Warp World

In on the wind

Elyse

Dome Foo has been at rest in The Fields of Elyse for nearly a decade, on the edge of a massive expanse of grasslands near thick forests and mountains towards the continent’s northwest corner. Dome Foo is part think tank, part university, and part military installation. Its max population is about 2000 residents, currently it is holding 1200 or so. A massive drill underneath of the dome itself draws thermal power beneath the Earth’s surface, and at rest the golden panels that unfold to form the majority of the outside structure draw in solar power.

Within the dome there is a science branch, comprised of a research and development department, dome maintenance department, and very small power core security and maintenance team. The public relations branch is broken up into an intelligence department (scouts and infiltrators), embassy council, educational and world-knowledge department, and a medical facility that caters to dome residents and occasionally makes excursions to visit outside colonies. The dome security department is broken up into enforcers/defenders, search and rescue teams and outside aid. A representative from each department serves on a council that runs the dome, but its primary commander is Principal Fortuna. Residents of the dome are assigned to branches according to their aptitudes for regular service, but may have a hand in several departments if their skills allow it.

The most recent addition to the dome’s inhabitants is a tribe of yeti from the nearby mountains that call themselves The Kabuki. The Kabuki were a tribe of shamanistic nature-worshipers, prone to tattoos and colorful face-paints, reluctant to make any commitments to The Helix Hegemony and had themselves been in a long feud with a race of what they referred to as The Obake. As reclusive as The Kabuki were—they had only been discovered within the past two years, and Dome Foo had been in the area for nearly ten—no dome residents have come into contact with anything close to resembling the yetis’ description of The Obake. Their initiation came reluctantly following a massive battle with The Obake that resulted in the death of the tribe’s leader, Sarjei, and her consort Gammayun. Zakar, Gammayun’s younger brother, made the executive decision to save the tribe’s leaders and initiate the rest.

Sarjei is a respectful and contemplative leader and has been revived as a firebird, the likes of which has started some rumblings within the tribe about a “prophecy.” Gammayun, her consort, is skilled and powerful but quick to anger. They have become staples in the dome as leaders. The rest of The Kabuki, though, are struggling to find a place. Many of them have introduced the idea of scavenging into the dome. There has been division into two schools of thought, one, that scavenged goods are as good as any and necessary for survival, and those that believe that dome tech is superior to all else. For the time being The Kabuki have been relegated to occupations involved with outside travel. They’ve been with the dome for about 6 months at present.

Dome Foo has been abuzz with talk of several new recruits. They have all just died, or nearly done so.

The speedster and the telekinetic, both adept at duplicating themselves, worked together in the intelligence department under Cryphan. Everyone at the dome after some point of regular service is required to make an expedition outside to remind them of the state of the world and the necessity for intervention on behalf of The Helix Hegemony. They were sent to a recently discovered bunker some miles west of Dome Foo to investigate and attempt to recover resources or technology to be analyzed, the speedster for his ability to get out of a pinch and the telekinetic for his technical smarts.

The pair were ambushed traveling through a narrow gulch by a band of brigands. They had an instant to commiserate and split into a bunch of decoys, hoping to distract their attackers so that their true selves could break out and continue to the bunker in the confusion. The speedster managed to escape, but his partner was caught behind and never heard from again.

The speedster made it to the bunker, but without his partner’s mechanical experience, tripped the automated security on the inside. Heavily injured from the turrets and cornered by the security drones, he made it to a laboratory and discovered a preserved alien specimen, and opened its capsule in the hopes that he could attain its DNA and fulfill his prerogative in his dying moments. The alien turned out to be alive, but the breach of its chamber meant it could not survive for long in the environment, and the speedster gave it the choice of dying or joining The Helix Hegemony by accepting his Nodes after his body broke down. Reluctantly, the alien chose life, and shortly after the dome sent out squads to recover the remains of its presumably failed agents, rescued the being and took him back for immediate medical treatment. Fimtrankanaad, as he was called, fully realized that he could make the most of his possession of the Nodes, the dome’s knowledge base, and tech to forward his own ends.

The man known as Paradox had been a feline gravity controller, part of the dome security and search and rescue teams. The being that called itself Pseudo was a mind coercer and fellow gravity controller, a member of both dome security and the public relations embassy. They were present when a pair of thieves infiltrated the dome with what was assumed to be the intention of stealing tech and secrets. The feline managed to pursue the first intruder to the inner workings of the dome and kept speed with him in spite of him disappearing and reappearing through a series of time portals. Finally, he appeared in two places at once, and the feline stabbed the older of the two through the chest. The man gave him this odd look of recognition and then a really knowing smile, just as his double appeared behind and stabbed the feline, disappearing into a portal shortly thereafter. Before dying, the feline was able to absorb some of the particulate matter from the man and the portals into himself, coming back in a form eerily resembling the man himself. The mentalist pursued the other intruder, a wheeled android that fled into the forest near the dome, and managed to slow it down enough to get it into physical combat and easily dismantle it, breaking off a piece to take back to the dome as evidence of the kill. As the sky darkened and night set in, the mentalist got lost in the woods and was pursued by black tendrils and creeping dark. Eventually fatigue won out and the dome resident was slowly strangled to death in the woods by these unknown assailants. The body was recovered and upon revival warped into a twisted conglomeration of the cyborg and nightmarish entities.

It had been less than a week since the recruits have been recovered. Each of them had spent a couple of days in the medical aid facility in the dome receiving physical therapy to get used to their new bodies and taken an aptitude test to determine where their next station in the dome would be. They all acquired some standard issue equipment and gotten some things from the dome armory or have been in contact with The Kabuki and their stash of regularly salvaged goods. Business continued as usual until Principal Fortuna calls them up to her quarters…

Fortuna explained to the recruits that because of their recent acquisition of new DNA and in one case an entirely new entity, she intended to promote them to Intercessors when their standard dome service required them to make an excursion outside. She dismissed them, saying that she would keep in touch.

The alien, Fim, was sent down to the medical labs in order to work out several kinks in his atmospheric bubble, to keep him from any other near-death experiences. The man that now called himself Paradox was sent to the armory to outfit him with equipment. The being known as Pseudo was dismissed from the academy after no conclusion was reached as to where to place it within the dome, and it went to The Kabuki to acquire some trinkets that interested it.

An alarm sounded in the dome as several drop ships flew in from the southeast and deposited a dozen or so room-sized, bronze spheres and large troop carriers in the snow of the mountain some miles away. As the confusion in reaction to the unheard-of flying machines gave way to fear as the spheres unfolded into beetle-like, quadrupedal tanks that marched in the direction of the dome.

Principal Fortuna contacted the new recruits via Node receptors in their bodies and informed them that she would be uprooting the dome to make an escape, as it was unprepared for such an attack from an unknown enemy. The second caveat of this, she explained, was to promote them to Intercessors immediately in the hopes that they could accomplish something in the dome’s absence. This was a tremendous risk on her part, as uprooting meant the loss of all of the progress that had been made in the area exploring and acquiring tech, DNA and new initiates to The Helix Hegemony. Fortuna ended the transmission telling the recruits that she would be sending help to escort them beneath the dome itself, from where they could decide their next course of action.

Fim broke out of the medical labs that had gone on lock down, and been intercepted by his escort, a Kabuki member named Thunder, who escorted him down one of the maintenance shafts below the dome. Paradox, in the middle of trying to speculate the true ringleaders behind the attack, noticed that one of the beetle-tanks breached the edge of the dome and seemed to absorb its coating. He was approached by a charcoal-colored insect that beckoned him into a hidden hatch within the walls. Pseudo was at The Kabuki salvage stash on the first-floor atrium of the dome, the location nearest the danger. Pseudo was a approached by a silver-bodied humanoid that broke into eight furry bodies to evade one of the oncoming tanks as it breached the edge of the dome. It and its escort also made their way down beneath the building via one of the maintenance shafts.

The party felt the thrum of the dome’s power core and massive thermal drill as they descended, and shortly after they hit the bottom, Dome Foo folded up into its travel form and was off. Deep below the surface, amid the low light and the pools of runoff mercury shed from the dome’s position, the party met with their escorts to discuss their next course of action.

The yeti, Thunder, explained that it would be fortuitous if the new Intercessors could make use of the magic revered by his people. He described the several kinds known to him – Light and Shadow, Arcane and Rune magic – and said there could be more to discover in more remote regions. His fellow escorts scoffed at this and presented their own cases.

The insect introduced himself as Char, saying he thought a better use of time an energy would be to acquire tech and goods. There was a bunker he knew of some miles northeast of their current location that he thought the party should investigate to get more “stuff.”

The third escort, a humanoid construct made out of raccoons with prosthetic limbs and shells, introduced itself as Jack (greeted by its other parts, “Hi, Jack!”). Jack stressed the importance of getting greater numbers for protection. It posited that the party could investigate The Obake, which Thunder protested, or that there was a small town to the south that could be visited in search of potential initiates.

A fourth person, a human woman with grape vines for hair, introduced herself as Concordia and asked that the party not mind her companions. She presented herself as a resource to fall on in case anyone had questions regarding their assignment or motive. Fim, being up until recently an outsider, grilled her on the executive decision to move the dome and its lack of defenses, as well as the significance of the dome’s former location. She had no good reason for parking the dome where it was structurally, and Fim, frustrated, floated off toward the only exit. The others followed suit.

The party readied their light sources, Paradox’s flashlight, Pseudo’s lantern and Fim’s eye beams, which shone out from the interior of his foggy bubble through the darkness. Paradox and Pseudo heard scuttling noises ahead in the tunnel and informed Fim, who promptly dismissed these claims and continued around a corner, coming face to face with a cave-dwelling snail crab that screeched in his face and veered toward him. As the others made up their lost ground the party was assaulted on all sides by smaller snail crabs that scuttled out from low holes on either side of the tunnel.

Paradox was struck by a terrible migraine as an uncanny doppelganger appeared and shot at the large blue snail crab, damaging it and warping it behind one of the wall holes. He took a swing at this suspicious arrival just as it disappeared, but this was not the last he would see of it. Fim and Pseudo attempted to defend themselves from the smaller snail crabs, which swarmed them and radiated radioactivity so hot it burnt them from their proximity to the beasts.

The snail crabs nipped helplessly at the group as Fim gained some ground and shot at their assailants with his high-powered plasma hand-blasters. Paradox’s double appeared again several times to dispatch one of the smaller beasts and Pseudo damaged the snail crab lovingly biting at it with some salvaged shuriken.

The large blue snail crab snaked its way in between Pseudo and Paradox, releasing a toxic pheromone gas and exhaling a cold gust of air into Pseudo’s face just before Fim exploded it, covering his allies in its remains. They had a revelatory moment as they felt its DNA attune to them, expanding their genetic pool of options should one of them expire.

The smaller snail crabs melted and devoured Paradox’s body double, retreating back into their holes to the chagrin of the party and darting out and making futile attempts to bite their faces and ankles. When only one remained, Pseudo approached with its hedge clippers and was taken aback as the snail crab attached itself to Pseudo, retreating to some other part of its body when they tried to attack it. Through the combined efforts of Fim and Paradox’s doppelganger, they managed to dispatch the beast and continue on their way toward the surface.

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