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Topic Summary

Posted by: Declann203
« on: December 16, 2017, 12:35:13 PM »

Outside the bar, the sounds and sights of an atmospheric reentry were obvious, the ballistic trajectory obscuring more details as the object sped through the air before slamming into the ground and skipping along before coming to a rest near the bar.

Loud banging could be heard from what was now clearly some sort of single use pod. The architecture resembled human technology, but the perhaps expected markings of government or corporation were missing. Another loud crash could be heard before the shrieking of twisting metal heralded a... manual override of the door.

A grey-haired man, long hair tied back in a ragged ponytail, squeezed through the narrow gap, stopping twice to slide back in and lever more of the malfunctioning door out of the way with a slightly bent crowbar. Continual cursing could be heard, with the man's ire directed at the pod, the alloys... even the laws of physics and the man's own fear of, of all things, time travel... all of these things and more were subjected to much foul language. After a good two minutes or so of work, the newcomer finally heaved himself from the wreck, then turned to take in his surroundings, holding the crowbar lightly in one hand.
Posted by: Luke Skywalker (Ossanlin)
« on: December 07, 2017, 05:44:36 AM »

Ossanlin taps a hoof on the deck, still staring at Salem with his main eyes, his face clouding a bit before returning to its neutral expression of confident command.  <<Hmm...I'm sure your capture and return to the Homeworld would net me great accolades both without and within Sector Seven.  Lucky for you, I don't give a...what was the human expression again...?  Ah, I don't give a "rat's ass" about any of that.>>  He pauses, considering just how much to reveal to Salem.  Some of what he says and does could be construed as treason.  That information in the wrong hands, in the hands of someone to which he has no value, could be very dangerous indeed.  When he'd returned to the Homeworld to take command of the Tyrennian, he'd felt a deep connection with Siruvan.  He had only just begun to understand how he felt, but he'd been too afraid of the consequences...of telling Siruvan how he felt.  He'd almost done it, but in the end, he'd wanted to spare his friend the barbs of Sector Seven, and to protect him against the pain if Ossanlin himself died in battle.

<<Sector Seven has their tails in everything.  The Electorate, the military, the Academy, the labs, the shipyards...literal ly every facet of our society.  I was approached by one of their representatives...a nd I was taught that you don't say 'no' to Sector Seven.  After that, I was fast-tracked.  I've done some things under their orders that I'm not proud of, but I had to in order to reach a position of autonomy.  They don't dare reduce my rank as it is, they've made me far too important, even if I'm no-longer quite so pliable.>>  He shrugs, turning away from Salem.  <<Your tech could do more damage than good.  I'll admit it's a temptation, but I know a little something about what happens when you shower a civilization with technology beyond their comprehension.>>  He shakes his head, still regarding Salem with a stalk eye.  <<Unfortunately, my peers can't see that possibility within themselves, even after releasing the Imperial plague upon the Galaxy.>>

<<As for your so-called "hopelessness," I'm not so convinced as you are.  You wouldn't stay if you had no hope.  Times change.  People change.  Minds change.>>  He pauses before continuing.  <<Besides...if you call this "drifting," what exactly do you call wandering aimlessly and randomly from universe to universe?>>

Ossanlin turns to look at Salem with his main eyes again, folding his arms across his chest.  <<In any case, you're a trader in this universe...perhaps a trade is in order.  You want my help?  The price is your Hope Drive.  Surrender it to me for safe-keeping.  You can have it back once I consider our dealings resolved.  You have my word it will not be harmed under my care.>>  He arches an eyebrow at Salem.  <<Trust for trust.  A fair deal, I'm sure you would agree.>>
Posted by: Gaz
« on: December 06, 2017, 08:22:16 PM »

"Why would you do that?!" Morgan exclaimed.

Julian raised his hands and shrugged. "I'm telling you, Morgan, you've got a way with the ladies. Beats the hell out of me how."

"Are you saying I got my wife by black magic? Or are you just jealous?"

"I admit nothing," replied Julian. "All I'm saying is you should have given that nice woman on the Station a chance."

Morgan crossed his arms and glowered. "A little warning beforehand would have gone a long way. And it would have spared her a lot of embarrassment."

"My quest isn't over yet."

Morgan's eyes went wide as he turned to the bar tender and said, "I need something bigger and stronger, if you don't mind."
Posted by: Aluminator (Kit)
« on: December 06, 2017, 12:34:03 AM »

Salem's heart skips a beat when Ossanlin lays a hand on his chest, though he manages to avoid jumping... very far. When Ossanlin speaks of how ephemeral and two-dimensional he's seemed, Salem smirks a little, but it's more an instinctual reaction than any sort of derision. He lowers his eyes and thinks to himself. Of course he's seemed distant to the occupants of the Galaxy's Edge. He hasn't ever come to this lonely little rock expecting to see these people ever again. There's been no reason to show his true colors. Or to tell the truth. Or to bother trying... all that hard to keep most of them alive. Not believing any of the relationships formed here could last has made him see them as... expendable, in a way... and it's only now that he's beginning to see the bitter irony in that.

Salem listens, nodding occasionally, and finally looks up when Siruvan's name comes up. He tilts his head, now seeing Ossanlin from yet another angle. Amazing how this War-Prince never ceased to surprise him. "Siruvan...?" he wonders aloud.

Whatever thought he has is wiped away when Ossanlin brings up his rank within Sector Seven. The ground beneath Salem's feet almost seems to quake. His fear that the War-Prince may be a member of that organization comes to a head with his hope that he can enlist his help, leaving Salem in the middle of an uneasy wave of vertigo. Ossanlin isn't just Sector Seven, he's a Lord-Liutenant... and yet he seems to be willing at least listen to what Salem has to say... this is more trust... or potential trust, he supposes... than he's had from anyone in a long while. Secrecy and intrigue within a secret society... Salem can't help but be reminded of Emelen. The thought of that Andalite brings the briefest smile to his face. It's been such a long time...

When Ossanlin suggests he destroy the Hope Drive, Salem's shoulders droop. He turns, before Ossanlin can see the fresh tears and frustration forming in his eyes, and stares back towards the outside world.

For a long moment, he stands silent, until, finally, he lets out a low chuckle. "I... I can't. That's something I ask myself every day. Every single day, out in the black, I'm tempted to smash the damn thing. Every day, I'm tempted to use it. I think about this... a lot. Probably more than is good for me, actually." He turns and looks at Ossanlin with a sad smile. "I'm not delusional enough to think I can ever return to the homeworld. My situation in this universe doesn't have a happy ending. Even if I manage to save my arisths, and stop whatever idiocy is happening in Sector Seven, and end the whole damn war... there's no place for me here. I... with some of the gizmos I've picked up, I'm likely to live a long, long life." He smirks. "If I survive the next week, anyway. I'd rather not live... all of that time as a homeless drifter." He laughs, but his voice grows soft. Sad. "Some part of me is still convinced that if I find just the right technology... just the right bit of information... I can make the Hope Drive take me where I want to go. I can go back to... to my homes. I can see the families I've left behind again. If I smash it, I lose that chance. I'm just... I can't give up on that. Not..." His voice drops to a whisper, and he squeezes his eyes shut, "Not yet."

He shakes his head. "The name 'Tobias' still sounds the most right, coming from an Andalite." He smiles. "At this point, I don't think I'm Jaron any more than I am Salem. Or Tobias. Or Pallas. Or any of the other identities I've taken over the years. It's like... I'm all of them, but none of them are me." He sighs. "I'm not... really sure who I am anymore. I've spent such a long time running..." His fists clench. "I won't run this time, Anda... Ossanlin. Not again. I'm in this for better or worse."

He frowns. "Why would you be willing to help me? If you're Sector Seven... shouldn't you be arresting me? Or vaporizing me and trying to steal my ship? Why... why bother hearing me out?"



Al laughs warmly. "I appreciate the permission to scan you, but I figured I'd just kind of wing it." He turns sideways to her, revealing a thick, long, maroon-colored tail, which appears to be completely stiff, made up of textureless polygons all fitted together, a bit like a poorly-rendered 3-D computer object. Al looks over his shoulder at the tail and wiggles his... posterior region back and forth a bit. As he turns, the partly-formed tail passes right through a sapling, seeming not to interact with it at all. He sighs, and the tail disappears in a brief-but-brilliant shower of sparks. "Looks like I'll have to work on that one later."

He shakes his head slowly at Dino's plea. "Leaving this place is about as bizarre and random as getting here, most of the time," he says solemnly. "Most of the time people pop in with a bang, and then sort of... fade away, without anyone really noticing. Some people do it again and again, actually. A lot of us can come and go on ships, but even that little trick's pretty iffy. The rules around here are a little different for everyone. You might hitch a ride with someone else on their ship... eh, but then you've gotta try to find someone from your reality. It's honestly a bit of a crapshoot. How'd you get here? You might try going back that way. I don't think that's ever worked before, but there's a first time for everything, right?"

He smiles encouragingly. "On the bright side, though, time here is really weird too, so you might still make it back to your friends before they even know you're gone!"
Posted by: Shenmue654
« on: November 26, 2017, 09:10:23 PM »

Keshin sighs and takes a long sip of their present drink. The Bar's activity seems to have increased. There were multiple, bizarre newcomers dotting the place. The incredibly annoying, weird-looking accordion alien seems to have decided to commiserate with the goat, and the horse-headed alien and the minotaur appear to have settled. The two Councilors--- for Keshin was fairly certain that was who they are--- seemed almost ready to leave. <The time passes in waves here. The ease with which you can space out and just stare into your drink never ceases to amaze me.>

There was a lot on his mind. He kept replaying the scene of Myitt attacking him in his mind. I still don't know...what that was. What caused that to happen. Is it really possible that a host was able to manipulate her to that degree? And there was something else, too--- Slightly before the attack, they had agreed to help Salem do something. The degree of psychological trauma that they had suffered made it hard to jar the memory into its proper position, but it was undeniable. They had agreed to help the trader do something extremely dangerous. Keshin reached out to Joanne within his mind, as if placing a hand on her shoulder. <Do you still want to do it?>

<Yeah. No question. I mean he helped us, alright? Whatever **** that guy's gotten himself into...I don't think we want to be there when the other shoe drops. We need to dig for more info from him. Tonight.>

<But before we do...> Keshin gives the two Councilors about to leave, a sidelong glance. <...let's just make sure we have all of our ducks in a row.>

<...wait. What do you mean by that?> Joanne queries, frowning. Keshin's thought speech fell silent.

Keshin stands up and walks over to the table of the two Councilors. He swallows, trying to find the correct series of words, and then finally says, "...I am not entirely certain who you two gentleman are, or why you dislike one another, or what business you have at this place. But if my guess is, in fact, correct...than my host and I actually might have something to show you...that would interest you."

<Kess what the **** are you doing?> But Keshin again failed to respond.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jeffrey stares drolly over at Truth Seeker speaking to the goat man and almost immediately loses interest in him. Good grief. Play with someone for five minutes at this Bar and they throw a colossal hissy fit out of nowhere. Jeffrey drops his credits card out of his wallet on the table, next to the drink, and nods at the Bartender to take it. Something about the Bartender makes Jeffrey incredibly uncomfortable, like he's not...really there. But Jeffrey can afford to pay for the drinks, or so he hopes.

The Bartender reappears with a receipt that reads, "Purchases already paid for in full. There is no need for this card. Any additional refreshments or meals will incur a new payment." Signed, The Management. Jeffrey's brow furrows and he points a finger at the receipt. "What in the world does that mean?" The Bartender goes back to cleaning his glass and doesn't respond.

Jeffrey rolls his eyes and walks out of the Bar and into the night, looking for interesting sights to see.
Posted by: gh, King of Birbs
« on: November 24, 2017, 04:00:06 AM »

Guppy snorts out a laugh at Myitt’s joke - or what he assumes is a joke, at least. He puts his hands up just as the tiger creature in front of him. “Subject 2218?” he says. “Bit of a mouthful, don’t you think?” He slowly approaches the odd newcomer, still making sure to leave some distance. “Either way, nice to meet you!” He chirps.



“Truth Seekah, eh?” the goat-headed creature confirms. He gently holds the Iskoort’s outstretched tentacle between the two digits of his hoof and gives a warm smile. “Well, mistah Truth Seekah, help yerself to anothah drink if you want. Looks like ya’ liked that one.” The beast’s odd accent comes across in nearly every word he says, coating his speech with an odd texture.

He fumbles around the interior of his coat before producing a hand-rolled cigar. “But ye’ wanna know my name . . .” he intones. “My name, mistah Truth Seekah, is somethin’ that must’nt be heard by mortal ears, y’see. Could be dangerous to . . . well, ev’ryone here. Could cause all sorts of bleedin’ in the brain and explodin’ eyeballs and all that.” He quickly brings the cigar up to his lips and lights it. If one were to judge by the smell, it certainly wasn’t loaded with tobacco. “Nasty sight, it is. So y’see why I can’t go ‘round sayin’ my name, right?” He takes a drag on his cigar before quickly adding, “but I s’ppose you can call me Cletus.”
Posted by: DinosaurNothlit
« on: November 23, 2017, 12:25:01 PM »

<Oh, thank you!> the Iskoort told the goat-headed being gratefully.  Truth Seeker had been to few planets where beings would give something for nothing, so the idea was still a strange concept to the Iskoort's sensibilities.  Nonetheless, he wrapped a tentacle-finger around the bottle, and poured some into the glass that the Bartender had just given him.  He took a taste.  It was some kind of distilled fermentation liquid, that much he was familiar with, but this was different than any he had tasted before.  Rich in flavor, yet subtle.  Truth Seeker's eyes widened, and he drank deeply.  His glass was quickly empty again.  <Thank you,> he repeated in a whisper.

<My name is Truth Seeker, grub of Soul Caller, brother of Name Collector,> he introduced himself, as he moved over to the stool next to the goat-person.  He didn't seem quite sure how to return the being's hand/hoof gesture, though, so he simply mimicked it, holding his own claw/tentacle/hand towards the stranger.  <What are you known as, if I may ask?>

---

Dino stepped closer to the tiger-human hybrid.  She was standing in the open now, where he would be sure to see her.  <Do not be afraid, I'm not going to hurt you,> she said, as the newcomer looked around for the source of her thought-speak 'hello.'  <Do you know how you came to be here?> she gently inquired.  She gave a passing glance to the other two humans nearby, one of whom was wearing what seemed to be welding goggles.  They both smelled human, though, so she wasn't too concerned about their presence.

Dino then noticed that Al had followed her.  <Oh, yes, actually, I am able to change size,> she explained to him.  <I intentionally became smaller than I normally am, as a gesture of goodwill.  I did not come to fight, so I did not want to present myself as a threat.>

Dino sniffed in Al's direction.  Then, tilting her head curiously, she sniffed again, as she stepped closer to Al.  She stopped with her snout close enough to Al's face that it would make most people uncomfortable.  Finally, she said, <I would imagine, since you seem to be a hologram of some sort, that you could grow any kind of tail you like.  Depends how good your modeling software is.  If you need to scan my tail to replicate it, you have my permission.>  She tilted her head again, then added, <In exchange for that, I don't suppose you know anything the others don't, about how to leave this place?>  It occurred to her that, as a holographic A.I., he might not be able to 'hear' her thought-speak.  Would he?  That might depend on the emitter, how close it was, and how advanced it was.  If Kiphos was here, he would know.  The thought summoned a lump in Dino's throat, as she wondered where he was, and what he was doing.  Trying to find her, most likely.  <Please,> she implored Al, hoping that his A.I. could understand the concept of quid pro quo.  <Anything you can give me.  Anything at all.  I need to get back to my friends.>
Posted by: Luke Skywalker (Ossanlin)
« on: November 22, 2017, 05:19:30 AM »

Ossanlin listens attentively to Salem's story, his expression betraying nothing.  Of course he knew that a "human" had been awarded a stay on the Homeworld.  And he knew that "human" had been Salem, or Tobias rather, as he was known back then.  He had not known about the honorary rank of Prince, however.  Considering the Andalite culture, that would've been little more than a poor joke.  The fact that he had been allowed to teach students speaks of a formidable honor, however.  Of course his people would've wanted to pick his brain.  To learn and recreate his technology.  The man had technology from so many different universes...several of those bits of tech could possibly turn the whole tide of the war.  While Ossanlin often disagrees with his brethren, he surely understands their motives and desires.  Sector Seven would've been fully invested in Salem of a certain.

Without warning, Ossanlin punches his arm forward toward Salem's chest, palm open.  It lands softly over Salem's heart as Ossanlin nods a bit.  <<Finally!  At long, loving last.  A person.  Not a mask...not a facade...a real, living, breathing person.>>  He removes his hand, looking Salem up and down.  <<Ever since I've met you, you've been ephemeral.  A wisp...a falsehood.  You've been a two-dimensional creature.  And for the first time ever, I can finally see you.  The real you.  The person underneath all of those layers of defense.  The jafik in his true color.>>

<<I wouldn't give Salem the plans to a Skrit-Na Freighter, let alone a state-of-the-art warship.  But I might be convinced to help Aaron...or Jaron if the birth name has no meaning....I say this only because Jaron is a real person.  A man with feelings and flaws.  A genuine person...someone real.  Salem is nothing but ephemera.  A mask...a cloak...a gravity pistol.  A false identity.>>  He turns from Salem, walking back toward the Mirage's control panel.

<<You let someone in.  I can see it now.  You let one or two of my people through all of those layers of defense.  Let yourself get attached.  You're afraid to lose them.  And, for once, you're afraid to run.  For once, you won't let yourself abandon those you've let in.>>  Ossanlin sighs a bit, watching Salem with a single stalk-eye.  <<I've let someone in too, Jaron.  Tobias, if you prefer.  I know how it feels to worry about that person every day.  To wonder if that person is okay, or even alive.  Wondering if that person is thinking about you too.>>  He glances at Salem with his main eyes again, feeling it's only fair to share a secret of his own.  <<That person resides upon the Homeworld as well.  And he's very important to me.>>

<<Alic is a wonderful girl.  Fierce, strong, and confident.  I thought for a time that she would be the one, but she left to carry on her father's will.  A goal which I have never supported, and never could.  Truth be told, Siruvan had my hearts first, I simply didn't realize it until after I left.  All this time...>>  He falls off without finishing the sentence.  Of course Ossanlin fought to keep the Homeworld safe, but part of that stemmed from his fervent desire to protect his only childhood friend.  It wasn't until his time out in space left to his own thoughts that Ossanlin had realized that he could love Siruvan as he would a mate.  Same-gender pairings weren't all that uncommon in Andalite society, Ossanlin had simply never realized before that the gender of his partner didn't really matter that much to him.  Siruvan had shown him a devoted kindness in the academy.  His only peer to do so.  The two were shorm, but Ossanlin's gratitude and caring for Siruvan ran even deeper.  It had taken him years to realize it, but he has no idea if Siruvan could even possibly feel the same way toward him.  He unconsciously rubs at the hilt of one of his swords...they had been Siruvan's parting gift to him the night before he'd been deployed.

<<And yes, I read you.  Your thoughts and feelings...nebulous and incomplete.  Terrible invasion of your privacy and all that...wasn't as if I meant to do it.>>  He doesn't elaborate upon that any further.  One secret was enough for now...besides, the last thing he wants is for Salem to start questioning Ossanlin's abilities.

<<You know what Sector Seven will do to you if they catch you.  You know what they're capable of.  Well, perhaps not as much as I do...after all I'm one of the Lords-Lieutenant.>> He turns to face Salem fully again, a dark smile flashing across his eyes before vanishing.  Perhaps a second secret had been warranted after all.  <<But knowing that, if you truly want to fight, Tobias...if that conviction is truly a fire that burns within your heart, well it's hard to see that as anything but personal growth.  Your desire to stay and fight...I can feel it's genuine, but if I take things any further with you, I won't have you turning tail and vanishing in a wake of destruction.>>  He falls silent for a moment, considering his next words carefully.  <<I wonder how strong that conviction really is...is it strong enough for you to make the ultimate investment?  Would you rid yourself of the object of your suffering?  Would you...destroy the 'Hope Drive'?>>
Posted by: Aluminator (Kit)
« on: November 21, 2017, 10:56:54 PM »

Al watches with an eyebrow raised as Salem wanders aboard the Mirage, then turns and walks after Dino. "You're shorter than I'd expect of a dinosaur," he says brightly, stepping up beside her. "That is one heck of a tail, though. Little jealous. Would it be okay if I grew one myself?"

When the tiger-like creature calls that he's unarmed, Al smiles. "You're in the minority. Everybody around here seems to be packin'. My name's Al. This is the Galaxy's Edge Space Bar. Rootinest, tootinest bar in the... in wherever the heck we are. Where'd you... er... fall in from, stranger?"]

Al looks over towards Myitt, who's now standing not far off, and waves enthusiastically. "Hey, Myitt!"



As Ossanlin speaks, Salem turns away, a lump in his throat. He tries not to let it show, but Ossanlin's words have struck a soft spot. Always running... never standing his ground... it's perhaps the one thing he finds most loathsome in himself. The fact that, no matter how hard he tries, he can never seem to find his place in the universe.

Even so, he retains enough presence of mind to be slightly offended. "You... read me?" he mutters indignantly. That had to be a Silver Blade thing. Ugh. Silverblades...

For a few minutes, Salem stands, silent, staring towards the empty hatch. He could just walk away. He could just walk out the door. He could just board his ship, and leave this world behind, and not have to deal with this arrogant War-Prince's ridiculous request. He never has to see Andalites, or Yeerks, or these bizarre, backwards humans ever again. All it would take is the push of a single button, and he could leave the stupid Andalite homeworld to whatever fate might lay before it.

Eventually, he sighs. "Fine." All the exhaustion he feels comes through in that single word. He sounds... defeated.

"I'm... in one way or another, I've been a fugitive since... well, since I was born. Before that, even." He barks out a short, bitter laugh. "I was born on Earth. There was a war going on back then." He turns towards Ossanlin, but his gaze is unfocused as he delves into his memories. "Not your war. There were no Yeerks or Andalites there... er... none that I ever knew about. This war was... it was more of a huge web of shifting political tension. A thirty-way cold war, sort of. Skirmishes weren't all that common, but they weren't exactly rare either. The galaxy was still recovering from a big, actual war, empires were rising and falling, ideologies were clashing, power vacuums were being filled... my family fled when I was very young." He wrinkles his nose, "My birth name was... Aaron? Something like that... but my dad changed my name to Jaron before I was old enough to remember. My mother was a war hero, from what I hear. A pilot, but she died in action when I was little. I never... I don't remember her."

"I grew up on a space station circling a distant star. Not... not, like, a little outpost. This thing had millions of people. It was... less segregated there, I guess. Here, all the Andalites keep to the Andalites, and the Yeerks stick with the Yeerks, and the humans stay mostly on their homeworld. Back there, nobody was the same thing. I had friends of a dozen different species." A wistful smile crosses his face. "I actually miss that."

"Things there were... actually pretty good. Ups and downs. School. I was really into science and technology and all that. And plenty of... hijynx, I think Al would call it. Childhood. And some of my angsty teen years," he rolls his eyes, but at this point he stops. His eyes close, and his posture seems to droop. "The conflicts... the war, I guess I'm calling it... caught up to us. The station ended up being... being destroyed. Completely. I escaped with a friend of mine, but almost everyone... not many people made it. My friends didn't. My teachers didn't." His eyes focus on Ossanlin for the first time since he began speaking, and he quirks his lips upwards in a sad simulacrum of a smile. "My father didn't."

He swallows and looks away again. "We... Sasha and I... we ran. We hid. For months. The IPA had taken over the Coalition... we couldn't contact relatives, or be part of the system. We were actual fugitives. We changed our names. Took monikers from mythology." He rolls his eyes. "We thought we were so clever. Luckily, Captain Pienterre..." His voice cracks as he says the name, "He um... he found us. He took us in. Brought us aboard his ship. We became part of his crew. We were... sort of space pirates. Like... rogue political warriors trying to make a difference in the chaos and conflicts." The wistful smile returns to his features. "That crew was a bunch of ****s, and the so-called work we did was stupidly dangerous, but I loved it there. Once I got used to it. I just... I fit in. We were a family. Closer than family, really, because we only had each other." He swallows. "Sasha didn't feel the same, I guess. She... disappeared, at one point. Didn't say goodbye. I don't know... I never heard from her again."

He stops for a moment, caught in some thought or memory, then seems to shake himself. "A lot of the crew were lost over the years, but I stayed with them for a long time. Life was hard, but good. Eventually, though, I screwed up. Bad. I was... " he presses his eyes shut, "I got my crewmate killed. And... and the ship... the Captain... they had to leave me behind. Get away alive."

"I... I didn't have a lot of options. I was still a fugitive. But I was smarter now. Sharper. I had all kinds of... pirate-y skills. I took up trading... fell in with a... fraction of a faction of a trading guild. Few crotchety old guys, but they knew their stuff. They showed me how to turn a profit, and I used it to keep chasing the Esprit... tried to catch up with my old crew. But those ****s had survived as outlaws for so long because they were good at what they did. I was... I was always too late." He laughs softly. "I... I kind of accepted that it was just me now. Struck out on my own. Drifted from world to world, without a home, except whatever crummy little spaceship I could afford at the moment. Lived it up. Partied. I never stayed anywhere long. I traded and tinkered with tech stuff, just to make some money. Checked in with the guild guys sometimes. Eventually, I stumbled into bounty hunting... a way to put my skills to use. Started to make some real money. I had it pretty good, but it was... it was pretty lonely."

"I kind of kept my... revolutionary tendencies. Did what I could to hurt the IPA. Bring down their corruption and help re-unify the people." He shrugs. "Or maybe it was all just revenge. I don't know. Either way, I ended up with a few... bounties. Hunters on the lookout for me. And at one point I traded for a... thing. A piece of technology like nothing I'd seen before. The person I got it from called it a 'Hope Drive.' Told me it would take me far, far away. Save me. I didn't get what it was. I still don't really know what it's supposed to be." He laughs. "Like an idiot, I decided to wire it into my ship, in case of an emergency. Well... eventually, a couple of hunters had me... well, they had me. I'd walked into a trap. A stupid, obvious trap. I had no way out. So I pushed the button on the Hope Drive."

"It, ah... It didn't do what I thought it'd do. It... it ripped me out of my universe. Al, too. He'd just... I happened to be giving him a ride at the time, and in return for his trust in me, he got ripped from his life and his home and thrown into my world of chaos." He chuckles bitterly. "Half the time I'm still convinced he hates me for that, but he's stuck by me anyway. He's kept me... he's kept me sane, in a lot of ways. Kept me alive, in others. I... I kind of owe him everything."

"Not that he's had much choice but to follow me around. Something... happened... the first time I used that godforsaken... the Hope Drive. Everyone who was nearby has been... dragged along in my wake ever since. Al... and two hunters... they're all still... tied to it, somehow. Whenever I use it, they all get... dragged to whatever universe I'm in. If the hunters wanted to kill me for business back then, it's definitely personal now. They're getting... uprooted, I guess... every so often, against their will, and plopped into whatever new universe I end up in."

"That's... kind of been my life. For a long, long, time, War-Prince. I've found worlds deadlier than I could have imagined. I've... I fell in, at one point, with a group of freedom fighters. Rebels, looking to topple their corrupt government. Once they got over my... our difference in species, they let me be a part of their world. And in some ways, it was like being home..." he laughs. "I mean... it was like being on the Esprit again. A tight-knit group of comrades-in-arms. And man, was having Al around good for morale. And things were good for a while, until... until someone betrayed us. Ratted us out. We were... attacked. Ambushed at our home base. It was... It was vicious. I wanted... I wanted to stay and help, but my... one of the fighters got me out. Saved my life, and sent me out on the ****ing Hope Drive..." There are genuine tears shining in his eyes now. "I ran. I didn't mean to, but I ran. Again. And I have no idea if any of them are still alive... if any of them got away... if their cause ever succeeded. I have no way to know. No way to find them again." His voice is lower, now, and angry. "Power up the Hope Drive, and everything you've ever known is gone in the blink of an eye."

He sighs. "Anyway, Al and I bounced through a few more universes. Some just never showed us anything worth sticking around for. Some... one, actually... was just too awful to stay. I... I kept trading when I could, and hunting when I couldn't, just to make ends meet... and to fill the time. I'd trade Knowledge and technology and whatever I had. Ended up with a new ship from one universe, and a new android body for Al to inhabit from another. Picked up bits and bobs everywhere. Lost another... home, I guess... to stupidity and bad luck," he practically spits the words, "but mostly just moved from planet to planet, just me and Al."

"We drifted. And eventually, we wound up on the... on your homeworld." He chuckles. "It is not easy to get an Andalite to take in outsiders. I was lucky... a sympathetic War-Prince took an interest in me. I lived at the Academy for a time... but you know that, don't you? At first they were content to pick my brain for knowledge, mostly, but once the higher-ups learned of my... my talents, I was pressured into taking a few... more dangerous jobs on the side. Espionage and the occasional assassination of a Yeerk in a sensitive position. I knew they considered me expendable. I was just content to have a place to lay my head besides that cramped dump of a ship."

He hesitates, his eyes searching Ossanlin's. The next bit is the one he's worried about telling the War-Prince. "You know they gave me the honorary rank of Prince at one point, right? Prince Tobias." He laughs. "I think they only did it so they could justify my presence... or something. Some political maneuvering. It was absurd, and it really meant nothing to me until they assigned a couple of arisths to me for tutoring. It was only a few hours a week, but they were... incredibly sharp, and open-minded, and great students. They even started wanting to spend time with me outside of their scheduled hours. Mostly to hear me drone on like an old man with my stories." He smiles fondly. "We grew close. I... I started to think of them as family, almost. They were some of the only Andalites that actually seemed to... to think of me as a person, rather than a curiosity or a disgrace."

"And then... and then it all fell apart. Again. I got sent out on a clandestine mission against the Yeerks, but they were expecting me. I'd hurt them, and they wanted me... and my tech... there were a ton of them waiting for me. I... I got lucky. I escaped. By coming here, actually." He shakes his head slowly. "It was pretty soon after that I got word that I was wanted by the Andalites too. As a traitor." He laughs weakly. "To be considered a traitor to a culture, you have to be considered part of that culture to begin with. That was a real compliment coming from the Andalite military. Meant I could never go back, though."

He stares hard at Ossanlin, and his voice grows quiet. "That 'pain' you... read, Andalite? That's the pain of watching the world burn. The pain of losing everything and everyone I love. The pain trying... trying as hard as I can... to make things work... and at best, everything I do is completely ineffectual. At best, I can hope my friends and family have survived. And not just once, but again and again. Stuck in an endless loop of loss and betrayal." He clenches his fists and looks away. He's silent for a moment, and when he speaks again, his voice vibrates with a barely contained rage. "Now my arisths are in danger, and if I'm right, so is the homeworld. It may not be my planet, War-Prince, but it's the only home I've got. They're the only family I've got. And for once, I'm still here to protect them." He glares at Ossanlin, a fire in his eyes, and practically growls, "And nobody is going to keep me from doing that. Not you. Not Jamil. Not Sector Seven. Not the entire ****ing Yeerk Empire."
Posted by: Luke Skywalker (Ossanlin)
« on: November 14, 2017, 07:32:48 AM »

<Drop the attitude...and the act.>  Ossanlin keeps his back facing Salem, tail swishing back and forth.  He looks up at the ceiling of the flight deck on the Mirage, sparing only a single stalk eye for Salem.  <You are demanding that I betray my own people.  Requesting that I hand over the schematics to our most-effective warship for you to use as you please.>  He turns his head so that he can look out the corner of one main eye at Salem, his face darkened by a serious and intimidating expression.  <I don't like you.  I have nothing but contempt for the way you live your life.  Always running...never standing your ground like an honorable being.  Your deep concern for your own self-preservation combined with an apparent lack of caring for anyone BUT yourself.>

He pauses before sighing and turning to face Salem.  <So imagine my surprise when I read you.>  His visage softens for a moment, but then firms again.  <You are asking more of me than I'm willing to give, especially to you.  I'm not promising anything, but if you want my cooperation, you'll start by being honest with me.  Completely honest.>  Ossanlin steps slowly toward Salem.  <You'll tell me everything.  Where you're from...the FIRST universe you came from.  You'll tell me who you really are...who you were then.  And you'll tell me exactly what that agonizing pain buried in the recesses of your mind is.>  He stops, standing only a couple feet from Salem.  <You have ONE chance at this, Salem.  One.  No attitude, no swagger, no jokes.  You will relive your past HONESTLY as you recount it.  You will not mask anything with humor.  You will not sidestep the truth with false bravado.  You will tell me all of it.>  He raises his hand toward the Mirage's ramp in a gesture.  <Or you can be on your merry way and get what you need from someone else.  And you do NEED what I have for once.  That much is clear.>  He regards Salem with the same serious expression, falling silent, waiting for the "trader" to make his decision.
Posted by: Aluminator (Kit)
« on: November 13, 2017, 12:18:34 PM »

Salem's eyebrows shoot up when Dino says she's from Earth. He scrutinizes her form more closely-- in this place, there's no way to tell what ridiculous or absurd version of Earth she's talking about-- but he's sure now that he recognizes her species. How in the world...?

His confusion is doubled when Ossanlin invites him aboard the Mirage. His mouth is suddenly dry, but he manages to mumble "Uhm... Yes, sir," as he follows Ossanlin up the ship's ramp.

Once inside, he leans against a bulkhead, arms crossed, trying to look more relaxed than he feels. Adrenaline pumps through his system, and he's on high alert-- is this Ossanlin finally making a move on behalf of Sector Seven? Or a move against them? Is the War-Prince about to reprimand Salem in some fashion? With nobody left aboard except for the two of them and the unconscious Seer, he's not sure what to expect.

Salem lets out a slow breath, steadies his nerves, smirks, and says, as brightly as possible, "What's up, buttercup?"
Posted by: Myitt
« on: November 06, 2017, 10:41:36 PM »

Myitt stares at the Bengal-tiger-patterened newcomer, eyes wide.

"I have no idea," she tells Guppy, still staring, far longer than is polite, before she collects herself and blinks at Subject #2218.

She wriggles her fingers, which sprout from her cut-off gloves, in a lukewarm greeting.

"Yeah, unarmed," says Myitt blankly. "That's...that's good. You speak English, too, or else there's some translation chip action going on. Do you, uh...often make such dramatic appearances here?"

She elbows Guppy and mutters, "Keep an eye on him. Seriously. Now you can, eh?" Myitt gives him a sidelong grin.
Posted by: Luke Skywalker (Ossanlin)
« on: November 02, 2017, 05:17:32 AM »

Ossanlin's fur suddenly shimmers to silver again, his eyes suddenly glowing an intense ice blue.  His hooves and blade flash to silver as he winces and leans against the hull of the Mirage.  The uncontrollable spell seems to be less painful this time...less random, yet it strikes him with the same weakness, as if he's being over-exerted.  As his main eyes pass around the different people gathered, he can sense more than just auras...more than just random thoughts.

As his eyes pass over Mar, they note the writhing blackness around him.  Not unexpected, of course, but he can't normally see that which is behind his friend so clearly.  Others he gets sensations of...trueness, along with what seem to be memories and empathic feelings.  Ardania feels mostly innocent, though she is perhaps hiding something.  The others each have their own aura...Myitt, the formerly-blind controller, the new-comer, the strange reptile...all of them.  The true surprise, however, comes to pass when his eyes make contact with Salem's.

A deep, soul-rending anguish washes through him.  Somewhere deep in Salem, there's a pain.  It's almost indescribable...int olerable.  Buried so deep as to become nothing more than a dull ache.  How could he live with that much pain?  There's also a "wrongness" about him, as if he doesn't belong.  Not so surprising since Salem himself is a nexus of different realities.  But through it all, he senses light...goodness.  The trader had wronged him in the past, and done some nasty things to boot, but underneath it all, Salem seems to be...good.  Or at least well-intentioned.  And also scared.  A fear glossed over with forced humor and a devil-may-care attitude.  A fear stemming from that deep pain...the pain of loss.  Indescribable loss.  It is at this moment that Ossanlin senses the sincerity in Salem's request.  The need.  While his story is more or less impossible, Salem himself certainly believes it to the hilt.  His motivation is based out of caring and concern for others...not at all what Ossanlin expects.

With that, the spell passes and Ossanlin's fur, eyes, hooves, and tail revert to normal.  He stands up straight and tall again, taking a few deep breaths, betraying nothing of what had just happened.  He locks eyes with Salem.  <<You...with me.  Now.>>

He spares a glance for Ardania, hoping she doesn't manage to get herself killed in his absence, before he makes for the ramp on the Mirage, ascending up to the flight deck.
Posted by: Hunter
« on: November 01, 2017, 02:35:43 PM »

After surveying his surroundings, Subject #2218 sees two humans in the near distance, who he assumes are looking towards him. Quickly brushing the dust from his camouflage fatigues, he makes his way towards them, loose gravel underfoot, crunching with each footstep.

As he walks towards them, he looks at all the strange ships placed around the lot, a majority of them decrepit, looking like they had been sitting for quite some time. Getting closer; but still a distance away from the two people, he raises his hands to show that he is unarmed, in case he has ended up in a hostile environment.

Stopping in a small patch of light, reflected from several of the hulls around him, the extent of his unusualness is revealed. He doesn't have much visible skin due to his heavily militarized outfit, but what can be seen of his facial features and skin colour are strikingly similar to that of a Bengal tiger, but his raised hands are clearly humanoid, yet still tiger-like. "I'm unarmed," he calls out to them, but to himself he says "Where the hell did that machine send me?"

Subject #2218 looks around in confusion when he hears the thought-speak voice in his head, having never experienced it before.
Posted by: gh, King of Birbs
« on: November 01, 2017, 02:26:01 AM »

The tall newcomer eyes the strange creature now seated a couple of stools away. It didn’t seem to be threatening - granted, there wasn’t much that could pose a significant threat to the goat-headed being. No, it instead seemed nervous, for whatever reason.

The Iskoort is greeted with a wide smile from the odd beast. “Don’ worry ‘bout it, friend,” he says, sliding the bottle over to the strange alien. “Jus’ give ‘im a glass, this is on me.” He turns from the Bartender toward Truth Seeker and extends his arm across the Bar, offering the alien a hand - er, cloven hoof-shake. “You look like you could use a drink, strangah. Might I ask ya’ name?”