07.07.3013: Descent: Part Two
Summary: The investigating team continue their search into the bowels of the mining station, only to find a new monstrosity from the inside.
Date: 07 July 2013
Related: Descent
Devon Erik Flint Johana Lyrienne Nitrim Soleil 

TP Room 3
D-4's Operations deck, low-levels lift, and engineering
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.

When the scream fades, Nitrim stands in the center of the room with his sword pointed towards the floor. Eyes scanning their faces, the pale red of his floodlamp scans all around, causing the blood on the walls to reflect just a little bit. Everything is messy. He looks back to the console and then to Flint. "Where do we go from here?" He asks, trying to find a map. "Is everyone going to be okay?"

Then, it's over. Soleil HAS actually torn off her helmet, and she finds herself on her knees, tears flowing from her eyes, though the urge to cry is gone. Her hair, fittingly black as ink today, is a mess from her hands raking through it. Shaken like a ragdoll, she slowly looks up and around, regaining enough composure and sense of self to be faintly embarrassed— but only faintly. This is hell, is she really going to be all self-conscious about looking fucked up in hell? "Everything's in bit and pieces," she whispers, to no one, and she drops back from her knees to sit on the floor in the debris, overheated, overwrought, and dehydrated.

"I don't think any of us is 'okay'." Flint says, jerking his head, as if to get the last of the sound of his own screaming voice out of his head. "But we're still here and we're still alive, so take solace in that, at least." Another glance at the video. "Hostile cultists. I never thought I'd see the day." Looking at the group, he rolls his shoulders. "This doesn't change anything. We find if there's anyone left living in this place, human or Hostile or otherwise. We save who can, and we kill the rest. But.." he pauses, looking around the dead bodies, the ones that were defending the observation deck. "I don't know if there's anyone left. You think we would've ran into it about now." Turning, he moves to a map of the facility that's stuck to the wall. "Right now, we need to get power back online, which means….we need to…" he glances over at Soleil. "Lady Sauveur, put your helmet back on. I don't want to take any risks until we get enviromentals back up and running." He glances at Lyrienne, jerking his head at downed woman. "…get to here." he jabs his finger. "Engineering. Reconnect the power, then get a signal out to the Pit. Reinforcements."

Having removed her own helmet also, the breathing is harder with the hotter air and Johana slams it back into place when that voice calls out to her. She is beginning to realize it is not reality. "I'm going back for my sword. I'll be back." Turning on her heel she heads back the way she came, just needing some time to compose herself.

"What's all in bits and pieces, Soleil?" Nitrim asks over their comm-link, glancing down to the fallen girl. Pointing his sword into the ground, he goes to one knee before her and reaches out, trying to help her back into her helmet, though he waits for Lyrienne's aid mostly. Soleil has a habit of hating assistance from him of any kind. An inward sniff sounds from his helmet, as if trying to clear sweat from his face. "Engineering, sounds like a plan. Anywhere but that ha—Johana." Nitrim looks up, rising from the floor. "We shouldn't go anywhere alone. Not like this. Erik?" He calls out to the man before looking back to Devon and Flint, domed helmet centering on them.

More or less standing guard at the doorway, Erik sees Johana heading his way to get to the hallway and as Nitrim rises to speak up about her walking off, the Valen nods to the other man. "I'll go with her to retrieve her blade, we'll stay in touch over the comms."

Hearing Nitrim, Johana pauses… but shakes her head. "I need my sword. I.. just trust me. I need it." Past one roadblock and to the next. As she comes to Erik, she hears his words and stiffens. "I'm not helpless." Maybe she's picking a fight. She's become too damn good at that lately.. but she was not normal since she entered this place.

"I'm fine," Lyrienne says quietly, a hand to the side of her helmet. "I'm…just give me a moment."

"Johana." Nitrim says, turning his head back to her and Erik. They could never see the frown on his face, nor the look of concern, but it translates through his voice. "Whatever it is, save the heart thing for the smart thing. The last thing you want to do is be alone if one of those things comes along." He suggests, nodding towards Erik.

There is a slight shake of a head from Erik as it appears that he will be accompany the Ibrahm, "No one is saying you are, Ana. But you don't know what I saw. I'm going with you." It sounds like the Valen is not brooking any arguments or disagreements either.

It has not been an easy few minutes for Devon. She is attempting to recenter herself, focusing on her own breathing and quietly shutting down her thoughts. She does not listen to the words floating around her, only breaking out of her reverie when she realizes that the party is splitting. She looks up toward Johana and Erik. "It would be unwise for us to split up," she says firmly.

Lyrienne straightens slowly as the screaming fades, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly. Her aura still shimmers around her, holding herself in readiness for whatever comes next. "Okay," she finally says quietly, looking to Flint. "Are you sure the best plan is to bring more people here?" she asks. "Might we be better just getting out and coming back with them? Or, like the recording said, just…closing the facility?"

Once Erik adamantly refuses to back down she smiles, lifting the visor a moment, relief in her eyes. "Thank you. I couldn't possibly go alone. I don't even now what's going on with me, but I feel like I did when… when I was younger." Her voice breaks and she leads the way back to where she left her sword.

Flint doesn't look exactly happy. "Damnit, Sir Johana!" he calls back, but even the Ash Knight is getting a little mentally exhausted. When Erik goes to chase after her, there's a sigh from him. "Fine. But you got five minutes to get back here, weapons or not." Looking like he wants to visably rub at his face, he sucks in a breath. "Alright. I know we're hot, we're sweaty, and we've been seeing hearing some….really weird shit. But we still need to get the station power back, if only so we're not fumbling around in the dark with flashlights. And we have to make sure that non of these….people," he uses the term loosely, "get out of this facility so they can do what they did to these people." Then he looks at the Awakened members, then specifically Lyrienne. "People have to know what happened here. Even if every single one of us dies in the process. If we do nothing else, we have to get a message out to the Pit. With any luck, all of those things are dead…well, unless that banging behind the door was something we all imagined."

In a show of solidarity, Nitrim looks over to Flint and nods, agreeing with the man. His squire, he has no place disagreeing with the man's direction. If he's to get word out or die trying, that's Nitrim's bond to live by. So, to avoid the tension in standing in place he moves over to a console and leans against it, tugging his cowl back over his head like a security blanket while he lowers his head and collects his thoughts. "If any of them left here, it would take too long to get back to warn." He says quietly to Lyrienne. His frown behind his mask hidden.

There is a nod from Erik's helmet as he continues down the hallway with Johana, knowing that they are on the clock now to retrieve her weapon before they had to rejoin the group. "This is Sir Erik, we copy. We will be back shortly." With that, he moves on with the Ibrahm, letting her search for the weapon while his own eyes keep an eye out on the surroundings, in case there are still some of those cultists waiting around.

Surprisigly, Soleil doesn't even glare at Nitrim when he kneels to insist she get back in her suit, proper. Taking over for his efforts, barely looking at him nevertheless, she reattaches things and slides her visor down. A few moments later, and she's back on her feet, taking a deep breath. "Someone…someone awakened could potentially be in here, feeding us these thoughts, putting this shit in our heads. I have never heard of that, but we're always evolving as a race. Awakened abilities could be too." Maybe the idea of Awakened being able to plant that kind of hallucination is more terrifying than anything. A bit ashen, Soleil moves back to the consoles and begins checking the systems over.

"As you say, Sir Flint," Lyrienne dips her chin, reaching up and running a hand over the top of her helmet, as she might through her hair otherwise. For a moment, her aura flickers out as she slips free of the Awakened state to center herself instead. It doesn't last long, flaring up once more as she turns toward the door to the hallway. "Anyone else hear that, or just me?"

The look on Soleil's face as she glances over her shoulder, standing at the console— it says she heard it too.

"None of us will die here," Devon says softly toward the others, particularly to Flint. "This is not our final resting place, Flint." She rubs her hands across her thighs, though through the layers of armor, it is not as comfortable as she hopes it would be. She releases a breath before she glances over toward Soleil. "I can't imagine that this is an Awakened… they know things that… I have not told anyone." And she looks away, a touch ashamed by something.

Devon hesitates a bit at Lyrienne's question, and she tightens her jaw a bit. "I hear it."

It's not long before she finds it, discarded where she had dropped it earlier. Quickly, she picks it up and grips it firmly in her hand, feeling stronger with her weapon there. Blue eyes rest on Erik a moment, she hesitates. "What did you see?" The whisper is directly to him, not over the comm, her visor up.

Nitrim's aura flashes softly as he turns around, looking in the direction of the hallway. "I hear it, too." He offers, turning to stand in view of the hallway. He reaches for a button on his wrist to coax his communicator to reach out to Erik and Johana. "Hey guys, find that sword and hurry on back. We've got movement from our side, over here. The bus is getting ready to move again." That said, he checks his sword and keeps a somewhat stoic, if not shaken, stance. "Whatever this is knows things about me, too. Things I haven't told anyone, either. Wait…" He stops, shaking his head. "Some of you know, but it's personal."

Soleil shifts her gaze toward Devon, the first time she has even brought herself to look at the woman. "Yeah…they do." Her gaze shifts to Nitrim and lingers a moment before she abruptly looks back to the console in front of her. The empty video screen above it reflects an empty expression back at her.

"I heard it too…" Flint's eyes snap to the torn open doorway and the hallway beyond. "Either something is settling, or something else is alive down here." That said, there's a glance at Devon. "Let's hope so, at least. C'mon, there's nothing left for us here, the map says we have to go down a lift to get to Engineering. Let's get going, because I have a feeling we're going to have do some climbing." Starting for the blown out entryway, he comms. "Sir Erik, Sir Johanan, we're moving down the hall for Engineering, hurry up." When the topic comes up about what they've been seeing, he grunts. "It's personal shit, but I don't exactly want to talk about it. All I'll say it scares the shit out of me, and not much does that."

"Valen food?" Nitrim suddenly asks, making an uncomfortable joke in Flint's direction. Brotherly, he slugs his fist into Flint's upper arm and gets ready to move.

To Johana's question, Erik shakes his head in response, ready to head back to join the group, "Nothing, not right now. I'll tell you later." Apparently the Valen doesn't feel that now is the appropriate time to share what he saw. When Flint's voice comes through the comm, Erik answers back, "We're on our way back, be right there." Then he turns to the Ibrahm and nods his head, "C'mon, let's go."

"I heard my daughter in there with…whatever made that noise," Lyrienne says quietly, falling in with the others and resuming the quiet mental touch. She leaves off the chanting this time, but there's still a sense that she's there, a gentle, sympathetic presence in the back of their minds.

How could Johana explain what she had seen and heard when she had never shared the experience with anyone other than a handful of people? So instead of even try, she nods concisely to Erik. "Yes, let's." And leads the way back down the way they had come. It wasn't too terribly far and she can hear their voices, so she feels safer, somehow.

Devon is steeled by Flint's words, and she breathes out a steadily sigh as she slowly rocks onto her feet. She closes her eyes as she settles into her own feet, and then she starts to step up toward the fellow Grantham. In passing, she grasps for Nitrim's hand, giving it a gentle squeeze before she releases him. Then she steps up to walk in-stride with Flint.

It's good that Devon squeezes hand, because at that very moment Nitrim's bootheel was lifting in the beginnings of a step away from the hallway. The flexing of his free hand is a mantra for the man, a litany against fear, and by the way he shakes his head, he's begun hearing things again. "Whatever this is…it's down there." He says flatly, hand reaching for his face like any nervous man would. Instead his glove finds his helmet, then his chest armor. There's no creature comfort to be had. With a sigh, he steps forward.

As Erik begins to walk back to rejoin the others, his steps falter for a brief moment, his pace slowly. There is a slight shake of his head and the words 'Shut up' murmured a few times with the knight's body tensing.

Ughr. It's back. Soleil squeezes her eyes shut briefly. "The problem is," she notes, her voice kind of faint, "it's not the kind of shit you can just ignore. It's not just bad stuff, it's…" She follows the others, wondering if she can find a lead pipe to wield, knowing even if she did it'd be utterly useless.

Uh oh. Johana doesn't quite make it back to the rest of the group before that voice… the flashbacks, the alley, Beth, her, Thalo… Only now Beth and Thalo are nowhere to be seem. Only her. And him. And he intends on hurting her this time. Screaming, she tells it to go away, crying out. Liar! Liar! But the words never escape her lips, the screams never come. She's frozen in place a look of horror on her face with the open visor.

Lyrienne winces, shaking her head slightly. "It's not real," she murmurs to herself, staying close to the others. "It's not real." Almost without thinking about it, she starts to share the thought, repeating it again and again. It's not real, it's not real, it's not real, it's not real…

As they progress down the dark hallway, lit only by their own headlamps, the come to a startling vision. More symbols. More writing, but candles have been side up at the sides of the hallway, some having long since gone out, but some are still burning, little nubs of wax and wick left to burn. They almost appear like small altars. Depictions of what one would assume to be Hostiles have been pained in blood, body fluids, oil, anything that can smear on the walls. The further deeper into the facility they go, the more prominent they become. They pass by hallways that lead to the mines and to the living quarters, latrines and showers, storage rooms, all in the name of making it to engineering.

And when they come to the dime outline of the lift, the door have been long since pried open, bloody clawmarks leading up to it. The few candles here that haven't gone out burn, flickering as their steps pass by. And there, clawing their way to the edge, half their body over the edge, is a man.

He's covered in blood, but looks entirely human, and when he sees the armored figures of not machine-attatched huamsns, he starts to scream. "IT'S DOWN THERE, GODS IT'S DOWN THERE! HELP ME! I'M THE ONLY LEFT DON'T LET IT TAKE ME."

But there's something in the lift shaft. Something big. There's a thudding up, as if it were climbing the side of it. A heavy grunting, almost ape-like. They don't exactly see it, but they do see the quick glimpse of something that might pose as hand, a large, three times the size of normal man's, constructed of mining equipment into crude, but dangerous fingers.

The man's eyes go wide when he realizes it's grabbed onto his leg. "NO! NOOOOO!" And just as quickly as he was spotted, there's that same scream, of something organic and electronic before the man is ripped from his spot, pulled screaming down the shaft. There's one more scream before nothing. Deathly silence follows. Then another dull roar that reverberates from somewhere down below.

Glancing back in the direction they came from, watching for Erik and Johana as they proceed down the hallway, Nitrim snaps his head in the direction of the hanging man as his voice starts to call out for help. His heavy, metallic boots with rubber soles bang against the plating and he rushes forward to help the man to no avail. As the man is pulled under and disappears down the shaft, he comes skidding to a stop. Momentarily losing his balance on a sticky blood pool, he has to reach out to the side of the lift to steady his body from accidentally tumbling into the shaft after the man. It's a close call. Daring, he adjusts the grip on his sword and leans out, looking into the shaft.

When Johana slows, Erik does the same and looks at the Ibrahm, seeing her face and the expression she wears. Raising a hand, he lays it heavily on her shoulder, a firm grip, "Ana, snap out of it. It isn't real, the others need us with them. /Right now/." He tries to tug at her shoulders to get her moving again, especiallly after hearing scream of a man. "Fuck, Johana, let's go!"

Lyrienne summons up another ball of eldritch light with a flick of her wrist, shooting it toward the mine shaft to improve visibility. She, however, stays well back. Because she remembers all too well what happened the last time she tangled with something close up.

Nitrim tumbling down a mine-shaft in the wake of an unspeakable Lovecraftian horror is not likely to help Soleil resolve her issues with him. When she sees him go hurtling forward— she stiffens and takes a singe step after him. When she sees him actually /about to topple/, she shouts his name. He doesn't. Topple, that is. So she falls utterly silent and still, trying not to look awkward.

Erik.. Gods, seeing him there before her, Johana trembles beneath his hands but she nods, purposefully stepping away and heading from where they came. Where the scream came from. She says nothing of what happened.. just pretends it never happened. Approaching the rest of the group, she looks between them, counting. Good, it was none of their crew that had screamed. "W.. what happened?"

Flint sees the man and makes a rush to him, but it's in vain, only seeing a massive metal claw-hand-thing reach up and grab that poor man screaming down to a analouge hell. The same hell they're about to climb down into. "Holy fuck. Did anyone see that? Tell me I just didn't see a hand as big as my chestplate pluck that man off like he was cardboard?" Coming near the edge, he looks down. "Crone…" he turns back to the others. "Wasn't any of us." he answers for Johana. "But I think we just lost are last witness to whatever happened here. Damn. -Damn-!" An armored fist punches the wall next to him. "I'm going down there and I'm killing whatever the fuck that was. After seeing that, I'll understand if anyone of you want to stay back up here, but I'm going down there." Where the man used to be hanging on, there's a ladder to take the manual way down since the power is out. "If you're coming with, let's get going." And with that, the Ash Knight carefully gets on the ladder and starts his way down the shaft.

Seeing nothing down the shaft, Nitrim tenses up at the sudden fear of taking a tumble down a very deep shaft. The fact that Soleil called out to him isn't lost on him, and she's greeted by a look over his shoulder towards her, which lingers as Flint is determined to go down after the creature. "I'm going, too." He says to Soleil, the dome of his facemask turning to Lyrienne, Devon, Erik, and Johana. Straightening, he looks down to his scabbard and slides his sword into it and then starts to climb down after his Knight.

The description of the giant claw that grabbed the man makes Erik pause for a moment, as it is now confirmed that there is still a cult member alive with heavy modifications. When the decision is being made on whether or not they will go down, the Valen gives Johana a brief glance before back to the others, "We're here to investigate and to secure this facility. There is no other choice but forward."

"We're all going," Lyrienne says quietly. "We're staying together." There's a beat, as she eyes the shaft. "I'll stay at the back."

There're a lot of things in the world that give a person 'courage', depending on how it's defined. Though Soleil has had a rough time of this adventure, it hasn't been fear that has made it hard. She has a brand of courage quite different from what most people here have. The 'I could give a shit' kind. "Then let's go." She moves forward, breaking off the stare between her and Nitrim. She's the one person here without a weapon of anyknd— at least that she's admitted to or anyone really knows about— but pits of hell don't hold much terror for her, in proportion.

"No, I think there's one more witness down in that shaft there. Whatever grabbed him is the last witness. I say we blow this thing in like the log said and trap them down there forever and get the fuck out."

"I'd never heard the end of it if we blew the facility up from orbit." Flint notes over his comm, even as he starts down the ladder. "The loss of ore from this facility would set back the war effort, and I don't know about you, but I'd rather face some kind machine human monstorsity than have to have -that- discussion with my sister as to why I blew up a multi-billion credit installation."

It's a long way down. At least ten stories down if not more. The ladder creaks dangerous the more people get onto it, but it seems to hold fast. "Damnit…get the fuck out of my head." Flint is heard muttering unconciously over the comm.

The father down the go, the realization that there's light down here. Not light, per se, but fire, it's moving about too much to be a steady, staionary light source. It's also starting to get hotter down here, seeing how the rock retains so much heat, along with the machinery that's usually running. But right now, it's silent as a tomb.

As the group climbs down, Nitrim takes glances up to the others above them to check on them as he continues to travel. It's a long, hard climb, which grows harder for the man the closer he gets to the fire. Once he reaches the bottom, he drops the last two feet and takes a step to the side, waiting for the others. He draws his sword.

Erik follows the others down the ladder, making sure to give enough room to the person below him as he makes his way down. He can definitely feel the temperature growing hotter as they make their descent, his armor suit already working full time to make it as cool as possible earlier up on the main floor. When his boots finally touches ground, he also pulls his blade.

"We don't have a choice," Soleil tells Johana. "Someone has to figure out what's happening, and if it's not us now it's someone else who has to face this insanity down the line. It's getting stronger, whatever it is. It's been in our fucking heads." She takes to the ladder when it's her turn, not a single prayer uttered. She eventually drops down beside Nitrim and puts her back to a wall as quickly as she can.

Lyrienne takes a spot at the back of the group, still keeping a quiet presence in the back of everyone's mind. She's breathing hard by the time she makes it down to the bottom of the pit, sweating beneath her armor, but she's there. And she's not panicking. Yet.

When put that way, Johana nods hesitantly, and heads down the ladder with the others. "This reminds me of a movie where everyone would be sitting at home, knowing what awaits us down the mine shaft, telling us nooo don't go! And we're the idiots that are going anyway, despite every single warning that tells us not to. Well if I die down here, just remember, I died with a helluva group of people." Chattering, sure. It's taking her mind off what waits them.

The light source? It's pile of burning bodies. On fire. Both human and machine cultist alike. They've arrived in a large open room, full of machinery that's stories tall. Likely a massive generator or engine that power the entire facility. The holographic interfaces on the console read as a status alert, that all power has been cut. Flint tries his best to ignore the large mound of bodies on fire. "There. There's the main counsole to the facilitie's power. Somebody get on it." Like the rest, he has his bar mace out, the shaft extending into it's two-handed form.

"WELCOME HEATHENS" thunders a voice from somewhere in the room. Hard to tell where, since the room is large and sound bounces about. "Welcome to the new beginning of the human race! I was wondering when the war-mongering imbiciles of Grantham would send some lap-dogs to find out. But, good! I've been waiting for more sacrafices for my pyre to the Gods Given Form! I suppose killing some of your precious nobility would send a better message than tearing apart a mine full of soft and squishy miners." The voice doesn't sound exactly human, there's something electronic about it, as it were being vocalized over a loudspeaker. There's a claning from somewhere in the darker corners of the area, something large and heavy moving about.

Devon is at the very rear of the group, ensuring that there's nothing coming from the opposite direction. She trembles a bit as the heat increases, fueled by the burning bodies. She also is familiar with that smell — the burning flesh. She has smelled it time and time before, but the sheer horror of the sight is the first her eyes have ever taken in. She then turns toward the voice sharply, her flame aura launching into life once more as her psychometric defenses come to life around her.

"Not being afraid to die helps," Soleil tells Johana, without the slightest hint of snottiness. You can take the girl outta the goth club but you can't take the— etc. When the WTF nature of the whole ordeal ratchets up another notch, she does too. After all, right now there's no voice in her head, and it was THAT that was fucking her up. The rest? Well it's just like she's in a death metal music video. The half-assed scholar in her comes out. "You know, 20th century Earth texts foretold of a time when the robots would kill us all," she notes, and the thing is she's not even cracking a joke.

Lyrienne is quiet at first, trying to focus, trying not to get distracted. But then there's something that catches her eye, and the flicker of temper shows in a sharp cry as she points her hands at the pyre and pours out ice. It's a hopeless gesture, especially alone, but she doesn't seem to be thinking particularly straight at the moment. "Enough!" she exclaims.

Nitrim's expressionless helmet scans the burning bodies with a macabre chill that creeps up his spine. The dreams, the taunting, all of the horror creeps into his skin at the sight of it, but he holds firm. His aura flashes out to full form, and the flaming serpent begins to swim around his body as his skin prickles in anticipation of a fight. Beneath his helmet, a bead of sweat creeps into his eye, forcing him to blink it out. He lifts his head to the voice, trying to find the point of its origin…and then something ratchets against his spine. "No…I won't." He says, a statement out of place. "I won't. Not them. I can't." His head lulls and his fingers flex, working to shake off that cold, almost subliminal fear. He pauses, looking to the others. "We've got to fucking kill this thing. Now."

The large amount of machinery is certainly not something that Erik is use to as he slowly gazes around the area before his eyes fall on the pyre of humans and hybrids. When Flint suggests that someone go to the main terminal and activate the facility's power, the Valen stays quiet, letting someone with more technosavvy handle it. However, his body immediately stiffens up as does the grip on his bastard sword when there is a booming voice, announcing itself. His gaze quickly sweeps the area to try to locate the source but then images flood him again as he is trying to shake it off, "Shut the fuck up! She's not burning, and I won't let it happen!" Now angered more than anything else, very eager to look for the source.

"ZAYNE!" Devon screams as she sees him in the fire. She is moving forward suddenly, looking as if she is about to step into the flames, but then she feels the abrupt chill of ice as it flashes past her and slams into the flames. It startles her out of her approach of the fire, and she staggers back, turning away as she brings her arms up to brace them against her head. She shuts her eyes tight. Her aura starts to pulse.

Soleil was feeling relief— relief despite where they are and what's happening. Because the voice— or thoughts?— had stopped. It was like when you stop cutting yourself, or stop banging your head on the wall, o stop— whatever. Endorphins and relief. But it was stupid to think it was over, wasn't it? As the torture begins again. She's already strained to the breaking point, and as the people around her once more start to lose their shit, so does she. But quietly.

How is she so easily drawn in? Because the fear is bigger than she is. It's larger than her will to ignore it and once more, Johana is tugged so effortlessly into her recurring nightmare. The fire.. she walks towards it then stops, her face goes slack and she stands and stares. Not at the fire but at something just before it, blue eyes focusing directly on someone only she can see… but the way her eyes focus in, it's apparent that she does see him. And he looks just the same as he had before. His smile made her skin crawl, his words were worse, despite the saccharine sweetness of them, they repelled her instead of drawing her in. She knew how the story ended so why did she allow it to haunt her? Without drawing her weapon this time, she takes a few steps nearer the man, except she tips her head back as if looking up at someone really tall as she approaches. "Leave me alone." This time though her words lack strength, they are more a plea.

Flint suddenly clutches onto his helmet. "GET OUT OF MY HEAD!" he howls, freezing where he stands. His commands still stand however. Someone needs to get their hands on that console and get power working.

As for the movement, it's still moving around in the darkness. "Such impressionable little creatures. You have yet to ascend to the next living of humanity. Yet to evolve, yet to be graced with the gifts They have given us. Ascension through Destruction! You don't know. But you will. OH YOU WILL.!" Out of the darkness, there's a screeching metal sound before something jets out of the darkness, a hover cart is thrown acorss the room towards the group.

Before then it emerges. Walking on it's knuckles like an ape once would, this appears to of been once a man. His body is large, he's probably a physical laborer of some sort before he found his…'new faith'. Arms have been constructed out metal and hydraulics, wires and electronics have been jammed at the near base of his skull. ONe of his eyes has been replaced, instead a camera lense has been put in it's place. Walking on his hands, he towers above anyone in armor, at least nine feet tall. "We are the next step in our evolution! And only the WORTHY will be chosen!"

Lyrienne turns from her icy blast on the burning corpses as the creature moves forward, eyes narrowing behind the visor of her helmet. Nitrim, she thinks to the Khournas, even as she ducks and rolls from the attack of the cart. Remember what I said about no fire? I think it's time we put some stress on those metal pieces, don't you? Her aura flares, and she takes aim, an icy blue glow starting to form between her hands.

Nitrim steps forward, boldy, and his left arm becomes sheathed in a wreath of flame as the abomination comes into view. Thoroughly and visibly sick of the mental punishment he's taken from being in this place, he turns his sword over in his hand and adjusts his grip, ready for a fight. When the hovercart is thrown, his first instinct is to use telekinesis to bat it away but it looks so heavy. And at that very second it occurs to the Hermetic that there is only so much room to maneuver. He judges cart's trajectory, and his heart sinks. The heavy, spinning bullet of a hovercart leaves a trail of sparks for the last few feet as Nitrim has nowhere to turn to. A solid WHOMP of energy sounds as he tries to blast the cart away to no avail. It skips like a stone and Nitrim suddenly disappears, carried back towards the edge of the lift. A bone-jarring vibration rings out as for just a second his body is pinned to the iron architecture of the lift. The crunch sounds painful, even outside of his suit. The hovercart clips a corner and bounces to a stop, leaning against the wall, leaving an unmoving Nitrim Khournas in a pile on the ground, broken.

When the voice booms once more, Erik is snapped out of whatever state the being had on his mind, his alertness returning and just in time. With the sudden movement of the hover cart following the screech, the Valen is able to dive to the side before rolling once so that he is in a lowered position, one knee bent. When the monstrosity appears, the young noble knight tightens his grip on his bastard sword once more and soon he is on the move. "I'll show you some fucking evolution, you freak." With that, he charges forward, not wanting to give the hybrid more time to do as it wishes, especially with one of them hit by the hover cart. For Erik, the best defense is a strong offense.

Devon throws open her hands, releasing an emotional scream as she unleashes a soccer ball sized blast of fire. All of her anger and frustration and sadness gets poured into that blast of conflagration that she hurls down the length of shadow toward the heavy-set man — or once man. She steps forward, glancing toward Nitrim as he falls, and she shouts to him. "Get up, Little Drake… now!"

Lyrienne is very much in favor of staying out of the way of the thing that's attacking them. It's big, and doesn't look particularly friendly. Not yet noticing that Nitrim isn't going to be joining in just yet, she draws a deep breath and rolls her hands together before blasting one of the mechanical arms with icy cold. It may not be enough to immobilize the powerful mechanics, but hopefully it's enough to start putting a strain on the metal.

Soleil gets to evolve a little today, though perhaps not in the way the enemy intended. Having spent about a decade building up a very particular wall, it took a lot to tear it down, but it's crumbling now. Having dived and rolled for cover, she's quick to reachieve her feet, and it's then that she realizes not everyone managed to evade the hurtling cart. "NITRIM!" With speed hardly less remarkable than a hurtling hovercart, she darts to his side, practically skidding to her knees. And remarkably, for those who didn't have the faintest clue— which is likely everyone in the room— a sudden inky, swirling blackness emanates from her as her eyes pale. Ink, like curls of heavy cigarette smoke that coalesce into almost humanoid forms before becoming smoke again, like souls composed of void blackness. It almost looks like Soleil is dissolving in the curls of smoke, but as they shift and change around her, she's still there, putting a hand to Nitrim's neck, looking for signs of life.

When the ape-like thing comes out it sorta knocks her out of her self imposed whatever has been happening. When Nitrim gets hit, she can only watch, but as soon as Soleil goes to him, she follows, standing nearby… but then she realizes the thing is coming! She draws her blade, intent on cutting it down.

Nitrim stirs, snapping out of his unconsciousness, but he's wracked with absolute mounds of pain. His vision returns for a deep, pained blackness to a slow motion series of echoes that rattle through his brain. Aside from the awkward bend of his shoulder, it's hard to tell just how damaged he is, but as the commanding voice of Devon flits through his head, followed up but the sudden presence of Soleil at his side, he starts to stir. He's moving, which means he's alive, at least for the moment. His head lulls and he starts to move and his aura starts to simmer back into view. "Not…dead…yet." The flaming snake dives up…and then sails back down to bury herself deep into stomach as he starts working away at his pain receptors. He's fighting to get up, and although his body may not support much movement, he's on his way back to the fight. With hope he will move fast enough to help.

Flint had just been able to get ahold of his bearings when he just had enough time to jump out of the way of the careening hovercart. "Fuckin hell!" he snarps out. Then he takes a single step back seeing the thing emerge. "Fee fi fo fum, what beanstalk you fall from?" Having at least freet on them all in height and who knows how many hundreds of pounds on him, the Ash Knight has never ran away from a challenge, so no time to start that fad now. Like Erik, he charges in with bar marc, swinging down on what he considers is the machine cultists head.

The cultist machine thing looks to of been taken off guard by Lyrienne's frosty ball of ice. And for a moment it slows him down, but not for long, able to dodge Erik's swords, shrug off Devon's fireball, and glance away Flint and Johana's weapons. "This cannot be the best the touted nobility has to offer!" he leers. "You're looking at the next step. My Gods will strike down your armies, choosing only the worth to stand with them on the hallowed Fifth World where will see their true faces.!" One of his large, machine club-like arm raises and tries to rain down blows on the two of the Knights infront of him.

The serpent gets to work, screaming around the inside of Nitrim's body as the would-be knight slaps a hand down on Soleil's shoulder. He can't move, something's broken. So in a fit to keep fighting, he takes in a deep breath and flares his aura, fighting the pain.

How Erik missed such a big target, it would be hard to explain but the charging attack was a failure as his blade swings and misses. Before he has time to curse, the monstrocity is already swinging its large clubarm at him, but like the Valen, it was not a successful attack. Instead of backing off though, the young knight lashes out again, this time his blade strikes true and cuts into the armor as well.

Another monstrous globe of fire builds between her palms as her aura licks across the coal-colored exterior of her armor. The gathering of combustable energy builds and builds until she releases it with a powerful burst of inertia. She takes a forward step, advancing on the heavily cybernetic man.

Lyrienne isn't really interested in arguing with the creature. Or in getting close. She takes a step back, lining up her next shot of icy cold air. It steams as it moves between them, vapor meeting the heat of the Pit. She aims for a mechanical arm again, trying to stress the metal as much as possible. Those arms and hands, after all, are very much a threat.

There's not much she can do for Nitrim. No one's figured out how to stifle the pain of someone else or create impenetrable domes of protection. But whatever's happened between them, she's not leaving his side now, and with her anger at seeing /someone else/ slap the bastard down, Soleil has but one choice. The inky curls of smoke emanating from her intensify, until she's almost being consumed. It's the opposite of ironic that her aura should at last manifest like the visualization of all her personal demons, since its existence is one of those demons. All this time today, this thing in her head has been pushing her to this. So…be….it. She unleashes. "FUCK EVOLUTION!" she yells, and from a thrust of her hand surges a sudden burst of energy, like a shot of something through the licking smoke, leaving a trail of it to slowly dissipate in its wake. The burst of frigid, glacial energy surges toward the abomination, fueled solely by a pissed off teenager.When her swing is barely a glancing blow, easily swept away, Johana tightens her grip, using both hands this time, swinging in a slash as hard as she can at the torso, knowing it puts her right in its path, but at the moment, Nitrim was incapable of fighting, so she would put herself in between the machine and the Khourni, not even letting the taunts bother her, just trying to keep its attention on her instead.

When her swing is barely a glancing blow, easily swept away, Johana tightens her grip, using both hands this time, swinging in a slash as hard as she can at the torso, knowing it puts her right in its path, but at the moment, Nitrim was incapable of fighting, so she would put herself in between the machine and the Khourni, not even letting the taunts bother her, just trying to keep its attention on her instead.

Flint matches the creature blow for blow, neither really doing much damage to the other. When it strikes down on him, he catches a metal fist with the head of his mace, but having to take a step back from the sheer amount of leverage and strength the cultist has. But he gets out of the way of the combined Psychometry attacks, just enough in time for him see it reel back for a moment, then swinging back wit his own mace. This thing isn't even worth talking. It's insane and demands nothing from the Grantham.

Clearly, slaughtering miners with simple blasters and crude melee weapons is something starkly different than from trained warriors with real weapons. The creatures staggers back fromt he amount of punishment it's been starting to take from the collection. "I AM SUPERIOR!" he bellows slashing forward with both claw-like metal hands, raking at anyone and anything that gets in way. But clearly, for all his bravado, these cultists haven't yet perfected their method of making these kind of hybrid creatures. and hydraulic fluid is starting splatter on the ground, along with real blood. Circuits spark and fly from the wires that have been torn loose.

The cowl over Nitrim's dome-like helmet folds back with a brush of his hand, and the Khourni lordling's arm reaches out towards the abomination, fingers splayed. "YOU WANNA SEE SOMETHING BURN YOU FUCK!? GET. OUT. OF. MY. HEAD!" Shuddering in pain, he leans to the side to avoid aiming through Johana. Slowly, his fingers rise to a piece of machinery that is chained to the ceiling above the monster. His wrist turns and his fingers curl towards him in a come-hither motion. Suddenly, the fingers snap out, lashing a force of kinetic energy towards the chain, trying to drop the machinery on its massive back.

The peice of machinery was actually a massive drill bit that was going to be installed. Well, before all this madness happened anyways. At the urging of Nitrim's Pyschometry, the chain shudders once under the strain, then snaps, sounding like it goes off like a cannonshot. Nobody has really has enough time to get out of the way, the three Knights all get clipped by the razor-sharp, diamond-coated edges of the spiraling drill head.

As for the machine cultist? The point of the drill head comes down right on him, peircing him and pinning him to the ground. There's the groaning of metal and the kicking up dust and ash from the expansive room.

"Ha. Ha. Ha haha ha….." he's still alive. The bastard is still alive. Barely anyway. Seeming to almost split him in half, blood trickles out of his mouth, turning his scarred and mangled face at the group. "You….think this the end?" he hacks a cough. "We're….-everywhere-. My Master is waiting for the right time to strike. And…." he gags. "when we strike….your precious empire will crumbles…li….like a house of cards…." His eyes roll into the back of his head, and the red light from his optical eye fades and dims into blackness.

Unprepared for what happens, Johana had been attempting to keep the attention off of Nitrim. Well.. it worked. As she misses her strike, well as the armor blocks it, she almost stumbles, knocking her off guard, so that when a piece rains down on her, it cuts into her armor, slicing into her flesh of her abdomen. Gasping in pain, she remains on the ground, her vision going blurry for a moment. "Hurts." Pushing at it, trying to get it off of her.

Lyrienne has a ball of flame ready, aimed at the creature, when the bit comes spinning down at the others. She hesitates for just a moment, but as the light goes out of the creature's eyes, she lets the ball dissipate. A deep breath, a moment to check for just what's happening, and then she moves forward at a jog to help the others taken down by the drill.

Dead. Dead? One hopes. The way it dims and goes out suggests so, and that's enough for Soleil to forget about it for the moment. She's not exactly a tender kind of girl, but, again, if someone's going to kill Nitrim… "Ni….trim?" They didn' even have time to come up with cute pet names for each other. She uses te only one for him she knows. Her hands are back on him, her touch still cool with the power she just wielded, the black ice she'd formed and hurled. One hand to his forehead. It's fucking hot in here, and his suit may no longer be working. Slowly, the inky curls and whips of smoke around her begin to dissipate, and her eyes fade back into crystal blue. "Fuck…" she murmurs, not knowing what to do.

Just as the once-human monstrosity falls, Devon's own aura pitters out into nothingness. She staggers backwards a few steps, feeling herself sag under a bit of exhaustion. She glances over toward Nitrim, her unseen face looking over him for just a heartbeat before she looks away and toward Johana. She starts for her, heeding to her medic instinct.

The Valen appears to have taken a nasty hit when the massive drill bit fell on the monster as well as the small cluster of knights. His armor is strong but it is no match for the heavy weight that is also has diamond edges embedded into it. It chews through the armor easily and cuts into Erik's back and left arm. With the combination of his weakened will from the mental ordeal from earlier, the Valen Knight remains motionless.

Nitrim feels a degree of satisfaction as the drill comes down, but in his haze he realizes…there are others in danger. From his slumped position against the wall of the lift's superstructure, he watches in horror as the others are pelted with sharp debris. His head rushes forward as if trying to move, but his body fails him. Slumping back against the wall, he plants a hand to his helmet and looks to Devon and Lyrienne. "Please, dear gods tell me that they're okay. I didn't mean to. Sound off!" He sighs out, thoroughly spent. Head lulling, the side of his helmet bonks into Soleil's hand as he leans into her care. A dry, hoarse cough sounds from his speakers as he blindly reaches to his armor where his collarbone is. Something's wrong there. "Soleil…it's okay. We're gonna live. It's alright. I'm okay…did you get hit?"

When the drill falls, it clips Flint hard enough to send him sprawling to the side, a large gash created by the teeth of the sharpened drill head. On the ground, he has enough time to hear the cultists final words. "Go fuck yourself, fucking demon." He struggles to get up, only having enough energy to roll onto to sit upright. "Everyone still alive?" Suddenly, something occurs to him. "Anyone still…y'know…hearing shit?"

Looking at Soleil might reflect back to Nitrim how bad he looks, because her face is kind of…mildly horrified. She shakes her head, mute answer to his question. She's not a medic, has absolutely NO training in medical care, in fact, but….is everything about Nitrim lying at the proper angle?

Devon is at Johana's side, trying to help with whatever exposed skin is there to patch and cover-up to avoid overexposure to the elements. She glances briefly toward Nitrim and Soleil before she turns her faceplate up to Flint. "We're okay, but they will need more advanced care…"

"I'm alive, I'm not hearing anything," Lyrienne sounds off, crouching near the injured knights. "Are you going to be okay?" she asks Flint, looking over the knight carefully. Not that she knows to look for more than things that are leaking out that shouldn't be.

"I'm alive but if that pain right about here where this fucking thing sliced into my armor doesn't go away, I will very much wish I wasn't." Johana doesn't move. Doesn't breathe too deeply. "Too heavy to get off, cause it hurts." She offers a smile to Devon. "Thank you, My Lady."

Flint crawls up to his feet. "We need to get power back on." His teams in shambles, either hurt physically, mentally, or both, he scrapes himself up. There's one last thing that they set out to do. "Nobody is going to believe this shit." he helmeted visage takes in the now smoldering pile of bodies across the room. "I feel like we failed somehow. I wonder if it was worth the cost." Limping up to the main console before the giant power generator, he fiddles with the controls. "It was…manually shut off." he notes aloud. There's some more typing on the holo-interface before there's a rumbling and then a dull roar as the cylinders of the generator begin it's startup, begining to glow a bright blue. Lights begin to flicker on at that point, only to show off that the wall were littered in more Hermatic symbols. Emblazoned on one of the bare words are a most forboding sign, scrawled out in black paint.


Reaching to his wrist, Nitrim gingerly taps a button and his helmet recedes beneath the cowl. Piece-by-piece the plating slides back to its place beneath the rear neck of his armor, and the fabric of his cloak's hood comes dropping down onto his forehead. His lips part and he dips his head back, taking in a lungful of steaming, hot, but real air. His face is smeared with his sweat and a few tracks of black from the dye of the cloth that holds his hair to his head. He breathes heavily, painfully, and as he opens his white-covered eyes, he looks to Devon, watching her for a moment before looking up to Soleil. "Hey…hey…" He grunts, bringing a hand to the side of his face. "…admit it, you thought about throwing a hovercart at me once or twice, yeah? That's what it looks like." He jokes, darkly, before his eyes roll to the follow Flint, unveiling the truth of the cult and the future threat they may cause. "Will you be able to get word out now, Sir?"

Nitrim reminds her, brilliantly, just how she has been feeling the past couple of weeks. Soleil slowly draws back from him, the traces of vulnerability and fear, of any tenderness, receding like her aura had. After a moment she rocks back on her heels, and rises fluidly. "I'll send Lady Devon," she says, having caught in recent moments that the lady is a medic.

Flint's mirrored finish on his helmet is scarred and scuffed up, but it clicks apart, folding into the back of his armor. His hair is stuck to his head, he's covered in sweat and grime and probably feels more than a bit squishy within it. Turning about, he stands to stare at the message scrawled on the wall. "Yeah. There's power to the comm systems. We'll be able to tell my sister what happened here. I don't know if I should go to High Lord Orelle or maybe the Regeant himself about this." Steel gray eyes take in the message a little longer. "I never thought we'd have to fight anything other than Hostiles. Now…people that worship them as gods? That…mutilate their own bodies for them? A threat from the outside is one thing…but a threat from the inside?" He shakes his head. "I guess I never expected something like that."

"Of course King Emund should and will know," Soleil says, leaving Nitrim and not actually bothering to let Devon know his 'nurse' is abandoning him. "Why do you think I came?" She makes sure her camera is still on and begins scanning the walls, focusing on each symbol so the video will have time to thoroughly register them. "Some people say the hostiles might be what's left of the first settlers of Fifth World. This might support that. Obviously this is more than some fringe cult They actually created /that thing/."

Lyrienne kneels near Erik's prone form, just doing her best to make sure he keeps breathing. By watching him breathe. It's about the limit of her ability to help in the healing process. "I wonder what that means for the dreams," she says quietly. "I mean, I know that I saw a Hostile in the dream. It wasn't a thing like this. But they did the branding, and…"

"His wife was my aunt, you know, King Emund's. I miss her. And him." Johana muses in an offhand manner. Anything was better than thinking about pain. Turning her head, she looks at Lyrienne near Erik and frowns. "I don't know how they are in my head, but I saw things… heard things. From the past."

As Nitrim's aura starts to fade, a low, pained noise escapes his lips and his head rolls back, eyes blinking. Though his armor doesn't rise and fall with his labored breathing, he can't help but place a hand to his stomach and scratch one heel of his boot across the floor to writhe in place just a little. "FFfffffffuck." He grunts, planting his hand on his face and peeling his bandana-like headcovering off, rubbing at his face as if trying to peel it off. He can scarcely move his head without feeling it.

"All I know is that thing was able to pluck out things in my head that…shit that keeps me awake at night." Flint admits, turning back to toy with the controls, making sure the comm tower is powered. Just to give him something to do. "Thinking about it on my own is bad enough, but to have it thrown in my face and then…taunted wit it?" He shakes his head, then snorting. "I dunno. That'll fuck with someone's head if you let it. You saw what it did to us. We were falling apart at the seams. Got rattled. And it almost got us killed. If that's a weapon of theirs, there's not many defenses against it. I just hope it wasn't. Something else. Something explainable."

"Look, being Awakened is no gift from the gods, it's just…fucking evolution," Soleil says, suddenly irate and letting it show. "Like that thing said. Evolution, the next stage. Obviously THEY have been changing too. And THEY can do shit WE can't." She gestures at the wall. "This ENTIRE thing was just a message to us. Repent or be damned." Something's obviously still bothering Soleil, but one can't be expected to get over what just happened and the major mindfuck of it all in a few minutes. "God I am gonna need a trip when I get home," she says under her breath. And she probably doesn't mean vacation.

"Don't you fucking dare." Nitrim manages, white eyes shifting towards Soleil.

"Soleil," Lyrienne calls to her cousin, letting the visor of her helmet up as she looks over her shoulder. Beneath it, she's pale and flushed alike, a few loose strands of fair hair stuck to her brow by sweat. "Please. I know it's been difficult, I know it was frightening, and I know the implications are…concerning. But let's not give up hope already, all right? Flint, have you raised anyone? Any estimate on when we can get backup?"

YOU don't get a fucking say anymore," Soleil says across the room to Nitrim. Ah, teenagers drop the F-bomb like it's the blitzkreig, even when they are highborn. "You HAD your say." Suddenly, after all that, she's coming unglued. At least she held it together til now! She paces rapidly to some overturned debris and sits down, rubbing her face.

Flint is already on it. "Home base? This is Flint Grantham, calling out for facility D-4." Pause, then a sigh. "Total loss. Facility is going to be down…for awhile. But it's…not a total loss. All workers and employees are dead. I don't want to say anymore over an unsecure channel. Just get maintence crews crew out here asap. With a medical team, we have injured here. Also, get me on the line with Lady Marah, tell her that her brother needs to have a very important chat with her. I'll be waiting on the line till then." Hanging up for the moment, his eyes snap back at Nitrim and Soleil. "Both you, knock it the fuck -off-." suddenly The Knight Tone(tm) kicks in, the sound of a tired and angry man who had just seen a bit more than he wanted to. It's probably a tone Devon knows pretty well. "I am not in the mood to deal with your teenager angsty-ass drama. Espeically when we all just walked through hell just to fight Giggles McRoboArms. Just fuck and get it over with. Or save your little spat for when we get home. Or I swear to the Crone you'll both be leaving on strechers." Pause. "Well, not like Nitrim doesn't already got that covered." he adds, rubbing an armored hand over his face.

Lyrienne tries to be serious. This is a serious situation. But Flint just described the monster they were fighting as Giggles McRoboArms, and that's apparently too much for her. It starts with a snort. And then a snicker. And in short order, she's got a hand clapped tight over her mouth as her shoulders shake with breathless laughter. Adrenaline withdrawal. It's a bitch.

Realizing of course she just said something about a 'trip' on the video that Janelle will be viewing, and with her head still full of exasperating voices, Soleil just pulls her feet up and puts her face against her knees, arms over her head. There's a very private struggle going on for her. Personal demons unleashed all over the place. Her Psychologist would not have recommended this jaunt, had he known what it would entail. No, no indeed.

Nitrim bares a pair of almost angry teeth towards Soleil, complete with white-washed eyes before he settles back into his oh god this hurts sprawl against the walls. Content to simply not move anymore, he raises his voice so that Flint and Devon can hear. "We're going to be fine. We kill this one. We can kill more. An—" Nitrim's voice catches as his knight barks out to him. He closes his eyes and settles into his rest. "Understood Sir, you won't have to tell me again. We…we can do this. I'll be at your side every step of the way, Sir. At least after my broken-ass is scooped off of the floor." A few of the horrors he knows he'll face in training the second he's healed, or not, roll through his head as he lays in place, waiting for medical evacuation.

Glancing between the two, he realizes his temper is just a little shot. "I'm getting three brothel girls when I get back after this." he mutters. "I'm going back to the crawler to tell Zapp that we're all still alive and makes sure he doesn't leave without us. Though, if I know the guy, he's probably passed out drunk." A look over at Lyrienne and Devon. "You have my permission to beat either one of them if they get out of line. I'll be back." A final look at Nitirm. "I know you will." Then the Ash Knight heads off for the now-powered up lift.

"Giggles McRoboArms," Lyrienne repeats, breaking into another fit of giggles herself until there are tears running down her cheeks. Tears of laughter may not fix all of the damage of the past few hours, but it seems they've made a start for Lyrienne, at least. She manages to give Flint a thumbs up through the laughter. Just barely.

Devon clears her throat a bit at the permission, though she glances over toward Nitrim and Soleil as if she is deciding if she is ever going to beat either of them. Probably not. So she instead sinks into a seat on some odd-shaped bit of debris as she waits. She glances toward Lyrienne, offering her a smirk beneath the guise of her helmet. "Easy there, My Lady…."

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