013. Dead and/or Hiding

[oracle - anything useful nearby? Obscured Ruins]

There's another hole halfway up a plateau! Maybe this was a previous mine that's been cleared? Mongoose attempts to see if they hide in this cavern, cut the engines, and escape pursuit that way

[gain ground - shadow - strong hit]

"Hang on, this is probably dumb!" Mongoose comes in low, then points the nose of Ultraviolet up, lowers the landing gear, and with precision timing, or dumb luck, cuts the engine and all power at exactly the right time to arc the ungainly lump that is the Ultraviolet into the cavern, resting every so gently on the articulated landing legs that scrape along the smooth rock floor of the abandoned cave, similiar to Sisyphus. The legs bend and take the weight of the ship with nary a jostle to Mongoose and Wayfinder. It is dark in the cockpit, and Mongoose fumbles for one her light rods from her pouch, and in the sudden brilliance Wayfinder sees Mongoose's shocked face, split into a grin and raise her eyebrows like "huh? Did you see that?!"

Wayfinder is more pale than usual, and just snorts and shake her head.


[Get free from the Savarin Frigate: ****______]

In this tense situation, hiding, Wayfinder can't help but whisper "this is crazy! They could be shooting missles into this cave and we wouldn't know until we're dead!"

"These canyons are deep, and we'd been out of sight for a while, and other than heat, which I hope is hidden by the cave, we're a dead lump of metal. A lot of my strategies involve playing dead or hiding, and this is both!"

"Well, the longer we wait, more ships might turn up. I was worried it would Vayan themself, but if they know I'm here, you can bet they're on their way too"

"Fine, a few more minutes, then we book it low and fast, and then make for orbit and the Drift. Any more 'safe havens' we should go to" Mongoose asks, dripping in sarcasm

Wayfinder doesn't pick up on it "no, let's book it to a new sector, maybe heading towards the Expanse. I know it's a lot to ask, and I pulled you into this mess, but Slag was after the bounty on you in particular, and it's not safe in Savarin space"

Mongoose doesn't know what to feel. Numb at a milk run salvage turning into being wanted by a founder clan, and knowing that Wayfinder killed her 'friend' Slag to help Mongoose escape.

Anyway, start the engines quickly, reverse out, fly hard and fast on a perpendicular route for a hundred klicks maybe, and then break for orbit, hopefully before being spotted.

[Gain ground - edge - strong hit with a match]

They don't even catch a whiff of sensors scans hitting the area they're racing through

[Get free from the Savarin Frigate: ******]
[+1 next roll]

Mongoose is in the zone. And whoops and hollers, banking through the canyons at break-neck speed. Glances over, hoping that Wayfinder is freaking out, but the grizzled ex-Savarin-marine is watching the sensors for even a whiff of even a reflected whisper of their pursuer's scanner. Obviously Wayfinder is accustomed to being in risky situations for prolonged periods. Mongoose is peeved at that.

'OK, making a break for orbit ' - Ultraviolet tilts directly up, full power to engines.

[gain ground - edge - weak hit]

No visual on the Savarin Frigate, and certainly not doing active scans to give away their position.

Mongoose aims in no direction in particular, and starts activating the e-drive

[take decisive action -weak hit - spend momentum, make a strong hit]


"Suck shit dickheads!" yells Mongoose. And slumps back in her chair.

[Mark Progress: Deliver the Computer Core 
 and Vayan belongings from The Drift Runner to Wayfinder :9 boxes]`

[Progress Roll: Deliver the Computer Core 
 and Vayan belongings from The Drift Runner to Wayfinder 
 :Weak Hit = 9 vs 10 | 5]`

plan to make another iron vow to get the full vow reward, so...

Wayfinder stands from the copilot chair (a chair she had to sweep off some air scrubber Mongoose had been cleaning at some point), rests her hand on Mongoose's shoulder, and then slowly lifts it again when she feels Mongoose tense up. "So which sector we headed to, Ace?"

Wayfinder points out into the Drift "ex-plus - unless that's another Savarin Sector?"

"No. Well, all the Founder Clans have ships everywhere, but no, not one of the Savarin claimed or contested ones."

Mongoose lifts the flight harness release hatch in the middle of her chest, and the straps fall away letting her stand, and roll her shoulders.

She surprises Wayfinder a bit by asking softly, "what actually happened down there?".

Wayfinder grimaces, scratches at the scarred side of her face with a cybernetic finger. Mongoose wonders, is that arm new? Shinier than before? "While you were unpacking th stuff, I went to see Slag, it had been a while. You see, we'd served on ships before - he was a professional battle medic for hire - the Clans mainly use mercenaries for everything. I was one of those few who actually enlisted.

"Anyway. He's patched me up plenty of times. But, I saved his life on this shitty little moon Savarin Clan was fighting Murad Clan for. Fuck knows why, but of a squad of 20 soldiers and 4 ops personnel, only he and I made it out alive, and only because I dragged him out.

"He left service soon after, heard he was here, thought he'd be cool.

"I entered that airlock, and as soon as I was out of my vacsuit, that fucker knocked me out. Woke up in a hospital bed, with him sitting by the bed. He looked rough. He'd upgraded my arm!". Wayfinder raises it, a mixture of shiny chrome and white ceramic, rotating her wrist.

"But then he says, he has to sell you, Ace. That Savarin are on their way. Following a tracking device they put on Ultraviolet at Lagrange. He showed it to me. He must have found it and removed it. So, because he owed me, he said he'd keep my presence a secret.

"I declined his deal." She smiles grimly at Mongoose, her eyes full of sorrow. "Said I owed you more, and that we were leaving. That fucker tried to threaten me, said he's cut me in for the bounty if I went along with it. Otherwise he could tell Savarin that I was here too. I pretended to think it over, to agree with him.

"Then I snapped his neck with the new arm he gave me. And then I found you."

Mongoose is silent for a few beats. Processing that a simple salvage vow turned into nearly dying several times. Almost being handed over to Savarin to be tortured, experimented on, killed. That Wayfinder killed her war buddy due to feeling indebted to Mongoose.

"I... I don't know how to process that." She paces a bit, stares into the Drift.

"Why did he fix me up so well?" she asks, giving the hydraulic knee brace a little flex.

"Slag was a doctor, and Sisyphus had some surprising medical facilities. Guess he saw a sub-standard job and had to do a better one. An ego thing, not an altruistic thing." Wayfinder folds her arms, head down, not meeting Mongoose's eye. "I owe you a lot, and, I'm determined to see you to safety. So, I'm hanging around until I can pay you back somehow. I'm good in a fight"

[connection milestone]

Mongoose is silent, still looking out the windscreen. "You said those experiments, on the Drift Runner. Those spacers, they'd been having visions?"

Wayfinder frowns at the sudden change in topic. "Yeah, they..."

"They visited a precursor vault, and had a vision, of something... that something very bad is going to happen unless a door remains closed. Of a constellation of three stars before an indigo nebula..."

Wayfinder frowns some more, and says "I don't think I said all that,"

"It seems like I'm lucky I wasn't one on those grubs on your operating tables." She glances at Wayfinder, then down at her fists, resting on the dash. "I touched something I shouldn't have, had that vision, and now I don't know if it's my own free will wanting to find this gate, or some complusion, a compulsion I apparently share with many others. I have the dream almost every night. I got this ship, left my people, and am out here trying to save the galaxy, because I thought I was chosen to do so."

Wayfinder, shocked, just says "fuck."

Mongoose agrees, 'fuck.'

"I only know what I know from talking to people in the mess hall back on Drift Runner. The scientists, the other marines tasked with guarding the 'test subjects'. But I think it's something to do with artificial intelligence. The ship's A.I", Wayfinder gestures in the direction of the shielded storage bin she put the AI core in, "it was pushing some agenda. It thought only people with specific genetic markers were having the visions - and it was trying to invent a biological-machine interface to process these Precursor visions itself" Wayfinder visibly shudders. "Drift Runner was becoming a ship of horrors. I had to do something. Others agreed. Hence the mutiny. The failed mutiny. All those people, dead. And I should be too.

"I asked you to grab the AI, because it is resposible for the experiments I think, but, now, I also think it might have answers to your visions."

"Well, I'm shit with computers. No idea how to talk to one safely. OK, maybe we should try to find someone good with computers and firewalls to help us get information from that thing."

Wayfinder nods "A good a plan as any. So long as Savarin doesn't get it back, I'm happy."

Mongoose pulls out her dark iron pendant "I vow to find someone who can get answers from this AI"

(realise here I forgot to roll the Move: Swear an Iron Vow)

Wayfinder gives her a look "You ironsworn are a different breed."

"The Forge is chaos. An ironvow is a laser target to your destiny", Wayfinder looks a bit embarrassed "that what my parents always said." and then, a bit more defiantly, "I swore on iron to get you that core, and that stuff of Vayan's, so that's what had to happen. And did happen".

"Do you have any spare dark iron, that I can have?"

Mongoose gives Wayfinder a look, like "are you mocking me?" but goes to the storage bin shelves, close to the AI, and pulls out a rough convex jagged bit of dark iron, like a piece of broken egg shell, from a very big dark iron egg. And hands it to Wayfinder.

Wayfinder looks Mongoose in the eye "I swear on iron - I vow to keep Mongoose safe on her vow to get answers from the A.I, or I'll die trying"

Mongoose searches Wayfinder's face for mockery, but only sees intense sincerity, and looks away, flushed. Nods vaguely in acknowledgement, over her shoulder, and runs off to her quarters.

(will convert Wayfinder to a companion once I get more XP)

[undertake an expedition - edge - miss - pay the price] - a peril at the next waypoint