Sanctuary, with the assistance of Ancient Shog, has made the transfer back to the home universe…only to learn it is now the year 3000 – some 349 years since they fled the Kretonian invasion – and Sanctuary’s engines and OtherSpace Drive are utterly shot. They find themselves in the vicinity of Demaria, and begin the first exploration of an old world born anew…

Observation Dome

A wraparound window, about thirty feet tall, encircles visitors who emerge into this chamber up a ramp from the command quarter, which is at a slightly lower elevation. Through the portal one can see the surrounding cosmos, as well as the expansive curved landscape of mismatched metal, fused plates, hydrogen scoops and waste vents that form the motley surface of the massive colony ship Sanctuary.

What lights are here are kept to a minimum – a soft amber reading lamp here and there near the chairs and sofas set aside for denizens of Sanctuary who want to come and gaze at the heavens and ponder the universe.

It is a place of quiet contemplation, spacious but solitary, with a solemnity and reverence normally reserved for cathedrals.

Ritter stands up and looks out the window, “Well guess this means the vacation is over.”

Firemane doesn’t seem to me nearly as enthuisastic as everyone else.

Her words to Ebonpelt said, she squrims out and rises to her feet, looking at her homeworld with her eyes once again. “Out of the mountains and into the desert.” She growls.

From afar, Neilson idly recalls saying something similar to you, before, about going to Earth.

Ebonpelt shakily rises to her feet, instantly wrapping her arms around Firemane.

Falkenberg steps toward the window. He has a large bump on his head. “Dammit, I wish people would tell me before they attempt interdimensional jumps.”

[Loudspeaker]: Attention, all personnel. According to the science teams, astral positioning indicates that in our home universe it is now the Year 3000.

Firemane’s whiskers quirk. “What d’ya know? I’m a tri-centarian.”

Falkenberg frowns. “Happy 4th Millenium, people.”

Ritter blinks, “Ok so now I’m an old man….I really have to get married now.”

Ebonpelt nuzzles Firemane’s chest. “Sorry for missin’ your birthdays….”

Falkenberg steps toward the window slowly.

Pendalis chuckles at everyone! 370 years old!

Firemane’s momentary black mood seems to have vanished, and she hugs Ebony closer for a moment. “You can pay me back..”

Volanta smiles and glances at his badge for a moment, “The end… finally the end.” He mutters. He mutters something in Volspak and rubs his shoulder.

Firemane’s mood has indeed vanished, for she looks over at Volanta and grins, uttering the immortal words. “End, officer? This is just the beginning.”

Falkenberg glances over at Volanta. “No…” he says in a quiet voice, looking out at the familiar stars. “…the beginning…”

Ebonpelt stands on Firemane’s foot, but also turns her attention to Volanta. “It’s certainly not the end…. We’ve still got a lot of exploring to do….”

Pendalis nods, “Hey Fire, you up for it? Maybe get a look at the new Demaria?”

Volanta looks to Firemane, Ebonpelt, and Falk, he smiles. “I mean my job, this is the end of my job.”

Ritter grins, ‘Well it will be a new start for all of us, and I’m sure I’m going to be real busy.”

Ebonpelt shakes her head. “No. As long as Sanctuary’s around, we’ll need police….”

Pendalis grins, “Everyone, I’m sure, will get a new job as a living relic of the past.

Falkenberg chuckles, and shakes his head again. “Where do you think we’re going to go just yet, Volanta? We’re not ready to leave yet. There’s the little matter of the Kretonians. And the Hivers.”

Ebonpelt says, “Or just hthe locals. You think they’ll recognise us?”

Urfkgar clacks his teeth together.

Neilson looks away from the windows and to Falk. “Ya gotta bring ’em up?” He sighs. “‘Suppose so.”

Yazmar turns from the window and walks into crowd, smiling. “This is gonna be great for business.” She says.

Pendalis shrugs, “Big cats don’t change much, I’d guess.”

Firemane glances over at Pendalis. “No.. Sharpeye can have the first look.” She falls silent as Falkenberg speaks, and then nods. “A whole damn planet full of Hivers. But we’ve beaten em twice, and we can do it again..”

Falkenberg chuckles at Firemane. He looks out at the window. “Well, now what?”

Volanta rubs his badge with the sleve of his shirt, “I dunno, I did this because it was all I could do here. Now the universe is back again. It may be time to move on…”

Zetral arrives from Command Quarter .

Zetral has arrived.

Ebonpelt shrugs at Volanta. “We still need you.”

“How should I know? I doubt the Trailing Edge is till around, even if it survived the war.” Firemane pauses. “But *right* now? Well, you own a bar don’t you? I think this calls for a drink.. And then maybe a trip to the surface..”

Sharpeye arrives from Command Quarter .

Sharpeye has arrived.

Pendalis has disconnected.

Remus arrives from Command Quarter .

Remus has arrived.

Ebonpelt waves at Sharpeye, beckoning him over.

Zetral runs into the room, in an attepmt to look out. He doesn’t look to have been beet up much.

Remus steps into the dome, glancing about with those dark eyes of his.

Falkenberg nods, rubbing the bump on his head. “Yeah, I think you’re right. A Welcome Home party.”

Ritter grins as he looks at the window, “Wonder if I can find a 350 year old lady that wants a hard working husband.”

Sharpeye enters from the corridor, heading over toward Ebonpelt. “Hey, we’re taking a ship out. Going home. Want to come?” he asks her.

Remus steps up to the view window. “It’s just begun.”

Ebonpelt says, “Thought that sticking a diplomat on your warship might be an idea for a first contact mission, yes….”

You feel a slight force as the ship glides to a halt …

Firemane sticks her tongue out at Ebony, although she can’t see that.

She then addresses Sharpeye. “Any room for me?”

“First contact?” Sharpeye asks. “However much time has passed, they’re still Demarians. They’re still our people.” He nods to Firemane. “Sure, come on.” He turns toward the exit.

Sharpeye descends along the ramp leading away from the observation dome.

Sharpeye has left.

Ebonpelt shifts her grip, grabbing one of Firemane’s hands, then follows Sharpeye.

Remus descends along the ramp leading away from the observation dome.

Remus has left.

Sharpeye arrives from Command Quarter .

Sharpeye has arrived.

Sharpeye descends along the ramp leading away from the observation dome.

Sharpeye has left.

Falkenberg looks around. “Well, to everyone who ISN’T about to see their homeworld again for the first time in three hundred years…”

Ebonpelt descends along the ramp leading away from the observation dome.

Ebonpelt has left.

Urfkgar clacks his teeth together and mutters quietly to himself, “Why they happy to see run aways?”

Firemane is dragged off by Ebonpelt, grinning stupidly.

Firemane descends along the ramp leading away from the observation dome.

Firemane has left.

Falkenberg exhales. “Free drinks all night at the Smuggler’s Cove.”

Neilson chuckles weakly to Falk. “Thanks… If only I drank.”

Volanta looks to Urfkgar, “We’re alive, Private. That should be enough.”

Pendalis grins and raises his hand, “I drink,” he adds hastily, “A lot!”

Yazmar walk over to Falk and puts her arm around his shoulder, “My savior!” she shouts.

Falkenberg glances at Yazmar, then at her arm, in mild irritation. “Do I know you?”

Urfkgar looks around and salutes when he spots Zetral.

Neilson can’t help but laugh. He gives Falkenberg a wink. “Booze removes inhibitions, ya know.”

Yazmar takes her arm off and makes a mockingly defensive gesture, “Hey there, I’m just a lady willin’ ta take advantage of a few free drinks.”

Falkenberg looks at Neilson. “I have no inhibitions.” He heads for the ramp. “Anyway, the bar is open.”

Pendalis descends along the ramp leading away from the observation dome.

Pendalis has left.

Folks make their way to the flight deck to begin exploring home…

You walk into the civilian vessel hangar.

Civilian Vessel Hangar

A massive hangar with an arched ceiling, bearing the logos of the various civilian organizations represented aboard the Sanctuary colony vessel. Mechanics and technicians work on fighters and other larger craft, making repairs and providing upgrades. A broad archway leads into the flight deck.

Yama arrives from Flight Deck .

Yama has arrived.

Falkenberg is standing on the flight deck, a rather frustrated look on his face.

Yama moves through the bay with somewhat more assurance, the pulse pistol strapped to hip. He ambles quickly over to the Widow, focused on getting inside.

Falkenberg catches sight of Yama. He pauses for a moment, then hurries along behind him. “Hey, Nels. Nels, wait up a sec.”

Yama turns around behind, an irate look on his face. “What do /you/ want?”

Falkenberg smiles broadly at him. “At the moment, I’m looking for a way off this tin heap, if only briefly.”

Dahan arrives from Flight Deck .

Dahan has arrived.

Yama folds his arms. “Wanted to scope Demaria?”

Falkenberg nods. “Seemed like a good idea. You on your way down?”

Dahan glides into the room in a stately fashion, making it’s away around several of the other vessels being moved in perparation to take off.

Yama debates. “I was. Then Teel dinged her ankle. I’m thinking of finding somewhere quiet to settle down planetside till things get back to normal on the ship.”

Dahan finally makes it to the Endeavor’s hatch. Its tentacle punches in a code to open the airlock.

Dahan enters an access code and boards the Endeavor.

Dahan has left.

Falkenberg seems confused for a moment, then smiles. “Ah yes. Your…legal difficulties. If it’s any consolation, I would have done the same thing. Stupidity like that deserves no less. But…we dont have any idea what’s down there.” He pats his pistol, holstered to his waist. “I’m willing to take a look, though, if you’re willing to provide the transport. Safety in numbers, and all that.”

Kai has arrived.

The Endeavor fires is vector rockets and taxis to Flight Deck .

Yama shakes his head, pointing around. “I’m paying good money for a lawyer. I just don’t wanna get my head dinged if something else in the ship goes awry. C’mon.”

Yama boards the Black Widow.

Yama has left.

Kai looks around for a moment.

Falkenberg chuckles.

You board the Black Widow.

Corridor

A short corridor, all business-like steel and titanium alloy, leads into the interior of the ship. The entrance hatchway is flanked by a hand-print scanner and black keypad, as are the doors leading to port and starboard. Towards aft, the passageway continues on.

You head into Cockpit .

Cockpit

This small cockpit is rather cramped, with most of its exposed surfaces dominated by both a panoramic window and a vast control console. The former wraps around the forward wall of the cockpit, providing a spectacular view of the small vessel’s surroundings. The single navigation station rests before this window, its surface covered by numerous controls and displays. A single exit aft leads into the passenger compartment.

Falkenberg steps in carefully and looks around. He nods to Namura and Teel. “Hey doc, Teel.”

Teel reaches into her pocket and pulls out a toothed clamp, used for electrical work. “This do?”

Namura looks around trying to find some sort of tape or pin…

Namura looks at Teel, “Why yes. Thanks.”

Yama settles into the navigation console. He thumbs back to his traveling companion of ill repute. “Dragged wonder-boy here along while we hunker down on Demaria for a while. I don’t care to be on ship when so much is in disorder, all the same. Keep an eye on him.” He sighs, obviously unhappy witht he entire situation.

Yama heads into Corridor .

Yama has left.

Namura takes the clamp from Teel and finishes the bandage.

Lights flicker on around you as the main reactor core is brought online.

Namura grabs the ice and says, “So what’s up Falk?”

Teel looks up at Falkenberg, stony faced. “Yo.”

The whisper of recycling air emanating from the ventilation ducts begins to add to the myriad of sounds aboard the ship.

Falkenberg smiles as Yama leaves. “He tries so hard to conceal his dislike for me.” He turns to Namura. “Oh, not much, doc. Thinking about career options now. I don’t plan to retire as a bar owner.”

You feel a sudden rumble as the engines activate.

Yama arrives from Corridor .

Yama has arrived.

Yama mans the Navigation Console – Black Widow.

The bay doors begin to slide open as the Black Widow prepares for departure …

You feel a sudden lift as the Black Widow glides forth from the docking bay.

Teel looks up as Yama reenters. “So, what does Demaria look like? Maybe it’s Hiver covered?”

Falkenberg settles down into a seat by an auxiliary console.

Namura places the bag of ice on Teel’s ankle and says, “That’s always nice. All the bartenders I know are dead now anyways..”

Yama looks at Teel, a sight paler for the thought.

Yama says, “Heh. If it is, we’re screwed if we land or not.”

Namura just looked at you.

Teel rests on a console seat, her right ankle bandaged and iced. “Yam, we just patrol fer now. Get th’feel. If it ain’t safe, we come back, jus’say we were patrollin.”

Falkenberg looks over at Yama. “If the Hivers wanted us, they could have gotten us in Hiverspace. We’ll be safe for a while at least, I think.”

Namura nods and packs up his paltry medkit.

You feel a sudden jerk as the ship speeds up.

Teel rubs her temples, murmuring. “We gotta figger a way ta get a safe space. Then get Sha n’em to it. An then…” She continues to mumble and plot, then says out loud, “Yambabe, I got the pieces parts fer th’doodad.”

Yama mans the Navigation Console – Black Widow.

[Ch: 102.50] –

Dahan says, “Testing…”

– EOT –

You feel a sudden jerk as the ship speeds up.

Yama raises his eyebrows at the Paw’s End. “Demarian Militia is acting awful funny.”

Yama snickers. “Real bright ones, those.”

Falkenberg looks over at Yama. “What are they doing?”

Teel shrugs. “They wanna get home, I guess?”

Yama mutters. “Slowly. They’re rusty, too. Overjumped by a country mile.”

Namura nods and packs up his paltry medkit.

Yama bites on his lower lip. “Teel, how long will that device take you?”

You feel a slight force as the ship glides to a halt …

The ship shudders as the drop rockets engage and the ship begins its descent.

Yama says, “Headin’ down, folks. Let’s hope there’s a welcoming commitee without guns.”

Falkenberg checks his pistol. “Anyone want to take bets on that?” He grins.

The landing struts thump against the surface.

Yama drops Magnum .357.

Teel nods as she rises from her seat. “Yeah, cause we got guns.” She favors her left foot greatly as she hobbles over to the door.

Yama calls out. “We’re down!.” He unholsters his pulse pistol, nodding to Falkenberg with grim intent. “You first, bucko.”

Namura readies his weapon.

Falkenberg grins. “Somehow, I knew you’d say that.” He unholsters his pulse pistol as well. “All right, let’s go…”

You head into Corridor .

Corridor

A short corridor, all business-like steel and titanium alloy, leads into the interior of the ship. The entrance hatchway is flanked by a hand-print scanner and black keypad, as are the doors leading to port and starboard. Towards aft, the passageway continues on.

Yama arrives from Cockpit .

Yama has arrived.

You disembark to the surface.

Alkali Flat

Patches of black tarmac can be seen beneath a sweep of sand and alkali on this flat space on the edge of the Sand Mother Desert. Ruins can be seen nearby of a once majestic city – a shattered glass pyramid, the broken stump of a mighty obelisk, and the battered domes of other once important buildings that seem to hunch under the glow of Demaria’s twin suns. In the distance, beyond the desert, one can make out the blunt tips of the distant Stubtooth Mountains.

Yama exits from the Black Widow.

Yama has arrived.

Namura exits from the Black Widow.

Namura has arrived.

Falkenberg steps out and looks around, pistol in hand.

Namura walks out with a rifle readied.

Kai nods slightly, at the people exiting the ship that just landed.

Teel exits from the Black Widow.

Teel has arrived.

Falkenberg looks around. “Whew. Doesn’t look like the last time I was here.”

Yama grinds a boot into the dust, looking at the horizon. “This isn’t home.”

Hunter looks over to Dahan, “Yeah, I want to know what happened to those damned Kretons.”

Namura nods at Falkenberg’s remark

Dahan turns slightly towards Yama. ‘I certainly hope i don’t have stirrups, Mr. Nels.’

‘What do you take me for? A..a horse?’, it adds indignitantly towards Mr. Nels.

Teel hobbles down the ramp of the Widow, her right ankle bandaged. “Sit rep. What’s th’situation, Dahan.” She blinks her eyes. “Jumpin Jehosaphat!”

Dahan floats a little closer to Teel. ‘Civilization appears to be on the decline here. Population is down to only a few million, the cities are in ruins, and no ground transportation networks appear in operation, from orbit at least.’

Yama blanches at Teel, dust drifting over his face. He holsters his pistol without a second thought, hastily coming to Teel’s side. “Be careful!” He hisses, his paranoia in evidence as he regards the alien landscape.

In the sky above, a dropship comes into view as it descends toward the surface.

Falkenberg frowns. “Well, it could be worse. We could have been met by 10,000 armed Kretonians.”

Dahan turns slightly, and lifts a tentacle out towards the ruins. ‘I think it would be best if we could find a local to learn what the current geo-political situation is, and what has happened in our absence.’

You take a step back as a dropship fires its drop rockets and lands before you.

Namura hehs.

Teel leans gratefully on Yama, though she covers that up with a scowl. “M’

Namura whispers, “Well, at least I don’t hve to worry about the 6 months rent I owe.”

Teel says, “M’alright, Yambabe. We should wait fer th’Demarians.”

You whisper, “You mean 350 years’ rent.” to Namura.

Hunter reaches down to the holster on his right thigh and grabs his pistol. He check it over before holstering it.

Yama squints at the harsh light, shielding his eyes with a hand. “We may still be met by those Kretonians.”

Sharpeye exits from the Heart of Gold.

Sharpeye has arrived.

Firemane exits from the Heart of Gold.

Firemane has arrived.

Pendalis exits from the Heart of Gold.

Pendalis has arrived.

Melissa exits from the Heart of Gold.

Melissa has arrived.

Ebonpelt exits from the Heart of Gold.

Ebonpelt has arrived.

Falkenberg looks around. “So…this is Demaria in the year 3000. It’s been 350 years…it’d be a wonder if the Demarians can even speak to any of the locals that are left.”

Pendalis hops out of the craft, looking around.

Namura whispers, “true, but the kretons probbaly terminated the lease.”

Ebonpelt clings tightly onto Firemane’s hand, gazing about, narrow-eyed.

Remus exits from the Heart of Gold.

Remus has arrived.

Pendalis looks around, a look of pain on his face.

Melissa steps out of the craft still dressed in her lab coat, a pair of mirror shades, Firemane’s it appears, perched on her eyes. She slowly takes in the surroundings.

Yama shakes his head. “Our…man… Dahan is the best bet.” He helps Teel, the pair hobbling to the Centauran.

Ebonpelt says, “Sharpeye… Where SHOULD this be?”

Kai mutters to himself, “I dont feel anything…..”

Remus steps out of the HOG’s hatch, following the others down the ramp into the land of the scorching sun and blowing sands.

Falkenberg takes a few steps toward the Demarians. “Well….welcome home…” He holsters his pistol.

Sharpeye steps off the Heart of Gold’s exit ramp, looking around. He takes a deep breath of the air, clomping out over the sands and tarmac.

Pendalis thinks outloud, “Capitol.”

Ebonpelt ignores Pendalis, looking at Sharpeye.

Dahan bobbles in the air, ‘I do have ways of establishing contact, and of alien languages, sir. If we can find someone to talk with, I may be able to assist.’

Kai walks over towards Sharpeye, “Any idea where we are?”

Pendalis peers around defensively, keeping an eye out for any menances.

Melissa glances toards Sharpeye then to Sharpeye, waiting for him to pass word.

Falkenberg nods to Dahan. “That’s good to know.”

Teel sighs with sympathy for the landed Demarians. “A place can really get hooped up in three hunnerd years.” She leans on Yama.

Sharpeye nods. “Yeah, but much has changed. Much has changed.” He quirks a whisker.

Pendalis nods, “I hope the modern Demarians haven’t regressed too far technilogically.

Firemane looks around at the baking sands and the ruins, wordlessly. She doesn’t exactly look distraught, at least not as much as one might expect.

Namura says, “Well, we’ll see soon.”

Kai begins chewing on his lip slightly, almost unconsciously.

Dahan overhears Teel, and comments tactlessly, ‘Oh yes, I suppose that even Ungstir may have collided on itsel…’ It shuts up after it fully thinks through the impact that could have.

Melissa spots teel out of the corner of her eye and in her medical mind wonders how much good being out here could be doing for her.

Falkenberg looks around. “Well, granted it’s been 350 years, and my memory is a bit swiss cheesed, but…this looks like it might have been a landing field. Could this be Alhira?”

Kai begins to frown as his mind slowly begins to think of Antimone.

“What do you mean?” Sharpeye asks, looking at Ebonpelt. “We’re home. Though not the home I remember. Hopefully if the people don’t understand the spoken words we use anymore, they’ll still grasp Flick.”

Yama stares at Sharpeye and Ebonpelt, stunned by their optimism. “Not likely.”

Melissa hears dahan and growls a bit. Stepping towards teel she remvoes her glasses, or rather, firemanes and hands them to Teel, “ehre, you need these more then me.” she squints.

Remus remains stand quietly, his robe billowing about him, and hardly blinking in the blowing wind.

Dahan inquires, ‘Flick? I don’t understand…’

Pendalis nods, “Alhira, that’s it. I think, if you try to merge memory and reality, you can spot some familiar buildings.”

Ebonpelt shakes her head.

Kai says, “Perhaps anyone with psyonic abilities will be of use.”

“Why not, Yama?” Sharpeye asks. “Flick hasn’t changed much over longer periods of time than just a few centuries.”

Firemane looks over at Yama. “Flick is almost unchanged since.. I don’t know when..” Her gaze tracks around. “Standing here does us no good..”

A dry chuckle from the hobbling Teel. “Hey, th’Rocks can’t look any worse than they did, yeah?” She takes the shades from Melissa and puts them on. “Thanks Doc. I always ferget mine.”

Kai nods at Firemane, “Indeed, let us expore our surroundings.”

Falkenberg looks at the city. “I never thought I’d say this…but I wonder what Luna looks like.”

Remus glances about at the others briefly, his usual dark eyes dimmed slightly by something before he clicks his tongue slightly and heads off towards the ruins without waiting.

Melissa looks back towards the others and nods in agreeance as they decide to go look at their surroundings.

Dahan suggests, ‘Perhaps we should approach the ruins? A likely place for at least some inhabitants, if slightly dangerous due to the possiblity of ambush.’

Falkenberg nods.

Pendalis nods at Falk, “Never stayed there too long, but yeah. Prolly just a vacuum-rendered hulk of nothing.”

Namura nods at Dahan;s statement

Firemane looks at Remus. “The choice is made anyway..” She says, moving off after him.

Sharpeye turns toward the ruins, walking off toward them.

Pendalis follows.

Remus enters the hole in the building.

Remus has left.

Melissa takes off after the others.

Firemane enters the hole in the building.

Firemane has left.

Pendalis enters the hole in the building.

Pendalis has left.

Ebonpelt GROWLS, glowering at Sharpeye’s back.

Sharpeye enters the hole in the building.

Sharpeye has left.

Dahan enters the hole in the building.

Dahan has left.

You enter the hole in the building.

Spaceport Ruins

The shattered ruins of a glass pyramid, with prismic fragments throwing off glittering reflections of the twin suns that shine overhead during the day – and crunch dangerously underfoot when night falls. The floor is swept with desert sand – as is the overturned kiosk, along with the shattered remnants of what might once have been a drinking establishment, with a long marble counter, stools without cushions and rusted in place, and the crack-webbed remains of a full wall mirror. Bits of crystalline cylinders – perhaps chimes of some kind, as they are hollow and strung with thin filament – can be found among the ruins.

Ebonpelt arrives from Alkali Flat .

Ebonpelt has arrived.

Kai arrives from Alkali Flat .

Kai has arrived.

Hunter arrives from Alkali Flat .

Hunter has arrived.

Namura arrives from Alkali Flat .

Namura has arrived.

Melissa arrives from Alkali Flat .

Melissa has arrived.

Remus keeps walking, glancing about only briefly along the ruined street, and even less at the once proud pyramid.

Falkenberg nods. “Definitely Alhira. The decon corridor was over there…” he gestures behind him. “I used to come here all the time.”

Yama arrives from Alkali Flat .

Yama has arrived.

Kai nods, “I too remember it.”

Teel arrives from Alkali Flat .

Teel has arrived.

Melissa looks at her surroundings, trying to imagine what this place must of once looked like, “Well…not a whole lot to come to now..”

Dahan floats above the noisy and possibly sharp fragments below. ‘Appears to be the remains of a Castori portal… Sad, this was such a better place.’

Pendalis nods, “It’s Alhira allright.”

Firemane looks around slowly. “Spaceport.. I remember this.. I guess the Kretonians really did level it..” Only now does a touch of sadness enter her voice. She doesn’t stop, moving after Remus.

Ebonpelt tows Firemane further into the pyramid.

Remus glances backwards at the others before continuing onwards.

Pendalis follows Remus.

Remus slips through a hole in the building and into the street beyond.

Remus has left.

Pendalis slips through a hole in the building and into the street beyond.

Pendalis has left.

Sharpeye slips through a hole in the building and into the street beyond.

Sharpeye has left.

Firemane slips through a hole in the building and into the street beyond.

Firemane has left.

Namura slips through a hole in the building and into the street beyond.

Namura has left.

Dahan comments, ‘It has been over three centuries. Enough time for rebuilding and to fall due to other reasons.’

Ebonpelt slips through a hole in the building and into the street beyond.

Ebonpelt has left.

Kai slips through a hole in the building and into the street beyond.

Kai has left.

You slip through a hole in the building and into the street beyond.

Street

In some places, one can make out patches of cobblestone beneath the deepening layer of desert sand that has swept in from the Sand Mother as she continues her ever-constant efforts to reclaim that which is duly hers. A hot wind whispers down the street, between the ruins of the old spaceport and the palace, past the remnants of the Temple Brakathira and the shattered hulk of the ancient arena.

Dahan arrives from Spaceport Ruins .

Dahan has arrived.

Hunter arrives from Spaceport Ruins .

Hunter has arrived.

Melissa arrives from Spaceport Ruins .

Melissa has arrived.

Yama arrives from Spaceport Ruins .

Yama has arrived.

Teel arrives from Spaceport Ruins .

Teel has arrived.

Remus stops here, indecisive for a moment as he views the possible choices of direction.

Pendalis looks around. “It’s so weird. Was it 350 years ago, or was it just a few months?”

Sharpeye twitches a whisker. “Still can’t believe the whole city was abandoned.”

Kai looks towards the ruins of the once proud arena, a touch of sadness and regret crossing his face.

Falkenberg looks around. “I think the city is completely deserted.”

Teel looks at Pendalis, and simply says, “Yep.”

Melissa keeps her eyes squinted because of the sun, ‘And what abotu the people…they have to be somewehre.”

Dahan pauses a moment, and tries to sweep out with it’s mind to detect other intelligent beings in the vicinity.

Ebonpelt sets off towards the temple, seemingly ignoring the others.

Kai nods, “Perhaps we should set up a camp, communicate with the sanctuary.”

Remus makes a decision, and walks off again, approaching the ruined temple.

Remus heads into Temple Ruins .

Remus has left.

Pendalis foillows.

Firemane’s gaze continues to track around, and then without speaking she walks off towards Temple after Ebony.

Pendalis heads into Temple Ruins .

Pendalis has left.

Firemane heads into Temple Ruins .

Firemane has left.

Ebonpelt heads into Temple Ruins .

Ebonpelt has left.

Melissa follows the others, “or not..”

You head into Temple Ruins .

Temple Ruins

A shattered obelisk of black obsidian, clearly once a structure of massive majesty, all that remains now is a jagged stump about thirty feet tall. Blazing light from the twin suns of Demaria pour full force into the ruins during the afternoons, while shadows reign by night. The floor is littered with the remnants of stone pews. Upon a sandswept dais, banked with grit, is a timeworn altar. Steps lead down into darkness.

Melissa arrives from Street .

Melissa has arrived.

Namura arrives from Street .

Namura has arrived.

Kai arrives from Street .

Kai has arrived.

Hunter arrives from Street .

Hunter has arrived.

Dahan arrives from Street .

Dahan has arrived.

Ebonpelt moves over to the altar, walking swiftly and quietly.

Falkenberg looks around. “Well, this is one building I don’t think I was ever in…”

Sharpeye arrives from Street .

Sharpeye has arrived.

Pendalis gazes around, that awestruck wonder still on his face.

Remus clambers down through the crumbling hallway down without pausing here.

Remus heads into Spring .

Remus has left.

Pendalis heads into Spring .

Pendalis has left.

Melissa heads into Spring .

Melissa has left.

Dahan heads into Spring .

Dahan has left.

Namura says, “i remember this place.”

Sharpeye heads into Spring .

Sharpeye has left.

Kai glances after Remus, the follows.

Kai heads into Spring .

Kai has left.

Namura heads into Spring .

Namura has left.

Firemane bows deeply as she enters, mane falling down to the floor, uncaring of the grit. After a moment she rises and follows the others.

You head into Spring .

Spring

A triple tier of black stone benches, swept with desert sand, form steps leading down into a crystalline pool of cool water that bubbles up from a spring that plunges deep into the crust of the planet. The arched roof has been shattered in different spots where debris from the neighboring temple came crashing down. Chunks of dusty obsidian and other rocky rubble are strewn about the spring, with one particularly large column toppled into the water and half submerged, resting on a broad ledge of mossy stone.

Firemane arrives from Temple Ruins .

Firemane has arrived.

Dahan floats down the stairs, and over towards the water.

Melissa stops before reachign the water, “Umm..don’t know how much weight these stairs can hold…”

Sharpeye heads into Temple Ruins .

Sharpeye has left.

Remus approaches the spring, crouching to touch a finger to the water. “This place has been defiled..”

Falkenberg nods to Melissa. “Yeah, doc, lets get out of here.”

Firemane stops at the entrance, and then turns back.

You head into Temple Ruins .

Temple Ruins

A shattered obelisk of black obsidian, clearly once a structure of massive majesty, all that remains now is a jagged stump about thirty feet tall. Blazing light from the twin suns of Demaria pour full force into the ruins during the afternoons, while shadows reign by night. The floor is littered with the remnants of stone pews. Upon a sandswept dais, banked with grit, is a timeworn altar. Steps lead down into darkness.

Firemane arrives from Spring .

Firemane has arrived.

Ebonpelt remains by the altar, gazing down at it.

Melissa arrives from Spring .

Melissa has arrived.

You head into Street .

Street

In some places, one can make out patches of cobblestone beneath the deepening layer of desert sand that has swept in from the Sand Mother as she continues her ever-constant efforts to reclaim that which is duly hers. A hot wind whispers down the street, between the ruins of the old spaceport and the palace, past the remnants of the Temple Brakathira and the shattered hulk of the ancient arena.

Teel arrives from Arena Ruins .

Teel has arrived.

Firemane has arrived.

Falkenberg looks around. “Ideas?”

Sharpeye has arrived.

Melissa arrives from Temple Ruins .

Melissa has arrived.

Yama calls over to Falkenberg. “If anyone asks, we’re at the palace!”

Namura arrives from Temple Ruins .

Namura has arrived.

Dahan arrives from Temple Ruins .

Dahan has arrived.

Yama heads into Palace Ruins .

Yama has left.

Remus arrives from Temple Ruins .

Remus has arrived.

Teel heads into Palace Ruins .

Teel has left.

Hunter arrives from Temple Ruins .

Hunter has arrived.

Sharpeye tosses a thumb over his shoulder. “Darkmane’s place is still there!”

Falkenberg nods to Yama, and then begins to follow. “To the palace, then.”

Pendalis arrives from Temple Ruins .

Pendalis has arrived.

Pendalis follows.

Kai arrives from Temple Ruins .

Kai has arrived.

You head into Palace Ruins .

Palace Ruins

A V-shaped chunk of the great yellow marble dome above is gone, allowing sunlight to filter in a wedged shaft onto the sandswept black marble that forms the floor of this palatial ruin, its walls and columns adorned with engraved glyphs that seem to tell the story of the rise of an important and majestic civilization, full of nobility and honor.

Melissa arrives from Street .

Melissa has arrived.

Kai arrives from Street .

Kai has arrived.

Namura arrives from Street .

Namura has arrived.

Dahan arrives from Street .

Dahan has arrived.

Hunter arrives from Street .

Hunter has arrived.

Pendalis arrives from Street .

Pendalis has arrived.

Teel shakes her head. “You used ta work here, right Yam?”

Pendalis heads into Street .

Pendalis has left.

Melissa steps in and whistles, “Musta been a great place at one point.”

Yama sits down, taking a repose amongst the marble ruins. “‘Used ta’ is the term.”

Falkenberg frowns. “I don’t think there’s much to see here now, though. Can it ALL be like this? All our worlds?”

Dahan slackens its tentacles at it takes in the destruction. ‘This used to be such a pretty place.’

Kai looks at yama for a moment, “Perhaps you would know of a terminal then Yama? Find out what happened?”

Namura says, “probably Falk…or worse.”

You will no longer hear messages on channel .

Ebonpelt arrives from Street .

Ebonpelt has arrived.

Falkenberg shrugs to Namura. “Who knows.”

Kai frowns deeply at Falkenberg, “No, there must be life yet. Our peoples would not have caved so easily. They value their freedom!”

‘After 350 years, finding operable computer equipment may prove difficult.’, telepathically sends Dahan. ‘Still, it is worth a try.’

Kai nods at Dahan, “It will possably be repairable.”

Melissa looks over twoards Teel and frowns a little, “You gonna head to the rocks soon?” she asks.

Falkenberg nods to Kai. “Life, sure. But what else?” He turns to leave.

You head into Street .

Street

In some places, one can make out patches of cobblestone beneath the deepening layer of desert sand that has swept in from the Sand Mother as she continues her ever-constant efforts to reclaim that which is duly hers. A hot wind whispers down the street, between the ruins of the old spaceport and the palace, past the remnants of the Temple Brakathira and the shattered hulk of the ancient arena.

Pendalis looks around curiously and heads out to the Estate Ruins alone, looking conspicious.

Pendalis has left.

Namura arrives from Palace Ruins .

Namura has arrived.

“I’m heading out to the sands,” Sharpeye says to the others. “Gonna see if anyone has some huts or anything.”

Ebonpelt arrives from Palace Ruins .

Ebonpelt has arrived.

Ebonpelt has left.

Sharpeye heads into Spaceport Ruins .

Sharpeye has left.

Firemane returns from the arena ruins. “Nothing.. Nothing at all.. The city is deserted..”

Falkenberg looks at the arena. “Anyone want to see the Arena of Altheor? I always wanted to fight there…wasn’t good enough to take the chance.”

Namura says, “I do.”

Firemane tilts her head wanly, sadly. “It’s not much anymore..” She follows Sharpeye.

Firemane heads into Spaceport Ruins .

Firemane has left.

Namura smirks, “I had similar aspirations Falk.”

Remus walks out, and pauses as he decides where to head, before following after sharpeye.

Melissa arrives from Palace Ruins .

Melissa has arrived.

Remus heads into Spaceport Ruins .

Remus has left.

Falkenberg nods. “Ok, then.” He looks after Fire and Sharpeye. “We probably should not split up.”

You head into Spaceport Ruins .

Spaceport Ruins

The shattered ruins of a glass pyramid, with prismic fragments throwing off glittering reflections of the twin suns that shine overhead during the day – and crunch dangerously underfoot when night falls. The floor is swept with desert sand – as is the overturned kiosk, along with the shattered remnants of what might once have been a drinking establishment, with a long marble counter, stools without cushions and rusted in place, and the crack-webbed remains of a full wall mirror. Bits of crystalline cylinders – perhaps chimes of some kind, as they are hollow and strung with thin filament – can be found among the ruins.

Namura arrives from Street .

Namura has arrived.

Melissa arrives from Street .

Melissa has arrived.

Melissa enters the ruins of the spaceport, “There’s gotta be life *smewehre* the ca’t all be dead.”

Falkenberg nods. “To the desert, then.”

You slip through the hole in the building to the alkali flat.

Alkali Flat

Patches of black tarmac can be seen beneath a sweep of sand and alkali on this flat space on the edge of the Sand Mother Desert. Ruins can be seen nearby of a once majestic city – a shattered glass pyramid, the broken stump of a mighty obelisk, and the battered domes of other once important buildings that seem to hunch under the glow of Demaria’s twin suns. In the distance, beyond the desert, one can make out the blunt tips of the distant Stubtooth Mountains.

Melissa arrives from Spaceport Ruins .

Melissa has arrived.

You walk across the dunes toward the deeper desert.

Desert

Rolling dunes spread off into the distance as the hot glow of Demaria’s twin suns pound upon the rippled landscape like hammers on a warped anvil. Tracks of small desert animals can be seen on the leeward side of the dune slopes.

Melissa arrives from Alkali Flat .

Melissa has arrived.

Namura arrives from Alkali Flat .

Namura has arrived.

Sharpeye trudges through the sands, glancing up briefly at the suns.

Sharpeye heads into Desert .

Sharpeye has left.

Falkenberg hms. “Anyone bring water?”

Namura says, “I have a bit in my medkit.”

Melissa shakes her head slighlty, “Didn’ even bring my medkit.”

Falkenberg nods. “We’ll need it. Use it sparingly.”

You head into Desert .

Desert

Rolling dunes spread off into the distance as the hot glow of Demaria’s twin suns pound upon the rippled landscape like hammers on a warped anvil. Tracks of small desert animals can be seen on the leeward side of the dune slopes.

Firemane arrives from Desert .

Firemane has arrived.

Remus arrives from Desert .

Remus has arrived.

Sharpeye heads into Desert .

Sharpeye has left.

Remus seems little bothered by the blowing sand, although the wind make things somewhat difficult. Glancing at Falkenberg he says, “If we’re here long enough to need it, we won’t get a chance to use it.”

Falkenberg trudges up behind Sharpeye. “Sharpeye, I don’t know if we’re equipped for a trek through the desert…maybe we should scan from orbit..”

Falkenberg frowns.

Melissa arrives from Desert .

Melissa has arrived.

You head into Desert .

Desert

Rolling dunes spread off into the distance as the hot glow of Demaria’s twin suns pound upon the rippled landscape like hammers on a warped anvil. Tracks of small desert animals can be seen on the leeward side of the dune slopes.

Melissa arrives from Desert .

Melissa has arrived.

Firemane arrives from Desert .

Firemane has arrived.

Remus arrives from Desert .

Remus has arrived.

Sharpeye peers into the distance at the mirage, trudging onward.

Namura arrives from Desert .

Namura has arrived.

Melissa follows the rest eyes squinted, she removes her jacket leavig only the shirt underneath. “Definetly hot..”

Falkenberg frowns. “SHarpeye…” he calls.

“Yeah?” Sharpeye asks, looking back over his shoulder. The heat doesn’t seem to bother him at all.

Firemane stumbles as she follows Sharpeye, shrugging off her coat and putting it over one shoulder. “Ah.. Much better.. Forgot about this place..”

Remus continues following, although the sand makes it difficult for his smaller, non padded-unpawed feet to traverse the sand, making him take exageratedly high steps.

Falkenberg trudges up behind the Demarian. “If memory serves, this desert is rather large, and people used to be sent out here to die, yes?”

Sharpeye chuckles. “But they’re shaven first. Feel free to turn back if you’re having trouble. If we need to, we’ll just fly across. I’m just scouting a short distance.”

Sharpeye heads into Desert .

Sharpeye has left.

Remus doesn’t stop as the others do, instead continuing to trudge through the wasteland, keeping his head down to watch his step, but otherwise looking unbothered in his billowing robe.

You head into Desert .

Desert

Rolling dunes spread off into the distance as the hot glow of Demaria’s twin suns pound upon the rippled landscape like hammers on a warped anvil. Tracks of small desert animals can be seen on the leeward side of the dune slopes.

Remus heads into Desert .

Remus has left.

You head into Desert .

Rolling dunes spread off into the distance as the hot glow of Demaria’s twin suns pound upon the rippled landscape like hammers on a warped anvil. Tracks of small desert animals can be seen on the leeward side of the dune slopes.

Melissa arrives from Desert .

Melissa has arrived.

Namura arrives from Desert .

Namura has arrived.

Falkenberg mutters to himself, “Not having difficulty. Just asking a question…”

Sharpeye heads into Desert .

Sharpeye has left.

You head into Desert .

Desert

Rolling dunes spread off into the distance as the hot glow of Demaria’s twin suns pound upon the rippled landscape like hammers on a warped anvil. Tracks of small desert animals can be seen on the leeward side of the dune slopes.

Remus arrives from Desert .

Remus has arrived.

Firemane arrives from Desert .

Firemane has arrived.

Namura arrives from Desert .

Namura has arrived.

Melissa arrives from Desert .

Melissa has arrived.

Sharpeye points down from the crest of a dune. “See? Look. Signs of civilization right there.” He continues down toward the trough.

Sharpeye heads into Desert .

Sharpeye has left.

Remus’s shorter legs cause him to lag behind the others as he struggles through the loose sand.

Falkenberg is beginning to sweat heavily. He takes off his jacket and drapes it over his head for shade. “If you say so…”

Firemane growls. “He’s seeing things..”

Firemane heads into Desert .

Firemane has left.

You head into Desert .

Desert

Rolling dunes spread off into the distance as the hot glow of Demaria’s twin suns pound upon the rippled landscape like hammers on a warped anvil. Tracks of small desert animals can be seen on the leeward side of the dune slopes.

Remus arrives from Desert .

Remus has arrived.

Namura arrives from Desert .

Namura has arrived.

Melissa arrives from Desert .

Melissa has arrived.

Firemane shakes her head. “Sharpeye.. Let’s take the ships..”

Falkenberg looks at Sharpeye. “Sharpeye, there’s NOTHING HERE.” His voice is a bit hoarse.

Sharpeye nods to Firemane and shrugs. “Yeah, I suppose you’re right. We’ll fly the ships across.”

Melissa’s eyes look like two thin lines from squinting them and already the back of her neck is begining to show a reddish tinge.

Namura walks up to falkenberg and says, “Falk? You okay?”. He is beginning to sweat quite profusely, even with his light clothes.

Falkenberg looks at Namura. “Fine….’s hot.” He turns back toward (he hopes) the ruins.

Sharpeye starts heading back the way we came. “Hey guys, just a ltitle exercise… it’s good for y’. We didn’t exactly walk that far.”

The much fairir Ungstiri skin doesn’t seem to be fairing very well here in the dessert, “Do we even know what direction we came form?” she asks.

Remus lags behind, pulling his feet high out of the sand before push it forwards into the sand again, then repeating.

bear with us and just keep it in mind for the future ;)”

Firemane lets out a sigh of relief. She does look hot, but not unbearably so. She turns and looks behind her at her footsteps, catching a look at Melissa. “We follow our footsteps… And… *gasp*

Melissa.. Cover your neck, your skin is burning…”

Falkenberg chuckles. “Thanks, Namura. I’m ok, really.” He wipes sweat off his brow, and hides under the shade of his jacket, which is still draped over his head.

Dahan arrives from Desert .

Dahan has arrived.

Ebonpelt arrives from Desert .

Ebonpelt has arrived.

Pendalis arrives from Desert .

Pendalis has arrived.

Sharpeye quirks a whisker. “Sheesh. You people need me to call the ship over *here* for us?”

Pendalis rubs his eyes, “What’s this?”

Falkenberg looks at Pendalis. “Sand.”

Remus finally reaches the Ungstiri doctor, looking up at her, his eyes slightly clouded over. “Here,” he says as he pulls his robe over his head, “put this over your head.”

Firemane looks at the (late) new arrivals. “A desert. And you walked here for nothing.. Sharp, that might be a good idea.”

Dahan floats a step towards the mountains, it’s tentacles stiffening with suprise.

Sharpeye shrugs. “Fine. You people need to get out more.” He pulls his commlink from his belt.

Melissa looks over towards Fire and then towards Remus, “You ok?” she asks as she takes the offered robe but does nothign with it as you tries to ascertain remus’ health.

Pendalis rubs his eyes and pulls his shirt off, stuffing it into his waistband. “Damn it’s hot. He closes his mouth and wipes some sweat from his brow.

‘Pardon me, but I think…’, comments the Centauran, ‘…that I detect something.’

Ebonpelt scowls furiously at the world in general.

Sharpeye says into his commlink, “Heart of Gold, lock in on my commlink signal and fly over here. Anti-grav thrusters *only* thank you, we don’t need you cooking the sand anymore… the sun’s already doing a good job of that.””

[Ch: 102.50] –

Sharpeye says, “Heart of Gold, lock in on my commlink signal and fly over here. Anti-grav thrusters *only* thank you, … don’t need you cooking the sand anymore… the sun’s already doing a good job of that.””

– EOT –

Pendalis looks to the Jellyfish, “What?”

Sharpeye glances over toward Dahan.

Firemane rolls her eyes. “Sharp. I used to run this damn des..” She tracks her gaze over to Dahan. “Mrrrr?”

Kai arrives from Desert .

Kai has arrived.

Hunter arrives from Desert .

Hunter has arrived.

Namura blinks.

Remus nods, his trousered legs almost halfway to the knees in sand. “Yes, I am fine.” His dark olive skin does look rather suited to this sort of environment.

Dahan tilts its head slightly, concentrating. ‘Yes…it feels like several telepaths…in the mountains.’

Melissa nods slightly, usin the robe to tie around her head and neck, “Thanks then..” she says thoughshe seems to start keeping a watchful eye on the child.

Pendalis cocks an eyebrow, “Telepaths? Demarians? Isn’t that rare?” He seems to consider something.

Kai glances sharply at Dahan, as he passes over a dune.

Kai asks, “Telepaths? Demarian?”

Firemane looks over at Pendalis. “Don’t need to be Demarians.”

Pendalis nods, “Was thinking that.”

Sharpeye quirks a whisker. “It might be rare, but it’s not impossible.” He seems to have some kind of issue with the subject.

Falkenberg nods. “And it WAS rare. Who knows what mutations could have taken place in the wake of a war and 3 centuries.”

Kai asks, “Then perhaps we should go that way, or take a ship over the surface, that would be safer.”

‘I’m afraid I can’t tell much at this range.’, explains Dahan telepathically. ‘But perhaps we should go and investigate.’

Pendalis corrects Falk, “three and a half.”

Remus hrms. “Come on, if you stand still too long the blowing sand will bury you.” And with that, he begins trudging throught he sand once more.

Pendalis looks to Dahan, “I guess, long as it’s not too far…” he trails off…

Kai follows after Remus.

Sharpeye nods. “Alright. Come on, guys. Any of you get tired, we’ll call the ship again, or someone will carry you.”

Dahan heads into Desert .

Dahan has left.

Firemane looks over at Ebonpelt, and then trudges through the sand towards her. “You okay?”

Pendalis follows after the Child and the Jellyfish.

Pendalis heads into Desert .

Pendalis has left.

Sharpeye says into his commlink, “Cancel that, HoG.”

[Ch: 102.50] –

Sharpeye says, “Cancel that, HoG.”

– EOT –

You head into Desert .

Desert

Rolling dunes spread off into the distance as the hot glow of Demaria’s twin suns pound upon the rippled landscape like hammers on a warped anvil. Tracks of small desert animals can be seen on the leeward side of the dune slopes.

Remus arrives from Desert .

Remus has arrived.

Kai arrives from Desert .

Kai has arrived.

Pendalis heads into Desert .

Pendalis has left.

Sharpeye arrives from Desert .

Sharpeye has arrived.

Falkenberg sighs.

Hunter arrives from Desert .

Hunter has arrived.

Melissa arrives from Desert .

Melissa has arrived.

Falkenberg says, “This looks familiar.”

[Ch: 102.50] –

Dahan says, “This is Dahan. I think there is something in the mountains…going there now to investivgate.”

– EOT –

Namura arrives from Desert .

Namura has arrived.

Kai looks at Remus for several moments, contemplatively.

Firemane arrives from Desert .

Firemane has arrived.

Remus has long since given up trying to shake the sand from his sandals, and seems little bothered by the sun beating down upon his exposed, skiny torso.

Pendalis arrives from Desert .

Pendalis has arrived.

Pendalis trudges back from the sand, “Man, Dahan’s out there.” He looks incredibly sweaty and tired.

Melissa nods, “Let’s just keep moving before the sand swallows us.”

Sharpeye nods in agreement.

Sharpeye heads into Desert .

Sharpeye has left.

Kai looks around, noding.

Pendalis nods tiredly, following after.

Remus heads into Desert .

Remus has left.

Kai heads into Desert .

Kai has left.

Pendalis heads into Desert .

Pendalis has left.

Falkenberg looks behind them. “Where IS Dahan?”

Sharpeye arrives from Desert .

Sharpeye has arrived.

You head into Desert .

Desert

Rolling dunes spread off into the distance as the hot glow of Demaria’s twin suns pound upon the rippled landscape like hammers on a warped anvil. Tracks of small desert animals can be seen on the leeward side of the dune slopes.

Firemane arrives from Desert .

Firemane has arrived.

Sharpeye arrives from Desert .

Sharpeye has arrived.

Dahan arrives from Desert .

Dahan has arrived.

Remus heads into Desert .

Remus has left.

Pendalis heads into Desert .

Pendalis has left.

Remus arrives from Desert .

Remus has arrived.

Dahan heads into Desert .

Dahan has left.

Sharpeye heads into Desert .

Sharpeye has left.

Kai heads into Desert .

Kai has left.

Firemane heads into Desert .

Firemane has left.

Hours of travel through the desert leave the travelers hot, worn out and thirsty…until…

Desert

Rolling dunes spread off into the distance as the hot glow of Demaria’s twin suns pound upon the rippled landscape like hammers on a warped anvil. Tracks of small desert animals can be seen on the leeward side of the dune slopes.

Sharpeye arrives from Desert .

Sharpeye has arrived.

Pendalis trudges through the sand.

Dahan arrives from Desert .

Dahan has arrived.

Hunter arrives from Desert .

Hunter has arrived.

Pendalis notices a sudden lack of sand… “Are we coming out of it?”

Kai looks around, “Now this is more like it.”

Pendalis heads into Foothills .

Pendalis has left.

Sharpeye heads into Foothills .

Sharpeye has left.

Firemane arrives from Desert .

Firemane has arrived.

You head into Foothills .

Foothills

A dusty trail winds among twist-trunked plants and trees that don’t require much moisture in the arid foothills of the blunt-peaked Stubtooth Mountains. Below, the Sand Mother Desert spreads off into the distance – dunes rolling beneath the unforgiving glow of the twin suns. Above, the trail continues into the mountains.

Dahan arrives from Desert .

Dahan has arrived.

Kai arrives from Desert .

Kai has arrived.

Hunter arrives from Desert .

Hunter has arrived.

Firemane arrives from Desert .

Firemane has arrived.

Kai heads into Sloping Trail .

Kai has left.

Pendalis heads into Sloping Trail .

Pendalis has left.

You head into Sloping Trail .

Sloping Trail

The air grows cooler at this altitude in the Stubtooth Mountains, some two thousand feet above the rolling dunes of the Sand Mother Desert. The trail, flanked by grass and shrubs on one side and a steep bluff on the other, offers a breathtaking view of the sandscape – and, in the distance, when the suns are out, one might notice some glittering something out in the midst of the desert sands. The trail continues toward a small village surrounded by trees.

Sharpeye arrives from Foothills .

Sharpeye has arrived.

Kai looks around, suddenly grining, “Ahh, indeed!”

Pendalis sighs deeply, “Ahh, beautiful air.” He pulls a boot off and empties the sand.

Hunter arrives from Foothills .

Hunter has arrived.

Falkenberg looks at Sharpeye. “You know, Sharpy, it looks like whoever that is is primitive. Think they’ll know their history?”

Sharpeye shrugs. “Guess we’re about to find out, neh?”

Kai looks at Falkenberg, “But at least there’s a village. Thats a start.”

Pendalis pulls the boot back on and emties the other. He pulls his shirt from his waistband and throws it on, wiping the remnants of a slowly staling sweat from his brow.

Falkenberg slings his jacket off his head, breathing the cool air. “Yeah. Well, seeing you could be like seeing Altheor to these people, ya know. You did fight a little rebellion here once, no?”

Namura arrives from Foothills .

Namura has arrived.

Kai asks, “Well shall we play the Dr. Dolittle?”

Dahan arrives from Foothills .

Dahan has arrived.

Sharpeye nods. “Yeah. Though I’d be more than a little flattered if they were to put me up there with Altheor. I’m afraid I’m not quite *that* important.”

Dahan returns with the scragglers, and pauses as it notices the village.

Remus arrives from Foothills .

Remus has arrived.

Melissa arrives from Foothills .

Melissa has arrived.

Firemane arrives from Foothills .

Firemane has arrived.

Pendalis chuckles, “Sharpeye, you’ll prolly get minor honors. A continent or so named after you.”

Kai grins at Sharp, “Aww, come on, you were a lifesaver to your people.”

Falkenberg grins. “You never know. You’d probably be the last hero from before the war, if they remember you at all, Sharpeye.”

Remus approaches along the trail, walking just ahead of Melissa.

Kai grins, “Hark, for we are in the presence of a god!”

Sharpeye hehs, tugging on a whisker. “Well, like I said, we’ll see soon enough.”

Dahan cautions, ‘You might also be considered a villian from the war, a deserter of your people.’

Melissa swipes at her bro, “thank god its cooler.” she mumbles as she reaches the others.

Falkenberg nods to Dahan. “Yeah, there’s that, too.”

Remus says, “If they even remember the war.”

Pendalis fingers his pistol grip, “I always liked Demarians. Hope that won’t change.”

Kai nods, “Yes, speculation is fine, but lets check and findout, shall we?”

Falkenberg gestures to the village. “Well, after you, Imperator.”

Firemane is bringing up the rear of the group. “We’ll see.. And, don’t draw your weapons.”

Sharpeye heads into New Pansheera Commons .

Sharpeye has left.

You head into New Pansheera Commons .

New Pansheera Commons

Buildings in this small village are made of stone quarried from the surrounding mountains and roofed with thatch made from fronds of tropical trees that comprise the jungle around the rather primitive-seeming community. Although the stone provides a sense of permanence, it is not unusual to see denizens packing their belongings into carts and moving on – while others settle in to take their places. A water well complete with a pulley, rope and bucket stands near the middle of the commons. Market stalls encircle the well, providing a place for merchants to hawk their wares.

Kai arrives from Sloping Trail .

Kai has arrived.

Melissa arrives from Sloping Trail .

Melissa has arrived.

Pendalis arrives from Sloping Trail .

Pendalis has arrived.

Hunter arrives from Sloping Trail .

Hunter has arrived.

Namura arrives from Sloping Trail .

Namura has arrived.

Firemane arrives from Sloping Trail .

Firemane has arrived.

Remus arrives from Sloping Trail .

Remus has arrived.

Pendalis follows everyone in, not last but towards the middle.

Dahan arrives from Sloping Trail .

Dahan has arrived.

Kai looks around at the buildings, “Well, its stone, thats better than nothing.”

Pendalis pulls his shirt over his pistol right before he enters.

For the moment, it seems, the village is abandoned – although it bears signs of habitation.

Remus steps up to the well, and drops the bucket in.

Falkenberg looks around. “Village, market…these aren’t ruins. Where are the people?”

Kai pulls his coat back on, covering the sword straped to his back.

Dahan rises a little in the air, assuming a more confidant posture. ‘We may have scared away the natives…’

Melissa spots Rems at the well and heads towards him, “Let me helpyou…”she says, anxious to get some fo the water herself.

Pendalis glances around uneasily. “Yeah…”

Firemane looks around, sniffing the hot air and moving over towards one of the huts. “People were here.. We might have scared them off..” Her voice sounds a little bitter and sad at that idea.

Namura says, “Maybe”

Kai looks at Falkenberg, “Perhaps they noticed us.”

Dahan floats a couple paces towards the east. ‘The beings I detect are nearby…this way.’

Pendalis spots the Well, “Water!” He walks carefully over, though, keeping an eye out. He helps them haul a bucketful up.

Melissa attempts to grab the rope from Remus’ hand, hawling it up for him.

Remus glances up at the doctor before nodding and gripping the rope in both hands. “I will need help.”

Sharpeye’s eyes flick from building to building, eyeing the windows. He follows Dahan.

Kai moves to follow Dahan.

Falkenberg nods slowly. “Or they could have seen a group of ships dropping from the sky and flying out over the desert, may have been centuries since that’s happened..”

Pendalis spots everyone leaving and hurries hauling.

Firemane shakes her head. “Dahan, wait.. Let the others get water..”

Remus lets Melissa take the rope. “Everyone get water first. Then we can go.”

Kai looks back at Firemane, then noticing the well, he moves to wait for a drink.

Dahan remains where it is. ‘Of course. Take time to refresh yourselves, and to prepare for contact.’

Pulling hand over hand she slowly brings up the bucket of water. “Cup your hands.” she instructs.

Falkenberg nods and moves rapidly to the well. “Allow me,” he says, rather eagerly, his voice still hoarse.

Pendalis pulls the bucket over the edge, setting in on the rim. “Allright, form a line, people.”

Remus says over his shoulder, “Inspect the water first.” Stopping beside the floating jellyfish, he falls silent again, surveying the town.

Kai nods, then cupping his hands, drinks his share of watter.

Melissa’s own lips are chapped, eyes still squinting, though the robes tied aroudn her head seem to have protected her from most of the stun.

Pendalis adds, “Feel free, though, there’s plenty.”

Sharpeye pulls off his uniform jacket and beats it out against a rock, sending out a cloud of sand before he puts it back on.

Melissa looks towards Remus, anxious for the water, “I doubt they’d form a well where there’d be contaminated water..”

Firemane waits at the back of the crowd, brushing sand and dust out of her clothes and fur.

Dahan reaches out, and pats Remus’ shoulder in a way it hopes is comforting. ‘At least some survivors still live here.’

Kai steps back from the well, having had his share, then announcing, “It is indeed water. For all that care…”

Remus says, “Demarians have higher immunities than humans,” without turning around.

Pendalis glares at the water, “How we supposed to test it, anyway.”

Dahan comments in a telepathic voice, ‘That, and until we find any locals we can’t be sure the water is still good.’

Melissa frowns, “well, ‘les one of you brought a medkit..don’t think there’s muhc of a way to test it.”

Falkenberg nods. “Well, I left my water testing kit in my other jacket.” He moves forward for some water.

Namura says, “Ahem.”

Remus glances over at the jellyfish as it pats his shoulder with a tentacle, but doesn’t say anything.

Namura produces his medkit.

Remus looks back at the well. “Let those in line go first.”

Pendalis sticks a hand into the bucket between “customers,” getting a hasty mouthful in.

Melissa watches as thos in line wait for Falkenberg to drink.

Dahan remains apart from most of the group, waiting to the east. While it’s hard to tell, from the way its head is moving you might think it’s attention is in the same direction for the most part.

Remus shifts the bookbag straps on his bare shoulders, shaking his scrawny torso in an attempt to dislodge some sand from it.

Falkenberg takes a deep drink of water. “Ahhh. Tastes fine to me.”

Kai walks over to Dahan, “Are they moving at all?”

Sharpeye twitches a whisker. “This is like an amusement park water fountain line.” He walks up beside Dahan.

Melissa looks to Kia, the next person in line, “Come on..before the rest die of dehydration.”

Hunter moves away from the group and glances around.

Kai nods at Melissa, taking his turn.

Pendalis offers the bucket to Melissa, catching a few mouthfulls before moving off to stand by Dahan. “They’re not moving?”

Dahan rotates its head in one direction, than the other. ‘It’s difficult to tell at this range…And I hesitate to initiate contact this far out in case of xenophobic panic.’

Melissa holds the bucket and nods to Remus, “go on.”

Kai sighs slightly at the taste of the water before moving back towards Dahan.

“Why don’t we go ahead?” Sharpeye asks. “It’ll be better for them to meet a smaller group at first. The others can follow behind.”

Remus glances once more at the chrystal jellyfish before stepping back towards the well. “You first.”

Pendalis nods, “Good idea.”

Kai nods at Dahan, “Are we geting close? I think I’m begining to feel somthing.”

Firemane gives a quiet nod. “I don’t fancy leaving people behind, besides, only two more..”

Dahan nods, ‘We are getting close. If any of you wish to wait while we send a party ahead…’

Melissa rolls her eyes a tiny bit and dips her cupped hands into the water taking a mouthful and then another, “Mystics are no better young then old.” she says taking a step back to let him drink before continuing.

Dahan lifts a tentacle to its collar, and activates its vocalizer.

Pendalis shakes his head, “I’ll come. I’m not much use at defending anyway.”

Falkenberg steps forward. “I’d like to go forward.”

Kai responds, “If so, We should perhaps decide who would be best to send.”

Namura gets in a bit of water.

Remus grasps Melissa’s wrists before she can dip them in the water, and shakes his head. “Your skin will dry out. Drink from the bucket.”

Dahan says into its commlink, “This is Dahan. We’ve discovered a primative village on the other side of the desert. We think there are other telepaths here.”

[Ch: 102.50] –

Dahan says, “This is Dahan. We’ve discovered a primative village on the other … of the desert. We think there are other telepaths here.”

– EOT –

Falkenberg sighs and shakes his head. “Let’s just go. We’ve wasted enough time. If we split up, we’re vulnerable.”

Melissa looks over towards Remus and raises an eyebrow slightly, but noting the mystic boy has an annoying tendancy at being right she does as he instructs, then hodls the bucket out towards him, “Now you drink.”

Dahan lowers its’ tentacle after speaking it’s message. ‘If the Sanctuary is monitoring, they’ll at least know where to start a search party.’

Pendalis turns on his commlink.

Falkenberg smirks. “That’s a comfort, Dahan. I don’t plan on leaving my bleached bones on this planet.”

Pendalis nods at Falk, “There’s enough already.”

Kai comments, “If they are telepaths, perhaps we should send our own for first contact. Communications would be easyer.”

With Melissa’s help, Remus tips the bucket and drinks from it as well. “We don’t want to frighten the natives with large groups,” he says as he sets the bucket back on the rim of the well. “Maybe some of us should wait here.”

“I have the Heart of Gold back at the landing area,” Sharpeye says. “They can fly over here and extract us if necessary.”

Dahan grimly adds, ‘And even if we are forced to, the others will be better prepared.’

Falkenberg nods. “Let’s just go. We’ve come this far together.”

Melissa shakes her hea dslighlty, dropping the bucket back into the well before making off to join the rest of the group, “If we split up we’re vulnerable, especially here.”

Sharpeye twitches a whsiker and nods in agreement with Falk. “Let’s go.”

Namura nods in agreeance with Falkenberg

Dahan thinks for a moment, then adds, ‘At the same time, we may wish to not appear vunerable. A large group would help with that.’

Pendalis throws his hands in the air, “Why not let the kid decide. He did everything else.”

Dahan starts floating east now, ahead of the gruop.’

Kai shrugs, “Then we should move with caution, larger target that way.”

Dahan heads into Winding Trail .

Dahan has left.

Kai heads into Winding Trail .

Kai has left.

Remus looks up at Melissa, then over at the rest, shaking his head slightly but doesn’t show any signs of staying by himself.

Pendalis follows.

Pendalis heads into Winding Trail .

Pendalis has left.

Namura heads into Winding Trail .

Namura has left.

Sharpeye heads into Winding Trail .

Sharpeye has left.

You head into Winding Trail .

Winding Trail

Tropical shrubs and trees flank this rocky trail as it winds through the jungle slopes of the Stubtooth Mountains. The trail works its way west toward a village whose structures can just be made out through the foliage, while it bends around to the northeast deeper into the mountain range.

Melissa arrives from New Pansheera Commons .

Melissa has arrived.

Firemane arrives from New Pansheera Commons .

Firemane has arrived.

Remus arrives from New Pansheera Commons .

Remus has arrived.

Hunter arrives from New Pansheera Commons .

Hunter has arrived.

Dahan sends, ‘Yes…we’re getting close now. I can feel it!’

Falkenberg nods. “Onward and…well, just onward, I guess.”

Dahan tips its head slightly. ‘Go back. Bring the water.’

Remus looks at Pendalis with once again piercing dark eyes.

Pendalis looks nervous and glares around, keeping his pistol underneath his shirt.

Melissa asks, “Can you feel anythign else? Like maybe weather they’re seeing us as targets?”

Kai nods absently.

Kai begins probing with his mind for the unseen natives.

‘Whatever it is, it’s thristy. It may be dying..’, offers the Centauran.

Namura says, “I have water on me.”

Remus follows, trailing behind a short distance, once again brooding.

Melissa raises an eyberow, “The water’ll be heavy..not point in carr…” as Dahan explains she grows silent.

“Let’s hurry, then,” Sharpeye says.

Sharpeye heads into Gorge’s Edge .

Sharpeye has left.

Dahan shakes its head slightly, ‘No, I don’t detect any awareness of us yet, but it’s difficult to tell…’

Dahan heads into Gorge’s Edge .

Dahan has left.

Melissa is a at a small distance, seemingly following Remus’ steps.

Namura heads into Gorge’s Edge .

Namura has left.

Kai heads into Gorge’s Edge .

Kai has left.

Pendalis follows after Sharpeye, keeping on guard.

Pendalis heads into Gorge’s Edge .

Pendalis has left.

Firemane heads into Gorge’s Edge .

Firemane has left.

Melissa heads into Gorge’s Edge .

Melissa has left.

Remus heads into Gorge’s Edge .

Remus has left.

You head into Gorge’s Edge .

Gorge’s Edge

The trail comes perilously close to the edge of a vast yellow-gray gorge – a slicing wound in the heart of the Stubtooth range, striped horizontally and ridged vertically. It forms a sort of pass thousands of feet below between the Sand Mother Desert to the north and the Great Walker’s Anguish to the south. A swinging bridge – a marvel of technology in this particular region – spans the distance from this side of the gorge to the other, about three hundred feet. The bridge has been made of fibers wound together, probably from the tropical trees in the nearby jungle.

Hunter arrives from Winding Trail .

Hunter has arrived.

Pendalis watches around himself, following.

Kai gets a strange look on his face, seeming to be looking a long distance.

Sharpeye walks up to the edge of the bridge, inspecting the fibers, but not stepping onto it.

Dahan floats out over the bridge, fearless of it’s possible flaws due to it’s levitation.

Dahan heads into Heroes Bridge .

Dahan has left.

Pendalis looks at the Bridge with obvious distaste, “I’ve seen vids about this.”

Pendalis heads into Heroes Bridge .

Pendalis has left.

Kai heads into Heroes Bridge .

Kai has left.

You head into Heroes Bridge .

Heroes Bridge

The wooden planks creak and groan as the fibrous bridge cables swing with each step and each gust of wind blowing through the Stubtooth Gorge. Pebbles skitter underfoot and plummet the thousands of feet into the shadows far below. It helps not to look down, one finds. The bridge continues northeast, to the other side.

Sharpeye arrives from Gorge’s Edge .

Sharpeye has arrived.

Namura arrives from Gorge’s Edge .

Namura has arrived.

Hunter arrives from Gorge’s Edge .

Hunter has arrived.

Remus arrives from Gorge’s Edge .

Remus has arrived.

Pendalis looks at the Bridge with obvious distaste, “I’ve seen vids about this.”

Firemane arrives from Gorge’s Edge .

Firemane has arrived.

Melissa arrives from Gorge’s Edge .

Melissa has arrived.

Dahan suggests, ‘The bridge may be weak…one at a time would avoid straining it further…’

Remus grips the ropes on either side of the bridge, watching his step carefully as testing each plank before placing his full weight upon it.

Pendalis holds the ropes tightly, looking ahead. He glances down and pales, squeezing the robes. “Let’s hurry.”

Firemane waits at the end of the bridge, making sure it isn’t going to collapse before walking more than a foot or two down it.

Dahan floats up a couple meters from the bridge’s surface, positioning itself to try to rescue any one who falls.

Melissa seems unphased by the bridge, quite noticably happier since having left the scorching dessert.

Melissa steps on the edges of the planks, hands on the rope potion of the bridge.

Sharpeye steps over the planks with feather-light steps, one hand on the ropes.

Remus reaches the other side after a slow journey across the bridge, too tedious to suffer in detail.

Falkenberg walks across the bridge quickly but carefully. “It’s no big deal, folks.”

Sharpeye heads into Rocky Trail .

Sharpeye has left.

Pendalis watches his footing, continuing accross.

Kai continues watching the crossing.

Pendalis adds, “Me next.” He disappears off the bridge and to the northeast.

Pendalis heads into Rocky Trail .

Pendalis has left.

Melissa heads into Rocky Trail .

Melissa has left.

Namura walks across easily and lightly

You head into Rocky Trail .

Rocky Trail

Tropical shrubs and trees flank this rocky trail as it winds through the jungle slopes of the Stubtooth Mountains. The trail works its way northeast toward a village whose structures can just be made out through the foliage, while it ends at a bridge that crosses the Stubtooth Gorge.

Kai arrives from Heroes Bridge .

Kai has arrived.

Hunter arrives from Heroes Bridge .

Hunter has arrived.

Namura arrives from Heroes Bridge .

Namura has arrived.

Firemane arrives from Heroes Bridge .

Firemane has arrived.

Pendalis follows carefully, hopping off the bridge with a relieved “whew.”

Remus arrives from Heroes Bridge .

Remus has arrived.

Dahan arrives from Heroes Bridge .

Dahan has arrived.

Melissa looks across, “Well…there’s another village..”

Pendalis looks towards the new Village.

Kai nods slightly, “Still doesn’t seem to be anyone in sight.”

Firemane seems utterly unphased by the bridge, she nods. “All thats left, it seems.”

Remus approaches, stopping at Melissa’s side.

Sharpeye shrugs, continuing on. “Well, if the guy’s dying, let’s not waste any more time, shall we?”

Dahan floats towards the village. ‘Yes…there /is/ someone there!’

Pendalis sighs, “Can we just meet them and get it overwith.”

Dahan hurries towards the village quickly.

Pendalis follows,

Dahan heads into Altheor’s Hope .

Dahan has left.

Kai heads into Altheor’s Hope .

Kai has left.

Pendalis heads into Altheor’s Hope .

Pendalis has left.

Sharpeye heads into Altheor’s Hope .

Sharpeye has left.

Namura heads into Altheor’s Hope .

Namura has left.

You head into Altheor’s Hope .

Altheor’s Hope

The structures in this small village are walled with wooden logs and thatched with fronds. All are arranged around a common center with a well. A makeshift marketplace with an ever-changing collection of vendors sets up on the grassy commons, beneath cloth tents that can be easily broken down for transport. A rocky trail winds off toward the west, away from the village and into the mountains.

Remus arrives from Rocky Trail .

Remus has arrived.

Firemane arrives from Rocky Trail .

Firemane has arrived.

Melissa arrives from Rocky Trail .

Melissa has arrived.

Kai wanders in stoping short, and slowly raising his right hand to his hip.

Akalpatra is clustered in a group around a well in the middle of the village, using some of its members’ teeth to work a pully rope that brings a bucket up, full of water. Other members take the bucket in their jaws and pour it into the trough beside the well. Some drink from the trough, while others park on their haunches and stare warily at the newcomers. They do not seem afraid. Just curious.

Hunter arrives from Rocky Trail .

Hunter has arrived.

Pendalis spots the strange creature. “What?”

Dahan floats into the village, higher than usual so as to have three meters clearance with the ground.

Namura blinks.

Remus remains at Melissa’s side, dark eyes taking everything in silently.

Kai takes a slow step forwards.

Melissa stops at the sight of the group, “Ummm….seems we’ve hit the core.”

Pendalis wonders to those near him if it speaks.

Dahan splays its tentacles outward, and addresses the natives. ‘Greetings.’

Akalpatra quirks one of its members heads. A thought comes into your head. ~Core of what?~

Sharpeye observes the creature(s) with narrowed eyes. “Well, now…. How’d they get here from Quaquan?” he seems to ask himself.

Here’s what Akalpatra looks like:

A group of five quadrapedal felinoids with bushy tails and long slender necks, their faces like a cross between jackals and hyenas. Muscular flanks, covered with fur ranging in color from a warm tawny hue to frosty black and gray. The pack regards its surroundings with caution, but also with a wry sort of humor.

Pendalis gives a nice long sigh of relief, “At least it communicates.”

Remus seems unfazed.

Kai looks at the pack, “Do you understand us? What is this core?”

Melissa blinks, growling momentraily for a second, “What we where looking for.” she then responds. “You guys.” what she’s answering to who knows.

Remus glances curiously at Melissa.

Falkenberg looks at Kai. “He was responding to Melissa’s statement, I think.”

One of the members moves forward, sniffing. ~You are not of this place.~

Pendalis looks to the pack, “Obviously not.”

Kai nods in understanding at Falkenberg, “Ahh, I see.”

Sharpeye steps closer to the pack, tilting his head.

Firemane narrows her eyes, squaring her shoulders and regarding the creatures with interest.

Dahan shakes its head in a negative gesture, ‘Most of us are not, but some were at one time.’

Kai looks with interest at the aproaching member.

~How came you across the desert? Are you from a far place?~ the disembodied voice asks within your mind.

Pendalis cocks an eyebrow. “Far indeed.”

Hunter tilts his head slightly, eyes focused on the creatures.

Kai responds, “Yes, we come a long way.”

Namura says, “oh yeah…”

Sharpeye whispers to Dahan.

Melissa mutters to Remus, “… friendly…”

The members of Akalpatra that were slaking their thirst finish, then turn and fix their flinty gazes on the newcomers. They seem content to sit, wagging slightly, and watching.

Dahan sends telepathically, ‘Indeed. We have traveled the stars, and to places beyond them.’

Remus nods, his forehead furrowed in puzzlement.

whoever’s doing the pack animal has read any certain books…

~To what end? All we need is around us,~ comes the voice.

Pendalis shakes his head, “To flee is to travel.”

Kai slowly probes with his mind for any anomolus feelings straying from the pack.

“Excuse me,” Sharpeye says. “Would happen to know anyone else that looks like me?”

Melissa can’t help but smirk a bit at Sharpeye’s question.

‘Curiousity is motivation to explore. And impending invasion reason to move on. Tell me, what do you know of history… My apologies, how should I address thee?’, inquires the Centuaran.

Firemane remains studiously silent. Merely pricking an ear at Sharpeye’s question.

Melissa glances down toward remus, the tugging at her sleeve succesfuly getting her attention.

Kai tilts his head to the side slightly.

Akalpatra swivels one of its snouts toward Sharpeye. ~I know you by your bones.~ Then, to Remus, it responds: ~I know that we are here. We survive. Life abides, as ever, among these ancient mountains.~

Remus mutters to Melissa, “Why are… to… one?… get enough water?””

Melissa frowns a bit eyebrow raised and mutters back.

Kai raises an eyebrow at the mention of bones, “Never one like him alive?”

Falkenberg frowns. He looks at Sharpeye. “What was that you said about

Quaquan a while ago, Sharpeye?”

Melissa mutters to Remus, “… can’t… They’re speaking..”

Pendalis sighs, “There must be. Demarian’s are harder to get rid of than a bad fungus.”

Melissa taps her head and mutters again.

Melissa mutters to Remus, “In our heads.”

Remus shakes his head.

Melissa frowns a tiny bit.

~The upright walkers left, as slaves and fugitives,~ Akalpatra explains. ~Those who could not, died.~

Pendalis hastily clarifies, “They’re so hardy and strong, they can survive anywhere…”

Sharpeye looks toward Falkenberg and says quietly, “I said I’ve met intelligent beings like him on Quaquan in the forests. But not working in packs. Only alone.”

Melissa mutters to Remus, “… get… water?”

Melissa notes her question to remus appears to be a serious one.

Pendalis looks to the pack, “Slaves? To who, the Kretonians?”

Pendalis clarifies, “Aliens.”

Remus nods, glancing over at the pack again.

Kai glances at Melissa for a fraction of a second, before returning his gaze to the creatures before him.

Sharpeye glances toward Akalpatra. “Did *all* of them leave? Perhaps some are left somewhere in the distance.”

Melissa frowns a tiny bit eyes movign to dahan.

Dahan inquires, ‘How were they build, the ones who lead the upright walkers away as slaves?’

Firemane closes her eyes and growls, her claws flexing for a moment. A single show of emotion that is soon suppressed.

~Kretonians?~ the voice asks. ~What are these? And, I know of no others in this place. We have others, however. Insectoids…Odarites…some hoo-mans.”

Pendalis cocks an eye, “Humans? Here, now?”

Melissa raises an eyebrow slighlty at what is being said and mutters to remus again.

Namura blinks at the mention of humans,” Nani?!”

Kai raises an eyebrow, “Humans? Odarites? Are they near?”

~Yes,~ the voice replies. ~Brought here by the Gray Ones to serve as slaves, long ago, working the mines in these mountains.~

Dahan remains relatively calm and composed during these presedings. ‘We are very curious about these other aliens. Were these hoo-mans or Odarites the ones who took the upright walkers?’

Melissa mutters to Remus, “They… where not… away… that there… others… and… They… to… the… by…”

Kai asks, “Are the Gray ones still here?”

Falkenberg nods. “Gray ones. Tell us about them.”

Remus nods, watching the ‘pack’ intently with his dark eyes. “Thankyou.”

“The Grey ones.” Firemane growls softly, before muttering something softly.

~I know only what is passed down from ancestral lore,~ Alkapatra explains. ~It was many gleamings past. They were fierce warriors, sharp of voice, and brutal to that which was not their own.~

Melissa glances at Remus then shifts her eyes to Dahan, “Mr. President.” she calls.

Dahan lowers itself back to a reasonable attitude a couple inches over the ground. It hestiatates, then moves over by the doctor.

Kai’s gaze moves to Melissa for a moment.

Melissa whispers in a low voice to dahan, eyes flitting between him and the new creatures.

“Are you the only one living here?” Sharpeye asks. “Or are there others with you?”

Dahan narrows its’ telepathic communications towards to include just Melissa and Remus.

~The Gray Masters, the ones who ran our mines, were killed many gleamings ago, by our liberators,~ the pack explains. One snout directs itself to Sharpeye. ~There are others. Many others.~

Namura says, “Liberators?”

Melissa thinks…

Kai asks, “Who were these Liberators?”

“Where are these liberators? Who are they?” Firemane asks.

Pendalis looks towards the pack again, “Liberators? Not the Gray Ones, Upright Walkers like us?”

~Fast lizards, flashing claw and fang,~ the pack replies.

Remus tugs Melissa’s sleeve again. “Ask if they’ve seen any dark skinned people. With silver hair.”

Kai asks, “Were they small? or perhaps quite tall?”

Pendalis concludes, “Nall, Maybe one of the other reptiliods.”

~Shorter than an Odarite,~ the pack replies.

Firemane growls, very, very softly. “Saved by the Nalls.” She groans.

Namura says, “Oh…great.”

Kai’s gaze moves to Remus for a moment, and he moves to stand near him.

Melissa grimaces pose looks down at Remus then p towards the others, “What about olive skinned people?” she motions towards remus, “like him..”

Falkenberg stirrs from his musings. “I thought the clawed fist fleet was all but destroyed in the invasion…”

The pack directs three snouts toward Remus. ~No, the scent is unfamiliar.~

Kai looks at Remus, “Or perhaps like me.”

“Nalls,” Sharpeye says with a twitch of a whisker. “Nalls. Maybe that priest caste won after all.”

Pendalis nods, “Maybe they’re good for something after all.”

Melissa glances down at Remus and shakes her head slightly and mutters back.

Melissa mutters to Remus, “… only one… a lot… seen.”

Pendalis reconsiders, “Or maybe they rule now. Worse than the Kretonians, maybe?”

Kai frowns muttering, “Well, it appears the Timonae and Mystics are not on this planet.”

‘Perhaps, but after the invasion caste may have become illrelevant. Tell me, have you seen or heard of any like myself?’, asks Dahan.

Falkenberg sighs. “Well, I wonder what the Nalls on Sanctuary will think of that when they hear of it…”

Kai pushes his hair out of his eyes absently.

The various members sniff at Dahan, then weave their heads back and forth in what might be signatory of a negative response. ~Alien scent.~

Melissa looks towards Dahan then the aliens. She shifts her eyes towards Falk, “Must we tell them?”

Remus nods to Melissa, then frowns, furrowing his brow again, falling silent.

Falkenberg shrugs. “If the nalls are the saviors of the galaxy, they’ll hear of it sooner or later.”

Pendalis sighs, “Centaurans were one of the better ones, too.”

Melissa shifts her attention to the aliens, “You said there where others here..could we see them? speak with them?”

Firemane turns towards Melissa. “They deserve to know.” She looks around. “Just beacuse people are not here, does not mean they are not on other planets.”

~You are first outsiders to come here for very long time,~ Akalpatra replies. ~The others are in hiding. Saw your vessels coming from the sky. Believe the Gray Masters had returned. I will tell them when I rendezvous with them.~

Dahan reaches over to pat Pendalis’ shoulder. ‘I would not place much importance in the fact they do not know me. Possible my people have isolated themselves from a hostile galaxy. Besides, we do not make effective slaves.’

Sharpeye quirks a whisker. “Well, I don’t know about the rest of you, but *I* am going to find out where the rest of my people have gone to. And as quickly as I can.”

Melissa nods in agreement with Sharpeye then looks down to mutter tor emus.

Pendalis nods, “Maybe some humans or similar left.” He looks to Dahan, “Sure. I hope there some Luna left.”

Namura says, “Hmm… I wonder how humans have changed?”

Melissa mutters to Remus, “… have… that… tell them who… are.””

Hunter has reconnected.

Falkenberg nods to Sharpeye. “Well, we have plenty of jump-capable ships. I’d suggest we send people to scout Sol system in the next few days. It was the heart of the Consortium. If there are records, people….we may find them there.”

Firemane nods to Sharpeye. “I’m with you. This can’t be all that is left. It *cannot* be.”

“And I’ll need to have Brightclaw do some checking,” Sharpeye says. “If any Demarians survived here in this system, it’s his intel boys that lived out in the asteroid belts.”

Kai asks the creatures, “Could you perhaps tell us more of your older lore?”

Pendalis nods at Falk, “Count me in.”

Kai nods to Faulk, “My ship is ready and willing.”

Akalpatra forms a sort of loose circle and begins to pad away, tails wagging. ~Must meet with the others. No time to discuss. We will meet again.~

Melissa loosk twoards falk and nods, “I wanna hitch a ride on the first ride to the rocks, other then that. You’ve got me for whatever you need.

Falkenberg turns and looks at Sharpeye. “How could people survive in asteroids for 300 years with no space travel? I think you’d find mummified corpses if you went to look, Sharpeye.”

Dahan tells the natives, ‘Pardon us if we have not been forth coming. We used to live in this section of the galaxy, before the gray ones came.’

Remus nods again. “We should form smaller groups. A large one might make then nervous.”

Kai nods at Remus, “This is a good idea, and perhaps send scouts around the Galaxy, to find any others.”

Dahan warns again, ‘If we travel, remember there is safety in numbers.’

Sharpeye shakes his head. “No, Falk. Cryogenic suspension. Those guys had hardened installations made to withstand total destruction of the entire solar system. So unless their equipment failed or the Kretonians found them, they might be alive. It’s a chance. We’ll have to look.”

Namura looks at Falk and asks, “Where are you headed Falk?”

Falkenberg nods.

Pendalis nods, “We should form a group for each major solar system.”

Falkenberg looks at Namura. “Nowhere, at the moment.”

Hunter looks over to Remus and nods, “It would cut our search time down too.”

Dahan bows towards the departing pack, and expresses it’s gratitude telepathically.

Kai nods at Pendalis, “I have starmaps to the edge of nowhere that I am willing to pass around.”

Falkenberg looks at the group. “Anyone else wonder who or where these “others” are that our four-legged friends are going to meet are?”

Sharpeye says into his commlink, “Heart of Gold, fly over the village on a-grav thrusters.”

[Ch: 102.50] –

Sharpeye says, “Heart of Gold, fly over the village on a-grav thrusters.”

– EOT –

Akalpatra disappears over a hill.

Pendalis nods, “Who’s going to Sol? I’m in.” He looks to Kai and Falk, “You guys gunnah check out Luna?”

Melissa looks twoards Falkenberg and nods, “I don’t see humans hiding out even in this day an age..always been more curious then was good for them.”

Firemane looks around, and then nods to Falk. “Call me suspicous, but I would like to know that..”

Kai shrugs, “I have no preference where I go, Sol is as good as any.”

Hunter says, “I’m in for that one.”

Falkenberg looks at Pendalis. “Not tonight, but soon. I suppose there should be some planning put into it all.”

Namura says, “I’m in.”

Pendalis nods, “I’ll get my atmosphere suit, we’ll check out Luna and Earth and Mars. Maybe some of the asteroid colonies.

Dahan turns to the group, and sends, ‘I will also join the party heading to Sol. It is not far from my own homeworld.’

Pendalis says, “Obviously not tonight.”

Kai shrugs, “Not a lot of planing needed, select crew, depart. Check in.”

Pendalis says, “And Sol appears to have more than one ship needed.”

Falkenberg looks at Kai. “And if we meet a Kretonian…or Nall…battlefleet?”

Pendalis says, “We run like hell.”

Sharpeye grunts. “You need to go in stealthed.”

Remus appears to remain lost in thought.

Melissa nods slightly, “Don’t see planning helping out a whole loto n that regard..”

Falkenberg nods to Pendalis. “And lead them to Sanctuary. Smart.”

Melissa says, “If they were aroudnt hey’d be all around us already.”

Kai shrugs, “I believe I can get there through the outter systems. That is the most likely to be uninhabited.”

Pendalis shakes his head, “Decoy courses, duh. Common tactics.”

Dahan cautions, ‘If we must run, make certain you are not followed lest you lead destruction to the colony ship.’

Kai nods, “Then perhaps we should procure enhancements for my ship before departing.”

Pendalis waves his arms around, “Run that way, once outside sensors head another way, and finally back to ship.”

Hunter says, “Even then, you still leave a trail.”

Firemane nods. “30 second jumps, always screws em up unless they got quick reflexs and go sensors..”

Pendalis nods at Firemane, “Common sense is all we need.”

Kai nods, “Belive me, I’ve had my practice at evasion.”

“And what do you do when they’ve already attached a transmitter to your ship without you knowing?” Sharpeye asks Pendalis. “It needs planning. You don’t go running in blind.”

Kai nods, “No, I agree. But I also feel the urge to action.”

Pendalis slaps his forehead, “No duh. But I have a feeling we won’t encounter much.”

Falkenberg nods to Sharpeye. “I agree. We do this SMART, or we don’t do it. You never just ASSUME you’re good enough.”

Firemane rolls her eyes at Sharpeye. “Then you go. Or let the Vannies do it.”

Melissa frowns, “Planning or no planning, i’m getting to the rocks and soon.”

Pendalis nods at Firemane, “Once again, good point.”

Falkenberg puts his arm around Pendalis. “Kiddo, you say “no duh” one more time in my presence, I remove a limb. Clear?” He smiles.

Kai shrugs, “I am up for all the assistance I can get. I have no wish to find the Krets.”

Firemane mrrrs faintly. “We also have the problem that if we encounter trouble, the Paw’s End and the Getty have taken a beating..”

“Alright,” Sharpeye says. “Well, let’s head back. We’ll discuss this all later. I’m going to recommend prohibiting all unauthorized ship launches. We don’t need some idiots getting everyone killed.”

Hunter looks over to Pendalis, “We’ve waited this long. Is a couple more days going to make a difference in the scheme of things.”

Kai nods, “No, agreed. We can speed this if possible. But I think a refit of the Lost One may be at hand.”

Firemane growls at Sharpeye. “You just try and stop me.”

Falkenberg continues smiling at Pendalis. “Pendalis, you and I are going to have a heart to heart someday soon.” He steps away from him.

Kai nods at Sharpeye, “Agreed, this should be done properly.”

Sharpeye turns to Firemane and lifts a brow. “I will.”

Pendalis nods, “I guess we need to plan, but I won’t be held back if I do complete all the neccesary tasks.”

Pendalis whispers to Firemane.

Melissa shakes her head slighlty, setting off towards the trail, “I’m with them, i’m heading ot the rocks and soon. Ban or no ban.”

Sharpeye quirks a whisker. “I said ‘idiots’. I was not referring to you. But if you want to place yourself in that classification, it’s fine by me.”

Namura says, “Well then?…”

Kai says, “Then I will be working on cordinating the launches, if this is acceptable.”

Falkenberg glances at Pendalis over his shoulder. “Last I heard, you didn’t own a ship, so that won’t be a problem for you.”

Dahan starts down the path.

Remus sighs. “Less than a day, and already they’re ready to resort to violence.” With that, he sits on a nearby rock conveniantly located.

Pendalis looks to Falk, “I crew on one, pal.”

Pendalis follows Dahan.

Sharpeye heads into Rocky Trail .

Sharpeye has left.

Pendalis heads into Rocky Trail .

Pendalis has left.

Namura heads into Rocky Trail .

Namura has left.

Melissa stops as she hears Remus and turns, seeing him sitting she nods towards the trail, “Come on.”

Kai sighs and follows.

Kai heads into Rocky Trail .

Kai has left.

Falkenberg sighs and looks at Firemane. “Will Jest be mad if I kill him and leave him in the desert?”

Remus nods, and then stands again, turning to follow.

Pendalis arrives from Rocky Trail .

Pendalis has arrived.

Namura arrives from Rocky Trail .

Namura has arrived.

Hunter shakes his head, “And I thought my fights with my sisters were bad.” He heads out.

Melissa heads into Rocky Trail .

Melissa has left.

Firemane growls. “Back into a goddamn imperial government alreadly.. Now I know why I left this planet…” She glances at Falkenberg. “As second in command, I’d cover for you..”

Hunter heads into Rocky Trail .

Hunter has left.

Namura heads into Rocky Trail .

Namura has left.

Pendalis looks to Firemane, “Ready to go?”

Falkenberg grins. “I always did like you, Fire.”

Remus heads into Rocky Trail .

Remus has left.

Another long, hot trek through the desert later…

You head into Alkali Flat .

Alkali Flat

Patches of black tarmac can be seen beneath a sweep of sand and alkali on this flat space on the edge of the Sand Mother Desert. Ruins can be seen nearby of a once majestic city – a shattered glass pyramid, the broken stump of a mighty obelisk, and the battered domes of other once important buildings that seem to hunch under the glow of Demaria’s twin suns. In the distance, beyond the desert, one can make out the blunt tips of the distant Stubtooth Mountains.

Pendalis nods, “I hope there’s still some people left in Sol.”

Sharpeye arrives from Desert .

Sharpeye has arrived.

Kai shrugs, “The others were brought here to mine the world by the Krets, we don’t know about the Demarians. But we are working on scouting out the other worlds.”

“All the Demarians left, or were taken as slaves.” Firemane provides, echoing Kai. “The others were brought here as slaves to man some sort of mines..”

Pendalis looks at Sharpeye from the corner of an eye.

Falkenberg flicks off his comm. “I got a transmission from Dahan before he left. He said he was going to Ungstir. Can’t imagine why he’d go alone.”

Kai nods at Pendalis, “Indeed, perhaps we can peice history togeather.”

Sharpeye ambles over the crest of a dune, sliding down the side on his boots before crunching his way over toward the landing area, wiping sand from his jacket.

Kai raises an eyebrow at Falk, “Alone? Already? Blast it. So much for planing.”

Namura says, “Ungstir alone?!”

Firemane nods to Falkberg. “Yeah, got the same thing here.. Me? I’m not going anywhere without Jest’s orders.”

Snowmist is sitting on the boarding ramp to the Heart of Gold, her knees drawn up.

Pendalis nods, “Dahans a wise one, he won’t screw up.”

Falkenberg nods. “Well, I’m not going anywhere without a plan.”

Hunter says, “I’ll send out a patrol. I think I can do that in certain instances.”

Firemane nods. “Sleep is good.” She comments. “I suppose you all want to go back now..” Her gaze tracks to the ruins of the city.

Pendalis nods, “We ready to leave, guys?”

Kai nods at Hunter, “Would you as well inform the Vanguard that I will be organizing a scouting mission to Sol?”

Falkenberg looks around. “We don’t have everyone.”

Hunter nods to Kai, “I have to write up a report anyways, I might as well include the plans.”

Kai nods.

Snowmist quirks a whisker as she spies Sharpeye, more than a little irritated at having been left behind but leaving the issue for now as she stands, brushing off the stray particles of sand that drifts on a light breeze.

“Hey, Mist,” Sharpeye says, walking over. “Remember those wolves on Quaquan? Guess what. They’re here.”

Falkenberg looks around. “Um…where’s Melissa and Remus?”

Kai glances around, “I dont know.”

Snowmist blinks, her ears reluctantly swivelling around from their back-tipped positions. “What?”

Kai asks, “Did they have a comlink with them?”

Sharpeye nods. “Yeps. It’s them. They’re just pack-intelligences now. Or maybe they were on Quaquan, too. We only really saw one of them, after all.”

Falkenberg shrugs. “Dunno. Just know they aren’t here.” He picks up his comm and flicks it on.”

Falkenberg says into his commlink, “Hey doc, you out there?”

[Ch: 102.50] –

Falkenberg says, “Hey doc, you out there?”

– EOT –

[Ch: 102.50] –

Dahan says, “This is the Endeavor, listening.”

– EOT –

Pendalis says into his commlink, “Negative, endeavor, we’re searching for Melissa and Remus.”

[Ch: 102.50] –

Pendalis says, “Negative, endeavor, we’re searching for Melissa and Remus.”

– EOT –

Falkenberg says into his commlink, “Endeavor, we’re missing a couple of people. Are melissa and Remus with you?”

[Ch: 102.50] –

Falkenberg says, “Endeavor, we’re missing a couple of people. Are melissa and Remus with you?”

– EOT –

[Ch: 102.50] –

Dahan says, “Negative.”

– EOT –

“They’re still back at the village,” Sharpeye says.

Snowmist bites her lip, brow furrowing in confusion. “They…so what happened?”

Sharpeye shrugs. “There was only one of ’em that I saw. But I think you got the story from everyone else here.”

[Ch: 102.50] –

Dahan says, “Hailing Ungstir, do you read?”

– EOT –

Sharpeye climbs up onto the ramp, sitting next to her. “I’ll tell you the whole thing later, once I get all this sand outta my fur.”

Firemane remains silent, looking at the ruins of the city, ignoring almost everyone.

Pendalis nudges Firemane as he stands beside her, “Knew some great people here…” he pauses, “They didn’t make it.” He looks away, turning silent. “Maybe some on Luna did, or maybe some from here fled to Sol…” He quiets down and turns away, staring at the city.