Difference between revisions of "2018-10-04: Let's Hope It's Not Contagious"

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(Created page with "*'''Log: Let's Hope It's Not Contagious''' *'''Cast:''' Character :: Josephine Lovelace, Character :: Catenna, Character :: Jacqueline Barber, Character :: Celin...")
 
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     "And we're down! What do you think, an eight of ten?" she asks Jay and Catenna, as she sets down Celine.
 
     "And we're down! What do you think, an eight of ten?" she asks Jay and Catenna, as she sets down Celine.
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Latest revision as of 21:58, 18 May 2020

  • Log: Let's Hope It's Not Contagious
  • Cast: Josephine Lovelace, Catenna, Jacqueline Barber, Celine Jules
  • Where: Cage Tower
  • Date: October 4th 2018
  • Summary: Josie heads into Cage Tower with a group of familiar faces -- one in particular a familiar face from long ago. A handful more information is gleaned from the Tower, though no breakthroughs are had.

DG: A party led by Josephine Lovelace is now entering Cage Tower - High Security.
DG: Party formation is now over. An Entry Challenge will now be drawn and displayed to the party.
========================<* Cage Tower - High Security *>========================
========================<* CHALLENGE - Down the Shaft *>========================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The most accessible entrance to the basement of Cage Tower is an old lift
 shaft. The lift itself is stuck on the lowest floor, and unpowered; broken
 lift cables and the rusty remains of the lift's tracks offer a means to get
 down without it. The only sources of light--aside from the ones you've
 brought--are softly-glowing luminescent patches on the shaft's walls.

 The sound of bending metal echoes up the shaft from below, faint and
 distant.
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow, Injure=============================================
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

    The last time Josie had ventured out to Cage Tower had been... less than profitable, shall we say.

    Thus when she makes her return return trip, it's with a few familiar faces.
    Plus one that is a little more familiar than she would have cared for.

    Particularly since she'd had to give her name when doing introductions and expedition planning, and so forth.
    Suffice to say, a minor reunion has taken place, one that Josie herself has continued to be rather nonplussed regarding, at least to the outside world.

    "Anyway," she says, gesturing towards the broken elevator shaft once they arrive inside the tower, "it looks like the fun stuff's downstairs, but the lift's out. Hopefully you all packed rope or something, because unless you've got some trick up your sleeve, it's the hard way down."

    Penelope, until now perched on Josie's shoulder, takes flight to then perch in a jutting out broken brick overhead. The pigeon then busies herself with grooming, as if she's seen this all unfold before.

    Josie, meanwhile, gets a rope ready. It's a long way down, and even if she's getting fairly familiar with the footholds and the like at this point, it's best not to take a chance and fall the length of the former elevator shaft.

    "Right, let's get on with it~"

    This, before she slips over the lip of the gap and starts to climb on down.
    Penelope never so much as lifts her head to watch.

DG: Josephine Lovelace has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Down the Shaft.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

All Catenna remembers about Cage Tower is that it is a scary place and she was in no rush to go back.

She hasn't crossed Josephine's path in what feels like a long time, but it's not an unwelcome return. She greeted the bird-friend with a polite smile and a nod, then followed along behind her towards the tower. At least this time, nothing's jumping out at her immediately.

But getting down there will be a challenge. The luminous patches on the lift wall unnerve her more than the open shaft itself. Technological places like this never fail to put Catenna on edge. As she uncoils her rope and catches her grappling hook firmly on a metal outcrop at the edge of the hole, tugging it to test how solid its grip is, there's a visible tension in the wya she holds herself, her shoulders a little stiff beneath her long blue-and-silver Zortroan dress. "I did, in fact, pack a rope," she says as she tests the hook one last time, then slides over the edge of the elevator shaft.

With a soft tang of heels on metal, Catenna plants her feet against the wall, then begins to make her way down in short, descending hops, counting on the rope to guide her.

DG: Catenna has used her Tool Grappling Hook toward her party's challenge, Down the Shaft.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline has been to the depths of the Cage Tower once before. What she saw there was enough to make her want to never visit again. ...At least, that was the plan, but then Josie contacted her about it and Jacqueline relented for the sake of helping out a friend.

So, here she is!

"I...think we should be fine." Jacqueline says, looking toward Josie before peering down into the depths. It was dark. They'd be without light for quite a while, but...

"Hold on, let me..." Jacqueline draws a Crest from her pouch, and from it she generates a small sphere of light that she sends floating down, following them and providing helpful illumination.

With that done she slowly descends after the others. Slowly and steadily. They had plenty of security in place if someone fell, but she hoped they didn't have to use any of them.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool Rapid Remedy toward her party's challenge, Down the Shaft.
<Pose Tracker> Celine Jules has posed.

My, so she had run into a Jospehine Lovelace a few times before, had she?

Celine hadn't fully recognized the name, but the Lovelaces that were at Marze were friends of her Father's, the village Elder - likely. Not that Celine would remember all the friends her father had, or potential enemies. It's all out of her business. Frankly, she only cared to stick her nose into places where it really didn't belong. This was only half that. "Mhmhmmm~." Celine demurely noted, grinning and glancing at Josephine a few times as she'd look at her - perhaps, as annoying as it may be, nearly every time Josephine looked at Celine. After all, potentially one of her idols - or at least role models - for going out into the wastelands.

Here she was, disappearing down a hole. A rope that is carefully used, climbing down. "I'll go last, that way if I slip, someone might be able to catch me~." Celeine so ... helpfully adds. With Catenna following on another rope, Celine waits even more! One of her first attempts at the Cage Tower! "My, this is so much more garish than I thought, but it certainly lives up to it's name, doesn't it~?" Celine adds, as finally Jacqueline descends. Celine follows after Josephine, clothing getting in the way. It really wouldn't fit - but then, there is a 'click' as both Celine's heels strike against the wall. "Oh, Wonderful~. This'll be a breeze now~."

Notably, Josephine may be best not looking up.

DG: Celine Jules has used her Tool Fashionable Boots toward her party's challenge, Down the Shaft.
========================<* Cage Tower - High Security *>========================
========================<* CHALLENGE - Down the Shaft *>========================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The most accessible entrance to the basement of Cage Tower is an old lift
 shaft. The lift itself is stuck on the lowest floor, and unpowered; broken
 lift cables and the rusty remains of the lift's tracks offer a means to get
 down without it. The only sources of light--aside from the ones you've
 brought--are softly-glowing luminescent patches on the shaft's walls.

 The sound of bending metal echoes up the shaft from below, faint and
 distant.
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow, Injure=============================================
===================<* Cage Tower - High Security - Round 1 *>===================
==========================< Results - Down the Shaft >==========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  0 --(5)--> 5                   Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Grappling Hook                      2   Agility Effects: Quicken
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Rapid Remedy                        1   Agility Effects: Cleanse
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Celine Jules                        0 --(5)--> 5                   Fail
Fashionable Boots                   3   Agility Effects: Fanfare
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Josephine Lovelace          0 --(20)--> 20                 Pass
Conditions: Injure(2)|Slow(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Quicken(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Josephine Lovelace has passed this challenge! The party gained 20 exploration! If anyone needs to use party
management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

    "Oh, good. Heh, I should get one of those sometime, instead of relying on this sucker," she says, tugging on her own bog-standard length of rope.

    "Then again, there's something to be said for living dangerously..."

    She lingers for a moment then, glancing back at Jay and Celine both. Celine grins at her again, which only serves to make Josie feel oddly like she's taken a step backwards in time (and oddly discomfited at that).
    Is it her imagination, or does Jay look a little bit...
    Well, that's how it is, sometimes.

    "Light! Good idea," Josie says, before similarly snapping her fingers and conjuring into existence a small orb that settles into a lazy orbit at around head height. This one will stay with them, while the other, courtesy of Jacqueline, zips on ahead to illuminate where they want to go.
    There's a lot of rubble down there. Hitting it would hurt.

    Really in the end the two halves of the party can be divided as thus:

    The ones who make it down easily and without too much delay (and in Catenna's case, fairly quickly too!)--

    and the ones who don't. With just one hand at her disposal (unless she really wants to be in for a world of hurt) Josie's locked into a slow pace interspersed with moments of excitement when her boot slips.
    But this might just mean that it works out for Celine when Celine's shoe strikes a particularly slippery foothold and sends her tumbling, whereupon Josie has to awkwardly brace herself against the wall and hoist the younger woman up with her only good hand.

    "...Well then," she says, as she balances precariously. "Hope you kept up with your studies, Celine. Now'd be a real good time for a feather float spell or something."

    And with that she steps off her 'platform', plunging down towards the rocks below.
    The surge of electrical magic from her free, bad, right hand helps at least clear the landing. Still, while no one's going ass over teakettle, it still stings.

    "And we're down! What do you think, an eight of ten?" she asks Jay and Catenna, as she sets down Celine.

DG: Catenna has drawn a new Challenge.
=========================<* Cage Tower - High Security *>=========================
=========================<* CHALLENGE - Altered Drones *>=========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 1          |
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 A low hum precedes the arrival of several strange objects, each roughly the
 size of a human head. Arrays of glassy lenses, strange manipulator arms, and
 odd symbols hint at their original function, but whatever these constructs
 once were, they've been reconfigured into something more dangerous. Strange,
 biometallic material pulses around holes in their casing, and extrudes into
 long, whip-like blades. Whatever altered them also made them extremely
 aggressive.
=Dungeon Conditions: Fright, Injure===========================================
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

It helps that Catenna brought a rope. She lands with a click of heels, then brushes her hair back with a little flick of her hair, turning to watch as Josephine makes her landing. "...Eight seems appropriate," she concedes, mostly because she doesn't completely get the reference.

"let's move on," she says, breezing past the topic. She draws her sword and squints on ahead, into the technical maze of the tower's innards.

It never ceases to unsettle her. Stepping forward, Catenna's acutely aware of the metallic clack of her footfalls against the floor panels as she moves along down a short corridor. In the distance, something hums, more felt than heard - an electric sensation which begins to nudge insistently at the senses. It bothers Catenna enough that she rubs at her jaw, grimacing. "What is that," she asks.

A second later, it becomes clear. The objects shoot into view, hovering - and Catenna gasps at the sight of them, each the size of a human head and arrayed with a terrifying array of glassy lenses and dangling arms, yet pulsing with what is clearly biological material, extruding out from their mechanical hulls into flailing whip tendrils. And they're barreling straight at her.

Without thinking, Catenna thrusts her free hand forward and shouts something with surprise. The air distorts as a wave of gravity lurches through the cluster of altered drones, throwing several to the floor with a shower of sparks.

DG: Catenna has used her Tool Celesdue Medium toward her party's challenge, Altered Drones.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Fortunately, Jacqueline's pretty sure of her footing. She doesn't have to worry too much about falling, at least this time around. It helps that she's being very careful about it...but in the end she still gets down there before Josie and Celine, who drop rather suddenly.

Jacqueline winces and reaches for a Crest but stops herself as Josie uses some sorcery of her own.

"...Well, it doesn't seem as if anyone broke anything, so I think that's the best anyone could hope for..." Jacqueline says. She waits for everyone to get down the begins to follow Catenna.

Catenna is the one who notices the danger first - mechanical drones approaching them with aggressive intent. Jacqueline backpedals, drawing two things simultaneously - a book with one hand, and a Crest Graph with another. She flips through the pages of the book, coming to a certain section.

She had been taking some notes of her own, filling in the gaps where the Lifeweaver's Codex was missing information. This is one such set of notes.

"These drones once performed various duties throughout the tower, but they've since been infected. Be careful, they can-" Jacqueline dodges to the side suddenly as one of the whip-like blades lashes out, trying to impale her. It falls just short, and she retaliates by brandishing the Crest in its direction to send out a spear of flame to pierce right through it's center.

"...Attack with those whip-like blades, which can come from unexpected angles due to their flexibility. Their overall durability is low, but those blades are dangerous!" She informs.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool The Lifeweaver's Codex toward her party's challenge, Altered Drones.
<Pose Tracker> Celine Jules has posed.

The symbologist travels down the rope - unfortunately, she never seemed to have learned anything regarding that very important 'feather float' spell that Josephine notes~!

As lingering as Josephine might be, Celine is like a steamroller - she simply doesn't stop as she slides down. Carefully... Caaaarefully.

"It's not likely I'd just /sli-" That's exactly what she does as the heel strikes the stone, sliding off, causing Celine, bracing against it, to tumble downwards. With a wordless cry, the symbologist grasps her hat and tumbles down - to be caught by Josephine! A true legend, obviously~. "Oh myyyy. Just like all the stories they said about you!" The woman proclaims, winking down at Josephine. "Hmm? Kepy up with my studies? I've learned a thing or two sinc-AIiiiii-"

Tumbling once more, but in a grasp and being held oddly, Celine's magic lights up the tunnel as they fall. Further and further, as Jospehine would grow close to the ground. "OHAngelsofmercy,shelterusinyourembrace ANGEL FE-" There's a moment that time freezes, right before the ground is hit - and what is a quick, mumbled incantation causes a rather acceptable result - a small 'barrier' of feathers making the landing, for both, not as painful - they disperse shortly after. "Close enough, right~?" She beams, as she brushes herself off. "That's twice I owe you now." What was the first? And what, no dear!?

The arrival of the digging party is met with more than just the click of heels and footfalls against the floor panels, Celine's leg slightly tweaked from her initial slip - it probably slows them all down a tad. Infact, Celine's heels click rather loudly. "Why, I think the question is what are we going to do about it, dear~." Celine remarks - but then plants herself back as Catenna forces the drones to the floor. Jacqueline brandishes a spear of flame - magical in nature. "I'll let you all keep them bus-"

One immediately starts zipping towards her as well, a specific, circular symbol on her body glowing a faint green, "Howling wind of ....!!" But would she manage to get the spell off before that orb crashes into her and stabs her for a very unwelcoming meeting? If not, two blades of 'wind' pass from the party outwards, to try and cut and shear the unnatural mechanical objects!

DG: Celine Jules has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Altered Drones.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

    "...They're saying what now about me?" Josie asks, in those moments before she takes the fast way down. "Eh, well, it doesn't matter. Hope you're ready--!"

    And then she hops down like she was instead diving into a quarry for a swim, and not dropping quite a distance down an elevator shaft.

    The fastest incantation in the west ensues, absorbing a little more of the impact before they hit bottom.

    "Whew, now that's speed," Josie mutters, before setting the younger woman down. And then, to Jacqueline, salutes. "All good here, Jay. Not even a twisted ankle," the archaeologist states, shaking a booted foot for emphasis. Really, that could have gone so much worse. "...So not even a nine?" she teases Catenna, only to shrug, stepping away from the bottom of the elevator shaft. "Heh heh, don't worry about it, kitty-cat."

    A buzzing interrupts this little scene.

    "More of those things?" Josie comments laconicly, before going for the rifle holstered across her back. Without so much more than a how-you-do, she opens fire upon the incoming drones, the shot cracking through the air.

    "Try not to damage them too much. I'd love to collect the parts this time," she comments, as she lines up another shot. "The whip-like parts are pretty interesting, but I'm interested in those lenses!"

    They'd be a fair treat in an ARM, if she can figure out how to make them work right.


    "...Infected with the what now?" Josie asks, lifting her head from her rifle sight, more than a few seconds late.

DG: Josephine Lovelace has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Altered Drones.
=========================<* Cage Tower - High Security *>=========================
=========================<* CHALLENGE - Altered Drones *>=========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 1          |
----------------------------< Challenge Information: >----------------------------
 A low hum precedes the arrival of several strange objects, each roughly the
 size of a human head. Arrays of glassy lenses, strange manipulator arms, and
 odd symbols hint at their original function, but whatever these constructs
 once were, they've been reconfigured into something more dangerous. Strange,
 biometallic material pulses around holes in their casing, and extrudes into
 long, whip-like blades. Whatever altered them also made them extremely
 aggressive.
=Dungeon Conditions: Fright, Injure===========================================
====================<* Cage Tower - High Security - Round 2 *>====================
===========================< Results - Altered Drones >===========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  5 --(10)--> 15                 Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Celesdue Medium                     2   Combat  Effects: Embolden
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
The Lifeweaver's Codex              2   Combat  Effects: Embolden
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Celine Jules                        5 --(10)--> 15                 Fail
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------< Party >-------------------------------------
Leader: Josephine Lovelace          20 --(20)--> 40                Pass
Conditions: Fright(2)|Injure(2)
Effects: Embolden(1)
================================< Dream Chasers >=================================
DG: The party led by Josephine Lovelace has passed this challenge! The party gained 20 exploration! If anyone needs to use party
management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

"K-kitty-cat?!" Catenna gasps with blush as she looks at Josephine.

Whatever those things are, they're as affected by gravity as anything else. A couple crash to the ground, crumpling in on themselves with a shockingly fleshy squelching sound. "Oh Guardians," Catenna hisses, a hint of green reaching her cheeks. She recoils, swinging her sword out to bat a couple of drone tendrils away from her, her blade just catching those more organic, whip-like ones.

Jacqueline has the right idea; her fire spell punches through one, and her guidance gives the group the information they need to thwart the worst of their attacks. But more of the drones gang up on Celine and Josephine. One of the drones smashes into Celine, slashing and whipping, colliding with her before her wind blade slams into it and drives it back; another drone is hit before it can reach her, and the two infected devices smash apart in a fiery, bloody spray. Another zips past Josephine, lashing out at her, striking towards her with one of its flailing blade-edges. Another couple circle around her.

But her marksmanship is more than sufficient to bring them down with minimal demolition of their actual structures. One, two, three shots, and three drones bounce to the ground, twitch, and go still.

The attack is thwarted. Catenna lets out the breath she'd been holding. "...What could have infected them...."

DG: Jacqueline Barber has drawn a new Challenge.
=======================<* Cage Tower - High Security *>=======================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Fallen Girders *>=======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 1          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 A pile of twisted metal girders lies in the middle of the hallway, blocking
 access. They might've fallen from one of the upper levels, judging by the
 giant hole they punched in the ceiling--but now they're in the way, and need
 to be moved, or otherwise dealt with. Oddly, some of them look as though
 they've been gnawed on.
=Dungeon Conditions: Overzealous, Tire========================================
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"That...substance covering them. I think it's twisted them, taken control of them." Jacqueline explains. Eventually, they manage to clear out the rest of them. Jacqueline closes her book with a relieved sigh, storing it safely away once more.

"We might be able to find something if we head in the direction they came from..." She suggests, stalking forward carefully. There's no knowing when they'll be approached by something else. Unfortunately, their path does not go very far before it's blocked off by rubble - twisted metal girders(bearing what looks unpleasantly like bite marks) blocking the middle of the hallway.

"...I think they might've come from up there." Jacqueline says, looking up. The girders and the drones. Unfortunately, they're a little dangerous to climb over.

"Hold on, I'm going to see if I can..." Jacqueline draws a Crest from her pouch, generating an earth pillar that tries to shift the girders out of the wall.

...She'll need some help, though.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Fallen Girders.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

"But... but how could something that is clearly alive take over a machine?" asks a somewhat baffled Catenna, still a little green in the cheeks. She's no apothecary and certainly no scientist, but she's not sure how something that isn't a Metal Demon could be both metallic and have a mind suitable to be taken over by a virus.

...Could it do this to Riesenlied? Thankfully she is not with us....

Onward and upward they go - well, maybe not upward. Soon enough, that heap of girders blocks their path, beams and twisted lengths of metal impeding into the corridor and barring the way forward. The Moon Shaman looks up towards the hole where once they may have come from.

"...I hope no more come from there," she says anxiously as she steps forward and attempts to position herself beneath one of the girders.

Catenna is by no means strong, but she grips the beam and attempts to push it upwards and away, hoping to use her legs and body to give her a bit of extra leverage. It only sort of works. With a soft huff, she shifts her grip, trying to lever the piece of metal out of the heap.

DG: Catenna has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Fallen Girders.
<Pose Tracker> Celine Jules has posed.

"Well, don't get used to it~. Just happened to have remembered that one in particular... for emergencies." She states, with a smirk. "Like ... well, this was a good example, wasn't it?" She remarks with a little cheery laugh, arm waving a bit lazily as she smiled - and followed on.

"Ooh, kitty-cat. That's a good name~." Celine would manage to add before the buzzing - and being interrupted as Josephine launches a shot through the air. This .. actively cause Celine to tilt her head over though. Which causes her phrasing to mess up - and the word 'Wind blade' becomes 'Wind braid!' Unfortunately, that is not how the symbologist incantation goes. The blushing also doesn't help, but it's certainly the gun that gets her attention! "I mean blade!" She corrects, or tries, as the drone smacks into her, interrupting the spell casting, causing nasty scratches and welts where the whipping connects, "Ah! You earned this!" The blade erupts from the center of the staff as it points forwards - and sends them pinwheeling and slicing them apart! At least a few, before they explode.

With a slight sigh, Celine shakes her head.
    "If they are infected..."
        "I really hope it isn't contagious."

It's not like it gets any easier - drones, girders, block the path - and Jacqueline begins to take care ofit, earth pillers to shift them away. "So make sure you don't step in any miscolored puddles, is what you're saying, right dear?~" Celine asks, getting closer, twisting the Symbologist staff slightly as she peers at the obstacle. With Catenna trying to move the girders physically, Celine tch's a bit. "Just stay a bit aways from them, okay~? I'll try to contain this... after all, you did bring me along beyond just my looks."

"It'll just take a moment..." As the red of the tattoo glows a rather bright red, simmering. More and more of that tatoo lights up as she murmurs, shwoer curtain cloak flowing from the staff as it glows as well.

"Oh roaring Earth!" The pillars underneath the rocks? They begin to crack. "Release your wrath! Explode!" It's no surprise what happens next. The crackling earth pillars meant to bend would suddenly attempt to remove both the drones and the girders in one, bright, hot, and violent act. The magic slowly expands outwards, and if done correctly, would begin to tear away metal and earth that it touched, the sound of multiple explosions (helpfully) echoing deeper into the dungeon.

DG: Celine Jules has used her Tool Symbological Staff toward her party's challenge, Fallen Girders.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

    It catches her along the upper arm on her right, ripping a section of the old beat-up duster's sleeve but seemingly not drawing much in the way of blood. The next shot more than removes the problem that the harassing drone presents, and soon the rest of the lot are left scattered on the floor.

    "Go on ahead. I'll be right with you," Josie says, after holstering her ARM and descending upon the least-damaged of the drones. There, that's a lense or two for her scrap pile... and possibly a few more of the more interesting and least-contaminated with... whatever that stuff is parts she can excavate from the busted thing.
    "Schturdark only knows," she comments at last, rising from her prey. "Reminds me of that living metal stuff Metal Demons are made of, in a way." Haphazardly, she boots the carcass of the drone before moving on.

    In the darkness behind them, a shape flutters in the dark.

    "Sure hope that's not contagious to people. That stuff, I mean. I'm not in the mood for getting driven around like an automaton."

    Catching up to the rest, Josie comes to a stop and squints up at the wall where Jay indicates. "...Seems likely. Heh. Sure wouldn't like to meet what's been chewing on the walls," she comments, hand on her hip.

    She doesn't linger that way long. "...Let me give you kids a hand with that," she says, dropping her pack, rooting through it briefly, and coming up with the best friend of every archaeologist, for all time:
    The humble, time-tested mattock.

    Which she then applies to try and help lift and heft the (hopefully well-softened, by the time Celine's done with them) pile of rubble and steel out of the way.

DG: Josephine Lovelace has used her Tool Well-Used Mattock toward her party's challenge, Fallen Girders.
=======================<* Cage Tower - High Security *>=======================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Fallen Girders *>=======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 1          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 A pile of twisted metal girders lies in the middle of the hallway, blocking
 access. They might've fallen from one of the upper levels, judging by the
 giant hole they punched in the ceiling--but now they're in the way, and need
 to be moved, or otherwise dealt with. Oddly, some of them look as though
 they've been gnawed on.
=Dungeon Conditions: Overzealous, Tire========================================
==================<* Cage Tower - High Security - Round 3 *>==================
=========================< Results - Fallen Girders >=========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  15 --(3)--> 18                 Pass
Well-Used Mattock                   2   Brute   Effects: Strengthen
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             0 --(3)--> 3                   Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   0 --(13)--> 13                 Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Celine Jules                        15 --(3)--> 18                 Pass
Symbological Staff                  3   Brute   Effects: Rally
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Josephine Lovelace          40 --(20)--> 60                Pass
Conditions: Fright(1)|Injure(1)|Overzealous(2)|Tire(2)
Effects: Strengthen(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Josephine Lovelace has passed this challenge! The party gained 20 exploration! If anyone needs to use party
management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

To Josephine and Celine, Jacqueline helpfully provides a healing tonic each, just in case. It would probably be better to avoid any lingering wounds, here.

"I'm...not entirely sure how it works." Jacqueline admits to Catenna, then glances toward Celine.

"...Yes. And whatever you do, certainly don't ingest anything you might find, either. And as for that, Josie...from what I've seen, you'd be more likely to die before it succeeds in overtaking you."

She sounds...very serious about that, actually. It's not some off-color joke.

And so, they get to work clearing out the girders blocking their path. Jacqueline yelps in surprise as the earth pillars she had created explode, though thankfully with enough warning that none of them get caught in the blast.

It goes a long way toward clearing out the blockage, making it easier on Catenna, who uses leverage to pry some of it out of their way, and Josephine, who uses her trusty mattock.

Jacqueline...mostly just stays out of the way. The other three clearly had it handled.

DG: Celine Jules has drawn a new Challenge.
=======================<* Cage Tower - High Security *>=======================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Remote Control *>=======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 1          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 This small room overlooks a much larger chamber, stacked high with
 containers of various types. The lights flicker--the area has partial power,
 at least--but the door at the other end of the booth is sealed tight, and
 unpowered. The good news is that there are a number of heavy-duty worker
 drones in the bay below, and something that looks like an emergency panel on
 the bay's far wall. Several sets of controls allow you to manipulate the
 drones from afar, but can you get one through the maze of containers to
 restore the power?
=Dungeon Conditions: Reckless=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Celine Jules has posed.

Josephine uses .. a mattock.

Glancing over at Josephine again, Celine counts it off as 'two instances the woman of Marze has resorted to her hands, or other weaponry'. The woman watches carefully as she recovers from softening, likely, the pile of rubble and steel. As the rest move it, Celine takes a breather, taking the healing tonic and rubbing it on the wounds. "Oh, there, much better~. You're really a peach, you know that?" She remarks to Jacqueling, nodding her head as well. "Trust me, I think seeing them put my hunger off a bit, anyhow." With the girders being moved, she walks a bit closer to Josephine.

Just out of mattock range, really.

It's liekly not a nice question, as she moves with her, almost whispering something. "...How about you?" She asks, having seen a gun, rope, a mattock - but not a spell. "Noticed you've definitely expanded out, but..." Is it time for a serious question? "Does big sis no longer believe in magic~?" She teases a little, winking.

Only to walk straight into a room with the others - and bump straight into some controls.

A drone moves in that directly, and the opposite way when Celine pulls off of it, the certain anatomy draped over it no longer doing so. "Tch~. Hmm, I wonder what these do..." The Symbologist leans over the edge, grasping the rail, as she looks around. "Oh! ... That's a bit far, isn't it?" There's a panel right there! Emergency, even. Maybe she'll figure it out with the others, involving the controls - but there's an equally likelihood she thinks about shocking the door a bit to give it a slight power charge! Containers sit all around them, stacked tall, and make the drone control a bit - well, it's certainly not simple!

DG: Celine Jules has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Remote Control.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

"My name is Catenna," Catenna says with a sigh towards Celine. The first syllable comes out as 'Cah'.

It takes some efort, but they get it done. Catenna takes a moment to fan herself with one hand, then continues on with the rest of the group. A soft smile reaches her face. "...Yes, Jacqueline is a very good person," she agrees, though she does not affirm that Jay is, in fact... a peach.

As she catches sight of the controls, Catenna blinks a couple of times as she tries to process the challenge in front of them.

Immediately her eyes glaze over. She blinks one more time before stepping forward tentatively. Laying light fingers on one of the panels, she plays with it experimentally.

Outside, one of the drones twitches and jiggles.

Catenna taps at the controls a couple more times. The drone spins around a couple of times.

The process of maneuvering the drones goes well. For most people. A moment or so later.

"Jaaaaay, why is this happening!!" Catenna wails as her drone picks her up and starts carrying her towards the ceiling while beeping insistently about something or other. Turns out Catenna is not good at machines. Like, at all.

DG: Catenna has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Remote Control.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

    Jay says it's more likely Josie would just die first. She grimaces. "...Heh. That bad, huh."

    The archaeologist hefts it as if it were all part of a day's work.

    ...There had been a bit of a row, when she'd left Marze. Her father had not been pleased.
    There might be more than a few reasons she never had come back home (save from a brief, brief moment earlier in the year, there and gone again like a thief in the night).

    "Whew. Well, that's that. Come on, let's get on with it," Josie says, dumping the digging tool back into her pack and hefting the bag again. "A peach, huh. I can't disagree. ...Ever think about doing a peach-flavored potion, Jay?"

    Even as they continue on there is again a flutter of feathers.
    And a soft coo.

    Into the booth they go. Josie fiddles with the controls close at hand, clearly more interested in figuring out what she can do with them rather than -- at least right away -- using them to get one of the drones across the room below. "Hmm. Looks like if you twist this one this way, and the other the other way it starts turning sideways. Pretty neat-- uh," she says, releasing her grip as she sights Catenna, being hoisted high into the air by a beeping drone.

    This is the point where Josie goes for the controls for Catenna's drone.

    This is also the point where a small winged form swoops into the room and glides down to the now vacated controls for Josie's drone.

    Penelope pecks at switches and stomps on buttons with (malicious?) abandon. This...

    ...may not end well.

DG: Josephine Lovelace has used her Tool Penelope toward her party's challenge, Remote Control.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"You're welcome!" Jacqueline replies with a smile, as Celine accepts the potion. She chuckles and blushes little nervously as Catenna and Josie also confirm Celine's words.

"P-peach flavored? I could...probably make it work." Jacqueline says, trying to quickly regain her composure.

With everyone moving on Jacqueline follows along behind until they eventually reach the next room...where they're met with a bank of controls and a closed door, sealed due to a lack of power.

"Oh? I didn't see these before..." Jacqueline says, approaching them curiously. She watches as Celine experiments with them, thus causing one of the drones in the room below to move.

"Oh...I see!" Jacqueline murmurs, intrigued. "So, we need to use the drones to restore power..."

She grips the controls and begins to test it out, seeing what the drone is capable of.

"If this were the Carakin, I could just zap its energy supply..." She murmurs. She...might actually be thinking on Celine's wavelength at the moment.

At least until the drone Catenna was working with reaches up to pick her up.

"I-I don't know! Um..." She says. Fortunately, Josie goes to help Catenna, letting Jacqueline continue trying to get the power back on.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Remote Control.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

    "Hm?"

    Before they walk into the booth but after they demolish the pile of rubble, Josie pauses a moment as Celine addresses her. "I suppose you could say that. But I still make use of a little bit, you know?" She points, then, for the small light spell still in a lazy drift of an orbit by her head. "Practical's better than flashy out in the wastes... kiddo."

=======================<* Cage Tower - High Security *>=======================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Remote Control *>=======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 1          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 This small room overlooks a much larger chamber, stacked high with
 containers of various types. The lights flicker--the area has partial power,
 at least--but the door at the other end of the booth is sealed tight, and
 unpowered. The good news is that there are a number of heavy-duty worker
 drones in the bay below, and something that looks like an emergency panel on
 the bay's far wall. Several sets of controls allow you to manipulate the
 drones from afar, but can you get one through the maze of containers to
 restore the power?
=Dungeon Conditions: Reckless=================================================
==================<* Cage Tower - High Security - Round 4 *>==================
=========================< Results - Remote Control >=========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  18 --(3)--> 21                 Pass
Penelope                            3   Wits    Effects: Resilient and Liabili
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             3 --(3)--> 6                   Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   13 --(3)--> 16                 Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Celine Jules                        18 --(8)--> 26                 Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Josephine Lovelace          60 --(15)--> 75                Pass
Conditions: Overzealous(1)|Reckless(2)|Tire(1)
Effects: Resilient(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Josephine Lovelace has passed this challenge! The party gained 15 exploration! If anyone needs to use party
management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Celine Jules has posed.

The kiddo remark is going to echo in Celine's head for a bit - but the words she uses, to identify that practical is better than flashy.

In no surprise as Celine, fast forwards to the 'answer', attempts to power up the door. The wrong way. "I know, it just needs a little electricity~!" With an incantation, there's a zap of electricity towards the door! It sparks - but doesn't move. It doesn't even notice it. "... But I gave it power?" Celine asked, leaning forwards as she watches - and as Josephine's best bird swoops to peck and stomp on switches. While Celine's attempt fails, the drone carrying Catenna away towards the ceiling is controlled by the majesty of Penelope, with Catenna helping as well! Buttons are pressed, controls are thrown, levers are leveled!

The drones... are controlled. Two of them in particular, though they may bump into each other, it makes a perfect platform for Catenna to throw the switch herself! A mysterious third one, not at all controlled by a bird, may give her the perfect third one to leap back down, in a staircase of drones.

With the switch thrown, and emergency power activated, they could advance - Celine looking on. "Oh, Heeeeey~, the door's open!" She cheerfully exclaims - with the success based on team work! Well, most of the team's work. Turns out, Jacqueline was somewhat right - especially for now! "Catenna, that was pretty brave of you~." She'll have to take Catenna's word for it!

Not that she didn't know of her before - but she's .. a bit different. A lot of a bit.

DG: Josephine Lovelace has drawn a new Challenge.
========================<* Cage Tower - High Security *>========================
========================<* CHALLENGE - The Hive Core *>=========================
|Type: Climax      |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 At one point, this room must have been one of the facility's generators, but
 now it's a nexus of Metal Beast activity. The walls are covered with silvery
 pods of various shapes and sizes, and the exits are almost completely
 overgrown with biometallic tissue. The generator still glows and hums, but
 now it's covered in layers of metal flesh, tentacles tipped with blades and
 eyes. Whatever this thing is, it's drawing power from the generator.
 Destroying the generator might allow you to take it out.
=Dungeon Conditions: Weaken, Exhaust==========================================
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

    Even when all is said and done -- once Catenna is rescued and once the door is opened by the hard work of two (three) helpful drones, Penelope...

    Continues to stomp and peck on the console buttons.
    That poor drone is currently embedded in the ceiling.

    At which point Josie again swoops in like a harried mother. "Stop messing around, Penelope. You're being a nuisance again," she sighs, at which point the bird struggles free of her grasp, hops up onto her arm and walks up to her shoulder, where she perches.
    Josie just... sighs again. What can you do with birds, sometimes.

    "Well, let's keep going. We're on a roll~" she exhorts, before walking off towards the doorway further in.
    She stops in the doorway, raising a hand as if to stall the rest of them. "Hey kids, we've got a problem," she murmurs, before pointing at the humming generator that's currently got a bit of an infestation problem.

    "Looks like they're back. Let's knock the generator out first. Then we'll take it out." ...Someone's got a plan, at least.

    She shuffles off her pack, digging her mattock out from within. "On three. One--"
    Penelope dives for the back of Josie's duster, wedging herself down the back as much as she can.
    "Two--"
    Josie holds the mattock as if she were instead a batter, readying for the first pitch.

    "THREE!"

    And she charges in, swinging the mattock for the generator.

DG: Josephine Lovelace has used her Tool Well-Used Mattock toward her party's challenge, The Hive Core.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

"I hate technology!" Catenna yelps as she dangles from the drone.

Eventually the group does manage to get her down - though not before she throws the switch. She blushes, smoothing her dress and nodding back at Celine with a certain shame. (She must never know.) "Thank you," she says instead.
Drawing her sword once again, the Shaman of Celesdue - sans Owlet today, and that's probably a good thing with Penelope about - presses onward, looking on into the room beyond. The sight of the room, its pods glinting with cold silver and so much of everything covered in that organic biomatter, chills her. A part of her recoils; only through sheer will does she manage to hold her ground, but that subtle yellowish tinge to her cheeks is coming back as she tries to restrain her revulsion at the sight of all this.

"Don't touch it," she advises, her voice low. "I do not know if it can infect you or not, but it cannot be safe."

With a tensing of her shoulders, Catenna levels her hand towards the generator. She keeps her distance; her strength isn't sufficient to break it in close. But she does chant a few quiet power words and crank up the gravity. The generator creaks as Catenna tries to collapse it under its own weight in a field of ever-increasing gravity.

DG: Catenna has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, The Hive Core.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Catenna is rescued, and the door is open. Jacqueline breathes a sigh of relief that things went so smoothly. ...Well, moreso than she thought they might, anyway.

They continue through the door which seems, in a twist that Jacqueline would find amusing if they weren't facing something so horrifying, a generator.

A generator covered in terrible biometallic growths. She'd seen this once before already but the second time was no more bearable. Even if Josie hadn't tried to hold her back, Jacqueline would've flinched back anyway.

"I'd hoped we'd dealt with it before...they're certainly thorough." Jacqueline murmurs.

Josie has a plan to deal with it, fortunately. Jacqueline nods to her, and draws out a Crest. As Josephine begins the countdown she holds it on the ready, and on three she brandishes it to send another lance of flame flying out, this time toward the generator to coincide with everyone's assault.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward her party's challenge, The Hive Core.
<Pose Tracker> Celine Jules has posed.

With the others, Celine forges on! "Oh, you're so very welcome~." The Marze symbologist remarks, hips and body shifting from heel to heel as she watches the rest gather their birds, modest, and then some before embarking. "It is going rather well, isn't it?" Celine remarks, grinning. "I guess we make quite the team~." For better or worse, perhaps!

Before they all stop - before the generator. Humming. Pods all over, with Metal Beasts. Josephine, first to see it, aptly describes the issue. "My... I would have to agree - I'd consider that quite the problem." Though Josephine moves forwards to swing and leap int. It isn't likely that Celine would be able to use any degree of unfriendly fire - because all of it is that - so she goes with a more direct, and safer for her cohorts, approach.

Well, when everyone has a plan, why not contribute with something you're certainly familiar with~?

The symbologist staff is raised once more.
    Words, chanted, rise and then fall.
        Finally, "ENERGY ARROW!"

Approaching from every angle and side of the Generator, 'blades' of energy begin to help create holes and weak points in the Generator, allowing the gravity and flame lance to get at the more juciy??? innards. It's likely that they may actually now be juicy. Celine certainly shivers at the thought.

"If this is where thye're coming from, maybe it'll be the end~." The count of three is followed, however! Maybe this'll do it!

DG: Celine Jules has used her Tool Symbological Staff toward her party's challenge, The Hive Core.
========================<* Cage Tower - High Security *>========================
========================<* CHALLENGE - The Hive Core *>=========================
|Type: Climax      |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          |
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 At one point, this room must have been one of the facility's generators, but
 now it's a nexus of Metal Beast activity. The walls are covered with silvery
 pods of various shapes and sizes, and the exits are almost completely
 overgrown with biometallic tissue. The generator still glows and hums, but
 now it's covered in layers of metal flesh, tentacles tipped with blades and
 eyes. Whatever this thing is, it's drawing power from the generator.
 Destroying the generator might allow you to take it out.
=Dungeon Conditions: Weaken, Exhaust==========================================
===================<* Cage Tower - High Security - Round 5 *>===================
==========================< Results - The Hive Core >===========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  21 --(22)--> 43                Fail
Well-Used Mattock                   2   Brute   Effects: Strengthen
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             6 --(22)--> 28                 Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   16 --(22)--> 38                Fail
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Celine Jules                        26 --(7)--> 33                 Pass
Symbological Staff                  3   Brute   Effects: Rally
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Josephine Lovelace          75 --(0)--> 75                 Fail
Conditions: Exhaust(1)|Reckless(1)|Weaken(2)
Effects: Strengthen(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Josephine Lovelace has failed this challenge! The party gained 0 exploration! If anyone needs to use party
management commands, do so now. Otherwise, the next round's GM may begin the next round with +dungeon/draw.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

    For this one moment they have the advantage of surprise. Running at the thrumming generator, Josie slams the pick end of the mattock into the side of the generator. It sinks in deep, sending cracks running up the sides of the machine.

    Who built these generators, anyway? Why are they here? Why are they active?
    Why was the incinerator room upstairs still alive?
    These thoughts, fleetingly, chase across the surface of Josie's mind... in the exact moment that she has no more time to think twice about what's going on in here.

    Earth spears follow Josie's initial charge, slamming right up and through the generator to rain sparks down in a hissing curtain. The generator sputters, energy fading, dying. It still struggles to keep going on and on--

    But the metal supports creak hideously against the pressure Catenna builds up unrelentingly. Parts of it collapse inwards.

    All this, before the energy arrows slam into the shell of the generator. Josie rips her mattock free and dances back, just before the damn thing explodes in a small fireball of sparks and shrapnel. Throwing up an arm -- and a short incantation of a barrier spell to join it -- she's largely unscathed when the thing goes up, but...

    Oh, yes, there's the conjunction to mind.

    It's not, precisely, that they fail to break the generator.
    It's more that they do break it, and now they've got that thing's that was feeding on it's terrible, unblinking attention.

    "Don't suppose you've got another spell, Celine?"

DG: Celine Jules has drawn a new Challenge.
=======================<* Cage Tower - High Security *>=======================
===================<* CHALLENGE - Plunged Into Darkness *>====================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The generator dies with a horrible crackling noise, underscored by the
 unearthly screeching of the beast clinging to it. The lights flicker and
 fail, leaving only a dim red glow near several pods marked EMERGENCY
 RESPONSE. The bad news is that the beast is still alive, and still glutted
 on the power it siphoned. It searches the darkness for whatever disturbed
 it, tapping the ground with its tendrils and listening for any noise. The
 sterilizer drones inside the emergency pods might prove invaluable, but to
 get to them, you'll have to keep the monster distracted.
=Dungeon Conditions: Stupify==================================================
<Pose Tracker> Celine Jules has posed.

"Knew that'd work~." Celine remarks with a phew, as the generator explodes. With Josephine dancing back, Celine places the staff back down against the ground and lets out another heavy breath. "Right about time, too, because..." There's movement.

There shouldn't be movement. There really shouldn't be.

Eyes rise up to the thing, the living, or is it undying, object within it slithers free. "I ... I don't know! I've never seen something like this before! I don't see how this could get wors-" The Generator, exploding, has an obvious affect. The lights flicker. Celine's words hang in her throat. The lights all die at once. "...worse."

Flickering on, dim red glowing lights all around show emergency response pods that may be applicable to getting out alive, nevermind getting whatever they came for! With a click, click, CLICK of tapping from the monster, tendrils wave and stretch out like an unholy starfish octopus combination, the darkerish form tinted red in the only source of light.

The only seeming hope are the emergency pods - in no surprise, covered, or nearly covered, byt the monster itself. The beast roaring as it pulls itself away from them slowly, towards the group. Randomly tapping towards the words and movement that it can sense.

Celine, as calm and collected as she might be, is shivering. "If I cast anything it'll immediately know where I am, and I'll be a sitting duck.." She whispers to the group nearby, before taking a step backwards.

CLICK.

Fashion needs are the cause of her white, pale face as the monster reacts to her heels near immediately. Sloughing towards the group, and specifically Celine. "...!!!" A sudden gasp does not help, but Celine realizes she can help in at least one way. Those heels are used to give off a 'click clicking' sound to pull them away from the pods. It's not a perfect plan, but anything might help.

DG: Celine Jules has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Plunged Into Darkness.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

It's still alive. How is it still alive? Catenna thought for sure that it shouldn't be moving anymore. And yet... there it is.

As the hideous thing searches in the darkness, Catenna whirls, trying to make out what's going on in the dim red light of the emergency response pods. The red light casts one side of her face in deep vermilion, the rest swallowed by horrifying shadows. With a click of her teeth, she begins to move through the darkness, trying to tune out the sounds of voices a little and listen instead for the sound of the creature.

Instead what she hears are heels. Someone moving away. That scraping sound. Damn it all. Someone trying to be a hero.

Catenna has no idea how to activate those pods, or even what they do. It will have to fall to Jay and Josie to think through the technical things. For her part, she tries to move to one side and draw her sword once again.

The dim red light dances in the polished silver of the blade. Deftly, Catenna twirls the weapon. The light glints along the twirling metal shape, like a little beacon in the darkness. A distraction of her own.

This is a terrible idea and I hope I do not die.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline crouches behind a conjured pillar of earth as the generator erupts and the lights go out. The creature is just as blind as they are, but it can still hear...and it taps around, attempting to find any trace of them that it can. Jacqueline holds her breath, looking around to try to get a feel for where everyone was...

...Which is when she suddenly hears a familiar clicking of heels. Celine. She's...doing it on purpose? Jacqueline frowns...then nods, and quietly tries to take advantage of the distraction provided by both her and Catenna to slip away from her cover and to one of the pods. She rummages through her bags for some of the tools she had taken from the Carakin, and gets to work trying to open one of the pods as carefully(and quietly) as possible.

She doesn't speak while she's doing so - she didn't want to squander their help.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Plunged Into Darkness.
<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

    One moment of apparent victory is all they've got before the lights gutter out and plunge the room into darkness.

    Just like last time. Which this time, at least, means that Josie is a little more ready for what comes next...
    And also means that the first thing she does is kill her light spell. It's dark over here, as if she had never been present at all.

    She can see the light of the emergency response pods, blinking red in the dark. But she can also hear the sound of that thing moving.

    Damn. Got to distract it somehow--

    Click. Click click, go Celine's heels. Josie might not be able to see a thing in the dark, but she can hear the beast moving for Celine, towards the only sound here it can sense.

    Light glints off a blade.

    Still Josie doesn't make a sound. She remains still, watching in the dark as the creature seems to consider two targets in the dark.

    Listening, as she hears what must be Jay going for the pod. The girl's being quiet, but, Josie thinks, possibly not quiet enough.
    Or at least, in dire need of a huge distraction.

    So Josie carefully works the glove off her left hand, letting it fall to the ground with a soft paff.

    Then she lifts her fingers to her lips and blows.

    It's a loud, shrill whistle that echoes across the room, bouncing off the walls. It's sure to get attention.

    So much more when the bird bursts forth from beneath her jacket, in all the terrible fury an agitated pigeon can muster when... summoned?
    There's not a lot a pigeon can do in a dark room. But really, they only need her to do one thing now, which is be herself.

    Add to the clicking of heels, the glinting of a blade, and a shrill whistle: the furious fluttering of wings and the rising trilling cry of a bird, seeking safer ground somewhere in the dark.

DG: Josephine Lovelace has used her Tool Penelope toward her party's challenge, Plunged Into Darkness.
DG: Catenna has contributed a Wits Basic Action toward her party's challenge, Plunged Into Darkness.
=======================<* Cage Tower - High Security *>=======================
===================<* CHALLENGE - Plunged Into Darkness *>====================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Wits      |Challenge Rating: 2          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The generator dies with a horrible crackling noise, underscored by the
 unearthly screeching of the beast clinging to it. The lights flicker and
 fail, leaving only a dim red glow near several pods marked EMERGENCY
 RESPONSE. The bad news is that the beast is still alive, and still glutted
 on the power it siphoned. It searches the darkness for whatever disturbed
 it, tapping the ground with its tendrils and listening for any noise. The
 sterilizer drones inside the emergency pods might prove invaluable, but to
 get to them, you'll have to keep the monster distracted.
=Dungeon Conditions: Stupify==================================================
==================<* Cage Tower - High Security - Round 6 *>==================
=====================< Results - Plunged Into Darkness >======================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Josephine Lovelace                  43 --(100)--> 143              Pass
Penelope                            3   Wits    Effects: Resilient and Liabili
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Catenna                             28 --(100)--> 128              Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   38 --(100)--> 138              Pass
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Celine Jules                        33 --(100)--> 133              Fail
Investigate                         0   Wits    Effects: BASIC
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Josephine Lovelace          75 --(5)--> 80                 Fail
Conditions: Stupify(2)|Weaken(1)
Effects: Resilient(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: Josephine Lovelace is too exhausted to continue!
DG: Catenna is too exhausted to continue!
DG: Jacqueline Barber is too exhausted to continue!
DG: Celine Jules is too exhausted to continue!
DG: The party has failed this challenge! All party members are now Exhausted. This attempt is over.
DG: The party led by Josephine Lovelace has been fully Exhausted by Cage Tower - High Security!
DG: The party will now draw a conclusion.
=======================<* Cage Tower - High Security *>=======================
=======================<* CHALLENGE - Cargo Elevator *>=======================
|Type: Landmark    |Dungeon Ability: Conclusion|Challenge Rating: 1          |
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Unfortunately, the strange beast is more resilient than it looks, and its
 grip on the generator holds firm. All isn't completely lost, though. A
 search of the surroundings reveals a lift used to transport cargo between
 floors of the facility. It's meant for high-speed transport of crates, and
 not people, but you can use it to return to the relative safety of the
 tower's upper levels. As a bonus, a nearby crate contains some valuable
 metal scrap.
=Dungeon Conditions: Save Point===============================================
<Pose Tracker> Celine Jules has posed.

Like a horror movie, any and all actions are an attempt to stay alive - but as long as they don't split up, they should be fine...

Celine, of course, never got the memo. Moving away, trying to distract it - it doesn't fully work. A tendril moves closer to Celine, causing her only to be cornered while the beast still moves about around the room. With how much space it takes up, the entire situation is ... concerning. More and more of the room begins to be covered.

Catenna's attempt, to twirl the weapon, with light glinting around to distract the beast seems to get the same attention Celine does. The beast howls as it lashes a single tendril out, apparently able to readily react to singular points. Even if the twirling of the blade makes it appear all over, the main focal point is apparently reacted to by the monster - the blob like beast moving closer to Catenna and Celine! Even at their attempts, it distracts - but it doesn't make much of a case to solve the problem, the unliving, or undying, problem!

Jacqueline manages to pry open a pod. Which causes the drones inside, one by one, to get to work. The beast roars, finding a new target. One of the drones is smashed, but the others begin to sterilize! It's working! The beast recoils from Celine and Catenna's attempts at distraction, giving them space once more to move.

Josephine's shrill whistle finds the bird - the pigeion grasped for and flailed at, as the drones below begin to make more progress. Yet it's only so much progress. The creature flails in the darkness, whipping tendrils and gnashing 'teeth?', or what it considers them, as it fails, or accidentlly, impacts those about.

Yet while the attention is caught up by the bird, there's one slight problem.

The drones, those that were freed, are all wiped out. With a roar, it becomes the better choice to retreat - and with the time that was gained from the actions of one heroic bird and Jacqueline's actions, they're able to find a lift - and escape on it.

Riding on it, Celine would let out a rather heavy breath, "I've never... seen something... like that before..." She says in between labored breaths. Turns out, Celine may have been a digger - but hasn't apparently been in some of the more ... interesting digs, recently. She looks over to Josephine, as she props herself up, still shivering juuuust a little.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline can't help but feel a little triumphant as she gets the pod opened...but unfortunately, the mass attached to the generator, perhaps having become used to this attempt at its life, is able to eventually smash all of them while still remaining intact.

But it's bought them some time, at least. Time enough to make their way over to the cargo elevator and get it going. They escape before it can get its tendrils on them.

Jacqueline exhales, taking a seat and leaning up against one of the boxes.

"To be fair it is...fairly unique, as far as obstructions go." Jacqueline admits, rummaging through her bags. More healing potions are distributed in short order, this time for everyone. "Is everyone alright...?"

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna rides along on the the cargo elevator. Somewhere along the way, she slouches down against the back wall of it, settling into a seat with her arms around her knees.

She isn't say anything, but her eyes are a little wide and her normally sunny brown complexion is rather more wan than it usually is. She doesn't start any conversations or really offer up her opinion beyond a quiet, "Yes, I am fine."

It's pretty unlikely she'll come back here, to be honest. Catenna doesn't understand technology or like hideous scientific monstrosities.

<Pose Tracker> Josephine Lovelace has posed.

    There's nothing else for it but to flee once the drones are ruined by the beast. Falling back, with Penelope in close pursuit, Josie runs for the nearby cargo elevator and climbs aboard, holding the line for the other three before hitting the button to start its rickety ascent.

    "Whew... that was a little close." She leans against the far wall of the elevator, eyes towards the ceiling. Penelope perches on her shoulder, as if this were all in a day's work (?).

    "Metal Beast, I think. Think of them like Metal Demon animals. What it's doing down here is what I'd like to know, too."

    Straightening, she eyes the crate, then, popping it open, takes a look inside.

    And here the archaeologist lets out a low whistle.

    "Hey, at least it's not all bad. Check this out!"

    She reaches into the crate. She pulls out a...

    It's a piece of metal. It looks like whatever it was originally broke. Josie seems pleased by it. "And there's more where that came from~"

<Pose Tracker> Celine Jules has posed.

Celine looks on at the new found scrap metal, blinking at it and turning her head. "I'll take your word for it, but I'm not familiar with that kind of treasure~." Celine remarks, looking over to Jacqueline and Catenna. "I'll have to start a tab to repay you~." Celine jokes, perhaps seriously, to Jacqueline. "Thanks for the supplies - and is it? A metal beast... no wonder. Looking at the area it has, I guess this is a pretty nice place for something like it~." She nods to Jacqueline and tries to comfort Catenna a bit - not by asking if she's ok, but rather, talking about nicer things~.