We are beginning a campaign with DragonStar as the focus, but we will be allowing characters from DragonStar, Fading Suns, Darwin's World, Star Wars, Gamma World, Alternity and any other Sci-Fi related adventure RPG. We too have played Alternity, and We will be introducing many of the races, skills and technology from our previous Alternity campaigns. We have been working on how to layout the entire cluster of galaxies and we too have come up with a Star*Drive, Fading Suns, Star Wars and Dragons Star galactic zones.
We will also be introducing all elements of SpellJammer and even Dark Sun World after a bit of conversion to d20 rules. We have the D&D supplement on conversions and it is quite straight forward so lookout for SpellJammer and Dark Sun World conversions coming to a website near you. If we can't find 'em, we'll convert 'em.
We can't disclose much at this time, but the campaign will take the heroic characters through a bit of an intro to the humanioid/dragon domain tech/magic world then toss them into a most interesting yet disturbing world of non-humanoid forms who come from far away galaxy. They have been with us all along, but my heroes will venture to the first humanoid world mysteriously overcome by these entities. The entities will range from something similar to Beholders, Shambling Mounds, Gibbering Mouthers, Ocre Jelly and the like (lookout Cthullu).... imagine millions of years of Green Slime evolution. The characters will be praying to get out... along the way they will encounter survivors on this torn world they have come to rescue. Some survivors will be happy to see the heroes, others won't be so happy.
Using DragonStar and Fading Suns and other RPGs in one campaign opens up new and different levels of Magic. DragonStar goes on the D&D3 precept of having Arcane and Divine Magic and even Psionics. Fading Suns treats these as skills for Psi and Theurgy - similar effects but different reasons. Darwin's world has mutations too. Lastly, Star Wars has the Force. These power implementations will play an important role in the systems the heroes will visit.
Character Background Profiles
The characters finds themselves aboard a large interstellar vessel traveling to many planets on the way to Degtra a new planet that needs cultivating. The Dragon Empire has opened Degtra for colonization and exploration. The characters feel that they may be able to make a name for themselves or at the very least become wealthy in helping to bring culture to Degtra.
Most of the characters come from poor worlds and are provided meager living quarters and board.
As the characters board the vessel, their weapons, armor and most gear has been placed in a sub-hold aboard the ship. This is a safety precaution on this type of transport vessel. The vessel has thousands of passengers and therefore to insure everyone's safety, personal weapons are not allowed.
Somewhere along the Galactic Rim a new planet has just been opened for colonization. Named Degtra, entrepreneurs from across the galaxy are flocking towards it, looking to make their fortune.
As the passengers board their ships, they are searched for weapons or magical items secreted about their person. Many try to hide a gun but the guards are thorough and few manage to get aboard.
Even with the advances of today's age, Degtra is a fair distance away and the trip will be long. As such, the star ships that are to transverse the distance to the distant planet are almost small cities in the amenities they offer. Our story begins within a bar, as these stories so often do …
Syd sat alone within the bar at a small table. He sipped slowly at his drink as he reviewed the spells stored within his datapad. He had been surprised to find someone on this transport that had known him from his days at Eldritch Software. Apparently someone had managed to bring a magical item aboard ship, an item his old acquaintance wanted badly. He had offered Syd a substantial amount of money if it could be obtained.
Zoltan stood off to one side of the bar watching the door. He had seen a magical item that had been smuggled on board the ship and hoped to rid the universe of its presence. He sipped at his drink as he reflected on the number of magic items that he had destroyed since Forsaking magic.
Milo sat on a barstool watching the door as well. He had likewise heard of a magical item on board, and hoped to add it to the collection he owned. He was already prepared to pay a small amount and just hoped the owner was willing to sell.
Orendil sat at a table across from Syd, watching the door. He had learned of an enslaved Fairy trapped on this ship. He hoped to at least protect her, if not free her. Someone who could perpetuate such crimes on the free magical creatures of nature surely must have the blackest of hearts.
Xerxan walked down the hall, the magical container he had recently obtained clutched in his claw. Alahandra, trapped within, futilely yelled at him as they strode down the hall. Hopefully, he could get rid of the container and the annoying little Fairy trapped within while getting some creds at the same time.
Finally, Syd saw the man he had been waiting for entering the bar. The man wore a heavy cloak that hid many of his features but it was still obvious that he was not only of Dragon descent, but of Drow as well. Signaling him over Syd motioned for the stranger to take a seat.
Xerxan sneered as he sat down. He placed a small glass container on the table then drew the cloth covering it away. Underneath was a small lamp with strange metal implements making up the top and bottom. Inside the lamp itself was a small fairy, futilely glaring out at the two of them.
Negotiations were quick and brutal.
"How much is the asking price?" asked Syd.
"One-hundred-thousand creds," shot back Xerxan.
Syd spluttered out that he could not pay that price, nor was it likely anyone else in this bar could. Xerxan just stood up as Alahandra began shouting at him.
"I am worth WAY more than one-hundred-thousand credits!" she cried.
Sitting down at the bar, Xerxan propped Alahandra up on the bar and began to argue. Syd followed, not willing to give up yet, and again tried to establish a more reasonable price. Again Syd was rebuffed.
Milo approached Xerxan, inquiring about the container and the possibility of buying it. Realizing he couldn't manage to pay the price Xerxan quoted Milo walked away, but was soon called over by Zoltan.
Zoltan had noticed the large Half-Dragon, Half-Drow who was even now arguing with a small Fairy who was trapped within some kind of glass container. Obviously this was the magic item he hoped to destroy. When Milo finished conversing with Xerxan, Zoltan called him over, asking what he knew of Xerxan and the item he carried.
Orendil soon approached the small gathering and introduced himself to the small group. They each wanted the lamp, albeit each for his own reasons. However, realizing that none of them had enough money to buy it alone they each agreed to try and pool their money for the purchase.
Milo approached Xerxan again, offering sixty thousand creds this time. Xerxan simply laughed in the Halfling's face.
"Even if I would sell it for sixty-thousand, I wouldn't sell to a Halfling!"
Back at the small table Milo, Orendil, and Zoltan quickly decided that if Xerxan would not sell lamp then perhaps they should take it. Quickly they decided that Xerxan must have stolen the lamp in the first place and as he got up and began to leave they stood up and approached him.
Syd had spent this entire time at the bar himself, angry at the Half-Dragon for denying him the chance to replenish his sorely depleted funds. Suddenly Milo approached him and explained what Zoltan, Orendil, and him were doing. Milo had seen Syd trying to negotiate with Xerxan earlier and thought he might be interested.
"To be honest, we think the half-dragon may even have stolen it. We don't know how he thinks he can get that much money in this bar."
"I just figured the half-dragon was stupid," Syd replied.
Milo walked away, realizing Syd was not going to be much help, and instead began walking towards the bar's bouncer.
Meanwhile, Zoltan suddenly jumped forward and knocked the lamp from Xerxan's hands. Orendil quickly realized that Zoltan didn't care for the safety of Alahandra and it was shortly after that that Orendil, Zoltan, and Xerxan began to struggle back and forth over the lamp.
Instead of joining in Milo began distracting the bouncer, not only slowing him down, but also running propaganda about how the Half-Dragon had stolen the lamp.
Xerxan stepped back and cast Grease on the lamp causing it to begin slipping from hand to hand. Alahandra by now is screaming as the lamp takes shock after shock. So far she isn't harmed but it will only take one piece of glass breaking the wrong way …
Suddenly Alahandra casts Dispel Magic on the lamp but nothing seems to happen at first. Then suddenly the lamp releases a large Dispel Magic throughout the room. Syd feels the spell try to affect the Shield spell he had cast in the meantime but his spell managed to hold.
The Dispel Magic does rid the lamp of the Grease, however, and Zoltan manages to take hold. Realizing that freeing the Fairy before breaking the lamp would keep Orendil from fighting with him he tries to manipulate the knob on the top. Red lightning bolts begin to play throughout the lamp and Alahandra screams in pain.
Orendil realizes he has to risk hurting Alahandra to get her out and him and Zoltan begin working together. Xerxan takes a swipe at Zoltan with his claws but is shortly then after Dazed by Syd.
As the bouncer continues to advance Xerxan realizes he will not be able to recover the lamp. He begins to run but before he can get far Syd casts another spell, Hold Person this time. It fails to affect Xerxan though and he starts to head for the door.
Zoltan, sufficiently agitated by now, grabs hold of the lamp and runs to the bar where he quickly smashes it against the corner. Alahandra goes flying across the bar as the lamp is quickly reduced to useless matter. Zoltan feels a rush as he realizes he has helped another person remove the taint of magic from them.
And then guards are everywhere. The ships police have watched the brawl and have already captured Xerxan. Everyone else is pulled in as well, including Alahandra for the Dispel Magic, as well as a drunken Drow who at one point bumped into Xerxan.
The small group of suspects is led down into a dark part of the ship where they pass by several people similarly held as they are. They see several Orcs, and a few other races they recognize, along with a whole slew of ones they don't.
Milo calls out that he wants his phone call, causing the Drow guards to burst out into laughter. The held suspects are loaded on to a small ship where they are locked into small cells. Alahandra and Milo share a cell, being the smallest prisoners. Everyone else is loaded into their own individual cell. The suspects (who are quickly beginning to think they are no longer suspects) who look to be the strongest or most capable of escaping are but behind force barriers instead of bars.
Suddenly the prisoners felt the ship lift off. One Drow guard remained on board, striding up and down between the cramped cells, explaining the prisoners' plight. A Human pilot sat the controls as the party flew into space.
"You are heading for the prison planet Aphex. If you act up I jettison you. Understand?"
It was then that everyone realized the back of the cells were actually air locks!
Finishing his inspection of the cells, the Drow guard captain takes a seat towards the front of the prisoner transport.
Sensing a loosening of security, Syd bends down and begins discussing the possibilities of escape with Milo. Several of Syd's spells could prove useful for escape if he could simply get the help of an accomplice. Alahandra continuously interjects biting comments aimed at Syd or Milo.
No one else on the transport seems to have much to say. Zoltan complains bitterly, and his steel bars are replaced with an energy shield for his effort. Everyone else seems more shocked, or perhaps resigned to their fate.
The trip passes uneventfully. Syd and Milo create a few plans, but all of them have several flaws. And then it comes into sight. The Prison Planet Aphex.
A noise emerges from the cockpit, full of static and barely audible.
"… Turn back! .. prisoners .. overrun …. large breach … turn back! … "
The pilot quickly starts calling out for the guard, who enters the cockpit to see what is going on. The argument is clearly heard from the cells.
"Maybe we should turn back sir. That message sounded pretty serious."
"Nonsense! There is no way prisoners could escape. Obviously there is some problem with the communications system. Just land!"
Grimly, the prisoners look from one another. That kind of obstinacy definitely did not promise a happy landing …
And suddenly was entering the atmosphere, pushing down towards Aphex. The ship shuddered suddenly, rocking from one side to the left. Again the pilot voiced his concerns, and again was shot down by the Drow guard.
As the ship rocked from side to side more and more, the prisoners realized that their transport was being shot at! The pilot quickly confirmed this.
"They're shooting us! We have to get out of h-"
The pilot was cut short as a large hole suddenly appeared in the far wall. One prisoner vanished into a fine mist as the transport suddenly took a nosedive, heading straight for the ground.
Passengers scream and everyone is thrown about as more holes are punched through the transport. With a shuddering lurch everyone is thrown about as the transport smashes into the surface of planet Aphex.
The guard captain is blown from the cockpit, clearly unconscious. More blasts pelt the downed transport and several more prisoners are reduced to mush.
The cells begin to unlock automatically and the first prisoners out are Orcs, quickly run forward and begin to kick the guard. A few more take the guards weapons. As Orendil is released, he runs over and takes the command for the cells from the guard's belt. Checking on the pilot in the cockpit he realizes that he is pretty obviously dead.
As more blasts rock the downed ship, however, the prisoners begin to flee through the open door, in addition to the blast holes. Syd sees one Orc running away from the source of the blasts, only to be vaporized as a bolt of yellow light burnt through his back.
Quickly deciding that heading towards the source of the incoming fire is the best idea, he starts heading for a large building that seems to have some kind of turret. A large group of prisoners run toward the corned of the building, but Syd runs for the large double doors in the front.
Orendil, Zoltan, Xerxan, Alahandra, and Milo head toward the corner with everyone else.
Alone, Syd opens the large double doors. Inside is blackness …
Syd casts a light spell and slowly begins to move into the dark room.
Meanwhile, at the corner of the building, the prisoners suddenly hear the sound of booted feet! A small group of armed individuals wearing strange uniforms and armor comes running right from the direction everyone was heading. The small groups of prisoners scatter with Xerxan, Milo, Alahandra, and Orendil heading for the door that they can see Syd even now beginning to enter.
Zoltan meanwhile attempts to stop one of the apparent guards and asks what's going on. The guard looks Zoltan up and down for a moment before ignoring him and running to the downed space shuttle.
Zoltan follows, heading back into the mangled spacecraft as he sees the guards searching about.
"He's not here!" one guard shouts out.
"He must have already escaped."
Zoltan cautiously approaches the guards, and asks exactly who they were looking for. The guards again take notice of him, and this time decides he is worth their time to answer.
"Who are you and what are you doing out here? Can't you tell this place is dangerous?"
"I saw the ship crash and I was wondering if there were any survivors. If I had known some type of firefight would be going on here I wouldn't have come. Could one of you spare a firearm so I can defend myself?"
The guards look Zoltan up and down, appraising how much he is worth. Finally they refuse to give him any weapons and just tell him to get out of the area. Obviously he is just some crazy who lives in the vicinity.
Back at the doorway, a Syd is slowly leading everyone else into the prison using his magical light. Obviously the prison was the scene of recent violence as several pieces of furniture are ripped up or melted to slag. As the group enters a small hologram appears on one of the few still standing tables. The hologram is of a man and as the group moves closer it begins to talk.
"Greetings and welcome to the Aphex prison colony. I am your guide. What can I help you with today?"
His sole thought on reaching the roof and disabling the turret, Syd quickly asks for directions to the elevator.
"Sorry, there appears to be a problem with the network. I cannot access that information at this time."
Many other questions were asked, but the only one to get a different response was a query about the location of the Warden's office. The Warden's office proved to lie right beyond the melted heap of slag that had been a door on the right wall of the room the group was in.
By the time the hologram had revealed that information, Zoltan had run up from the ship to see what was going on. Falling naturally into something of a group (since there is safety in numbers after all) the now complete party begins advancing through the door directly in front of them.
As the party entered the next room they quickly made out the hissing crackle of static. Almost the entire northern wall was covered in monitors, each one filled with crackling static. Red lights provided a dim amount of light in the room, enough to see a man walking back and forth in front of the monitors, making adjustments as he walked.
The man wore a holster over his guard uniform and seemed to be muttering to himself as he paced back and forth in front of the monitors. Clearing their throats, the party made their presence known.
Jumping the man turned towards the party and asked who they were.
"We're repairmen for the turret." answered Syd.
"I don't think we called for any kind of repairs on the turret," the guard answered back.
"Well, someone did."
That seemed enough to satisfy the guard, who quickly introduced himself as Tucker. Apparently there had been a prison revolt, which happened to coincide with all the surveillance cameras going out at once. Syd offered to take a look at the monitors and see what was wrong, but quickly figured out that they were simply not getting any feed.
"All the cameras must be destroyed or disabled." Syd told Tucker.
"Maybe one or two, but surely not all of them. We have these cameras all around the prison."
Tucker was obviously somewhat shaken by whatever had been going on, so the party decided to let him continue to believe that. As the party continued to talk with Tucker a few other guards entered from behind the party.
For a few moments, everything was tense, but once Tucker explained that they were all repairmen for the turret, the other guards quickly relaxed.
Apparently, the prisoners had revolted some time earlier. Fighting had been brutal, and several guard stations had not reported in for hours. There were only a few guards in the area and they only controlled a few rooms. The main offices had been attacked in force and sealed off. No one knew what was going on in there. Likewise, the prisoner levels had been sealed off. The guards, excluding Tucker, were armed with taser pistols. While there was a cache of weapons somewhere in the prison, only the Warden knew where, and he had been one of the first casualties of the riots.
The party agreed to go up to the roof and repair the turret anyway, despite the fact that the upper floors were likely prisoner controlled. The guards, visibly impressed by this repair crew's bravery, offered them some guard vests and taser pistols. Syd accepted Tucker's semi-automatic pistol.
The repair crew was led to the elevator in the prison by a pair of guards. The entire area was spookily lit with dim red warning lights. Power had been out in several areas for hours and the guards were pretty sure the elevator wasn't working. Surely the repair crew could fix it though.
Reaching the elevator doors, the guards thanked the party again before leaving to resume their positions in the rooms they controlled. Turning to the elevator, the party tried calling it down. When nothing happened for several minutes, Zoltan pried open the elevator doors and looked up.
The elevator appeared to be stuck on the second floor and seemed to have no intention of coming down for the party. There was a service ladder but there was no way the larger members of the party could make it past. Alahandra suddenly flew into the elevator shaft.
"I can fit through. Hold on a moment."
Flying up Alahandra inspected the elevator and the way it was held in place. She realized all she had to do was remove two pins and the elevator would come crashing to the ground! Slowly, Alahandra wriggled the first pin free, followed shortly after by the second. The elevator gave a lurch as Alahandra plummeted down the shaft and out the still open doors, just escaping the rapidly falling elevator herself.
The elevator landed with a crash and debris flew everywhere. The elevator shaft looked like a small war zone, the floor covered with twisted wreckage. On the plus side, the service ladder was now clear of obstructions.
Agreeing to stay back and explain what had happened to the guards, Xerxan walked back towards the entrance of the small elevator room. Everyone else climbed up passing the doors for the second and third floor, instead heading up to the fourth, where the guards said they could gain access to the turret.
Jimmying the elevator door open, the party scrambled out of the elevator shaft and onto the medical wing of the fourth floor. As each person left the shaft, they were greeted with a horrible squishing sound. Slowly turning around, each was horrified by what they saw.
A large mass of bulbous, almost liquid flesh sat at the far corner of the room. Tentacles waved from many places along its surface, each tentacle tipped with some kind of sucking appendage. Several corpses lay about the room, obviously victims of the creature. The room itself was in shambles, operating tables overturned, surgical implements spilled about. Most horrible of all, however, was what was attached to the creature. Lying on the floor was a man in a white lab coat. It was hard to say where the creature ended and the man began, as they seemed to almost … blend into one another. As disgusting as the sight was, it was worse when the man opened his eyes and looked at that the group. As he glimpsed the small party, he began calling for help pitifully.
"Help! Help! But don't get too close! It will get you too!"
The party instantly shot a barrage of questions at the man and he explained as best he could.
"I am a doctor here. I was expera … er … operating on a prisoner when his trauma symbiote went haywire. It grabbed several guards and me. I am the only one still alive."
"Don't worry. We can kill the thing and get you out in a hurry," called Syd as he began running a list of the spells he had available in his mind.
"Wait! No! Somehow, it's reversed itself. Instead of protecting its host, it's using its host for energy. That means me! If you attack it, it will drain me to heal itself!"
"How should we get it off then?"
"Find a surgeon!"
"There is a prison riot going on. We probably won't be able to find anyone who can help."
"I know there is a riot going on! This thing killing guards probably started the bloody thing!"
Discussing among themselves, the party quickly came to the conclusion that a surgeon was not going to be found here. Any surgeons left alive were likely to be prisoners, and they certainly wouldn't be trustworthy. Either way, the captured doctor didn't look like he could last much longer anyway.
Instead it was decided that Syd would quickly attack the mutated trauma symbiote. Hopefully, the safeguards programmed into trauma symbiotes were still in place on this one and it would stop draining the doctor once he fell unconscious. Milo would try to approach and cut the doctor free as soon as the symbiote was dead.
Pushing up his sleeves, Syd began casting spells. He began with a haste, increasing his speed dramatically. He then shot forth several small orbs of electricity as well as a deafening blast of sound. The doctor screamed and fell silent as Milo began to tumble forward, dodging the creatures grasping tentacles. Syd continued to blast the beast with magical power as Alahandra and Orendil began shooting it, Alahandra with the laser pistol she had concealed, Orendil with the semi-auto that Syd had given him.
The mutated symbiote just seemed to soak up the damage, holes appearing in its huge bulk apparently not injuring it very much.
Milo nearly reached the doctor, but suddenly found himself attached to the monstrosity by one of its tentacles. Using his knife to scrape it off of him, he quickly moved back out of range as Syd, Orendil, and Alahandra continued to rain death onto the blob of flesh.
Finally, the creature began to succumb to its wounds, and with a sickening squelch, started to dissolve into a sticky goop. Milo moved forward again, but the doctor was unfortunately beyond his help. The doctor had apparently been drained to death by the symbiote before it died. The party mourned the doctor for a moment, but at least he was no longer in pain. Moving his corpse to where the other bodies lay, the party saw that the symbiote had been blocking three doors. Before the party could go through any door, a noise from the elevator shaft caused them to turn around. An elf wearing a strange looking orange jumped had climbed out of the elevator shaft and was staring at the destruction with wide eyes. He had come up to see what the noise was, and had found a scene from a nightmare.
The party explained some of what was happening and what they were doing, and the elf offered to tag along. He had been getting bored wandering about. The party agreed to let him come along and deciding to try the center door first, opened it and walked through.
Inside was a narrow hallway, both walls lined with medical supplies. At the far end lay another door. Ransacking the medical supplies, the party quickly found several boxes of medical patches, small sticky patches that released healing chemicals when applied against skin. Several large bottles of painkillers were found as well. Both dermal patches and painkillers were pocketed by Milo.
Opening the door slightly, the party peeked out and saw two figures standing next to the turret. Obviously either they had shot down the transport as well as vaporized most of the escaping prisoners, or else someone inside the turret still had done the dirty work. Either way, the party would make them pay.
Moving back in cautiously, the group asked Alahandra to scout out the area somewhat. She had already proved herself somewhat sneaky, and would likely be able to slip by unnoticed. Sniffing at the inconvenience, she turned invisible and silently flew out to get a look around.
No one else was on the roof except for the two figures standing next to the turret. The figure farthest away was a male centaur wearing a bright orange shirt over his human torso. In his hand was some kind of makeshift club, a table or chair leg.
The centaur's companion was a large, green, ugly monstrosity. The female troll had wicked claws as well as razor-sharpened teeth. Flying back, Alahandra explained the situation. While trolls and centaurs were both strong, they were out numbered plus the party was armed while they weren't. Victory was nearly assured.
The party checked the ammo for all of their guns before opening the door and charging out. Guns leveled towards the two creatures Milo shouted out
"Freeze and we won't shoot!"
But where there should have two, there was only one. Suddenly the female troll emerged from the other side of the turret, charging forward into the group swinging her mighty claws. The centaur moved forward beating at Zoltan with his club.
Several taser darts were fired, but they seemed to have no effect. Milo quickly dropped his taser and pulled out his steak knife. Orendil began firing at the troll nearly point blank with his auto pistol while Alahandra hovered above the troll, invisible firing down.
Syd cast a spell and his hand was surrounded by a sickly white glow as he advanced towards the troll and began trying to touch her. The elf ran forward and began attacking the troll with a makeshift club he had.
The troll's claws ripped into Syd, shredding his clothes and leaving bloody gouges across his chest. Orendil was struck as well, while Zoltan received a beating from the centaur's club.
Syd continued to attack the troll as Alahandra's invisibility ran out. The troll proved to be very quick, and the sickly green skin proved to be very tough. Many of Orendil and Alahandra's shots were simply dodged, or stopped by its tough hide.
The centaur was not faring so well, as Milo quickly began to hamstring the beast with his knife. Zoltan abandoned his gun for his fists and began attacking the centaur with his bare hands.
The troll ripped into Orendil and Syd again, blood beginning to spew from several of Syd's wounds.
The centaur collapsed in a bloody pool as Milo stabbed it a final time. The troll took yet another piece out of Syd and Syd fell to the ground, unconscious and mortally wounded.
Milo ran forward and applied one of his patches to Syd, ducking as the troll swung at him. Handing Syd the remaining patches he approached the troll with his knife, and began searching for a weak spot. Zoltan approached the troll from the opposite side and continued to use his bare fists as he attacked the troll again and again. Alahandra continued to take pot shots but the troll was too difficult to hit.
Syd crawled back to the wall where he began applying dermal patches to himself. The rest of the party attacked the troll again and again but it simply shrugged off most of their blows, and healed the few that landed.
Things weren't looking good …
Perhaps I should summarize what happened to Zoltan, since I was playing Zoltan most of the night (and playing Zoltan exclusively, I might add, because Orendil spent most of the night TRAPPED IN A GLASS TUBE. (: ) Here's my Zoltan-centric account.
First, we fought our way into the personal quarters of the Githyanki Commander, dispatching a large room full of Githyanki along the way. During this fight, it became apparent that the Githyanki greatswords have some type of magical power (probably psionic, but I figured Zoltan wouldn't really know the difference.) After the battle, Zoltan threw his greatsword down in disgust, gathered the swords from the dead Githyanki, and systematically destroyed them.
Syd managed to charm the Commander, who then proceeded to give us the backstage tour of the Githyanki outpost. In the short battle with the Commander before the charm spell, Zoltan accidentally shot Milo in the back (oops!), which no doubt contributed to later tragic events.
We encountered a Githyanki magic-user of some sort, who attempted to de-charm the Commander. Zoltan, suspecting foul magic afoot, interfered with the magic-user and a fight ensued.
Finally, we encountered the same magic-user from last week (he had escaped). At this point the Commander broke free of the charm, and a tough battle took place. Zoltan managed to nail the Commander with a wicked critical (40+ damage), but before we could kill them, the Commander unleashed a nasty fireball which turned Milo into a Crispy Critter.
Searching the compound, we encountered a huge magical mirror/communication device, which Zoltan (now played by Mike) attempted to destroy. He did manage to destroy it, but not before the Githyanki on the other side of the mirror called in reinforcements to stop us.
At that point we escaped to the hangar, stole a Githyanki ship, and Zoltan piloted us back to the city.
The drunken drow elf is still at large.
Searching through the dead bodies of the three halflings, the party found little of interest. A few blaster pistols, some creds, and a cell phone.
“I wonder what the last number they dialed was?” Milo mused.
Pressing the redial button, the phone rang once. Twice.
“Williamton house. How can I help you?” queried the voice on the other side of the phone.
Milo tried to find out what he could but information was limited. Hanging up, he quickly set out for a nearby phone booth, the party following behind. Searching through a phone directory, Milo quickly learned where the Williamton house was, and the party again decided to do a little walking about the city.
Some time later, the party found themselves standing outside of an otherwise normal looking house. The party couldn’t tell if anyone was inside, and not wanting to do anything without some information, decided to head back to the hotel.
The days passed, and the group began to grow a little restless. Talk of returning back to the Williamton house was beginning to start when the call from Gygual came.
“My sources have picked up some leads on the location of the drow. North of Caar is a secret military base. My informants say that the drow is somewhere inside the base. If you are willing to go, I can charter you a private plane to bring you there.”
The discussion within the party was short. If they could find the drow in this base, they had no choice but go there. Agreeing to the chartered flight, the party prepared to move the next day.
The following day at the airport, the party quickly found the access gate for private flights with a few directions. Walking down the long walkway, they encountered a small guard station.
“Names please,” the very bored sounding guard said.
As the somewhat unofficial leader of the group Milo supplied his. It wasn’t on the list.
“Maybe Gygual put it under mine,” Syd reasoned.
It wasn’t under his either. Every party member tried their name, and they tried Gygual’s too. None of the names were on the guard’s list. Who had Gygual chartered the flight for?
“Oh hey guys,” a familiar voice said from behind the group.
“Sorry I’m late. Slept in.” Thribbin. That annoying little frogman. Gygual had chartered the flight under his name. You could almost hear the groan that was on everyone’s lips.
With Thribbin annoyingly chattering on, the party boarded the small plane. Orendil took the pilot’s seat, and soon the group was on their way.
Every now and then Thribbin would indicate a change in direction but the flight itself was pretty uneventful.
And then everyone saw it.
The secret military base.
The large floating hunk of rock, looking as if it had been torn from some unsuspecting world. The four large towers that stuck out at irregular intervals. The way that the base was continuously rotating in space, each tower spinning by in turn.
“No one mentioned a floating secret military base,” Orendil said.
Still somewhat stunned, the group landed their plane a short way away from the base in a small clearing nearby. By now, everyone had become accustomed to the practice of walking and so the group found themselves directly underneath the large structure in a short amount of time.
When the portions of the rock bearing the large towers would rotate overhead, the tower tips still remained around 100 feet above the ground. Getting up would not be easy.
“If I had known I could have prepared more Fly spells. But as is, I only have enough for one,” Syd explained.
And of course, Zoltan wouldn’t accept a Fly spell anyway.
Different ideas were discussed back and forth, but few were possible with what the group had brought. Gygual definitely needed better sources.
“I could summon a giant eagle to fly us up to the base,” Syd finally suggested.
Alahandra had already confirmed that the towers had no windows to speak of,
just empty openings. The idea had some problems though. He could only summon one
eagle, and it
wouldn’t last long enough to fly them all above the base. It could only carry two at a time, and Zoltan refused to touch it much less ride it. And of course how everyone would get from eagle to window was still an unknown factor.
But it was the plan most likely to succeed, and so the Orendil soon found himself seated on top of a giant eagle. A rope had been tied to its foot and Zoltan was quickly winding the rope around his hands for a better grip. As the tower the group was aiming for began to dip down into view, the eagle launched itself into the air.
Zoltan hung on for dear life as the eagle raced up to the tower. Syd had told it to fly as quickly as possible, as its time was limited after all. Flying alongside the tower hanging over the party’s head, Orendil stood and shakily prepared to launch himself into the top most window of the tower. Orendil got ready and …
… missed. His fingers scrambled against the edge of the window as he suddenly began to plummet back towards the ground. As he fell he flashed by Zoltan, hanging from a rope tied to the eagle’s leg. Zoltan stretched, straining to reach out, and barely managed to snag Orendil in mid-air. Orendil breathed heavily as the eagle rose slightly to allow Zoltan an attempt into the building. Zoltan swung Orendil inside before following himself, both of them breathing heavily as they watched the eagle turn and dive back down to the other figure below.
Milo and Syd were the next up, with Alahandra already waiting inside for everyone. The eagle again came level with the tower projecting out and Milo and Syd prepared to jump. Milo hunched down and leaped, easily sailing into the small opening he was aiming for. Syd gathered up his possessions and bending low did the same.
Except that he missed. Hitting the wall with a soft thud, Syd quickly found himself plummeting to the ground. Remembering how Orendil look falling from the sky, Syd idly wondered how he looked doing the same.
Milo reached out to grab Syd as he fell, but wasn’t able to catch him. Syd began to go over the formulae involved in breaking the Laws of Gravity. Pulling up at the last instant as his Fly spell took effect, Syd flew back up and landed in the tower, his heart nearly leaping from his chest.
The group was in agreement that they definitely should have come up with a better plan.
Inside the tower was simply an empty span of tower that narrowed down to a smaller hole several feet down. Alahandra and Syd merrily flew down to the opening, while Milo, Zoltan, and Orendil used a rope to rappel down.
Through the opening were living quarters, obviously of a somewhat high-ranking individual. Directly beneath where the hole entered from the ceiling was another hole continuing down in the floor. Currently abandoned, the party crawled out, and finding that gravity did not hold on the ceiling, climbed down the rope to the floor. Searching through the room Orendil found a greatsword of master craftsmanship. Little else seemed especially useful, so the party began to investigate the hole in the floor.
Obviously the workers in the base didn’t rappel up and down these holes in the ground, and since the group hadn’t yet felt any effects from the bases rotation, some kind of artificial gravity was strongly suspected. Alahandra cautiously flew into the hole and attempted to stand on the side of the wall. Looking up at the party was strange, but she stuck to the wall. Walking about the inside of the vertical corridor, Alahandra quickly ascertained that all four sides possessed artificial gravity.
The rest of the party soon crawled in, with Syd and Alahandra flying straight down the middle.
The strange corridor led down a ways before entering into another room. Again there was a matching home on the exact opposite side. This time, however, the room contained two githyanki, both staring intently into a small crystal in one corner of the room. Jumping down quickly, the group opened fire on the two githyanki, catching them by surprise and silencing them before they could give alarm. Milo and Syd investigated the crystal the githyankis had been looking through, and quickly determined that it was some kind of magical sensor that peered through the point at the top of the tower. Since there were no alarms going off, the party assumed that the two githyankis had not noticed them, but how they had avoided notice remained an unknown.
The room and its two former guards were searched. Both guards had been sporting great swords, a very strange choice of weapon in today’s age of guns and rifles. One guard also had a strange device in one of his pockets. Milo quickly grabbed it, always interested in new devices. Playing with it for a second, Milo figured out that the device extended hidden walkways, allowing easier access to the room from the corridor.
Nothing else remained of interest in the room, and so the party again started walking down the tower. Another story or so, and the party came to a branch. The corridor itself continued in the downward direction, but there was also a doorway in one side of the corridor. Activating his remote control, Milo caused a small walkway to jut from the door, allowing easy entry. Deciding to explore this branch the party walked down onto the small platform and them entered into the branch.
Now within a horizontal corridor the party quickly evaluated their surroundings. On the right hand side of the corridor was a door and on the left a small elevator. The corridor itself turned out of sight to the left up ahead. Deciding to leave the elevator alone for now, the party burst into the room on the right, guns drawn and aimed. Inside was a single unarmed githyanki, bending studiously over a few items scattered about the room.
Some quick interrogation at gunpoint later and the party had learned several things. This base was an outpost for the githyanki war machine, a research station to fuel their efforts. The githyanki they had captured in particular was a researcher who was investigating the nature of the items in this room for their use. Syd quickly rushed forward and gathered up all the items in the room, including a cloak, a large iron flask, and several scrolls.
Using some rope to tie the githyanki up, the party debated killing him for a short time. The idea of killing him in cold blood didn’t sit well with most of the party, however, and so the githyanki was left to his own devices.
Walking down the corridor and turning left, the group found themselves in front of a pair of double doors. The sound of a large gathering of githyanki was very obvious from the other side of the door. A few plans were debated, but the use of the large number of sleep grenades the party possessed proved the most popular.
Opening the doors, a flurry of sleep grenades flew into the room, releasing their contents into the room. Quickly everything was obscured by the rapidly thickening sleep smoke from the several grenades.
Busting the door open, Zoltan, Milo, and Orendil stood in the front. Only two githyanki remained standing and their greatswords proved ineffective compared to the party’s blasters. The slaughter of the remaining githyanki was quick and brutal. Syd and Alahandra stood back as the deed was done.
The githyanki had no idea who had entered into their base.
Exploring the Githyanki outpost
With the sleeping githyanki finished, the party quickly searched the fallen and prepared to move on. The room appeared to be something of a mess hall as uneaten food was scattered about the room. Closing the doors the party momentarily considered checking where the elevator led. Deciding to follow the shaft to its end, however, they passed the elevator by and went back to reclaim their prisoner. Everything worked perfectly except for one thing. The prisoner was gone.
Nothing was left, not even the rope (much to Zoltan displeasure.) With the prisoner gone and presumably loose somewhere within the base, it was only a matter of time until some kind of alarm was sounded. The party was working with a limited amount of time.
Moving back to the vertical shaft, the party jumped in and started heading down. The shaft fell for a ways with no other openings or activity to be seen. Estimating the distance traveled, Milo figured the party had exited from the outer tower and was actually inside the piece of rock that made up the center of the base.
Slowly the shaft began to brighten and it soon became apparent that the party was approaching another room. Slowly dipping their heads out, the party found themselves within a large room.
A large room filled with armed githyanki fighting. Different groups were spaced about the room, all of them sparring with greatswords. Cautiously the party moved back into the shaft and began discussing what to do. The groups of githyanki were all spread out too much for Syd to affect them with any of his spells or for anyone else to use the few remaining sleep grenades effectively.
The problem of dealing with a room full of armed githyanki warriors was taken from the party, however, when one of the githyanki noticed the party whispering among themselves. Slowly the githyanki among the room began to encircle the shaft. They had nearly managed to when the group realized they had been seen!
For a second the party breathed easy, since all the githyanki were holding greatswords, and after all, everyone was standing within a vertical shaft in the roof of the room. Then all of the githyanki shifted their grip on their swords and began firing bolts of energy from them!
Milo quickly activated the walkway in this room, providing an amount of cover from a few of the githyanki. Gunfire erupted from the party as the githyanki likewise opened fire. Milo tossed out a sleep grenade catching two of the githyanki, while Syd’s Magic Missiles eliminated another one. Zoltan and Orendil downed four more while Alahandra took out another. Several githyanki bolts caught party members, inflicting grievous wounds when they struck. Despite the power of their weapons though, the githyanki couldn’t stand up to the combined assault of the party, and quickly fell.
Exiting fully from the shaft, the party took note of their location. The shaft continued on, lining up with a large hold in the floor. Likely that way led to one of the other towers that stood up from the base’s rock center. Four doors were within the chamber, one at each cardinal point.
A quick argument over what door to go to later, the group prepared to enter into the western door. Opening the doorway and busting into the room, the group found themselves in a large, empty room. In fact, the only thing in the room was a large gilded throne on a dais at the opposite end. Once everyone was done wondering what kind of secret military base possessed a throne, they noticed another door to the right of the one they had entered from.
Moving over, the party did a quick check for traps before jumping in. The room was strangely shaped, divided by an odd curtain. A projection from the far wall seemed to be made of semi-frosted glass. Through it, the party could almost make out roughly man-sized cylinders. Even stranger, vague humanoid forms seemed to be inside some of them!
A table sat in the center of the half of the room the party had entered into. Two large chests were visible in the half of the room obscured by the curtain. Moving forward to examine the chests, Milo barely managed to avoid the curtain as it suddenly came to life and struck out at him! Even worse, an imposing githyanki in armor had been hiding on the other side of the curtain!
Milo and Zoltan opened fire, while Orendil ran forward to help Milo out. The curtain shot out again, but this time Orendil wasn’t fast enough. Orendil disappeared with a slight slurping noise, and suddenly there was another vague humanoid figure in one of the cylinders! The intensity of the fight between Milo, Zoltan, and Alahandra redoubled as Orendil disappeared. Alahandra took cover behind the table.
Syd began chanting the words of Charm Person and forcing his way through the githyanki’s spell resistance, felt the spell layer itself onto his mind.
"Stop shooting! We’re all friends here!" Syd shouted.
Zoltan fired off one more shot before lowering his weapon. Slowly, the githyanki did as well.
Very quickly the party learned several pieces of information. This base was an outpost for the githyanki army, a training facility for its legions of warriors and a research point to create new implements of destruction. The throne in the room was for the occasions when their Queen would visit them. He was the Commander of the base. The creatures trapped in the tubes were invaders that were ceremonially bestowed to the githyanki queen when she visited. There was no known way to open the tubes; the Queen did that herself. And there was no known drow aboard.
Zoltan and Syd quickly concocted a story between the both of them. Everyone had come to the base looking to hunt down a traitorous drow, who they think had snuck into the base to steal their research or possibly even sabotage it. The Commander seemed doubtful, but these were his friends after all…
Slowly, the party coaxed the Commander out of the room, leaving Alahandra behind to watch Orendil, who remained trapped within one of the cylinders.
Looking to his left, Orendil noticed an illithid in the cylinder to his left, and a sea hag to his right. In fact, when he looked closer, he thought he could almost recognize the sea hag… where had he seen her before?
Alahandra began rifling through the chests, looking for something that could possibly let Orendil out.
Zoltan, Syd, Milo, and the githyanki Commander exited the throne room and entered the large circular room, githyanki corpses scattered about.
"How did this happen!" screamed the githyanki Commander.
"Obviously the drow has penetrated deeper than we thought." Syd quickly replied.
Running over the Commander opened the door opposite the throne room and began calling out orders. The assembling githyanki soldiers tossed strange looks at Syd, Milo, and Zoltan, but when any asked, the Commander simply said they were friends. The soldiers began spreading out, searching the base for the drow who had come to steal or sabotage the research going on.
"So where do you think we should go?" the Commander asked.
"Where do you think we should go?" said Zoltan, hoping his Zoltan logic would trick the Commander into revealing vital information.
"If he is here to steal, there is the treasury," mused the Commander.
The group’s eyes took on a greedy sheen as each person nearly fell over the other with agreement that the treasury was a good idea.
Moving to the north door, the Commander led the accompanying party members into a large room with several altars dedicated to the githyanki’s Queen. A githyanki knelt before one of the altars as the group entered.
The praying githyanki watched as the Commander led his new friends across the temple to a large steel door, almost like an ancient airlock, and proceeded to open it.
Inside was a beautiful sight. The chamber inside has no source of artificial gravity, and the contents within spun about as the base rotated. The hundreds of gems that made up the chamber floated and fell as the entire room’s gravitational direction changed again and again. The party could barely imagine how much money all of those gems represented.
Milo, unable to resist, palmed one of the gems while the Commander was distracted.
"No drow in here. Where next?" asked the Commander, sealing the treasure room shut.
As the group started to debate on where to go to next, the praying githyanki stood and approached the Commander. The strange githyanki began to talk in an odd language, unknown to any of the party members. This did not bode well for the party, and they quickly attempted to stop it.
"What is he saying Commander?" asked Syd.
"Why doesn’t he use the Common tongue?" queried Milo.
"Who is he?" wondered Zoltan.
"He is wondering who you three are. I am simply explaining that you are my friends."
The new githyanki stepped back and prepared to cast a spell. Zoltan was quicker, stepping into the githyanki and interrupting his spell. Guns were pulled but before any shots could be fired, the githyanki vanished, presumably using the same trick the earlier one had used.
"What’s going on here!?!" roared the Commander.
The replies tumbled over one another so fast, no one was sure who said what.
"He is obviously working with the drow," someone said.
"We were just trying to protect you," responded another.
"There are traitors in your ranks," said the third.
Finally, after everyone calmed down a little, Syd asked
"Who was he?"
"One of the Gish on base."
That didn’t explain much to the party, but fearing any further questions, instead decided to continue scanning the base.
"Where does that last door lead?" asked Milo, meaning the southern door back within the center room.
"Crew quarters and the hangar."
Since Syd had no spells left that could get the party down, the hangar was a definite point of interest among the party.
Passing through the southern door, the Commander waved two guards away and proceeded down a long hallway. Arriving at a somewhat larger door than the others, the Commander knocked upon it.
A githyanki stepped out, the medals on his uniform signifying a higher rank than the githyanki faced so far. The Commander shared several words in githyanki, with several glances thrown at the party. There was no trouble this time, though, as the githyanki finally bowed and hustled off with whatever orders the Commander had given him.
"He is to facilitate searching for this drow," explained the Commander.
Moving further down the hallway, the party entered into an enormous room where two ships sat docked. One of the mechanics working on the ships stepped over and had a few brief words with the Commander.
"Who are they?" asked the mechanic, gesturing towards the party.
"Friends. Have you seen anyone suspicious today?" replied the Commander.
"No one strange. Except your friends."
Looking around, the group memorized the location of this hangar, and started heading back to the center chamber.
"So where should we look for this drow now?" asked the Commander. Obviously he was beginning to become tired of the search for the mystery drow.
"What parts of the base haven’t we looked?" asked the group.
"All that is really left is the living quarters of the Warlocks and the Gish."
"Lets look in on one of the Warlocks. The Gish in that prayer room was a traitor, and one of the Warlocks could be one too."
"Alright. The closest Warlock is right up this shaft," explained the Commander, pointing up into the hole the group had entered from.
Grimacing slightly, the party began trudging up the shaft they had entered from, heading back towards the room of the githyanki warlock they had tied up.
Passing the two dead githyanki in the observation room with another explanation that it was obviously the drow’s fault, the party entered into the githyanki bedchamber.
There was the warlock, sitting on his bed. The warlock jumped to his feet, and time seemed to slow. Zoltan brought his gun to bear snapping off a shot. The warlock locked eyes with the Commander. The Commander blinked, and Syd suddenly felt his spell crumble away. The Commander pulled out his greatsword and swung at Milo, striking him in the back. Zoltan’s shot punched into the warlock, wounding him. Syd cast a spell, striking the warlock with sonic vibrations.
The warlock shouted something in the githyanki tongue before fading away as others had done before. Zoltan turned and shot at the Commander, but in the confusion hit Milo square in the back!
The Commander began to cast a spell, and Syd shouted out a warning as he recognized the spell.
A Fireball exploded within the room, everything disappearing as flames covered the room. When the fires faded, the Commander faded away. Syd and Zoltan were too stunned to put up much resistance. Little remained of Milo’s body except for a few charred remnants of his gear. Gathering up what little was left, Syd and Zoltan began racing down the vertical shaft. They had stayed over long within this blasted fortress. Gyguul’s informants had been wrong. The drow wasn’t here.
Heading towards the Commander’s chamber, Syd and Zoltan for the first time began to worry about how they would escape.
During all of this, Alahandra had been attempting to get Orendil out of the cylinder in which he had been trapped. She tried several things, including out right attacking the glass. Little worked, until she attempted to dispel the magic of the glass chamber. Suddenly, the glass glowed a bright red and an opening appeared within.
Rushing inside she began likewise trying to remove Orendil. She had tried little though, before she realized the opening had begun to close up behind her! Darting back out, Alahandra barely managed to avoid being trapped within the small chamber with Orendil. Before she could try again, the Commander and the githyanki who had escaped earlier appeared! Quickly hiding behind the table, Alahandra listened in on the Commander and the warlock.
Suddenly the door to the room opened and Zoltan and Syd strode into the room. Zoltan opened fire on both the warlock and the Commander as Syd unleashed his magic. Even Alahandra emerged from hiding to add a few laser blasts to her side. The Commander and the warlock, both already wounded, quickly fell to the combined assault.
Syd searched the room quickly and found a few scrolls. Listening to Alahandra about what had happened Syd began suppressing the enchantment on the glass. Zoltan explained to Alahandra what had happened in a blunt manner as Syd burned open a hole in the outer glass.
"Milo is dead," was all Zoltan had to say.
As the large opening appeared in the outer glass, Zoltan turned and fired a shot at the top of the cylinder holding Orendil. With a loud crack the cylinder burst open and Orendil tumbled out.
Orendil scrambled up and managed to escape from the glass chamber before the opening could reseal itself.
Quickly explaining what had happened, the remaining party prepared to rush towards the hangar when Orendil noticed a small crack in the wall of the room. Examining the crack closer, Orendil realized it was a hidden door. Activating it, the party entered into a long hallway. Rushing down the hallway, the party took a right as the hallway angled to the east. Running farther, they stopped suddenly, and backtracked to an alcove they had noticed.
At the end of a small branch of hallway was an enormous mirror. Or at least, it appeared to be a mirror, except that it wasn’t reflecting back any of the party members. Moving forward the party slowly began examining the mirror, wondering at its use.
When Zoltan’s hands ran over the mirror’s surface though, it shimmered and a githyanki face replaced everything.
"Yes? What do you need c- Wait. Who are you and what are you doing on this channel?"
"Uh – Just a false alarm. We’re fine down here," Zoltan explained, following up with a blaster shot right to the mirror.
If an alarm hadn’t been triggered yet (and all signs pointed to the fact that one had) it surely was going off now. Rushing back down the hallway, the party again turned with the hallway, heading back in the direction they had originally come.
Suddenly the hallway ended, and the party prepared to turn around and rush back. And then they heard the sound of running githyanki behind them. Rapidly searching for any kind of doorway, the party jumped through the secret door Alahandra found, closing it just as the githyanki started to round the corner.
Everyone’s stomach lurched suddenly as all gravity suddenly ceased to exist. The party was once again within the treasure room of the floating githyanki base, a treasure room Orendil and Alahandra had missed out on.
Zipping about the room, Alahandra quickly had filled an empty bag with some of the floating gems. Exiting back into the temple, the party rushed back into the center chamber. As the group opened the temple doors, a number of githyanki were running by, heading into the throne room. Four of them stood back and began to move towards the party.
Opening fire, the four githyanki were cut down and the party began running, heading straight for the hangar.
Bursting through the doorway, the guards momentarily looked as the party rushed past, then let them run by having seen them with the Commander earlier.
Running into the hangar, the group quickly attracted the attention of one of the mechanics.
"What do you need now?" asked one of the mechanics.
"Your fastest ship. A traitor is escaping and we need to catch him."
The mechanic simply pointed to one of the ships in dock and quickly the party boarded. Orendil moved up to the pilot’s cabin and sat down. And then realized he had no idea how to fly a githyanki ship.
Sticking his head out of the door, Zoltan said
"This stupid elf said he could fly the ship but he can’t. Any of you guys know how to fly?"
The githyanki looked among themselves before one shrugged and stepped forward.
"Sure I can fly. Where you want to go?"
Giving the githyanki pilot directions, the party soon landed in the small clearing they had landed their plane in earlier. Waving the githyanki ship off, the party boarded, silencing Thrabon with a single look.
The flight back took place in silence.
It wasn’t long after landing that Syd suggested returning Milo in a Soulmech body. The question of what to do about Milo had proved problematic. Without his body, Syd knew many ressurection magics would fail. But a soulmech was a possible solution.
No one was really happy with bringing Milo back as a soulmech, especially Zoltan. But no one wanted to let Milo remain dead, without at least offering him a chance to come back.
Thrabon quickly brought the party back to Gyguul’s where the party quickly gave a run down of what had happened within the githyanki base. Gyguul had heard nothing new as to the location of the drow. But he did know of a wizard who could assist the party with returning Milo as a soulmech. If the party could provide a soulmech body, that is.
Instantly, the robot husk strapped to the abandoned hover tank came to mind. Getting the number of the wizard from Gyguul, the party sprang into action.
Over several days Zoltan and Orendil trekked back to the hover tank, obtained the robot husk, and trekked back.
Syd identified all of the magically and psionically enchanted gear the group had obtained within the githyanki base.
Alahandra sold several of the group’s gems and unwanted enchanted items to provide money for Milo’s imminent ressurection.
The robotic husk was brought to a small robot manufacturer. Everything was arranged. Syd, Alahandra, and the wizard Gyguul knew flew back out to the githynaki base.
The three landed in a small clearing as far away as they could be, while still alowing the wizard to work his spell.
Suddenly, Orendil came in over Syd’s walkie-talkie.
"I found a priest who says he can ressurect Milo without a body. It’ll be cheaper."
A short flight and a heavenly choir later, Milo was sitting up from a small altar, looking confused.
"I was dead?!?"
Milo was caught up to speed and some new gear was picked up for what Milo had lost.
Lacking anything especially pressing, and needing time to relax after the past few days, the party retreated into their hotel to relax. A message was left with Gyguul, asking him to contact the group if anything came up.
Several days later, and several repetitions of"we walked uphill with a robot on our back for you," the party finally received a call.
"Where has the drow moved to now, Gyguul?"
"My sources still say the drow is at the githyanki base. No, instead I thought you might want to know a dispatch of githyanki ships are heading towards Caar as we speak."
Everything within the hotel rooms was quickly picked up, and the party’s debt paid. Chartering a plane through Gyguul, the group was on route to Daar, a large city to the north, long before the githyanki reached Caar.
In Daar, the party found a wealth of goods that had been unavailable in Caar, and again began to shop with gusto.
Of particular note was the number of guns that Zoltan bought for both Orendil and Milo, using his ID.
"We have a record of your recent purchases Mr. Zoltan," mentioned one store clerk.
"Are you accusing me of something pal?" Zoltan asked.
"Just reminding you that we keep track of your purchases. Heres your blaster carbine."
"If any of you need another gun, get your own ID!" Zoltan told everyone later.
Eventually though, the night approached and the party found a small hotel to shack up in. Renting two corner rooms next to one another, the party shacked up for the night.
In Syd and Alahandra’s room, loud footsteps were heard walking down the hallway. Whoever or whatever was outside was BIG. Suddenly there was a loud crash and a roar. What was going on?!?
In Orendil, Milo, and Zoltan’s room, everyone was bedding down when the door suddenly burst in. Standing in the door frame was a massive creature. Nearly nine feet tall, the creature towered over everyone in the room. Large horns sprouted from the creatures head and it was holding two very large rifles, one in each hand.
This wasn’t going to be a restful night.
The Uthuk and Returning to Carr
With a growl, the enormous creature let loose a barrage of automatic fire from both guns, many shots hitting Zoltan. Scrambling towards where their guns had been stowed, everyone in the room returned fire, seriously wounding the creature.
By this time, Syd and Alahandra had both exited out of their room to see the source of the commotion. While Alahandra joined in the firefight, Syd cast a spell, slowing down the creature significantly.
Finally, the creature (which Syd recognized as an uthek) fell. The uthek was tied up while Zoltan applied a large number of healing patches over his wounds. Once everyone had been sufficiently healed, what to do about the uthek came up. Searching through his gear revealed little. Aside from his weapons (which Zoltan quickly allocated into his pile of weapons) all he had was a credit card, a cell phone, and a strange device.
In the end, curiosity overcame the need for retribution, and a small healing patch was applied to the uthek. Slowly its eyes opened, and began to take it the surroundings. One of the first things he noticed was the large number of gun barrels leveled at him.
"What are you doing here?!?" Zoltan asked.
"I am … hunting G’Banrak."
Certainly not the response anyone expected. Who would want the aasimar? And how exactly did the uthek find them when he was looking for the aasimar? In fact that was the next thing Zoltan asked.
"How did you find us?!?"
"How did you track us?"
"Device. Should lead to … G’Banrak."
"What did you want with G’Banrak?"
"Was never told. Just paid to find her."
"Who paid you?"
"You’ll never know."
And suddenly the room was suddenly engulfed in flames. Syd (who had been standing outside in order to wave off possible onlookers) quickly rushed to grab a fire extinguisher and began to spray down the room.
No one had been seriously burned. Even the uthek had survived with minimal burns, although he had lapsed back into unconscious. The room was another matter. The carpet had nearly burned away in spots and the walls all bore large scorch marks. The cost of this one battle was starting to mount.
Deciding that the amount of info that could be further extracted from the uthek didn’t equal the threat that he might catch on fire again, what to do with him became the problem.
While Syd waved away a staff member of the hotel, assuring him that damages would all be paid, everyone else was debating whether the uthek should be thrown out the window, thrown off the roof, thrown from some other building, or snuck out tomorrow.
All the debate ended when Syd walked back in.
"I could just polymorph him into something small."
Zoltan, of course, was against it. Despite his protests, however, Syd soon found himself focusing on the image of a small frog as he chanted the words of his spell. And then before everyone’s eyes, the uthek began to shrink and change, until he was nothing but a tiny, little frog. A conscious tiny, little frog.
Hopping up, the frog formerly known as uthek quickly started to make its way out of the room. Catching it before it got far, Syd scooped the frog up and handed it to Zoltan.
"Do with it what you will. If he dies, the spell will end. I am going to bed."
And with that, Syd went to bed. Everyone else attempted to repair the room as much as possible while Zoltan went out to a small bar, where he summarily flushed the uthek-now-frog down the toilet.
The next day found the party investigating what loot the uthek had left them with. The device seemed to be some sort of tracking device. Quickly, the party determined that the uthek had told the truth, and that the device was tracking the armored vests that the party had taken from Aphex.
Ditching the vests in the hotel’s garbage chute, the party went down and paid their fees, including fees for the room they had destroyed. Walking out, the party moved to a large park in the center of Daar before taking out the uthek’s cell phone.
Utilizing the same tactic they had used the last time they had captured someone’s cell phone, the group dialed the most recent number on the phone.
"Do you have her?" asked the voice on the other side of the phone.
"Who was I supposed to find again?"
"The aasimar you fool! Do you have her?"
"No, not exactly. Why were you trying to find her again?
"That is not of your concern. We paid you good money to find her. We expect you to have her here by tomorrow."
"Where was I supposed to bring her again?"
"To Aphex Prison! We paid good money for your services, and we expect to get a return!"
"I am going to need more money. She has been harder to find than I thought."
"More money!?! We paid one hundred and thirty thousand credits to you already, with another one hundred and thirty for her capture! You already have a small fortune! How can you even ask for more!?!"
"Oh yeah, that money. Never mind then."
"If you don’t find her, we will find you."
"Oh no, don’t worry about it. We’ll get her."
Hanging up, Zoltan (who had become something of the party negotiator) quickly relayed the information he had discovered to the party.
The news did not bode well, for the party and for G’Banrak. Getting out the walkie-talkies, the group tried to contact G’Banrak over the frequency they had instructed her to use. There was no answer. Contacting Gyguul revealed little, except that the githyanki had left. Of G’Banrak, he knew nothing.
That avenue covered, the second thing the party did was to begin wondering how much money was actually on the uthek’s credit card. It didn’t take long to figure out. All of it was on the uthek’s credit card. Zoltan suggested turning G’Banrak in to get some more money, but no one really took him seriously.
Quickly splitting the money among the group, the party split up to pick up a few pieces of equipment that they had been desiring. Milo, Orendil, and Zoltan cleaned out several convenience stores, buying every healing patch available. Syd and Alahandra bought several rings to help protect the group from elemental attacks. Armor was bought by everyone, both to replace the Aphex Prison vests that the group had been forced to get rid of and to provide better protection.
Syd discovered that the Intergalactic Wizard’s Society had a chapter in the city of Daar, but without a proper ID he could not download any spells into his datapad. Making a small list of the spells he wanted to seek out at the next opportunity, everyone met up again in the park after a day of shopping.
Two decisions were reached. First, the group must return to Caar to warn G’Banrak, not to mention find out why she is so wanted in the first place. Two hundred and sixty thousand was a lot of money for just one aasimar. The natural paranoia of the party was beginning to show itself as everyone came to the conclusion that G’Banrak was not what she seemed.
The second decision was to return to the githyanki base. Gyguul still insisted the drow was hiding within the base. Better equipped, and better prepared, the party felt it was time to re-enter the base.
Bad things were going down.
Where is G'banrak?
Fake IDs and the Return to the Githyanki Outpost
The flight back to Caar proved highly uneventful and the party soon found themselves back within the city of Caar. Contacting Gyguul over the walkie-talkies revealed nothing new. Gyguul’s informants certainly did not seem to get around.
Venturing across the city to G’Banrak’s hotel, a course of action was quickly established. Alahandra would head up to get G’Banrak while everyone else waited at a nearby bar. Alahandra would draw G’Banrak out of the hotel and bring her to the bar, so everyone could talk in a more private location.
Alahandra entered into the hotel and quickly managed to talk her way up to G’Banrak’s room. G’Banrak met Alahandra at the door, several packed bags behind her. The money the party had left her had nearly run out, and since she would no longer have a place to stay, she was going to leave for Degtra the next morning. She hadn’t completely forgotten the party’s warning, however. She had managed to obtain fake identification. They were very good fakes, in fact.
After arriving at the bar, the party quickly related the events involving the uthek bursting into their room, searching for G’Banrak. G’Banrak seemed surprised that Aphex still wanted her. She claimed there was nothing special about her as far as she knew. At Aphex she was the subject of various kinds of experiments, but so were many of the other prisoners. Either way, the party felt G’Banrak should likely stay with them for protection.
After all, someone had to help them get some fake IDs. The party easily convinced G’Banrak that she should cancel her flight, which she did. Further, current plan of returning to the githyanki base was explained to her, as well as the reason.
“You know, I do remember a drunken drow when I was captured,” G’Banrak mused.
“So what are you going to do when you find him?”
The party just stared back at her with blank faces. Obviously, the thought of success had not occurred to them.
“Well you can’t just kill him. Not if you want to find out what his involvement with all of this is.”
Most of the party nodded somewhat numbly, surprised at an actual insight coming from G’Banrak. Zoltan of course was against non-fatal solutions but, as usual, he was paid little attention.
“Do you need a gun G’Banrak?” queried Milo.
“No, I’m fine.”
“Do you have useful fighting abilities?” asked Orendil.
“No, not really.”
Everyone looked at each other, regretting the decision to bring her into the githyanki stronghold. It seemed entirely possible that G’Banrak would prove more of a liability in the base than anything else.
The decision already made, however, the party quickly changed the topic to G’Banrak’s fake ID (which had the name Rezsz next to her picture.) Some friends she had met in a club in the southern area of town had provided them for her, at minimal cost. She could happily introduce them to the party if they wanted. It doesn’t take a genius to guess what the party’s answer to that was.
Following behind G’Banrak, the party soon found themselves at a small club. G’Banrak looked about and quickly spotted her friends. Walking over, she quickly introduced everyone to two humans, obviously brothers.
The brothers were initially suspicious, but with G’Banrak vouching for the party, quickly provided a rundown of available services.
The party unanimously decided for the decided to spring for the most expensive (and the most credible) fake IDs. A short interview, followed by a photo session later, the party paid several thousand creds with a promise of more when the IDs were delivered. Advised to wait a few days, the party returned to G’Banrak’s hotel where they gathered her belongings and then picked yet another hotel to rest in.
An idea had been troubling Zoltan ever since the party had first decided to return to the githyanki base. The first time there, Zoltan had nearly been forced to rely upon magical conveyance to get him into the base. He needed to avoid the taint that was magic this time. Searching about while everyone else waited soon found a solution. A small store in Caar sold jetpacks, and was across the street from a school that could teach him how to fly it.
A couple thousand creds and a crash course in jetpack flight later, Zoltan found himself no longer at the fickle whims of magic.
A few days after their first payment, the party returned to the same small club in order to receive their finished IDs. The products were impressive, complete with holograms and other assorted copy-proofing technology.
Syd’s new ID named him Thamil, a book dealer. Alahandra’s new name was Dru, while Orendil was now Alexei. Zoltan was given the name of Gorshk. And finally, Milo was given the name of Garret.
After obtaining new identification, the party quickly headed towards the airport. The same private flight they had used earlier was still there, waiting for them. Boarding, the party explained to G’Banrak some of what may lay ahead.
The flight itself was boring and uneventful. A few hours later found the party landing in another clearing roughly a mile away from the floating githyanki base.
Hiking to the base proved uneventful. In fact, everything seemed to be quiet. When the party had reached an area close to the center of the base, Syd began to cast a series of spells enabling everyone but Alahandra (who naturally could fly) and Zoltan (who had purchased a jetpack) flight.
Looking up, the githyanki base was still awe-inspiring. After quickly picking a tower, the party waited for its approach before flying straight up towards it.
As everyone else entered through the windows at the top of the tower, Zoltan rocketed ahead and shot down the vertical chute towards the lower floors. Blowing through the living quarters, he landed in the small control room where he quickly released a burst of autofire, killing one of the githyanki guards on watch.
Everyone else scrambled after him, flying down the shaft into the living quarters. A very surprised githyanki was still rolling from bed as Orendil and Milo simultaneously fired, dropping the githyanki to the ground.
Down below, Zoltan was spinning about, rifle still releasing a stream of autofire. The githyanki guard behind him was still unsheathing his sword as several blaster shots ripped through him.
A few party members flew down to make sure Zoltan was okay before doing a quick search throughout both rooms. If nothing else could be said for the party, they were efficient.
Finding little in either room, the group was soon left with nowhere to go but down. Flying further down the passage, the party found themselves in another room, with the passage continuing on underneath them.
A hallway stretched two ways from the opening in the ceiling, but the floor was strangely tilted, making distances seem odd. Milo and Zoltan went to the right and vanished from sight as the hallway took a sharp left turn.
Everyone else went to the left and likewise followed the hallway when it took a sharp right turn. The hallway itself simply curved around and very quickly, each group caught sight of one another. Because of the strange nature of the floor, however, neither group saw the squad of githyanki warriors until they were almost on top of them.
Zoltan was caught checking the ammo in his gun as combat erupted around him. Lydia faded from sight, her laser blasts striking the sensitive areas of the githyanki. Orendil drew his greatsword and rushed forward to meet those githyanki doing the same.
Syd took several return shots from the githyanki warriors, while the melee troops sliced into Milo. Orendil flew up and began striking at the githyanki troopers from the air, slashing at their heads. G’Banrak muttered a few words before several magic missiles flew from her hand.
And then with a high pitched whine, Zoltan powered up his blaster. Depressing the trigger, Zoltan created a line of death, blowing straight through three githyanki warriors with the first barrage of fire. More githyanki rushed in to take their fallen comrades places, but were slain just as quickly by Zoltan.
While Zoltan was effectively eliminating anything that moved, Milo retreated to apply a few healing patches to himself. It was his new position that suddenly allowed him to see the band of githyanki warriors sneaking up behind the party.
Likewise retreating because of wounds, Syd quickly flew towards Milo. Following Milo’s line of sight, Syd flung forth his hand and launched a small green pellet towards the compact group of githyanki warriors. Where it struck a rippling wave of vibrational force ripped through the githyanki, peeling skin and crushing bones.
At the other side of the room another githyanki fell as Zoltan’s gun slowly spun down and emitted a sharp click. He was out of ammo.
The githyanki behind the party rushed forward, swinging their weapons at both Milo and Zoltan. Syd thrust forward his hand and this time a cone of sound rippled forth, felling most of the githyanki, not to mention smashing into Zoltan.
The few githyanki remaining were badly injured and dropped quickly from the individual attentions of Orendil, Alahandra, and Milo.
Just before the last one was slain, G’Banrak cast yet another spell. A familiar expression came over the githyanki warrior as he succumbed to G’Banrak’s charm.
The party had found another tour guide.
Revisiting the Githyanki Outpost. Where is the Drunken Drow?
The charmed githyanki had no knowledge of any drow being on base. However, he happily offered to bring the party to where ever they wanted to go. The prison sounded like a promising area, especially if the drow had been on base without the former commander’s knowledge.
Moving back to the vertical corridor, the group quickly descended down to a familiar center chamber. Recognizing the entrance to the base’s temple, as well as the entrance to the base’s throne room, the group was quickly able to orient themselves. Moving through the eastern door, the group found themselves in the bases prison. Rows of cells along both walls contained people from a variety of racial backgrounds. Despite the number of races represented among the prisoners, however, there were no drow.
Syd detected magic, to ensure that none of the prisoners were under an illusion. None of them were. Obviously, if the drow was on board, he was not a prisoner of the githyanki.
After a brief conversation with some of the prisoners, the group realized most of them had been captured when the githyanki had been searching for the party in Caar. Knowing the githyanki had ventured to Caar hunting for the group, the party found themselves feeling partly responsible for everyone’s capture.
Milo began to investigate the machinery that operated the prison doors while Zoltan plotted out how to use the prisoners as a distraction for the party. Unable to figure out the psionic-based machinery, Milo called over the charmed githyanki, asking him for help.
Not being a prison guard himself, the charmed githyanki possessed only a rudimentary understanding of the machine. As Milo began explaining what he was try to do, however, the guard managed to release the prisoners with an errant thought.
At first the prisoners seemed unsure of what to do. Quickly the party began explaining what was going on. The party couldn’t help the prisoners escape, but they could direct them to the location of the hangar, where the prisoners might be able to steal a ship. All the party asked of the prisoners was for them to wait ten minutes before attempting escape. That would give the party time to get out of the way, so that they would not be found when the prisoners ran for it.
Some of the prisoners were less than grateful for the chance the party had given them. But most of them were happy to at least have a chance at escape, no matter how slim. To further help them out, the group gave the prisoners some of their extra weapons, so that the prisoners would not be fleeing unarmed.
Leaving the prisoners to their own devices, the group instructed the githyanki to move them to the guest quarters. Moving through the south door, the group passed by a pair of guards. The guards tensed as the party passed, but at a few words from the group’s guide, relaxed and let the party continue on.
Recognizing this hallway as the one leading to the hangar, the party realized they were directly in the path they had outlined for the escaping prisoners. Needing to get out of the hall quickly (lest they be caught in the chaos when the prisoners made a break for freedom) the group quickly moved into left suite of rooms. Choosing the northern most room at random, the group knocked on the door loudly.
A large githyanki answered the door, yawning and rubbing sleep from his eyes.
“Can’t you tell we’re sleeping in here?!? What do you want anyway?” his eyes narrowed as he spotted the mixed company of the party, but again, a few words from the group’s charmed friend calmed him down.
“Sorry. We’re looking for a friend of ours and we think he may be here. Do you know of any drow staying in here?”
“Oh. You mean Captain Tharimo? His room is right over there.”
With that the githyanki turned around and retreated back into his room,
slamming his door in the party’s face. The githyanki had already been
forgotten, however. The party had finally found a drow. This Captain Tharimo was
very possibly the person responsible for turning the group into fugitives on the
run. Ideas of bloody vengeance danced through the party’s collective minds as
they advanced down the hall. This would hopefully be messy.
Deciding that the courtesy of knocking would be wasted on a drow, Zoltan kicked in the door that had been indicated by the githyanki. Darting inside, blaster swiveling about the room, Zoltan provided cover as Milo and Syd likewise entered expecting a fight.
No one was quite expecting the feminine gasp that came from the room. Instead of the nameless drow who had singled everyone out to be guinea pigs for the drow’s insidious medical experiments, a beautiful female drow was found in bed. A naked, beautiful, female drow.
Covering herself hastily, the unknown female was quick to demand, “Who are you!?!”
“Who are you!?! Where’s Captain Tharimo!?!” shouted back Zoltan.
“Captain Tharimo’s room is next door. But if you insist on questioning me, could you at least allow me to clothe myself?”
Perhaps they were distracted by the drow’s beauty, or her lack of clothes, or perhaps they were all still in shock. But either way, Zoltan, Milo, and Syd exited the drow’s room and shut the door behind them.
“She’s going to put on some clothes,” they sheepishly explained.
Some time passed. Then a little more time passed. Slowly the regular policies of paranoia and suspicion began to reassert themselves within everyone’s mind. Finally, Milo knocked on the door.
There was no answer. Opening the door, no one was surprised when the room revealed itself to be empty. Walking forward cautiously, Milo approached a small metal box that had not been there when he had last been in the room. Lifting up the lid revealed a small, floating bead of light sitting within the box.
Syd, who managed to see the bead over Milo’s shoulder, immediately recognized it for what it was.
“It’s a fireball! Get down!”
Everyone quickly began moving back down the corridor and diving for cover. Syd and Milo barely made it out of the room before the fireball exploded. The room itself was badly burned, but most of the group was able to escape the fireball’s blast. The charmed githyanki, unfortunately, had not been fast enough.
From the other end of the hall, the githyanki the group had talked to earlier burst from their room angrily shouting “What in hell is going on down there!?!”
“Nothing to see here. Everything is fine. You just go back to your room,” answered Zoltan.
Perhaps it was the large weapons the party was carrying or perhaps it was the large stretch of corridor that was now thoroughly charred, but obviously the githyanki felt they had a good reason to go back to bed as they rapidly moved back into their rooms and slammed their doors shut.
Moving back down the hallway cautiously, the group busted into the room that the vanished drow had indicated was Captain Tharimo’s. The room was empty of life but a quick search found two things of interest.
The first was a formal ISPD dress uniform. The other was a small journal. While Milo pocketed the insignia off of the uniform, Syd flipped to the last page of the journal. The entry related how Captain Tharimo had come to this githyanki base in the company of a Colonel Antiphiphia to pick up some prisoners.
It wasn’t hard for everyone to realize that Colonel Antiphiphia was the female drow in the other room. Letting her get away had definitely not been a good idea.
Lacking a guide, or any plan of action for that matter, it was easy to see that everyone was in trouble.
Earlier, the group had fled from the base and been forced to return. Doing so again didn’t sit well with anyone. Multiple ideas were thought up and discarded in the space of a few moments. Any moment now alarms would likely go off as the drow alerted the githyanki to the intruders.
Finally deciding to simply find a warlock, the group rushed out of the hallway and ran back into the center of the base. What the party would do after finding the warlock was uncertain, but hopefully they could gain some information about the base.
Flying to the vertical corridor, the party rapidly approached the warlock’s room at the top. Suddenly Alahandra stopped and quickly flew ahead, giving the party the signal to halt. And then they all heard what Alahandra had detected. Voices. Several of them, coming from the warlock’s room. One of the voices was female.
Thinking fast, Syd reached into his pocket and withdrew one of the stones he had enchanted earlier. Whispering the command word he had embedded into it, all sound suddenly ceased around him. Judging the angle, Syd prepared to toss the stone up into the room. Within the area of magical silence, the drow female would be unable to use most of her spells, and would be at the mercy of the group.
Suddenly, however, two drow faces appeared above the room’s edge above. One was that of an unknown male, presumably Captain Tharimo. The other face was none other than Colonel Antiphiphia. Tossing the stone, it flew up and directly past Antiphiphia’s head, enshrouding the warlock’s room in silence.
G’Banrak quickly took the opportunity to cast a spell, and vanished without a trace. Syd likewise was prepared to cast a spell, when suddenly his silenced stone was tossed down from above.
“D-“ Syd managed to get out. The stone quickly was caught by the gravity of the tunnel and struck one of the walls with a small click. Alahandra was already flying towards it to help dislodge it.
Meanwhile, Captain Tharimo had disappeared from the opening above the party. Zoltan activated his rocket and shot up through the warlock’s room and into the small windowed room above it. The metal walkway in the warlock’s room activated, blocking the group’s passage as multiple Captain Tharimos appeared in front of the party. Making a guess, both Milo and Orendil focused their fire on the same one, causing the images to fade as the real Captain Tharimo slumped to the ground, dead.
Alahandra managed to dislodge the silence stone and dropped it down the tunnel, allowing Syd to launch a blast of force at the metal wall blocking the group from the warlock’s room. The metal began to buckle, but it did not give so Orendil and Milo began to blast it with their weapons.
Up above Zoltan had managed to descend back towards the warlock’s room where he saw both the warlock Quazmo and Colonel Antiphiphia. Opening fire, Zoltan found Antiphiphia enshrouded in several layers of protective magic. Several blaster shots penetrated through but they appeared to do little damage. Quazmo disappeared from the room as Antiphiphia looked up and began casting. A small fiery bead appeared in the room and Antiphiphia disappeared shortly afterwards.
Recognizing the fireball from earlier, Zoltan rocketed back up to the small room at the top of the tower, taking cover from the blast.
Milo and Orendil continued to blast the door with Syd and Alahandra’s help. The door was still more or less intact, but it was large enough for Milo to see through one of the holes.
Looking inside, Milo noticed the small floating bead, which the party had quickly learned to be wary of. He also noticed G’Banrak as she suddenly materialized within the now empty warlock’s chamber, cursing over the results of her spell.
“Watch out! There’s a fireball in there!”
G’Banrak quickly flew up to Zoltan, as the small bead hovered there silently. Suddenly, with a wet splattering sound, the bead exploded covering the room in a very corrosive acid. Quickly the acid that covered the metal door began to hiss and steam, and the door soon melted into nothing.
Knowing the group couldn’t leave the base with Antiphiphia alive to hound them, Syd had just begun to turn around when he glimpsed Quazmo behind him.
Syd began to cast a feeblemind when suddenly the strands of magic twisted away from him and went out of control. Settling over Quazmo, the altered spell suddenly transmuted Quazmo into the form of an eye tyrant.
Luckily, Orendil’s reflexes were just as fast as Syd’s and the githyanki turned beholder was soon returned to his natural form after a quick barrage from Orendil’s blaster.
Zoltan and G’Banrak came flying down from above, grabbing Captain Tharimo’s corpse on their way. As Orendil bent down to sort through the dead drow’s belongings, Syd and G’Banrak exchanged a long, silent look at one another. Both of them recognized all of the tell tale signs.
Somehow they had entered into a wild magic zone.
Steal the Gems and Escape from the Githyanki Outpost!
Colonel Antiphiphia had done it yet again. The group could not face leaving the githyanki base until they at least eliminated the danger that she posed. Worse yet, it only took one glance for Syd to ascertain that Captain Tharimo wasn’t the drunken drow that the party was hunting. So far, this had been a very unsuccessful mission.
Stopping momentarily to pick over the possessions of the late Captain Tharimo and the githyanki warlock Quazmo, the party turned about and once again headed towards the center of the githyanki base.
Without any clue as to the location of Colonel Antiphiphia, the group figured that anywhere in the base was as good as any other. Deciding to profit while looking for her, the group decided to head for the treasury.
Less than a minute later the group found themselves standing before the large ornate doors that lead into the githyanki base’s temple. Chanting the words of an unlocking spell, G’Banrak gestured towards the door.
Seconds later she began to shimmer and fade from sight, as did Syd, Milo, and Alahandra.
“Uh guys? What’s going on?” Orendil asked, looking about for the rest of his group.
“It’s the wild magic. It looks like most of us are invisible,” answered Syd.
“Just open the door,” muttered G’Banrak.
Opening the doors and moving in, Syd reflected that if anyone inside were hostile, Orendil and Zoltan would take all of the fire.
Moving into the room, the group finally took the time to actually look about. Several large columns were placed about the room, encircling a large altar in the center. Against the far wall stood an immense statue of the githyanki queen, her head nearly brushing the roof. For eyes, the statue possessed immense, hand-sized rubies, which Milo instantly took an interest in.
Suddenly a voice rang out from somewhere in the room.
“You do realize you won’t get away, correct?”
It was Antiphiphia. She was in the room, and she was invisible.
Syd, Milo, and Alahandra all had identical ideas, running over to the door leading to the treasury. Opening the door, they went into the small room beyond only to find that the second door was locked tight. Alahandra began struggling with the lock, finding the lock to the treasury to be masterfully crafted.
Zoltan rushed forward and began to rush about the room, hoping to catch Antiphiphia off guard in order to learn her location.
Orendil and G’Banrak both looked about, hoping to get a glimpse of her.
The door leading into the main room suddenly shut, seemingly by itself, sealing Syd, Milo, and Alahandra in the small room in between the treasury and the temple. Zoltan started to move towards the area around the door, sweeping his weapon back and forth in the hope of catching Antiphiphia.
Suddenly, Orendil spotted a small glowing bead sitting on the altar.
“Fireball! Get out of the room!”
Orendil, G’Banrak, and Zoltan all quickly rushed out of them room. They barely made it past the large outer doors when the fireball went off, engulfing the room in flame.
Hesitantly, Zoltan entered back into the room. He had just stepped in when suddenly he found himself falling up! Slamming into the ceiling with a loud crunch, Zoltan could only conclude that gravity was reversed. Activating his jetpack, Zoltan rocketed off the ceiling and informed Orendil and G’Banrak of the room’s conditions.
Orendil flew into the room and opened the door leading to the treasury. Warning Syd, Milo, and Alahandra about the room, he began to search about the room. Orendil doubted Antiphiphia was still in the room, but he recalled a hidden door leading into here from the Commander’s room.
Sensing a small airflow coming from the western wall, Orendil carefully began feeling along the wall and then … yes! There! The wall swung out and Orendil stepped into the Commander’s room.
G’Banrak and Zoltan followed him in. Zoltan cautiously approached the net that had trapped Orendil the last time at the base, while Orendil explained the workings of the net and the holding tubes.
Milo grew tired of waiting for Alahandra and, mindful of Orendil’s warning, flew out into the temple and up to the top of the githyanki queen’s statue. Grabbing his laser pistol he began slowly melting away the surrounding statue in an attempt to dislodge the two rubies.
Finding the net in the Commander’s room active, Zoltan was stumped on how to get through it. Milo had managed to evade it on their previous encounter, but Orendil had been ensnared. No one in the room liked those odds.
“I might have a spell that could help. Should I try?” asked G’Banrak.
“No don’t!” shouted Zoltan.
But it was too late. The sound of arcane chanting could already be heard. And then … silence.
“G’Banrak are you okay?”
There was no answer. Feeling about in front of him, Orendil soon found the form of G’Banrak. She seemed to not be moving at all. Lifting her up, Orendil hastily flew out of the room. Zoltan followed after him when suddenly he was lifted up and slammed into the ceiling again!
“Damn! Forgot about the gravity!”
Milo had managed to pry out both rubies, and had damaged the statue a good deal in the process. Very quickly, everyone was becoming tired of the time it was taking Alahandra to open the way to the treasury.
And then a loud click issued out in the silence, along with Alahandra’s exuberant shouting.
The treasury door was opened, and the party again found themselves in the room of gems spinning crazily about through the air. Not being rushed, the party set about to methodically fill every available space with gems including everyone's backpacks (four of which were Zoltan’s), pouches, pockets, and, in Alahandra’s case, her boots.
Pockets and bags bulging from the glut of gems, and the treasury looking a lot less cluttered, Syd checked his watch. The time left on his fly spells was rapidly wearing out and if the party waited much longer, most of them would be unable to get down.
“We’re not leaving yet. Remember the big communication mirror? I am shutting it down again,” explained Zoltan, as he crossed through the treasure room to the door beyond.
The party had 2 minutes and counting.
Moving through the treasury, the mostly invisible party walked down the hidden corridor towards the small alcove that contained the mirror. Stepping into the alcove, Zoltan leveled his gun and destroyed the newly repaired mirror.
And that’s when everyone heard the pounding of running feet. Githyanki began pouring in from both sides of the hallway, surrounding the party. Worse yet, these were not the githyanki the party had been fighting. These were full-fledged githyanki knights, not only bearing high-powered blaster rifles, but also wearing powerful combat armor.
The knights looked up and down the hallway for the intruders that were supposedly in the base. Zoltan was inside of the small alcove, outside of their line of sight. Syd, Alahandra, G’ Banrak, and Milo were all still invisible due to the wild magic in the area. That left poor Orendil standing out in the open, in plain view of all the knights. The knights promptly opened fire.
Multiple blaster shots tore into Orendil, punching multiple holes in his armor. Barely standing, Orendil quickly retreated into the alcove and quickly began applying healing patches to his many wounds. Milo took aim and fired, managing to penetrate one of the knights’ armor as he appeared. Syd and Alahandra began firing at one of the githyanki knights as they both hovered above him, likewise fading into view.
G’Banrak ran screaming into the alcove along with Orendil.
"Should I cast a spell? Should I cast a spell!?!"
"No!" came the answer from everyone.
Zoltan quickly spun around and stepped into the hallway, leveling his blaster and firing a barrage of shots into the midst of the oncoming knights.
The knights quickly realized that Zoltan was their most dangerous opponent, and began to focus their fire at him. Few of their shots were able to pierce his naturally tough skin, or his protective battle armor, however. Orendil tossed G’Banrak a blaster pistol as he continued to apply healing patch after healing patch.
Alahandra attempted to turn invisible but instead her magical power flexed out of control! With a flash of light, she found her senses suddenly disjointed and scrambled and all she could do was hover in place. Syd continued to fire at the githyanki knight who had come up behind the party. Milo fired off a few more shots as G’Banrak stepped out from the alcove and suddenly began casting!
"No!" shouted nearly everyone at once.
Suddenly a shimmering, glittering sphere materialized around one of the githyanki knights, effectively cutting him off from the combat. A prismatic sphere. Syd was amazed, and terrified at the same time. If spells were warping to such a degree… whatever G’Banrak had cast could have as easily killed everyone in the party.
"No more magic!"
Alahandra finally snapped out of her magically induced stupor, and with Milo’s help, managed to bring down one of the githyanki knights who had come at the party from the treasury. Sensing an opportunity, Syd flipped over the head of the remaining knight, scooping up the fallen knight’s blaster rifle as he did, and finished off the other knight at his end of the hall. With Zoltan drawing fire from the knights on the other side, both Alahandra and Milo ran to the alcove where they took cover.
Zoltan was starting to look bad by now. Most of the shots were unable to pierce his protective armor but enough were getting through to take their toll. But suddenly Orendil was in front of him, Soulfeeder in hand. Screaming out a battle cry, Orendil rushed forward and engaged one of the last knights in melee combat!
Orendil scored several vicious gashes on the last knight, felling him. Quiet settled over the battlefield. Then Syd noticed the time.
"We need to get out now!"
The group rushed from the room, leaving one knight stuck within the prismatic sphere. Entering into the vertical corridor, Zoltan activated his jetpack as the other members of the party lifted off, flying at max speed up the shaft.
Rocketing out of the window at the top of the tower, the party found themselves off to one side of the githyanki base. Heading straight down Syd realized the magic wasn’t going to keep them up long enough.
Twenty feet above the ground, Syd’s fly spells began to unravel, the magic holding up the party falling away. Luckily, the safeguards kicked in at the last moment, and the last 20 feet were fallen at a slow, delicate rate. Settling onto the ground, everyone began to debate what to do.
No one especially wanted to leave and come back, but it was obvious that the group needed some more preparation before entering the base yet again. And of course Syd had underestimated the burden of flying several people, a situation he hoped to correct with a wand. Reluctantly the party prepared to hike back to the plane and set out for Caar. As little time as possible would be spent restocking.
The group hiked for nearly a mile when they saw them. Several githyanki surrounding their plane. Not just githyanki. Githyanki knights. Five knights had been a challenge. The nine knights standing about the plane would very likely prove too much, especially if the strange wild magic zone extended out this far.
Very quickly the party pulled back and discussed their options. The githyanki base was in the middle of nowhere. There was little chance the party could hike anywhere without taking several weeks. The only recourse was to make a small camp somewhere nearby and hope the knights had left the plane in the middle of the night.
Sleeping in the Woods and Hiding the Gems
The small camp the party set up was in a forested area. The night passed peacefully until Orendil’s watch came around. Orendil hadn’t sat long before he noticed the figures of several githyanki knights approaching directly towards the location of the party.
After Orendil roused everyone from their sleep, everyone quietly attempted to take cover among the trees around the campsite.
Everyone but Zoltan, that is.
As the githyanki knights approached, Zoltan stood in a small clearing among the trees. Despite his unprotected stance, the knights failed to spot any of the party until they were almost on top of the party.
And then Zoltan fired up his assault blaster. Multiple blasts shot out at the knights, wounding one moderately. Milo took several shots from his concealed position behind a tree while Alahandra faded into invisibility and assaulted the knights with impunity.
Orendil roared out his battle cry and charged one of the knights, his greatsword before him. Several knights were shaken from Orendil’s battle howl and failed to score any hits against the group.
Syd and G’Banrak stayed hidden as the firefight erupted around them.
Zoltan’s assault blaster continued its stream of fire, dropping one of the knights, as Milo and Alahandra continued to snipe at the remaining knights from concealment. Orendil engaged his opponent in hand to hand combat, leaving vicious wounds with his greatsword. Seeing that the knights’ attention was mostly focused on Zoltan, Syd and G’Banrak both left their positions and likewise opened fire on the githyanki knights.
Things were not looking good for the knights. Realizing that Zoltan was too protected for them to appreciably damage, many of the knights stepped back and began to employ their psionic abilities. The sound of shattering glass and the burnt smell of metal quickly filled the clearing, and assault after assault struck the minds of the party.
Luckily, the githyanki knights’ psionic assault proved as effective as their blaster shots had. It wasn’t long before the last knight fell, and the clearing again resumed the quiet of night. Unfortunately, if the knights had found the party here, they surely would again. The party had no recourse but to relocate their camp for the remaining portion of the night.
Moving northwest for roughly one mile, the party noticed that several parties of githyanki knights were looking for them. Avoiding the knights, the party soon found another clearing where they set up camp for what remained of the night.
The next morning found the party still hale and whole, undisturbed by any other githyanki patrols. Syd had been considering the current party’s capabilities, and had selected several spells to enhance their abilities for the day. Reaching out to touch Orendil, Syd muttered the arcane phrases that would enhance Orendil’s reactions and perceptive ability for the day.
Suddenly, Syd felt the magic twist wild in his fingers. What had been a protective magic turned into something darker, and Orendil visibly withered under Syd’s touch.
“Damn! We’re still in the wild magic zone!”
The rest of the party nervously backed away from Syd.
After packing up their gear, the party quickly began walking back towards the plane. Because of the movement of their camp during the night, their plane now lay almost due south from their position.
As the party hiked, they quickly realized that patrols of githyanki still walked the forest, searching for them. As if that wasn't enough, several planes were heard flying overhead, trying to catch the party in a clearing.
Moving cautiously from tree to tree, making sure no planes were overhead at crossing, the party slowly made their way back to where their plane was landed. At one point, an enormous plane, roughly of a model similar to the group’s but several times larger, flew over head. Vaguely, a giant could be glimpsed through one of the plane’s windows.
“That looks like Gyguul!” both Syd and Zoltan exclaimed at once.
There was an awkward silence as both of them glared at the other for copying off of him. Then the party reached their plane.
The githyanki knights still stood guard. Cursing, the party gathered a short distance away and began planning what to do. With the constant surveillance in the surrounding area, a battle with nine githyanki knights would quickly bring down reinforcements. Worse yet, the party wasn’t even sure they could take on nine githyanki knights and win, especially with Syd and G’Banrak afraid to cast because of the wild magic zone.
In jest, Milo suggested covering Orendil in mud and trying to pass him off as an ISPD officer dismissing the githyanki knights from duty. His idea soon caught on, however. In short order, Alahandra had managed to darken the visible parts of Orendil considerably. While the badge's picture and Orendil were not perfect matches, it could stand up to casual scrutiny.
Orendil was just beginning to walk forward when suddenly the group’s walkie-talkie went off. It was Gyguul!
“I’ve been captured. I am in the githyanki base. They say they want you to give yourself up.”
This was not good. This was not good at all.
“Why should we just give ourselves up?” Milo shot back.
And then the voice on the walkie-talkie changed. Instantly everyone recognized the tones of Colonel Antiphiphia.
“We know exactly where you are. If I wanted to, I could send several githyanki knights to the small clearing next to your plane that you are currently hiding in. It will be so much easier if you just come peacefully. I will have a pilot awaiting you underneath the base.”
The group was stupefied. The idea of complying turned everyone’s stomach, and the idea of losing to Colonel Antiphiphia even more so.
But unless she had been guessing very well, she had pinpointed their location. The party’s only recourse was to comply. But the party wasn’t going to return to the githyanki base weighed down with half of the base’s treasury. Quickly several party members had managed to hide away their bags of gems in nearby trees and shallow holes. Orendil went so far as to bury Soulfeeder, in case he somehow lost his gear inside the base.
When all of the preparations were done, everyone had buried their gems except Alahandra and Zoltan, both of whom resolutely refused to give them up. Trudging through the forest dejectedly, the party soon approached the githyanki base for yet another time.
Standing beneath the floating base stood a drow female, leaning back against a small transport.
“I am Lieutenant Silan and I am your transport up to the base. If you will enter my transport we can get underway.”
Reluctantly the party entered into the transport and it lifted off, carrying the group back into the githyanki base. Things definitely were looking down for the party.
Exiting the transport, Lieutenant Silan escorted the party down the long hallway and into the throne chamber of the base.
There was Gyguul, dwarfed between two titans. A fully armed contingent of githyanki knights ringed the chamber, and another rapidly filled up the room behind the party. A githyanki wearing the insignia of the base commander slowly looked over the party. And Lieutenant Silan suddenly began to shift and change, her features slowly shifting into that of Colonel Antiphiphia.
“It was you! You were the drunken drow!” screamed Zoltan.
“Good deduction Zoltan. It was me who singled you out for arrest. But I believe you have more pressing matters at the time.”
Walking forward, the new githyanki commander introduced himself to the party and explained their situation.
“It takes guts to turn yourself in willingly, especially considering your crimes. As such, instead of forcibly removing all of your weapons and magical items from your possession I will simply ask you to relinquish them peacefully. It would be easy for us to find anything you try to hide from us, so I trust you not to be stupid.”
“What crimes are you trying to hold us for?” queried Milo.
“What crimes!” the commander shouted. “The breaking and entering of this fully sanctioned military base! The wholesale slaughter of this base’s personnel, including several young soldiers in training! The destruction of our property! What crimes aren’t we holding you for?”
The party exchanged a silent look among each other. The crimes were serious. You could almost see everyone weighing the size of the two titans guns against the almost absolute certainty of death at the hands of the githyanki.
The titans’ guns were bigger.
“So we will be getting a fair trial?” Milo asked.
“Of course you will. Two lawyers have already been dispatched by the Dragon Empire in order to ensure objectivity during the trial. We will hold you until they arrive, at which time you will be fairly tried.”
“Maybe we can make a deal?” Milo asked, looking to Colonel Antiphiphia.
As the party collectively glared at Milo, the Colonel replied.
“There is little I could do to help you. As you attacked the githyanki’s base, it is their jurisdiction.”
“Maybe we could do a service for you?” Milo wheedled.
Moving close, Antiphiphia leaned in to Milo and whispered to him “We can talk about this later.” Raising her voice so that everyone could hear, she said, “Will you surrender your weapons and magical items now?”
Perhaps not too unexpectedly Zoltan asked a very nonsensical question, “What kind of food do you have here?”
“You may have anything that you wish,” the commander replied.
Zoltan nodded his approval and tucked this piece of knowledge away for later use.
The group was somewhat at a lost. It was obvious that even in a fair trial, the githyanki would assuredly be able to ensure the party’s death. At the same time, however, the titan’s presence suggested that any resistance would just be a quicker route to the same destination.
Slowly, the party began to turn over their equipment. Weapon after weapon, the party watched all of their equipment placed into several bags, each with an accompanying nametag. In the hope that the githyanki truly trusted the party to be honest, Syd failed to mention his headband, just as Alahandra managed to evade all notice and kept all of her gear.
A short walk later found the party in the githyanki base’s prison. Apparently the prisoners the party had released had all been cut down by githyanki troops before they could make an escape. A momentary pang of guilt was experienced, but facing more imminent problems, it didn’t last long. The group had been set back to square one. For the most part, they were all in the same situation they had been when they had landed on planet Aphex.
“What the heck are you doing?!?” Zoltan shouted at Milo once everyone had been placed into their cells..
“We don’t want a fair trial! If we get a fair trial, we are going to get killed! Better to get Antiphiphia to let us off,” Milo explained.
Milo’s logic was sound, but no one was comfortable with the thought of an alliance with Colonel Antiphiphia, a person everyone had come to blame for all of his or her present problems.
With party tensions running high and little else to do, the group began speaking to some of the other prisoners. In the cell next to Syd was a strange man who introduced himself as Wang Lu Dong. He spoke with a weird amalgam of accents, the strangest of all being Dwarven despite his lack of knowledge of the language.
Zoltan shared a cell with a rather large gnoll, but it was quickly obvious that they didn’t share a common language. Zoltan stayed far from the gnoll and the gnoll did the same.
Milo shared his cell with an elf named Nick Delosier. A Wizard of not insignificant power himself Nick and Syd quickly began to discuss magical theory to past the time. Everyone else tried to ignore their otherwise nonsensical babbling.
G’Banrak shared a cell with a female high elf named Dru, who likewise professed an aptitude in the magical arts. She seemed somewhat withdrawn, however, and offered little conversation. Alahandra was quick to realize that the high elf Dru was the identity she had bought from the man in Caar.
In Orendil’s cell a half-orc sullenly sat in a corner, likewise offering little in the way of conversation.
And so time passed, with little being said until it was time for dinner. As dinner was being served Zoltan exclaimed, “I thought we could get whatever we wanted! I don’t remember my order being taken!”
With a put upon sigh, the guard asked Zoltan what he would like to have.
“Hmmm. I want a Cesar salad, paned duck, and some bread pudding with white chocolate sauce. That will be good for tonight.” With that Zoltan dismissed the server with a wave of his hand. The server, rolling his eyes, stalked off, but in the end Zoltan did get his meal.
The next day everyone was surprised when Colonel Antiphiphia strode into the prison. Moving to Milo’s cell, she wasted no time with niceties.
“You mentioned a use you may have?”
“You know how skilled we are. Surely there is something we could do for you in exchange for our freedom?”
“You are quite skilled, but why would the ISPD need ones such as you?”
“Surely we would be more useful working for you than we would going to trial.”
“Like there will really be a trial!” Zoltan shouted with a laugh.
With a small flicker of her eye, the Colonel smirked. “Your friend Zoltan is more perceptive than he seems, which is saying a lot. I can keep you all here as long as I want. But I will consider your offer. And I will take G’Banrak with me for now.”
“Wait! What about the reward! We did bring her to you!” Zoltan shouted again.
“Don’t play stupid! The reward you promised the uthek!”
“I do not know of any uthek. Maybe you should tell me?”
“Oh guess I was talking about someone else then. Go ahead and take her.”
Colonel Antiphiphia frowned for a moment before calling in two githyanki guards. Entering G’Banrak’s cell, the guards grabbed her and dragged her out kicking and screaming.
G’Banrak glowered darkly at the party. “How can you let them do this?!”
An awkward silence followed the quartet’s exit. However, the silence was more than just guilt about G’Banrak.
“She didn’t send the uthek,” Milo commented to no one in particular.
Someone else was hunting G’Banrak.
G’Banrak had not been gone long before she was returned. Two guards carelessly tossed her back into her cell, where she crawled into a corner and began to cry.
An awkward silence hung about the room. Concerned for her friend, Alahandra began trying to comfort G’Banrak. With the help of Alahandra, G’Banrak slowly regained control of her emotions.
Haltingly, G’Banrak explained what had happened when she was taken.
“First, you have to know something about my home planet. My planet lies within the Dragon Empire, but is nigh but unreachable by convential means. Instead, my people have constructed a gate system to connect it to other planets. Only those native to my planet know how to operate the gates, but with the proper knowledge anyone could go anywhere within the Dragon Empire and in some cases, beyond. The ISPD would give anything for access to our gates, and for that reason they cannot possibly gain that knowledge. I know they would use it unjustly.
Colonel Antiphiphia tells me something has invaded my planet. An alien force that the ISPD has never encountered. From what she said I don’t think she plans on doing anything about them. I think she would rather watch the creatures and see what they do to my world!
But there’s hope. Antiphiphia wants me to go back to my planet with some of her technicians to my planet so that they can take more accurate readings of the menace. If you all would agree to come with me, maybe we could stop whatever these things are!”
Any chance to escape was a welcome one, although no one trusted Antiphiphia to keep her word. Eventually though, everyone had decided to help G’Banrak save her planet. Somehow though, they would have to stop the drow from learning the secrets of Thronia’s gates.
Time passed, most of it spent idly contemplating the coming venture.
And then, the githyanki Commander entered into the prison. He did a quick survey of the room before addressing the group. “The judge may be more lenient on you all if you would be willing to tell us what happened.”
“Yeah right,” Zoltan shouted. “You know that there aren’t any lawyers coming for us.”
“What do you mean?”
“Its obvious! Don’t be a fool!”
“Why do you think lawyers are coming?”
“Colonel Antiphiphia assured me that they were.”
“Antiphiphia cannot be trusted,” Orendil interjected. “She wants to see us dead. She plans on arranging an ‘accident’. Check it out.”
“Very well. I will investigate the matter. If you are lying, however, it will be to your detriment.”
The Commander turned about and left the room.
“What are you two doing?!?” shouted Milo. “We don’t want to be tried!”
“I was thinking maybe we could turn the Commander against Antiphiphia, and escape in the confusion,” Orendil offered. “We can’t trust Antiphiphia.”
“I don’t think we have much of a choice. Antiphiphia is at least willing to let us live. The Commander would have us all killed given half the chance!”
With little left to say, the group again fell into boredom. Time crawled by as the party sat within the jail cell. Debates burst forth sporadically before being shot down again.
Orendil was adamant that Antiphiphia could not be trusted and that it would be better to turn ourselves over to the Commander and escape from him later. Milo wanted to get out at all costs, even if it meant making a deal with Antiphiphia. Zoltan wanted to shoot things, or maybe he just wanted more food. Either way he wasn’t too happy. Syd, Alahandra, and Wang each had varied opinions on the group’s varied plans. None of them knew what was coming, except that it probably wouldn’t be good.
The Commander returned in a few days. Quick and too the point, he entered and admitted that his sources suggested that perhaps lawyers weren’t coming.
“If you help me out, perhaps I can help you out.”
“What do you want from us?” yelled Zoltan.
“We know you broke into this base. We know you killed several of our soldiers, who were still in training. You murdered this base’s previous Commander as well as two of its Warlocks. We know you stole a large amount of diamonds from us. If you turn the diamonds over, I will protect you from Antiphiphia.”
“We didn’t steal those diamonds! They were given to us by the previous Commander!”
“He gave them to you?” the Commander asked skeptically.
“Yeah! He hired us to help train the soldiers! The ones who failed the test died! He paid us with the diamonds!”
“I find that highly … unlikely. I know this base had a large amount of gems before you came here, and now it has much less. Where are the diamonds?”
“They’re in his bag!” Syd said. “All the diamonds we took are in Zoltan’s bags. Look and you will find them.”
Zoltan was outraged, and made that obvious while the Commander ordered two guards to search through Zoltan’s bags. Finding that they were indeed stuffed with diamonds, the bags were removed and the Commander left the room.
“What are you doing?”
“He obviously doesn’t know how many diamonds we took. If we give him some of them, maybe he won’t look for the rest. And since you were the only one who brought diamonds with you, you got to give yours up.”
Prison was definitely fraying the party’s nerves.
The next day Antiphiphia paid the party a visit.
“It’s not nice trying to turn the Commander against me. I should leave you here to be tried and executed. I assume G’Banrak has briefed you on my goals? And I assume you have all agreed to go? In a few days I will have everything prepared. I will tell the Commander I am moving you to a different prison for your trial. Instead I will move you to my ship in orbit. Do not cross me.”
Her speech delivered, Antiphiphia stormed out before any response could be uttered.
The Commander returned yet again the next day. Having recovered the base’s stolen diamonds, he was quick to ask the party for what they would have him do.
“Antiphiphia is going to move us in a few days. You should move us instead. I fear she’s going to execute us without trial,” Orendil explained.
“No! Leave us here. She won’t move us now that you know,” Milo yelled out.
“What would you have me do? I could move you by yourself if you want.”
Orendil, realizing his plan wouldn’t work without the rest of the group, declined. The Commander shrugged and left.
It was the day before Antiphiphia was set to move the party onboard to her ship. The prison doors opened and a young male human was brought in and thrown into a cell.
His name was Jhelai Lajos. He had been picked up in the area of the base and was being held by the githyanki for now. It was obvious, however, that this was another smoke screen created by Antiphiphia. He had been offered the same choice as the party, and once everyone had explained the situation to him, had reluctantly agreed.
The final day passed slowly and everyone slept fitfully the night before.
As the day dawned, no one could have guessed what was coming.
Continued on DragonStar Summer 2002visitors