>Well, here we are again, Numero Dos.Twatter: https://twitter.com/FrostyZippoArchive: SOON(tm)A bead of sweat rolls down your forehead. You won’t pretend to like what’s going on even a little. You don’t know how he found out, but the Captain had approached you for assistance with a rather sensitive task. He could have picked anyone, but he’d come knocking on your quarters--an ordinary Seaman. When he’d told you what needed doing, you thought the jig was up. You couldn’t have been more relieved to find it wasn’t.But what he needed help with wasn’t exactly reassuring, either.Still, an order is an order, and even though you didn’t like it, the fact that the Captain had trusted you with this was… well, hell, it was flattering.Now the circle was complete, and you were standing there with him to welcome five ‘VIPs’. What sort of VIPs needed a fucking Summoning circle to board a United States Submarine?“I know, son,” the Captain reassures you, “This is eating at me, too. I really am not looking forward to having more of this supernatural crap onboard my vessel. No disrespect meant on your part, Smith--you’re a damn fine sailor in my book, even before I was told of your… other talent and there ain’t a thing that can change that.”“Thank you, sir,” you reply, and you mean it, too. The Captain was hardly as strict as others you could have served under, but he was certainly not liberal with his compliments.“Still, this…” he motions to the circle--the sharp, angular runes you’d had to ensure were just exactly right; the almost perfect diameter, allowing for the cramped space aboard the submarine. You shook your head. To transport a group of people from one relatively open space to another was one thing. This was either foolhardiness in the extreme, or they had a very talented summoner on their end.You supposed that you would find out very soon.You felt the hairs on your exposed arms stand on end as a tangible energy fills the space. The Captain looks to you with a hint of trepidation, “Is this supposed to--”A blinding flash, a scent of sulphur, and an echo of a shriek like only the hellbound can manage, and there they are. Five individuals, all male, stand before the two of you. The first, one you instantly identify as the leader, is old. Very old. Yet for all that, his mere presence dwarfs that of the others. This is not a man you want to cross, and you feel all the more nervous as he takes a calm breath and surveys his surroundings.“Good,” he says. American beyond the shadow of a doubt, his voice low and controlled, “My compliments to your crew, Captain,” he says with a nod.“It was all Seaman Smith’s work.”“Indeed?” the old man, Grim, fixes you with an unreadable look, his gaze lingering for a length of time you find uncomfortable. Does he know? No, he can’t. You double and triple check each--(Cont.)
>>2927202“Well, fine work you did, Mr Smith,” he says, “Shall we?”The Captain, now happier that he has something more to do besides fiddle in place, nods and turns smartly on his heel, “Follow me, if you would, gentlemen. Mister uh, Grim, is it? I’ll get you up to speed...”You step out of the way, your shorter stature meaning you don’t have to stoop as the fresh party does. As they pass, you give each of the newcomers a once-over. The first one after the old guy is a silver-haired but curiously youthful man with a--You do a double take, because you know you cannot be seeing a goddamned sword strapped to his side. But you are. Somehow. Weird. He’s probably foreign.Next up is a massive fucking mountain of a man in a dark brown flat cap who hefts a gun you recognise as a Winchester Model 1912. A chill runs down your spine as he lumbers on past you, hunched low so as not to crack his skull on something. The guy’s tensed up like he’s expecting trouble. Who the hell are these people?Following on his heels is a tall, well-built and clean-shaven blond guy with an M1 carbine, hands gripping the weapon so tightly his knuckles are white. His expression is relaxed, save for a distinct tightening of his jawline that you can’t help but notice. He too, appears to be resolved to the shit hitting the fan and hitting it imminently.Last is another blond guy; this one a little scruffier in appearance, and possibly the most sour-faced of the bunch. This one’s got himself a Thompson SMG, and as he passes, he gives you a surly nod, which you return. Once they’ve all passed through, you follow on like the dutiful sailor that you are.You make your way to the bridge, an already fairly cramped space which only gets worse with the new arrivals. Captain Shane watches the old man--Grim, you think is his name--mumble something under his breath. You take it initially for a senior moment, until you feel raw, tangible power blow through the still, filtered air. When the Captain introduces the new arrivals, no one starts freaking out at the fact that four armed men plus one have materialised from the depths of the sub.That was magic. More to the point: it was powerful magic. To affect that many people all at once? Fucking hell, that old man is seriously bad news. You don’t even notice that you’ve scratched through the upper layer of skin on your forearm until a stinging pain brings your attention down and to the blood now seeping gradually out. Fucking nervous habits.You return your gaze to the party and your heart almost stops in your chest when you find one of the blond men staring right at you. The blue-eyed guy with the Tommy Gun. He glances away as soon as you returning his gaze, which only serves to fuel your paranoia more.>1d100
Rolled 84 (1d100)>>2927208"Sounds like your next party member"
Rolled 18 (1d100)>>2927208
Rolled 99 (1d100)>>2927208>That OP imageSo we ARE a Constantine-lookalike, then? I love it. Say what you will about John but there is something right about looking like him for this guest imo.>>2927229Daamn, so far we've had pretty good rolls. Consistently, even.
Rolled 30 (1d100)>>2927208This seems like a good time. New guys welcome? And where do I catch up?
>>2927271Previous thread here, friendo>>2907129I'll get an archive on suptg up and going once I finish the next update, which I should probly get on cause gatdang, that 99.
>>2927208There’s an old saying your father was fond of. You can’t remember it for the life of you now, but you remember it put fire into his eyes whenever he quoted it, as the message was all too clear: ‘When folks start pushing, you get mean.’Well, you don’t think getting mean would be quite so helpful in this situation, but you psych yourself up well enough that your poker face is goddamned flawless. All your worries melt away as you run through all the little reasons that led you here: to serve your country, to keep your family safe, to see new places…When you return to reality, you feel all right. Great, even. You notice the blond guy peering back in your direction, only for him to scrunch up his face in puzzlement before shrugging to himself and turning his attention back to the Captain and the old man, who is presumably his own boss. Suppressing a victorious smirk, you turn your full attention back to the Captain.------(Cont.)
>>2927368Are you sure? you ask Grim, through the telepathic link so kindly set up for you by Des Fox back in Antarctica. You’re not paying even the slightest attention to the spiel given to the crew of the US submarine by its Captain who, so far, is doing a sterling job of convincing you that you’d have disliked military service in the extreme.What gives you the impression I’m not?Sure, he’s a little on the short side, and that work with the circle was real short notice. Doesn’t mean he’s gifted.And you would know this, how? somehow, Grim sounds almost amused.He looks so… plain.Perfectly forgettable? Perfect cover.Is everything a conspiracy with you?Just most things.You suppress a frown and throw one last glance back in Seaman Smith’s direction. He seemed awful skittish earlier, but something’s either put fire in his belly or you were reading him entirely wrong. You already hate this new life of yours, you’ve never been thrown this far off your game. Back home, you’re sure you’d have the guy pegged. Here? Hundreds of miles from home with strangers for company? And not to mention that you’re convinced one such stranger has some kind of hidden agenda.It’s frustrating, and not a little worrying. If bullets do start flying, you want to be alert and ready for anything. This self-doubt that’s springing to life is not a thing you’re used to, and neither is the absolute lack of control.You break out of your funk just to catch the tail end of Grim explaining that you’re to search for the missing USS Pope. The Captain, who seemed very unsettled by your mere presence, though damned if he didn’t try to hide it, seems a lot more comfortable with the mission he’s been tasked with: searching for his countrymen. He suggests you get settled somewhere for a long ride.Damn, now if only you’d remembered to bring a nice book…>If you’re going to be miserable, you might as well spread the love (specify who you’ll harass: Grim, Arnold, Diedrich, Nathaniel, Seaman Smith)>Surely there’s fun and games to be had onboard somewhere. And where there’s fun and games, there’s bound to be some poor sap who can be talked into parting with some cash.>Fuck it, get some shuteye somewhere and hope a nap will help sort all your racing thoughts out.
>>2927370>Fuck it, get some shuteye somewhere and hope a nap will help sort all your racing thoughts out.We can scam people out of their money later, and we can harass the others back at home or in the middle of a shitstorm.
>>2927370>Fuck it, get some shuteye somewhere and hope a nap will help sort all your racing thoughts out.Better try to clear our head while we still can.
>Fuck it, get some shuteye somewhere and hope a nap will help sort all your racing thoughts out.
>>2927370Sleep. Slerp is good.
>>2927390>>2927391>>2927414>>2927435Seems pretty cut and dry to me. Writing.
Getting more connection timeouts. Hoping this will actually post this time.>>2927370For a moment, you’re tempted to bug someone or just hunt around to see if you can convince any sailors to part with some of their cash, but mental fatigue is settling in. You’ve been through a lot over the past… huh, you’re not even sure how many hours it’s been since you met Zafi. Feels more like a few days.Point is, you need to sleep, so you excuse yourself without asking for permission and try to find yourself a quiet spot on the sub. Doing so is easier said than done because the hum of the machinery keeping this hunk of steel going persists no matter where you go. Fortunately, in the crew compartment, you find a set of ear plugs and slot them in without difficulty. The noise is still there, but compared to before? You’ll take it.You bunk down on what is easily the least comfortable mattress you’ve ever slept on and, cursing fate, Mr Grim, and everything else that led you here, you close your eyes…-------(Cont.)
>>2927686“So, where’s the ‘appy camper gone?” wonders Big Boy. Thicker accent than anyone you’ve ever heard, but you think you place him as British.“Mr Bauer has had to accept a lot in not a lot of time,” Grim responds, “I expect he’ll have found a reasonably quiet place to bunk down for the time being.”“Hmph. Sleeping on a mission,” says the tall, blond and distinctively German man with a dismissive sniff. Clearly there’s no love lost between him and the other guy.“Easy, now. As I said before: friends,” interjects Sword-man. British. Easily. You recognise his distinctively upper-class accent alone from all the tv your mom used to watch. The dialogue paints a curious picture of a rather disunified group held in check mostly or entirely out of fear of the old man. Well, for all of them except Sword-man. He seems much more courteous, and you’ve been among Enlisted men long enough to know genuine respect when you see it.Speaking of the old man, you’ve been feeling his gaze on you on and off for the last few minutes now. Your earlier surge in confidence is fading under his scrutiny and you’re certain that any moment now, he’ll--“Captain Shane.”The man in question turns to regard the old man, curiosity and not a little trepidation all too clear for you to see. Not a good look for the man who’s supposed to lead you and the other 40-odd crew, but you doubt you’d be much sturdier faced with what he is.“It’s been a long day, and I’m feeling rather tired. Could I perhaps find myself a quiet spot to catch a quick nap?”Captain Shane eyes the old man warily, and it’s clear as day to you that he isn’t buying the tired old man act any more than you are. Nonetheless, the opportunity to have him out of his bridge is too good to pass up.Then he turns to you.“Seaman Smith…”No…“Would you please…”No, no, no…“...see our visitors to the crew quarters? Maybe they can catch a few winks.”Fuck.“Aye, aye, sir,” you say, snapping off a crisp salute even as you feel your heart start to pound like a drum within your chest. The absolute last place you want to be is with that old man on your own.Orders are orders, though.“If you’ll follow me, gentlemen.”You lead them out, wanting to get this over and done with as soon as humanly possible.“So, Seaman Smith?”“Yes, sir?”“You don’t have to call me ‘sir’,” he tells you, “I’m not military.”Sword-man stifles a snicker. You note it down, though you aren’t sure what it signifies yet. Is this some sort of spy gig? It would certainly explain the secrecy.(Cont.)
>>2927708“I’ll keep with it all the same, sir,” you say anyway, “you’re a guest onboard, of sorts.”“Polite,” he murmurs, “Now that we’re out of sight of your captain, could you kindly do us a further courtesy and show us what you actually look like?”…No, you didn’t just imagine that. Not for you the trappings of a fractured mind, unfortunately. It would almost be easier.“What are you talking about?” Sword-man asks, his features scrunched up in puzzlement.“Our friend here is wearing a very clever glamour. I didn’t pick up on it initially. You’ve got some talent.”>...thanks, I guess.>Do we have to do this here and now?>I think you’ve got me all wrong, here.
>>2927724>Do we have to do this here and now?>...thanks, I guess.
>Do we have to do this here and now?
>>2927724>...Are you going to kill me or the sort? God above, I just wanted to serve my country...This guy strikes me as nervous and a bit...Iunno. He's gotta be scared for a reason.
>>2927724>Do we have to do this here and now?
>>2927708You sigh. Long and heavy. This is how it ends, you guess.“Do we really have to do this here and now?” you ask. You aren’t proud of it, but there’s a desperate note of pleading in your voice. You were this close, too.By way of an answer, Grim raises the walking stick of his and prods you with it. Instantly, the glamour that you enshrouded yourself with is stripped away. Your diminutive height shortens a hair further, your skin tone shifts in colour from healthy, if slightly sun-deprived white, to a creamy porcelain. Mud-brown hair lengthens a shade, and darkens to its natural raven. Your waist narrows, hips widen, and you stand before them no longer as Seaman John Smith from Bremerton, Seattle.Sword-man is the first to visibly react, more subdued than you ever could have imagined. He merely arches an eyebrow, giving you a cursory once-over, “Well, well, well,” he muses, “This is unexpected.”The Blond German starts, hopping back a step and is only another stressed nerve from levelling his rifle at you. Fortunately for you, no accidents occur, though if his muttered German is any indication, he’s less than impressed at the surprise.Mount Muscle just stares blankly down at you before scratching his nose, “Huh, that’s int’restin’. Sure’s sure. Can see why you guppied yourself up. Probly be awkward wot with you bein’ Oriental ‘n all.”“More than that, old boy,” says Sword-man, “Take a closer look.”Blinking, but obliging, the big man squints down at you further, leaning down until he’s so close you can smell his awful breath--clearly the man’s never so much as heard of the concept of brushing one’s teeth. Typical Brit.“Wait…” he says, exposing you to another wave of his pungent breath, you try to suppress the urge to gag, “Summin’ ain’t right ‘ere...”“The Japanese is a she,” German boy says.And no sooner has the 'J' word left his lips when your vision goes red.>1d100
Rolled 53 (1d100)>>2927958Curious.
Rolled 77 (1d100)>>2927958
Rolled 30 (1d100)>>2927958Huh, was expecting something weirder.
>>2927958The urge to lash out is… a lot more intense than you thought it would be. You want to claw out the blond fuck’s eyes for daring. But that would make you no better than them. So you take the rage and stow it away. Compartmentalise. Filed away with the rest of it, to be unleashed at the perfect moment when you finally scored a kill.So you take a shaky breath through the nose and exhale, and settle for baring your teeth at the man in a savage snarl.“Don’t you ever call me that,” you seethe, fists clenched at your side.“Was?” the German cocks his head, confused, “I don’t understand.”“You don’t need to, just shut up,” you say through clenched teeth.Mr Grim makes a noise that’s somewhere vaguely between a grunt and a hum, “I see,” he says, sounding almost disappointed.“No you don’t,” you snap, wincing a little at how petulant you sound, but your blood is up, and you can’t help the fury that surges through you each time you look in the mirror and see your black hair and squinty eyes…“Just… don’t tell the Captain,” you manage, somehow, “Or any of the other crew. Please.”Grim is silent for an agonising amount of time, and by the time he opens his mouth to speak, your wonderful mind is already running through the myriad of bad things that could happen to you for what you’ve done.“All right.”“Please, I’ll do a--” you stop short, staring as if he’d just grown a second head.“R-really?”“Really?” the big Brit wonders.“In exchange, I’d like you to tell me a bit about yourself.”“...like what?”“Well, your real name would be a good start.”You observe the four men suspiciously, flitting between them all in succession before settling on Mister Grim.“Naru…” you admit, after another pause, “Naru Takumi.”Grim gives you an encouraging nod.>That can’t be it, surely...>...fine, I’ll bite (what you can do)>...fine, here’s where I’m from>I changed my mind. That’s all you get for now.And now you know why Pixel was invested enough to draw for this :V
>>2928057>That can’t be it, surely...What's your game old man? Or do you just go on a casual recruitment drive where ever you go?
>>2928057>>...fine, I’ll bite (what you can do)
Fuck, it's dead early and I've got another long shift tomorrow. Should probably call it for now. I'll try and drop an update when I wake up. Thanks again for participating, and farewell for now.Also here's the suptg link for the first thread. I'm not proud to admit that I fucked up by forgetting to add the most basic tag. So uh... my bad.http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2907129/
>>2928057>...fine, here’s where I’m from
>>2928125Shouldn't this magic group be hunting werewolves?
>>2928057>...fine, I’ll bite (what you can do)>...fine, here’s where I’m fromHey now, you're a good pal and and you write damn good that's all I needed to get invested to draw for this quest!...But that incentive was certainly a bonus!
>>2928988Flatterer.Vote called, looks like a mixed-reply. Ain't no thang. Wrrrriting.
>>2928057“What’s your game, old man?” you ask, feeling more and more under pressure the longer you’re spent out of your disguise. “Are you trying to pick me up for whatever weird agency you work for?”“Sounds like a bleedin’ Yank,” big boy muses.“Grew up all my life in Seattle, what about it?”“Jus’ sayin’.”“Calm down,” Grim says, still speaking comparatively softly as opposed to your own voice, which you realise was gradually rising in volume as the stress eats at you. You bite the inside of your lip and will yourself to calm down, as much as you can in front of four complete strangers who’ve blown your cover in the span of a half hour.You release another breath, pondering for a moment before shrugging. Fuck it. What more harm could it really do at this stage?“Fine. Fine, I guess. Hell. My parents were migrants--came over and found work in Seattle and we’ve lived there ever since. War broke out, and I thought I could… I dunno, do some good, I guess. But, you know, with who we’re fighting, no one’d take me, especially not with me being a gal.”Grim fixes you with a flat stare. He doesn’t buy it. Of course he doesn’t--your earlier reaction was a clear signal that it’s far from the whole story, but you’re not willing to share that with anyone. Not now, maybe not ever. The others don’t seem especially sold on it either, but that’s their problem. Maybe you should throw them another bone.You affect a sigh and add, “They taught me hexes and curses. Most of them are pretty simple: point at bad guy, chant, guy is now afflicted, but there’s a couple special ones in the old armoury for really shitty occasions.”“Certainly swears like a sailor,” Sword-guy murmurs.“And I got a mean right hook to match,” you say with a wink that is as false as your bravado.Grim makes another of those grunt-hums--maybe you should think of a word for them; he looks like the type to do those often. Grums? Hunts? Hmm.“All right, Miss Takumi, you can put your glamour back up. But we will discuss this in the near future.”“Looking forward to it already,” you mutter, wondering if there was any way you could get away with cursing the lot of them. Unfortunately, the answer was a resounding no. You settle instead for once more resuming the appearance of the blandest-looking short guy in existence.“So, did you guys actually want to get some shut-eye?”“Wouldn’t catching a few Z’s, meself,” Big guy admits.“I’m fine,” German says with a nod, giving you a curious look that you definitely don’t like the look of.Sword-man shrugs and leans against the bulkhead with his arms folded.“It was kind of you and your Captain to offer,” Grim says, “but I think this fine vessel makes just a little too much background noise for even an old timer like me to catch forty winks.”(Cont.)
Fucking character limit, man.>>2929027“Right… well, back the way we came I--”You’re interrupted by a muffled but unmistakable thump from outside the hull of the submarine, followed by what is definitely some kind of scratching noise.“What was that?” German asks, cocking his head suspiciously in the direction of the noise.>The spooky ghost that haunts this tub, what do you think?>Not sure. Stay here while I go tell the Captain.>Probably just some detritus from some recently sunken vessel. The pieces can sometimes float out pretty far.
>>2929028>not sure. Stay herequest seems interesting so far
>>2929028>>Not sure. Stay here while I go tell the Captain.
>>2929028>Not sure. Stay here while I go tell the Captain.
>>2929028>>The spooky ghost that haunts this tub, waht do you think?Frosty, you know pic related is the one true handgunfu
>>2929028>Probably just some detritus from some recently sunken vessel. The pieces can sometimes float out pretty far.Nothing out of the ordinary, move on!
Shift completed, vote called, and writing commencing.
>>2929306Rid, I know that's you, cunt>>2929028You clamp down on a biting response. You really don’t know, yourself, and you admit as much, “Stay here,” you tell them, “I’ll go and tell the Captain.”Grim turns to Sword-man, and the two share a look that goes on long enough you start to wonder if they’re actually communicating, somehow. Telepathy? It’s a rare magic, but the old guy strikes you as the type to know all kinds of devious tricks. Eventually, they both turn to face you, and Grim gives you a firm nod.“As you wish… Mister Smith.”You nod back and dart through the decking towards the bridge. You find it a hive of activity. Ordinarily, you’d report to the XO rather than bother the Captain directly, but the circumstances are… interesting, to say the least.“Sir?” you ask, approaching the Captain--who looks even more unhappy than he seemed a scant half-hour ago when the visitors arrived.“Smith, good,” he says, half-distracted, “All hell’s broken loose. We’re… hell, I don’t know, we’re being pulled on a direct course with the south-west coast of Sulawesi. Engines, rudder, nothing seems to work. Someone is pulling us in that direction and I don’t like it at all. I’ve had a distress signal sent, but I’ve got no earthly idea if there’s anyone close enough to be of assistance.”He turns his intense gaze on you, and in that instant you’re certain you’re both thinking the same thing: the visitors.“I need information, Smith,” he says, his voice low and tense, “This can’t be the Japs. We’d be dead if it were. Whatever those people are, I’m sure this is what they were here for. So if they have even an iota of a clue as to what the hell is going on here, I need to hear it if I’m going to keep us all alive.”“Of course, sir,” you nod. You really don’t want to go back to them.But orders are orders.“Good man,” then he turns back to the rest of the bridge, “Carter, has the damn perescope un-fucked itself yet? Well that’s just perfect. Samson, get me a--” you tune him out as you head back. You didn’t bother to tell him about the noises you’d heard. You’re pretty sure it’s obvious to everyone that something is very, very wrong.(Cont.)
>>2930327You return to Grim and co. a little paler and a lot more nervous. You aren’t naive; you dabble in magic, for Christ’s sake. You know there’s more out there than the schools teach. But this is your first time actually seeing any of it yourself. Of course, that means your mind, being the asshole it is, is now providing a lovely mental image of the nastiest, gribbliest horrors imaginable, slavering and baying for your flesh and blood, separated only by the hull of the submarine that, so far, has served you and the rest of the crew so faithfully.“So, what’s going on?” Sword-guy asks you.It takes you a moment to respond, swallowing and exhaling a shaky, unsteady breath, “Uh… as far as I can tell, we’re being, uh… taken for a ride.”Cue cocked eyebrows all around.“Taken where?” is the first question asked--the old man, of course.“He says the coast of Sulawesi.”His brow furrows and he tilts his head slightly at an angle, pondering. No answers are forthcoming, and now you’re really starting to get nervous.“So, uh…” you say, smacking your lips, which feel weirdly dry all of a sudden, “You guys know what this is about, right?”Blank stares do not inspire confidence. No, they do not.“You guys are monster hunters, right? That’s what you’re here to find, it’s gotta be. I mean… why else would you go through all this trouble? All this secrecy?”“You are correct, in a sense,” Grim says, “but our purpose here was strictly reconnaissance. With the exception of Nathaniel here,” he motions to Sword-man, “this is their first operation.”Well that’s just fucking peachy. You’re being dragged into the unknown with an old man, a guy armed only with a sword and his backup is a team of fucking rookies. You’d laugh if it didn’t also make you want to break down and bawl your eyes out.“Okay,” you murmur, “Okay, what about… what about, what about, what about…” an idea springs to life, “The summoning circle! What about that? Can’t you get backup?”“A good idea,” Grim agrees, “but for the fact that since we arrived here, my telepathic link with our headquarters has been… suppressed.”“Suppressed? Suppressed how? It’s fucking magic.”“It is not an easy thing to manage, no,” Grim nods, “Particularly considering the skill of the individual who set it up. There are very few things capable of such a feat in this world, and none of them are good news for us.”>So, what, we’re fucked?>No. No, I will not accept this, there HAS to be a way out.>Maybe you can tell the Captain about all this? He needs to know about the shitheap you’ve landed him in. It’s only fair.
>>2930332>No. No, I will not accept this, there HAS to be a way out.>“A good idea,” Grim agrees, “but for the fact that since we arrived here, my telepathic link with our headquarters has been… suppressed.”I really should have expected things to NOT go smoothly, why am I even surprised?Sailor!Naru is surprisingly adorable, btw.
>>2930383Pixel did a good, job, aye.
>>2930332>>No. No, I will not accept this, there HAS to be a way out.
>>2930332>>No. No, I will not accept this, there HAS to be a way out.I can't believe you used that WIP version aaaaaahh!
>>2930332>There's ALWAYS a way out.>Maybe you can tell the Captain about all this? He needs to know about the shitheap you’ve landed him in. It’s only fair.>Where's that guy that went for a nap?
>>2930332>No. No, I will not accept this, there HAS to be a way out.
>>2930599BAHAHEWHWHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAH!>>2930332>No. No, I will not accept this, there HAS to be a way out.>NOPENOPENOPENOPENOPE>Wait, where's the guy that went for a nap?
>>2930332>Tell the damn captain, and work with him so we can figure out a way to fix this. There has to be a way out.
Calling the vote and writing.
>>2930332You shake your head, helplessness swiftly replaced by defiant anger, “No. No, I’m not going to accept that; there has to be a way out of this, there’s just gotta be.”A thought occurs to you and you pause, “Wait,” you say, “where’s the asshole who went to take a nap?”“Nappin’, I guess,” Big man offers. The look on his face tells you that he knows it’s as unhelpful as it sounds, and you give him a squint. He shrugs back at you.“Even were he awake, I doubt he would have a solution in mind,” Grim says.You ponder on what little you know of the party and bite the inside of your lip, scratching at your arm. No. No, damnit, he probably wouldn’t.You rack your brain, desperately trying to come up with something--anything--that might help, and come up with bupkis. You could let fly with the curses and hexes, but the ones that would actually be of use to you would compromise the integrity of the Shark’s hull, which would end up killing everyone aboard.“It seems,” Grim murmurs, resting both hands on his walking cane, “that our only choice is to let events unfold as they are for the time being, until we’re ready to make our own play.”You really, really don’t like it. But what other option is there?“Okay,” you breathe, “okay, fine. But could you maybe tell the Captain about what’s going on? This shit you’ve dropped on us is on you, and he deserves to know what’s up.”You can almost hear the wheels turning in Grim’s head as he considers your suggestion. A snide little voice in the back of your mind wonders if he might just pop a blood vessel at the mere thought of letting one of his many secrets slip out to the uninitiated.He surprises you, though, when he nods in acquiescence instead, “You are correct, we stand a better chance of getting through whatever is happening if we are all on the same page, so to speak.”“Uh… great,” you say, “Good, I mean.”“I’ll go and speak to him now. In the meantime, Miss Takumi, could you please find and wake my wayward man? I expect we will very imminently need all hands on deck.”You nod.“Sure. No problem.”-----(Cont.)
>>2932811Waking up is easily the worst part of being conscious: the grogginess, the heavy eyelids, and in your instance, the confusion as you register that this is most certainly not your bed. It all comes rushing back, of course. A not-insignificant part of you was hoping that it would all turn out to be just a dream. As is ever the case with these kind of matters, there is no such luck.“You up? Good. Your boss wants you on the bridge with the rest.”It’s the short sailor--Smith, you recall--who stands over you, arms folded. He seems intriguingly agitated for some obscure reason, and you notice a thin but distinctly raw scratch on his forearm, which would draw your curiosity if you weren’t still waking up from what was, actually, a surprisingly pleasant nap.If, of course, you discounted the uncomfortable bed, ever-present hum of working machinery, and awful dream that has now become your reality.You want to snap that he’s not your boss, but even you’re aware that’s far from accurate while he still has you by the balls. Hopefully you’ll find a way of turning the tables, but something about the way that old man carries himself gives you the impression that it’d be a bad idea if not an outright waste of time. For the time being, all you can really do is grin and bear it, and pray to whatever angel is watching over you that you’ll make it through this ordeal in one piece.“Yeah. Fine. I’m on my way,” you grouse, swinging your legs out from the bunk and grabbing your gear--no sense leaving it.“What’ve I missed?” you ask as he leads you back to the others.“The shit has hit the fan,” he summarises, “We’re being dragged along to some island in the Pacific under the power of… fuck, I dunno. Captain’s got all of us at battle stations and the old man looks like he’s expecting seriously bad trouble--did you know he can’t get in touch with your HQ?”“No. Does it look like he’d tell me anything that important?”He gives you a curious look before turning his attentions forward. You’ve reached the bridge, “Here we a--,”There’s a sudden, violent lurch, coupled with a hideous groan of tortured metal that throws you to the deck. Panicked shouts and yells inform you that the rest of the crew seems to have suffered the same treatment. The submarine judders and for one heart-stopping moment, you think the end is upon you; that the steel skin of the vessel is, at any moment, about to split open and doom you to a most unpleasant death.Mercifully, it holds, and as the shuddering finally stops, you’re hauled to your feet. Arnold stands over you, and you give him a grateful nod.(Cont.)
>>2932813“Thanks.”“S’no problem.”Grim is already on his feet--surprisingly spry for such an old man. You notice the Captain of the vessel picking himself up nearby and watch, bemused as the big, blocky old man helps him to his feet.“Report!” the officer barks.“We’ve run aground, sir,” comes the instantaneous response, “We’re giving it all we’ve got but we’re stuck fast and we definitely aren’t moving anymore,” the sailor turns back to face his Captain, “Wherever we were being taken… we’re here now.”The Captain presses his lips into a thin line, “How’s our radio?”“Still active, sir. Somehow,” says another man, “I’ve already sent out an SOS.”“Good man. Sit tight, I need to have a word with our guests.”The uneasy and fearful glances Grim receives are many and varied. No one is under any illusions as to the fact that whatever weirdness is unfolding is rooted in your group’s presence.“What the hell have you gotten my crew into?” the Captain hisses at Grim, having manoeuvred him out of sight of his men.“I apologise, Captain Shane. This was only supposed to be a search, of sorts, and it now appears to have become something altogether more.”“Search?” Shane blinks, confused, “A search for what? Wait… was the Pope even here? Was that all a big, fucking lie?”“It was no lie, Captain,” Grim assures, “Unfortunately, I felt sure, even from the start, that we would not find any survivors. As to what we were searching for...” he grimaces softly, “I believe that it has found us.”“It?”“There are great and terrible dangers in the world, Captain,” Grim tells him, “And not all of them are man-made. My people fight these dangers, but attacks are increasing and time is not on our side. It is my hope that one of our many investigations will eventually yield an explanation, and perhaps this one may yet. Until then, however, my priority is to keep you and everybody else onboard this vessel alive.”“Great speech, boss,” you mutter, “but we’re still beached without much in the way of backup. I think--”>We should hole up. The sub is the best defence we have against whatever’s out there, and we’ve got fifty-plus pairs of eyes to keep an eye on things.>We should get moving. Whatever brought us here did so for a reason. It’ll have a way of getting inside and I don’t think we want to be here when it does.>Just so it's out there, any write-ins or suggestions that you guys can come up with will be considered and, if appropriate or sufficiently popular, added into the follow-up post.
>>2932821>We should get everyone armed and prepared before we get moving. Whatever brought us here did so for a reason. It’ll have a way of getting inside and I don’t think we want to be here when it does.>I don't suppose you have some form of high explosives onboard right? Or even the things for improvised explosives?One of the many rules when fighting the unknown is always have explosives on hand.
>>2932821>We should get moving. Whatever brought us here did so for a reason. It’ll have a way of getting inside and I don’t think we want to be here when it does.Does the sub have a gun?
>>2932821>We should get moving. Whatever brought us here did so for a reason. It'll have a way of getting inside and I don't think we want to be here when it does.Don't want to damage the sub, or the crew in any crossfire. Fishfucker's want to tango, let's take the first step.
>>2932821We're still underwater, right?I'm not liking how blind we are at the moment. We should ask if the periscope is at all functional. Does the sub have any form of radar/sonar equipment?
>>2932813>We should get moving. Whatever brought us here did so for a reason. It'll have a way of getting inside and I don't think we want to be here when it does.
Righto. Vote called and starting on the update.
>>2932821“I think that we should get a move on. Pack as much firepower and ammo as we can and head inland. Whatever landed us here did it for a reason, and I don’t think we want to find out first-hand that they’ve got something that can crack the hull.”“I agree,” Grim says, turning to Captain Shane, “Captain, I’d arm as many of your men as possible. We’ll set up a temporary shelter and stay there until assistance arrives.”“Sir!” calls another voice, “We’ve got a response from the Phoenix. She’s inbound with Destroyer support and is expected to arrive at our location in approximately eight hours from now.”“Outstanding work, son,” says the Captain, looking considerably more relieved at the prospect of, well, relief. You’re a little less satisfied. Eight hours? You all be dead within the next five minutes.“Captain,” Grim addresses the man, bringing him down from his temporary high as he realises he still has to deal with the old guy, “Give me a shore party, we’ll move on ahead and clear a path for the rest of you. We’ll let you know when we’ve found a suitable spot.”Captain Shane’s expression sours, but after a moment of mulling it over, he relents.“Winters!” he barks, and instantly a sharp-looking but stumpy man with hardly any neck appears before you, snapping off a sharp salute.“Sir!”“Mr Grim, this is Chief Petty Officer Julian Winters,” he introduces, before turning to address his own man, “Winters, I want you to assemble a shore party. Take what you need from the Arms Locker but leave enough for the rest of us. You’ll be escorting our guests.”Winters gives you all a suspicious once-over but nods, salutes and turns smartly around to start barking orders of his own. You hear the Captain ask for the periscope, and see him give your immediate surroundings a quick scan. His frowning face gives you all the information you need.“Well, we’re definitely above ground,” he says, “The deck guns are gone; look like they’ve been torn off. Looks like scratches all over the outer hull but... ”“No sign of what did it?” Grim offers. Shane shakes his head after a brief moment of hesitation.“Please,” he says, voice low and all too desperate, “If you know anything about what is happening to my submarine…”“There are only two distinct possibilities. Neither bodes well for us, I’m afraid. The first possibility is that this is the work of a school--or several schools--of Sirens. The other is that it is a colony of Merfolk.”(Cont.)
>>2934458“...Sirens,” Shane repeats slowly.“Or Merfolk.”“...okay,” he says to himself, “Okay. How do you fight them?”You listen in a little more intently yourself, and notice Diedrich and Arnold follow suit.“Sirens will aim to paralyse you with a high-pitched wail. Individually, they are generally weak but their tentacles possess suckers like those of an octupus or squid--they will be difficult if not outright impossible to remove by hand unless the creature latched onto you is dead.“Merfolk are a much more different story. They are quick, powerful, and wholly aggressive--especially when they catch the scent of blood. Despite their name, they are actually amphibious--they cannot live underwater. Most of them are easily fooled, however, and their preferred method of attack is simply to bull rush their intended prey.”“‘Most?’”“Some colonies have a knack for ambushes and trickery. If it is indeed Merfolk we are facing, the pattern would point to one of these particular tribes, in which case we will need to be especially watchful.”“Right. Right,” Shane wipes his forehead with a hand, “Christ above, Sirens or Merfolk. Didn’t know I’d stepped into a goddamned Lewis Carroll story.”“Shore party assembled and ready, sir,” Winters returns, leading four other men, one being the short, snappy sailor, Smith. Winters and another sailor are armed with Tommy guns, while the others all carry rifles.“Very good, Chief,” Shane nods, “Head out when you’re ready, and be vigilant.”“Naturally, sir,” Winters salutes again, before leading you all to the entrance hatch. As he’s about to take to the ladder, Nathaniel cuts him off.“Let me, old boy. If there is anything lurking out there, I’ll draw its attention.”The sailor is clearly unimpressed, but no more than a moment passes before you can see the idea running through his head as he pauses to think. Self-preservation in the face of the unknown prevails, as you knew it would, and he makes a little show of looking distinctly put out by the fact that the VIP is to head up into possible danger first. You aren’t fooled, and from the looks of it, neither are his fellow submariners.(Cont.)
>>2934463He takes a ginger hold of the hatch and twists. You wince as the mechanism squeaks and whines. So much for a silent exit.Nathaniel throws the hatch open and pokes his head out, taking a quick scan of his surroundings before hauling himself up and drawing the sword at his side. It’s a thin, delicate-looking blade, and you can’t help but wonder how much the man values his life to be fighting monsters with such a weapon.“It seems clear,” he calls down at you softly, “I’d come on up quick, if I were you.”You haul yourself up third-to-last; only Diedrich and one of the sailors are left. You are greeted by a sight that would have been positively splendorous were it not for the imminent and very real danger you were in. The submarine is beached like a whale upon a beach that shines like gold in the lush, warm sun, and the scent of saltwater is curiously pleasing compared to that of brickwork and exhaust fumes. Further inland is a thick line of greenery that you’d never, in your wildest dreams, be able to name.Sure enough, the deck guns have been ripped from their emplacements. You most certainly do not want to see whatever did that.“Well, let’s get on, shall we?” Nathaniel suggests, before starting to clamber down and onto the beach below.>1d100
Rolled 87 (1d100)>>2934466aww bugger.
Rolled 81 (1d100)
>>2934477Not bad at all
Rolled 44, 31, 9 = 84 (3d100)>>2934567Muh dice
>>2934466You spend the entire episode climbing down onto the beach so paranoid that you’ll be set upon by seabound terrors any moment now, that you can hardly believe your luck when you find that you make it to the treeline and start pushing on through.“That wasn’t so bad,” you hear Diedrich mutter, “Makes one wonder what they were all so afraid o--”No sooner have the words left his mouth than a shape bursts from the undergrowth. You have a fleeting glimpse of teeth and fins and claws and beady eyes as black as the abyss, all a blur of motion. Before you can react, it has its jaws clamped around the throat of one luckless submariner before whipping itself around and darting back into the forest from whence it came. The poor bastard hardly has time to gurgle his last in alarm.Then the rest are upon you.A rustle hardly a handful of paces before you is more than enough warning, however, especially with how wired you are. The barrel of your firearm swings up and you hammer down on the trigger. You can hardly miss at this range, and the shredded remnants of the creature tumble to a bloody rest at your feet, a dying warble on its lipless mouth as it expires.The rattle and snap-crack of gunfire is all around you and deafening as more of the aquatic devils appear to rend and tear. You can just make out a high-pitched scream of terror which quickly shifts into a much more chilling screech of agony. You don’t know who’s it is because another of the monstrosities approaches, its finned tail slithering almost as a snake’s does through the vegetation.The creature is, even with much of its length splayed across the ground behind it, a full head taller than you are, and much more thickly muscled. Four moderate, straight horns crown its head, and two fin-like protrusions along its jawline give the impression of facial hair. Its eyes are as dark as its fellows, with no visible pupil or iris but you’re under no illusions that it’s staring at anyone other than you. A low, threatening hiss emnates from its thin mouth, which opens up to reveal--yep, that’s definitely a male. Primary outer set of teeth to clamp onto prey, and the inner jaw within; circular and full of small but dagger-sharp teeth to rend and tear and grind the flesh like a lamprey.You’ve not really any intention of ending up as its dinner, however, and seeing how it was stupid enough to come at you head-on…Another rattle from your gun puts the creature down permanently, joining its fellow. A hollow clack chills your blood as you realise you spent the entire magazine on the two merfolk. Panicking, you reach for a Balefire magazine and drop the spent one, only to fumble and almost drop it onto the dirt.By the grace of whatever god is looking out for you today, though, the battle seems to be over, the merfolk either driven off or dead.But they’ve reaped a toll, to be sure.(Cont.)
>>2934802Of the shore party, only two remain: Smith and another who can’t be much past his adolescence. Arnold has taken a nasty gash on his arm, while Diedrich nurses a bitten shoulder. Nathaniel, curiously enough, seems to be no worse for wear, and you blink in surprise when you see two run-through carcasses at his feet. Maybe there’s something to his weapon of choice after all. Or it’s enchanted. Come to think, you’d put more money on the latter.“What the fuck!?” gasps the young sailor beside Smith, his rifle clutched in a white-knuckled death grip, teeth bared, skin pale. He’s in shock, and if the merfolk decide to come back for another round, he’ll be useless to you. At least Smith seems to be taking it well, though his jaw is clenched and his focus constantly shifts around, as if she’s expecting another attack at any second.Honestly, you’re not sure why you aren’t.“What had them so riled up?” Arnold wonders, teeth bared as he reaches into a pocket to retrieve a handkerchief, presumably to use as a makeshift bandage.“Blood,” you mutter, “Grim said blood sets them off.”“That it does,” Nathaniel nods. “But no one here was injured, were they?”The answer comes to you immediately, and you round on Smith. Sure enough, the scratch is still red and relatively raw.Mother fucker.For a moment, you see nothing but red and want nothing more than to punch the stupid bastard. You rein your temper in, though, exerting control. He couldn’t have known, and throwing punches and getting into fights with extra hands holding guns would be counter-productive to your immediate priority of staying aive.So you blow your cheeks out and exhale. Inhale. Exhale. That’s better. Not great, but better.>Let’s just try and press on and hope we can find a suitable spot to hole up.>Fucking crazy idea: something’s preventing our telepathic link with the homebase, right? What if we tried following them back to their lair to find and remove whatever's causing it?>You know what, I take back what I said earlier. Maybe we’re safer in the sub.
>>2934807>as if she’s expecting another attack at any second.Mother fucking proofread failing afgasdhaxdg
>>2934807>>Let’s just try and press on and hope we can find a suitable spot to hole up.This sucks. They're drawn to blood and some are hurt but we have a job to do. Also I'm jazzed as all hell you chose The Goon as a characters likeness.
>>2934807>Fucking crazy idea: something’s preventing our telepathic link with the homebase, right? What if we tried following them back to their lair to find and remove whatever's causing it?Holing up in the jungle is no better than holing up in the sub, worse possibly since there aren't any metal walls or choke points. I say we get crazy and press on to try and find what's jamming us. We'll have to fight them no matter what, better to fight them on our terms than wait for them to mass up and come to us.
>>2934833It's a fun series.I really hope the animated film isn't a flop.
>>2934807>Fucking crazy idea: something’s preventing our telepathic link with the homebase, right? What if we tried following them back to their lair to find and remove whatever's causing it?Only option that gets us anywhere.Maybe have the young sailor return to the sub, he's not gonna be of any use unless he recovers from the shock.
>>2934856Me too. I feel like it's charm might be hard to get down.
>>2934807>>Fucking crazy idea: something’s preventing our telepathic link with the homebase, right? What if we tried following them back to their lair to find and remove whatever's causing it?>>2934821It's not like Merc or Pixel are any better lmao
>>Fucking crazy idea: something’s preventing our telepathic link with the homebase, right? What if we tried following them back to their lair to find and remove whatever's causing it?>>2935110...
>>2930327You cain't prove nuttin, fink.
>>2934807>Let’s just try and press on and hope we can find a suitable spot to hole up.>Send Smith and the young sailor back to the sub, they're both liabilities.
Calling the vote and writing now.
>>2934807A crazy, crazy fucking idea occurs to you. It runs completely counter to your goal of staying alive, and will no doubt put you all in bowl-clenching danger. But if it works, well, you could just summon yourselves back to your homebase in Antarctica instead of sitting around getting whittled down by merfolk over the next eight hours.So, with great reluctance, you open your mouth and begin to suggest your plan to the others.“Are you barkin’?” is Arnold’s response.“We were told to find a safe spot to set up,” Diedrich says, affecting calm. You aren’t fooled. The way he constantly flicks his gaze back into the jungle ahead tells you just how rattled he is.“No,” Nathaniel murmurs, “I think he may just be onto something. They can smell blood, and they’ve certainly drawn it. There’s no guarantee we’ll find any such place and the merfolk have the run of the land, meaning we’ll be practically at their mercy for as long as we’re on the move. For them to draw us here means their lair must be nearby, and whatever is affecting our link with headquarters must be there too. Better to take the fight to these creatures than let them keep the initiative.”“What, follow those fucking things? Back to their damn home?!” the young sailor shrills, his eyes wide with terror at the mere prospect. “We’ll be fucking slaughtered!”“Not you, kid,” you tell him, shaking your head, “Way you are, you ain’t going to be useful for anything more than bait if you tag along. You are going to turn your ass around and walk back to the sub. You too,” you say to Smith.He stands in place, unsure. His experience with whatever magic he makes use of has given him some ground to stand on with regards to fighting the merfolk, but you really don’t want to take a chance on an even less familiar factor. Much as you’d like as many bodies between you and the assuredly life-threatening peril you were about to walk into, if you need him and he bottled, you’ll be dead.“No, I can keep going,” he says, finally, “these things have killed some of my friends; my fellow crew. I want blood. We’re not that far from the shore and there’s plenty of light out. Murphy can make it back fine on his own.”“The man does possess some rather useful magic,” Nathaniel says, carefully. You snap around at him, unsure as to why he’d be for the man tagging along at all. You notice that his gaze flits from Smith to the terrified boy every so often. Curious.Arnold grunts, and you swear you can hear some kind of humour in it.What do these guys know that you don’t? Did something happen while you were napping? Almost assuredly, but you’ve got a different conundrum on your hands now.>Bring Smith along.>Send him back.
>>2936238>"Unless someone here can will the bleeding cut away in a fingersnap, Smith is going back, we cannot afford to let the damn fishes keep a lead on us."This really shouldn't be even a damn question to begin with as much as we want him along, their cut alone already caused the deaths of several crewmen and us barely getting away by the skin of our teeth.
>>2936238>Send him back.Why the hell is this even a question. He'd be like a siren constantly marking our position.
>>2936246>>2936249 I figured maybe there should at least be a final call on it instead of me just assuming everyone wanted to send them both back together.
>>2936238>"Unless someone here can will the bleeding cut away in a fingersnap, Smith is going back, we cannot afford to let the damn fishes keep a lead on us."
>>2936255I mean, don't get me wrong, if that's what you guys want, I'll do it. I just don't want to be that guy who jumps the gun by making assumptions and getting called out for not giving you guys enough agency.
>>2936255>>2936260It's ok QM. The biggest reason why I worded my IC response the way that I did was to show that we're aware that there is something going on, but we alone don't have the means to make sure that the team will live long enough to make good use of Smith's talents while he's still in a bleeding condition, thereby putting the responsibility back on the team to step up to the metaphorical plate.
>>2936238>Bring Smith along.More fighting power, says I.Besides, Smith isn't the only one who's bleeding - sending him back because of that is redundant.
>>2936280>>2936238Damn, you're right. Arnold and Diedrich are also wounded now.Changing vote >>2936249 to >Bring Smith along.
>>2936238> Bring Smith alongThat’s a fair point about him not being the only one wounded.
I wonder if we could mask the scent of blood so the Merfolk couldn't sniff us out so easily... then again, we don't really have much time for figuring that out at the moment.Something to bring up with Grim's R&D department when we get back to Antarctica, to prepare for future fights with these things.
>>2936323What would be of some good use would be some quick healing packs. Hell even a WW2 era Combat Medic kit would be a half decent start for pete's sake.Does anyone on our team even have a medkit?
>>2936326Unlikely, considering this WAS supposed to be just a recon mission and we departed rather lightly equipped.The sub most likely has some medical supplies on board, someone would just have to make a supply run for them.
>>2936238>> Bring Smith along
>>2936238>Bring Smith along.>>2936246>>2936256We have people bleeding in our group already.Says so in the first line of >>2934807.
>>2936554And again, where the fuck is the medkit. And would smith have some form of magic that can seal wounds fast?
>>2936238>>Bring Smith along.
Aight, vote called. Cranking out the update.
>>2936246+1We dont need one more funeral when this mission is over.
>I love IRL fuckery. Don't you?>>2936238You almost bite down on your tongue in your endeavour to clamp down on a positively venomous retort. Whether that scratch was an accident or a result of a nervous tic or some other happenstance, you don’t know, and you don’t especially care. The result was that his buddies died, and for one angry moment you want nothing more than to rub his face in it.Then the adrenaline begins to wear off, fatigue starts to set in a fraction, and you realise that none of it matters a damn now. Your firepower has been cut almost in half and if you’re going to go hunting, you’ll need all the able trigger fingers you can get. Besides, if you sent him back because of a little cut, what about Arnold and Diedrich?“Fine,” you grunt, “Whatever you say.”“Good show,” Nathaniel says, approving.If your two other colleagues have an opinion on the matter, they don’t voice it. You, however, still have a concern that needs addressing.“So, how do proceed? The things can smell blood even on faint cuts--that much is obvious. We’ve got three injuries, all bleeders. If we’re going to do this, we need surprise on our side, and we won’t have that if they can literally smell us coming a mile away.”“A fair point,” Nathaniel considers, “I don’t suppose anyone has anything up their sleeves that might fix us up?”The silence is, as they say, deafening.Perfect.At least, until someone raises a hand. To your surprise, it’s Smith.(Cont.)
>>2937243“I don’t know any healing magic; it’s all curses and hexes on my end. Well, besides…” he glances at the still-pale submariner, who is leaning against a tree and still as jittery as he was at the end of the skirmish. He then shares a knowing look with the other three, causing you to squint at him. When you get a quieter moment, you’re going to have to find out what that’s about.“But, I do make a habit of carrying around a few things,” he reaches into a pocket and retrieves what looks like a little pouch, “Stuff from… the homeland, my mom used to tell me,” the corner of his mouth quirks as he recalls a distant, happier memory, “I was a clumsy kid. Always getting myself hurt somehow.”He opens it and dips a finger inside. When it comes out, the finger is coated with what looks like some sort of salve. He shows it to you all like a performer before dabbing a little on the scratch on his arm. It’s no magic, but the faint bleeding has clearly stopped and it certainly looks much less red than it did a heartbeat ago.“Well, well,” Nathaniel murmurs in wonderment, “that is a useful little thing to have.”“Won’t cure everything,” Smith says with a shrug, “But I’m pretty sure it’ll sort what everyone’s got.”“An’ I know a thing might ‘elp us get on by an’ cover up our stink so’s the things don’t smell us,” Arnold chips in with a grin that is entirely too wide to bode especially well for you or anyone else.“Oh? What might that be?” Diedrich queries, sounding just as suspicious as you feel.He glances down at the bodies of the merfolk you’ve killed and nudges one with the tip of a thick, leather boot. Up close you can see they’re covered--much like fish--in a thin layer of what looks like slime. Arnold rubs his boot against the dead creature until enough of the filmy substance collects on the toe.It takes you a moment, but you see where he’s going with it.“That’s disgusting,” you tell him.He shrugs, “Knew a bloke what hunted ‘is own game b’fore ‘e joined up with the Merchant Navy. Said best way t’get close t’yer quarry--aside from bein’ dead silent, o’course--was not t’tip ‘em off with yer scent. Used t’rub dead animals on himself. Same odds ‘ere.”You glance about to your fellows. Diedrich has turned his nose up in distaste. Nathaniel seems as calm as he did before, but you note a distinctly green tinge to his skin tone. Guess even the unflappable English gentleman has something he wouldn’t enjoy. Even Smith seems sour-faced at the prospect.“We won’t get any strange diseases from this, will we?” you ask.“Hey, what’s the issue? We may well be too dead t’find out in a few hours anyway,” he says, cackling darkly.You hear Diedrich mutter in German, too low for you to catch what he said. You’d be surprised to learn it was anything flattering, though.(Cont.)
>>2937248“Fine, I guess we’re going with your plan then. Unless, you’ve got a better one, Nathaniel?” You ask, trying and failing to keep the note of hopefulness from your voice. He gives you a shake of his head.Well. Rolling on dead fish-folk it is, then.Once you’re done applying Smith’s salve, as well as the… other thing, your party sees the young sailor--Baker--back to the Shark, in addition to whatever you could scrounge from the dead. Captain Shane likely won’t be happy about the fatalities, or the fact that you had to leave their bodies, but that’s his problem.Your problem is finding the lair of a colony of merfolk and working out what exactly was giving Grim so much trouble. Fortunately, following their tracks is made easier thanks to Diedrich, of all people. He tells you with significant pride that was to have become a Falschirmjaeger, whatever that is, and that his fieldcraft was all very brilliant and skillful and you’d basically tuned him out until Arnold had told him to shut his trap before he gave our location away to another group of murderous merfolk.You follow the trail through the jungle until you reach a clearing. A sizeable outcrop sits in the centre. There’s little doubt that the entrance to the lair is somewhere within.“There’s no way that’s natural,” Arnold notes, rubbing his chin, “It’s too far inland.”“It also wouldn’t be difficult for merfolk to construct such an edifice, primitive though it may seem,” Nathaniel agrees.“So, what do we do now?”You’re about to make a suggestion before a warbling cry echoes through the clearing. You and the others duck back into the undergrowth and keep low as a troop of merfolk slither out of the vegetation at the opposite end of the clearing. Eighteen of them move in silence, save one, which is armed with a primitive spear and jabbers in its own tongue at its buddies. A leader, most likely. You’re glad to see you’re not the only one who seems to have made the connection, as Nathaniel points to it with a gloved hand.The troop moves to the centre of the outcrop before squeezing through a nook that looks just large enough for a man to squeeze through. One by one, they all vanish into the darkness--and presumably, their lair.“Well that’s just fucking fantastic,” a voice spits next to you. An unmistakably female voice. You turn your head and find yourself lying down next to an Asian woman with short, dark hair and a grumpy expression. For a moment, you are utterly perplexed, until it registers that she’s wearing a uniform you had grown rather familiar with over the last hour or so.“Smith?” you wonder in disbelief.(Cont.)
>>2937251“What?” she turns to you, irritation all too clear. A moment passes, and she blinks, “Oh. Yeah. Dismissed the glamour a while back. Wondered how long it’d take you to notice.”Well… now you supposed you knew what the secrecy was about a little earlier between him--her, rather--and the others. It made sense, in a way. Though damned if you knew what she hoped to achieve on an American submarine. There’s an awful lot you’d like to say, but now’s no place for it. There’s grim work to be done, and you’re going to need every ounce of focus if you want to see your hide through this unscathed.How to approach…>Make some noise and draw some of them out--see how the SOBs fry when they’ve got no cover. (TN 50+)>Make some noise and draw out some of the colony--you think you know a trick or two that could lure them on a merry chase for a while. (TN 45+)>Fire and brimstone--drop a few bolts of Hellflame through the nook and scour the entryway. You’ll make some noise but hopefully you’ll catch enough of them to make your lives easier when you’re inside. (TN 55+)>Go in quiet. Maybe you can scout the caverns below and discover whatever it is you need to find and break.>Wait and see if more don’t leave and give you an easier time when you do move in.
>>2937255>Make some noise and draw out some of the colony--you think you know a trick or two that could lure them on a merry chase for a while. (TN 45+)
>>2937255...I really wish we knew if it was a closed cave system. If it was then all we'd have to do is build a big ol bon fire in the entryway and let it suck out all the o2. Solve this like vikings torching the other guys longhouse. Eh, they probably have another way out or at least an air hole. I concur with >>2937288>>2937301
>>2937251>Make some noise and draw out some of the colony--you think you know a trick or two that could lure them on a merry chase for a while. (TN 45+)Trickster God is a go.
>>2937255>>Make some noise and draw out some of the colony--you think you know a trick or two that could lure them on a merry chase for a while. (TN 45+)
>>2937704*Snickers in Laughing Magician*
Distraction Carnifex it is.Roll me that good old d100
Rolled 76 (1d100)>>2938215
Rolled 42 (1d100)>>2938215
Rolled 46 (1d100)>>2938215The phrase used does not fill me with confidence of your chances.
Sorry about the radio silence, chaps, work was an absolute pain and I'm certain now that I've caught cold so I actually just crashed. Writing now.
>>2939704No worries Frosty, 4chan was down for quite a bit some time ago anyways.
>>2937255You ponder. Going in after that many merfolk, when you don’t know how many more are inside doesn’t sit well with you. You imagine that you’re already outnumbered by a fair margin. No need to tip the odds against you further. This calls for a distraction to lure some of them away.Fortunately, you’re rather good at those.“I’ve got an idea,” you tell the others.“What is it?”“Cover your ears.”You then bring up your gun and rattle off a few rounds. The others all flinch and gape at your apparent death wish, and you feel Nathaniel’s breath, hot against the skin of your neck as he pulls you towards him, “What the bloody hell are you playing at, man?”“Let go of me, I know exactly what I’m doing, but I need to concentrate if it’s going to work.”“If what’s goin’ to work? You bringin’ down the entire bleedin’ colony on us?” Arnold snipes.“That’s half the idea,” you say with a half nod, “Now let me work and hopefully, we’ll all be in for a much easier time of it inside those caves.”Reluctantly, Nathaniel lets go of you, leaving you to do your thing. He’ll understand soon. All of them will. While you imagine yourself as a kind of jack of all trades, illusions are your true forte. Even as a young boy, you had a knack for them, and the amount of times they’d gotten you out of a hard place… well, you’d need an awful lot of fingers to count them up.Working on the fly would take time that you really didn’t have. Fortunately, you already had the image you needed, which was half the battle won already. Formulate. Manipulate. Breathe. Let it have motion. Let it have life.Sure enough, to the surprise of your fellows, an exact replica of everyone stands in plain view a handful of metres from where you lie. They mill about in confusion and suppressed panic, clearly as a result of the accidental discharge.Then the first merfolk crawls out of the cave. And another. And another. More still. Even more. Christ, there must be at least forty of the savage creatures! All of them are fixed on you--or, more accurately, your doppelgangers, who panic at the sight of the mass of monstrosities and flee into the jungle, away from you. And the beached Shark.(Cont.)
>>2939761One of the leader beasts--perhaps even the one you saw enter the caves moments beforehand--raises its spear and hisses. Instantly, the creatures give chase, driven into a frenzy at the prospect of living flesh to sink into. They fight and claw over even each other in an effort to be the first to taste blood.This really could not have worked better if you’d tried.You wait until the teething swarm is well out of earshot before making your move.“How long will that trick last?” Smith, or whatever her name is, asks you.You shrug in response, “They can’t catch what isn’t there, and I’m very good at that little trick.”She eyes you up but says nothing, “Well, long as they don’t get bored and come back.”“They won’t,” and you actually feel pretty sure about that.“All the same, s’pose we’d best be gettin’ a shift on,” Arnold suggests with a grunt. You can’t find much fault with it, much as you really don’t want to go down there.Part of you now wonders if you don’t, in fact, have some kind of death wish, to have come up with the idea to venture into the dark, spooky cave full of vicious monsters. The alternative, however, is to wait at the mercy of the merfolk, which you’re certain is the less-attractive prospect.The entrance to the lair is much larger than it seemed from a distance, and even Arnold--who takes the lead with his shotgun levelled at anything that might come careening around the next corner--can slip his not inconsiderable bulk through without much hassle. To everyone’s surprise, the cave is lit, albeit dimly, by crystal studs that glow with a faint crystal blue light that reminds you, somehow, of the sea.“Creepy,” you hear in soft German, and glance over to see Diedrich prodding at one of the crystals with the barrel of his carbine.“Woah,” Smith gasps, her awe all too clear, “It’s beautiful.”“No time to admire the scenery,” Nathaniel urges, “We’ve got to get a move on.” Reluctantly, Smith turns away from the particular stud she’d been admiring and follows on.The cave system is only just wide enough for three of you to stand side-by-side. Naturally, you get placed up front alongside Nathaniel and Arnold, while Smith and Diedrich bring up the rear. The idea of your back to the German puts you ill at ease, but to raise a ruckus now would be to invite infighting, which you can’t afford. Not yet, at least.(Cont.)
>>2939762You continue on, gradually deeper into the earth. The crystal lights seem to be growing more dim, and the uneven rock beneath your feet makes it a challenge to stay upright. Having to fight here would be a nightmare, and you thank your lucky stars that your ploy appeared to work as well as it did.Soon enough, however, you come to a fork in the road. One leads off ever deeper into the lair. The other is significantly more difficult ground, and even less well-lit, and the cool, damp air of the cave has absolutely nothing to do with the shiver that runs through you at the thought of traversing that particular passageway.>If I were an object of dark and unfathomable eldritch power, where would I be? Of course it’s through the dark, rocky tunnel.>Deeper into the lair we go. If I were the merfolk, I’d have the object of our search under constant, heavy guard.
>>2939763>If I were an object of dark and unfathomable eldritch power, where would I be? Of course it’s through the dark, rocky tunnel.
>>2939763>deeper ín the lair we go
>>2939763>Deeper into the lair we go. If I were the merfolk, I’d have the object of our search under constant, heavy guard.
>>2939763>>If I were an object of dark and unfathomable eldritch power, where would I be? Of course it’s through the dark, rocky tunnel.
>>2939763>weneedtogodeeper.jpgIt's gonna be some sort of shrine surrounded by mermaid cultists or a deamon they think is a god or some shit like that.
Calling the vote here. My connection's pretty spotty but here's hoping that it stays alive long enough for me to put out the update. If not, it'll go up as soon as I wake up tomorrow morning.
>>2940873You consider the two options before you: both are rather typically bad. One is almost entirely unlit, meaning you’d have to provide light yourself and risk being spotted a long ways off by any patrolling merfolk. The other, while lit, will almost undoubtedly take you deeper into the heart of the lair, whereupon you’ll most certainly encounter the water-borne creatures in greater numbers.Time to break out the real hard thinking now, because the last thing anyone wants is to wander into a nest of merfolk without first having found whatever is blocking Grim and, by extension, the rest of you from the Antarctica Headquarters. All you need to do is pick: Merfolk or spooky darkness.Well, if there’s one thing you know about objects of rare and unfathomable power (and it would need to be to block a telepath, especially if yours is as good as everyone insists that she is), it’s that they tend towards the darker places of the world. Often literally so.“Well,” you say, “if I were an object of unspeakable eldritch power, I know where I’d be.”“Please don’t say the dark, please don’t say the dark, please don’t say the--” you hear Smith mutter repeatedly under her breath.“Through the dark and spooky tunnel.”“Fuck.”“You sure about that?” Arnold asks you, dubious. He’s still eyeing the gradually descending tunnel with a keenly suspicious eye, like he’s expecting a frothing fishman to burst out from the shadows at any moment. Quite a sensible approach, and you’re certainly appreciative that someone with a big gun is keeping an eye on it.(Cont.)
>>2941210“Nathaniel?” Diedrich queries, glancing down both passageways with about as much eagerness as a turkey asked which way it wants to be slaughtered on Thanksgiving.“Well, Adam’s got us this far. I don’t see how it could hurt. If it turns out to be a dead end, we can always double back.”“And hope the other mermen haven’t gotten bored chasing around shadows,” Smith remarks with a hooded expression. She really doesn’t want to go down there, does she? Fear of the dark? Interesting.“Not a possibility, the second my illusion breaks, I’ll know about it. I always know,” you say. She doesn’t appear reassured, but that’s her problem.“Well, we can’t dawdle all day. Into the breach, dear friends,” says Nathaniel, leading the way forward. The tunnel is small and cramped, and is only wide enough for one person. You shrug and plant yourself firmly in the middle of your party, partly so the paltry hellflame you conjure will benefit everyone else equally, but mostly so that you’ll have plenty of warning when something attacks.The ground is, as you noted earlier, uneven at best. In the span of five minutes you are reduced to cursing as each of you narrowly avoid slipping or impaling or scratching hands and feet on the rock. All save Nathaniel, who, while most assuredly not sure-footed, appears more at ease on this sort of terrain than the rest of you are. Throughout your travel, the glowing purple fire begins to gutter. Worryingly enough, this is through no fault of your own.“Put some more effort into it, American,” Diedrich grunts, taking great pains to follow Nathaniel’s steps ahead of him.“I did,” you say, starting to feel the strain. You dumped more of your own power into the fire but it quickly became apparent to you that it’s just not going to happen. The last thing you wanted was to pass out from exhaustion, or attract the attention of other, more terrible entities, “Something’s sapping it away.”“Not a lot in this world that can manage an effect like that,” notes Nathaniel, “We have to be getting close.”“So, where are the merfolk, then?” Arnold wonders.An excellent question.One answered moments later as a keening hiss echoes through the tunnel. At around the same time, you feel the connection between your grandiose illusion die.Bad news all around, you muse, as the first of the merfolk scrapes its way through the darkness and towards you, both sets of jaws open and salivating profusely as it draws nearer, hungry for blood.>It’s closing fast. Open fire! (TN 40+)>Magic may ebb in this place over time, but a few quick fireballs will still roast it as surely as Balefire rounds. (TN 55+)
>>2941213>Magic may ebb in this place over time, but a few quick fireballs will still roast it as surely as Balefire rounds. (TN 55+)Better save our ammo, especially since Adam apparently doesn't have a lot of trigger discipline judging by the beach fight.
>>2941213>Magic, maybe magic is quieter and less likely to get us all dead.
>>2941213>>Magic may ebb in this place over time, but a few quick fireballs will still roast it as surely as Balefire rounds. (TN 55+)
Aight, you know the drill, folks. 1d100 for a 55+
Rolled 54 (1d100)>>2941486I DON'T WANNA DIE
Rolled 41 (1d100)>>2941486Nice roll >>2941489
Rolled 44 (1d100)>>2941486C’mon...
>>2941489>>2941511>>2941518Well, we are probably fucked.
Rolled 58 (1d100)>>2941538Forgot roll.
Rolled 75 (1d100)>>2941486Am I too late to roll?
>Relying on magic in an anti-magic zoneAnon decision making skills on display.
>>2941920I know, it's beautiful when you're watching, absolutely terrible if you're GM'ing.
>>2941489>>2941511>>2941518>We missed the target number by 1...Well, it was bound to happen eventually.
Rolled 81, 49 = 130 (2d100)>>2941489>>2941511>>2941518That's... interesting.
>>2941213Something you note about firearms which, in retrospect, should have been obvious.They’re goddamn loud.So loud that the din of Diedrich’s carbine rattling off in such a confined space ruins your concentration as you begin to conjure another of your patented purple fireballs. The ethereal projectile shrieks weakly into a wall, dissipating instantly. The dull light, coupled with the flash of gunfire paint a series of staccato images that reminds you of a roll of film: one instant of movement captured over a set of innumerable still images. The effect is nightmarish as the black-eyed merfolk draw closer and you feel your heart pound in your chest as fear truly takes hold.Fortunately for you, your fellows pick up the slack, and the charging merfolk are slowed almost as much as you are by the awkward ground. You think you can make out a scream in between the deafening gunfire from Diedrich. It sounds like that of a wounded animal: half adrenaline, half fear, and awful to the senses. His first shot takes the lead creature in the dome, ripping its cranium open. It takes a few more to kill the next, but it dies all the same. Arnold and Smith are helpless, unable to discharge their own weapons without fear of winging or even killing you, Diedrich or Nathaniel, who is crouched, calmly letting the German fire over his head.Eventually the ammunition runs dry, though, and of the handful who began the assault, two reach you, and it’s here that you finally see for yourself what Nathaniel is worth as a swordsman.It is a thing of surreal beauty.He gently nudges Diedrich back a half-step to give him enough room to avoid the clumsy lunge from the first of the merfolk and, almost casually, drives the point of his thin blade through its chin and into its brain. The thing dies immediately, and the British gentleman removes his weapon in an instant to bring it to bear against the last, which swipes with a clawed hand to hit naught but air. In a flash, its foe bats both arms aside with a sweep of the flat of the sword before reversing his grip and thrusting it into the throat of the now floundering creature, which gurgles, limp and pathetic, before joining its brothers in death.(Cont.)
>>2942120Nathaniel hums as he pulls his weapon from the merman and wiping the blade gingerly on its carcass. The rest of you only stare in mute awe.“Years and years of practice,” he says dismissively after a moment with a shrug and an inclination of his head, “Anyone can do it, really. And besides, those mermen really were quite sluggish.”Nathaniel Arkwright: another curiosity in this most curious of organisations to puzzle over. But only once you’re far, far away from this hellhole in the Pacific.And perhaps had a stiff drink too.With the threat removed, you carry on, clambering awkwardly over the carcasses of the freshly killed merfolk with ringing ears, glaring daggers into the back of the source of your issues, and you’re far from the only one doing so. It’s a complicated feeling: Nathaniel, though clearly a bladesman of superlative skill, had fought the two beasts one at a time. Had he fought two or even the whole pack, even he may have been overwhelmed. Diedrich’s fire support gave him the opportunity he needed, which likely saw you all through the fight alive and well.Doesn’t make your poor ears feel much better though. You hope there’s a healer back in Antarctica. The constant ringing is already starting to grate and the lack of anything to hear but your own footsteps is only making it worse.You don’t get much further, however, before Nathaniel calls back, “Light ahead.”Sure enough, as you peer out from behind him and the bulky German is a faint blue light at the end of the tunnel; similar to that of the crystal studs that illuminated the cavern. You’re so glad to have some other source of illumination that the dull throbbing ache doesn’t register as anything more than fatigue as you draw closer.It’s only as you reach the opening, and through it, the chamber proper, that you realise what your body was trying to tell you:That there is something terribly wrong about this place.The crystals grow out of every surface. A little pool sits a handful of paces away, and even through the surface of the water you can see yet more of the crystals growing, and no doubt they spread even through there. The throbbing becomes a sharp ache, and your vision blurs for a moment. Something wet drips from your nose, and before you even reach out to touch it, you know what you’ll find.Smith falls on her backside, shivering uncontrollably, while you can hear Arnold grinding his teeth in discomfort. Even Nathaniel is affected, leaning on the pommel of his thin sword, which he has planted point-first into the ground, his laboured breathing a further indication of his own personal suffering. Only Diedrich appears unaffected, and he looks about you all with wide-eyed confusion.(Cont.)
>>2942122At the centre of this cavern sits the object of your hunt, you’re certain. It is a small thing, no larger than a beer glass. A bright, blue crystal that shines brighter than all the others, with a curious marking that appears to you almost as an eye. And here is where you truly start to curse your sudden dazedness, for you swear for a single instant, that it blinked at you.>This is what we’re here to destroy. Get it done (TN 45+)>This is a prize. Surely Grim would want it studied? Take it. It’s yours. (TN 20+)
>>2942123>This is what we're here to destroy. Get it done
>>2942123>This is what we’re here to destroy. Get it done
>>2942123>This is what we’re here to destroy. Get it done (TN 45+)Nuh-uh, no way in hell do I trust taking this with us.
>>2942123>>This is what we’re here to destroy. Get it done (TN 45+)NOPENOPENOPENOPENOPE
I probably shouldn't have expected any other response :V1d100 again gents.
Rolled 98 (1d100)>>2942286smash rokk
Rolled 93 (1d100)>>2942286To be fair, the way you worded the 'take it' option was screaming "bad news". Like, the One Ring "PRECIOUS!" kind of bad news.>>2942315Yeah I'd say the rock is pretty smashed, well rolled Anon.
Rolled 89 (1d100)>>2942286>>2942315>>2942346yeah, pretty smashed.
>>2942315>>2942346>>2942348God damn, anons.
>>2942358is 96+ critical success or just 100? I forget.
>>2942315That's pretty smashed.>>2942558I'm mulling on whether or not crits will be a thing. I guess it'll depend, ultimately, on what you guys all want.
>>2942123There’s no hesitation. Not for an instant. The thing--whatever it is--must be unmade, before the scratching at the edge of your mind becomes something altogether more sinister.“What’s happening?” Diedrich wonders, panic creeping into his voice as his gaze flits between you and that baleful crystal. It is a thing of evil, you’re certain now. And that same certainty lends you strength.“Move,” you grind out, dumping as much power as you can into a strike of singular purpose. Never in your entire life have you attempted anything like what you’re about to do, but as you fix your target firmly in mind, you think you can see the thing shiver as the washing pressure of magical energy reaches a burning crescendo.Your lips split and twist into a savage grin as you let that thing have it all. Diedrich leaps away, out of the blazing projectile’s path. The crystal possesses no such mobility, and takes the entire brunt of your assault.And as it shatters like brittle glass, you hear a shriek unlike anything you’ve ever heard. An entity of ageless power screams its fury at having been denied by a mere mortal. If you didn’t feel like passing out, you’d have relished the moment.Surprisingly, you find yourself helped to your feet by the German, who gazes at you with a blend of trepidation, awe, and not a little fear. Now that the crystal is gone, your strength returns swiftly, and you’re up on your feet in moments, feeling like you just stepped out of a warm, refreshing bath. Maybe you really needed to let off some steam, you muse, staring down at the scattered shards of the thing, because you feel good. Better than good, even.“What the bleedin’ ‘ell was that?” Arnold groans, rubbbing at his head, “I’ve ‘ad ‘angovers easier t’stomach than that.”“I felt something try to touch my mind,” Smith mumbles to herself, still on her ass, “It wanted to get in. I almost let it in...”“Will someone explain this all to me?” Diedrich wonders in exasperation.“Later, old boy,” Nathaniel says with a distinctly ungentlemanlike grunt, looking rather more worse for wear than you feel. “Later. For the moment, I think we need to recuperate.”You think...>That’s a bad idea. That illusion I conjured up to distract that little army of merfolk? It’s gone. And that means we need to be too. Besides, we accomplished our original goal--we know exactly where the lair is.>That’s a good idea. Whatever that fucking thing was, it took its toll--if we’re caught on the move with the three of you in your present state, we’re dead.>We should stay on the move. If the merfolk were keeping that idol down here, they may know it’s been destroyed. We should progress deeper into the lair--it’s the last thing they’d expect.
>>2942683>that's a bad ideaAnti magic field mighta fucked eith our illusion or we dropped it when we smashed the thing, gotta keep moving, and besides we are juiced right now, we don't need a rest. We'll carry the others if we have to. Actually the energy is concerning. I think we've been touched by something horrible when we smashed that.
>>2942683>That’s a bad idea. That illusion I conjured up to distract that little army of merfolk? It’s gone. And that means we need to be too. Besides, we accomplished our original goal--we know exactly where the lair is.>We should stay on the move. If the merfolk were keeping that idol down here, they may know it’s been destroyed. We should progress deeper into the lair--it’s the last thing they’d expect.Mention H.P. Lovecraft, then skedaddle.
>>2942705Support.We need to try contact Grim ASAP, to see if the telepathical bock is gone. Assuming whatever that thing was didn't outright unmake our connection with Grim.
>>2942683Support >>2942707And definitely check and see if the telepathic connnection works now.
>>2942753Meant to say >>2942705. But yeah.
>>2942683Also in support of >>2942705
>>2942683Going with >>2942705See if we have a resident Occultist in our organization.
>>2942683>That’s a bad idea. That illusion I conjured up to distract that little army of merfolk? It’s gone. And that means we need to be too. Besides, we accomplished our original goal--we know exactly where the lair is.>Attempt to contact Grim or the base.
>>2942683“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”Four heads turn to regard you.“Look, that illusion I conjured up to send the merfolk on a wild goose chase? It’s gone. If they’re not on the way back now, they soon will be, which means we need to be gone before then. Besides, we’ve found the lair. We’ve accomplished our original goal. And besides, if the merfolk were keeping that...” you glance back to the spot the terrible crystal idol used to occupy, “that thing here, then they may know that it’s been destroyed. In which case we really don’t want to stick around.“I can hardly move,” Smith complains.“Then we can carry you,” you reply, jerking your head towards Diedrich, who looks uncertain but gives a slow, cautious nod. He doesn’t seem any worse for wear after your little encounter, and you have a suspicion regarding that, but it’s a confrontation for later.“All right,” Nathaniel nods. He’s pale and drawn, barely able to stand even with the support of his sword, “We’ll do it your way. It doesn’t seem like I’m going to be in any condition to make decisions for a while, anyway,” he says, with a hapless grin.“Great. You,” you say to Diedrich, “Pick him up and let’s get going. Arnie? You feeling all right?”Arnold does not look all right, but at least he’s actually on his feet. You really hope he’s feeling up to walking because if anything attacks you while you’ve got to lug three people around, you’re fucked, plain and simple.Fortunately, he nods, “Feel like I’ve been run through a grinder, but I’m good t’go.”“Great,” with that, you plod on over to the prone Smith before picking her up. Her tiny stature and relatively light build provide you with few issues, though she protests most bitterly. It’s almost amusing in a sense, but the very real danger still hanging over your head like the fabled sword of Damocles sours it immediately.“Hey, watch where you’re putting your hands, wise guy! I feel any funny business going on and I’ll fling so many damn curses it’ll make that cheap shirt of yours spin!”“Right, cause that flat ass of yours is everything I look for in a woman.”“You--!”“So, what’s your name anyway?” you cut her off with an entirely separate topic, “Feel I should ask now we’ve got a quieter moment. It can’t be ‘Smith’, surely.”She grumps in your arms for a moment, glaring daggers before relenting.“Naru,” she responds after a moment.“First name? Last name?”“First. Takumi’s my last.”“Naru Takumi. Huh. Bet there’s some story as to why you’re on a US sub.”“Uh huh.”“That a fact.”“I’m not telling.”“I’m not interested.”(Cont.)
>>2943976Not the complete truth, but on your list of things you’d like to know, it can sit on the backburner for a while yet. First things first.You sling her rifle over your shoulder, and set off when a thought suddenly occurs to you.Grim. You there?Always, comes the response, and for once you’re all too happy to hear the old bastard’s voice.We found the lair--and the thing that was fucking up the telepathic link.I know. I’ve been in contact with Miss Fox. We are to receive additional hands momentarily.That’s about the best news you’ve heard all day. We’re on our way back. The idol did something to us. It damn near drained all the energy out of myself, Nathaniel, Arnie and Smi--er, Naru.Did it, now? What did it look like?Big, blue crystal. About as big as a beer glass. Weird marking on it that looked like an eye. It was... you shudder even as you work your way back through the treacherous tunnel, finding it a lot more difficult in the dark without a free hand to give you some light. Grim, that thing was evil. I don’t know how else to describe it. Another thought comes to you, unbidden, drudged up by the increasing procession of weird shit you’ve been forced up against.Grim, did you ever read anything by a guy named H.P. Lovecraft, at all?I did, as it happens.Of course he did. Creepy old man knows everything about everything, evidently.I didn’t think much of it at the time, but that crystal idol… when I smashed it, I heard something. I felt, fuck I dunno, energised too. Like all the power it had sapped out of me just came rushing back. Something about it just reminded me of that thing he wrote: At The Mountains of Madness, you know?There’s silence on the other line and for a moment, you fear the link has been cut again. He returns, however, and this time, you think you detect a note of urgency in his voice.Return immediately. When we get back to Headquarters I want you to submit to a full medical scan.Do you think there’s something wrong with me?Hopefully not, but if that object you destroyed is what I think it is, then we’ll need to be very, very careful. And I’m afraid that will mean you’ll be put under observation until we’re absolutely sure that you are mentally sound.You saying you don’t trust me?I don’t trust that what you destroyed allowed itself to die without putting up more of a fight, he returns. This isn’t up for discussion. I’ll expect to see you soon. Now, have you found anywhere suitable to set up camp?No. We got jumped by merfolk as soon as we hit the treeline, didn’t the kid we sent back tell you?He was quite beside himself, Mr Bauer. Little of what he said made any sense even to me and he is still, as far as I’m aware, sleeping off his trauma in the crew quarters.(Cont.)
>>2943977Great. Give the kid one job...I’m not sure that there is anywhere to go that’ll be safe. The merfolk are on the hunt and they’ll certainly be riled that we blew up their crystal. It sucks, but I think we’ll just need to hold the sub and make sure we keep a damned close eye on the water until the cavalry arrives.You may just be right. I’ll notify Captain Shane. In the meantime, get yourselves back here. When our reinforcements arrive, they’ll scour the lair clean.The dim blue glow of the cavern that led you into the merfolk’s lair is visible now, even from behind Arnold’s bulk, who leads the way with his shotgun levelled and ready for anything. At any moment, you expect to hear another sibilant whisper signifying that another merfolk attack is about to begin. It doesn’t come. Not even when you finally step into the unearthly blue light, and you shiver. You’ll never see cyan the same way again.“Up we go,” you murmur, casting a nervous glance back down the dark and hollow place you’d just left behind. A warm bed and a nice meal would be a welcome sight once you were done with this island stroll, not that you expected Grim to be the sort to fork out for that sort of luxury for his own damn staff.Daylight has never looked so inviting, and even though getting the two drained bodies of Naru and Nathaniel through the gap is a bit of an awkward affair, you manage. Taking a deep whiff of the fresh air, even tinged with a hint of salt from the nearby coast, in that moment is an almost euphoric pleasure. The fact that nothing attempts to eat you while you do so is just the icing on the cake, and you feel rather vindicated in pushing for your troupe to run and run then and there instead of wait. Even encumbered, you feel sure that you’d have had one hell of a fight on your hands if you had stayed.The trek back through to the Shark is almost blissfully uneventful, save for the distant screech you heard back in the direction of the entrance to the lair: the merfolk returned, no doubt, which encourages you all to pick up the pace a little. Soon, however, you approach the location of the beached submarine, whereupon Arnold holds up an arm, signalling you all to stop.You knew it was all going too smoothly…(Cont.)
>>2943978“What is it?” Diedrich asks.“Quiet,” Arnold hisses back, “An’ keep low. Summin’ ain’t right.”You set Naru down gently and creep up to the hulking Brit, “What is it? You see something?”“No. ‘Eard something, though. Sounded like voices.”“Voices? Maybe the crew of the Shark?”“Dunno, maybe. Don’t see why they’d be announcin’ themselves so loudly if it is them, though.”A fair point, and one you want to check up on yourself. You crouch low and, as softly and quietly as you’re able, make your way over to the treeline yourself, hoping to your lucky stars that Arnold’s just being paranoid.Peering through a gap in the thick vegetation, you spot the Shark easily enough. But there’s something else, too…>Is that the US battlegroup?>That doesn’t look like an American ship to me.>Is that a goddamned Kraken?
>>2943979>Is that the US battlegroup?
>>2943979>Is that a goddamned Kraken?I see bait, I take bait.
>>2943979>That doesn’t look like an American ship to me.
>>2943979>>Is that the US battlegroup?
>>2943979>>Is that a goddamned Kraken?
>>2943979>>That doesn’t look like an American ship to me.
Vote called and we carry on in the new thread.>>2945212