Difference between revisions of "2020-05-09: The Eternal Sentinel"

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(Created page with "*'''Log: The Eternal Sentinel''' *'''Cast:''' Character :: Mariel, Character :: Elw Security Automaton, Character :: Catenna, Character :: Cyre H. Lorentz, C...")
 
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     Mariel shouts, desperately, for it to stop and stand down.
 
     Mariel shouts, desperately, for it to stop and stand down.
  
     NOT A RECOGNIZED COMMAND. PLEASE TRY AGAIN. is the response from the automaton, punctuated by a click.
+
     <NOT A RECOGNIZED COMMAND. PLEASE TRY AGAIN.> is the response from the automaton, punctuated by a click.
  
 
     But the time it takes to process that leaves it open to Marivel's power. It shudders as ''something'' is drawn off it, stepping backwards on its many clicking feet; sparks spray briefly from its front.
 
     But the time it takes to process that leaves it open to Marivel's power. It shudders as ''something'' is drawn off it, stepping backwards on its many clicking feet; sparks spray briefly from its front.

Latest revision as of 21:44, 18 May 2020


DC: Elw Security Automaton switches forms to Ancient Elw Automaton - Extermination Mode!
<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel soon uncovers a problem: There is no place to insert a tool. Whatever locking mechanism controls the force field, it's obscure. With time, she might locate it somewhere.

Time is brief. Cyre's tornado plows into the field surrounding the door - and as the field weakens beneath the glow of Catenna's spell, the blue energy fades somewhat. Sparks run through it, dancing in electric azure.

Marivel aids in the search. She runs into the same problem Mariel does: The controls for the door are simply not obvious. Jay's pillars sprout, but the barrier continues to stubbornly hold on.

"It is weakening," Catenna breathes as she redoubles her efforts. "I can feel it--"

She's interrupted by a hideous crackling noise and a shock of burning pain. With a yelp she hits the ground, an energy blast scorcing across the back of her shoulder.

There's a metallic thump as the insect-sentry settles to the ground in front of the crossover the group just passed. Its wings flutter emphatically as it stares the five of them down.

What it buzzes is incomprehensible to most of them. But Mariel can understand it clearly.

    <NON-ELW LIFESIGNS DETECTED. ESCALATE TO SECURITY PROTOCOL LEVEL TWO.>

< TO BE CONTINUED...

<Pose Tracker> Elw Security Automaton has posed.

<SoundTracker> Eternal Poison - Ruined Hallways / https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_8nMOdp-Wk

    Parts of its insectoid carapace unfold thereafter. Almost delicately, an array of high-powered ARMs slowly out into the light of the ancient ruin, glittering in spite of their age. Either they were very well made, or some part of Capel Coffa's functionality accounts for the upkeep of its security.

    Most likely, the latter, though as Mariel knows well...

    Another set of 'eyespots' gleams bright green, pouring that light in a spread of gridlines across the chamber before the sealed door; it once more assesses the group before it.

    ...it is also very well made.

    <LEVEL TWO THREAT ANALYSIS UNDERWAY... PROCESSING...>

    Metallic legs click as it adjusts its stance. The ARM loadout completes its own finetuning.

    <ANALYSIS COMPLETE. ELW DETECTED. ESCALATING TO LEVEL FIVE HEURISTICS. FINDING RESOURCE DATABASE... DENIED. DATABASE CONNECTION LOST. FINDING RESOURCE DATABASE... DENIED. ERROR DETECTED. FINDING RESOURCE DATABASE... ERROR.>

    Perhaps after so many years, it makes sense that some subtle bugs might have crept into its code, regardless of automatic maintenance.

    The strange machine seems to just stop for a moment, as if it were uncertain about how to proceed.

    And then the lights in its eyes shine red.

    <INITIALIZING FAILBACK. RESTORE COMPLETE. LEVEL TWO ROUTINE REQUIRED. ANALYSIS SKIPPED. ...ELIMINATE TARGETS.>

    Which is the point where the security automaton unloads upon the group, with all four of its auxillary ARMs.

GS: Elw Security Automaton has attacked Cyre H. Lorentz with Snap Shot!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has attacked Marivel Armitage with Rail Shot!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has canceled their attack on Cyre H. Lorentz.
GS: Elw Security Automaton has canceled their attack on Marivel Armitage.
GS: Elw Security Automaton has attacked Cyre H. Lorentz with Snap Shot!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has attacked Marivel Armitage with Rail Shot!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has attacked Mariel with Strafing Shot!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has attacked Jacqueline Barber with Strafing Shot!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has attacked Catenna with Strafing Shot!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has completed its action.
GS: Catenna completely evades a hit from Elw Security Automaton's Strafing Shot!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz takes a solid hit from Elw Security Automaton's Snap Shot for 111 hit points!
GS: Reaction switch bonus! Cyre H. Lorentz gains 1 additional Combo!
GS: Jacqueline Barber guards a hit from Elw Security Automaton's Strafing Shot for 57 hit points!
GS: Mariel takes a glancing hit from Elw Security Automaton's Strafing Shot for 51 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna does not need to understand Elw to recognize that the group is probably in for a very, very bad time.

The ARMS folding out of the machine as its eyes turn red confirm it before it even fires a shot.

"Look out!" she manages to shout a second before the ARMS blaze with killing fire. The force of the blast slams into the wall behind her as she moves at just the right moment. Flipping away, she touches the ground with one hand and pushes off, spinning away from the strafing fire. Blasts tear into bulkheads, spraying shrapnel and heat about, but she keeps a step ahead of it, darting rapidly and putting her speed and dexterity to work.

Others aren't so lucky. A spark of shock hits her as she realizes the machine is attacking Mariel of all people.

"I don't suppose asking it nicely to get back down into the abyss would do much good!" she grumbles as she brushes her free hand over the Silver Moon Medium. The familiarity of its contours helps. It reminds her that, even if she lacks this monstrosity's technology, she has the tools the Guardians gave her.

Tools she puts to use right away. Thrusting her hand out, she barks a power word, ringing with magic.

A powerful gravitational grip attempts to seize the automaton. Its pull is off to the left - precisely at the location of a wall. With a snap of her wrist, she lets gravity do its work, trying to slam the automaton violently into a solid surface over and over.

GS: Catenna has attacked Elw Security Automaton with Grav!
GS: Catenna has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Catenna has completed her action.
GS: Marivel Armitage guards a hit from Elw Security Automaton's Rail Shot for 72 hit points!
GS: Reaction switch bonus! Marivel Armitage gains 1 additional Combo!
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

Cyre has to give it to the Elw; they really know how to build their giant killer death robots to last. "Didn't we drop you into a pit?" Cyre asks of the terrifying metal mantis as its carapace opens up to reveal a host of deadly ARMs. Each of those things would sell for an incredible price on the marketplace, and each and every one of them is pointed at the Carakin like they pose some kind of existential threat to the sanctity of this place.

Really, that's probably an accurate judgment. They were just caught in the act of brute-forcing their way through a security barrier at the heart of the ruin.

"Mariel, it sounds like our friend here's having some trouble recognizing you. Do you have some kind of... Identification card or some--" The drone's eyes burn red. Cyre has barely an opportunity to respond before a burst of crimson starts blossoming into his cloak's white fabric. The shaman bites back a hiss of pain as he staggers back, clutching at his shoulder. "Damnit! Nevermind! We're stuck between a rock and a hard place here, only one thing for it--"

Cyre gestures. The air surrounding the behemoth suddenly grows impossibly dense. The atmosphere collapses inwards, imploding in a devastating, inward-facing pressure wave. "Guh. Gonna need some... medical attention here pretty quick...!"

GS: Cyre H. Lorentz spends 1 Combo on Poison!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has attacked Elw Security Automaton with Grand Pressure!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has completed his action.
GS: Elw Security Automaton takes a solid hit from Catenna's Grav for 114 hit points!
GS: Disease! applied to Elw Security Automaton!
GS: Elw Security Automaton takes a solid hit from Cyre H. Lorentz's Grand Pressure for 140 hit points!
GS: Poison! applied to Elw Security Automaton!
<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Marivel make a faint 'guh' noise as she hears the Elw securitybot babbling. "What kind of person would leave a security bot unattended and threatening any visitors that happen to come by like this?"

ELSEWHERE

Revelry sits in the garage, warmed up and ready to go. It sneezes.

HERE

"Well, I guess we can just deal with this."

She slides back, getting grazed by bullets in the side, unleashing small wifts of smoke that waft into the air. She gesturees forward with her free hand...

...and draws a blue-ish energy from the machine, attempting to draw out the machine's skills--and see if any are viable to adapt for herself. Marivel once did this to a giant flying diamond thing--apparently sapiency is not a requirement here.

"Hm...Already?" She look to Cyre.

GS: Marivel Armitage has attacked Elw Security Automaton with Skill Drain!
GS: Marivel Armitage has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel stops attempting to get the door open (without success) when she hears Catenna yelp. That's not a sound of effort, that's a sound of pain. She turns just in time to see the Elw machine reappear.

She doesn't recognize all its ARMs. Mariel is largely innocent of the Elw at war; she knows of the Golems, of course, she even knows a bit about how they are made and what they can do, but things like this automaton were simply things that did not matter to her.

But she doesn't need to recognize all the weapons to find them alarming. At least its analysis -

"It's not working!" Mariel calls out, suddenly, over the Elw machine's speech. "The scanner database is offline - it can't identify things. So it is shooting - "

She goes flat when the gunfire starts. It almost works; one of the shots grazes her on the way down, but she is mostly unperforated except for that single injury, which is fairly minor. Pushing herself up, Mariel looks wide-eyed at the machine.

"<Stop! Stand down!>" Mariel yells in Elw. She doesn't think it will work - she doesn't have any kind of codes or authorization even if she hits on the right command, and that's assuming everything is operating as it should - but it's worth a shot and doesn't cost her anything.

"Why would I have an identification card?" she asks Cyre, afterwards, as she pulls herself up into a crouch, inching across the bridge to Cyre while keeping low. She rises up suddenly at the end, a salve of some sort in her hand - made with a specific root she grows and dries, she pulls Cyre to the side for a moment to apply it and a fast bandage. It tingles in an antiseptic sort of way.

GS: Mariel has attacked Cyre H. Lorentz with Holy Root!
GS: Mariel has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Mariel has completed her action.
GS: Mariel heals Cyre H. Lorentz! He gains 125 temporary hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

They thought they had defeated it, but it would appear the Elw automaton is much sturdier than any of them had anticipated. Indeed - Jacqueline, too, does not need to know the Elw language to realise that things aren't going to go exactly as they'd hoped. As those ARMs rev up Jacqueline leaps back to put some distance between it and herself, wrapping her steel-cloth cloak tightly around her. ARMfire hammers into her painfully, thankfully dulled by the protection of her cloak.

"Do you have any advice, Mariel? I think I exhausted all of my info in our first round with this thing." Jacqueline says. "But, fortunately, there is one useful piece of information I have left!"

Jacqueline draws out a Crest Graph, slotting it into her left gauntlet. She invokes it right away, then, and a magical light surrounds Catenna, Cyre, and Marivel as they're enchanted with its elemental weakness! That should help give them an edge.

GS: Jacqueline Barber has attacked Cyre H. Lorentz with Mage Armory!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has attacked Catenna with Mage Armory!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has attacked Marivel Armitage with Mage Armory!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has completed her action.
GS: Catenna takes a solid hit from Jacqueline Barber's Mage Armory for 0 hit points!
GS: Hyper! applied to Catenna!
GS: Elw Security Automaton takes a solid hit from Marivel Armitage's Skill Drain for 92 hit points!
GS: Marivel Armitage drains Elw Security Automaton! Marivel Armitage gains 46 temporary hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Elw Security Automaton has posed.

    Just moments ago, it had seemed to recognize Mariel as Elw, but no longer -- perhaps the failover is responsible for this, clearing its memory to enable it to take a course of action, without becoming locked in the same pattern as before. A clever plan, perhaps, by its creator... but one that creates now a problem for the band that faces it down.

    The air is thick with ARMS-fire; bits are clipped off the surrounding ornamentation before the larger door to whatever awaits in the vault behind. Plantlife is snapped from the nearby facade and reduced to fine particulates. Throughout what follows, the machine does not move, holding its ground as the ARMs whine and gradually slow.

    <SIGNS OF LIFE DETECTED. RELOADING.> announces the machine. It slowly approaches the group, its feet clattering on the bridge's tiles.

    Which is when first Cyre sweeps it up with a finely-honed pressure wave, and then Catenna picks up on the follow through and alters gravity about it, specifically. It slams into the wall, repeatedly, with successive crunching sounds.

    And then, it drops, seeminging falling into the depths beneath the bridge.

    But it had already fallen once already. It would be a mistake to think it gone for good--

    And indeed, with a buzzing of its wings, it rises to alight once more atop the bridgeway, regarding the group almost quizzically.

    But make no mistake -- there is no there there.

    Mariel shouts, desperately, for it to stop and stand down.

    <NOT A RECOGNIZED COMMAND. PLEASE TRY AGAIN.> is the response from the automaton, punctuated by a click.

    But the time it takes to process that leaves it open to Marivel's power. It shudders as something is drawn off it, stepping backwards on its many clicking feet; sparks spray briefly from its front.

    <ERR0R5 DETECT3D. UNR3COGNIZED ENT1TY. SYSTEM SC4N RECOMMENDED. ERROR: 1N COMBAT M0DE.>

    Something about it seems a little more... damaged than before.

    Then once more the four-part ARMS whine and wind up. But there is not immediately the return of its torrential rain of bullets. Rather, instead...

    Its 'mouth' region opens, disgorging a rifle-like aperture. A single red light dances on Catenna alone -- perhaps it notices that she has not been wounded and seeks to rectify that...!

    It fires, head recoiling with the knockback, then rears up on its hindmost legs and--

    Again, the air is heavy with its ammunition. It does not stop until it again reaches the limit of whatever it is using to generate its bullets.

GS: Elw Security Automaton has attacked Catenna with GAU-12 STORMUS!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Elw Security Automaton assumes the Avenger stance!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has attacked Cyre H. Lorentz with M197 GLAW!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has attacked Marivel Armitage with M197 GLAW!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has attacked Mariel with M197 GLAW!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has attacked Jacqueline Barber with M197 GLAW!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Elw Security Automaton takes 27 damage from Poison!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has completed its action.
GS: Catenna takes a glancing hit from Elw Security Automaton's GAU-12 STORMUS for 77 hit points!
GS: Catenna's Force Evade activates!
GS: Reaction bonus! FP up!
GS: CRITICAL! Jacqueline Barber completely evades a hit from Elw Security Automaton's M197 GLAW!
GS: Reaction switch bonus! Jacqueline Barber gains 1 additional Combo!
GS: Reaction bonus! FP up!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz takes a solid hit from Jacqueline Barber's Mage Armory for 0 hit points!
GS: Hyper! applied to Cyre H. Lorentz!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz takes a solid hit from Elw Security Automaton's M197 GLAW for 144 hit points!
GS: Mariel guards a hit from Elw Security Automaton's M197 GLAW for 88 hit points!
GS: Reaction switch bonus! Mariel gains 1 additional Combo!
GS: Reaction bonus! FP up!
GS: Marivel Armitage takes a solid hit from Jacqueline Barber's Mage Armory for 0 hit points!
GS: Hyper! applied to Marivel Armitage!
GS: Marivel Armitage completely evades a hit from Elw Security Automaton's M197 GLAW!
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

As that shining light engulfs her, Catenna shoots Jay a grateful glance and a smile.

That smile passes. Even dropping the Automaton back down the rift isn't going to stop it - and it's certainly not going to prevent it from harming little Mariel. Catenna clenches her teeth as the mechanical being rises, before throwing Cyre a look. "There is no central registry for friendly Elw!" she calls back to him.

This time, however, something's new. Not only is the automaton more damaged, its focus is on her. Catenna readies herself to dart away.

The rifle barrel in its mouth is a surprise, though. "Uh-oh."

Bullets rattle through the air. Again Catenna's forced to rely on the skills of a dancer to dart clear of the worst of the storm. She tumbles and rolls, her eyes darting away just long enough to check on Saarda-Shanta, the Owl swooping high above the field to remain clear of the fight. The glance costs her, a couple of bullets grazing close and leaving bloody lines across her calf as they speed by. She hisses and hits the ground, rolling gracelessly to avoid the last of the Automaton's clip before coming to one knee.

She's bleeding, but not badly yet. "If it will not recognize commands, then we will have to just turn it off the simpler way," she huffs as she nocks an arrow.

With a high, sailing leap, Catenna boosts herself up over the field. She flips upside down at the apex of her jump and fires a couple arrows before her arc carries her to plant her feet on the wall.

The Shaman of Celesdue coils like a spring before bounding off. This spring carries her to the far side of the Automaton, and she descends with a couple more arrows fired in mid-flight, trying to pelt it from all directions.

GS: Catenna has attacked Elw Security Automaton with Silver Equinox!
GS: Catenna has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Catenna has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Stepping away from Cyre once he's got the bandage on, Mariel takes stock of her satchel's contents.

...not much in there useful to stop a machine. Some of Mariel's herbs, salves and potions can be used to disorient or disable living beings, but her knowledge of medicine doesn't really apply to robots. And while the Elw machine might be organic-styled... it isn't.

"No, I'm sorry," she responds to Jacqueline. "I don't... I never was involved in anything like this. My brother would have known, but..." Mariel's brother is not here, now is he?

She's going to need to find cover if it's going to shoot like that. Mariel rushes for the closest protrusion - a raised stone platform holding soil and a small tree - and dives behind it. This time she is not shot, but she lands on her already-wounded arm, which draws a pained yelp - and she's peppered with bits of tattered leaf, which makes her spirits fall.

There is *one* thing that works pretty well on machines. Mariel pulls out a container of powder, mixing it with different smaller vial. Rising from her cover, she flings it, overhand, at the side of the machine. "Don't get that on your weapons - and don't breathe it!" she warns.

It's a good idea, given the dried weed powder, mixed with the catalyst, makes metal brittle and etches leather. "It sounds like it's not speaking properly now..." Is that good or bad? Probably both.

GS: Mariel has attacked Elw Security Automaton with Smarna Weed!
GS: Mariel has completed her action.
GS: Elw Security Automaton takes a solid hit from Mariel's Smarna Weed for 0 hit points!
GS: Shieldbreak! applied to Elw Security Automaton!
GS: Elw Security Automaton guards a hit from Catenna's Silver Equinox for 84 hit points!
GS: Mute and Poison! applied to Elw Security Automaton!
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline returns Catenna's smile with a smile of her own! Unfortunately, the situation as it is, it'll have to be left to that. Once again, the automaton drops, and once again, it rises. If they want to take this thing down, it looks like they're going to have to do this the hard way.

Jacqueline hears the metallic whining as the ARMs begin to wind up, and this time she has the time to act - with a gesture of her left hand, a pillar of earth rises protectively in front of her. Bullets slam repeatedly into the pillar and impact the ground on either side of her, but Jacqueline herself escapes the barrage unharmed.

Before it can recover from its firing stance, Jacqueline presses her right hand against the pillar. With an invocation of one of the Crest Graphs in her right gauntlet light spiderwebs its way through the pillar before the whole thing shatters - and the resulting debris is then sent flying toward the security automaton at high speeds.

"It's okay! We'll do this the usual way, then." Jacqueline calls back to Mariel as she apologises, sending a reassuring smile her way. Mariel's brother... Jacqueline can't help but be a little curious about that, but now's not the time to ask about family. She glances over toward her as she mentions that it's not speaking properly.

"Hm... be careful. Machines aren't usually my area of expertise, but from my experience they start to get more dangerous once they start malfunctioning - at least when they don't break down altogether. But I get the feeling we won't be quite that lucky." Jacqueline suggests.

GS: Jacqueline Barber has attacked Elw Security Automaton with Rubble-Rouser!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

"I don't exactly have infinite blood to lose," Cyre bites back at Marivel's barb. It might come off as a little bit acidic, but that's entirely because he straight up just got shot. "Mariel-- thanks," he winces; the salve burns, but in a good 'this is healing' kind of way. "You can't fault a guy for holding out hope that you've been hiding secret security clearance or something...!"

It wouldn't be the first time that's happened. A man can hope! A MAN CAN DREAM!

While Cyre might have been able to duck under cover for the time being, the sad fact is that no amount of cover in a place like this can possibly stand up to the kind of punishment the automaton can dole out. "Shit--" Cyre hisses, a storm of bullets chews through the chest-high wall he'd been hiding behind. Shrapnel of some unidentifiable material explodes from the makeshift bulwark, tearing bloody lines through his shamaning robes. "How many rounds does this thing even have!?"

The answer is probably 'as many as it needs.' It's too bad Marivel couldn't have drained its internal ammunition manufactory instead of its brain.

If he's going to be doing anything meaningful here, Cyre is going to have to come up with better cover. The shaman slams his hands together. A mighty gale stirs, rippling outward in curtains of raw force and howling noise. The waves buffet into the construct and then solidify, forming invisible walls of cyclonic winds. "Man, can you imagine if we were able to take this thing down without breaking it? If we could figure out its security codes..."

GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has attacked Elw Security Automaton with Stepping Wind!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has completed his action.
GS: Elw Security Automaton takes a glancing hit from Jacqueline Barber's Rubble-Rouser for 59 hit points!
GS: Reaction switch bonus! Elw Security Automaton gains 1 additional Combo!
GS: Elw Security Automaton guards a hit from Cyre H. Lorentz's Stepping Wind for 75 hit points!
GS: Reaction switch bonus! Elw Security Automaton gains 1 additional Combo!
GS: Riposte! applied to Cyre H. Lorentz!
<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

It's always a little unpredictable as to what you might draw from someone (or something) with that power. She eexhales faintly and takes in a deep breath before sliding a foot back and studying the machine's movements for a time. She can imagine any number of reasons why a mech that's a few centuries old would fail to recognize the Elw. Bugs pile up. Maintenance doessn't occur. Energy output fails to reach certain sectors of the motherboard or whichever. Any number of reasons.

It fires upon Marivel who BECOMES SMOKE and then floats herself up into the air, aiming to reform above the automaton and then--swing a blood red blade for the automaton in a quick and smooth motion.

She glances to Mariel. it would be pretty unfortunate if she ends up seriously wounded by her own peoples' defense drone.

"Perhaps it is time for you to rest." She tells it.

GS: Marivel Armitage has attacked Elw Security Automaton with Guillotine!
GS: Marivel Armitage has completed her action.
GS: Elw Security Automaton takes a solid hit from Marivel Armitage's Guillotine for 122 hit points!
GS: Reaction switch bonus! Elw Security Automaton gains 1 additional Combo!
<Pose Tracker> Elw Security Automaton has posed.

    Just as before, the ARMS whine as they slow down, smoking slightly. The automaton sweeps the space into which it had fired as the dust settles, optical receptors shifting briefly from red to green.

    <5TRUCTUR4L DAMAGE OBSERV3D. ...TARGETS REMA1N. ESC4LATING TO LEVEL THRE3.>

    This is when Mariel hurls a container of something powdery over at it, which shatters atop its carapace. Something atop the machine begins to smolder; there is for those with very very good hearing the sound of a hiss, as if there were a very tiny fire going on right now.
    Which, frankly, is not all that far off.

    One of the barrels swivels for Mariel after but there is only a clicking sound. Its ammunition must not be ready yet.

    Into this moment Catenna intrudes, soaring high to land at an angle that -- even though its head turns a good 180 to follow her -- the machine has difficulty fully tracking, particularly when she keeps moving. Arrows fly through the air after, some rebounding but most--

    Finding their mark, and sinking into the weakened carapace.

    It takes flight in order to chase her, an ungainly slow movement with its ARMS extended. Perhaps they're simply too warm after the last firing for it to just fold them up. Instead, the rifle from its 'mouth' rotates, the barrel changing almost as if the metal used for it were somehow flexible in nature, and it takes a shot for her.

    This is precisely the worst sort of time for, say, a sudden windstorm to kick up. The automaton does its best remain steady in the air as Cyre forces it to reap the whirlwind, but ultimately this is in vain; it crashes back onto the bridge, its many pointed feet scraping atop the glassy tiles as it recovers its balance. Turning, one of its four gatling-type ARMs begins to spin up (but not the others), as if it were about to attempt to fire upon the group once more--

    But this attempt at another executioner-worthy round of bullet fire may just become somewhat misdirected and delayed. First, it is forced to stagger back, ARM still whining as it continues to spin without firing, under a spray of rock shards cast forth by Jacqueline. Pockmarks mar its already compromised outer armor.
    Then Marivel intrudes. Her blade strikes true, cleaving a deep gouge across its front; sparks fly free.

    The ARM, in this moment, discharges -- but for Jay and Marivel alone...!

    The automaton meanwhile begins to back up, delicate feet clicking on the tilework.

    <SIGNIFICANT DAMAGE T0 EXT3RNALS REPOR7ED. REROUT1NG SY5TEM LOG1C.>

    Its eyes shift to and glow a dull amber.

    <REROUTE COMPLETED. IDENTIFYING MAIN THREATS.>One of the four-part ARMs swivels towards Mariel, erupting in a hail of ammofire. As for the other two, they lock in on...

    Cyre.

    <INITIATING SYSTEM FRAY.>.

    The ARMs begin to glow with a terrible red light...!

    From them soon erupts -- with the fleeing impression of the Crest of Fray -- a burst of machine-driven Ley energy.

GS: Elw Security Automaton has attacked Catenna with Type 89 TRESIO!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has attacked Jacqueline Barber with Strafing Shot!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has attacked Marivel Armitage with Strafing Shot!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has attacked Elw Security Automaton with Rerouting System Logic!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Elw Security Automaton takes a solid hit from Elw Security Automaton's Rerouting System Logic for 0 hit points!
GS: Restore! Disease, Mute, and Shieldbreak removed!
GS: Hyper! applied to Elw Security Automaton!
GS: Elw Security Automaton spends 3 Combo on Gatling, loading 3 into Gatling!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has attacked Mariel with M61 CESAIR!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has attacked Cyre H. Lorentz with System: FRAY!
GS: Elw Security Automaton takes 27 damage from Poison!
GS: Poison expired!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has completed its action.
GS: Mariel takes a solid hit from Elw Security Automaton's M61 CESAIR for 157 hit points!
GS: Jacqueline Barber guards a hit from Elw Security Automaton's Strafing Shot for 61 hit points!
GS: Reaction switch bonus! Jacqueline Barber gains 1 additional Combo!
GS: Jacqueline Barber's Force Guard activates!
GS: Reaction bonus! FP up!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz takes a solid hit from Elw Security Automaton's System: FRAY for 148 hit points!
GS: Reaction switch bonus! Cyre H. Lorentz gains 1 additional Combo!
GS: Catenna takes a glancing hit from Elw Security Automaton's Type 89 TRESIO for 79 hit points!
GS: Disrupt! applied to Catenna!
GS: Reaction bonus! FP up!
GS: Catenna enters CONDITION GREEN!!
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

The arrows, at least, have some utility against metal. Catenna's sharpened the tips to penetrate armour, and she's firing them with exceptional force. A bow may be old technology, but it's effective in her hands.

But the Automaton's taking flight. The Moon Shaman gasps with surprise as its rifle butt changes shape and fires that punching shot at her.

Again she's forced to rely on her dance training - but this time it's not quite enough. The slug doesn't land solidly, but a shot that deadly can do a lot of damage even with a grazing hit. And graze it does, the shot slashing across Catenna's flank and tearing the thin garment that's the only thing between her body and death. She suppresses the urge to cry out even as blood stains the side of her dress, but she's holding a hand over her side as she whirls away to buy herself some distance.

Just in time to behold the Automaton opening up with a hellspray of artillery for two of the people she appreciates most. Cyre, her lover, and Mariel, a friend with a special bond with Filgaia.

Anger flashes in her eyes, but she says nothing, merely drawing herself up. The need for action shunts aside any consideration of focusing on how much her bullet scars hurt. Her hand comes up over her head, power building around her, before she levels it at the Automaton with a flat scowl.

The surge of force roaring from her palm is far beyond her earlier magic tricks. What forms behind the automaton is nothing less than a small black hole. Light and matter distort hideously around the singularity's maw as Catenna attempts to force the machine through the destructive vortex, trying to crush it down as fine as she can before spitting whatever's left out the other end.

GS: Catenna spends 2 Combo on Headshot!
GS: Catenna has attacked Elw Security Automaton with Grand Singularity!
GS: Catenna has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Catenna has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel was an herbalist, a doctor, and a gardener. She wasn't involved in making weapons, guard robots, or super-secret and secure Elw facilities. She does not even dignify Cyre's hope that she has some sort of security clearance with a response.

She does feel a little guilty about breaking it. But only a little. It's not alive or intelligent, so it's more that she feels like a vandal than anything else. Still, being shot at is reducing the guilt pretty significantly. "It's failing worse, I think...!"

Mariel does not seem inclined to un-hunker down. Which works great! Until the repeated gatling fire begins to shatter the stone planter she's hiding behind, spilling dirt out the sides and causing the tree to list to the side. Several of the rounds hit Mariel even as she hides, both behind the planter and her satchel. Marivel's worry is coming true - her green robe is bloody in places, and Mariel lets out a cry of pain.

Which is why she pulls out a rarely-seen bottle.

The roundish jar she retrieves is filled with a pale blue translucent liquid, almost fading to white at the top, where the jar narrows and light goes through less of it. It looks like it's sparkling. Mariel pops it open, touches her finger to it, then wipes it on her worst injury.

A moment later, and she holds the bottle up in the air, pinkish light flickering through it as she draws on the life energy bound within the rare elixir. Pink sparks like drifting fireflies rise out of the bottle like a cloud before 'wind' catches them, scattering them hither and yon - and where they touch living flesh, they begin to heal, stanching the worst of the bleeding and giving a surge of energy.

It's less effective than proper application and bandaging, but it sure is a lot more efficient in the middle of a battlefield.

GS: Mariel spends 1 Combo on Reload!
GS: Mariel has attacked Mariel with Ambrosia!
GS: Mariel has attacked Marivel Armitage with Ambrosia!
GS: Mariel has attacked Catenna with Ambrosia!
GS: Mariel has attacked Cyre H. Lorentz with Ambrosia!
GS: Mariel has attacked Jacqueline Barber with Ambrosia!
GS: Mariel has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Mariel has completed her action.
GS: Mariel heals Jacqueline Barber! She gains 250 temporary hit points!
GS: Reload! Jacqueline Barber gains 15 extra FP from Mariel!
GS: Mariel heals Catenna! She gains 250 temporary hit points!
GS: Reload! Catenna gains 15 extra FP from Mariel!
GS: Mariel heals Mariel! She gains 250 temporary hit points!
GS: Mariel's Reload flag cannot target herself!
GS: Mariel heals Cyre H. Lorentz! He gains 250 temporary hit points!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Reload! Cyre H. Lorentz gains 15 extra FP from Mariel!
GS: Marivel Armitage guards a hit from Elw Security Automaton's Strafing Shot for 68 hit points!
GS: Reaction switch bonus! Marivel Armitage gains 1 additional Combo!
GS: Reaction bonus! FP up!
GS: Mariel heals Marivel Armitage! She gains 250 temporary hit points!
GS: Marivel Armitage enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Reload! Marivel Armitage gains 15 extra FP from Mariel!
GS: Elw Security Automaton takes a solid hit from Catenna's Grand Singularity for 179 hit points!
GS: Dispel! Hyper removed!
GS: Mute and Poison! applied to Elw Security Automaton!
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"Shalune would probably be over the moon if we could bring this thing back to her mostly intact. I don't think it's a Golem, but if she can work with Diablo she can probably figure this out, too." Jacqueline comments, glancing back at Cyre. "But, we'll see how it's looking once it isn't trying to kill us! At least... I think it is, anyway - these sure doesn't feel like incapacitating rounds. Either way, getting out alive is the priority!"

Case in point, the automaton turns its ARM upon her again. Jacqueline moves, trying to escape the line of fire. She manages to evade most of it, but it still lands one good shot. Her adventuring gear dampens the plow, but it is still enough to make her double over as it knocks the breath out of her.

She recovers just in time to see the attack it sends Cyre's way.

"I can see it... that's Fray, the Crest of Fire... This machine can harness the power of the Ley?" Jacqueline replies, surprised. "...I'm kind of interested in studying it myself, now."

But, as she said before, right now the important thing was getting out of this situation alive. She reaches into bags, drawing out a bottle of lavender liquid. She pops the cork open and pours another liquid in and shakes the bottle. The lavender darkens, and then Jacqueline hurls the bottle at the automaton. It shatters on contact, with either the machine or the ground, spreading into a clinging mist.

The base formula is a diminishing draught, made to weaken organic opponents and make them fall asleep. But, as this is a machine, she's made some adjustments to achieve a similar effect.

GS: Jacqueline Barber has attacked Elw Security Automaton with Diminishing Draught!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

It is coming true, isn't it?

But Mariel's strength is beyond strength. Even Marivel's wounds, as they are, heal thanks to her impressive concoctions.

She floats towards Mariel. She's getting hurt, and Marivel is ill inclined to let Mariel fall here. She drops to the floor, taking a few more shots in her body that expel further plumes of smoke from her body before she extends one arm.

A pentagram underneath her feet forms, crackling with purple energy as she swings her other arm forward, magic gathering between her hands.

"The ghosts you serve are no longer here." She says. "But we will continue to carry their hopes into the future. ARMAGEDDON!"

Darkness surrounds the automaton, pelting it with thick bursts of negative energy. Marivel, arms shaking, let one drop before she snaps her fingers--

"Megaton...!"

She shouts, an eruption of fire detonating around the machine as she herself wraps her cape around herself as if to defend herself.

GS: Marivel Armitage has activated a Force Action!
GS: Marivel Armitage spends 1 Combo on Link!
GS: Marivel Armitage has attacked Elw Security Automaton with I Carry The Hopes Of My People Within Me And Sing The Song
Of The Extinct - Armageddon!
GS: Marivel Armitage has launched an attack Link!
GS: Marivel Armitage has attacked Elw Security Automaton with Small Hopes Shall Slice Thy Destiny To Ribbons - Split The
Atom MEGATON!
GS: Marivel Armitage has completed her action.
GS: Elw Security Automaton guards a hit from Jacqueline Barber's Diminishing Draught for 90 hit points!
GS: Weaken! applied to Elw Security Automaton!
GS: Please react targeting the attack number in +queue.
GS: Elw Security Automaton takes a glancing hit from Marivel Armitage's I Carry The Hopes Of My People Within Me And
Sing The Song Of The Extinct - Armageddon for 91 hit points!
GS: Reaction switch bonus! Elw Security Automaton gains 1 additional Combo!
GS: Elw Security Automaton takes a solid hit from Marivel Armitage's Small Hopes Shall Slice Thy Destiny To Ribbons -
Split The Atom MEGATON for 166 hit points!
GS: Elw Security Automaton enters Critical health and gains 25 FP!
GS: Elw Security Automaton enters CONDITION GREEN!!
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

Cyre isn't quite sure whether he should be flattered about being identified as a Main Threat. Maybe he can think about doing that sometime down the road. It's the kind of thought that a man could kick back and bask in, maybe while taking a long and well-deserved hot spring soak with a glass of bourbon on the rocks and an ongoing massage.

It is not, as it turns out, the kind of thing that a man thinks about when he's being targeted by an overabundance of firepower.

"Oh," Cyre begins as he sees the ARMs spool up. "Fu-"

As if detecting the imminent risk to the scene's ESRB rating, the automaton opens up. The sound is deafening, bolts of ley-infused, incendiary munitions tear through layer upon layer of Cyre's defenses. He might not be a Seraphim, but with so much fire coming his way, there's little that the shaman can do to defend himself. His words and scream die in his throat as he disappears into a cloud of ash and fire. When the smoke fades, Cyre... is still standing, somewhat. He's slouched over, robe burnt clean off. Tattered rags still hang from his waist, a pair of metal gauntlets cover his arms. Fengalon's silver medium glitters, untouched, from a chain around his neck. But that's all that was spared. His body is covered in burns, embers still smoldering in a half-dozen cauterized wounds. Cyre groans, staggering out of the lingering conflagration. He pitches forward, collapsing--

Into a wind of gentle, glimmering sparks. Little points of light pour into his wounds, knitting flesh back together and salving the worst of his burns. Cyre swallows a lungful of air. His eyes shoot open with sudden awareness, wrath and desperation. Wind howls around his arms and legs. His throat splits with a furious roar as motes of emerald light surge out from his body. The shaman disappears into a fury of killing wind. He surges forward and strikes, those wicked talons shining with the light of the ley of Wing. Cyre races past, only to dart back again and again and again. Each blow stirs the winds further. A storm rages in his wake, gathering into a hurricane of cyclonic power that threatens to hurl the automaton bodily into the air...!

Cyre lunges after it. Sacred sutras honoring the Western Wind wrap his arms in glowing simulacra of Fengalon's own claws. With a final shout, he gathers the killing vortex into a single point-- and drives a final blow into it, subjecting the automaton to a cataclysm of hypersonic, razor-sharp winds...!

GS: Cyre H. Lorentz spends 1 Combo on Link!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has attacked Elw Security Automaton with Sow the Storm!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has launched an attack Link!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz's  stance ends. He enters the Avenger stance!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has attacked Elw Security Automaton with Reap the Whirlwind!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz enters a Counter stance!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has completed his action.
GS: CRITICAL! Elw Security Automaton takes a glancing hit from Cyre H. Lorentz's Sow the Storm for 97 hit points!
GS: Elw Security Automaton takes a solid hit from Cyre H. Lorentz's Reap the Whirlwind for 159 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Elw Security Automaton has posed.

    The red light slowly fades; the two involved ARMs lower themselves to the side, steam visibly rising from them -- and not just the barrels alone. Slowly, almost as if it were some sort of strange bird atop those many clicking feet, the automaton totters forward, its ARM loadout bobbing.

    <SURVIVORS FOUND. ESCALATING THREAT LEVEL ASSESSMENT TO FOUR.>

    In the end, as Mariel notes, it may be an example of a civilization at a peak beyond what is attainable by Filgaia now. In that sense, perhaps it is irreplacable. But it is not a living, breathing thing, which is far more the precious. It does not have hopes or dreams or fears. It was set here to guard with extreme prejudice, and with its inability to identify even a member of the people that build it...

    Sometimes that which is precious must be broken to protect what is truly irreplacable.

    Here and now, the automaton's ARMs begin to whine, a threat that it is once again building up power, replacing spent ammunition, perhaps even drawing upon the power of the Ley...

    It doesn't detect the distortion bulding behind it until it is too late. Its damaged exteriors shimmer as it attempts to throw up shielding against the vortex that inexorably draws it in... but it simply isn't enough.

    There is a crunching sound. It is not entirely the same machine once it escapes the vortex: elements of its form are bent and twisted. It wobbles on its approach, shifting its stance considerably.

    Which may just help Mariel, particularly as she uncorks a most rare elixir, once it then ungainly unloads one still-whirling ARM upon her.

    Speaking of mixtures and concoctions, Jacqueline has one of her own up her sleeve, one that she heaves for the machine. Her adjustments to the concoction appear to have been well-made -- its wobbling gait becomes more pronounced. It seems almost... unstable. One whirling ARM sputters to a stop briefly, before winding back up to discharge over in Cyre's direction, almost seemingly by accident. Had that attack of Catenna's damaged its circuits...?

    Its state leaves it a sitting duck, as it were, for the ancient sorceries of Marivel Armitage. Darkness swirls around it, its optical sensors seeking in vain for the targets it had sighted just moments before.

    There is no light in the darkness, but there is fire. Flame consumes the automaton, swallowing it nearly whole. But as it emerges from the hellfire shambling, it is still clearly capable of functioning, as the shot directed for Catenna from one of the four massive ARMs can determine...!
    After which the offending ARM simply falls from the machine's main body with a loud 'clank'.

    <DAMAGE REPORT: SIGNIFICANT.> announces the automaton. It plods forward, as if it were somehow blinded to where it were heading.

    Does it see or even sense Cyre's forward rush, in his fury?

    It swivels into his first strike, the blow catching along the barrel of its front left cannon, diagonal from the now-missing one in the back. The blow is thus blocked but...

    Slowly, half the ARM slides off and rattles upon the bridge.
    Cyre is not done with it yet. Strike after strike comes through, as weighty as a katabatic wind. It tries to parry; it is no longer capable of it. If the machine is a bug, then Cyre is now the child pulling the legs from it -- another cannon comes free. Legs scrabble against the bridgework tiles.

    <DAMAGE REPORT: SEVERE.>

    It is over. The machine slumps to the bridge, its opticals dimming.

    <ACTIVATING SYSTEM GEO.>

    A brown-gold glow climbs the sole remaining cannon attached to its body. In a flash, it discharges, the Crest of Geo flaring briefly in the air.

    The room, for a moment, is filled with golden light.

GS: Elw Security Automaton has attacked Mariel with M134 TOLLTI!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Elw Security Automaton's Avenger stance ends.
GS: Elw Security Automaton has attacked Cyre H. Lorentz with Rail Shot!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has attacked Catenna with Type 730 STIDO!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Elw Security Automaton spends 1 Combo on Poison!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has attacked Jacqueline Barber with System: GEO!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has attacked Marivel Armitage with System: GEO!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Elw Security Automaton takes 28 damage from Poison!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has completed its action.
GS: Catenna takes a glancing hit from Elw Security Automaton's Type 730 STIDO for 81 hit points!
GS: Dispel! Hyper removed!
GS: Catenna enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Mariel guards a hit from Elw Security Automaton's M134 TOLLTI for 74 hit points!
GS: COUNTER! Cyre H. Lorentz counterattacks Elw Security Automatonwith Counter Attack!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz takes a solid hit from Elw Security Automaton's Rail Shot for 104 hit points!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has activated a Force Action!
GS: Jacqueline Barber takes a solid hit from Elw Security Automaton's System: GEO for 182 hit points!
GS: Poison! applied to Jacqueline Barber!
GS: Marivel Armitage takes a solid hit from Elw Security Automaton's System: GEO for 194 hit points!
GS: Poison! applied to Marivel Armitage!
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

The threat level only ontinues to escalate. Catenna's tense and hurting - but Mariel's elixir helps. The sparks dance across her, staunching the worst of her bleeding. She draws a breath, a little easier now, and smiles towards the tiny Elw.

That smile fades as she realizes just how hurt Mariel truly is. This has to end, now.

More shots continue to pound their way. Again a bullet is hurled at the Moon Shaman, and this one nearly hits her in the face. It slices across her shoulder, cloth and flesh torn and scorched by its passage. Gritting her teeth to hold back her urge to cry out, she keeps moving.

This has to end. She can't truly understand the automaton's words, but she can understand that it is time to strike.

"I do not need Geo for this," she murmurs as she touches her Medium with a slim hand, then raises it in a gesture of appeal.

Far above, circling, Saarda-Shanta swoops higher. As she does, light builds around her, clear and blue - until she's swallowed by it.

A burst of white light erupts from the apex of the room. It swells out in a globular shape. Those gathered, for several moments, find themselves in a version of their world etched in moonlight and clear blue crystal. Several more blue crystals float in the air.

With them, the power of gravity releases its hold on the automaton. It comes at a gesture from the figure hovering above it all, perched on a golden moon.

<Then do as you see fit,> urges Celesdue as she holds her hand out, the power of gravity conspiring to encourage the Automaton to float helplessly in the air.

Bow in hand, Catenna reaches for her quiver. What emerges is not an arrow. It is a long nimbus of force, a bolt of magic capable of punching through even mechanical armour. "So I shall," she answers the Guardian - and she leaps.

The crystals practically sing around Catenna as she bounds and spins from one to the next. Leaping from foothold to foothold, she fires arrows of force at a brilliantly rapid pace. They come from all directions, shattering through crystals on their way towards the automaton. With the grace of a dancer she flips from one prism, then another, then the next, firing arrows in midair, from land, from upside down, from one side and the other. It is a single-woman barrage of moon energy.

Shimmering blue butterflies dance behind every arrow, like gentle observers to the beautiful carnage.

GS: Catenna spends 1 Combo on Link!
GS: Catenna enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Catenna has attacked Elw Security Automaton with Material - Graceful Composer's Melody!
GS: Catenna has launched an attack Link!
GS: Catenna's  stance ends. She enters the Avenger stance!
GS: Catenna spends 2 Combo on Gatling, loading 2 into Gatling!
GS: Catenna has attacked Elw Security Automaton with Butterflies Dance in the Moonlight!
GS: Catenna has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Catenna's Avenger stance ends.
GS: Disrupt expired!
GS: Catenna has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

That's the kind of potion Mariel just can't bring out every day. It's hard to make; it requires techniques that she's not sure can be replicated by anyone living on Filgaia but her, and it's time-consuming.

Worth it, though, in a situation like this.

She gives Marivel a thankful, if slightly worried, look. She's glad to be protected, though... "Thank you," she says. "But take care of yourself too. I'm not - not as helpless as I used to be."

Mariel proves that when she - correctly! - takes cover from the cannon once more. Once again Mariel isn't hit directly, but the already-broken planter shatters, spraying her with stone shards and soil. "I don't think it has much left," she says, peeking over the remains of the planter. It had better not. She doesn't feel very good... She hates fighting. She wouldn't be doing it now if she didn't absolutely have to.

"Ley is just a form of energy," she replies to Jacqueline. "Some machines can draw upon it... though I don't think you could make many nowadays." They're right; it's beyond what now stands on Filgaia. That's why it's an ARM, relegated to myths and things like Golems.

But, encouragingly, there's not much left in it. Mariel decides to help it along with one of the few items she carries that would help; a red mushroom that she pulls out of a padded case, flinging it in a high arc.

The mushroom explodes. Because... because it does. Mariel can explain why, but now is not the time, at all, for her to do that.

GS: Mariel has attacked Elw Security Automaton with Mushroom Cloud!
GS: Mariel has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Mariel has completed her action.
GS: Elw Security Automaton guards a hit from Catenna's Material - Graceful Composer's Melody for 0 hit points!
GS: Entangle! applied to Elw Security Automaton!
GS: Reaction bonus! FP up!
GS: Elw Security Automaton guards a hit from Catenna's Butterflies Dance in the Moonlight for 118 hit points!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has Fallen! It is no longer able to fight!
GS: Elw Security Automaton takes a solid hit from Cyre H. Lorentz's Counter Attack for 128 hit points!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has Fallen! It is no longer able to fight!
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline looks toward Marivel for a moment. They'll carry the Elw's hopes into the future, hm...? She supposes that's true - they are working toward improving Filgaia, after all.

But despite that, the machine still thrashes against them. ARMfire goes off, and for a moment, Jacqueline sees something.

"That's Geo!" Jacqueline warns. She knows what to expect, as Geo is one of her specialties, but that doesn't make dealing with it any easier - she winces and braces herself under the assault. It's powerful - but, thanks to Mariel's Ambrosius, she's still standing. She'll have to thank her later.

"It's the first one I've seen besides Lunata's Gear - at least, though I know of." Jacqueline replies to Mariel. She turns her attention back to the automaton. She has to wonder what it'd take to make something like that in this day and age...

Still, it looks like the machine is on its last legs. She'd kind of feel bad going all about - and besides that, a part of her does want to leave enough intact to study. So, in a move that might seem antithetical to how Jacqueline normally acts, she waits until its safe then rushes the automaton down, draws out something from her bags...

...and then thwacks it over the head with that ominous black book she obtained from Linaweyul!

Jacqueline is usually careful with her books. But this book is an exception, it can take it.

GS: Jacqueline Barber has attacked Elw Security Automaton with Thwack!!
GS: Jacqueline Barber takes 23 damage from Poison!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has completed her action.
GS: Elw Security Automaton takes a solid hit from Jacqueline Barber's Thwack! for 138 hit points!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has Fallen! It is no longer able to fight!
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

Cyre is nowhere near done with it.

Where Cyre's cutting winds connected, little whorls of high-pressure air remain like a dozen cyclonic eyes. A final bullet tears into the shaman's exposed shoulder, but he leans into it. There's no room for hesitation, no time to worry about self-preservation. Outlasting a machine is fruitless- Overwhelming offense is the only way to seize victory.

Cyre hangs in the air overtop of the automaton. A little whorl of wind captures the blood leaking from his wounds, dragging little red beads into a crimson spiral, crowning his head with a visceral halo. The shaman takes in a breath, his veins burn with the power of the ley blasting through his body. It gathers around his throat, swirls into his lungs. He takes in a breath, the essence of Wing thrumming through his very being.

Cyre's jaw unhinges. He shouts--

But what comes are not words, but a singularly devastating sound. The air vibrates with ultrasonic resonance as Cyre disgorges a wave of pulverizing noise. The shaman belts a hymnal of destruction, Fengalon's own roar seeming to propagate across the echoing shockwaves...!

And as the pulse passes, those little vortices trapped on the Automaton's steel carapace suddenly burst. A dozen pressure explosions erupt across the machine's body, compounding the damage it has already suffered furhter...!

To say that Cyre is maybe a little unhappy with being shot way too many times is... maybe a bit of an understatement?

GS: Cyre H. Lorentz spends 3 Combo on Gatling, loading 3 into Gatling!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Formation! Cyre H. Lorentz has attacked Elw Security Automaton with Howling Gale!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Cyre H. Lorentz has completed his action.
GS: Elw Security Automaton takes a solid hit from Cyre H. Lorentz's Howling Gale for 206 hit points!
GS: Elw Security Automaton has Fallen! It is no longer able to fight!
<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Was that 'four' it just said, Marivel thinks distantly. She hasn't had to think about the language all that much in the past few hundred years and it's not like she was ever wholly fluent.

She lowers her cape and looks up and forward--

--and then the room fills with golden light and Marivel quickly ducks behind her cape again, hissing--it's not ACTUAL light magic--but it's still very bight. The light encompasses her and--

--Marivel drops down into a crouch, exhaling out smoke. She looks shaken--but is ultimately fine. Maybe thanks to that little pick me up from Mariel earlier.

But she's too exhausted and ultimately doesn't throw in an assault for herself, simply taking a moment to come back to her senses and calm herself down.

<Pose Tracker> Elw Security Automaton has posed.

    The golden glow lingers in the aftermath of the ARMfire. The automaton's eyes, a dull amber now, begin to dim.

    White swallows the gold. In another space, perhaps, the automaton is slowly lifted under the power of the Moon Guardian. It does not struggle -- it has not the power left in it.

    Into the white, an arrow is loosed. Then another, then another, each and all seeking purchase in the battered machine's external plating. If it can see or process anymore what is happening to it, it gives no sign.

    Loosed at last from the Guardian's tether, it is left to crash upon the bridge -- but not before a single red mushroom is hurled at it.
    Which, as red mushrooms do, explodes, taking with it the final member of that four-part array of cannons afixed to its body. It lands in a heap, functional, but not for much longer. Optical sensors hone in on Jacqueline as she approaches it, but it does not move--

    Even when she solidly hits it over the head with the black book from her bag. Jay is rewarded with sparks.

    She is quite fortunately well out of the way when Cyre, still drawing upon the power of the Ley, disgorges a disrupting blast of force. It rolls over the automaton, seemingly at first simply painting it with a cobweb of cracks.
    Which then burst, taking with it huge chunks of its external plating, revealing the sparking hissing guts of the machine within. It emits a faint high-pitched whine.

    And its attention zeroes in on none other than Mariel. <ON-0NL#NE... DA%AB95E...> it hisses out, its message heavily distorted by static. But its next statement, perhaps, is somewhat less incoherent:

    <VASSIM'S...> it utters, before some sort of terminal error cascade takes over and it collapses in a smoldering sparkling heap.

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel has nothing left to hide behind. The planter's basically gone, and she's not that close to another one to duck behind it. She's exposed as she covers Marivel for a moment until she recovers (admittedly, she covers her with her bag, while drawing out some smelling salts, just in case).

...but it's not shooting anymore. If Mariel guesses right, after that assault - from Catenna's archery, Cyre's wind, Jay's book - it will never fire again. Which is both a relief and a source of vague unease.

And it speaks, one last time.

Mariel doubts anyone else could make out what it says - Marivel knows a few words in Elw, but she's not really fluent and the static and distortions makes it hard for even Mariel to follow unless she's actually paying attention. But there's one name that she wouldn't miss no matter *how* it came out.

"Ah!" It knows her. Mariel doesn't know how - did its full database come back on? Or was this something coded into it, that was just broken until damage forced it to reboot something? The fact that it says something she recognizes is clear; Mariel jerks bolt upright, eyes wide as she looks directly at the broken machine.

"...he was..." He must have been involved here, somehow. It would make sense. Before... before, he was one of the most accomplished in some fields. Of course he would be a part of a place of memory.

Mariel swallows - she'll get no further information out of this machine. Unless... "Marivel," she says. "Do you know how to take out the memory from a machine like that? Or anyone else..." But she figures Marivel is most likely to, being the only one who knows much about ARMs. She seems suddenly intent, though. "But... after I treat injuries."

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

The white light fades, and Catenna descends back to the deck with a sharp click of heels. There's a flutter as Saarda-Shanta settles onto her shoulder. The woman bows her head, touching two fingers to her forehead.

When she looks up, it's to watch the remnants of the Automaton grind something out towards Mariel - something she doesn't understand, of course.

The shock in Mariel's demeanor tells her... well, not all she needs to know, but enough that there's something personal and painful there. She moves over to kneel by the tiny Elw, bleeding, but managing to keep herself going.

"I'm sorry, I'm not skilled with machines of any sort...."

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Indeed, Jacqueline doesn't stick around next to the machine for long - she retreats immediately after stirking it, letting Cyre move in to finish the job. The machine collapses - it doesn't look like it'll bother them.

And then, it speaks. Indeed, Jacqueline still can't understand a word it's saying, but she can see the effect it has on Mariel. She decides to set aside any attempts to study it - if it's important to Mariel, then it's more important that she gets whatever she needs out of it.

"Sorry - I can help keep the Carakin running, but that's probably the extent of my capabilities when it comes to machines." Jacqueline apologises. "I do know a good mechanic, though - I can point you her way if you still need to find someone."

As for injuries...

"That I can help with - it'll get done faster if we both work together." Jacqueline says.

<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

The significance of the automaton's last utterance is... Unfortunately lost on Cyre. He doesn't speak Elw, after all. The shaman descends amidst the dregs of his winds. Cyre watches as the machine finally sparks out, and then...

Staggers and almost falls over because oh gosh everything hurts right now.

Mariel draws his attention. Something about that machine... affected her. He frowns, looking between her and the automaton. "...Sorry, this is outside my wheelhouse, too. But maybe if we bring what's left out with us... It looks pretty heavy though, doesn't it...?"

<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Marivel looks to Mariel. "Hm---I could try, but it looks pretty destroyed. I am not sure what your intent here is, though. do you want to save it? Or do you want to destroy it? Neither is impossible but there are issues with both. For example, the fact this facility has many drones and it was this hard to slay one of them--they are likely networked to a certain extent and it is unfeasible to destroy all of them."

She may not know Elw that great. But she isn't an idiot. When Mariel says 'he was' that suggests something to Marivel. She might not know for certain, but the suggestion is there.

"Saving it would be easier but it's likely to be corrupted to a certain extent due to time and the battle. So what do you want to do?"

She straightens herself up and dusts herself off.

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Mariel gives Jay a thankful nod - more hands will make the treatment go easier and faster, especially if they pool supplies. (Mariel has a lot on her. It's not like she needs to carry other things in that bag.)

"I want to read it, to see what it had. I don't need to destroy it," Mariel says. She hesitates for a moment - she is normally so private about herself, but... This isn't exactly information that needs to be secret.

"It said 'Vassim'. That is my brother." Mariel looks down, at her satchel - she's sorting through supplies even now. "If he was involved in Capel Coffa - if any of his work is here, left in memory by the Elw - I would like to know about it. And if he helped build something here..."

She hesitates again. "I suppose that doesn't really matter. Either he did or he didn't and nothing will change. But... I miss him, and if there is something of his here... I want to see it." It probably won't be anything that should be kept secret - after all, if it's *here* the Elw wanted to remember it, not hide it.

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Herself not being much of a healer, Catenna can only offer up a few supplies. Hers are much simpler than Mariel's. Some of them are probably Jay potions.

As Mariel explains what she wanted, Catenna blinks in surprise, then bites gently down to her lower lip. A family tie....

"If I can help you, I will," she offers up with a small, sad smile, her hands folding gently together. "I don't know much about Elw technology, but perhaps I can help your search in other ways... and I would not leave you to a lonely search, either way."

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline gladly pools supplies! Her supplies are the group's supplies - she's always willing to share. And as they work, Jacqueline listens to what Mariel has to say.

"Your brother, huh...?" Jacqueline says consideringly. Family... she has to wonder how long it's been since Mariel's seen any family. The thought hurts. If she lost her own family... The thought puts things in perspective.

"Yeah, same here." Jacqueline says, resting a hand over her heart with a nod, echoing Catenna's offer. "If I can help in any way, just name it. I'll do what I can."

<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

"Your brother..." Cyre murmurs, his expression softening. Family, huh...? Cyre has a little experience being estranged from family, but-- how long has it been for Mariel? How long ago had the Elw departed Filgaia...?

"I'm sorry, I didn't even consider... Whatever I can do to help, just let me know. Even if it's just... Tracking down whatever of Vassim's might have been left in here." It might mean a few dozen encounters with security automatons, but it suddenly feels worth the trouble. "We'll need to prepare for any more of those barriers we might run into, though..."
Alias set.
Name set.

<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Marivel pauses as Mariel explains just who Vassim is. She closes her eyes for a moment. She has heard more about Mariel's history than she tends to let on, siply because she knows Mariel is a far more private person than Marivel herself is. She doesn't really think it's her right to share what is shared in confidence. But when Mariel admits who Vassim is, Marivel looks up and gives Mariel an 'are you sure?' look before nodding slowly. "Mm. Alright."

She looks back to the others for a momen, studying their reactions for a bit, particularly Cyre's--but ultimately exhalees out a brief sigh and says, "alright." She smiles at Mariel. "I'll see what I can do. Luckily it shouldn't be too complicated but--just remember--there is bound to be some corruption."

She crouches down to investigate the remains--really, it looks more like she's dissassembling it as she searches for what she's actually looking for.

<Pose Tracker> Mariel has posed.

Five hundred years.

That's how long it's been since most of the Elw were no longer seen on Filgaia; they were never especially populous compared to humanity, and it started before then, but it was the Day of Collapse that was when historians consider the Elw to have withdrawn from society... and then, soon after, they were gone.

Except for Mariel.

She doesn't say that, of course. It hurts to dwell on. She settles for working instead; Jay's help is required because Mariel isn't very good at bandaging herself and the one on her shoulder definitely needs a bandage.

"Thank you," she says quietly, after a few moments and when Marivel turns to the machine. "It means a lot to me."