightly thicker.Oh hell, this thing isn’t dead yet. Not completely at least. It’s regenerating ever so slowly, but you suspect that once more parts have grown back it will accelerate. With your suspicions confirmed, you try to focus on the spark of energy you feel every time. You’re reasonably sure that it’s not the cerebrate itself, and closer inspection reveals you’re right. It’s coming from some place else. It’s a faint trace, but you think you might be able to track it down…>Roll me some more d20’s.
Rolled 7 (1d20)>>36124105OH FAWRK
Rolled 9 (1d20)>>36124105
Rolled 3 (1d20)>>36124105pls roll gud
Rolled 12 (1d20)>>36124105its all in your head
Try as you might, you don’t manage follow the trace. It’s only there for a fraction of a second each time, and by the time you managed to home in on it, it’s almost gone already. You don’t get much more than “very far away”.You return to your body and look at Sextus. “It’s still alive. Or rather, being resurrected. I’m not sure by what, but this is bad news. It might take a while before it’s completely back, but I’m afraid it will be.”He makes a few gestures, asking when. “I’m not sure. At this rate… A day or two? A week tops.”He nods, and takes a few more of the black brick explosives he used before, walks over to the centre of the room. He fiddles with them for a few seconds and then steps back. You see a detonator linked with all the explosives he had left, a digital timer showing from 36 hours, but it’s not activated yet.>1. “Good idea, that’ll slow it down.” Proceed to systematically destroy what’s left/back of the body with matter bombs.>2. Wait. I’ll contact Ur’athan before we do anything like that.>3. Write in.
>>36124339>Showing from 36 hour.Reminder to self: proofread after you change a sentence.
>>36124339>Experiment. Try to envelop the corpose with a psionic field, try to isolate it from whatever is bringing it back up.
Rolled 4 (1d20)>>36124393>>36124339Second
“Wait. Let me try some things first.” You say. Sextus nods and steps back.You summon all of your power in front of you, and spread it out over the corpse. Slowly and carefully. You’ve not really done anything like this before, but you’re confident that it should work in theory. In about half a minute time, you manage to wrap a tight cocoon of psionic energy around the corpse and keep it there. It’s very straining, but you can manage.>Psi points: 0/7, regeneration halted while maintaining shield.For a few minutes, you don’t feel any more flashes, and sure enough, nothing flickers in the corner of your eye while you’re holding the shield around the corpse.Suddenly, you feel a burning pain in your head, and an image flashes in your mind. Your concentration is broken, and the shield collapses. Sextus immediately rushes to your side, but you say you’re fine.You actually are. The source of the pain was whatever is regenerating the Cerebrate, and it is scarily powerful. You didn’t so much touch its mind as get burnt from being near it. In the corner of your eye, you see another twitch of movement. It’s still going on.>1. rest up and try it again. You know what’s coming now. You might not be able to stop it but perhaps you can find out something more about whatever is doing it?>2. Tell Sextus to arm his bomb and systematically destroy what’s left/back of the body with matter bombs.>3. Contact Ur’athan, tell him of your findings.>4. Write in.
>>36124687>Contact Ur'athan, tell him of your findingUh, seems like we have a problem.
Rolled 18 (1d20)>>36124687>>3. Contact Ur’athan, tell him of your findings.
>>36124687Hmm, forgot the image.
>>36124812Disgusting.Still, it's disappointing. Dark templars used to be able to kill cerebrates for good afaik, I hoped that so could we.
>>36124758>>36124764Writing.>>36124844If you could, the protoss would have more or less started using you as a superweapon, and Artemis would have morally felt obligated most likely. I didn't really find that an interesting path to take.Plus, you've always used the "khalai" side of psionics, since no terran can kill cerebrates either. It would have seemed like a bit of an ass-pull to change that. At this point, the protoss don't know about the Dark Templar being around there yet.
>>36124844Well, we HAVE managed to kill it for longer than the Protoss have....Maybe if we purge all organic materials whilst holding it in a psionic barrier? cut it's connection then remove any flesh which could be regenerated? might work...
>>36125070It doesn't seem like we can do much with Overmind taking interest in us anyway. Let's just get debriefed by Ur'athan and get on with the rescue operation.
>>36125125just coming up with ideas which Artemis might have...But from a Meta view, Omega was Terran/Protoss project, not Terran/Zerg... we Might be able to get Dark Templar Psionics, but that is a heavy might, and highly unlikely and/or difficult... But on a positive note, temporarily taking out a Cerebrate is a tactical win to an extent.... It would disrupt Zerg forces and allow allied forces to 'cull the heard'... maybe even set up a outpost around a Cerebrate to constantly kill it and/or run tests/take samples.... Something Dominion forces might 'invest' in...
“I’ve got to inform Ur’athan.” You tell Sextus, and you move back to the tunnel. You sit down and meditate, immediately going towards where you now know he is. You prod his mind again, but a bit more forceful this time, to indicate some pressure on your side of things. His reaction is fairly fast, as within half a minute you’re face to face with him.“Artemis? What is the matter?” He asks.“It’s not dead. Well, it is, but it’s being revived by something. I’m not sure by what, but it’s scarily powerful. It punched right through a shield I tried putting over the cerebrate’s remains.” You tell him.“By Adun! We must make haste, if the creature comes back while-“ He begins, but you cut him off.“Wait. It’s not like the time you told me. It’s not regenerating instantly, it’s taking a while. Somewhere between two to seven days for it to fully recover I’d say. Sextus put some explosives in place to blow in 36 hours, but he hasn’t activated them yet. I thought your imput would be important there.”Ur’athan looks thoughtful. “My first idea would be to capture it for study, but to be able to secure it and dig it out we’ll need more than seven days, and there’s still a very large zerg presence. Enough to completely swarm us if we attract its attention. It’d be risky…” He deepens in thought.
A few moments later, he continues: “I do not think we have the manpower available to properly secure it right now, and I am loathe to send more of my people to die. We might be able to delay its regeneration for now, but if what you say is true, and something more powerful is lurking around, I’m afraid it might send a relief force soon. It saddens me to make this decision, but we do not have the time or manpower to act on this. Take some samples of the regrowing flesh, then... Delay its regeneration as much as you can, the ground force is nearly there. The probes can warp in some cannons to bombard it while it regenerates to further slow it down. We get the Executor out of here and pick you all up as fast as possible. The air battle is as good as finished, we will be there to pick you all up within the hour.”“So, is the executor alright?” You ask.“Yes she is. We’ve contacted her, and she has lost much of her forces and all of her transport capacity but she is unharmed. Once we pick you up, we head straight for them.”>Any more questions?>What shall we do with the drunken cerebrate, early in the morning?>1. matter bomb the regenerating remains, arm Sextus’ explosives.>2. Leave them be until the ground force arrives.>3. Write in.
>>36125350>>1. matter bomb the regenerating remains, arm Sextus’ explosives.
>>36125350Try to use Psychic Shriek to trigger one of those bursts. Be ready to feel what's happening when it comes.
Rolled 3 (1d20)>>36125501>>36125350That. Too may explosives ain't good
>>36125350>1. matter bomb the regenerating remains, arm Sextus’ explosives.>3. Write in.Don't forget to take a sample of the regenerating cells.... see if we can't hold the sample in a Psionic field.... that way, once it is secure, it should still hold a connection to the Hive-mind...maybe put a note on the box saying 'Zerg Beacon, keep away from important worlds'....
>>36125383>>36125501>>36125537>>36125554Tie between matter bombs+arming explosives and psi shriek.Not really seeing a way to combine them, though I could just psi shriek to see what happens and then vote again. If not, I'll be rolling between the two options we have right now.
>>36125646... I just realised what I wrote there, derp. I'll just roll now.>1: Matter bomb + explosives>2: Psi shriek.
>>36125554Currently, we're spending the time we have between being picked up here. Most-likely, we will have enough time to detonate things as we leave, with a few matter-bombs thrown in, but a sample of the cerebrate isn't going to tell us that much about what's going on here. This thing is being effected psychicly, so we need to probe what's going on to find out exactly what we need to attack.
Rolled 1 (1d2)>>36125728Something tells me I shouldn't prolong the thread too much and go to bed soon. Next post or the one after that will probably be the last one.
>>36125728Don't we have time for both?
>>36125762You probably do. You know what, I'll just go ahead and do it both in one post. Sorry for being a bit messy, I'm pretty tired.
>>36125898No worries, Supervisor.
>>36125898You're doing Aiur's work.
You focus for a moment and let out a psionic shriek, careful not to affect Sextus. It doesn’t seem to do much at first, but on closer inspection you feel a bit less psionic energy lingering around the corpse. The sparks of regeneration continue unabatedly though, but you notice something you missed before. There were tiny tendrils of energy, the cerebrate’s mind or life-force or whatever, shattered into tiny pieces and thrown out from this place, but they’re very slowly pulling themselves back. Your shriek interrupted it for a moment, but a minute later it slowly builds up again.Time for another experiment. You blast a matter bomb on one of the larger pieces that has regenerated already, paying close attention to the cerebrate’s energy. The tendrils attached to that part are thrown back again. The energy seems vulnerable to both psionic disruption and physical destruction of the body. Sadly the info’s not much use to you, other than knowing it’ll take at least until the body is regenerated before the cerebrate’s mind is whole again.You take out your combat knife, cut off some of the newly regenerated flesh and put it in one of your pouches. Ur’athan’s sample, you think you yourself. After that, you throw out several matter bombs, disintegrating most of the big pieces still lying around and then taking out most of what has been regenerated already. You take a break of a few minutes to regain your strength between each volley, and after fifteen minutes, you signal Sextus to arm the explosives. The timer starts ticking down…>35:59:59>35:59:58
You hear the sound of battle echo through the cavern not long after you finish up. The zealots have recovered enough to go back into the fray, and you burst out of your hiding spot, quickly clearing out any remaining zerg that lingered.Not long after, you can make out the shimmer of psionic shields, and you meet your allies warmly. A large group of zealots returns your greetings, but from the back you can hear an exited shout: “Hah, still not dead, you bastard?”You grin. “Same as you it seems!” You shout back at Quartus. He pushes through the rows of zealots, and you can see him clutching his right arm. “I wouldn’t be too sure of that.”The protoss escort you back to the surface while Quartus tells you his story. “The first strike went perfect. We rushed the hive under the Arbiter’s cover, and their troops were really badly out of position. We pretty much levelled it before our scouts warned us from incoming hostiles. We got lucky with the zerg that were there, unprepared as they were, but the reinforces were on high alert. We quickly retreated, but they caught us in the retreat. I took down several of their more exotic variants, Queens and Defilers, the protoss called them but they still got in some attacks. It was…”He pauses for a moment, climbing over a higher piece of rock. You can feel that that’s not why he paused, but you let him. He continues soon afterwards. You feel a bit of hollowness in his voice. “It was horrible. I saw some kind of egg being flung into a zealot, somehow draining him and spawning a pair of zerg critters. The worst was the red goop though. It melted through armour as if it was nothing, completely ignoring their psi shields.”
He falls silent again, and this time he only starts speaking once you’re loaded into a shuttle. “I did what I could, but we took some serious losses in the retreat. Thankfully the troops we left behind had set up a formidable defensive perimeter when we got back to the LZ. Once there, we could hold them off without too much problems. I focussed on those damn defilers. Then all of a sudden they stopped attacking. some of them turned on each other, others ran away, most just froze. A minute after that, most of the ones that froze joined the others. Some of them stayed cohesive, but we noticed that blasting those big floating ballons out of the sky took care of that.”“And how did…” You point at his arm. “You know, that happen?”“Guardians, the protoss call them. Big crab-like flying things. Spit acid blobs at artillery range. I got lucky and it hit the cannon next to me. This,” he shows you his arm, “Is collateral damage. Some of what splashed off the shield hit me. Burnt right through my armour. Glad it stopped not too long after that.”You inspect the arm, and it does look bad. The armour is still intact, aside from a two foot long gash where it melted away, and you can see exposed flesh underneath. It didn’t get to the bone, but the muscle is badly damaged.“Guess I’ll have to learn how to shoot left-handed then.”You feel the shuttle land, and the doors open revealing a familiar hangar in the Omega.>That’s it for now, sorry for being a bit scatterbrained and the delays. I’ll be back next Tuesday.
>>36126443Cheers for the thread op
>>36126443Thanks OP! Was cool.
>>36126443>See if the protoss have any advanced healing devices that we could borrow for Quartus' arm.Thanks for running, Supervisor.