07.07.3013: Descent
Summary: A group investigates a mining facility, only to find a hellish nightmare in it's depths
Date: 07 July 2013
Related: None
Devon Erik Flint Johana Lyrienne Nitrim Soleil 


TP Room 3
Inside Zapp's crawler 'Betty', D-4's loading bay and Operations Deck
July 07 3013

Note: There are quite a few @pemits that will not be included since each were tailored for each character and thus would make the log really confusing to read.

The ride across the eastern continent of Ignis is a rough one. Everyone has been wedged into a transport crawler and making away across the wastes of the firey planet. While it's hotside, the temperature isn't so bad inside the vehicle. The other problem about the trip is that it's a long way for a drive into the middle of nowhere, couple that with bumpy terrain, closed confinements and it's likly to make anyone a wee bit cranky.

The driver is a miner from the Pit who volunteered for the job, having made the route countless number of times in transporting raw ore to the refinery plants in the main city. There's some twangy guitar music playing on the stero and wide-brimmed hat on his head. And a little hula dancer trinket on his dashboard.

Screech….screech

Nitrim sits inside of his armor on his respective spot in the back of the crawler. He has disconnected his sword's scabbard from its place on his hip and is leaning forward on his knees. Scabbard in hand, pointed down, its tip is pressed into the metal grating of the floor as he quietly spins it in place to kill the time. His helmet has been electronically pulled back, revealing his sweaty, blonde hair. Already tired from his training yesterday and his late-night rush to Niveus, it seems that whatever sleep he did get is being eaten away by the anticipation of their investigation.

The Valen that has chosen to accompany the group on the mission no doubt prefers to travel on horseback but with the conditions outside in the fiery wastes, there was no choice. In full armor as required, Erik is seated and waiting patiently, without much motion as he sits across from Johana. His own sheathed bastard sword is resting at an angle, the tip resting on the ground while the body of the sheath lies against him. Finally the young noble knight speaks up, "Change that damn music, either something else or nothing at all." Perhaps the Valen is a bit cranky and the twangy song is getting to him.

There's something to be said for being able to fit into your scout armor from when you were a teenager, especially after having three children. Any comfort Lyrienne may have taken from that, though, has long since faded as she sits in the crawler, a disassembled bow and quiver held across her shoulder to keep them out of everyone else's way. Here as a representative of House Orelle, with all of the more combat capable otherwise occupied, she's been quiet for most of the ride, occasionally caught worrying at her lower lip with a faint frown.

There's more than temperature to give a reason for Soleil to be in an ill mood. Of course, the other reason is sure to set the vehicle a few degrees cooler, for there's to be nothing but shards of ice— like jagged sharp blades of it— firing from any glance she gives Nitrim's way. She really should have known he'd be here, but the long stare she had given him when she first saw him suggests she didn't think about it.
For the most part though, she stares out a window. No weapons accompany her.

Dressed in her own armor, nicely cooled off inside… well maybe not so nicely cool, but bearable, Johana rides next to Erik, her own sword is detached from her hip, but it rests across her lap for now. When Erik pipes up, she turns her head to regard him, her own red hair sticking to her forehead and she all but scowls. "At least it's music. Better than hearing bitching. Or that incessant screeching."

Seated just at Nitrim's right is the young Grantham widow, Lady Devon Grantham. Her combat armor is matte black, the underarmor colored a gradient shade of red and orange that looks like cracks of ember at the core of a dark coal. The cowl attached to the pauldrons is drawn up over her head, casting her dainty features in shadow even if a thick braid of multicolored locks hangs down to just below the slight shelf of her breastplate. Her armored fingers are crisscrossed together, nestled in her lap as she gracefully moves with the bumps and joustles of the crawler. She starts to hum softly under her breath — a Chantry hymnal. Her helmet is at her feet, an expressionless skull staring out across the crawler car's floor.

The driver, who they've learned his name is Zapp(a nickname he says, something about being a kid and love for power outlets)seems to be the laid back kinda guy, more or less louging in the driver's seat. "Aw, c'mon now. Ain't that bad." Yeah, too bad it's been the same album three times now, and he played one particular song five times in a row. "Won't be too long now. D-4 is always the farthest out. Whoops, bump!" The crawler shakes and bucks as it moves for a large gouge in the worn path. Not so much of a road as it is two ruts for the wheels. "So y'all are looking inta why it went dark, yeah? Stange shit. Facilities have sometimes gone dark, but never fer this long. But…" he shrugs. "D-4 always had an odd reputation."

"Ash storms." Flint explains for the loss of power from his seat, sitting in his set of Aggressor armor. "Storm will blow in and knock the power out for days. Cut off communications, all sorts of stuff. It's why the people that work out here get hazard pay out the ass. Work terms of mining in a level four facility for three months then get pulled back. Live, eat, sleep out there. Only contact they get is from the mining trawlers once a week."

"Come now, Sir Erik. One or two more times and I'm sure you'll be able to play the tune on a guitar from memory." Nitrim comments to the Valen, glancing up to the man as he gives his scabbard another slow spin. If not for the hole his hand makes around the grip, the bounce would have sent the scabbard falling to the floor. He turns his head, scanning the faces of the people present: Devon, Soleil, Erik, Johana, Lyrienne, and then finally Sir Flint. Though doing his best to ignore the mind-knives being drilled into his neck from Soleil, he seems to be in relative calm as he nods his head to Devon's humming. He speaks up to the driver. "Hey, how's it looking out there? Is the ash too thick to see it from here yet? Any lights?"

"It's not exactly melodically complicated," Lyrienne murmurs at Nitrim's jest, a faint smile touching one corner of her lips. "I could make you a recording when we get back. For the memories." She seems quite aware of the various eye daggers being thrown around the crawler, though she's staying out of the way of them for now.

If Zapp wasn't their driver who knows the route well, Erik might have acted on the urge to toss the common minded Citizen out the vehicle and made him walk back. Any answer to the song not being so bad is bitten back though when a bit of information is shared, first by the driver and the Flint who explains further. The last second warning almost has the Valen jostled off of his seat as he wasn't ready. Fuck! He mutters inside his own helmet, barely maintaining balance, before he mutters something about horses being more tame than this trawler.

When Nitrim speaks, Ana looks over at him with amusement. "Who would want to?" Yeah it's hot, but she settles in. The bump about makes her bounce off the seat and drop her sword, but she manages to keep herself up with her sword on her lap. Looking up at Erik, she grins. "Second thoughts, Erik?" Looking comfortable despite the heat, but then again she's used to it.

Lifting her visor to rub her temple, which is beginning to ache because of how severe her frown is, Soleil also takes the opportunity to have a last few puffs on her vapor cigarette. Igniting it with a tap, she inhales deeply and then leans over to adjust her combat boot, working her heel into greater comfort. She's unusued to armor, but armor is not entirely unlike some of the outfits she used to wear before 'The Reformation'. It fits her well, suggesting it wasn't borrowed— and looks freakishly badass in a svelte way— also suggesting it wasn't borrowed. When you have money, it's easy to tailor every detail of your life just how you want it.
She glances at Nitrim. Well. Almost every detail.
The frigid look on her face that she had soothed away with her fingertips returns, and again she looks out the window.

Again, Devon seems to take the rather rigorous bump with her own swaying body. Nitrim might have to endure a rather sudden joustle of her shoulder against his, though she does not seem distracted by the rocking movement. She ceases her humming though at Flint's words, and she lifts her head so those glass-colored eyes may easily rest on her Uncle. She rolls her shoulders again before she finally offers a gentle commentary, "I'm sure we will find them all drunk and playing cards."

"Storms s'not so bad now." Zapp comments, leaning forward to better a better look at the sky form his seat. The sky is an angry reddish-gray, clear sunlight hardly ever penetrates the layer of ash and dust in Ignis's atmosphere, but after an ash storm blows through, it's better than usual, though still with a haziness to it. That could also be the scorching heat. "The comm towers should be the first thing we see comin' over tha ridge. Covered in blue lights to help guide crawlers in a bad storm" The massive engine roars as they begin an incline. "D-4 is bruined inta tha mountain range here. The comm tower an tha loading bay doors are tha only signs of the place, beyond the trail here, an sometimes ya can't make that out inna bad storm."

Getting up from his spot, Flint moves down the walkway between the two lines of seating to the front passenger seat. He taps on console set into the dashboard. "Mining Facility D-4, this is Sir Flint Grantham, does anyone respond, over?" The static is the response. The Knight tries again, but with same response. "We've come to offer aid-"

Suddenly, the speakers explode with a burst of static that could've bordered as the sound of metallic shrieking, shrill and sharp. Flint jerks back. "What the hell was that?"

Zapp blinks. "Static electricity buildup on the tower. Happens from all tha dust that's picked up. Comm tower usually disperse it when it gets to be too much" Pause. "Though…never heard it quite like that before. Though if it ain't workin'…must mean the tower's out." As the crawler peaks over the ridge, the tower comes into sight. There are no blue lights signaling it's presence. And the two massive metal door that lead to the loading bay?

Both of them are jarred open."

"Could you, Lyrienne? Or perhaps a cover?" Nitrim's shoulder is hit and he jostles in his seat, sending the ripple-wave of physical contact to the next person down the line…Lyrienne. It's like doing the wave. His shoulder, in turn, bangs against hers and he reaches to the handgrip above his head to keep himself steady. There's no need to apologize, it's a rough ride. He turns his gaze across the row to Johana, fighting for her eye contact to give a suggestive, teasing look with a big grin and a scant nod towards Erik. He's complaining. The Khourni smell blood in the water with complaining, he can't help but tease her. He opens his mouth to speak and the strange static stops him. "That doesn't sound like card playing…" He comments, glancing to Devon and then he turns his attention to Soleil, watching her quietly. His brow lowers.

"No." Comes the rather quick answer from Erik to Johana's answer, perhaps too quick as it was also spoken with a bit of tightness. If there are second thoughts about joining this little expedition into the mine that lost contact, the Valen certainly wouldn't admit it. When Flint begins to attempt communication with the mining facility, the Valen's helmet swivels so that his gaze is directed to the front of the trawler. With the sudden squeal and shriek of static, Erik winces before shaking his head, until the facility actually comes into view. "How vicious can the storms get? Seems like this one did some serious damage to the facility." Enough to blow the doors in apparently.

The sharp and violet squeal of static is enough to draw Devon's attention toward the communicator systems. She reaches up, gently pushing aside the cowl attached to her armor as she slowly starts to stand, hand lifting to brace against the ceiling of the crawler. She pauses just long enough to pick up her helmet. She stares through the windshield of the car at the loading bay doors. "No, it doesn't," Devon finally says to Nitrim before she glances over toward him. Her eyes wash white briefly, a little spark of fiery aura crawling up the coal-colored exterior of her armor, and then it blinks out into nothingness once more. The Awakened woman breathes out a steady exhale before she starts to pull her helmet on, twisting her multicolored braid beneath it.

Lyrienne winces at the shriek from the comm, grip tightening around her quiver as she bumps against Nitrim in turn. "Not particularly promising," she agrees. Her eyes wash white as well, though they stay that way as she holds onto her power. Her aura is less than intimidating, a gentle, shimmering wash of turquoise, gold, and pale pink that travels in waves like an aurora. "Do they keep any animals inside?" she asks quietly. "A mascot of sort, maybe a cat or a dog? Canary for air quality?"

"Pretty sure that canary is dead," Soleil pipes up. First thing she has said, and she offers no more.

The ripple effect works on both sides, Johana draws her feet in when Flint walks by, but she continues riding out the journey. Catching Nitrim's eye, she notices the look and deciphers it fairly well. Giving him an almost imperceptible shrug of one shoulder, and a slight quirk of her lips, she's more or less taking the complaining and responding with a whatever will be, will be, but she doesn't exactly look unhappy about it either. At Erik's answer, her brows arch that it's so quick and she can't help but laugh. Maybe she hadn't just been asking about the expedition. Looking ahead, she frowns, dropping her visor. It sure didn't look good. Glancing back at Soleil, Lyrienne and Devon just then, to see their take.

Smile receding as the levity in the room is absolutely strangled to death by the eerie screeching from the facility, the side of Nitrim's face is awash in the glow of Devon's aura. No doubt being communicated with, he looks over to her and gives her a stern nod of his head. They all feel it. He reaches to his hip and pulls out a black cloth, which he ties over his skull and forehead to keep the sweat away. Tugging the strands into place in black, he plants a kiss to his fingertips and then places them to the painted image of Daliah on his armor. "Sage and Crone guide them if there's trouble. We'll know soon enough, aye?" He offers the assembled people, and then presses a button on his wrist. Piece-by-piece his helmet rolls and assembles into place, disguising his features in a dome of muted gold. He tucks his cowl over the top of it and rises, locking his scabbard into place. His armor ripples for a second, aura wafting before it dissipates.

"Don't keep supplies for pets." Zapp says, who, if he wasn't unnerved by the sound over the speakers, does not like the look of the door. "They ain't -ever- supposed to be open. Don't open until a crawler is right at it. Against regulations. D-4 is a sealed facility in case of a chemical explosion. There's a lotta volitile stuff in mining facilities."

Flint's eyes narrow. "Park the crawler just outside the door, we'll use the door as cover in case there's anything in there." Turning back to the rest of those in crawler. "Alright, given the outlook: no power, comms, and doors open, we're going in assuming this is a hot zone. If you don't have a headlamp on your suit, grab a flashlight. We'll need to get power restored and check the station's logs. Non-combatants," he pauses to glance at Lyrienne and Soleil, "stay in the back. Nitrim and Devon, you're with them. Sir Erik and Sir Johana, you're with me in the front."

The terrain suddenly evens out near the enterance, the mountains looming overhead, and the lifeless comm tower with it. "Wh-what about me, Sir?" Zapp utters.

"Stay with the crawler. Three hours. If we're not back in that amount of time. Go back to the Pit and report what happened." At that point, his helmet breaks away from his chestplate, folding up and around his head. "Everyone ready to step outside?"

Before Soleil flips her visor down, should anyone by any slim chance be looking her way, they'll see some of the severity on her countenance wash away. But it leaves in place something cool and grim— maybe something kind of hopeless.
Her visor drops and she gives an affirmative nod to Flint, thoroughly versed in how important it is to pay attention and follow instructions, even if she's not a military flunkie. She checks her suit status and adjusts the temperature via a tiny panel on her inner forearm.

"Yes, Sir," Lyrienne nods to Flint, gaze steady. She may not be a soldier, but she seems to have picked up the knack of following orders, at least. A few fiddles with the controls on her suit see it wash to a stony dark color, and a headlight flicker on, aiming downward so as not to blind anyone else on the crawler. "Ready when you are, Sir," she adds quietly, standing and slinging her quiver over her shoulder.

Devon nods with Zapp's words, glancing her helmeted head toward Johana and then to the others. She rolls her shoulder back a bit as Flint gives the orders, and she casts a masked glance toward Soleil. Then she offers a quick nod to her Uncle before she reaches across her back for her axe, pulling it from its obtuse shealth. Simultaneously does that fiery aura return as she summons up her own psychometric shielding.

Erik didn't want to offer the possibility that there could be Hostiles present, perhaps not wishing to be the bearer of dire news but with orders being given by Flint, there is no further discussion from the Valen. The visor is pulled down securely and the Valen quickly orders his AI to do a quick armor check while he rises to his feet, ready to disembark. "Ready." Is the clear response coming through the comms.

Already standing, Nitrim reaches to his wrist and flips a switch. The large headlamp on his shoulder bursts outward in a wash of pale, red light designed to preserve a human's natural night vision. Rolling his shoulders to bleed away the tension, he starts down the aisle towards the hatch, patting and shrugging peoples' shoulders as he goes in a sign of solidarity. "Understood, Sir Flint. We'll take good care of them." He says, having just shaken Lyrienne's shoulder. Soleil's is next in turn. With that, he pulls down a hard lever at the hatch and a WHOOOOSH of air washes over the exit, designed to keep the extreme heat and ash of Ignis' surface out of the cabin. Holding his scabbard to his hip, he steps down the ramp as it lowers and takes a guard position near the exit on the ground level.

At the command from Flint, Johana doesn't question it. Giving a nod, she rises and refastens her scabbard before drawing out her sword.. She's going front, she's going armed. "Ready, Sir Flint." She'd met him several times before, so she was fairly familiar with him. Visor down, she communicates with her AI. "Mark friendlies."

"Ah…alright. I'll just be here…waiting. By myself." Zapp utters, swallowing hard. After Flint leaves the front, a door closes, sealing the front from the passenger part, allowing the door to be open.

"We have our orders, three hours to sweep the facility and get back to the crawler. Stay in comm contact if you can. The ore of the mountain can mess with internal communications. So no one goes anywhere alone." That said, he hits the release on the hatch. Hot ashen wind fills the back of the cab. Temperature controls systems kick into place but already there's the sensation that not even that will keep all of the heat, especially for those who are wearing less armored layers. Stepping out, Flint looks up at the comm tower and then forward at the open doors. Boots leave footprints in the swirling ash. If there was any doubt before, there is none now: Ignis is a hellish world. With a run, the Ash Knight comes up to the opening to side of one of the doors. A layer of ash is inside before darkness enveloups whatever else is inside.

There is no sound coming from inside. Just the howl of wind.

Soleil seems to glance at Nitrim as he pats her shoulder. An expensive suit like hers, not meant for real combat, has the benefit of letting the attitude of the person inside really come through, since there's no unnecessary bulk in the flawless design. Posture says a lot, and she seems still able to fire ice shards with posture alone. She passes Nitrim, and has her first look around one of the few areas she's never visited a single time in her life.Having come solely for observation's sake and to report back, she initializes the near microscopic camera on her visor, so it can record everything she sees. The folks back at the palace are in for a fun Blair Witch kind of ride, starring Nitrim Khournas and ample swearing.

Stepping up towards the entrance quietly, taking a guard position over Soleil and Lyrienne, Nitrim gets a glimpse of an open entryway. This is Ignis; entryways are not left open. His thumb shoves up the hilt of his sword and he draws it to carry along his side as they go. The shoulder-mounted torch sways, moving in turn with the AI in his suit as it tracks his eye movement as it sweeps the inside of the complex. His fingertips tighten around the grip of his sword….waiting.

Devon maintains stride with Nitrim and the pair of Sauveur noblewomen. Though her expression is unseen, the deep frown that sets her lips is heard in her voice. "Uncle… are we certain that this is caused by an ash storm?" She adjusts her grip on the leather-wrapped hilt of her axe, measuring the weight of the weapon in her palm. She rolls her shoulders a bit as she regards the communication tower with an upward tilt of her chin.

Disembarking from the trawler, Erik's suit's environmental system quickly kics into full gear but even then, it isn't enough to keep the wearer cool and comfortable. The Valen finally realizes just how hot the wastes can be out on the Crescent. No comments are made about the heat though as he approaches the side of the other door that Flint did not move to. As he proceeds, Erik unsheathes his bastard sword, peeking inside into the darkness, his AI activating the lowlight vision system.

"Uh huh," Lyrienne says quietly to Nitrim, aura still shimmering around her form. "I'll hold you to that, cousin." Sweat has already broken across her brow, the suit meant for the more temperate climes of Arboren, but she walks steadily, leaving little more than footprints behind her that are easily hidden by the wind. "Light," she murmurs, with a swirling gesture of one hand, summoning up a gentle ball of witch light to provide something a little more omni-directional than the headlights.

When Flint steps out, Ana climbs our right behind him, her sword already drawn. Her armor tinted red except at certain angles it looks black, her Ibrahm colors, she looks towards the doors, crouching just a little so her legs are already bent if something jumps at her. It's eerily silent and something was definitely off.

"Devon, I'm not certain of anything right now. But you know as well any other resident of Ignis, neice: we do not leave doors open. That's how people die." Flint states, echoing Nitrim's thoughts. "All I know is that something isn't right here." He's still looking inside the wide gaping doorway into darkness. "Thanatos, shoulder lamp." A bulb embedded in his pauldron flickers to life, throwing the beam into the doorway. From what little is shown into the loading bay, there's crates strewn about, ash, sand, and dust has covered everything in a thin layer. He throws the light around before cautiously starting to move inside, bar mace kept in it's one-handed state for the moment. "Clear." he utters moving inside. "Let's get this door closed, we can't restore envromental systems with it hanging open."

From what can be seen by the assorted lamps, and balls of Awakened-powered light, something happened here by the way everything is arranged. Like equipment and supplies were tossed about. There's even a crawler that had been rolled onto it's side in it's parking stall. Dim red lights glow, suggesting that there's at least reserve power for emergency lights. They through bloody shadows across the floors and railings.

Soleil breathes out, exasperated, and turns to Nitrim, eyes seemingly flashing behind her visor. "WHAT?" she asks him.

Making sure everyone's through, Nitrim reaches out behind the others and grunts, giving the heavy door a solid tug to get it moving again. Once the latch clicks, he gives Flint a thumbs-up and moves back to his guard position. His lamp moves with his head's movement, grazing over the scene of destruction and the dark, splotch splashes over the ground and handrails. His shoulders rise and fall, and a soft sigh escapes his lips to their connected communication line. "An overturned crawler…" He comments, and then his expressionless faceplate turns to look to Soleil. Like a golem, he remains still for a moment before his aura simmers again, no doubt communicating with her. "Stay close, Lyrienne, Soleil." He says, turning away from Soleil and gazing forward to Devon, Erik, Johana and Flint. There can be no doubt anymore, this place is dangerous.

Devon grimaces, the noise almost hidden as her vocorder quiets. She rallies deep within her armor, feeling the familiar comforts as she regards the others with careful, calculating glance. Then she steps aside a bit, allowing Nitrim and Soleil that special space. She seems to be falling back toward Lyrienne, deciding this is a far better target to protect right now. She frowns a bit as she peers within the shadows, and then her throat catches a bit as she spots the side-turned crawler.

"Knock it off, you two," Lyrienne says quietly to Nitrim and Soleil. "Let's focus on the task at hand, all right?" She keeps the light globe glowing, fingers dancing in a slow pattern to guide it around the room. Her head tilts at a sound, and she looks to the others. "Did you hear that? There shouldn't be children here, should there?"

Stepping deeper into the facility, Erik sweeps his gaze from one side to the other before settling on the overturned trawler, the edge of his eyes tightening when it is spotted. "Either that ash storm was incredibly storm or whatever got in here decided to have a little fun." The Valen can already tell that this mission may have just escalated to a much more dangerous status. When the HUD flickers, Erik could've sworn he saw something and tries to search for it again, but is unable to relocate.

Johana is through and remaining by Flint and Erik, her sword is drawn and her low light is working very well so long as there are no sudden flashes of blinding light she'll remain doing just fine too. Each step she takes is deliberately slow, carefully watching where she is going. She says very little, preferring to listen for any sounds that don't belong. Any sounds like that screeching from earlier. Seeing the Crawler, she arches a brow and looks it over. Then she looks at Erik and Flint, but says nothing even yet.

Soleil stares at Nitrim for a long, possibly sceptic-fueled moment before she turns without another word. Moving away a little, she cautiously begins noting every detail, aware the plot is thickening, as it were, and this whole mission is taking a turn. She glances at Lyrienne, and then suddenly, for some reason, she straightens and does a thorough sweep of the room.

"We're fine. Time nor place." Nitrim replies flatly to Lyrienne with a nod of his head. Working to keep things all business, he moves forward to provide them with his guard as they start to inspect the room. Tilting his ear, as if it will help, he gives his head a shake and looks back to Lyrienne. "I do not hear any children. Just us talking." He comments, the cowl of his over-armor cloak pulling as he steps past a bloodstain. "Are any of you picking up any local comm-feeds or entertainment-feeds?"

Devon hesitates just a moment, halting mid-step. Her head sweeps around, looking directly over her shoulder a moment. And then she continues to step forward, clearing her head with a slow exhale.

"Children?" Flint turns to glance at Lyrienne. "No. Mining facilities like these are only for volunteers. Not a place for children." Pause. "Why?" he asks, before he too glances at the crawler, but his attention goes to Nitrim for a moment. "Local? Nitrim, we're in the middle of fucking -nowhere-. There's no local anything." Then he moves away, taking not of the shipping equipment in the rafters that move large crates to be set on crawlers. There's landing with a set of stairs nearby. There's a pair of hatchways along one wall. One is….welded shut. The other is jarred open, as if it was pulled open. He kneels down infront of the one that's closed. "It's….welded. From the outside." A glance at the nameplate. "TO MESS HALL."

"Well, we've all seen this movie," Soleil notes in a deadpan, moving over to inspect the door so her camera gets a good read on it. "The question is, what did they want to keep in there, yeah?" She reaches out and puts a flat palm to the surface of the door, then runs a gloved hand down the welding. Suddenly she stiffens and draws back, and this time she's not looking at Nitrim to ask him what the flying fuxor he wants. She just looks…startled.

"I heard a child cry," Lyrienne explains to Flint, frowning slightly behind her helmet. "Sorry, maybe it's just my imagination. Julien's starting to teethe and it's just my luck he's coming out Awakened." She doesn't seem particularly inclined to open the doorway, though she does step forward to knock gently against the metal. "Hello?" she calls. "Anyone in there?"

Pausing at the crawler, Johana reaches out with her gauntlet covered hand and runs fingers over the side, a frown in her voice as she speaks on the comm. "Doesn't appear to be Hostiles… unless they stole the blasters from the workers or guards here. Come check this out. Scorch marks from blasters. Someone was blasting our own?" Unexplicable.. The words from Lyrienne bring her further confusion. "A child?"

While the others are studying the welded door or working out what Lyrielle may have saw, Erik remains silent as he continues to slowly sweep his gaze. Eyes focus on the welded door, then the one that was pulled open rather harshly, before going to the set of stairs that lead up.

Nitrim's aura suddenly flares as both he and the flame-serpent of his aura whip their heads over their shoulder, to the left. Forearm raising just a little with his sword, as if expecting to see someone or something, he stalls. There's nothing there. He even goes so far as to pull the cowl down off of his head, as if they slight extra bit of vision will make any difference. Instead, his shoulder-lamp scans the area behind him defensively. For a full ten seconds, he watches, but then turns back towards the others and steps over to the doors. His headlamp floods the wrenched-open door, guarding it. Pay no mind to what spooked him. "I'm sure Julien is fine, My Lady. Perhaps some of the miners went mad. With luck if there's security here, somewhere inside, they can answer for this…"

"Flint…" Devon whispers softly as she turns to look behind her quite deliberately. Her gauntlet twists on her axe handle, and she looks up sharply toward the ceiling above. Then she glances over toward Lyrienne, snapped back into the present as she regards her through that blanket faceplate. She then notices the door where Flint has kneeled, and she steps up a bit closer toward the familiar Grantham. She relaxes finally, shaking her head clear of whatever it might have been that caught her offguard. "The only reason you weld a door like that is to keep something in," she says, perhaps a touch obviously.

"There, again," Lyrienne murmurs, pausing her knocking and tilting her head to try to listen more closely. Her aura flares, colors deepening and waving more quickly as she tries to extend her senses. "I heard it again, from behind the door. No one else is hearing that?" She takes another step toward the door, intent.

"No. I am not hearing that." Nitrim murmurs to Lyrienne, following the group. "Check your comms."

"You only weld a door shut to keep something in, right." Flint nods. "The question is, why blasters. Unless we're not dealing with Hostiles here." He goes back to standing. "So what is it? Theives? Terrorists?" He's just about to step away from it when the door is struck. -Hard-. By something behind it. And then, an ear-pericing screeching sound of a scream behind it, and what sounds like claws raking against metal just behind it. It's all muffled but it's clear to hear. The Ash Knight staggers back, the noise defeaning in his helmet. Then suddenly the padding of footsteps as it moves off. And for a moment, he's visably jarred. "Wh….what the hell."

Quite a bit less cavalier than she was a moment ago, Soleil keeps sweeping the room. "No, I am definitely not hearing any brats," she notes offhandedly to Lyrienne. She glances to Nitrim but looks away as if uncomfortable with seeing him, quite a shift from her earlier dagger stares. The sudden rush at the door startles her too, and she backpedals fast enough to stumble a little. Something already has her on edge in a big way, then, THAT. "Flint, do they ever dig up, you know, uh…anything /odd/ here?"

Erik's gaze suddenly shifts from the top of the stairs as he appears to have spotted something with the way his helmet swivels and his body turns to track. Suddenly, he calls out, "Johana! Watch out!" As if a shout of warning and the Valen is quickly closing the distance between himself and the Ibrahm. He was able to cut out with his blade but then his movements slow to a stop, "What the fuck was that." However, whatever it was is replaced by the more immediate threat of the hard screeching sound.

Lyrienne jumps back from the door, a ball of electricity sparking between her hands at the sudden sound. "So, that didn't sound like a child, and if there's a child in there, I think it's probably too late," she says breathlessly, a little wide-eyed as she looks to the others. "Um. Suit, check air filters," she says quietly, watching the scan of information across the HUD.

Armor and steel shift as the door is struck, and Nitrim raises his sword to a guarded position at the sudden interruption. Not so much spooked as he is put into instant adrenaline-mode, he waits until he hears the skittering away before he calms again, but the sword doesn't come down. "It's not a child. Couldn't be." He says, as if reassuring the rest of the room and maybe himself, too. But then suddenly again, he's glancing over his shoulder once more, lamp sweeping behind him. What's worse…is what he says towards the darkness. "…No."

Devon looks equally startled by the noises, swinging her entire body around just as handfuls of fire gather in her palms. They remain there, blazing brightly like handsized suns. Then then lapse into nothing once more as she tries to calm the intense thudding in her chest. Then she looks over toward Nitrim. "Nitrim…" She says softly. "What do you see?"

"Old dreams." Nitrim replies to Devon, giving his head a little shake and turning back to the group as a whole. "Something is whispering things to me over my comm-system, I think. It sounds so close. My mind is playing tricks on itself, no worries." He tries to play it down. "Just chasing shadows."

Soleil IS spooked. You don't live the kind of unbalanced f*cked-up life she's had without being susceptible to spooky things. "I think my suit's malfunctioning," she says in a kind of faint voice that carries with it a full picture of just how uneasy she is. She looks at Nitrim, but whatever she's feeling is a bit too intense to be put to rest by the quasi-rational content of his words. She moves away from him. For no reason.

Flint brings a hand up to his head, as if he just had a headache. "We…can't." he stammers for a moment. "We can't let…whatever that thing is roam free in here. The other door. Let's head through the other door." The door had been jarred open, is labled 'OPERATIONS' and 'TO MINES'. "We alright? My suit HUD is. Isn't not working so good right now. So I think we need to get moving before anything else decides it wants to drop by."

The door was welded shut? Johana looks towards it, but momentarily, she remains by the crawler, studying the scorch marks on it. Definitely not Hostile. Trying to puzzle things out, she tips her head to the side… but just then she hears the claw-like sound and the voice… what?? Stiffening, frozen in place, she doesn't even hear Erik, no. Stumbling a few steps backwards, she's wide-eyed at some mysterious thing only she can see. "Noo.."

"Lysandra?" Lyrienne breathes more quickly, that ball of electricity between her hands crackling and popping. "That's not possible. Lyssie's at home. There wouldn't even be time to get her here. Sir Flint-" She swallows, trying to force herself to breathe more slowly, drawing on years of training for voice and mind alike. "Sir Flint, I would swear to you that my daughter is in there. Something is wrong here."

"What?" Devon says sharply toward Nitrim, though she twists her body to look over his shoulder. She shakes her head a bit, reaching her hand up to touch her own head as if trying to clear something. She then breathes out a steady exhale, and with it she murmurs a single name: "Zayne…" Then she looks up toward Flint. "I think… we should keep going."

"Yes, let's move." Nitrim agrees with the others. Reaching out to the center of Soleil's back, he guides her forward, careful to place himself in the rear of the group where he doesn't trust. Readjusting his grip on his sword, the calls from the others sound into his ears and he shakes his head. "This place is playing tricks. Ignore them there's no way they could possibly be here." His helmet swivels to watch Johana, but there's just enough hope in his words to suggest he's talking to himself as well. They're just echoes. Right?

Erik is looking around the area to try to find whatever it was that he saw but when he gives Johana a second glance, the grip on his blade loosens completely as it falls to the ground, metal clattering against the surface. "Oh shit, Ana! I tried, it was too quick!" He then looks towards the others, "We need a medic! She's wounded, she needs medical attention ASAP!"

Lifting her blade, Johana takes on a defensive stance, her back to the crawler, eyes wide with fear. She doesn't scream, she doesn't run, she's prepared to stand and fight whatever it is.. Not again… no, this could not possibly be happening again. The others fade to nonexistence for her and suddenly she is in an ally but this time there's no Beth. No Thalo. They were coming back for her like they promised. The sound of Erik's voice just barely penetrates her own horror and she looks down. Was she already wounded? Was she too late? "GET BACK! I WON'T GO ALIVE!" Blindly swinging her blade now, around her, keeping her back at the crawler.

Flint, for anyone that's been checking, has been locked up in his place, hand on part of the hatch that had been pried open. "No…" is all he says before he tries to shake his head clear. "Everyone, we need to fucking focus! We need to figure this out." Then he turns to take in Erik and Johana. "What the hell? What the hell is going on? We haven't even left the damn loading bay." He breathes, trying to catch himself, steady himself. "Lyrienne, Nitrim, Soleil, you all still here?"

Confusion washes her expression though it is unseen behind the mask of her helmet. At the word of a medic, she shakes away the soft whispers that seem to be hissing in her ears as she focuses on Johana. She moves quickly toward the Young Lady of Ibrahm. She gets only a few steps though before she staggers a moment, shaking away the noise in her ears. "I'm… here," she half-chokes toward Flint at the sound of her name.

"Fuck." Nitrim growls as Erik and Johana begin to unravel. Angered, by something, his aura flashes out brightly. The serpent on his shoulder pools to life in orange light and begins to swim around his torso. His free, empty hand becomes wreathed in flame as he prepares to hurt something, but he hesitates. He glances over his shoulder to the blood-splattered room behind him. "I'm going to find you and kill you…I'll burn you alive for this. You are not my keeper. You will suffer." He hisses, and then the flame dissipates from his arm, aura remaining. "Johana! Erik! Yes…Sir Flint. I am with you." He straightens, keeping himself in the game.

Soleil's personal issues with Nitrim— and whatever's going on with her 'suit malfunction'— kind of take a backseat to the crazy that suddenly erupts with Johana and Erik. "What the fuck??" she exclaims and— hell, yes, she does actually let the whole 'so-pissed-at-Nitrim-I-wouldn't-give-him-the-satisfaction-of-helping-me' thing slip for now. Besides that— it's one thing to look at a situation rationally, to realize everyone's acting weird and hearing things and there must be some reasonable scientific explanation— but in the moment, all she can think is that everything has gone crazy. "I'm here!"

"Still here," Lyrienne answers Flint, turning to take a look at Erik and Johana as they start shouting. Letting the ball of electricity between her hands dissipate, she turns her focus to minds instead, aura flaring. Focus on my voice, she sends to the party with as much force as she can muster. Close your eyes and focus on the dark.

The flailing of Johana's blade has Erik dancing back half a step, the tip of the weapon almost making contact with his armor, "Ana, stop!" For now, the Valen doesn't take another step closer, his eyes still on the perceived wound with the Ibrahm's blade keeping him at bay. However, Lyrienne's voice somehow fills his mind, his head turning to the side as if to find the source before following its direction, his eyes closing.

Laughter… Why would she.. After a moment, Johana suddenly stills, her arms going slack so that her blade touches the ground and she shudders, squatting down, she ducks her head, the relief she feels is so great it expands beyond the here and the now. Her shoulders shake once. Twice. Lifting her head, she has twin trails of moisture trailing down her cheeks and Ana never cries. Not ever. Swiping the back of her hand across each cheek, she rises once more. Swallowing hard, she looks towards the others. "I'm sorry. I.. I don't even know what.. happened." Sure she does, but she definitely doesn't know why.

Flint looks like he had been running from a marathon. Something had him breathing, but it's hard to really say what. He hasn't exactly been talkative on whatever he's been seeing. But he's been trying to focus on the job on hand, for all the good it's done him. Or the rest of them. "I really don't like the sound of my own voice." he notes to nobody in particular. "If there's anything that pisses me off, it's fighting something I can't see." He shed his lamp down the hallway, then suddenly jerks it away. "Oh…Crone above." he murmurs. "Fair warning, no one is going to enjoy going down this hallway."

Devon leans over her knees, taking in huge gasps of air as she tries to refocus her mind. She hears Lyrienne's voice in her head, and she almost reacts violently to the mental intrusion. And then she relaxes, and she looks up at Lyrienne with a sober nod of her head. She closes her eyes, listening to her heart, her breathing. She then straightens up slowly, and then she starts toward Flint's voice. "Why…?" She starts to ask

"All right," Lyrienne says quietly once the others seem to steady, taking a deep breath and letting it out very slowly. "I'm going to keep a touch on everyone, okay? Can't be any worse than the music on the ride over, right?" she says with a weak attempt at humor. "You're going to feel me, but if you can feel me, then maybe we'll be better able to tell if something else is creeping in. Devon, Nitrim, Soleil? I need someone to keep tabs on me in turn, okay?"

The respite from crazy doesn't restore Soleil to normal. She's had a rough month as it is. "I'm just taking a wild guess it has something to do with the blood and lack of a human welcoming committee," she says, drawing a very deep breath. She checks the suit's status, kind of relieved but kind of not relieved to find it's functioning exactly like it's supposed to, and all her vitals are normal under the circumstances. "This is like a bad trip," she moans, before moving to follow. She doesn't volunteer for keeping tabs.

Nitrim's mind is made steeled by Lyrienne's assistance, but the hackles at the back of his neck start to calm. Whatever has been bothering him has passed, and he seems all the more grateful for it. Gritting his teeth behind his mask, his voice is hard, perturbed. "Whatever this is, I'm sure it can die and I'm sure we're more than capable of making that happen." He says to the others, boots clunking on the ground to a position where he can look into the hallway. His aura flickers and he nods his head. "Yes, Lyrienne. I'll keep watch over us as well. Just be careful that we can't make each other worse with whatever this is."

The hallway that Flint is indicating is a bloodbath. As if about five people had been blow apart with grenades in a closed confined space and this is the result. There isn't one part of the hallway that isn't covered with some sort of human viscera, body parts are strewn apart like so much pasta that had been thrown all over. What isn't dried red is scorched black, pot marks of blaster fire and hand hald mining tools used as blunt instruments are left lying about.

"I've seen some nasty shit in my time…." Flint mutters continuing down. Footsteps aren't squishy so much as crunch, as left to the outside heat of Ignis with those doors opens have dired everyting within the area." The further in, they come to one body that's been left mostly intact. "What the…." the Ash Knight's voice dries up. Kneeling down, he shies his light better. It's human alright, but it looks like….machinery has been grafted onto it's body. And not in the clean cybernetic way. This mining equipment that's been burned, melt, riveted onto the body. The body has been day for a few days, but with the heat and wind seeping it, it's dried considerably faster, flesh having gone brown and leathery. There are no identifying remarks on the body, but what is interesting is the symbol of the Changry burned into his forehead.

His focus returning to Johana for a moment, Erik can see that she is no longer mortally wounded but rather upset, which is the better of the two. Realizing that his blade has fallen, the Valen turns to retrieve it before asking a quiet question to the Ibrahm over private comms. he then turns to rejoin the others at the hallway that Flint was indicating to, the grisly scene coming as quite the shock.

Lyrienne pales as she steps up to the hallway, swallowing back bile. Puking in the suit is bad. Really bad. Instead, she focuses on touching the minds of the groups, keeping up a low litany, a quiet mantra from the Arboren druidic tradition meant to help focus and center. As they come on that last corpse, though, she cries out softly. It's a testament to years of training that the mantra doesn't falter, but her steps do, hand rising to where her mouth is behind her faceplate.

"Alright, Lyrienne," she murmurs to her, nodding her head. She starts forward, stepping in after Flint. Alright. Devon has been to medical school, she's tended to battlefield wounds, but something about this hallway sends her reeling. She takes a deliberate step back as if resisting the urge to flee. She straightens up purposeful in her armor, trying to steel herself against the sight. She swallows thickly as she steps forward, keeping close to Nitrim as she does.

Certainly not normal. Nothing about this place was normal. Even though she can feel Lyrienne, Johana still has a solid memory from her younger years that had just been brought front and center and her skin was still crawling. No, definitely not normal. Forcing herself to look towards the hallway in question, she takes a halting step towards it, still visibly shaken, but pushing herself through it. Hearing Erik's voice she suddenly lifts her head and once more she focuses on speaking into the comm in return. Only then does she follow to the hall, bile rising in her throat… she does manage to keep it down though. Just barely. Yeah that could be messy.

Soleil is a hardened something, but not a hardened warrior, and within a few moments of stepping into the hall, she's gone sickly pale. She doesn't utter a word as she forces herself to look at everything, the camera picking it up while her mind tries to block it out. Viscera— viscera brings back bad memories, and by the moment, the sight of the carnage is growing less and less sustainable. But it's the last body and the sign torched on it's face that has the girl jerking away. And because you really can't throw up in a suit, nasty climate or no nasty climate, she has to lift her visor and throw up. The wave of heat that hits her as the environmental status of her suit is interrupted doesn't help, and she's left reeling against the wall. That'll need to be edited out of the video log.

Nitrim hesitates at the doorway, but after a second's decision he continues forward. He's seen many a bad thing in his day, but nothing with his waking eyes. The fingers of his hand flex open and closed, time after time, as he murmurs something softly to himself. "Iad. Iad Mozod Zir…" It sounds Hermetic. Nudging Devon's arm, he motions to the body with the charred forehead and leans a hand down to Soleil's shoulder while she vomits. His eyes scan the others and glance back to the head of the hallway. "Sir Flint. I have reason to believe that the Hostile are here in some capacity. Erik. Johana. We've dreamt of this…brand." His voice is hoarse and smokey, fighting the bile in the back of his throat. He gives a pointed look to Lyrienne. The dreams.

"Alright, Lyrienne," she murmurs to her, nodding her head. She starts forward, stepping in after Flint. Alright. Devon has been to medical school, she's tended to battlefield wounds, but something about this hallway sends her reeling. She takes a deliberate step back as if resisting the urge to flee. She straightens up purposeful in her armor, trying to steel herself against the sight. She swallows thickly as she steps forward, keeping close to Nitrim as she does. It is then that her gaze falls on the face of one of the body's, and she steels herself. She then looks over toward Nitrim.

When Nitrim mentions the dreams, Erik's gaze shifts from the branding on the victim's head to the other man, "Hostiles? Why would hostiles be branding something of the Chantry? They're just… machines." The Valen then looks back to the dead, seeing the brutal way that cybernetics were attempted to be grafted on, "Are they trying forceful indoctrination now?"

"His arm is gone." Flint utters, armored hand poking at the replacement limb. "This is a manual drill that's been assembled with hydraulics into an…arm, I guess." Looking down at the body's side, he picks up a pistol. "Hostiles don't use firearms, Nitrim." There's a checking of it. "Empty charge." Standing back up, he looks down where the hall branches. "Operations is down the hall, there has to be some kind of record of what happened here. Something." He shakes his head. "I'm not going to say it's Hostiles until I see one. And so far, I've seen human weapons and some…well, I don't know what the fuck to call this. But we need to move." Booted feet make a crunching sound as it steps on a dried chunk of flesh. Looks like it used to be a human stomach. Or what's left of it.

"No…" Nitrim suddenly says with a shake of his head, looking down to the body. He motions to the cybernetics in the fallen man's face. "…this cannot be related. In our dreams they weren't enhanced. They were us. This is something different I feel." He comments, frowning behind his mask to the fallen man. With a shake of his head, he plants a hand to Devon's shoulder as he passes her, turning to Johana and Erik. "We had dreams, I'll explain later but…something's off. Perhaps whatever madness got us back there got this one. If he had the dream he could have burned it in himself." He says, rather firmly spinning his take on it. Resisting the urge to spit against his faceshield, he urges Soleil and Lyrienne forward, taking up the rear.

"Do you have any Awakened at this station?" Lyrienne asks Flint, still staring down at the desiccated body. The quiet mantra runs through the back of her mind still, runs through the back of all of their minds in tandem, a sort of white noise. "Someone could have…whatever's making us hear things, see things, could've made someone who knew the dream try to act it out." She half-stumbles as Nitrim urges her forward, but catches her step.

The combined wisdom of Lyrienne and Nitrim does seem to offer her some comfort. Though that comfort is short lived as the thing comes to fucking life. She jumps back, almost losing her balance as she scrambles away from the cracking, grinning face. "No… no…" She breathes out hoarsely as she turns away sharply from the corpse, and brings up her hand to her forehead.

Throwing up is no fun, but Soleil's finished, so why does she suddenly emit an agonized whimper? She sounds as if she's about to start crying when she suddenly exclaims, "WHO?? WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU??" She's still reeling, and for the moment hasn't even had the sense to close her visor so her suit can start cooling her again.

Lyrienne yelps suddenly, jumping back from the corpse just as Devon does. Seeing the other woman also react actually seems to reassure her a bit, oddly enough. For a moment. "Shit," she mutters, the volume of the chant in the back of her mind going up just a little bit.

When Johana manages to get herself where Flint is, she doesn't look down. Nope. Not until he mentions moving forward. Then she makes a mistake as she hears his boots crunch against a body part, then her gaze falls on the machine-man-human-drill and… Fuck. It takes her a moment to realize it's… smiling at her. And talking to her. Yet when she does… she screams, stumbling a few steps back, right into Erik, and she screams again, feeling him behind her.

Nitrim's cloak whirls as he suddenly turns towards the fallen, mostly kept together body. Whether it's visibly moved or not, his left arm wreathes in flame as he sticks his hand out towards it and blasts it with a gout of flame. Setting its skin on fire, his arm returns to normal and he plants his boot on its neck, running it through with his sword. His shoulders heave as his heavy breathing is audible over the comms. He's angry.

Erik quickly turns his attention back to the dead when it suddenly smiles and speaks. Before he could do anything though, Johana stumbles into his and with his free arm, he wraps it around the Ibrahm to steady her, "Careful, Johana." He's already repositioning her to the side so he can step forth if needed, depending on how the creature reacts.

Flint's mace ends whatever conversation anyone was hoping to have with the corpse. It crunches sharply against it's head, dried bone and brain crumbling under the weight of the weapon about the same time as Nitrim decides to char-broil it. "Shut up. Get the fuck out of my head." he grunts, lifting his mace back to his side. "I like my corpses dead, not talking." Glancing at Lyrienne, he tries to get everyone moving to Operations. "I don't know, Lady Orelle. It's possible, sure, but I didn't look over the facilities current manifest. Let's go."

As they continue to move down the corridor, the descruction gets even worse. More blaster marks in the wall, furniture pulled into the hallway to be used as makeshift firearms cover. "There was a helluva fight in here." Flint comments. As they go further in, writing appears on the wall. Hermatic symbols painted in blood and….other bodily fluids. Along with the symbols are written wordsing of 'THEY COME' 'ARISE LOST GODS'

Upon coming to the double doors, it's been barricaded with heavy equipment, as if at one point it was the most fortified. But there's a massive gaping hole, metal and plastic warped and ripped to shreds. The hatchway was then beaten down and broken open.

Devon grasps hard at her gut as she tries to find herself once more, clawing at her belly to remind herself what is real and what isn't. She looks over toward Flint at his words, and she wheezes a breath as she feels her stomach give another lurch. She can still smell something familiar… a scent that is clean and soft, but it does not bring her the comfort it normally does. Then she breathes out a slow exhale before she starts to follow the group.

"Whoever did this…" Lyrienne keeps two fingers at Nitrim's back as she walks, trying to ground herself with the Khournas. "It's like they were trying to charge something. The killing is supposed to power giving life to something else." For a moment, the chant she shares through their minds falters, and then it picks up again, shifting to a song of warding.

Watching the fire burn the corpse stirs something in Nitrim, who stands in silence to watch it burn. Eyes behind his mask watching the lick of the flames, he shivers and steps over the body. Fingertips continue to clench in and out as he goes, effectively chomping at the bit and doing his best to get over it. Though as they enter the corridor, his eyes rise to the Hermetic symbols. "Those…mother…fuckers…" He whispers, letting out a bitter sigh. Resisting the urge to get up and burn the symbols from the wall himself, he glances back to the group and casts a paranoid look down the hallway from whence they came. So absorbed in his own, personal attempt to control himself he doesn't bother to decipher the symbols correctly. He rolls his helmeted head and comes to a stop near Devon, Soleil, and Lyrienne. Song of warding or not, something subtle has gotten under Nitrim's skin. Something about fire.

When Johana realizes that she was near Erik, she steps aside so he could do whatever it was he was moving to do. As the corpse burns and dies, she breathes a sigh of relief, remaining nearby Flint when they get to the next room. Seeing the hole in the wall, she frowns. "Mining explosives. Like on the crawler back there, everything indicates to have been done by friendlies. But… why?"

The Ash Witch shudders a bit as she recognizes the symbols, and she shakes her head a bit. "Destruction is necessary when creating a blank canvas for life," she half-murmurs to herself before she glances over toward Nitrim at his whispered words. She closes her eyes tightly, humming something under her breath before she shakes her head a bit. Then she straightens up a bit, squaring up her shoulders with her spine. Then she looks over at Johana. "We have not found the cure for madness," she offers as a reply.

Soleil— maybe the youngest and least battle-hardened of the group— is not quite reduced to a complete mess, but she's showing signs of cracking. She eventually remembers to get her visor down, so at least she's not boiling any more, and has quieted at least.

With Johana stepping to the side, Erik once more has a clear view of the branded corpse and he appears to be studying it just as Flint and Nitrim finish it off. For a moment, the Valen is unmoving, watching as the corpse burns, without a word. Even as the others continue on, he lags back for a moment before trying to shake off what he may have seen.

Waiting until he's in the back of the group, Nitrim stares ahead and nods distantly at what Devon and the others are speaking about. He shakes his head from side to side slowly, watching the room as a whole. Then something snaps his attention again, and this time Nitrim is ready for it. In a split second motion his aura flares and he whips around, blasting a gout of fire back into the hallway that they just came from. "LEAVE ME ALONE" He yells through gritted teeth.

The Ash Witch had been so calm as she follows after her husband's uncle, but her steps falter abruptly. Simultaneously, there is an abrupt explosion of flames around Devon as something unheard and unseen triggers her. She spins toward Flint, reaching out to grab him with a touch if desperate violence. Flame washes up his arms, though he would feel no pain as it is just her aura trying to consume him. "Tell him, Flint… tell him… Please…"

Once they clear a way to getin to Operations, they find more bodies. This time, more of the simuliar machine-grafted humans and more normal looking ones. "Damn, looks like this was their last stand." The commentary about the symbols falls deaf on him, having little to no experience with Awakened matters. Setting his mace in his holster, he moves for one of the consoles, pausing to look back at Nitrim. "Squire! Snap out of it, damnit! Or you're walking home!" Maybe military barking will get him to focus. "Everyone else, start looking for records, see if there's power, even if it's reserves power."

He doesn't get too far before Devon is grabbing at him, staggering as she does some of that kooky pyschometry on him. He blinks hard. "Devon." he squints, forcing back whatever is happening in his own head. "Zayne is dead. -Dead-. Stop listening to whatever is in your voice. It's not him. It's -not- him."

Standing directly behind Nitrim, Lyrienne has about half a second to react to the sudden gout of flame the Khournas produces. The background mental noise of the chant stops abruptly as she summons up a sheet of ice, both hands pressed out in front of herself. NITRIM, she exclaims mentally once she has a chance to think more than one thing at once. NO FIRE.

The moment after Nitrim does it, he knows that he did it. Nearly scorching Lyrienne with his powers, his faceless mask stops and stares at her. Realizing just what he almost has done, his shoulders shove downwards and his aura cuts off entirely like shrugging off a wet poncho. It's a bitter, emotionally dark posture. "I'm…sorry…" He murmurs with a shake of his head to clear the cobwebs. He still keeps their mental communication open, but he cuts himself off from the flame and turns to one of the consoles as well, tapping on the screen with shaking hands. "Understood, Sir Flint. Devon…" He looks over to Lady Devon, chin raised. "…we have to ignore it. All of us…" He says with some shame to his voice, getting to his work.

Once more as she steps towards the room, Johana hears it. The voice. The threats. The same as before and she drops her sword and presses her hands to her ears. "Leave me alone!" The Ibrahm cries out. "Leave me alone!"

There's a rush of steam as fire meets ice, but once the fire cuts off, Lyrienne slowly lowers her crossed arms, letting the last of the icy shield dissolve into mist. "It's okay," she says gently to Nitrim, swallowing once more as she looks around the room. "It's okay. Let's just- let's just focus, okay? I'm going to resume contact," she warns everyone, picking up the mental contact. Johana, focus.

Ughghrghrg. It's too much. Soleil drops out of the group and props herself up against a wall. She could actually be of use here, with that expensive education, but she seems to be losing her girp instead. She'd put her hands to her face but there's that visor in the way, and it seems awkward. She hangs her head, folding her arms, and can be heard breathing deeply. "Who…." is all she says. But a moment later she looks up, finds Nitrim across the room. It's then that she searches her side for the hydration pack and pulls herself together.

Following the others into the Operations room, Erik remains silent as he looks at the aftermath of whatever conflict occurred here. He does look over to Johana as something seems to be afflicting her, knowing that she may be facing her own demons that they can't see. For the Valen, he knows what he saw himself and instead of going to search for records or documents, he returns to the jarred opening of the room. It's as if he's choosing to stand guard, to make sure that nothing will get the jump on the group inside.

Devon can't seem to reconcile Flint's words at first, but then she bows her head a bit as she listens to both his and Nitrim's words. Finally she breathes out a sigh before she rolls her shoulders back a bit. "Dead…" She murmurs, her voice tight. "Zayne is dead." Then her aura starts to recede once more until she stabilizes. She nods her head a bit.

"I am not useless!" Flint suddenly snaps at nothing in particular. "Get the fuck out of my head! I won't be beaten by fucking head games! Get out!" Whatever the Ash Knight was doing with the console is forgotten, arms leaning down on the console, trying to collect himself. "I have purpose. I have reason. You can't take that away from me!"

Devon, Soleil, and Nitrim have a lot more luck with the consoles. There's just enough reserve power in the facilities batteries to access the computer systems. Vid logs are accessed. Appears they stop recording about six days ago.

First Log: A man who appears to be a foreman is sitting in a chair at the very Operation center they're standing in. "Sunday, June 30, PM Report. I swear if home doesn't send that new shipment of foodstuff before this storm rolls in, it's going to be a really shitty week until the next crawler comes on."

Second Log: "Apparently, home base decided to risk a crawler with a food supply. It wasn't schedualed, but you see me bitching about it. Also, I'm going to ask Tiffany out tonight. Been four years building up to this. So…wish me luck, eh?"

Third Log: The Operations room look much like how it does now, shot up and parts destroyed. "Home base! Home base!. This is Facility D-4 sending out a status critical alert. That crawler wasn't filled with supplies it was people! But….they started killing….then they…" covered in soot and blaster burns, the man looks away. "…doing things to us. Sacraficing us to their 'gods'. Hostiles! They -worship- Hostiles! I heard one of them rambling on before we killed him. Said, Hostiles were the Six given flesh, their avatars or some shit. And that we have to go through a change before they'll accept us. I don't know, I don't get it, they're fucking crazy! If you get this, send the Legion. Or blow this place up from orbit, I don't care!" There's a pause. "Oh, gods….they're at the door." Then it's just a rambling of issueing orders before an explosion makes the screen go black.

But there's one log left. It's of one of those machine-humans. He's holding his own eyeballs in his hand, replaced with crude optics. "They coooome…."

The screen goes to static.

Soleil gets herself together enough to start checking the systems, trying to get power to them or find out why they haven't got any, and, if possible, fix the issue. She works without success for a few moments until a frustrated kick brings the machine she's at to life. The video sssssttts on, and she watches the first log play. It's after te third that she's losing her shit again, and this time she actually rips off her helmet and covers her ears, emitting a miserable sound like something awful is inside her head.

When the third log plays, Erik actually looks back into the room, realization dawning upon him, "It's that cult that was leading a procession through the Landing!" He was with Johana that night and now the Valen regrets just letting the fat man and his minions pass. There is a scowl on his face as the young knight turns away, to look back out to the hallway when suddenly, he crumples over and goes down to a knee, a hand going to the side of his helm.

Lyrienne steps in closer to the screen, trying to search for clues, trying to figure out what's happened. "People?" she says softly. "Maybe…maybe the way the Hostiles started?" Before she can continue, though, she cries out sharply, bracing herself against the nearest wall. The quiet background chant falters, then fails, as the young woman slams down her mental shields as tight as she can. In case of an emergency, please secure your own mask before assisting others.

After the logs play, Nitrim's hand comes into a fist and nearly bashes against the console, though he stops himself. His head hangs and he raps his knuckles against the side of his helmet. Whatever he's hearing, he doesn't like it, but he's holding on strong…for a second. He falls forward over the console and holds a hand to the side of his helmet, favoring the machine heavily for support. All but tearing off his helmet, he stumbles back and keeps his sword pointed to the floor, cloak whipping about as he is overcautious. "Cult? Procession?" He looks over to Erik as he moves to the center of the room. "They've got to still be here. There's no other way that this could be."

No longer able to contain her fear, Johana hears the most horrific sound and as it mixes with the logs, the explosion, the words 'they come' just gives her that little extra nudge. Falling to her knees, she throws off her helm, her sword… where was her blade? Gods.. she would not be taken alive. No..

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