Jagged Memories

[12:19] <FrontierWarGM> [The Integrity had gone on its own way, back towards the safety of Federation space, whilst the Valletta continued on towards its main goal: the Shrinepath Devoted homeworld.-
[12:21] <FrontierWarGM> [And since the incident with Engorged Acquirer, things had been quiet.-
[12:22] <FrontierWarGM> [Until they were en route to a Shrinepath system known as 'Junkyard'.-
[12:23] <FrontierWarGM> [With the Valletta still in the Celestial Way en route to the system, Gregory would speak up. "Captain, we're picking up a long-range distress signal coming from the Junkyard System. Early decoding suggests Overseer language in origin."]
[12:26] <Reiska-phone> "Overseers in distress? That's a new one," Liane mumbled quietly, though loud enough that the others would certainly hear it over the comms.
[12:31] * Kess was… not exactly sure what to make of that. "Really. …Well, I suppose it's nothing to it."
[12:33] <Kayoko> To the surprise of some, Kayoko had returned not long after her solo journey back to Acquirer's station. She'd mostly kept her own counsel on the specifics, but there had been a few intense-looking discussions with Franco and Violet.-
[12:33] <Kayoko> "… Mm. Jaunt us in, but position us outside jamming range. If we need to jump back out I want us to be able to."
[12:33] <FrontierWarGM> ["Understood." Said Tran.-
[12:34] <FrontierWarGM> [They arrived ten minutes later, jaunting to just outside of the known jamming range for Overseer jammers.-
[12:34] <FrontierWarGM> ["Putting it on screen." Said Gregory.-
[12:37] <FrontierWarGM> [It wasn't a mammoth dreadnought of the type that the Grasping-the-Spiral-Truths used. Instead it was a small starboat, barely large enough to fit fifty people. Its simple form was marred with energy burns and one of its rear engines had been torn apart; it leaked coolants and fluids and gases out into the void.-
[12:37] <FrontierWarGM> ["Looks like a private vessel." Said Violet. "Could be a civilian, or an intelligence operative."-
[12:38] <FrontierWarGM> ["Captain. I'm detecting only one life sign aboard." Said Idris. "I also believe there's high levels of radiation on board."]
[12:39] <Kess> "Idea on species, or?"
[12:39] <FrontierWarGM> ["Active AT Field, so likely Overseer."]
[12:41] <Kayoko> "Hm. Inara, can you handle recovery? Take Mr. Mist with you if you'd like, his field should keep him safe."
[12:41] <Kayoko> Quietly: "Probably."
[12:43] <Inara> "Can do. Let's go, Rora."
[12:45] <Rora> Holo-Rora snapped out of his thoughtful frowning, ponderous orange giving way to attentive gold. "Hm! Certainly, Inara; let us away."
[12:46] <FrontierWarGM> […-
[12:47] <FrontierWarGM> [The shuttle docked and dropped Inara and Rora off.-
[12:48] <FrontierWarGM> [("The layout of these ships is fairly simple. In and out, I believe. You probably don't even need to deactivate the on-board dirac jammer.") Said Violet over the comms.-
[12:49] <FrontierWarGM> [And indeed, the starboat's insides were simply laid out- straight corridors, although eerily quiet, with only the deeply muffled sound of fires and small explosions- more felt than heard- breaking up the silence.]
[13:01] <Inara> Inara was hefting a medical pack with her, along with a weapon or two. One could never be too careful about places like this… these seemingly abandoned ships could secretly be harboring any number of escaped murderous wildlife. -
[13:03] <Inara> "Let's try to be quick about this and find the Bridge," she said, skimming around carefully and starting forward for any central hallway that would take them there.
[13:06] <Rora> "…Right." Rora nodded, tyring to shake off a growing sense of dread. "'T'would be unwise to overstay our welcome. treading upon fresh graves"
[13:08] <FrontierWarGM> [The bridge wasn't far away- the door was jammed, but a sharp shove from Inara's arms pushed it open.-
[13:11] <FrontierWarGM> [Inside was a single Overseer. He was very thin and a little short for Overseers. His plumage was bare and drained of colour. He wore a simple wrapped robe of baby blue, overlaid with a simple repeating geometric pattern that periodically produced sixteen-petal flowers. Most notably, however, was his face- for he wore no mask. Rora could tell that he was very old. Two of his eyes had gone milky-white, and his feathers, like his plumage, had faded into colourless grey. He clung to a straight black-wood staff with two of his hands, whilst his other two were outstretched, maintaining an AT dome.]
[13:22] <Inara> "You there!" Inara called out to him, while still keeping her distance. "Please remain calm. We are with the Federation's FSS Valletta. We've come to rescue you!"
[13:23] * Rora started, looking anywhere but directly at the aged Overseer's exposed face. "Oh dear, ah - here… gingerly extended hand" He reached out with his own AT Field, shielding the maskless one within it. As well, he offered the Kinetic equivalent of a bracing hand, should the man move to stand.
[13:24] <FrontierWarGM> ["Good, good." The old man's voice was steady, the note of weariness in it tightly restrained. He, with Rora's help, rose to his feet and relaxed his AT Field slightly. "Yes, it is time for me to go. Lead the way, please."]
[13:27] <Inara> "Give me three seconds," Inara said, glancing to Rora. She hurried over to the captain's console and after a few moments of fiddling, removed something and slipped it into her medical pack. Then she returned to where the two were standing. "All right."
[13:32] * Rora nodded. "The less time spent here, the better." He cleared his throat nervously, still taking care to not look directly at their charge.
[13:36] <Inara> "Command, we've secured the target. Returning now," said Inara over the comms as they began heading back the way they had come.
[13:45] <Rora> "…Wha-??" He shone with radiant white shock, reaching out a steadying hand to the side - an unnecessary motion, as he had balanced himself with AT force. He blinked, staring into nothing…then shook his head. "Y…right, yes. We return."
[13:47] <FrontierWarGM> [The old Overseer gazed at Rora- then laid a steadying hand on his shoulder and followed on.-
[13:48] <FrontierWarGM> [The ship didn't suddenly explode, or tear apart, for anything of that nature. It simply hollowed out, saturated with radiation and its life support systems failing. Eventually the power core shut down and the ship went dead- but all of this was long after Inara and Rora returned to the ship with their rescuee.-
[13:48] <FrontierWarGM> ["Thank you." Said the Overseer as the shuttle docked back in the hangar. "I owe you all my lives."]
[13:54] <Rora> "It…um. It wouldn't do to leave you to such a fate." He cleared his throat. "The least we could do, really."
[13:58] <Inara> "Right." Inara was in her medical pack again. "We're not the sort to ignore people in help. And on that topic…" She pulled out a simple papery surgical mask. "We don't have a proper replacement mask for you on board this shuttle. But we do have something you can use to cover up until we can get one."
[14:00] <FrontierWarGM> [The Overseer clucked in amusement. "I did not lose my mask." He said, walking down the shuttle ramp. "I just don't have one."]
[14:00] <Inara> "Ah…?"
[14:03] * Rora glowed with confused purples, for his part. "W…oh. A…conscious decision?"
[14:04] <FrontierWarGM> [The old 'Seer clucked. "Yes. Now, please take me to your captain. I would like to introduce myself."]
[14:08] <Inara> "Very well…" Inara was also confused, but judging from the faintly upturned lips, also amused. "This way, please. We'll go to our own bridge."
[14:12] <Rora> He nodded, though still not making eye contact; curious teals now mottled the his still predominantly muddled purples.
[14:16] <FrontierWarGM> […-
[14:16] <FrontierWarGM> [The Overseer and his escorts emerged onto the bridge shortly after.-
[14:17] <FrontierWarGM> [He took up a spot at the front of the bridge- vertically below Kayoko, and directly in front of the holographic heads.-
[14:18] <FrontierWarGM> [He bowed shortly. "Thank you for rescuing me. My name is Gatherer-of-the-Dissolved-Strands."]
[14:20] * Kess had quite the unusual expression on her mask, to give towards Gatherer, thinking. Thinking indeed. "…Hm…?"
[14:26] <Kayoko> There was a faint pop as Kayoko vanished from her vantage point to appear next to the holographic display. "We're happy to help, of course," she said, offering a quick little Defector bow without additional AT effects. "I'm Captain Hyuga. Mind telling us what happened? Those were some nasty burns on your craft…"
[14:28] <FrontierWarGM> ["You know, it was the darnedest thing. A flight of Great Ones had been sighted here recently. I came here to observe them. That went fine. But as I entered my meditations, one of them broke off and attacked my ship." Said Gatherer. "Honestly… I should be dead. My little boat cannot really resist a Great One if it wanted to kill me. I suppose… It grew bored? Still. In a lifetime of watching them, I've never been attacked. It was… Mmm, very scary."]
[14:32] <Rora> "…Ah! Hm." A brief flickering of bright green realization. "'Scary' seems…an understatement."
[14:35] <FrontierWarGM> ["Which is why I added 'very', you see… It's an adverb, young one." He ran a finger from the top of his beak to the tip, which was slightly cracked.]
[14:43] <Liane> "You have spent a lifetime observing the Great Ones, then…?" Liane asked, curiously, avoiding staring at the unmasked Overseer.
[14:45] <FrontierWarGM> ["That's right. Trying to understand them, even communicate… Not to any avail, but it's been fruitful nonetheless." Said Gatherer.-
[14:45] <FrontierWarGM> [Violet stood up. "Judging from your robes, you're part of the Monastery of the Sixteen-Petal Flower?"-
[14:46] <FrontierWarGM> ["That is correct, far-brother. Nearly my third century in the order." Said Gatherer with a cluck.-
[14:46] <FrontierWarGM> ["Then welcome, sage. How goes the Great Contacting?"-
[14:47] <FrontierWarGM> [Gatherer tilted his head. "When it happens, you'll be the first to know."]
[14:50] * Kess seemed to quietly consider this. "…The nature of Great ones is… interesting. More interesting, now than ever."
[14:50] * Kayoko raised an eyebrow and looked towards Violet with an obvious, silent question.
[14:53] * Inara had been listening, arms folded. "This monastic order of yours is… famous, then? At least well-known."
[14:56] <FrontierWarGM> ["Oh, yes." Said Gatherer, who had been looking at Kess with interest before turning towards Kayoko and Inara. "We're an itinerant order of monks. We spend our lives trying to contact the Creator. You see, we believe that the whole universe is a single dirac sea projected by one incomparable being. This being, the Creator physically sits at the centre of the universe, but spiritually, we are all within the Creator's soul."-
[14:59] <FrontierWarGM> ["We believe that the Creator's essence can be heard anywhere and everywhere, but because we have felt it our whole lives, cannot identify it- it is so part of the background of existence that we assume it to be neutral. So we, the monks of the Sixteen-Petal Flower, cultivate our own dirac seas, in the hope of becoming closer to the Creator- but also because we hope that, if we spend enough time in our own sea, we will 'forget' the sound of the Creator and thus hear it anew, allowing us to understand it."-
[15:00] <FrontierWarGM> ["We also travel the galaxy, learning of new cultures and new expressions of faith… And also because it's easier to find the being who sits at the centre of the universe when you aren't surrounded by people who think the universe revolves around them, as is the case back home."]
[15:08] <Kess> "…I knew of this theory, too." Kess admitted. "I heared it as things filtered out from what the Twiceborn involved in their war of founding had said…" But, from there, she nodded solemnly. "Worldly affairs prevent one from knowing the world."
[15:10] <Inara> "Yeah, it's easy enough to say. But actually doing it and giving up those worldly affairs sounds hard."
[15:14] <FrontierWarGM> ["Speaking from experience, Doctor?" Asked Franco.]
[15:15] <Kayoko> "And is investigating Great Ones a part of your philosophy, or just a hobby?"
[15:15] <Liane> "It's admirable, I certainly never could give up worldly pleasures," Liane admitted.
[15:17] * Inara considered Franco's question in a moment of quiet thoughtfulness. "Maybe. To a lesser extent, anyway."
[15:18] * Rora seemed to blanch at mention of the idea that all reality was a dirac sea, manifesting as a subtle tension in his stature. Still, he chuckled surreptitiously at Gatherer's Overseer jab despite himself, and listening intently all the while.
[15:32] <FrontierWarGM> ["A part of our philosophy, in asmuch as we hope to gather as much knowledge from our neighbours as we can… I suppose it's really more of a personal passion at this point."-
[15:33] <FrontierWarGM> [But Gatherer tucked his head against his shoulder for a moment. "I am sorry, friends, but I am very tired and very hungry. Might I lean on your hospitality a little longer?"]
[15:36] <Kayoko> "Of course. You'll have food and a room for as long as you need it. Is there somewhere we can transport you to?"
[15:37] <FrontierWarGM> ["I might have to work that out. My boat had all of my possessions, really, and the nearest monastery is… Well, quite far. We're really out on the periphery here."]
[15:42] <Kayoko> "Sure. Well we'll help where we can."
[15:43] <Kayoko> "… do you want us to try and recover anything from the wreck? We may as well, since we're already here."
[15:43] <FrontierWarGM> ["If you wouldn't mind. I have a little computer that I keep my notes on, but everything else is replaceable."]
[15:44] * Kayoko nodded. "We can do that. Come on, I'll show you to your room and we can arrange the salvage while you rest."
[15:45] <FrontierWarGM> ["Thank you." He followed.]

[20:16] <Minaplo> [The night after the Valletta rescued Gatherer-of-the-Dissolved-Strands, Rora- in his quarters, perhaps about to tuck in for the night- would hear his doorbell beep.]
[20:31] * Rora halted, one foot already partly under the covers as they hung seemingly from nothing. He grumbled wordlessly to himself at the timing of it all…but there wasn't anything for it. He re-slippered, sheets tucking themselves back in even as his robe flew to him from its stand in the corner. Once it was securely over his striped, mint green pj's, he cleared his throat. "Yes, hello?"
[20:31] * Rora he said, the door sliding open.
[20:37] <Minaplo> [And standing in it was Gatherer himself, still unmasked, wearing his same robe. "Good evening. Am I disturbing you?"]
[20:46] <Rora> "-Oh! Ah," Rora winced, managing to keep himself from looking away this time, "…Well. To some degree, I suppose, yes. But there is generally ample time for sleep on any given day; I could be troubled to further remain conscious on this particular one." He raked a hand through his hair, making a point to dispel the sleepy blues that lingered in his luminescence.
[20:49] <Minaplo> ["If you're sure, then, may I come in?"]
[21:04] <Rora> "…Right! Yes, certainly." He bowed, gesturing inside even as he floated further in himself. There was a quiet etch-a-sketch earthquake mumbled as he rearranged furniture via AT force: his table and desk were whisked closer to the bed, while the more squat, Spartan work stool moved smoothly under the desk.-
[21:08] <Rora> "…Er…" Various wood bits and shavings lifted themselves off the table, gathering together before neatly depositing themselves into a trash bin. "I hope you'll excuse the mess." He smiled sheepishly, alighting cross-legged onto the foot of his bed.
[21:18] <Minaplo> ["I can understand divorcing your surroundings, although an orderly space begets an orderly mind, youth." Said Gatherer with a cluck. He pulled a simple Overseer chair out of the air like a magician pulling kerchiefs from a pocket and sat on it.-
[21:18] <Minaplo> ["Now, please… What was your name again?"]
[21:26] * Rora blinked, surreptitiously easing the recliner away to rest against the wall. "Rora Mist, sir."
[21:30] <Minaplo> ["And that's short for something, no?"]
[21:34] <Rora> A blank, uncomprehending moment. "…Oh, my full - yes, of course: Mediator-via-Aurora-Borealis of House Souls-Lingering-in-the-Mist."
[21:35] <Minaplo> ["Ah, House Souls-Lingering-in-the-Mist. So you were raised by Defectors."]
[21:38] * Rora nodded, an extra pair of radiant arms materializing as he offered a formal bow to Gatherer. Well, as formal as it could be, sitting on his bed as he was.
[21:40] <Minaplo> [Gatherer managed a feebler mirror of the gesture.-
[21:40] <Minaplo> ["I thought as much, from the way you display your aura, and your aversion to my face."-
[21:41] <Minaplo> [Rora would note that, whilst Gatherer's own aura shimmered, the colours were so faded that only the slightest hint could be seen- or interpreted by Rora.]
[21:55] <Rora> "I certainly do not aim to hide my upbringing, no," he chuckled. But then a frown, concern tugging at the corner of his mouth. "Despite such, I do feel I owe you an apology for said aversion, reactionary though it may be. To forego a mask is not a light choice by any means, and wholly yours to make. to see with eyes unclouded"
[21:56] <Minaplo> ["It is a common choice by our order. We believe that foregoing the mask makes us more sensitive to the universe as a whole."]
[22:02] <Rora> "Hmmm; you would be cutting yourself off from a whole spectrum of input, otherwise," he said, nodding to himself. "In that light, 'tis a sensible decision."
[22:03] <Minaplo> ["But in that sense, you and I are quite similar. You have no mask of your own."]
[22:12] <Rora> "I…" He looked away for a moment, somewhere distant, "…True." And then he suddenly gave Gatherer a wry smile, a simple ballroom mask of light winking into existence over his eyes. "This doesn't actually count, of course," he said from behind an equally wry shade of green.
[22:14] <Minaplo> ["No, it doesn't. But it is pretty, nonetheless."-
[22:14] <Minaplo> ["So. Mediator-via-Aurora-Borealis, what is your story?"]
[22:16] <Rora> "My…story."
[22:16] <Minaplo> ["Yes."]
[22:23] * Rora frowned, AT plumage lighting with frantic yellows. "W…well, I was raised by Defectors. I eventually wound up joining the Guardians because it felt like the most concrete, tangible way to help people, and uh…now I'm helping escort the last priestess of an alien religion back to her homeworld?" He offered the 'Seer a hopeful shrug.
[22:24] <Minaplo> ["And what are the Guardians?"]
[22:35] <Rora> "Oh, yes - The Society of Guardians. Basically, ah…well, we are an order of trained individuals who take on jobs to protect people. Sometimes there will be xenofauna running rampant that threaten homes, and need to be subdued. Or perhaps a group exploring around the edges of known space will require assistance, but without involving the military. The latter being how I got caught up
[22:35] <Rora> in all this to begin with, actually…"
[22:43] <Minaplo> ["I did wonder. Go on."]
[22:58] <Rora> "Th…um." Rora pressed his hands together, sleeves smushing between them. "Sorry - about the Guardians, yes?"
[23:01] <Minaplo> ["About your being caught up."]
[23:29] <Rora> "…Oh. Y-yes. Well." The pleasant periwinkle he'd been sporting started to turn perhaps a tad overbearing, with hints of violet dread tendrils at the edges of his feathers. "There are…certain details that I am not…at liberty, to disclose?" He grimaced.-
[23:29] <Rora> "But uh, in broad strokes: I accompanied an archaeological team on their research dig, in the event there was any danger. Though a roadblock was encountered, we eventually surmounted it…and as a result, provoked very real Peril. As we were evacuating, an escape pod housing a life signature landed on the planet, and so I detached from the group to rescue them. Unbeknownst to me at the
[23:29] <Rora> time, the pod's occupant was, in fact, the priestess.-
[23:30] <Rora> "Equally unbeknownst to me were the Freepath Devoted forces that had been tracking her down, with intent to kill her on the spot. There was, uh…combat…" he shivered, "…wherein the Valletta and her crew came to my aid, having been seeking to find and shelter the priestess themselves." He mulled things over a moment, then gave a satisfactory nod. "I would say that is about the gist
[23:30] <Rora> of it. shuffling papers into a tidy stack"
[23:38] <Minaplo> ["Interesting." Said Gatherer. "How the strands of peoples' stories ensnare one another and tug in unexpected ways. Are you happy here, though?"]
Session Time: Sun May 06 00:00:00 2018
[00:03] * Rora pondered intently, clutching at his robe sleeves with tight fists.-
[00:04] <Rora> "…Well…on the one hand, the further we delve into the workings beyond our home systems, the more tragedies we seem to discover - seem to play out before us - and it begins to feel like they will never cease. But then, what better vantage to protect others than from within the fray? I mean, I never would have been involved in saving an entire planet from a siege virus had I remained
[00:04] <Rora> at home - or rescuing that Great One, or…or a great many other things! Though, I suppose I wouldn't have nightmares, either…"-
[00:05] * Rora sighed. "What even is happiness, anyway?"
[00:11] <Minaplo> ["What makes you happy?"]
[00:31] <Rora> "…Hmmm. A job well done?" He rubbed thoughtfully at his chin. "…Yyyes, though often tempered with relief.-
[00:31] <Rora> "People smiling; music; a long draught of water after realizing I'm thirsty; a deft play in a close game; laughter."-
[00:32] * Rora started keeping track on his fingers. "Freshly polished woodgrain in just the right light; the scent of lavender and honey; good company; using my AT field without having to maintain a voracious appetite." He hugged his pillow, which had arced over him from behind and into his lap. "Childhood memories."
[00:33] <Minaplo> ["What a fortunate answer…"]
[00:35] <Rora> "…Uh…?" He fixed Gatherer with a perplexed look.
[00:40] <Minaplo> ["You'll understand with time." Said Gatherer. "Let's talk a little about your AT Field."]
[00:44] <Rora> "Oh. Um…okay." He shrugged, though puzzled yellows still hung about his plumage.
[00:44] <Minaplo> ["Something happened to it on my boat, didn't it?"]
[00:50] <Rora> "Well, I mean…I used it? Mostly to protect us from the radiation. Also a bit to help you stand…oh wait, to." He straightened a bit. "You said you came here to observe Great Ones, yes?"
[00:55] <Minaplo> ["Yes."]
[01:03] * Rora nodded. "Well, while I was helping you up, there was a…" he drew fruitless circles in the air with a finger, "…erh. So, alright: I mentioned we rescued a Great One before. Part of that involved me making contact with Them. It was…hmm." He shook his head. "A most memorable experience, to say the least. But, that moment on your ship - it was very much akin to that."
[01:04] <Minaplo> ["Like an echo?"]
[01:11] <Rora> "I…hm. That is a reasonable analogy for it I suppose, yes. Is that- does that…happen?"
[01:14] <Minaplo> ["Everything happens." Said Gatherer. "This is strange, though. The Great One was long gone, no reason for you to feel anything."]
[01:22] <Rora> "Hrmmm." Rora hugged the pillow tighter, face set in earnest thought. "Well…you also said it had attacked you; mightn't that leave some sort of…repercussions, of sorts? I mean, besides the very obvious, very physical ones, as demonstrated by your ship."
[01:27] <Minaplo> ["Like some kind of mind worm?"]
[01:30] * Rora stared, blazing a shocked white. "…Ummm??"
[01:32] <Minaplo> ["You're a hyperactive young thing, aren't you?" Said Gatherer. "I simply mean… Leaving a bit of yourself behind."]
[01:37] <Rora> "…Oh. Oh, okay." He took a moment to steady himself, back down to an verdant calm. "Yes, something like that. Maybe a…memory, a sensation, an emotion; something intangible. the shore recalls the tide"
[01:52] <Minaplo> [Gatherer fell silent, as though lost in thought.]
[12:43] * Rora followed suit, trying to summon up that sensation that had struck him on the ship…but only for an unsuccessful few minutes. He frowned; it was unlike him for thoughts to slip away so easily. Not that this was a simple thing to envision, of course, but all the same…-
[12:43] <Rora> "…Ah. I don't mean to intrude, but: might you be amenable to instructing me on your method of meditation?"
[12:45] <Minaplo> ["Pardon?"]
[12:54] <Rora> "That is - you were observing the Great Ones, but part of that involved meditating, yes? Perhaps even when the attack itself occurred? I simply thought…well, maybe recreating your circumstances might help in some fashion. Or, if nothing else, clear my mind." A touch of nervous orange. "…I uh, also haven't meditated before, so if there is a particular way to do so, I…don't know
[12:54] <Rora> how?"
[12:57] <Minaplo> ["Well, the way I meditate… Haha. It might be best to show you, and so take you with me."]
[12:58] <Rora> "Take me…with you?"
[13:06] <Minaplo> ["Yes. Into my Dirac Sea."]
[13:13] <Rora> "…Oh." He tensed, thoughts racing. "…W-well, that's…I guess I thought…er. You always meditate there?"
[13:14] <Minaplo> ["That's what we do."]
[13:19] * Rora took a steadying breath, hugging his pillow tighter for a long moment…and then setting it to the side in a deliberate motion. "…Very well, then: to the Dirac Sea. confidence in blindly walking forward"
[13:29] <Minaplo> [Gatherer stood. "To my side."]
[13:32] * Rora nodded, gliding around the table to touch down next to Gatherer. He stared straight ahead, through where he had just been sitting.
[13:37] <Minaplo> [Gatherer unfolded his arms, closed his eyes…-
[13:38] <Minaplo> [A dome of white light emanated from his body, growing slow at first, but accelerating rapidly. Within a few seconds, it enveloped Rora completely.-
[13:44] <Minaplo> [And then… Rora wasn't on the Valletta anymore.-
[13:47] <Minaplo> [Instead he stood within a paved square, a square made of pink marble with a fountain in the middle, surrounded by statues of gods and saints from Seer legend. Columns of the same marble rose in spirals around the square; birds sat on the delicate arms and preened themselves. Beyond the square were seemingly endless plains of grass and wildflowers, whilst the sky gleamed like a bright garnet- there was no sun. Yet it was warm, and bright, in this space- and despite the intimacy of it, Rora would not feel the press of Gatherer's AT Field at all.]
[14:03] <Rora> While not openly gawking, Rora made no effort to conceal his bewliderment at where he suddenly found himself. The familiar voice that warned of temporal displacement - and of its innumerable, unknowable consequences - became distantly quiet in the face of such serenity. He looked around, taking everything in…and in the end, could only manage to utter a faint, "…Oh."
[14:23] <Minaplo> ["What do you think of my universe?"-
[14:24] <Minaplo> [Gatherer stood atop the fountain. Gone were the markings of age- now Gatherer stood young and vibrant, the full colour returned to his feathers and plumage. In fact, they now gleamed, as though made of glass or precious stones.]
[14:43] <Rora> "Your universe, hm?" He gazed out upon the plains, lost again to thought. "…It is beautiful; idyllic, even. I had not realized how much I missed the sky's embrace over an open field, or the peace found in flowers' company. wrapped in a thick blanket" He looked then to Gatherer, startled at his drastic change in appearance. "I could see why one might wish to spend a great deal
[14:43] <Rora> of time here."
[15:11] <Minaplo> ["Oh?"]
[15:31] * Rora blinked. "Well…certainly. It is a safe haven, shaped as one sees fit; where one can be as they wish, in perpetuity. A realm without struggle or strife, and all as it should be. No distractions, either." He shrugged, pointedly inspecting the fountain. "…It's nice here."
[15:34] <Minaplo> ["Yes. A little empty, though."]
[15:42] <Rora> "Well…yes. Living here exclusively would be unhealthy." He kicked at a rock that wasn't there. "But, that emptiness…sometimes, that is needed."
[15:42] <Minaplo> ["Is it now?"]
[16:10] <Rora> "I…" He sighed, exasperated oranges filtering in unbidden. "Well, of course! You don't ever feel hemmed in by other AT fields; like you're gasping for air in the middle of an open room?" He shook his head. "This is the polar opposite. I mean, it's your Sea, and I can't even feel your field." A pause, his eyes widening. "…Not even Idris'! I can simply…exist, without
[16:10] <Rora> worrying over who I might disturb should I spread my wings." He stretched, both physically and metaphysically, reaching as far as he could.
[17:27] <Minaplo> [It was gloriously empty. About a kilometre out from the fountain, the 'developed' space gave way to formless Dirac- but not as a wall. Simply… A space.-
[17:27] <Minaplo> ["Is that a thing you worry about?"]
[17:51] * Rora took a deep breath, grinning despite himself. So much room; endless room. "Well…yeah." He looked over to Gatherer - realized suddenly that he was, in fact, looking over, and not up - then gently lowered himself back to the ground. "Constantly, if not always consciously." He glowed chartreuse, a mingling of elation and caution. "Do you not worry about that?"
[17:53] <Minaplo> ["A handful of times every century, maybe."]
[18:01] <Rora> "Oh…" He walked over to the fountain, sitting at the basin's edge. He allowed himself to be distracted by the water as it gently rippled and splashed. "tumbling kaleidoscopic"-
[18:08] <Rora> After a time, he shook himself out of whatever reverie had taken hold. "Well, in any case: this is your place of meditation. Have you any other…er. Component, to this process? Or is it just…" He held up his hands in what he considered a generally meditative fashion - palms up, touching thumb to middle finger to form a circle.
[18:12] <Minaplo> ["Yes. I must sacrifice a youth who came willingly into the space."]
[18:18] * Rora started to draw back…then peered at Gatherer. "…That was a joke. You are being the funnyman now."
[18:24] <Minaplo> [Gatherer clucked long and hard. "I had to do it!"]
[18:32] * Rora leapt up, as though into an unseen lounging chair, looking back at the Seer as he began to drift lazily away from the fountain. "Yes, of course - the secret to your unnatural longevity, no doubt! That, and I was an irresistable target for such a jest."
[18:33] <Rora> {grinning back at the Seer*}
[18:54] <Minaplo> ["In truth, this is the first time I've seen you relax. You seem quite highly strung."]
[19:14] <Rora> "Mmh. I suppose I am." He lowered one arm, ripples of light spreading out behind his trailing fingers. "There are plenty of depictions of violent battle; life-or-death struggles between people. And yet, experiencing that firsthand, for the first time…" He shook his head. "Nothing else is quite as Real, however closely they try to resemble it.-
[19:23] <Rora> "So, that is one factor. I imagine another is my taking the burdens of the universe onto my own shoulders." He stood up, hefting a massive, radiant boulder above him. "My parents told me plenty of stories about war, and of tragedies happening in untold galaxies, unknown to humanity - tales of warning. So of course, having only ever known peace, I wanted to dispel all such conflicts.
[19:23] <Rora> " He began to falter, the boulder threatening to fall. "Simple as that concept is, doesn't get any easier to fulfil as you learn how flipping complicated the world is; but you can't let go, either."-
[19:24] * Disconnected
[19:25] * Attempting to rejoin channel #frontierwar
[19:25] * Rejoined channel #frontierwar
[19:29] <Rora> The boulder seemed to invert, swallowing Rora; he sat within a prismatic prison, its faceted faces glimmering in randomly shifting colors. "And of course, there are my own eccentricities, limiting me in one way or another."-
[19:29] <Rora> He raised his arms limply, the whole display dissipating in a wan burst of confetti-shaped lights. "Factors."
[19:37] <Mianplo> ["An interesting answer, young Mist."]
[19:42] <Rora> "Well I would hope so. Had all those visual aids going and everything. razzle-dazzle"
[19:49] <Mianplo> [Gatherer lifted his arms up toward the sky. "If this sort of thing helps you, then I can teach you how to do it yourself."]
[20:02] * Rora froze, his AT plumage swirling with conflicted reds and greens. "…In all honesty, I had hoped ne'er to delve into the Dirac Arts, myself. There are aspects of it that I find…unsettling. Well, one aspect. As pertains to the cumulative effects of traversing space instantaneously, and the subsequent temporal drift that results, specifically. But…"-
[20:09] <Rora> He looked up at one of the nearby birds perched atop one of the marble pillars, eyes growing wistful. "If access to my inner sea is part and parcel to that…well." The bird took flight, into the endless sky, "…Perhaps it is worth such risk."
[20:11] <Mianplo> [Gatherer went quiet. After a moment he ran a hand from the base of his beak to the tip.-
[20:11] <Mianplo> ["I don't even know to begin. I've never heard of any such risks to do with the Dirac Sea."]
[20:27] * Rora looked back to Gatherer. "…So…alright - this involves no actual travel; the beginning and ending points being identical, no risk is posed. That…well, that's a big selling point for me." He shrugged. "But, I mean…before understanding that, mostly what I knew was that temporal dislocation could happen, as a potential byproduct of extensive Dirac use. Therefore, Dirac seas
[20:27] * Rora were guilty by association, and I avoided the whole thing altogether. Better safe than sorry, and all that."
[20:32] <Mianplo> ["Perhaps you should consult an expert on it amongst your own people." Said Gatherer. "As far as I know, though, Dirac travel is almost always harmless. But it doesn't matter. I can tell you have more than your fair share of potential when it comes to the AT Field, so no doubt you'll master the basics fast enough. Once you do that, you can return to me and I'll show you what you need to know."]
[20:38] * Rora frowned. "W…um. I mean, I am no expert myself; it is entirely possible I am missing some key concept, or magnifying some other critical misunderstanding I have. You know - the whole…" he raised his hands, the word 'ECCENTRICITIES' forming in a rainbow arc above him, "…thing."-
[20:42] <Rora> He pressed his hands together through his robe sleeves, both cheeks and luminescence glowing red. "…But ah, y-yes - can do. Um…thank you…" he trailed off, ending at barely a whisper.
[20:43] <Mianplo> ["Mmm. Now, if you find it comforting here, you're welcome to stay as long as I am here."]
[20:48] <Rora> "…Oh! That is very-" he raised a hand, failing to stifle a long yawn, "…kind, of you. Gracious me, sorry."
[20:52] <Mianplo> ["Yes, you can even sleep here if you wish."]
[21:06] <Rora> "Heh, well! I don't know that I am prepared for a sleepover juuuust yet, but I can let you know if that changes." Even so, Rora marched over to the closest patch of field, flopping onto his back amidst the flowers.-
[21:13] <Rora> "…I just feel bad that we are no closer to solving the mystery of that…echo. That was the whole reason of being here in the first place, right?" He started drawing in the air; where he pointed, lines of light arced and twisted into existence in the space directly above him.
[21:13] <Mianplo> ["Yes, it's… Odd. Perhaps it's a matter of waiting for it to happen again."]
[21:14] <Rora> "Who knows how long that could take, though. the other shoe dropping from orbit"
[21:20] <Mianplo> ["We have time."]
[21:24] <Rora> "…I suppose." The lines had started without any apparent rhyme or reason, but something had begun to take shape. So far, the most distinct feature was a pair of outstretched wings - though it seemed there might also be a shell of some sort involved.
[21:27] <Mianplo> [Gatherer watched silently.]
[21:41] <Rora> Yes, it was definitely a shell now; it might've been some sort of flying turtle, even despite the leg flippers being entirely skeletal. Except, where there should have been a head forming, it was just…stalks. Stalks on stalks on stalks.
[21:45] <Mianplo> ["The Great One?"]
[21:51] <Rora> "Mmhmm." He squinted at his work, turning the whole bundle of luminescent strokes this way and that. "To the best of my recollection, at any rate." The wings moved to various spots on top of the shell, Rora frowning each time. "telephone Pictionary"
[21:51] <Mianplo> ["Your first Great One sighting?"]
[21:57] <Rora> "Indeed, though under…inoptimal circumstances." He sighed, staring past the impromptu project with melancholy. "Of everything, I most clearly remember how frightened it was; the poor thing." He drew a couple experimental lines off the undercarriage, thoughtful.
[22:07] <Mianplo> ["Rare for a Great One to be afraid. Rarer still for the fear to give way to anything other than a most unimaginable rage."]
[22:18] <Rora> "That…would have been bad." Rora paused mid-line, closing his eyes. "…Hmmmh. Maybe it was also angry? Attempting to hold onto the entirety of that psychic exchange - much less put it into words - is…" he shook his head, "…inconceivable."
[22:20] <Mianplo> ["Did you feel anger? Did it lash out at you? Great Ones do not hide those things. When they are angry, they make it known in the most terrible of ways."]
[22:26] <Rora> "No, no - it wasn't violent in the least. Well, aside from trying to punch through the ship's hull initially, but that was less an 'I'm going to kill you' kind of thing and more a 'get me away from that' kind of thing." He glanced sidelong at Gatherer. "There was an energy draining effect in play at the time; we were all feeling it something fierce."
[22:28] <Mianplo> ["I see… Well, be thankful."]
[22:42] * Rora nodded, returning to his light drawing. "Indeed." He had apparently tired of reconstructing the Great One's anatomy; the depiction of the eldritch entity now wielded a sorcerous staff from atop a three-wheeled motorcycle. "Did I mention we were reasonably certain it was young?" he asked as he began tying green ribbons to each stalk.
[22:43] <Mianplo> [Gatherer's four eyes narrowed slightly at the bizarre image.-
[22:44] <Mianplo> ["You didn't. That's curious, though."]
[22:48] <Rora> "Oh?" Ribbon, ribbon, ribbon. "How so?"
[22:54] <Mianplo> ["It's rare to see young Great Ones alone. They usually stay close to their moiety."]
[23:08] <Rora> "Hmmm." Ribbon, ribbon. "I suppose they must have been nearby, then. Or perhaps rather, not too far away?" He shook his head. "Honestly, my memories start getting fuzzier soon after the resolution of the energy draining situation. Survival's euphoria affording the full realization of fatigue, and all."
[23:16] <Mianplo> ["I think focusing on the Great One is a good idea, though. Perhaps you could channel some Psychic abilities towards the concept of the Great One, maybe in a telepathic ping."]
[23:20] <Rora> "Oh, hmm. I could actually do that, yeah." He yawned again, the fully decked-out Great One fading out. "Maybe tomorrow…"-
[23:22] * Rora stared into a sky that reminded him of vivid sunsets, eyes half lidded. "Y'know…maybe I'll just, take you up on that sleepover…after…"

[12:14] <FrontierWarGM> [The morning of 29th of June was a morning like any other for Captain Kayoko Hyuga of the Federation Starship Valletta.-
[12:14] <FrontierWarGM> [She woke up in her neat, tidy quarters, prepared for the day and read a few preliminaries on the way to the bridge.-
[12:17] <FrontierWarGM> [She passed some bridge crew on the way, who hurried past, unwilling to stop and talk or even meet her eye.-
[12:17] <FrontierWarGM> [When she arrived at the bridge, she found it in a state of perfect array. Everything was where it ought to be.-
[12:17] <FrontierWarGM> [Franco stood from his seat. "Captain, did you see my rep-"-
[12:17] <FrontierWarGM> [He turned to look at her. He dropped the pad from his hand in shock. "C-Captain?!"]
[12:29] <Kayoko> "I know it's not regulation, Franco, but I wasn't the dumbass who tripped and spilled coffee all over my jacket," Kayoko said, as she dropped into her chair. "Seriously, they give me a ship with no weapons and one jacket, you'd think the Federation was cash-strapped…"
[12:31] <FrontierWarGM> [But as Kayoko flopped into the chair and caught her reflection in the computer screens, it wouldn't be the non-regulation clothes that stood out.-
[12:31] <FrontierWarGM> [It'd be her bright blue hair and gleaming red eyes.]
[12:35] <Kayoko> "…" Kayoko didn't seem alarmed. Instead her jaw clenched and she very carefully shut her eyes. Counted to ten, then twenty. It didn't really seem to help.-
[12:35] <Kayoko> "Fu-"
[12:36] <FrontierWarGM> [Beep beep.-
[12:37] <FrontierWarGM> [And then Kayoko was sitting up in bed, the sheets twisted around her, a thin layer of sweat on her skin.-
[12:37] <FrontierWarGM> [It hadn't really been that intense of a nightmare, had it?-
[12:38] <FrontierWarGM> [… But Kayoko would soon realise that it hadn't ended. She sat in her bed, but her bed no longer sat in her room. Instead it sat on the marble stones of a great city square.-
[12:41] <FrontierWarGM> [In the centre of the square was a fountain, lined with statues and engravings that she recognised from Defector lore- culture heroes, religious icons. The square was busy and bustling with Overseers, passing on their way deeper into the great city that surrounded them- a city of spires and graceful, arching towers of crystal that caught the light of the garnet sun and refracted it into brilliant tinted rainbows.-
[12:41] <FrontierWarGM> [The Overseers ignored her.-
[12:42] <FrontierWarGM> [And they ignored the fellow travellers, the other people from the Valletta in this spot- sitting in their own beds were Kess, Liane, Inara and Violet.-
[12:42] <FrontierWarGM> [And hovering above the fountain in the middle of the square, trapped in white ribbons of growing, fleshly light, fast asleep still, was Rora Mist.-
[12:44] <FrontierWarGM> [Peace. For the last thirty years, the Twiceborn Federation has enjoyed a golden age of freedom and equality- but also one of peace.-
[12:44] <FrontierWarGM> [The Twiceborn Federation, founded to free humanity from its unjust shackles, has flourished in this time. But it is a time that will soon come to a sudden and shocking awakening.-
[12:44] <FrontierWarGM> [Beyond its borders, forces stir, creating a chain reaction that threatens to engulf the Federation in plots beyond its reckoning.-
[12:44] <FrontierWarGM> [Against this stand the Starfleet, protectors of the Federation: people prepared to give their lives for the cause of peace and freedom. But will it be enough?-
[12:44] <FrontierWarGM> [This is the story of the Frontier War.-
[12:46] * Kess …could not even fathom all that was going on immediately. But the scenery, the situation… she was quickly piecing it together, plumage warping too fast to get a clear message but the definite traces of contemplation there. This was a thing and then some.
[12:49] * Liane frowned. No sense of panic from her. No shock. At least, not outwardly. Unease, sure, but cautious unease. She smoothly slid out from under the covers; her night-clothes, a suit of standard-issue Federation pajamas, about as boring as you could get. "… What the?"
[12:52] <Kayoko> "… ok. Alright," Kayoko muttered. She was already out of bed, her AT field visible as she began to exert force on the environment to test whatever kind of illusion they must be in. Dirac, psychic, you name it she was trying it.-
[12:52] <Kayoko> "Sound off if you're real, I guess," Kayoko called. Her own pajamas were a set of simple, long black pants and a white singlet. "Not really an effective method, but we can start there."
[12:54] <Kess> "It's not." Ask the mirage if it can be seen Still, she rolled her shoulders, standing up with robe fluttering lightly. "But this can't be anything normal, and I get what you mean." Urgency, necessity
[12:56] <FrontierWarGM> [Kayoko's AT Field didn't seem to find any physical resistances. The Overseers weren't real, though- or at least didn't show up off pings.]
[12:58] <Inara> "If you think about it, how do we know we're all really real to begin with?" Inara appeared calm. Not just calm. There was something of a slow, deliberate evenness to her voice. She tested out the ground by clamoring out of bed. It would be noted that she was still wearing the same clothing that she had worn the day before, albeit much more wrinkled. The crumbled remains of two or three
[12:58] <Inara> empty potato chip bags rolled from her bedsheets as she moved and skittered away in the breeze like glossy tumbleweeds. "But, no. This is troubling."
[13:00] * Liane stared at the mess in Inara's sheets. "… Inara, how in the —-" She stopped herself. "No, it's not my place to tell you to clean your room."
[13:01] <Kayoko> "Good assessment," Kayoko said. She paused, glanced back at her bed, grabbed a cordless earbud, and pegged it at a passing Overseer's back.
[13:02] <FrontierWarGM> [The earbud struck the Overseer with the force of a bullet. He fell to the ground and shattered into a thousand pieces.-
[13:03] <FrontierWarGM> [… The world stuttered for a moment.-
[13:03] <FrontierWarGM> [Then the piece reassembled and the Overweer went on his way.]
[13:03] <Kayoko> Even Kayoko hesitated a bit at that one. "Uh… huh. Ok."
[13:05] <FrontierWarGM> [Violet was the last to stir. He wore a simple, clingy robe- and his facemask was gone, revealing his face. Vivid purple feathers framing a gaunt, thin face knotted in scar tissue- the largest scar ran across his top-left eye, which was, like all the others, a bright pink colour. He gazed around in simple confusion- ????????, but the sight of the others caused him to leap out of his bed. "What's going on?!" He said. With one of his hands he pulled off one of his sheets and, with his long sharp foot talons, tore it into strips. He tied the strips into a simple bag with eyeholes and threw it over his head.]
[13:06] <Kess> "…They lack fields or even souls, so this is…" Science, but also resigned bafflement "…Less surprising than it should be. They are constructs." She noted, and pointed a finger at one. "This is an illusion or artificial reality." Finger at a larger building. "The difference is moot until otherwise noted but it interacts with dreams, since all of us were sleeping; no doubt had nightmares too." Point at… now, Violet. "And with all that light,
[13:06] <Kess> I suspect forces greater than us, maybe literally Great One's force, is at play." Last finger at Rora. —
[13:06] <Kayoko> "Illusion world!" Kayoko announced, apparently quick to rebound from the shock of shattering a man with an earbud. "Never been forced into one of these before. Have to assume it's that monk we picked up, hm?"
[13:08] <Kess> - …Violet suddenly frantically masking did, though, cause her to quietly pick up a sheet and AT-transmute it into a fabric mask, feathers sort of muting red in realized embarassment. "I overheard he was hunting Great Ones, and Rora touched one. As it were." Logic, if with that embarrassment still there.
[13:15] <Inara> "Well, how do we fix this? Would waking up Mist over there do the trick? Does anyone among us actually have experience with illusion worlds?"
[13:16] <FrontierWarGM> ["I've been subjected to illusions before, but never on this scale." Said Violet. "The fact that we're here implies that Idris is unable to intervene… I wonder…"]
[13:17] <Kess> "Not… personally? But hey. Anyone remember the academy lesson about the Archangel Raphael? … …Uh, Kayoko, did anyone talk about that …secondhand?" Curious, but aware of a distinct discomfort with Kayoko's family as a topic "Because… if my guess is right, then that may be the test case we should work from."
[13:23] <Kayoko> "Mm. I know illusion worlds," Kayoko said. She was staring at Rora with her hands on her hips. "But the area isn't reacting to any psychic or dirac pressure. It all feels solid/."-
[13:23] <Kayoko> She looked over her shoulder at Kess. "… Yeah, I'm familiar. I was considering it myself. As far as I'm aware, though, the only way out of one of those is dead, so… uh, cross your fingers it's something else."
[13:24] <Kayoko> «is death*»
[13:26] <Inara> Inara glanced aside suddenly, scanning for something in the distance beyond the city square. "Did you all feel that?"
[13:27] <Kess> "…No." Kess quickly replied. //A standard threat-is-near display, ancient and animalistic

[13:28] <Kayoko> "Me neither," Kayoko said, frowning. She took a few steps closer to the main group. "Can you describe it?"
[13:31] <Inara> "No. There's someone there, and they seem familiar. But I don't know who it is, exactly." She scratched at her head. "Ugh. Permission to investigate up close? Maybe if I see them I'll remember."
[13:32] <Kayoko> "Of course. I'll set us up with a chantry. If it's an illusion we can't trust the geography to keep consistent."
[13:37] * Inara nodded. "Sounds fine, Captain. I'll lead the way when you're ready."
[13:38] <Kess> "…Chantry'll be fine, yes." Assent. Kess got a bit more mobile now. "And if it's not quite an illusion, self-defense is vital." …Pause. "Fixing Rora's situation is probably key, though. We do have a goal already."
[13:40] <Kayoko> "Quite." A moment later they'd all feel the momentary psychic pressure as the chantry opened, "Take help if you think it'd be useful, Inara. The rest of us will try working on Rora."
[13:41] * Liane nodded to the others in assent. "… Need the usual backup, Inara?"
[13:43] <Inara> "I wouldn't mind it," she said with a grin.
[13:47] <Liane> That got Liane hopping out of bed. "… Though I don't suppose I have anything to back you up *with*, do I…."
[13:49] <Inara> "How good are you at throwing a punch?"
[13:50] <Liane> "I can't say I've practiced in years," Liane admitted. "But I did practice before, so. So-so, I guess?"
[13:55] <Inara> "Good enough! Let's move out!" Inara began to stroll off. Off to adventure!
[13:56] * Liane followed closely in tow! Cracking her knuckles as she walked behind Inara.
[13:57] <FrontierWarGM> [The sensation would take Inara into one of the buildings. The automatic door refused to open for her, but a solid punch broke it. As she and Liane went through, though, the door reassembled behind them.-
[13:59] <FrontierWarGM> [The Overseers inside the building were acting weird. Some of them just walked in a loop. Another would stand up, walk into a wall, shatter, then reappear at her table.-
[13:59] <FrontierWarGM> [There were elegant spiral stairs leading upwards- and it was upwards that Inara and Liane heard… A growl.]
[14:00] <Kayoko> "So!" Kayoko announced as the pair took their leave. She approached the still form of Rora in his strange prison. "Big fleshy tentacles. What're you all about, I wonder?"-
[14:00] <Kayoko> Another flare from her field, this time as she began to probe the ribbons for clues.
[14:01] <FrontierWarGM> [The tentacles gave off a great deal of AT Field presence, but it felt weird… telescoped.]
[14:02] <Kayoko> Telescoped. As in they were being extended from a different location?
[14:03] * Inara paused at the sound, frowning, her head tilted. "Not sure what that is. But do you think it knows we're here?"
[14:07] <FrontierWarGM> [Something like that, Kayoko.-
[14:07] <FrontierWarGM> ]
[14:08] * Kess had no doubt been scanning, too. "…It's a strange sensation to be sure. It's not 'here' enough." An extension. "…But if the way it feels is how it does… …we can find the source, yes?"
[14:09] <Kayoko> "I think so. At the very worst we should be able to triangulate based on the energy signature."
[14:11] * Liane nodded to Inara. "Probably. Stay alert. …. This is very strange, though, it's almost like this illusion is … Malfunctioning?"
[14:17] <Inara> "Doesn't that mean the guy who made it didn't do a very good job of it?" Inara began to ascend at a more cautious pace now.
[14:19] <FrontierWarGM> [As Inara approached the top of the square, she would see a large, hulking shape at the far end of the room.-
[14:20] <FrontierWarGM> [It was huge, taller than an AC Suit and wider than a battletank. It was dark, its body covered in glossy fur. It was hunched over an illusory Overseer, which it was eating. The consumed Overseer didn't reappear.]
[14:24] <Liane> "… W-what." Genuine fear flashed on Liane's face, a rare sight.
[14:26] * Kess being the helper she was, picked up fear on the Chantry. "…Would us assissting be wise?" Surprisingly nonchalant-sounding, but being telepathic the layers could be included directly. There was nuance of sarcasm and nuance of open concern and…!
[14:31] <Inara> "Shhh," Inara gestured for Liane to go back down the stairs, making a move to do the same herself.
[14:32] * Liane nodded, stepping back cautiously, not turning her back to the … 'beast'. Not taking her eyes off it.
[14:33] <FrontierWarGM> [The sound of the beast's chewing was loud in their eyes as they descended.-
[14:33] <FrontierWarGM> [And then… The sounds stopped.-
[14:33] <FrontierWarGM> [Footsteps.-
[14:34] <FrontierWarGM> [And then a new sound. A strange ethereal echoing sound that was felt as much as heard- like the sound of a theremin chime in a dark tunnel.]
[14:36] <Liane> "… Okay, this is … seriously weirding me out…."
[14:37] * Kayoko was paying some attention to the feedback from Liane and Inara, but the majority of her attention was still on Rora. "Kess, I'm going to do a wide ping and try to find a match for the energy coming off these things. Can you throw some of your field behind it as well?"
[14:37] <Kess> A pause, since Kess was actually monitoring the feedback MORE, perhaps because she actually was less trained in the psychic and similar angle of things. "Oh! …Yes, I can do that readily."
[14:39] <Inara> "Wait a minute…" Inara was frowning again. Cautiously, she moved to meet the footsteps. "It couldn't be…"
[14:39] <FrontierWarGM> [As Inara walked back up the steps, she'd find herself staring into the great face of a very big cat.-
[14:40] <FrontierWarGM> [The 'beast' was indeed catlike, as was obvious from its face. Little gemstones were buried in the skin above its eyes. It mewed at Inara, sounding a lot like that theremin again.]
[14:42] * Inara … burst out laughing. Then she petted it. "Good girl! I can't tell if you followed us here because you were curious or what, but… ah. Liane! Let me introduce you to my cat!"
[14:44] <Kayoko> "Great. On my mark…" She took a deep breath to gather her focus, and…
[14:44] <Kayoko> "Go."
[14:44] * Liane stepped back up, cautiously. "…. You …. you had this on the Valletta? It's …. it's not normally this …" She shook her head. "Large, is it?" Staring up at the cat guardedly, looking decidedly like the person in the room who is wary of cats. And you know what cats normally do to that person.
[14:45] <FrontierWarGM> [Kayoko and Kess's AT Fields pushed outward- a great and powerful push, trying to find a match.-
[14:46] <FrontierWarGM> [… And yet they found nothing. It was as though the tentacles' source appeared out of nowhere, yet felt far away. It was disorientating to say the least.-
[14:46] <FrontierWarGM> [… But they did find something.-
[14:47] <FrontierWarGM> [Contact with… Something. Something newly familiar- the old sage's mind, very faint, impossible to pinpoint.-
[14:47] <FrontierWarGM> [But the moment they made contact, the illusion around them changed.-
[14:50] <FrontierWarGM> [Liane and Inara- and Alereb- wound find themselves lost in a perfectly normal mess of a Federation suburb.-
[14:50] <FrontierWarGM> [Kayoko, Kess and Violet, however, would find themselves in one of the homes.-
[14:50] <FrontierWarGM> [Looking around, it was immediately obvious that it was a Defector home- from the scrolls, and the photographs, and of course the psy-proofed walls.-
[14:51] <FrontierWarGM> [But Kess, too, had changed. Now she was little.-
[14:51] <FrontierWarGM> [Very little. The size of a six year old, and the age to match. Her AT Field's strength faded immediately.-
[14:52] <FrontierWarGM> [Little Kess stood there, wearing something she hadn't seen in years- her school uniform, the uniform of a human school, adapted for a Defector's physiology.-
[14:56] <FrontierWarGM> ["Questant-of-Inner-Spheres!" called a voice from the kitchen. The voice of one of her mothers- Deliberator-of-Righteous-Acts.]
[15:01] * Kess made quite the load squeak of surprise! "W… wha. Mom!" …With the weak field and the small body… it was hard not to react properly. "We're kind of in the… middle of…" Looking at Kayoko and Violet with a helpless overall plumage pattern, she started plodding into the kitchen, gesturing them to follow, screwing up the narrative be damned.
[15:03] <Liane> "…. Where are we now?" Liane wondered aloud, surveying the surroundings, trying to gain her bearings, but invariably it was probably a neighborhood and a city she had no knowledge of.
[15:05] <Kayoko> Any delight Kayo might've felt about the new and interesting situation (And it was significant) was quickly tempered by the recognition of how quickly it could be turned against her. Kess might've been surprised at how without comment she was as she followed her into the kitchen, but a big part of that was that her attention was on tightening her mental defenses.
[15:05] <FrontierWarGM> [A defensiveness that Violet mimicked.-
[15:06] <FrontierWarGM> [Mom was in the kitchen, ferreting through the fridge. "I do not know where they put it- wait- here." She pulled out a big lunchbox and put it into a backpack. "Papa Seeker prepared your favourite
food for your first day at school… How are you feeling?"]
[15:06] <Inara> "No idea!" Inara, too, was peering around with wide eyes. The jump had left her not just startled, but shaken, even. "How do we even get back to them?" Her eyes landed on Alereb. "I don't suppose you know."
[15:07] <FrontierWarGM> ["Kyi-uu-uu-uu." Alereb wandered into a nearby backyard and ripped a dog out of its house before eating it.]
[15:10] * Kess had played along rather properly now, making the little gestures she distantly remembered of her youth, the sort of awkward shyness, the weird feeling of /being supposed to/ be nervous. "Ah, I'm doing alright…?" A betrayal of words - the not-really-lie being contradicted by vague discomfort showing in her plumage. Except. If either of the actual people here paid attention, they might realize that slightest tinge of
[15:10] * Kess imperfection, of this being acting. It was the kind of thing that needed a master, but these were protagonists we're talking about here. on the chantry… ["I'm playing along in hopes satisfying the plot will get use to answers faster."] She assured them with quite the note of concern.
[15:12] <Liane> ["Did you three get, er, spirited somewhere else, too? We're suddenly lost in a residential area,"] Liane projected. Physically, she was frowning and trying not to watch the giant cat eat the poor dog.
[15:12] * Inara stared. There were times when she wondered about the true nature of her adorable pet. This was one of those times.
[15:13] <FrontierWarGM> [But then Alereb walked back over to Inara and rolled over onto her back, so it was all good.-
[15:15] <FrontierWarGM> [Mom closed the fridge with a telekinetic flick and turned toward Kess properly. Her eyes tracked over Kess' plumage. Sensing the riptide. "Twiceborn are used to- to people who don't have siblings their own age. They'll make sure you fit right in, I promise."]
[15:17] <Kess> [A quick chantry reply. "In my old house. …Hang on."] And then, for the briefest of moments, Kess actually paused to concentrate in deep thought. This was hard to do! But… [Liane suddenly started receiving a stream of memories of landmarks, of views from car seats, and similar. …It was piecing together into a vague unconscious patchwork of area knowledge…!] But the situation in person did continue. "…I'm… sure of that,
[15:17] <Kess> mom. It's… it's more just nerves. I'm fine except for that!" Technically correct, the best form of correct. But even acted-kid-Kess was aware of the precariousness
[15:19] <FrontierWarGM> ["I know, but I worry…"-
[15:21] <FrontierWarGM> [She walked over to Kess and put the backpack on Kess's shoulders. "Well. You're a smart little one, but you're a one, and…"]
[15:22] <Kayoko> Kayo was lingering in the doorway, looking distinctly uneasy. It was an odd expression on her.
[15:23] <Kess> "…Like the Twiceborn kids will have any 'edge' there…" Kess thought herself clever for that, but her plumage was tweaked to be more tentative. Shan't be too clever for her age. ["Captain, if this gets too tedious I can and will breach the fourth wall. Just. Allow me my hunch."]
[15:24] <Kayoko> ["Oh, do your thing. I'm not sure time is… quite so much of a concern here."]
[15:25] <FrontierWarGM> ["Mm…"-
[15:25] <FrontierWarGM> [An unfamiliar voice sounded throughout the dream.-
[15:26] * Liane speaks, aloud to Inara this time. "Mmm… this is apparently Kess' childhood neighborhood," she explained. "Though it might be best if we don't simply barge in?"
[15:27] <FrontierWarGM> ["The family…"-
[15:28] <FrontierWarGM> [And then the dream changed. Outside, the sun rose and fell thousands of times in a single second. Trees grew and were cut down and grew again. Rains fell, snows fell, then melted. The house's decorations changed, even if the structure remained.-
[15:29] <FrontierWarGM> [Kess was changed, too. Now much taller, although judging by her (now individualised) uniform, still a school student. Perhaps early high school.-
[15:30] <FrontierWarGM> [She sat at one end of the long dinner table, which was outside. At the far end of it sat another mother- Amalgamator-of-many-Liberations.-
[15:31] <FrontierWarGM> [Amalgamator stood. She was tall, and surprisingly bulky for a Defector. Her voice, when she spoke, was curt and deep. "No. Defectors do not have birthday parties."]
[15:35] * Kess paused. Paused weightily. The fastforward sequence did give her enough time to briefly congratulate herself for finding the event flag. But now it was. Uhhhh. Uh. What was this one again? she remembered it but it… but why and.. but if we were at the table… so… Was this before? During? Let's just wing it and hope we remember. "It's a cultural tradition! And it helps integration! And it's fun!" Nuance and a deep
[15:35] * Kess meta-acknowledgement of a rapid defense. Still acting, but the seams were more visible to the real people here.

[15:36] <Inara> "What the hell was that?!" Inara was drenched. Then dry. Then staring at the sky. In all that time, she hadn't moved at all. Her hand still hovered near Alereb, on the verge of giving her more pats.
[15:37] * Kess replied telepathically, and fast, though fast enoguh even Inara could sense the mild stress and the weird feeling of being inside the head of an actor who was acting AND not acting in different 'threads' of mental activity. It was a bit heady. ["I hit the right part of the dream's plot! Or the thing that's making us dream's plot! Uh. Hang on still!"]
[15:39] <Liane> ["I'm not sure I understand, but okay! Hanging on, Kess."] Then, to Inara. "… I … think we just watched time flow unusually? Maybe?"
[15:43] <FrontierWarGM> ["Integration is fine, but day after day I lose a daughter to a Twiceborn doppelganger standing in her skin." Said Amalgamator. "Seeker told me that you take your mask off to eat at school."]
[15:45] <Inara> "Unusually is an understatement!" She sighed. "Here's hoping things settle down soon."
[15:47] * Kess had a very odd pause now. One more of 'so what argument do i form to be accurate, again?' But… "W… well! What did you expect? I s… still /am/ a Defector at the end of the day and I haven't trained enough to do that thing some of the older (and smugger) people do where they just portal in the food and there aren't necessarily booths all the time and. and…" She felt the groove coming on. Teenage Kess was in reach.
[15:47] * Kess "It's just more EFFICIENT that way!" A proud huff, which was mix-layered with knowing the feeling this mom was worried about, but it not being enough to just stop what she was doing for it. ["The… the NPCs don't seem to even notice people they're not meant for? Y-you don't have to stay put."] She offered on the chantry, almost sounding uncomfortable - or, maybe, stressed.
[15:48] * Kayoko glanced at Violet. She was not quite smiling, but…
[15:50] <Liane> ["So, what, should we just barge in and watch or something, Kess?"]
[15:50] <Kess> ["I don't know! But maybe just being together would help when the scene changes again?"] …Honestly she had no idea.
[15:52] <FrontierWarGM> [Violet's frown was clearly visible.-
[15:52] <Liane> ["Well, I'll try it!"] Using the knowledge Kess had pumped into her, she would locate Kess' house and make her way inside. Through the door. Opening it properly if it wasn't locked. But it probably was, and then she'd just punch through it and walk in to observe….
[15:52] <FrontierWarGM> [Amalgamator slammed the table with a fist. "Did that boy put you up to this!?" The Awkward Dancer will dance with anyone who offers a hand]
[15:57] * Kess resisted the urge to be way more hammy than teenage Kess would have been. "No! If he was involved it was only as a motive, not a cause!" Pedantry, in spite of the risk. …Signs like that were apparently common for teenage Kess. That kind of aggressively self-aware commentary. "You named me as much as everyone else did, Ammy!" …And she did that a lot too, once she was this old. Chances are Amalgamator found it
[15:57] * Kess annoying. Kess thought it too useful to acquiesce. "Weaver-" A father. "-told me about how I was so curious even that young. It's an apt name, you know. I. I can't just not find a niche where I belong." Some devils dancing in the pale moon light, are not the devils you see them as
[16:03] <FrontierWarGM> ["I don't know what that-" Amalgamator stood, throwing a hand out to her left as though to dismiss the words.-
[16:04] <FrontierWarGM> ["You are lucky to be a Defector, to have such people to learn from as your parents." Said Amalgamator. "One day, you'll appreciate that. And you'll appreciate what it means to be us."-
[16:06] <FrontierWarGM> [The unfamiliar voice cut through the dream. "I didn't. Until it was too late."-
[16:07] <FrontierWarGM> [And suddenly they were back in the square, standing in a group. Above them, Rora's eyes were open…]
[16:08] <Kayoko> "Can you stop that?" Kayoko snapped at the ceiling. "Either come out and monologue in person or go awa-"-
[16:09] <Kayoko> Snap. Back in the square. "… ah. Hello, Mr. Mist."
[16:10] <Inara> "We've reunited," said Inara happily.
[16:10] <Kess> The scene shift allowed Kess the briefest moment to stop acting and relying on the Chantry. She sighed in relief and her plumage was doing a chaotic 'reset pattern' - letting loose to settle your mind's debris. "If they could - emotionally or literally - they would, Captain." Kess said simply. "…Wait Rora's awake." The sense of 'oh shit' as to needing to get one's act together fast
[16:12] <Kayoko> "You don't know many monologuers, clearly," she muttered. "Doctor, can you see to Rora?"
[16:13] <FrontierWarGM> [Rora spoke.-
[16:13] <Kess> "Emotionally can mean what you're referring to." Kess insisted, folding her arms. "…Oh right she shou-" Oh shit again!
[16:14] <FrontierWarGM> ["Everyone trapped in Dreamscape, along with Great One. Gatherer trying to break free Dirac Sea. Please be ok, alright?"-
[16:14] <FrontierWarGM> [And then his eyes closed.]
[16:17] <Liane> "… So this probably isn't over, then - I wonder what's coming next…"
[16:18] <FrontierWarGM> [Violet walked away from the group- away from the fountain. "I have a suspicion of what started this."]
[16:19] <Kess> "No, it is-" …Pause. She immediately turned to Violet. "…Oh?"
[16:20] <Kayoko> "I mean it's the monk, right?" She said. "So he's here and elsewhere. Competing planes of the dreamscape, maybe…? It'd explain the disjointed sensations around his restraints."
[16:21] <Kess> "But he's not the speaker, is part of it." Kess made a note of. "it's nobody i recognize. Is this… an effect of this? Or is there a third party…?" Deep into the sphere we go.
[16:21] <FrontierWarGM> ["It is the monk, yes. But it is more than that." Said Violet. "I don't think he's doing this on purpose. He might have the Weeper's Disorder."]
[16:22] <Kess> 'The… what is that now?" Alas Kess, your knowledge is incomplete
[16:22] <Kayoko> "Nothing good," Kayoko said. She had begun to carefully prod at the ribbons containing Rora.
[16:23] <FrontierWarGM> [The ribbons were extremely hot.]
[16:24] <Liane> "Weeper's… what?"
[16:24] * Inara just shook her head.
[16:25] * Kayoko retracted her hand quickly, hissing and shaking her hand. "Makes sense," she muttered under her breath.
[16:26] <FrontierWarGM> ["It's a form of traumatic disorder that manifests in older AT Field users." Said Violet. "When an individual experiences something extremely traumatic, there is a chance of developing a disorder. Flashbacks, hypervigilance…"-
[16:27] <FrontierWarGM> ["But as we age, our ability to restrain our powers starts to loosen. Weeper's Disorder is when an AT Field user who struggles to maintain their psychic powers begins inadvertently losing themselves in their own flashbacks, trapping themselves inside the memory. At advanced stages- it starts enveloping those nearby."-
[16:28] <FrontierWarGM> ["I think… Gatherer trapped the Great One in his illusion. And the Great One, trying to escape it, has amplified its powers." Said Violet. He turned back around.-
[16:29] <FrontierWarGM> ["Now that we're trapped in here, we need to find the host, who will be where the trauma is." Said Violet. "The memory of the incident… Where a part of them has been left. But our presence here is mucking things up. He's bouncing off of our memories, trying to find similar traumas to his own."-
[16:30] <FrontierWarGM> ["I don't know what that might be. But… As painful as it sounds, we might need to explain our traumas to one another."]
[16:34] <Kayoko> "And doing so would help how, exactly?" Kayoko said skeptically, abandoning her investigation of the ribbons.
[16:34] <Kess> "…You saw mine, even if a lot was more… the slow burn." Kess explained quickly. "You need no introduction to Awkward Dancers. …But. …being fascinated by, but afraid of becoming - or, others fearing my becoming… A culture that was made in a pattern more comfortable. Of rejection in pity. Of no identity, or rather, of no place to put that identity? Look. He latched onto mine very first, once he broke the basic Seer city
[16:34] <Kess> scenery." She explained, plumage showing sensations of undifferentiated raw DETECTIVERY. "And all the scenes were about cultural strain. And the monologue was about family, what it meant to be a Defector. …Gatherer isn't a defector, so it's unclear if that's 'what it means to be a Seer' - our race - or if it's about how monastically he rejects Overseer society. …"
[16:35] <Kess> - She regarded Kayoko with a sort of …well, it was the plumage equivalent of a frustrated grimace. But she was distracted, maybe intentionally, by. "…Oh is that your Stalker, Inara?"
[16:36] <Kess> …It seems Defectors are just as vulnerable to 'kitty! :D' proximity as Twiceborn.
[16:36] <FrontierWarGM> [Alereb walked over and headbutted Kess lightly.-
[16:36] <Inara> "Yes. Meet Alereb. Even though she's big, she's very friendly."
[16:37] <FrontierWarGM> ["Kess is right." Said Violet. "Essentially, the closer the trauma is to his own, the easier it will be to find a way into his trauma, and then we can try to wake him. To ah, see him 'monologue in person'."]
[16:38] <Liane> "… Our traumas, huh. I don't suppose we're going to explore them all like just happened, are we?" … She didn't seem overly concerned about it herself, at least, not yet.
[16:39] <FrontierWarGM> ["Probably not all." Said Violet. "We need more information, but I don't know how to get it."]
[16:41] <Kess> "…Deduction. We… we have to know what his problem was. And we saw identity, belonging issues of mine. But we have conflicting data points - is it a cultural issue between the two peoples of Seers? Is it a… a…" Kess stopped, her plumage flashing. Playing the game by editing the rulebook
[16:43] <Inara> "With just one flashback, it's difficult to say, isn't it? Maybe if we saw just one more, we could connect the dots."
[16:43] * Liane nodded at Inara. "Very possible, just … how do we actually get it to… you know."-
[16:43] <Liane> "Go?"
[16:45] <FrontierWarGM> ["The same thing Kess and Kayoko did to trigger Kess's flashback, only we need to focus on the incident."]
[16:46] <Liane> "Which was…? I mean, Inara and I were busy getting spooked by her cat…"
[16:47] * Kess turned between the two of them, chirping amusedly with a the cat's grin before a life ends in her plumes. "This may be an advanced mindscape, but it is a mindscape. …We. Conjure it ourselves." That said, the smug signage dimmed to a more genial helpful reminder. "We poked out along the AT field of the ribbons binding Rora. …And when we hit Gatherer… it… triggered. But that was just a probe. Now we know what
[16:47] * Kess to do. …Either poke Gatherer and make him spool up another by so doing, or somehow prompt the Great One that's obviously the source of those ribbons to play along and create our intended scene."
[16:51] <Kayoko> "…" Kayoko had her hands in her pockets now. "… I could use the ribbons as a method of making a psychic probe on Gatherer."
[17:02] <Liane> "If it's safe, well…"
[17:03] <FrontierWarGM> ["Who wants to start?" Asked Violet.]
[17:04] <Kess> "…Anyone could, but I'd think someone not me, just for /variety/ in traumatic scenes."
[17:05] <Kayoko> "I'm going to test the connection," Kayoko said, already turning away.
[17:20] <FrontierWarGM> [Kayoko summoned her energies, intent on 'testing' the connection with as much force as she could apparently muster.-
[17:20] <FrontierWarGM> [The tentacles writhed, and one spasmed, reaching up to curl around Rora's throat before sinking inside his eyes.-
[17:21] <FrontierWarGM> [A moment later the tentacle reeled back. Rora's eyes snapped open and he started to gasp as though drowning.]
[17:39] * Kess did jump in shock at the rather… horrifying imagery. "We can communicate! Build a message in chantry and i'll condense it, fast!" … …And so they did, with Kess closing her eyes, and with the surety of will to join Kayoko's 'open line', she uttered the cryptic, ultradense message: "Gatherer trauma why trapped. Unknown, expressing through ours. Need IDing to escape. Are okay, help please. Angel is signal line."
[17:47] <FrontierWarGM> [Rora let out a painful groan and closed his eyed again.]
[17:53] <Liane> "Hopefully that works."
[17:53] <FrontierWarGM> [Alereb playfully knocked Liane over.]
[17:56] <Liane> "Gah! Kitty, calm down…! Why do cats always DO that!" She scurried backward, which was probably unwise given the circumstances.
[18:00] * Kayoko was still.
[18:02] * Kayoko was still staring at Rora thoughtfully. "… I forgot to ask why you have a giant bedazzled cat with you."
[18:03] <FrontierWarGM> [Alereb leapt over to meow theremin-like at Kayoko.]
[18:05] <Kayoko> "Hi. You're pretty cute, I guess," she admitted. She offered experimental skritches behind the stalker's ears.
[18:06] <FrontierWarGM> [Alereb stretched her head out and lolled her tongue slightly.]
[18:06] <Kess> "She's Inara's Stalker-of-Dreams! I guess… i guess the best way to describe is 'Seer-world cat, but psychic'. …Earth's cats are more similar to them than I might even want to admit." She said sheepishly.
[18:08] <Inara> "They literally enter and eat the nightmares of the people around them, so she probably followed us here because she was hungry or curious. In real life she isn't this big, but I guess she can be whatever size she wants to be in a place like this."
[18:09] <FrontierWarGM> ["Stalkers are popular Defector pets, but we've had to be judicious with them in the Federation. They have a tendency to enter the dreams of terrestrial cats and traumatise them." Said Violet, his tone slightly accusatory.]
[18:11] <Inara> "Now, now. Your cat is safe. Alereb has strict instructions not to go anywhere near it."
[18:11] <Kayoko> Kayoko seemed quite occupied with her petting.
[18:12] <FrontierWarGM> ["Mmm." Violet shook his head.-
[18:12] <FrontierWarGM> ["Either way, they act as psychic guardians, entering nightmares and eating the offending content. This place must be like a buffet for her."]
[18:15] <FrontierWarGM> [Alereb suddenly pushed Kayoko over and held a big paw over her face.]
[18:18] <Kess> "I will admit i have never seen either feline have a chance to arbitrarily knock people over like they do objects on tables." … …
[18:18] <Kayoko> Kayoko remained still. Not frightened still, just still.
[18:19] <FrontierWarGM> [Alereb started, then slunk away behind Inara.]
[18:19] * Kess started to ponder the kinds of bizarrely domestic names given to some Overseer slaves. …And then this. …Do Overseer nobles get really pissy and go into Classic Overseer Tyrant Rages over it? … …She remembered that one Twiceborn video with the 'no no n-' …
[18:20] * Kess suddenly tensed, reverie interrupted. "Was that to you."
[18:21] * Liane picked herself up off the ground. She couldn't help but chuckle a bit as she brushed herself off. "He really is cute, though. Whatever size he is. …. It is he, right?"
[18:21] <Inara> "'She'. And what was that about?" She eyed Kayoko.
[18:22] <Liane> "Ah! She. Sorry."
[18:22] * Kayoko stood up grinning. "We were just talking."
[18:22] <Kess> "Ohhhh. See, jumping a bit like that, I was worried something big was incoming."
[18:23] <Kayoko> "Nope, all fine. Relatively, anyway
[18:23] <Kayoko> ."*
[18:27] <Inara> "Hmm." Inara patted Alereb comfortingly. "Never mind, Al. It's all ok."
[19:08] <FrontierWarGM> [… Rora's eyes opened, and he gasped; the tentacles faded away. Rora fell to the bottom of the fountain.]
[19:12] * Rora vanished into the water for a moment…then leapt up - no doubt spraying anyone near enough - clinging to edge of the basin. "No, wait…!" he managed, amidst a coughing fit.
[19:13] * Liane also moved quickly to the fountain's edge, to help Rora out. "Rora! Are you alright?!"
[19:15] * Kayoko did indeed catch a flail of water to the back, but she didn't pay it any mind. She came to the fountain's edge to offer Liane a hand in pulling him out.
[19:18] * Kess was running closer, but paused. "Wait for what?!"
[19:20] <Rora> "I…*kaff kaff*…yeah, I'm okay." He gratefully accepted the help in exiting the fountain. "Not exactly my ideal sleepover scenario, *kaff*, admittedly."
[19:20] * Rora gave Kess a puzzled look. "Wait for…what?"
[19:21] <FrontierWarGM> ["What do you have for us, Rora?" Said Violet.]
[19:23] * Liane explains for Kess. "You said 'no, wait' when you woke up suddenly."
[19:23] <Kess> "You said 'no, wait'!" Kess explained. "So I waited!"
[19:23] * Liane gives Kess a brief look, the kind of 'great minds thinking alike' look.
[19:26] <Rora> "…Oh! Right - no, I…" He shook his head. "That was to our new friend. They vanished, right before…"
[19:27] <FrontierWarGM> ["What did they say?" Said Violet impatiently.]
[19:29] * Rora nodded to Violet. "Right: Gatherer." He closed his eyes, sorting through the string of hectic moments. "He said…to find him. In the ruins of the 'Hearth of Garnet'."
[19:29] * Kess turned to Violet expectantly. This sounded like Overseer Placename Lore.
[19:29] <FrontierWarGM> ["… Yes. I understand, now." He looked up at the sky.-
[19:30] <FrontierWarGM> ["Everyone, please come close. It seems the trauma he needs will be one of my own."]
[19:31] <Liane> "The Hearth of Garnet?" Liane asked cautiously.
[19:31] <FrontierWarGM> ["It was a planet."]
[19:31] <Kess> "We're going to find out very quickly." Kess snapped, not /harshly/ per se. "…Aha." But she drew near.
[19:33] * Rora moved closer as well, though not without casting a concerned look to Violet.
[19:33] * Kayoko did as she was told for once.
[19:36] <FrontierWarGM> [The scene around them changed. As did Violet; he became much younger, his scars vanishing, and a battle robe and helmet appearing on his body. The city square gave way to the confines of a starship.-
[19:38] <FrontierWarGM> [Violet was flanked by two other Defectors, and all of them had their weapons out. In Violet's case, a quad of plasma sabres.-
[19:38] <FrontierWarGM> [Violet sighed.-
[19:38] <FrontierWarGM> [And then he took his steps forth, onto the bridge of the warship.-
[19:39] <FrontierWarGM> [The right-hand Defector leapt across the great space, upwards towards their enemies- a single Overseer, wearing a gilded helmet. This battle took place nearly 160 years ago, yet already Conqueror had his distinctive helmet.-
[19:39] <FrontierWarGM> [The right-hand Defector brought his sword down on Conqueror, who parried it with his own blade. The two were locked in place-
[19:40] <FrontierWarGM> [The eyes of the gilded bird statue on Conqueror's mask glowed, before blasting the Defector with a pair of transmatter beams. They punched through his chest and sent the Defector tumbling.-
[19:40] <FrontierWarGM> ["No!" Cried the other Defector. Violet said nothing.-
[19:41] <FrontierWarGM> [Conqueror leapt out of his little alcove, into the hallway below. The left-hand Defector feinted forward-
[19:41] <FrontierWarGM> [Conqueror vanished, only to reappear behind the Defector. Conqueror's right leg suddenly bulged with muscle mass; he caught the Defector in the back with a powerful kick, enough to send the Defector flying.-
[19:43] <FrontierWarGM> [Before the Defector could hit the wall, Conqueror caught him telepathically. A spark of white light appeared in Conqueror's upper-left hand. He pulled the hand back as though he were pulling a bow string- then let the fingers free. The spark turned into a narrow radiant beam that punched through the Defector's heart.-
[19:44] <FrontierWarGM> ["Half of my pod died in less than ten seconds." Said Violet. He didn't move.-
[19:44] <FrontierWarGM> [Conqueror turned toward Violet, blade raised, but he didn't do anything.-
[19:45] <FrontierWarGM> ["I was supposed to be a prodigy of warfare. I was young, twenty years old, and I'd slain an archduke and broadcasted it across the Overseer Empire." Said Violet.-
[19:46] <FrontierWarGM> [Violet moved resentfully, lashing out with a blade. Conqueror parried it, and charged forward with an elbow that caught Violet in the face. Violet made no noise, but he stumbled backwards nonetheless.-
[19:47] <FrontierWarGM> [It had knocked Violet against the railing.-
[19:47] <FrontierWarGM> [Violet kicked off it, using his Field to propel him towards Conqueror. At the last second, Violet vanished. Conqueror slashed behind him-
[19:48] <FrontierWarGM> [Violet smacked his blade down, then vanished again. A moment later he fell from above, plunging a blade into Conqueror's mask.-
[19:48] <FrontierWarGM> [The blade burned through it and buried it into Conqueror's chest. The mask broke apart.-
[19:49] <FrontierWarGM> [Violet hovered there, pushing the blade towards Conqueror's face, who pushed back at it with his own sword. But Violet was winning.-
[19:49] <FrontierWarGM> [The blades came closer to Conqueror's face until, with a hiss, it burned into Conqueror's lower-right eye.-
[19:49] <FrontierWarGM> [Conqueror growled- then let out a sharp keen of pain. He leapt backwards-
[19:49] <FrontierWarGM> [Violet fell, charged, blade raised-
[19:50] <FrontierWarGM> [Conqueror threw up his hands, and bent the plasma blade with his AT Field. With a shove, he caused it to plunge back into the hilt- and through into Violet's stomach.-
[19:50] <FrontierWarGM> [Violet fell.-
[19:51] <FrontierWarGM> [A spark appeared between Conqueror's fingers.-
[19:51] <FrontierWarGM> [But before he could fire it, the hulking armoured figure of a Recollector- who Kayoko had met on the Scumslinker Base- appeared, grabbed Violet, and teleported away, carrying both of them off the ship.-
[19:51] <FrontierWarGM> [The scene faded.-
[19:52] <FrontierWarGM> [Violet stood in the square once again.-
[19:53] <FrontierWarGM> ["Conqueror won that battle." Said Violet. "He took my brothers' bodies and had them displayed, broadcast across the galaxy. My brothers' weapons he took for himself. He still has Sheller-of-Dyed-Beast's blade."-
[19:54] <FrontierWarGM> [Violet turned his head away.-
[19:54] <FrontierWarGM> [Sitting on the fountain's lip was Gatherer, looking old and very, very tired.]
[20:04] * Kayoko stepped around Violet, but… laid a surprisingly gentle hand on his shoulder as she passed. To let him have his moment unobserved was the best she could do. She fixed Gatherer with a stormy look instead.-
[20:04] <Kayoko> "Can you close the Sea?"
[12:20] <FrontierWarGM> [But the image of Gatherer flickered.-
[12:20] <FrontierWarGM> [It twisted, and as it did so the world around it twisted. The image was faint, and to strengthen itself is shaped the world to be closer to its true home.-
[12:20] <FrontierWarGM> […-
[12:22] <FrontierWarGM> [Four Overseers walked down a corridor. Each one sumptuously dressed in robes of scarlet and gold, with masks of purple and blue. The masks were elaborate, with high crests of feathers and little scarves of silky fabric fluttering like pennants. The Overseer in the lead carried a sceptre made of pure ruby.-
[12:24] <FrontierWarGM> [The four Overseers were flanked by a dozen more Overseers, these ones wearing ornate, thick armour of silver and black, armour that made them look tall and imposing. They wore a robe of plain white over the armour, and carried long plasma glaives.-
[12:25] <FrontierWarGM> [The sceptred Overseers emerged out onto a balcony overlooking a great cavernous chamber, where below sat a thousand Overseers in stately robes, all positioned to be looking up at the balcony. The chamber was decorated with engravings and statues, depicting scenes of history and great heroes.-
[12:28] <FrontierWarGM> [The sceptred Overseers raised a hand in unison toward the gathering. The three rear Overseers gestured towards the sceptre-bearer with another hand. The bearer stepped forward, and waved the sceptre in a slow, languid horizontal line.-
[12:29] <FrontierWarGM> ["Lord Representatives of the Empire, august and honourable, the first servant amongst many," Said the Overseer, her voice sonorous and powerful. "It is with relief that I announce that the Great One incursion has finally come to an end."-
[12:29] <FrontierWarGM> [There were shouts and cries from the assembly; the speaker raised her hand, and they fell silent.-
[12:31] <FrontierWarGM> ["Swathes of the Empire lay in ruins, and not a single family has emerged unscathed from this crisis. A full third of the Imperial Navy has been destroyed, another third requires heavy repair. Our forces are spent. Lord Representatives, we, your chosen Prime Ministers, believe our best course of action now is to return to isolation."-
[12:31] <FrontierWarGM> [Murmurs and cries from the assembly.-
[12:32] <FrontierWarGM> ["The little alien states beyond our border are content to ignore us if we ignore them, and our wayward traitor-brothers have been silent for some time. We need this, more than ever, time to rebuild and restore-"-
[12:32] <FrontierWarGM> ["Ankle-crosser!" Shouted a representative. "You betray your mandate!"-
[12:33] <FrontierWarGM> ["Insulted beyond measure and too tired to hide it, the speaker for the Dominionist Party will hold their tongue-"-
[12:33] <FrontierWarGM> [At that moment, one of the armoured guards emerged out onto the balcony and leaned toward the speaking Prime Minister. They murmured something.-
[12:34] <FrontierWarGM> [She turned, leaning closer. "What is it-"-
[12:34] <FrontierWarGM> [The guard pulled a little black stick out from his armour. A plasma blade ignited. With one violent upward swing, the blade punched through the Prime Minister's jaw.-
[12:34] <FrontierWarGM> [The other guards were soon to follow, plasma glaives scything through the stunned Prime Ministers within seconds.-
[12:35] <FrontierWarGM> [The guards rushed to the edge of the balcony, raised their glaives and fired blasts from the tip into the crowd below. As they did, their AT Fields flared a pattern, a brazen emblem.-
[12:35] <FrontierWarGM> [Not Overseers. Defectors.-
[12:35] <FrontierWarGM> [The scene fell into chaos as the guards fired, slaughtering terrified and confused representatives.-
[12:36] <FrontierWarGM> [The scene flickered. It had been an elaborate holographic depiction, one that Gatherer had been watching. He was little, maybe six years old at best, and his hand had been in a bowl of crunchy treats when the slaughter began.-
[12:36] <FrontierWarGM> [Gatherer stared.-
[12:37] <FrontierWarGM> ["Mothers?" He whispered timidly. "What's going on?"-
[12:39] <FrontierWarGM> [One of his mothers sat down and embraced him. "It's alright, my dear boy. Something bad has happened, but it's fine. We'll be alright…"-
[12:39] <FrontierWarGM> [Gatherer turned to their Maid, Brazier, who stood in the corner, a small smile on her face. Brazier said nothing.-
[12:40] <FrontierWarGM> [When the adults thought Gatherer wasn't around, they spoke quietly, and included Brazier in their talks. They talked of violence and war. A lot of it Gatherer hadn't understood at the time.-
[12:41] <FrontierWarGM> ["The Defectors will be here in a matter of days…"-
[12:41] <FrontierWarGM> ["… Surrender?"-
[12:41] <FrontierWarGM> ["There will be no surrender. Overseers and Defectors fight to the death."-
[12:41] <FrontierWarGM> ["… Will die."-
[12:41] <FrontierWarGM> ["… Gatherer…"-
[12:42] <FrontierWarGM> ["… Go into hiding. We can make plans…"-
[12:42] <FrontierWarGM> [But when the Defectors attacked, it had been earlier than anticipated.-
[12:42] <FrontierWarGM> [The city was protected by a powerful kinetic shield, and Superheavies besides, well-made Superheavies piloted by Overseers with centuries of experience.-
[12:43] <FrontierWarGM> [But the sky had gone dark and flickered as though the clouds were aflame.-
[12:44] <FrontierWarGM> [And then shortly after, the first of the Defector Superheavies had fallen through, evading the confused defense turrets and coming down on the Superheavies like a ton of bricks.-
[12:45] <FrontierWarGM> [A long, black shape fell out of that burning sky. It was sinuous and curved, like a snake of dark flame, albeit one with six long wings- and a seventh like a dorsal fin. It cut through one Superheavy with ease, then curled its body into rings. Its head belched a little black ball of fire through the rings, growing stronger each time it passed, before smashing through the shield and dropping it in a single hit.-
[12:46] <FrontierWarGM> [Gatherer had watched. He had no brothers or sisters to stand with him. His parents and his older siblings were already rushing out onto the street, armed and ready.-
[12:46] <FrontierWarGM> [Brazier stood at his side, a hand on his shoulder.-
[12:47] <FrontierWarGM> ["Where are they going? Are they gonna come back?" Asked Gatherer.-
[12:47] <FrontierWarGM> ["No." Said Brazier. "Your family are going to die, every one of them."-
[12:47] <FrontierWarGM> [Gatherer shook. "You're lying. Brazier, why are you lying to me?!"-
[12:48] <FrontierWarGM> [A Superheavy fell, its torso bisected, smashing through a building before exploding. The flaming debris flew in every direction, and Gatherer saw his family raise their AT Fields to deflect the worst parts of it.-
[12:49] <FrontierWarGM> [That burning dragon struck through another city block, leaving a blade of flame hovering in the air for a moment- before it exploded, sending masonry and shrapnel in every direction.-
[12:50] <FrontierWarGM> ["You are unlucky, little slave-driver." Said Brazier, and there was a laugh in her voice. "Because you are an Overseer, and there is no such thing as an innocent Overseer. No such thing as a civilian Overseer. Each and every one of you are soldiers, and so each and every one of you will die."-
[12:51] <FrontierWarGM> [Defectors and Warfriends birthed forth from transports, moving in formation, AT Fields high, rushing to cover, before sweeping through the buildings. Before long they fought, Overseer versus Defector and Warslave versus Warfriend.-
[12:52] <FrontierWarGM> [The details blurred.-
[12:52] <FrontierWarGM> [Superheavies walked through the streets, little guns blazing at Warslave formations below.-
[12:53] <FrontierWarGM> [He saw a mother on her knees, clutching another mother, who was dead. A moment later, a plasma bolt tore through her upper chest and she fell backwards and didn't move.-
[12:54] <FrontierWarGM> [Gatherer sat against the wall, head buried. His house was on fire, and Brazier was outside. She stared down at him with an inscruable expression.-
[12:55] <FrontierWarGM> [The Defectors were winning the city, what parts of it remained. There was hatred in their attack.-
[12:56] <FrontierWarGM> [The hatred soaked into Gatherer's skin, into his feathers, his mind. It fed into the numbness in his being, the gap where once his family had been, the family that now numbered only a few.-
[12:56] <FrontierWarGM> [Defector hate. Brazier's hate. A hate he couldn't understand.-
[12:56] <FrontierWarGM> [Something broke inside Gatherer, and he began to cry.-
[12:57] <FrontierWarGM> [Most Twiceborn have never seen a Defector or an Overseer cry. It is a rare sight, even amongst the Seers.-
[12:58] <FrontierWarGM> [When a Seer cries, their eyes fill with tears that streak down their face, and their plumage goes haywire with colour. Sad colours, angry colours, but intensity is the inevitable norm. Many lose control of their telepathy and lash out in every direction.-
[12:59] <FrontierWarGM> [Seers were designed to broadcast their pain. In a world without natural predators, doing so wasn't a death sentence.-
[12:59] <FrontierWarGM> [But they had learned to trammel that. They had put on masks to hide their pain from other creatures, or else they could be found.-
[13:00] <FrontierWarGM> [Gatherer had no mask. He lashed out with barely controlled, nascent psychic power, broadcasting to everything within a kilometre that he was scared and alone.-
[13:01] <FrontierWarGM> [He was far from the only one.-
[13:01] <FrontierWarGM> [The Defectors paid no mind. They had the masks.-
[13:01] <FrontierWarGM> […-
[13:01] <FrontierWarGM> [The scene changed. They were in a green field, far from the burning city. The sky was still dark and burning.-
[13:02] <FrontierWarGM> [Gatherer sat amongst a clump of wild, tall grass. Suddenly waking, not from sleep, but from sheer catatonia.-
[13:03] <FrontierWarGM> [Brazier lay next to him, breathing shallow, a shard of masonry embedded four inches into her stomach. With one free hand, she absently smoothed down Gatherer's crest.-
[13:03] <FrontierWarGM> ["Stupid little slave-driver." She murmured. "Get out of here while you still can. Find someone… I'm about to be freed."-
[13:03] <FrontierWarGM> […-
[13:04] <FrontierWarGM> [They were… Back in the city square, now. But not the one of the dream, or of Gatherer's nightmare. This was the city square of the dirac sea, with its fountain, surrounding by pleasant green fields.-
[13:04] <FrontierWarGM> [The Gatherer who sat on the fountain was old.-
[13:05] <FrontierWarGM> [He bowed his head- and cried. The telepathic message rippled through the heads of everyone in the sea.-
[13:06] <FrontierWarGM> [Just simple, ragged pain and sadness.]
[13:14] * Rora shook silently, sobbing into already damp robe sleeves - he didn't remember when he'd started crying. He made no effort to hide it, radiating with deep azure light.
[13:16] * Inara remained respectfully quiet. What could even be said after witnessing all of… that? Especially when she herself was still processing it. Maybe a good cry, without interruptions, was what he needed.
[13:18] <Liane> Liane's reaction was more like Inara's; her face clearly reflected her being deeply troubled by the vision, yet she was unsure what to say - or if she should indeed say anything.
[13:19] * Kess had remained quiet, too, but had… a lot of questions in her head. Plumage was radiant, in strange hues. A… A sense of… a sense of not even knowing what to say. The war… but yet the suffering… but yet the Maid, cruel and honest… it was a place she didn't know where to stand.
[13:21] <FrontierWarGM> ["The sixth war of the Defector League." Said Violet, his voice tired, without enthusiasm. "Our most successful war. We took a third of the Empire. It was just over four hundred years ago."-
[13:22] <FrontierWarGM> ["The seventh war saw all of it lost to the Empire."-
[13:23] <FrontierWarGM> [Gatherer looked up at the group. He trembled.-
[13:23] <FrontierWarGM> ["I'm sorry. I didn't mean… I-I think I'm sick." He said. "I… I should free you all."]
[13:29] <Rora> This elicited a loud *SNFF* from Rora, but he otherwise remained as he was.
[13:33] * Liane calmly folded her arms. "… I think it was important that we were able to see that, Gatherer," she said softly. She gave Kess and Rora a glance for a moment, as if considering whether to speak further.-
[13:38] <Liane> "… We may be of different species, and civilizations, but … I don't think we're all that different inside. All of us, in our own ways, can speak to the pain of losing something or someone held dear to us," she continued, as she sat beside Gatherer. "I think there's yet hope for peaceful understanding."
[13:43] <FrontierWarGM> ["I hope so as well, Liane." Said Gatherer quietly. "I don't think this galaxy needs many more people like me."]
[13:47] <Kess> "I… …i was raised on their world. I knew the history was stained with blood. But… but i hadn't…" Kess said hesitantly, feathers shading into muted dismay.
[13:53] <Rora> "N-no, you-" *snff* "…you're a good person, Gatherer." He finally managed to look up, eyes red. "What we need l-less of is…is the fighting."
[13:56] * Liane nodded in agreement with Rora, firmly. "That's correct. You and me, Gatherer… our pasts have much in common." She closed her eyes momentarily in thought. "I, too, know the pain of losing everything I knew and held dear," she said quietly. "But… I'm also proof that one can move forward through loss."
[14:04] <FrontierWarGM> [Gatherer stared, mute, at all of them.-
[14:05] <FrontierWarGM> [The crying slowed, and the psychic spikes that had punctuated the scene began to slow.-
[14:05] <FrontierWarGM> ["Thank you." He murmured.-
[14:05] <FrontierWarGM> [The Dirac Sea flickered- then vanished.-
[14:05] <FrontierWarGM> [There were shouts of alarm.-
[14:05] <FrontierWarGM> [They now all stood on the bridge of the Valletta, resplendant in their bedclothes.-
[14:06] <FrontierWarGM> ["Where were all of you?!" Shouted Franco. "We have a situation!"-
[14:06] <FrontierWarGM> [He gestured toward the viewscreen.-
[14:06] <FrontierWarGM> [There on the viewscreen was the Great One that they'd helped earlier.-
[14:07] <FrontierWarGM> [… And it stood, its body dark and limp. It hovered in the shadow of a very similar-looking Great One. One that really put weight to the name.-
[14:07] <FrontierWarGM> [This Great One was sixteen kilometres wide.-
[14:07] <FrontierWarGM> ["Its AT Field is six times as strong as mine." Said Idris, who was gritting his teeth. "Any ideas, dirac cadets?"]
[14:09] * Kess showed a heavy signal of alarm in her plumes, now. "…Talk! Somehow! We can explain… right?"
[14:09] <FrontierWarGM> ["The last time I checked, I was not Aline Blanc." Said Idris. "This one keeps smacking me whenever I do -anything-."]
[14:12] <Inara> It was a jarring transition, but Inara managed to somehow follow along. "But it hasn't wiped us out yet, right? So… what does it even want? Did it say?"
[14:14] * Rora had only a brief moment to realize his embarrassment before he registered who was in front of them. "…Oh no! Are they," he instinctively formed the now-familiar pattern on his AT Field, "okay?" He resisted the urge to reach out to them himself.
[14:18] <FrontierWarGM> ["The little one was the Great One that trashed my boat." Said Gatherer. "I think… You might've seen him, Rora?"]
[14:25] <Rora> "Yes, of course - we were trapped together in the Sea. Or, a dream within the Sea? Or-" he shook his head "yes, I did. That is who I was referring to." He held the Great One's pattern, bouncing it lightly against Gatherer's AT Field. Then he looked back to the viewscreen. "Idris, are they…do you know if they're alright?"
[14:25] <FrontierWarGM> ["I…"-
[14:25] <FrontierWarGM> ["You may have to make contact yourself."]
[14:26] <Rora> Without a moment's hesitation, Rora reached out to the Kid.
[14:26] <FrontierWarGM> [Rora's mind- and vision- went white.-
[14:27] <FrontierWarGM> [Both he and Gatherer's AT Fields sparked bright and blinding- and then the energy drained out of them. Not enough to knock them unconscious, but enough to sap their Fields.-
[14:28] <FrontierWarGM> [And when he recovered from being smacked against the ground like a tennis ball being served, he'd see the Kid Great One- suddenly lighting up.]
[14:30] * Rora looked up from where he was now lying on the floor. "…Needed a bit of a jumpstart, huh?" He chuckled, followed by a muted, "ow". But he was smiling.
[14:32] * Liane moved quickly to Rora's side. "Rora! Are you alright?!"
[14:37] <Rora> "Yeah, I will - ngh - I'll be fine." He made no motion to get up, but made a calming gesture at Liane all the same. "Just need a minute."
[14:37] * Kess squawked in panic, yet… a part of her understood. Rora had been in contact with them, right? …They'd be okay, right?
[14:38] <FrontierWarGM> [… … …-
[14:38] <FrontierWarGM> [Idris sagged back in his seat. "Alhamdulillah. She's let go of my head."-
[14:38] <FrontierWarGM> [The two Great Ones began to slowly float away. A pressure that had been forcing itself on the shoulders of the crew- that they didn't even realise was there- lifted.]
[14:43] <Inara> "Well! All's well that ends well, right?" said Inara, watching them float away. "I'm sure that was nobody's fault."
[14:44] <FrontierWarGM> [Franco eyed Gatherer suspiciously.-
[14:44] <FrontierWarGM> ["Never thought I'd see the day I got 'Don't come near me and my son ever again' by a Great One, but I didn't go into Starfleet to be bored." Muttered Tran.]
[14:49] * Rora gave the floor an experimental push; decided that sitting up was agreeable. He grinned after the Great Ones, offering them a formal Defector bow. Well, as formal as he could muster without his usual AT accoutrements. "May fortune follow you, Friend."
[14:50] <FrontierWarGM> [The Kid slowed momentarily and turned, twisting its AT Field into an assortment of radiant energy.-
[14:51] <FrontierWarGM> [A great, glowing outline of Rora appeared in space for a moment- then vanished.-
[14:51] <FrontierWarGM> [A moment later, Kid and mother both dirac jumped away.]
[14:55] * Liane smiled gently. "… The bond between mother and child, too, is the same regardless of species," she observed.
[14:56] <FrontierWarGM> [Silently and unseen, Russkra gave Liane the evil eye.]
[15:07] * Rora took a deep breath, regaining his feet. "Well! I believe that is a sufficient amount of adventure for me, for one night. waking from a dream exhausted"
[15:08] <Inara> "Agreed! Naps for everyone. What time is it?"
[15:08] <FrontierWarGM> ["Time for you to work with me, Inara." Said Violet. "We need to find a solution for Gatherer's disorder, and I need your help."]
[15:11] <Inara> "Now….? Well, fine. Might take some time, though."
[15:13] <FrontierWarGM> ["The sooner, the better." Said Gatherer, rising to his feet. "You left weird morsels in my dirac world, I don't want you back in there again without my permission. Grot."]
[15:17] * Liane smiled. "… Right then, I'm going to go get properly dressed."
[15:19] * Kess slowly nodded. "… …Morsels."
[15:26] <Rora> "Ah…indeed? Apologies, Gatherer."
[15:28] * Inara eyed Alereb, very much reminded of her eating things within the dreamscape.
[15:28] <FrontierWarGM> [Alereb- now back to her normal catlike size- looked very satisfied indeed.]

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