Difference between revisions of "2020-02-11: Not the Robot Bees!"

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Latest revision as of 17:15, 12 February 2020

  • Log: Not the Robot Bees!
  • Cast: Jacqueline Barber, Lulu, Ethius Hesiod, Cyre H. Lorentz
  • Where: The Cape of Breath
  • Date: February 11, 2020
  • Summary: A group of Drifters seeks to investigate the Ruins of Lab -Tishrei-... what challenges will the ancient lab set before them this time?

===========================<* The Cape of Breath *>===========================

Stretching from the edge of the slowly-spreading northern desert, the Cape of Breath is the lush southern region of Meria Boule. Farmland and livestock take up much of the hilly region, dotted with the estates and castles of Merian nobles, often at the height of elevation, but across temperate land to the west great forests begin, still part of the great resources of the Merian nation. In places the badlands of the north find mirrors here, hotter regions with accordingly sparser populations... where people could move. 

To the farthest south and east are the wide coastlines, each marked with large cities. Only the fortress nature of many estates at the hearts of settlements recalls much of Meria's more warlike history, after the great efforts of the late Queen to ensure peace for all Meria Boule, and the spread of knowledge. Nevertheless, the increasing spread of monsters can make travel without caravan or guards a perilous undertaking indeed.

DG: A party led by Jacqueline Barber is now entering Ruins of Lab -Tishrei-.
DG: Party formation is now over. An Entry Challenge will now be drawn and displayed to the party.
=========================<* Ruins of Lab -Tishrei- *>=========================
=========================<* CHALLENGE - EXPRESS UG *>=========================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The Ruins of the Laboratory -Tishrei- take you to the coast of Meria Boule's  
 southern peninsula, far from being an obscure ruin in the midst of            
 wilderness. There, you all see it -- the wreckage of an ancient, massive      
 metal building is plainly moored between large crags where the beach ends     
 and a sheer cliffside begins.                                                 
                                                                               
 Inside, the air is chilly and still as a panel pops into place as if          
 detecting your presence. Streams of data filter through the panel monitor,    
 and you can read the following words--                                        
                                                                               
                                   -DETECTING-                                 
                                                                               
               Biosignatures Detected: -Drifter- Designation C2A2              
                                                                               
                     Constructing Appropriate Challenges...                    
                                                                               
                                     -READY-                                   
                                                                               
                                                                               
 --and the very world seems to reconstruct around you, altering data cube by   
 data cube into a highway from a far-gone civilisation, replete with tall      
 skyscrapers in the distance. The sky is burning, and spotlights are           
 everywhere.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Any further awe will have to wait, however. The very highway is also the      
 scene of a battle -- terrified motorists in cars and trucks are headed your   
 way, as they flee the incoming bombs of massive mechanical bees!              
                                                                               
 (BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWbvXCKdFrg )                           
=Dungeon Conditions: Hesitate=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Rumor was going out about a new ruin having washed up onto the southern peninsula of Meria Boule. This was strange, as ruins didn't often wash up like that. To Jacqueline, this was worth investigating. And so, she'd requested the help of some of her friends as well as putting out a more general call for assistance.

They meet up outside the ruin itself, where the ruin meets with the beach.

"...It's quite the sight." Jacqueline observes, looking up at it. It's an ancient, massive metal building. It's practically impossible to miss. "I wonder how it got here...?"

The door is already open, thankfully. So, with a glance at the others Jacqueline steps in. There's an immediate drop in temperature - the air within is chilly and still, even with air coming in from the outside.

"There doesn't seem to be much here... I wonder if it's still active?" Jacqueline considers. Almost as if responding to her words - or perhaps even their very presence - a panel pops into place.

"...Appropriate challenges...?" Jacqueline repeats with a frown. "That seems ominous..."

The door behind them shuts, and the inside of the facility seems to practically reconstruct itself, cube by cube. Soon enough, they find themselves in an ancient cityscape - but one far more advanced than anything they've seen. Tall skyscrapers stab into the sky - but the horizon is aflame, and spotlights are everywhere.

Whatever this place was, it would appear some manner of disaster had befallen it. It's enough to steal the breath from Jacqueline's throat for a good long moment. This place... it reminded her of November City, somewhat. The November City of a possible future, expanded and grown far beyond what it is in the present. It's her only real manner of comparison. But the destruction is all too familiar to that fateful day in Adlehyde.

Was this real? Or was this just a fabrication to test them? The panel did say it was a 'challenge'...

The sight of vehicles headed their way brings her back to reality, however. What's more, behind them is a swarm of massive, mechanical bees, dropping explosive after explosive...

"...Everyone! Evasive maneuvers!" Jacqueline shouts. With a gesture of her left hand a pillar of earth rises from the ground to offer them some shelter as they begin to make their moves. She'll be able to dispense some potions for everyone too, but that'll have to wait until they're safe.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool Rapid Remedy toward her party's challenge, EXPRESS UG.
<Pose Tracker> Lulu has posed.

A massive, metal building--of the sort that Filgaian ruins seem to often be. Lulu is already expecting to find ancient machina here. "Someone built it, once," Lulu answers Jay--but it doesn't sound so much like she's stating the obvious as that she feels it's important to remember, given, "What would it have been like, back then?"

What she doesn't expect is streaming words more like a sphere monitor than like the gearwork to which she's growing accustomed here--no, more like the very oldest machina, maybe. The world that reconstructs around them is more akin to the vision she once had of an ancient city than anything else, save for the obvious signs of battle.

"Appropriate challenges?" Lulu echoes, a certain note of caution in her voice as she examines the strange landscape around them--only to see the cars and trucks headed their way. She frowns, obviously caught more than a little off guard by the very idea, and sprints for the edge of the road to avoid the first of the cars before they come.

The hard part here for her isn't getting out of the way of large objects--it's finding a way to move forward and blast these machina in the process. "A projection?" Lulu wonders, her voice sharp given the effort of getting around. ...She's pretty likely to get clipped by car or bomb enough to make those potions helpful, too.

DG: Lulu has contributed a Agility Basic Action toward her party's challenge, EXPRESS UG.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Ethius comes along because... well that much is obvious by this point, let's just start a new paragraph.
        For those who have been in his company for the last handful of years, the tension in what little of Ethius' body language he lets out is palpable. He is just shy of saying not to go into the open door, as Jay makes the observation about how there doesn't seem to be 'much' in there.
        Just in time for a panel to spring out - and in time for Ethius to just ACTION ROLL in there, slur some syllables, and swing his arm inward in anticipation for an automated defense that does not come - but one of the words strikes him.
        The use of 'Drifter.' That's for later, as reality seems to reconstruct itself around them to show an ancient cityscape of tall metal, asphalt, reckless motorists, fire, and explo-- the last two probably say a lot about the third bit.
        Ethius takes momentary cover behind a pillar in which to get the harness for the Hot Air Sack tied around one wrist.
        "This cover may prove temporary at best," Ethius remarks, but the usual near-emotionlessness of the way he speaks slips, as though the very situation around him were scraping gashes into whatever allows him to usually weather and hide his personal discomfort. If the pillar has enough of an uneven angle or lack of smoothness to allow footholds, he uses that to try and get a small basic set altitude so he can horizontally drift out and keep his legs up above the charging motor vehicles.
        A free hand reaches down to Lulu in the instance she desires extraction from her present positioning. (If it looks like she's going to get clipped or worse, he may become vocally insistent.)

DG: Ethius Hesiod has used his Tool Hot Air Sack toward his party's challenge, EXPRESS UG.
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

"It can't have just floated here. There's no way a building like this is anywhere near buoyant enough to have sailed across the sea," Cyre strokes his chin thoughtfully at the strange, metallic structure. "Unless... It did? Ancient technology drives me up the wall sometimes. You never know what you're going to find. Maybe this is some kind of weird, buoyant building? Maybe it just... came out of the ground."

He shrugs! It doesn't really matter, ultimately. The party is heading in. Cyre gives Lulu a quick wave as they enter. "Long time no see. What brings you to this particular neck of the woods--"

The world changes.

Cyre's eyes narrow as those strange blocky textures scramble all around them. "Some kind of holographic projection? This..." Is a city. An enormous, staggeringly huge city. "...Is this how the ancients used to live? So many people, all in one place..." An explosion snaps him out of his reverie. Cyre clicks his teeth together and unfurls his favorite parachute. A sudden wind carries him into the air... and right into the swarm of bees.

It's totally fine. He has a plan. It involves a catastrophic pressure wave slamming these robots into the asphalt.

DG: Cyre H. Lorentz has used his Tool Reverse Parachute toward his party's challenge, EXPRESS UG.
=========================<* Ruins of Lab -Tishrei- *>=========================
=========================<* CHALLENGE - EXPRESS UG *>=========================
|Type: Entry       |Dungeon Ability: Agility   |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The Ruins of the Laboratory -Tishrei- take you to the coast of Meria Boule's  
 southern peninsula, far from being an obscure ruin in the midst of            
 wilderness. There, you all see it -- the wreckage of an ancient, massive      
 metal building is plainly moored between large crags where the beach ends     
 and a sheer cliffside begins.                                                 
                                                                               
 Inside, the air is chilly and still as a panel pops into place as if          
 detecting your presence. Streams of data filter through the panel monitor,    
 and you can read the following words--                                        
                                                                               
                                   -DETECTING-                                 
                                                                               
               Biosignatures Detected: -Drifter- Designation C2A2              
                                                                               
                     Constructing Appropriate Challenges...                    
                                                                               
                                     -READY-                                   
                                                                               
                                                                               
 --and the very world seems to reconstruct around you, altering data cube by   
 data cube into a highway from a far-gone civilisation, replete with tall      
 skyscrapers in the distance. The sky is burning, and spotlights are           
 everywhere.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Any further awe will have to wait, however. The very highway is also the      
 scene of a battle -- terrified motorists in cars and trucks are headed your   
 way, as they flee the incoming bombs of massive mechanical bees!              
                                                                               
 (BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWbvXCKdFrg )                           
=Dungeon Conditions: Hesitate=================================================
====================<* Ruins of Lab -Tishrei- - Round 1 *>====================
===========================< Results - EXPRESS UG >===========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Rapid Remedy                        1   Agility Effects: Cleanse              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Hot Air Sack                        2   Agility Effects: Resilient            
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lulu                                0 --(5)--> 5                   Fail
Rush                                0   Agility Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cyre H. Lorentz                     0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Reverse Parachute                   1   Agility Effects: Rally and Quicken    
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Jacqueline Barber           0 --(20)--> 20                 Pass
Conditions: Hesitate(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Quicken(1)|Resilient(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber 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.

"That's a good question..." Jacqueline considers, as Lulu wonders what it must have been like when it was new. It was already something far beyond what they were capable of building these days.

And the constructed enviroment within is impressive, too. It certainly feels very, very real.

"Yeah, it's... a little overwhelming." Jacqueline agrees with a nod toward Cyre.

Jacqueline's pillar provides everyone cover for long enough to put their plan into action. Lulu, meanwhile, elects to against the flow - blasting some of the large machina out of the air as she does. It does, however, cause her to get their attention. They fire on her, but Ethius pulls her out of the way just in time.

This does, however, prove a convenient distraction. The mechanical bees haven't noticed Cyre, and they don't until he's right above them. A huge pressure wave crashes down on them, sending them collapsing to the ground. They begin to explode on contact, taking out chunks of the street.

Were this truly happening, this would also have the side-effect of creating a good platforming challenge for anyone going that direction.

But the chaos has passed, at least for now.

"Is everyone alright?" Jacqueline asks, dispensing potions. "If that's the first 'appropriate challenge' it has for us, I'm concerned about what the rest might be..."

DG: Ethius Hesiod has drawn a new Challenge.
==============================================<* Ruins of Lab -Tishrei- *>==============================================
===========================================<* CHALLENGE - Reborn Mechanics *>===========================================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
-----------------------------------------------< Challenge Information: >-----------------------------------------------
 The panel doesn't seem to discriminate from areas you've been to prior -- as  
 you find yourself in another segment of the Central Highway from before.      
 There are no terrified motorists to avoid this time, however you are up face  
 to face with one of those enormous bee assault crafts, the Bee Blader.        
                                                                               
 It gleams and launches a violent spray of vulcan fire -- and also drops       
 reinforcements in the form of white pods that sprout legs! You'll have to     
 take it down quick before you get overwhelmed...                              
                                                                               
 And also mind that it doesn't land and take out the highway you're on         
 either!                                                                       
                                                                               
 (BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuRBS8MlSDQ )                           
=Dungeon Conditions: Hesitate, Reckless, Maim=================================
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        There isn't a moment of calm that follows the carnage and the near escapes, as everyone gets their feet back down on firm(...ish) ground as smoke and sparks billow from Cyre's counteroffensive maneuvers. Some here have already noted that this is a simulation and that it is, technically speaking, not real. This could be a fanciful fabrication done up for fun! (The fun of constructing lifelike challenges!)
        Ethius does not in any way, shape, or form, look the part of someone who seems ready to treat this as anything less than incredibly real as he steps ahead again and re-ups the Symbological shield. Sweeping machinegun fire shoots into the street and richocets up off his shins with loud electrical noises and flashes. (This tampers it down from 'fine pink mist' to 'painful numbing blunt trauma but survivable'.)
        "One aerial unit, armed with a rapid-fire ARM intended for ground targets," Ethius remarks the report as he staggers back, "two to four ground units, deployed from pods or equivalent means." He can't see through the smog, and there's noise everywhere - but moments later the sound of helicopter blades and heavy footsteps confirm what he has to say. If they don't, the silhouettes that appear soon later will - a much larger bee with lower-end mounted machineguns ready to open fire again, and small rolling pods that sproud long wiry legs and start their march towards the lot of them.
        "I will move to disable the aerial target," Ethius remarks as he takes one of the two satchels off his belt and goes through the usual Symbological process to activate it - then to throw it at the visor-eyes of the Bee Blader.
        No matter how silly those legged pods may look, they pack a kick and have heavier footfalls than first seems - their blows are crushing, and they are marching headfirst into anything and everything in their way.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has used his Tool Powder Grenade toward his party's challenge, Reborn Mechanics.
<Pose Tracker> Lulu has posed.

"Just now, investigating. I have a lot of catching up to do if I'm to know this world well enough to guard Yuna properly." Lulu nods back to Cyre's wave, the answer directed his way, too. ...She doesn't comment on the matter of buoyant buildings for the moment--it just reminds her of a conversation, of building on the water...

But once inside--Lulu definitely takes Ethius's hand when the time comes--she considers in that brief time she has. Then, "I once saw a recreation of the way the ancients of Spira lived, as well. It has a lot of similarity to this, battlefield aside. I can imagine these kinds of machina weapons being used in our history."

She now looks over the opponents before them; examining Ethius briefley and determining him solid to fight, she inclines her head at his plan, crouching down to set one of her dolls on the highway. "I'll move to intercept these, and then use my lightning magic."

The Cait Sith that pads along the ground has its doll-like eternal pleasant expression, and trots up on two legs towards the first of them. The air around it ripples with magic of time and with strange sparks--

The first strike is like to turn one of these robots to stone, or perhaps merely slow it down. Lulu moves to disable a few of them before she rises to begin battering magic at the Bee that Ethius has hopefully set up for failure by now.

DG: Lulu has used her Tool Ominous Cait Sith toward her party's challenge, Reborn Mechanics.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline listens as Lulu responds to Cyre's question. Investigating, is it?

"Well, it's good to see you again, Miss Lulu. Just let us know if there's any way we can help you all get used to Filgaia!" Jacqueline offers with a smile.

After the first wave, there's one more of those massive bees - and this one is attacking them directly. Jacqueline brings up another pillar of earth, this time to give her an opportunity to jot down some notes on what they're facing as Ethius gives a description. There's no guarantee they'll face anything like it in the future, but she's nothing if not thorough.

"Got it." Jacqueline replies with a nod, as Ethius says he'll disable the aerial target. "Then I'll help deal with the pods! We can't let them overwhelm us."

Once Lulu's Cait Sith incapacitates the smaller enemies, Jacqueline brings lightning crashing down on top of them to finish them off before they can recover. Once they're dealt with, Jacqueline shifts to focusing on support, supplying potions and protective spells.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool The Lifeweaver's Codex toward her party's challenge, Reborn Mechanics.
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

"Makes sense," Cyre nods to the Guardian. That term is still going to be confusing. Maybe they should write 'Guardian' with a capital G, and moon Guardian with a lower-case G? Or maybe they can just call them Summoner Guardians? "If you have any questions, we'd be glad to try and answer them. It's the least we can do for hosting us for so long back on Spira."

But! The bees must be vanquished. Cyre lands amidst a rain of smoldering mechanical bee parts and burning metal... Only for Ethius to warn of an impending threat. An impending... bee-shaped... threat.

"What was with the ancients and bees!?" Did they just happen to think to assign the most terrifying visages to their flying death weapons? Cyre hangs back for the time being-- those stompy walkers do not seem particularly pleasant to be around. Neither do the bee-copter's high caliber machineguns.

Ethius goes to disable it. That's fine. He gets a little help, courtesy of a wind shaman staring down a rotor-equipped target. Cyre focuses on the air around the massive vehicle and begins to will it... elsewhere, essentially creating a void around the thing's enormous propellers.

DG: Cyre H. Lorentz has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Reborn Mechanics.
==============================================<* Ruins of Lab -Tishrei- *>==============================================
===========================================<* CHALLENGE - Reborn Mechanics *>===========================================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
-----------------------------------------------< Challenge Information: >-----------------------------------------------
 The panel doesn't seem to discriminate from areas you've been to prior -- as  
 you find yourself in another segment of the Central Highway from before.      
 There are no terrified motorists to avoid this time, however you are up face  
 to face with one of those enormous bee assault crafts, the Bee Blader.        
                                                                               
 It gleams and launches a violent spray of vulcan fire -- and also drops       
 reinforcements in the form of white pods that sprout legs! You'll have to     
 take it down quick before you get overwhelmed...                              
                                                                               
 And also mind that it doesn't land and take out the highway you're on         
 either!                                                                       
                                                                               
 (BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KuRBS8MlSDQ )                           
=Dungeon Conditions: Hesitate, Reckless, Maim=================================
=========================================<* Ruins of Lab -Tishrei- - Round 2 *>=========================================
=============================================< Results - Reborn Mechanics >=============================================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
The Lifeweaver's Codex              2   Combat  Effects: Embolden             
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Powder Grenade                      3   Combat  Effects: Fanfare              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lulu                                5 --(0)--> 5                   Pass
Ominous Cait Sith                   1   Combat  Effects: Cleanse              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cyre H. Lorentz                     0 --(0)--> 0                   Pass
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
-------------------------------------------------------< Party >--------------------------------------------------------
Leader: Jacqueline Barber           20 --(20)--> 40                Pass
Conditions: Hesitate(2)|Maim|Reckless(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Embolden(1)
===================================================< Dream Chasers >====================================================
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber 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> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Everything the Cait Sith touches... well, it doesn't die, it turns to stone. The wiry-legged pods, when turned to stone, often do so at a point where they are trying to take a step and are thus imbalanced. Those that can't stay upright fall down and shatter. Not one of them has a chance to get close enough to touch Lulu, whom inflicts her sorcerous disdain with more direct lightning magic that just makes them explode outright.
        She can't disable them all on her own, and that is where Jay helps come in to cover the other flank with similarly effective electrical magic. A shared likeness by Lulu's observation - Thunder magic works great for machina over in her part of creation, works great here too! Now that the marching pods are dealt with, Jay can throw up supportive shielding magic for the two taking the brunt of attention from the Bee Blader.
        It turns out the Bee Blader's firing mode when it can't say is 'keep firing' and Ethius does have to give up a little ground - all the better when Cyre addresses the root of the problem. That is to say, the rotor of the problem, stalling the air as the Bee Blader attempts to advance, causing it to veer off hard, and collapse. Half of its abdomen strikes into the road, tearing off a massive chunk - the left-hand side - as it falls further below.
        So long as everyone keeps to the right-hand side and moves both cautiously and swiftly, they can safely pass-up the well-designed wordless, totally organic-to-the-level-design tutorial about wall kicks. (A tutorial meant for somuine else entirely!)
        Ethius signals the all clear to keep moving, but nobody needs to wait for him to do that.

DG: Lulu has drawn a new Challenge.
==========================<* Ruins of Lab -Tishrei- *>==========================
=====================<* CHALLENGE - Cool Hearted Fellow *>======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The sound of waves accompany the latest shift your panel brings about -- as   
 you find yourself at the site of a nautical base! Large ancient warships and  
 other kinds of Reaverbots dominate the scene, but a serpentine presence is    
 what most captures your immediate attention.                                  
                                                                               
 This is the Utuboros, a mechanical dragon with a serpentine body -- it's      
 very heavily armoured and has the ability to burrow into the sands            
 underneath, making it an elusive foe. However, it has a habit of opening its  
 mouth to attack... perhaps if you strike it at its weak spot inside?          
                                                                               
 (BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzqyDCz4jWI )                           
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire=====================================================
<Pose Tracker> Lulu has posed.

"Thank you," Lulu answers Jay. "I appreciate that. There are certainly things that are still strange to me, I admit." A beat, and to Cyre, "I may yet. I am still only passingly familiar with Filgaian faiths. I'd prefer to avoid undue conflict." ....Considering that the other Lunar faith wanted to do a holy war...

But the bees? "They remind me of some of the fiends from back home. It's almost nostalgic." She's--kidding, right? She's probably kidding. There's that kind of voice to her.

Lulu is conveniently out of focus of the shot as they jump upward, but she makes it up.

As the next shift comes, there are waves and the scent of the sea. Lulu looks up sharply, and sees ancient warships, great Reaverbots... and a great mechanical dragon. Lulu immediately brings back her hand and calls forth a bolt of electricity straight down on it--where it crackles against its armoring, doing nothing.

"Its plating is too thick--we need to find a weak point!"

Lulu sets her Cait Sith into the water, and this time uses it as a focus to direct her spells--she tries a few elements in sequence, quite methodically, in time with the others.

But how are they going to stop this sinuous striker?

DG: Lulu has used her Tool Ominous Cait Sith toward her party's challenge, Cool Hearted Fellow.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Ethius is quiet on matters of likenesses of what it's like here versus there - but he always has gotten quiet whenever that sort of exploratory dialogue comes up. He's still taken in by the sights of city warfare, like everything about him is just 'on.' He makes sure there is no possible angle of vulnerability as they traverse--
        --abruptly into a naval base that is partially submerged because of ongoing conflict and the damages resulting from it, as the surfacing mechanical dragon splashes Ethius with water. The Symbological shield, naked to the invisible eye, flares again loudly as he is drenched, and he is shoved back towards dry(...er) land with a pained grunt.
        The worst part is, it drenches the other Powder Grenade. It's useless (for now). He maintains enough presence of mind through the electrical shock to pick up Lulu's statement about the plating is too thick.
        "...I can make out the joints," Ethius remarks as he stands up, mentally weighing his personal fighting options. He shouldn't cast anything electrical until he dries. "In order to afford its flexibility, it must have softer material between the spherical segments..."
        Which means what weapon, Ethius who is now on Select Button Action Flow Interruption Duty?!
        "I would suggest a cutting weapon at around its..." Ethius goes quiet. "...I cannot tell if it is the head or the tail that comprises its core."

DG: Ethius Hesiod has contributed a Combat Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Cool Hearted Fellow.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"I can understand how you might be feeling. It was hard for us, too, our first time on a different world..." Jacqueline says with a nod. That's part of why she's so eager to help those who've been displaced - beyond just being Jacqueline, of course.

Lulu speaks of back home... and then, conveniently, they find themselves by the sea. Coincidence?

Coincidence or not, this new location is as impressive as the last. A nautical base, with warships and Reaverbots... that she doesn't get much time to study, as they're soon faced with a heavily armed mechanical dragon.

"A weak spot..." Jacqueline considers, as she studies the enemy. She thinks for a moment. In the Lifeweaver's Codex, there are entries for similar creatures. They're made of flesh and not steel, but if she assumes they're similar enough...

"I have an idea!" She says. The next time the dragon burrows into the sands... with a gesture of her left hand, tendrils of earth seek to seize it and force it back to the surface - and, more importantly, hold it in place. "Now, while it's struggling! I don't think I'll be able to hold it for long... make every second count!"

This'll probably make it a bit more aggressive... but on the other hand, this'll mean more opportunities to strike at its weak point.

But will she be able to hold it long enough...?

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool The Lifeweaver's Codex toward her party's challenge, Cool Hearted Fellow.
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

        "Why does everywhere have evil bees?" Cyre is incredulous! Why is it not evil antlions, or evil centipedes, or evil spiders? Why not evil wasps!? Bees are friend-shaped things that are good for gardens! Wasps are literally devils with wings!

But, the beecopter is soon slain. Cyre pointedly skips the jumping challenge by virtue of... floating up instead. Who needs TRIANGLE JUMPING when you've got the power of cheating!?

The conversation and the challenge both move on. The familiar sensation of saltwater and sunshine hits his senses as the world shifts and shimmers. He blinks through the transition as the sea nearby roils with battleships and angry killer robots-- and some kind of mechanical sea-serpent. Ethius suggests a cutting weapon. Cyre taps at his chin, stepping out into the crossfire. "I'd be glad to discuss Filgaia's many religions and why Guardianism is the best one. But, let me ask just to be sure, did I ever go over anything about Fengalon, Guardian of the Wind?"

"Because if not," Cyre flashes a cheshire grin as motes of emerald light begin to flow into his body. "I'mma give you a quick crash course."

A roaring tornado of light consumes the shaman where he stands. A few brief seconds later, and what tears its way out of the cyclone is no man, but some kind of... Humanoid tiger-god. A white beast with black stripes who stands on two legs, swathed with coils of light that recite prayers in ancient Baskar text. A golden mandala unfolds into a pair of jagged wings over its back. The Nahual of Wind roars as it tackles the Utuboros in mid-leap, bringing deadly claws and cutting gales to bear against the strange, multisegmented, mechanical serpent!

DG: Cyre H. Lorentz has used his Tool Gale Claw toward his party's challenge, Cool Hearted Fellow.
==========================<* Ruins of Lab -Tishrei- *>==========================
=====================<* CHALLENGE - Cool Hearted Fellow *>======================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
---------------------------< Challenge Information: >---------------------------
 The sound of waves accompany the latest shift your panel brings about -- as   
 you find yourself at the site of a nautical base! Large ancient warships and  
 other kinds of Reaverbots dominate the scene, but a serpentine presence is    
 what most captures your immediate attention.                                  
                                                                               
 This is the Utuboros, a mechanical dragon with a serpentine body -- it's      
 very heavily armoured and has the ability to burrow into the sands            
 underneath, making it an elusive foe. However, it has a habit of opening its  
 mouth to attack... perhaps if you strike it at its weak spot inside?          
                                                                               
 (BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzqyDCz4jWI )                           
=Dungeon Conditions: Tire=====================================================
=====================<* Ruins of Lab -Tishrei- - Round 3 *>=====================
=======================< Results - Cool Hearted Fellow >========================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   0 --(10)--> 10                 Pass
The Lifeweaver's Codex              2   Combat  Effects: Embolden             
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       0 --(10)--> 10                 Pass
Fight                               0   Combat  Effects: BASIC                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lulu                                5 --(10)--> 15                 Pass
Ominous Cait Sith                   1   Combat  Effects: Cleanse              
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cyre H. Lorentz                     0 --(10)--> 10                 Pass
Gale Claw                           3   Combat  Effects: Sacrifice and Embolde
-----------------------------------< Party >------------------------------------
Leader: Jacqueline Barber           40 --(20)--> 60                Pass
Conditions: Hesitate(1)|Reckless(1)|Tire(2)
Effects: Cleanse|Embolden(1)
===============================< Dream Chasers >================================
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber 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> Lulu has posed.

"Maybe it's fair that I see it the way you did once," Lulu comments to Jay. "Certainly the dangers differ."

Ethius suggests a specific weak spot to search for, and a means of attacking it; Jay comes up with a plan, and holds it in place. Cyre... Cyre voices a very good question that, it would seem, the universe does not deign to answer.

"Only very basic information," Lulu answers Cyre. "I would appreciate both."

Then she pauses. Transformation happens. Lulu for her part watches this with some interest, noting the cutting weapons placed...

"Very well." She directs a spell of Water through her doll, casting towards the doll and redirecting from there to slam against the creature, to help push it right against the Nahual's waiting claws. Between the four of them, the creature is rent in pieces, and starts exploding all around, though conveniently the explosions don't harm Cyre who's right up on the thing. How does that work? Well, it's a mystery.

"It would seem it was the head," Lulu comments to Ethius. "Good work, everyone." She reclaims her (wet) doll.

DG: Cyre H. Lorentz has drawn a new Challenge.
=========================<* Ruins of Lab -Tishrei- *>=========================
=========================<* CHALLENGE - Break Out *>==========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The mysterious panel shifts your backdrop to a geologically active cavern,    
 where boulders are falling from above!                                        
                                                                               
 Before any fears of rocks falling and everyone dying are founded, however,    
 you discover several crates of safety equipment -- namely, yellow helmets     
 that highly resemble those worn by the very Mettools you may have spotted in  
 the area.                                                                     
                                                                               
 With the help of this gear, perhaps you can make it to the end of the         
 falling tunnel with your head intact and not cracked -- though the obvious    
 question remains: Why is this ancient laboratory so obsessed with             
 construction helmets, anyway?                                                 
                                                                               
 (BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WS51w_WhM2c )                           
=Dungeon Conditions: Weaken===================================================
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

It's funny how so many robots can just kind of explode all to pieces and yet it doesn't actually do anything to anyone in close proximity. It's almost like someone filled so many of these reaverbots with pyrotechnics that only give the impression of blowing up... As opposed to the normal kind of blowing up. The kind that hurts.

Victorious, the Nahual descends back onto the floating platform. Its form disintegrates into a great haze of those emerald motes as Cyre comes falling out from within. He lands on his feet (as is his birthright) and dusts himself off as he rises. "Great!" He says of Lulu's renewed interest in Guardianism (and all those other religions, but they aren't important). "So! First thing is that the Guardians are the protector-spirits of the world, representatives of the natural forces made manifest as eternal avatars of elemental power. There are many Guardians, representing everything from the wind and water to time, life and death. The greatest, the Guardian Lords, are those who represent Hope, Love and Courage--" But not Desire? Does Cyre not mention it out of habit? Is it spite towards Lucied for siding with the Metal Demons? Or maybe he just forgot!? Clearly, the world takes offense. All around them, the terrain shifts again...!

As a rock falls and clonks Cyre right between the kitty ears.

"--Ugah!" He yelps! There's a great big welt there now. It might be bleeding a bit. Fortunately that rock was relatively small. But they seem to have gone from ocean to some kind of subterrannean tunnel in the middle of a cave in. "Ugh... Damn, right in the middle of my--"

Cyre blinks, having fallen face-first into a box of SAFETY HELMETS. He slaps one atop his (painful) head and shoves the remainder at the rest of the group. "Quick! Before this gets any worse! I'll... Try to clear us a path out of here!"

How?

Simple.

Tornado.

"This'll get a bit loud!" Cyre reaches for the bottle at his hip. The bottle full of a swirling vortex of clouds. He points the lid toward the collapsing tunnel and unceremoniously rips the stopper off the top. A horizontal funnel cloud spews out of the little glass bottle, sweeping loose stone away in a great blast of wind! It might buy them enough time to run for safety before getting clonked on the head...!

DG: Cyre H. Lorentz has used his Tool Bottled Tornado toward his party's challenge, Break Out.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Vigorous amounts of wind are applied.
        "I... suppose wind works just as well." Ethius sounds uncharacteristically non-plussed but ultimately accepting of this. Could it be that wind, perchance, solves everything within this mysterious matrix of informative imagery?! In retrospect, the construct didn't seem to have any sort of protection against rapid-fire assaults happening all at once, so yes, wind would win the day for it attacks the fastest.
        That's as much stock and thought he puts into that series of events as he goes quiet over the introduction of others' faiths. The terrain changes in time, and Ethius covers his head and moves in some other direction as something strikes Cyre. (He may recognize that this is strange and that it is usually himself who gets smacked upside the cranium.)
        He takes cover behind the box of safety helmets. When Cyre gets shoving with it, THAT is what bonks Ethius in the head, and so an equilibrium is established and the laws of the universe continue to be upheld thusly. The emerging tunnel of an unbottled tornado whirrs and screams and has him try to focus his blurry vision back on what's going on. There are bright yellow things everywhere.
        He puts one on habitually because at least one other is. That's the normal thing to do. Isn't it? Put on bright yellow dome-shaped helmets with green cross signs on them. Standard issue, standard dress. Yes.
        When he has better presence of mind post-headbonking, if falling rocks give such an opportunity to be anything other than discovering the newest sensations in strawberry jam pancake cosplay, a mid-yield heat spell is applied to try and sort of 'weld' any rocky cracks.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has contributed a Brute Basic Action toward his party's challenge, Break Out.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"Maybe... it does help give you a different perspective on things, too." Jacqueline replies to Lulu with a nod.

Through teamwork, they manage to take down the mechanical dragon! Jacqueline beams proudly, then glances toward Cyre as he sets down and gives Lulu a basic explanation of what the Guardians are and what they do. Jacqueline listens with interest...at least, until the terrain around them shifts once more. Now, they're in what appears to be a subterranean tunnel... and, rocks are falling from the sky!

"O-oh dear..." Jacqueline murmurs. Cyre points out the helmets and she takes one, quickly equipping it.

"I... think this place may be a bit too far gone for my landscaping spell to be of use here." Jacqueline considers. It was meant more for preventing things from collapsing - not slowing it down while they were already in the process of doing so.

Still, that doesn't mean she can't be helpful!

Once more she draws out some potions - but these are bright red, meant for enhancing one's strength. They might also help make those bumps on Cyre and Ethius's heads a bit less sore, too.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool Brewte Force toward her party's challenge, Break Out.
<Pose Tracker> Lulu has posed.

It's not so much that Lulu is religion shopping--she isn't--so much as that she has a need to know in order to interact with Filgaians in some places without causing too many problems. ...Why no, she doesn't have a recent example of someone coming to a world not knowing things about it, not at all.

"Hmmm," Lulu comments, it might be at the rock. But now they're in a cavern.... And there's more rocks falling. "Good thinking," she mentions. "I have a listing of some of them," she says, "I'll get others from you later." Lulu pops the helmet on, and being such a great, cool helmet, it doesn't even interfere with her hairpins. How does that work? Don't ask.

"A different perspective," Lulu agrees with Jacqueline, "And of course, the people here don't know us any better than we know them..." Ducking down, she accepts a potion and drinks it--and somehow, this power infuses the moogle doll she sets down, which toddles forward against the wind, into the rocks, rears back a tiny fist, and--

BAM! A rock shatters out of their way. "Though I do appreciate that we landed in one of the more oceanic regions of your world. It makes the transition simpler." Pause. "...This is unusual technology even for this world, yes?"

DG: Lulu has used her Tool Power Mog toward her party's challenge, Break Out.
=========================<* Ruins of Lab -Tishrei- *>=========================
=========================<* CHALLENGE - Break Out *>==========================
|Type: Exploration |Dungeon Ability: Brute     |Challenge Rating: 2          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 The mysterious panel shifts your backdrop to a geologically active cavern,    
 where boulders are falling from above!                                        
                                                                               
 Before any fears of rocks falling and everyone dying are founded, however,    
 you discover several crates of safety equipment -- namely, yellow helmets     
 that highly resemble those worn by the very Mettools you may have spotted in  
 the area.                                                                     
                                                                               
 With the help of this gear, perhaps you can make it to the end of the         
 falling tunnel with your head intact and not cracked -- though the obvious    
 question remains: Why is this ancient laboratory so obsessed with             
 construction helmets, anyway?                                                 
                                                                               
 (BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WS51w_WhM2c )                           
=Dungeon Conditions: Weaken===================================================
====================<* Ruins of Lab -Tishrei- - Round 4 *>====================
===========================< Results - Break Out >============================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   10 --(5)--> 15                 Pass
Brewte Force                        1   Brute   Effects: Fanfare and Strengthe
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       10 --(5)--> 15                 Pass
Force                               0   Brute   Effects: BASIC                
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lulu                                15 --(5)--> 20                 Pass
Power Mog                           2   Brute   Effects: Stalwart             
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cyre H. Lorentz                     10 --(5)--> 15                 Pass
Bottled Tornado                     3   Brute   Effects: Sacrifice and Strengt
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Jacqueline Barber           60 --(20)--> 80                Pass
Conditions: Weaken(2)
Effects: Strengthen(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber 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> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

This might be the Caravan Kinship (+1) but right now, the skills on display are clearly more worthy of the Spelunker Society. The Caver Club. The Prospecter Party.

They're good at digging.

Cyre's bottled tornado knocks most of the loose rocks clear, blasting the tunnel clean of any of the smaller detritus that might have fallen on the party's heads. Meanwhile, Cyre's concussion buddy Ethius busily welds the larger rock formations together, fusing them with heat that turns the stone to magma for just long enough to seal over... And just short enough for Cyre's winds to harden them back together.

Whatever small aches and pains the party might be nursing are cleansed by Jacqueline's kind consignment of consumables. If Cyre was bleeding, this potion has likely healed over his wounds even as it soothes his sore muscles.

The catman cusses softly as they race down to the end of the tunnel, only to find a massive boulder sitting in their way. He's about to turn around, when suddenly a tiny little moogle doll just straight up schools that stone like it's the Undefeated of the East. The rock crumbles into so many splintered chunks, revealing the way forward...

"...No, its definitely not," Cyre answers Lulu's question, still in mild awe at the Power Of Mog. "And, yeah. We're lucky we didn't end up back on Ignas. Though if we HAD, we would have been able to show you around our home towns! Jay and I, I mean."

DG: Jacqueline Barber has drawn a new Challenge.
=========================<* Ruins of Lab -Tishrei- *>=========================
===========================<* CHALLENGE - Crash! *>===========================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Through the almost-sacred hallway, you come across an ancient laboratory, as  
 tall as it is wide; hexagonal in shape, it has been tossed into complete      
 disarray over the ages. Computer panels, server racks and other such          
 technological apertures are strewn about the room, little better than debris  
 and junk now.                                                                 
                                                                               
 But before you can examine much in the room--                                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                                    /                          
 _  _  _  _____   _____  __    _ _ __    _  ____  /                            
 \  \  \ /_____\ \_____\ \\    \ \ \\    \ /     /  ___                        
  \  \  \ \     \ \    \  \  \  \ \ \  \  \ \  --*----                         
   \_/ \_/ \     \ \     \ \    \\ \ \    \\ \___/ \                           
    ___________________________________________ /   \                          
                                               /                                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
 --a great pistoning noise and a release valve of steam accompanies a          
 rupturing tremble of the earth. A massive cylindrical chamber emerges, and a  
 giant, stocky Reaverbot emerges from within!                                  
                                                                               
 (Image: https://i.imgur.com/9tfWZiB.jpg )                                     
                                                                               
 The Golem's sensors lock onto you. A thin, trailing laser sizzles across the  
 floor from its mouth to reach distant foes, as it attempts to seize and       
 throw whoever comes close enough to engage it in melee!                       
                                                                               
 (BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2y3QCsYxFQ )                           
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow, Injure=============================================
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"Yeah... I do hope everyone's alright back there." Jacqueline says, massaging the back of her neck at the mention of their hometowns. Adlehyde hadn't had to deal with yet another invasion, had they...? And then of course there's Wehaca, which had still been recovering from its own fair share of troubles.

But, there's nothing they can do about that now! The only thing they can do is continue forward. And as they continue, the cave that the ruin had formed gives way to a hallway, the holographic environment fading back into data cubes. This place is the real deal, that much is certain.

And at the end of the hallway lies what was once an ancient laboratory - tall and hexagonal and littered with technological debris that is difficult to recognize and little more than scrap by this point.

Before they can get any further, however, there is a noise. The ground trembles as a massive, cylindrical chamber emerges from the ground before them, revealing a massive machine!

"That's...a Reaverbot!?" Jacqueline says with a gasp. She looks back to Lulu, unsure if she's heard the term before. "Ah... 'Reaverbot' is the term they use for machines like this. They're usually ancient battle machina... and very aggressive. I don't know if they've just gone haywire, or if they always attacked everything in sight..."

Jacqueline leaps to the side as the Golem Reaverbot ejects a trailing laser from its mouth, sizzling across the floor.

"Be careful! That laser is dangerous... not only that, those hands look made for grasping. Try not to get caught by it, if you have to move in close!" Jacqueline warns.

But, fighting this thing... it won't be easy. With a few gestures of her left hand, pillars of earth sprout up around the room.

"Use these for cover, if you need to!" She says.

DG: Jacqueline Barber has used her Tool The Lifeweaver's Codex toward her party's challenge, Crash!.
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

"I think it... should be alright," Cyre says reassuringly. "If something did happen back home, something serious enough that they'd be in danger, then I'm sure... I'm sure someone would send a message. Either by courier or by memory cube. They'll be fine without us for a little while, at least."

He has faith in that much.

He also has faith that the reality they step into is actually the real deal. Not least because that happy little met hat atop his head disintegrates into so many translucent, blue, cubic cells. (Maybe even... Xels...?)

(...)

(no that'd be silly)

"It looks like we're finally back in the real world," Cyre observes, shaking off the cyberspace dust and cobwebs clinging to his brain and senses. He pauses then, ears twitching. "Hold on. I hear something--"

'Something' indeed. The Golem erupts from the ground, a colossus of steel and machinery. A thing that is both absolutely real and absolutely dangerous.

It fires a laser across the laboratory floor. Cyre hisses a curse and leaps back, barely dodging the beam as it melts the terrain into hot glass. "Is this thing security!? It's breaking the place harder than we ever would have!"

Don't get close, Jacqueline says. Cyre snarls as that emerald light surrounds him again. He can only do this once more before needing to rest-- but now is as good a time as any. The tornado of light swallows him up once more, and once more the Nahual of Fengalon emerges to take the fight directly to the massive Reaverbot.

"I'll try to keep it busy for as long as I can!" The Nahual-Cyre thunders with the voice of the howling wind. "While you still have the chance... Kick its ass!"

DG: Cyre H. Lorentz has used his Tool Gale Claw toward his party's challenge, Crash!.
<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Ethius' name is a curious omission - mention of Jay's and Cyre's hometowns, but not his. Where is this man from? He doesn't bring any vocal attention to himself as the matter is discussed, but this is also because he took a nasty hit to the head (again) and is still reclaiming the sharpness of his sight and hearing.
        The environs change again, to a place that seems less steeped in fantastical obstacle courses and more the innards of a place long gone.
        "Below," Ethius calls moments before the ground trembles - whatever clued him off to that, who knows. As Jay exclaims and explains what a Reaverbot is, Ethius starts moving to avoid a sweeping laser that only misses him because of the specific angle the shiny laser starts at. If he were standing any taller at that moment...
        The pillar(s) Jay provides are useful cover as Ethius dunks the damp Powder Grenade in the Hot Air Sack and takes a moment to heat it up with the requisite spell. He's not sure if he can fully dry it in time.
        "Its hands do indeed appear to be made for grasping," Ethius remarks. He peeks out over cover to get another look at them. There's a smoothness to their form - no protruding sharp edges, or any seeming ability to project energy fire unto itself. Now, those hands could crush the life out of a soft, fleshy meatbag. The wash of heat from the passing laser is immense...
        Ethius retrieves the warmed (if not dried, maybe) Powder Grenade from the Hot Air Sack, and flings it across the floor. Astute individuals will notice he didn't yet do the incantation and gesticulation combination he does to activate it. Ethius instead exercises further patience and allows the laser fire to go through a few more cycles before he does.
        A part of him he can't quite put together into a coherent whole feels a sort of... regret? Is it regret? That the names of these threats are being told, and that they scarce will have names of their own by their guest. Which is a very strange thing to be hung up on, isn't it?
        He watches as Cyre transforms into the likeness of the Guardian he serves. The tornado swallows up the Powder Grenade on the ground and - well that could go anywhere and explode a dust cloud into just about any part of the battleground now, huh, unless it's still too damp.
        So Ethius has to take matters into his own hands, leap out from cover with quarterstaff in hands, and lunge towards the flying, whirling smoke bomb to apply the proper amount of pressure to get it to rupture where he wants it to--
        "Far Point!" HE calls the name of the technique as he lunges to strike the Powder Grenade as it whirls around the Golem's left shoulder, subjecting himself to the outer edge of the windy torrents surrounding hte Nahual.

DG: Ethius Hesiod has used his Tool Powder Grenade toward his party's challenge, Crash!.
<Pose Tracker> Lulu has posed.

Lulu finds the CaraKin pretty good company here. "Much as it would be nice to visit," Lulu answers, "I hope that we can return sooner than later. We have... much that we have to do, at home." At least this isn't regular tech. As for Mog, well--

The little Mog doll actually curls its plush arm as if flexing a muscle, nodding firmly to Cyre with adorable moogle face.

There's a lot of that--hoping someone is all right, back somewhere. The term is--actually she has heard it, as she sees the gigantic robot before them. "It's a very descriptive title!" she calls, as she steps to the side. Nahual-Cyre moves to engage it directly--

"Noted," Lulu answers, and shifts immediately behind a pillar, as she makes sure not to move in closer than she has to. There's a moment's focus--

Before Lulu steps out, and, using the Ominous Cait Sith this time on her arm to boost her spells, she lays in with gravitic pulses of power alternated with terrible bolts of lightning aimed carefully to the side Cyre isn't on.

As she delivers another Demi spell she comments, "Putting on a little weight?"

DG: Lulu has used her Tool Ominous Cait Sith toward her party's challenge, Crash!.
=========================<* Ruins of Lab -Tishrei- *>=========================
===========================<* CHALLENGE - Crash! *>===========================
|Type: Final       |Dungeon Ability: Combat    |Challenge Rating: 3          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 Through the almost-sacred hallway, you come across an ancient laboratory, as  
 tall as it is wide; hexagonal in shape, it has been tossed into complete      
 disarray over the ages. Computer panels, server racks and other such          
 technological apertures are strewn about the room, little better than debris  
 and junk now.                                                                 
                                                                               
 But before you can examine much in the room--                                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                                    /                          
 _  _  _  _____   _____  __    _ _ __    _  ____  /                            
 \  \  \ /_____\ \_____\ \\    \ \ \\    \ /     /  ___                        
  \  \  \ \     \ \    \  \  \  \ \ \  \  \ \  --*----                         
   \_/ \_/ \     \ \     \ \    \\ \ \    \\ \___/ \                           
    ___________________________________________ /   \                          
                                               /                                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
 --a great pistoning noise and a release valve of steam accompanies a          
 rupturing tremble of the earth. A massive cylindrical chamber emerges, and a  
 giant, stocky Reaverbot emerges from within!                                  
                                                                               
 (Image: https://i.imgur.com/9tfWZiB.jpg )                                     
                                                                               
 The Golem's sensors lock onto you. A thin, trailing laser sizzles across the  
 floor from its mouth to reach distant foes, as it attempts to seize and       
 throw whoever comes close enough to engage it in melee!                       
                                                                               
 (BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2y3QCsYxFQ )                           
=Dungeon Conditions: Slow, Injure=============================================
====================<* Ruins of Lab -Tishrei- - Round 5 *>====================
=============================< Results - Crash! >=============================
Player                               Exhaustion                      Pass/Fail
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jacqueline Barber                   15 --(10)--> 25                Pass
The Lifeweaver's Codex              2   Combat  Effects: Embolden             
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ethius Hesiod                       15 --(10)--> 25                Pass
Powder Grenade                      3   Combat  Effects: Fanfare              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lulu                                20 --(10)--> 30                Pass
Ominous Cait Sith                   1   Combat  Effects: Cleanse              
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cyre H. Lorentz                     15 --(10)--> 25                Pass
Gale Claw                           3   Combat  Effects: Sacrifice and Embolde
----------------------------------< Party >-----------------------------------
Leader: Jacqueline Barber           80 --(35)--> 115               Pass
Conditions: Injure(2)|Slow(2)|Weaken(1)
Effects: Cleanse|Embolden(1)
==============================< Dream Chasers >===============================
DG: You have overcome the dungeon's trials! This run is a success!
DG: The party led by Jacqueline Barber has successfully explored Ruins of Lab -Tishrei-!
=========================<* Ruins of Lab -Tishrei- *>=========================
==============<* CHALLENGE - Result of Mission II - Item Met! *>==============
|Type: Discovery   |Dungeon Ability: Conclusion|Challenge Rating: 1          | 
--------------------------< Challenge Information: >--------------------------
 With your concentrated assault, the Golem stops, then goes 'bweep' as it      
 announces, "RETURNING TO HOUSEHOLD TASKS..." and disappears down a capsule    
 chute. A panel nearby shimmers to life and a jingle starts playing:           
                                                                               
 (BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHhf6wDzD-E )                           
                                                                               
        = RESULT =                                                                   
        ------------------------------------                                         
        Mission        GREAT!      20p                                               
        CLEAR TIME     4'56"16     20p                                               
        ENEMY          53          16p                                               
        DAMAGE         13          17p                                               
        RETRY          3           0p                                                
        ELF            0           20p                                               
                                                                               
 YOUR CODENAME IS:                                                  
 (Follow the link to find instructions to generate your own codename!)         
                                                                               
 While the contents of the screen are largely... gibberish to you (Elf? What   
 if you brought some elven compatriots with you? Would that have changed       
 anything?), the machine churns with a crunchy little noise and something      
 pops free from a deposit chamber underneath.                                  
                                                                               
 "Meeett...!!"                                                                 
                                                                               
 A cute Mettool rolls out of the machine and crashes with a dizzy X_X look.    
                                                                               
 It whimpers once it sees you, and flees, leaving behind one of the many       
 yellow construction helmets that you may have seen throughout the             
 Laboratory. This one looks fairly pristine and could be fashioned into        
 armour or a shield, or perhaps you have a more creative use for it...         
                                                                               
 (OOC: You have acquired a Mettool Helmet! You can use this as-is, or fashion  
 it into some other kind of defensive item that could conceivably become a     
 Brute or Combat tool.)                                                        
=Dungeon Conditions: Treasure=================================================
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"Yeah, I know you all have a lot on your plate." Jacqueline replies with a nod to Lulu. "If we hear of a way back before you do, we'll let you know. ...Though, if history is anything to go by, everyone will know when it happens."

But it might be a while before that happens - and right now, they have that Golem to deal with.

"I don't know... maybe it considers us a bigger threat than itself...?" Jacqueline considers, hiding safely behind a pillar.

Cyre elects to distract the machine, to keep it busy while the rest of them go on the offensive. This proves to be an effective strategy. The Nahual of Fengalon proves much too fast for the Golem to catch. Many times it reaches out, but grasps only wind - and not the wind it was going for.

Only once does it come close - but before it can succeed, gravitic power takes hold of the Golem, forcing it downward before it is suddenly struck by light. This process continues, but it also causes the Golem to turns its sights on Lulu herself.

But, before it can reach her, Ethius lunges forward, striking the Powder Grenade with his staff. The powder explodes like chaff, obscuring the Golem's sensors, allowing Lulu to continue unhindered.

At some point during the spellcasting, Jacqueline glances in Lulu's direction. Did she just... make a gravity pun?? Jacqueline is both amazed and impressed. Maybe one day she, too, will be confident enough for that...

Eventually, after what feels like a long fight, the Golem goes still. Jacqueline exhales.

"Wh-whew... is everyone alright? Let's-" She stops, freezing in place as the Golem starts to move again, letting out a 'bweep'. But then...!

"RETURNING TO HOUSEHOLD TASKS..." It says in a cute voice, before suddenly disappearing down the chute it came from. And then...!

A panel nearby shimmers to life, playing a catchy jingle and displaying some words and numbers.

"Your codename is..." Jacqueline says, looking down the list. Her head tilts. "...Speedy Gunner of Adlehyde? But... I don't even use guns..."

Then, there's a churning noise. A panel opens, and...a tiny robot rolls out with dizzy eyes!

"...Oh! Hello there, little one. Are you-" Jacqueline says. ...But, just seeing it is enough to startle them. It flees...but when it does, it leaves behind several familiar helmets.

"Oh... these are the helmets from the challenge just before. But...I think these might actually be real." Jacqueline observes, picking it up and rapping her knuckles on it.

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        The whole thing reveals itself, at the end, as part of a grand fabrication of a test trial. The Golem returns to household chores - that explains the character of the hands and why they did not distinctly appear weapon-like - leaving a somewhat tense Ethius who straightens out as a panel appears. A toy-like jingle, showing words and numbers.
        "An evaluation...?" A record. Names are listed.
        Jay - Speedy Gunner of Adlehyde.
        His right hand - his off-hand! - slaps its palm into the panel-screen, as if to deliberately obscure... he's not doing a good job, is he, if he's trying to hide everyone's names.
 
 
        Jay, Sp
        Cyre, L
        Lulu, L
        Ethius,
 
        He slowly lowers that hand, unveiling titles and origins. Jay's is already stated. Others may have seen theirs in the interim. There's a look in his eyes, which is a worrisome thing to note because the man's eyes are famously near-impossible to read. They're the sort of eyes that just take, take, take, and never give back anything.
 
        ...
 
        Ethius, Buggy Stabber of...?
 
        ...
 
        That wasn't a dramatic written drumroll.
        It has an origin point for Jay, an origin point for Cyre, and an origin point for Lulu. It should be extremely strange that it recognizes what a Besaid can be, taken at face value.
        It should then, it follows, be even stranger that it has nothing for him.

<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

That Golem... Is way too tough. Way too hard to break with the time that he has remaining in the form of the Nahual. Cyre holds the thing back for as long as he can, dodging and weaving and sweeping his great claws against nigh-impenetrable armor. But then!

Inexplicably!

The thing... Beeps. And actually has a super cute voice attached to it? A friendly reaverbot? "I didn't... think that was a thing?" Cyre observes as he falls out of his war-form. "I mean... I guess someone had to build it... And leave it here... So that machine's been maintaining the place all this time?"

Have... Have they been slumming around inside someone's house?

Cyre feels kind of bad about that. Like he's violating someone's privacy.

But then! There's a screen! An evaluation screen! They did... Pretty well, actually! S-ranked the mission, even! What's an S-rank? Cyre doesn't know. It's big and sparkly and golden though, so it's probably an impressive achievement.

But the title it gives him...

                       Cyre, Lazy Slacker of Wehaca

"...I mean, that's a little too on the nose, isn't it?" Cyre asks of the world in general and the lab in particular. He's thinking too hard to notice immediately that an adorable little metool falls into their midst with a pile of helpful safety helmets! This is good, because said metool takes off running like a shot, and Cyre was just tapping deeply into his feral instincts. A thing running away with its back turned might be too tempting of a target to chase...!

Instead Cyre just looks to it with a frown and an 'aw.' It would have been nice to have a new pet out of all this, but... That met, it probably has a role to play in this ancient laboratory...

And besides, it's left gifts! Helmets! Cyre has... Absolutely no idea what he's going to do with this. Maybe he can use it when he's piloting that new Gear of his?

Beat.

"Hey Ethius," Cyre asks, "Looks like even mysterious, super-advanced ancient computers don't know where you came from. Weird! But then, I guess the rest of us were kinda just talking about home a minute ago. Huh."

<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

There's another beat. Cyre looks over to the (potentially still flexing) moogle and nods solemnly. "I... respect the power of your mogscles."

<Pose Tracker> Lulu has posed.

"I'm fine," Lulu confirms at the question, looking curiously at the big machine that... apparently does household tasks? "...If I ever needed exactly the kind of machina that would disturb him most," Lulu mutters to herself, shaking her head as she approaches to look down at the panel and the robot. ...And the... helmets. Well...

"It is a strong material..."

"Perhaps," Lulu says, "The machina just understands to respect someone's privacy. We all have things we'd rather not talk about with others. I'm sure Ethius is the same."

Understatement of the year, maybe.

She chuckles wryly. "Lazy Forks, is it...? Something tells me it has it out for me. I wonder how much I should be bothered?"

Mog, in Lulu's arm, is still again. But its little X eyes stare forward... cutely. Perhaps it hears. Perhaps it knows.

"Still. It certainly was... educational."