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Thread: Life in 4047 (Futuristic Survival - R) RPG Thread

  1. #1
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    Default Life in 4047 (Futuristic Survival - R) RPG Thread

    This is rated R, just in case, since multiple players brought up substance abuse in their sign-ups. Also, this covers any alcohol, the probable violence, and psychological terror this will involve.

    The story so far:
    You are a citizen on the cruise starship Bacchus. What was an average 'morning' has suddenly turned chaotic. First the power cut out, eliminating all lighting, the artificial gravity, and any electronics that are not independent of the grid. Then Mr Miller, the Head Mechanic, was attacked by something terrifying while transmitting an apology for the continued power outage.

    At this point it's time for action, so locate the nearest pair of emergency gravity-boots and get moving. (Apparently my word processor has just decided gravity-boots is a word and added it into the auto-fill list. This is awesome.) Where will you go, what will you do?

    Rules
    1. Please don’t bunny or control others' characters without permission or cause (such as your group is moving together).

    2. Don’t God-Mode, no characters in this RPG is invincible or invulnerable. Everyone can get hurt and die. Don't just find overly-convenient items. Likewise, don’t have your char know things they shouldn't, and do NOT teleport.

    3. This RPG is rated R, that means some foul language, violence/gore/torture, suggestive content, and drug/alcohol use/abuse is allow. This is not an excuse to make posts that are just a string of profanity, make gory posts with the intend of making others may feel ill, or post any NC-17 content. If your characters are going to get ‘romantic’ to the point where clothes are coming off, you’ll need to ‘fade to black’. You can discuss any pregnancies, STDs, costume changes, etc... via PM/VM.

    5. Post your character name, rough location, and status at the top of your post please. This is especially important if you RPG in first person!

    Ship Layout:
    For simplicity, each area on-board will have a deck or two dedicated to it. Since the elevators are currently down, you'll need to use maintenance shafts to travel between decks (good luck Zuri).

    There are observation areas (viewing windows) on all decks, but Hydroponics and the Quite Zone, have the best viewing areas.

    1. Hydroponics/Parks Deck
    2. Navigation/Bridge
    3. Quite Zone (Libraries, Labs, Offices, Medical Bay)
    4. Living Quarters 1
    5. Living Quarters 2
    6. Engineering/Maintenance 1
    7. Engineering/Maintenance 1
    8. Dinning Deck (Food court, fancy dinning rooms, mini marts)
    9. Shopping Deck (Fashion, gadgets, gene mod baby purchase, ect)
    10. Entertainment Deck (shows, nightclubs, sports, ect)

    Status:
    Please post your character's status at the top of your post, with their name. - This is a light survival RPG, so there's no inventory requirement, but each time you enter a new area, I'll roll my trust 20-sided die and give you feedback based on that roll (you don't need to pause and wait for me). This may affect your character’s status, so change it as appropriate.

    Possible Results:
    01-05: Nothing
    06-10: You find a useful item (weapon, light, food, meds)
    11-15: You get a minor injury (scrape, paper cut, stubbed toe)
    16: Big injury (broken bone, laceration, burn, ect)
    17 &18: Minor monster
    19: Medium monster
    20: BIG--- MAMA MONSTER!!!

    Approved Players:
    1. VampirateMace (Shimmer)
    2. Firebrand (Helios)
    -- Firebrand (Zuri)
    3. Kiruria (Nemaforte)
    4. Schade (Alexander)
    5. YoungGoose (Gaige)
    6. Crash & Charm (Charm)
    7. A Ghost (Colith)
    8.
    9.
    10.
    11.
    12.

    Okay, that should be it for now. Let's go:

    Kasey Shimmer Starsmith
    Location: Super Zero Smoothies Shop, Dinning Deck
    Status: Confused (No power), Floating (Zero gravity) Satisfied (Drank smoothie)


    It was dark, too dark. A natural side-effect of Shimmer's slit pupils was better than usual night vision, but that didn't help much in near darkness. All she could see was a few glow in the dark stickers on the shop's supply cabinets and the flicker of another customer's external mobile system. - Shimmer didn't have a mobile system, they mostly were for those with retro fetishes, or natural borns with allergies to the implant materials. Her stupid smart-watch didn't even light up.

    She was also floating, as was most everyone and everything around her. It was kind of like swimming without effort. Shimmer let go of her smoothie cup, and let it float where it might. She didn't feel much like drinking the rest, after hearing Mr Miller's announcement end in terror. She called out to the others in the shop, “Hey, where are the nearest boots?”

    “No idea,” laughed the nasally voice of the shop owner, “I've been on this ship for 53 years, and in all that time, we've never needed them.” Well, Shimmer could identify with that, at 34 she'd never known the power to go out for more than a few seconds, and never long enough to shutdown the artificial gravity.

    Shimmer tried to orient herself towards the shop's exit, if she could get out into the corridors, there should be a glow in the dark decal on the nearest gravity-boot cabinet. Of course, the nearly frictionless of zero gravity was making it kind of hard to move. She tried to swim through the air, kicking her floating table. Struggling, she groped at the nearest cabinet and manage to get ahold of it's handle. From there she was able to pull herself along the cabinets towards the door.

    The hall outside the shop had glow in the dark strips along the floor. Shimmer looked both ways, but really couldn't see anything...

    (now, so we can all see how the die roll works: I rolled a 09 - useful item)

    ...except the glow of an emergency cabinet's decal. Shimmer pulled herself along the wall and opened the cabinet. Feeling around, she was rewarded with a pair of gravity-boots. With a bit of effort she slipped off her golden high-heels and pulled on a pair of boots. She couldn't see them, but she was sure they were hideous. However they did the trick, Shimmer's status is no longer Floating.
    Last edited by VampirateMace; 2nd October 2014 at 5:37 AM.
    Problematic Paranormal Files


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  2. #2
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    Amethist "Gaige" Gaigeman-Kroger
    Location: Her house, Living Quarters 1
    Status: Confused(no power), floating(no gravity), slightly agitated( couldn't finish blueprints)


    Its to dark for her to see anything. She is already at a disadvantage in this darkness, as there was only the slight glow of the emergencey cabnets near her room. She can tell that she is floating. " Mom," Gaige yells hoping her mom will hear her, "where are the gravity-boots again?" " I don't remember where I put yours." her mom responds. "Wow, thanks mom." Gaige says scarcasticly.

    Orienting herself towards the nearest wall in her room, she then swam slowly towards it. Finally reaching the doorway leading to the hall, she exits her room. She grabs around trying to find the way to open them. She finally open one only to find...

  3. #3
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    OOC: Goose, can you please lengthen your post? RPG posts are supposed to be at least 200 word, yours is only about half that (VM me after that and I'll roll for you).
    Problematic Paranormal Files


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    Today's Fact: The Little Mermaid was the last Disney animation with hand painted cels.

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    Charm Scales
    Location: The electronic warehouse, Engineering and maintenance 2
    Status: Confused(no power), floating(no gravity), Surprised but calm


    Charm was floating. She looked around and the lights were all turned off, no surprise there. "There must have been a surge." She mumbled, Kicking her feet helping her glide she landed on the floor, or the ceiling. It was hard to tell which way was up and which was down. The ship was probably still moving or was gradually slowing down. Charm looked around. Still no light. She was holding on to one of the mounted cabinets. The boxes had lids. She couldn’t get the box to open. A faint glow started to emanate from her watch. It was old but it still gave off a faint light. She started to make her way out of the room towards the hanger door. The Hanger door opened by a limply pulley system that was designed to work in Zero-G. CHarm had used the door to let someones ship into the warehouse. She knew that the door would open without electricity. She also knew where the power control box was for the whole ship, and she might be able to turn the emergency power on. That was if she could get to it. It was located On engineering and maintenance 1, on the other side of the ship.

    Continuing to pull herself along she calmed down. The zero-G wasn’t unfamiliar to her as it was to some passengers. She had played along of the zero-G sports and she could move around fairly easily. She kept moving. The minutes were stretching on. It felt like hours were going by. She turned a corner and found the outer wall of the shelves. Now all she had to do was make a complete circle around the room until she found the hanger door. She knew it was on the wall running up and down. She grabbed another handhold and the box opened! Surprised Charm looked inside. Inside was…
    Last edited by Crash & Charm; 3rd October 2014 at 1:36 PM.

  5. #5
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    Helios Vorenus
    Location: 19th-22nd century wing, Library Deck
    Status: Confused (No power), Floating (Zero gravity) Irritated


    When the power had gone out, Helios had simply flicked on the backlight of his tablet reader. Power outages were more common in the obscure library decks on the Bacchus. Only he and perhaps two or three other scholars used them, and the electrical engineers often used their generators to reroute power to other parts of the ship that were struggling. He tended to disregard shipwide announcements. Those irritating announcers with their faux cheeriness. It wasn't until he realized he was floating that the momentary panic set in.

    He took several deep breaths and stabilized himself, sending out several sonar pulses. Everything in the wing seemed to be in order, or at least so it appeared to his inner ear. He carefully maneuvered himself to the door to the wing and out into one of the library nexus chambers. Several pillars made in the old Earth Doric style lined the room, and he made his way over to one of them, his probosces flicking through the air, trying to discern any minute changes in currents and patterns. He dug his fingertips into the small grooves around the pillar to stop himself and managed, with some effort, to hover in place. He drew his legs up beneath him, looking for all the world like one of those mystic martial arts gurus in the silly old kung-fu movies Zuri had been into for a while. Just, you know, with antennae and horns. He took several deep breaths and managed to get into a meditative trance state. Odds were he wasn't going to get through any more Proust today. He began clicking his tongue against the roof of his mouth, sending out methodical sonar pulses every twenty seconds. Each time, they came back the same, the nexus chamber empty of everything but himself and the pillars. Now that he had the chance to quiet his mind and think, he reflected back to the announcements. First had come the canned new destination one and then the power had gone out. That buffoon of a chief engineer that got on Zuri's case far too often for Helios's liking had come on then, talking about a systems failure and then... and then...

    Stars above. And then he'd been attacked. Something was loose on the engine decks and that meant... Zuri.

    Helios cursed his uselessness in a situation like this. Much as he wanted to race to his adopted sister's defense, he knew he would only get in the way if something truly menacing was with her. Not to mention how truly massive the engine decks were, he'd be lost in no time. In his nervousness he sent out three quick sonar pulses in rapid succession. The first two came back normal, but the third pinged on something. Something new.

    Zuri Vorenus
    Location: 2nd Engineering Deck, near Elevators
    Status: Confused (No power), Floating (Zero gravity) Royally Pissed Off


    When the lights kicked out, Zuri knew something was wrong. She had just finished her shift of drone supervision and was on her way to meet Helios on the library deck. On a lark, a year or so back, they had looked up some really ancient Babylonian curse words, and Zuri hissed out several choice ones now. She banged her claws against the dead elevator shaft, knowing it wasn't going to restore power but feeling the satisfaction she always got when she hit something. The shock of impact sent her spiraling back, and she spread her wings to reduce drag. She kicked off the wall back towards the shaft and hit it again, quickly getting the hang of the bounding motions required to maneuver in zero-g. It wasn't all that different from gliding, just that she didn't fall. Engine deck 2 was on the lower end of the ship, and she needed to get the upper parts to find Helios. If something bad was going down, her brother needed her to protect him. After pounding the plexiglass door ineffectually for another few minutes, she drew her auto screwdriver out of her belt and set it against the door, bracing herself with one clawed hand on and exposed pipe. The whirling head of the screwdriver screamed in protest as a series of cracks spread up the glass. She crowed out a laugh and applied more pressure, weakening the structural integrity of the door to the point where a well-placed kick shattered it, sending iridescent shards spraying out into the empty elevator shaft. Zuri bounded after them, spreading her wings as she soared up into the expanse.

    Normally Centaurans could not fly due to their dense bone structure, but in zero-g there were no such limitations. She vaulted off of small grooves in the wall, alighting just long enough to gain a little traction and angle her next ascent before leaping up into the yawning chasm above her once more. She kept her feathered crown close to her scalp to reduce drag and exulted in the feeling of her feathers flying back with each leap. She had a long climb ahead of her to reach the upper decks and it would undoubtedly leave her exhausted, but she had never experienced anything quite like this before. As she rocketed upwards again, she caught something out of the corner of her eye.
    3DS FC: 0748-3041-6462

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    @ Crash & Charm (Charm): 01 - Nothing
    As you feel around in the darkness, you find the box was completely empty, save for some dust and a couple small electronic screws. Whatever was stored in this box is no longer there.

    @ Firebrand (Helios): 04 - Nothing
    False alarm, it's just a reproduction bust of some famous author that floated into the room.

    & (Zuri): 13 - Minor Injury
    Unfortunately Zuri's control of her body in zero-g isn't quite as good as she thought, and she's drifted into the elevator's cables.

    Kasey Shimmer Starsmith
    Location: Corridor, Dinning Deck
    Status: Confused (No power), Secured (Gravity-boots) Satisfied (Drank smoothie)


    Firmly on the ground, Shimmer considered her next move. She knew nothing of engineering, having never had a reason to set foot there outside the one time she was forced to take a field-trip there instead of plugging into the learn-o-matic. She rubbed the socket on the back of her neck. She didn't really need it anymore, being out of school, but every now and then she'd get invited to a virtual reality game, so it was still convenient to have it, rather than all the gear players without a socket have to wear. Really she couldn't think of anyone who'd bothered to get their socket removed, totally unnecessary surgery.

    Still, Mr Miller was in trouble, and that bothered her. So then, maybe she could download a schematic through her socket? No, wait, the power was out. So there was no way she'd find him before any rescue team, and who or whatever attacked him. What had attacked him? That thought bothered Shimmer, she felt like she'd better find a weapon. Of course weapons were almost unheard of on the Bacchus, so she'd have to improvise.

    Shimmer felt her way along the wall, until she found another door. Taking a breath, she pulled it open...
    Last edited by VampirateMace; 4th October 2014 at 4:31 AM.
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  7. #7
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    (Could we do your rolls for your character?)

    Charm Scales
    Location: The electronic warehouse, Engineering and maintenance 2
    Status: Confused(no power), floating(no gravity), annoyed(nothing in the box)


    “Darn it!” Charm said aloud. The box way empty of everything useful in desperation she flung the box into the cabinets. Because of the Zero-G the box flew with good amount of force and in a strait line. It hit one of the shelves and knocked some of the other boxes flying. Now the room had a few boxes just hovering moving slightly. She continued circling the room until she found the lever. Her hand felt it and she pulled. A large door opened flooding the warehouse with the blue light from the nearby star. All of the maintenance rooms opened into the central deck. It was located on the outside of the ship and had large viewing glass that let light in. Luckily the ship was oriented so the light was let in.

    Charm’s status in no longer confused

    She continued to the maintenance hatch. Pulling on the handles on the ceiling. All of the observation domes had them. On all four sides of the hatch there were levers. All she had to do was pull all of them and the door would swing open. She opened the hatch. On the other side there was…
    Last edited by Crash & Charm; 14th October 2014 at 12:38 PM.

  8. #8
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    OOC: Crash, yeah, if you have a 20-sided die, or wan to find a random number generator online to set as 1-20, then sure.

    I think you're a little confused there in the second half of your post though. Zuri is in the elevator shaft, which would be covered by something more substantial then a hologram (note in Firebrands post where she had to drill the plexiglass to even get in there) because both the possibility of a fall or getting smacked by a 2 inch cable are bad. You may also want to back off on the references to the past unless you've talked to Firebrand, because there's a no bunnying (controlling other's characters) rule in effect.
    Last edited by VampirateMace; 5th October 2014 at 6:16 AM.
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    Today's Fact: The Little Mermaid was the last Disney animation with hand painted cels.

  9. #9
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    Thanks. I will edit my post then.

    @ VampirateMace (Shimmer) 16 - Big injury
    The door is jammed shut. Shimmer continues to yank and pull on the handle. The handle pops off and because of the Zero- g Shimmer goes flying back hitting a table. Unfortunately she tried to stop the fall with her leg. She breaks her ankle.

  10. #10
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    OOC: Okay guys, hopefully you all keep your posts in Saved Files; If you have 'em, repost 'em. If you don't then try to reconstruct their content as best you can.

    Here's everything I have:

    @ Crash: OOC: Thank you for editing, even if it was bit late.
    (Charm): 03 - Nothing
    The area ahead of Charm is clear of anything unusual.

    @ Schade: OOC: Thank you, but Crash already rolled for me. And yes, I suppose we could use a Discussion Thread.
    (Alexander): 12 - Minor Injury
    Though he feels no pain, Alexander scuffed-up his artificial skin when he fell into the table.

    Firebrand
    (Zuri): 19 - Medium Monster
    As Zuri shines her light into the darkness of the 19th-22nd Century section, she catches a glimpse of something slimy, with more legs than should be allowed, slithering off towards the Romance section. It might not be wise to follow it.

    Kasey Shimmer Starsmith
    Location: Corridor, Dinning Deck
    Status: Confused (No power), Secured (Gravity-boots) Satisfied (Drank smoothie) Hurt (Broken leg, sore back)


    The door Shimmer tried wasn't opening, so she gave it another good yank. Unfortunately, the handle popped off, and Shimmer stumbled backwards, flailing. The edge of an anchored display table hit her square in the back, and backing off of it, she slipped and fell.

    Crack. It kind of hurt, and then it didn't hurt much. Shimmer had never heard her body make such a sound, and suspected it wasn't good. Could it be a broken bone? She'd heard of such things happening to extreme athletes and occasionally the klutzy, but she couldn't actually remember anyone she knew breaking a bone. She felt down her leg, if definitely didn't feel normal.

    In denial, Shimmer tried to stand. Nope. That hurt, that really hurt. Shimmer realized she was still holding the handle. She threw it away from her in frustration. It echoed as it hit a wall. Plink, plink, plink.

    “Help! Anyone? I think I've broken my leg!” shouted Shimmer into the darkness. Everything would be fine, someone would hear her and taker her to the med deck, where they'd stimulate the bone in her leg to grow, once the power came back on. If the power came back on. Shimmer slid herself under the display table with a whimper. She hoped someone would come, but she didn't want them to trip over her.

    ___

    @ Kiruria (Nemaforte): You didn't really enter a new area or do anything that really warrants a roll, but here's one if you want it:
        Spoiler:- Gratuitous Roll!:


    Kasey Shimmer Starsmith
    Location: Corridor, Dinning Deck
    Status: Confused (No power), Secured (Gravity-boots) Satisfied (Drank smoothie) Hurt (Broken leg, sore back)


    Shimmer felt a little cold as she waited. Sure the Bacchus wasn't being heat regulated, but it was probably too early to feel any of the cold of space from that, so she wasn’t sure where this cold sensation was coming from. Her heart was racing, and she was breathing hard, like she did when she worked out or played zero-g sports. She tried to calm herself down, whispering, “I'm okay, I'm okay. Somebody will come soon.”

    (Since Shimmer's never had a reason to be scared beyond childhood fears and horror movies, she doesn't know what real terror feels like. I'm mentioning this is to clarify that she's not in shock, just fairly scared.)

    And somebody did, a man's voice called down the hall, “Hello? Girl? I'm coming to get you. Where are you?”

    “I-I'm under one of the display tables,” explained Shimmer, “watch out for those, they really hurt.”

    “Gotcha,” replied the gentleman. She could hear the heavy thud of his gravity-boots getting closer, then low, underneath the other sounds and sensations, there started a faint rumbling. The man's footsteps paused, and he asked, “What the hell is that?”

    “I don't know,” cried Shimmer shaking her head, despite the fact she knew he couldn't see her. The rumbling increased, and simultaneously, his footsteps did as well. Shimmer called out to him to make sure her wouldn't pass her by, “I'm here, I'm here.”

    Soon thee was a smack on the table and she felt a hand grab urgently at her. The man was shouting, as he helped her out from under the table, “Come on, we got to get out of here before it gets us!”

    What? As he and Shimmer hobbled along the hall, she was able to take stock of the situation. Ahead of them, she could see the Super Zero Smoothies Shop's door, faintly illuminated by a mobile device, which the owner was waving ever more urgently as the rumbling increased. Shimmer turned to look behind them, she knew it was a bad idea, but she had to know. She felt the marrow of her bones go cold. The mobile's device did not reach the inky blackness behind them, but she could see pulsating bio-luminescent spots, briefly illuminating the massive circular rows of teeth below them as they flashed.

    Her throat suddenly felt dry, and she wanted to scream, but all she could force herself to do was mover her good leg faster. The mobile's glow was growing closer, she might even be able to see the monster clearly now, but she dare not look. Suddenly she felt herself shunted sideways, and fell into the smoothie shop's door, just below the floating feet of the customer with the mobile. There was a muffled scream as the doorway was blocked by a wall of flesh, rowed with pulsating bio-luminescent dots and lots of little legs on both the top and bottom. Slime scraped off it along the metal doorpost, as the creature passed by.

    There was a huge nasty creaking and grinding, and then the rumbling faded away.

    Shimmer gathered herself up into fetal position, well, save for the broken leg, that lay there limply. She could feel tears welling up in her eyes, “He saved me, and I never saw his face, never even asked his name.”

    “It's not you fault...” commented the customer with the retro mobile, as he flipped to look at her closer, “Man, you really did a number on your leg. We need to get you up to the Med Deck..”

    “You'll need to take the Maintenance Shafts,” commented another man drifting closer, “the elevators will be down.”

    The guy with the mobile was looking out into the hall now, “We should be safe... for now, looks like it chewed it's way down into the Shopping Deck. I wouldn't want to be down there right now.” He turned to Shimmer, “Here, take off your Gravity-boots, I'll put 'em on and you can hold onto me... I'm Richter by the way, you can call me Rick though.”

    “S-Shimmer,” replied Shimmer as she started to unlatch the boots.

    “Here, take some food with you,” wheezed the shop owner handing him couple granola bars and a pack of cookies. Rick shoved these into the front pocket of his sweatshirt. It was printed with glow-in-the-dark ink, in a pattern of lines and dots that Shimmer vaguely recognized. It took a moment for her brain to find the information that that the learn-o-matic had stored there. It was a picture of the Orion, a constellation seen from Ancient Earth.

    After Rick put on the gravity-boots, and Shimmer wrapped his arms around his neck, the two of them set off. Rick examined the hole in the deck once more, “Well we can't go that way.”

    “That means we have to go the way it came from,” worried Shimmer, “You don't think there's more of them this way do you?”

    “Probably not,” shrugged Rick, “It was awful big for more than one to fit in a hall.” After a moment he chuckled and spoke again, “You know, as a teenager I always got made fun of for being a retro-technophile, which sounds wrong, but it really just means I love old technology... but right now, I'm the one with a girl hanging onto him.”

    “Cute,” snickered Shimmer at his ill-timed attempt to flirt. Sure, it lightened the mood a little, but this was serious danger they were in.
    Problematic Paranormal Files


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    Today's Fact: The Little Mermaid was the last Disney animation with hand painted cels.

  11. #11
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    (OOC: I wrote a post where Helios and Zuri got to the med deck like an hour before the forum went down so I'm just going to combine them here)

    Helios Vorenus
    Location: 19th-22nd century wing, Library Deck
    Status: Confused (No power), Floating (Zero gravity) Calm


    Helios had managed to keep his center of gravity fairly constant by bracing himself against the carved column in the library atrium. Every ten seconds he sent out another sonar pulse, though they all came back the same. Aside from the debris floating from the open reading rooms, his immediate surroundings were devoid of life. His probosces were attuned to the slightest shifts in air currents. When he heard a door hiss open, he sent out a rapid burst of sonar, identifying something vaguely human-shaped. He reached out and grasped the bust of Murakami. It wouldn't make for a very good weapon, it was too hard to get a good grasp on, but he only needed one good hit. "Helios?" the hazy figure whispered.

    "My god, Zuri," Helios gasped, kicking off the pillar and gliding to his sister. "I thought... when I realized what had happened... there's something in engineering."

    "Engineering 1," Zuri said. "That's where Miller was. I was in 2 today. Probably saved my life."

    Helios ran his hand through Zuri's feathers, slick with perspiration. "How did you get here?"

    "Came up the elevator shaft," Zuri said. "What's our next move? We can't stay here."

    Helios thought for a second. "Engineering 1 is out. Shopping and Entertainment decks have nothing worthwhile for us to use, and for all we know they've descended into anarchy already. Anyone with any sense would be going to the parks deck, safety in numbers and all that. Not to mention that it's open to the stars so there would be light... hm, but perhaps it would be wiser to got to the dining deck and scavenge some food?" Zuri nodded and then winced. Helios turned his head to the side. "What's the matter?"

    Zuri shook her head. "It's nothing. I got my foot caught in an elevator cable on the way up and twisted my ankle. I'll be fine."

    Helios inspected the leg in question. "Perhaps, but might it become a liability later on? We do not know how long this infernal blackout will last. Let's get you taken care of on the medical deck and stock up on some supplies there. I do not doubt that in a little while, medicine will be worth its weight in gold."

    Zuri nodded weakly and clutched Helios's shoulders as he moved to bound across the atrium. "Be careful."

    "Yes, I know."

    "No, you don't understand, there's something out there and I... I... damn it, I'm so exhausted I can't think straight. Listen to me Helios, something got to Miller."

    "Yes, I heard the announcement."

    "Listen! No, you don't understand, it's... aliens, monsters, I don't bloody know!" She swore in Babylonian. "Those monsters are here!"

    Helios nodded gravely. "They must be, to have caused the current engine trouble..."

    "I don't mean that!" Zuri was on the verge of hysteria. She gestured madly at the Romance wing. "When I first came in, I saw something. Like a spider I think, but too large and with too many legs! It went in there! I think you might have lured it with your sonar."

    Helios kicked over to the door of the wing and peered as best he could into the darkness. "Undoubtedly inadvisable to engage," he murmured as he groped for the panel that controlled the pneumatic door, installed so that readers could have privacy. When he found it, he sent three sonar pulses into the dark room. A scrabbling noise came from the other end, but he could identify no monsters or any other passengers. As whatever Zuri saw scrambled closer, he slammed down on the mechanism that sent pressurized air through the doors, securing them shut. Whatever was on the other side scrambled against the door but apparently could not break through. Helios sighed. "That settles that, for now. One down, an incalculable number left." He turned to his sister. "Let's get you to the med bay."

    Zuri took off the belt she wore slung over her shoulder and looped it through the one on her waist. "I'll need you to pull me. I'm exhausted from climbing up here."

    "Don't worry," Helios said, running his fingers through her blue feathered crest. "I'll always be here to help you."

    They carefully made their way to the elevator shaft and picked their way through the shattered glass left behind from Zuri's entry. Helios towed Zuri down as he descended by way of an access ladder. He sent sonar pulses up and down the shaft to ensure no skittering monsters got the drop on them. However, by trying to observe so much he missed a loose shard of glass jutting from the wall, just beneath his hand. He swore as he cut open his palm, globes of red blood floating up into the air. He sucked at his palm and wrapped the belt he used to tow Zuri around his hand to staunch any further blood flow. He did not know if the spidery monsters were drawn to blood or body heat or whatever, but was taking no chances. It was not long after that the two of them reached the medical bay and used Zuri's rotating screwdriver to break through the access hatch. Helios wondered if this would allow the monsters to proliferate throughout the ship, but at the moment it couldn't be helped. Perhaps he and Zuri would be able to find a way to seal these breaches again in due course, but for now it was a necessary risk. Besides, other passengers might not have the same equipment Zuri did and would be trapped on their respective decks, just waiting for a monster to manage to sneak up on them. At least now, even as they made access to the various decks easier for the monsters, they were making more escape routes.

    He and his sister glided through the darkened corridors of the hospital deck, searching for an empty ward. When the power on the ship went out, the passengers on life support would not have survived very long. Several of the wards they looked into had a corpse floating amidst the sundry medical equipment. Low moans of pain came from further down the corridor from those too injured to move. Zuri kept glancing over her shoulder when they passed a room with a poor unfortunate soul in it. "We can't do anything to help them," Helios said, stalwartly keeping his gaze forward. "And we'll have to work quickly. This place will be overrun before too long. I don't know how these abominations communicate, but once they learn our wounded and weakest are here, they'll swoop down faster than the old Earth drones on the Jovian lunar oilfields."

    Zuri nodded. "They're like no other species I've ever encountered. I don't know if they're like... hive things or autonomous or whatever. But whatever they are, most people here won't get out alive." She sighed and preened her feathers. "I guess that means it's even more important to take what we can now. We may not get another chance."

    They soon found an empty medical bay, and Helios quickly went to work ransacking it. First he bound up his hand with clean bandages, once again cursing his clumsiness. Once that was done, he got painkillers for Zuri and managed to cobble together a rudimentary splint for her ankle. ("Just in case," he told her. "We don't want complications down the line. I'll take it off soon.") Then, he took whatever he could carry of cold medicine, bandages, minor painkillers and medical tape. Finally, after rummaging through a cabinet, he produced two syringes of adrenaline. He held one out to Zuri. "Your call, Zuri. We're both tired, but do we take our chances and save these for later, or do what we can now?"

    Zuri considered for a moment before taking the syringe. "Maybe it would be better to hang on to them but... well, if we wait, we may never get the chance." She jammed the needle into her leg, winced, and injected the serum. Helios did the same a moment later. As newfound energy coursed through them, the two adopted siblings set about investigating with renewed vigor. "There's got to be something here," Zuri said as she swept out the contents of a cabinet. "Something worth trading for."
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