|Halloween Comes Late|
|Summary:||While working on the Saviour's Haste, Ruin encounters an unusual visitor to Hancock Station.|
|Cast:||Ruin, Leodhais, Taeren, Norton|
Landing Bay <Hancock Station>
- Hancock Station -
- This incredible chamber sports almost a square mile of poured plascrete, all watched over by a high communications tower. Most of the ceiling of this chamber is of a lightly buzzing blue energy, allowing ships in and out with a minimum of atmosphere loss. Cheery lighting fixtures line the walls in stark contrast to the otherwise utilitarian nature of the bay. There is a set of double doors near the back of the bay, manned by half a dozen armed New Luna Militia members.
A harsh, melodic noise begins to hiss through the landing bay, like a bitter, whistling wind through a gap under the door.
COMMNET Garuda on ALMIGHTY: Get back up here. NOW.
COMMNET Ambarur on ALMIGHTY: On my way.
Ruin looks around for the source of the hissing. "Come ON, Leodh," he growls. "Onto the ship."
Leodhais looks around, blinking, and nods, getting onto the Haste.
Ruin runs for the doors, to check if that hissing means the landing bay's losing air.
COMMNET Ambarur on ALMIGHTY: ...I'm watching from the cockpit. Do you need help out there?
COMMNET Garuda on ALMIGHTY: Check the controls - can you read the controls in the cockpit? Should tell you what kind of air's out here, pressure and so on?
Emerging from behind the Franklin is a stark, gaunt figure. Dressed in a long coat in stripes of royal blue and silver, he walks with an almost militiristic air, each step seeming to provoke a new instance of the melodic rasping noise.
COMMNET Ambarur on ALMIGHTY: ...there's someone out there.
COMMNET Garuda on ALMIGHTY: Full marks for observation, reporter, see who you can hail with the ship's comm!
Ruin keeps one hand to his ear where the commlink rests. Wide-eyed, he backs away from the stranger. "Who are you?" he calls, backing toward the doors to the inner lobby.
From inside the Haste, Leodhais over the ship's comm: This is Leodhais on the IND Saviour's Haste. Hailing all ships in the immediate area. I'm currently in the landing bay of Hancock station, in the cockpit of the Haste. See an unknown man in military uniform, possibly a PANL member, currently approaching one Ruin Pia.
Silently shifting from one polished black boot to the other, the only sound to eminate from the figure is that of the grating, chaotic whistle. As Ruin speaks, however, the figure shifts its direction towards the Lunite, its coat whisperless as it parts for every step.
Ruin, for his part, is severely spooked. Wide eyed and breathing rapidly, on the controlled edge of panic, he repeats: "Who. Are You?" Evidently he has some idea this might just be a really elaborate prank.
Hancock Station Intercom Broadcast ---------------------------- Taeren
From the Meeting Room : Attention. Marine 3rd Company, 1st platoon, Second Squad, report to landing bay deck lobby immediately. That is all.
As the figure begin to near Ruin, his figures begin to come into view. Blonde, probably around his early forties, the right side of this man's face seems to have been mangled by a pulse weapon, to the point that his right nostril and entire eye socket are covered in old scar tissue. An ancient-looking pulse pistol is holstered at his side in an elaborate black and silver holster that seems to be a part of the long, flowing blue and silver coat. Flecks of blood seem to dot the right shoulder of the coat. Wordlessly, breathlessly he moves, but his hand raises in a sort of 'stop' gesture to the Lunite, his mouth opening and moving, but no words eminating save for the harsh, scraping whistle-moan that eminates with every step of the figure.
Taeren jogs into the Landing Bay from the main lobby, his hand on the sidearm at his hip. He moves towards the Savior's Haste without stopping. The hand removes the sidearm's safety strap, tugs it upwards, sets it to charge and replaces the sidearm in its holster.
At the sound of the intercom, Ruin just about jumps out of his skin - an impressive feat for someone who's mostly skin and bone to start with. "Oh, shit," he groans, for once forgetting to switch languages first, and turns back...only to see how hurt the man is. Finally clear on what to do, Ruin bolts - not for the doors or his ship, but for the first aid kits bolted to the walls. "Father bless thee and keep thee, Tasya, for that damned drill!" he says as he runs.
Norton is shrugging into a flak vest as he walks down the shuttle's boarding ramp. He's wearing cut of fatigues for shorts, but he is wearing authorized foot gear. He's got a pistol belt in one hand.
The figure draws his weapon as Ruin bolts, a fluid motion from his hip to shoulder-level that speaks of a fair amount of training. The figure's eyebrow lowers, and the usable half of his face contorts into an angry scream, his mouth forming stacatto inaudable syllables. After a beat, he begins to squeeze the trigger of the weapon multiple times, and several bolts of blue energy streak towards Ruin.
Ruin - en route to the first aid kits - has no idea he's being aimed at or fired upon until the trigger is pulled. Although reflexes send him for the floor at the first sound of gunfire, it does nothing to protect him; on the contrary, he's just exposed himself completely in the split-second it takes for the bolts to strike home.
Only - they don't. The beams hit Ruin, or at least seem to - striking the liver, the stomach, and lungs cleanly - but then pass through without apparently causing any damage at all. Ruin drops to his knees out of sheer shock, turning back to stare at the stranger - and then down at his unharmed self.
Leodhais leaps off the Haste, overshooting the ramp, his eyes wide. He somehow manages to land on his feet, ignoring the shockwaves going up his legs, looking over at Ruin and mysterious figure. "...what the hell?"
Taeren draws his charged sidearm, knee slamming against the deck as he takes position behind the forward landing strut of the Outcast -- the ship nearest the Haste -- for cover. "Drop the weapon!" He yells just as the figure fires, drawing his Equality and steadying it in his hands, firing ... so utterly focused on the act that he does not see the bolts pass through Ruin without doing any harm.
One of Taeren's shots goes wide over the figure's head, and the other seems to graze the edge of the flowing, blue and silver coat, both striking against the rocky walls a beat later.
Norton takes a knee as shots are fired and pulls out his stun gun, but by the time he's done all this his eyes have tracked over to Ruin. "What the hell..." are his exact sentiments, too, only he keeps talking and does no trigger squeezing. "Holofreakingram. Quit your panicking, sir. You're just going to shoot someone."
Taeren rises, slowly, holstering his sidearm as he squints at the apparition. "Hindsight is always 20/20, Sergeant," the Timonae says. "Someone's shooting at your friends, tell me you wouldn't do the same." He turns, briefly, to Norton. "Your squad should be mustered in the inner lobby. Raise them on comm and see how they're doing. Someone might be using this as a distraction to slip by." His attention returns to the apparition, and he steps out from behind his ship's landing strut. "Very strange."
Leodhais goes over to Ruin right away, crouching down next to him. "...hey," he says softly, ignoring the hologram for now. "You with me?"
As shots streak by the silent figure, it turns, coat billowing out to reveal a plush white fur lining to the coat, and a fancy silk blue shirt and well-tailored blue slacks. It turns its weapon towards Taeren, its face contorting once more as it fires blue energy towards the Timonae. His offhand pulls something small out of his pocket, and begins to frantically speak into it, slowly backing up as blue streaks of energy rain out of the automatic weapon.
Ruin - still white-faced and shocky - nevertheless gets to his wobbly feet when he realizes that no, really, he isn't hurt. Holding out weaponless hands, he says, "It's not a hologram, unless someone can see me who's directing him. He responded before." Directing his words to the figure, he repeats, "Who are you?" And then switches languages. "Who are you?" He frowns. "...What uniform is he wearing, Captain?"
Taeren flinches, hesitating, as the beams pass through him. "No uniform I've ever seen. I don't think it's a uniform so much as ... just ... fancy-dress." The Timonae holds his hands up, palms facing the spectre. "Hey, pal," he says, loudly, clearly, enunciating. "Stop shooting. You're wasting your non-corporeal ammo."
"No, assessing the situation before you shoot to kill a person who mysteriously showed up in the landing bay of a military installation is rarely twenty twenty, sir, but it's generally better than dumb ass knee jerk reactions," says Norton. "But, what the hell do I know? Why don't you do some techy shit and try to jam that thing if it is a holograph it stands to reason that there's a projector. If it's not a holograph, I don't get paid enough to deal with it. In fact, why don't you just get up to the command deck and let professionals handle the goings on around here while you talk to the other funky monkey amongst us in whatever language it is you've cobbled together to talk to the Ungstiri enigma about whatever this is. Shut the landing bay doors if you think it's a distraction to 'sneak by' while you're at it. Seal off the area, let the marines who should be at the doors handle things here. Raise the shields on the station. Don't bring people up from planetside in the shuttle like you did with me. Have the entire garrison on standy by while sweeps with tech scanners and marines are done about the station. Maybe break out the Vollistan freaks while you're at it. Seriously, sir, what is wrong with you?" He tells Ruin, "Looks like a Sivadian pirate want to be, but who really cares? If it's a hologram, it doesn't matter. If it's not a hologram, I'm happier being ignorant. Someone throw a wrench at it. Aren't you supposed to be an engineer? Do some sort of tech scanning crap."
Leodhais blinks, looking over at the figure, and then at Ruin, and back again, as though trying to make sense of it.
The figure doesn't seem to be responding well to platitudes, instead continuing to silently scream into what looks like a commlink, each retreating step echoing louder and louder with a hollow, scraping whistle. Beams continue to flash across the landing bay, striking several people within the bay with a good deal of precision. Eventually, though, the weapon runs out of juice. The figure's one eyebrow raises, and he throws the antique-looking pulse pistol aside, where it disappears as soon as it hits the ground.
"Half of Second Squad was on the station," Taeren replies to Norton levelly. "That the other half got the call too? So your beer's getting warm. Tough." The Timonae approaches the apparition, slowly, reaching behind him to pull out a techscanner. He sets it to display the radiation spectrum in the area, pointing it at Blue Robe. "And remember the circumstances behind why, exactly, I CAN call you up from the surface," at this point his tone has become an absentminded drone, as the Timonae is clearly done paying attention to Norton, "while you're getting a handjob from whatever species of schoolboy with which you prefer to have sex. You made a deliberate choice to give up the right to second-guess a Captain. So shut up." He holds the techscanner towards the figure from several feet away, frowning at what he finds.
Ruin is not about to look away from the strange man again. "I haven't got a techscanner," he absently replies in Norton's direction, while slowly stepping forward, toward the apparition. "I don't think it's a hologram. Leodh? Could you do some spot research on what he's wearing, see if you're right and it is a uniform?" He tilts his head at the sound. "That noise...like losing air...I thought we were losing air, but..."
Leodhais considers that, and pulls out his PDA, peering through it, jotting in some words, glancing up at the figure. "Not like I can offer anything else," he says with a shrug, poring through online libraries.
Grinning now, Norton just salutes Taeren and strolls towards the lobby. For whatever reason, he keeps the stun gun charged and out but on safe.
The figure continues his retreat, his hands near his face as if prepared to strike out at any point, his knees bent. The whistling takes on an almost moaning, plaintive tone, modulating in pitch with every step from low to high then back again.
Ruin follows after the retreating figure - not blindly, but curiosity is getting the better of fear now he's got an idea he's not likely to be kidnapped or killed. He looks for any correlation between the noise and - well, anything, aside from the apparition's retreat. Maybe a door's opening or the air's wiggly or something. Someone has clearly watched way too many sci-fi B-movies as a kid.
Leodhais frowns into his pda, and looks at the figure again. "Hmm. Maybe I need to use a different search string," he murmurs to himself, following at a safe distance so as not to lose sight of it. He tries again.
"The techscanner is not picking up any radiation in its spectrum," Taeren says, wincing at the plaintive whistling and moaning. He stops his advance on the figure at the landing bay's engineering locker. "No power, nothing." The Timonae's brows knit. "Ruin," he begins, "If we can't figure it out any other way, would you be willing to ask Izolda if she has any clue what the hell is going on?" Cap'n M'nammrann leans his elbow on the locker, watching the figure with an openly puzzled expression. "We need scientific equipment, something that can pick up spacial and temporal anomalies."
Norton just rolls his eyes as he steps through the doors to the inner lobby and begins to check over the equipment of the marines in his squad. He mumbles, "Always the last to know, officers."
The figure eventually backs itself up against the rocky wall of the landing bay. Its eye widens nervously, and it begins to run along the edge of the bay, the long coat trailing behind it. As it runs, the modulation on the moaning wail changes quickly up and down, almost mimicing someone screaming as they fall down the stairs a step at a time.
Ruin frowns, shaking his head at the noise that grates on his nerves. "Stop!" he calls - and then pauses. "Hm." Instead of following directly, he walks-quickly-but-does-not-run for another of the first aid kits on the walls. "I'd be happy to talk to Izolda again," he says to Taeren as he goes, "Assuming you can clear my presence with the brass; I doubt I'm welcome up there." This time he takes the kit down and shows it to the apparation. "There, see? Not a weapon."
Taeren pushes quickly off the locker and heads for the landing bay door, tugging a commlink out of his back pocket. He places a comm call up to the command center. "This is M'nammrann," he says. "Close the landing bay-to-lobby doors, now." Replacing the commlink, he muses, "now if he walks through it, I'll be mad ..."
Leodhais holds up his hands, only holding the PDA and stylus at the figure, just in case it was wondering, and resumes researching, taking a seat on the ramp of the Haste, frowning after the figure.
The figure stops after having run fifty or sixty feet, its eye narrowing, its mouth flaring in unheard epithets towards Ruin. That being done, it feels at a part of the cavern wall, pulling at a slight dip in the craggy face. It waits for a brief moment, and as if to punctuate Taeren's statement the figure then walks directly through the wall and out of sight. The wail grows softer and softer.
Ruin shakes his head. "Well, whoever he is, if he's still visible he's about to put the fear of God into an awful lot of twitchy Marines," Ruin notes, and puts the kit back. "Having any luck, Leodh? Should we go up to command deck and try talking to Izolda before things get worse?"
Leodhais looks up at Ruin and wrinkles his nose a bit. "No, not really. And I have all the data I can work with right now, unless you can give me more. I'll see what I can do with what I've got, not much else to do," he says with a shrug and gets up. "Sounds like a plan."
"Son of a -" Taeren begins, approaching the section of wall where the figure disappeared. "He walked through the -wall-, Ruin ..." Taeren's four-knuckled hands start feeling around on the wall where he saw the figure do the same, tugging, twisting. "If he's a temporal apparition or something, it's possible the same thing that allowed him through in his time will allow us through ..." He continues probing, one-hnded, pulling out his commlink. "This is M'nammrann. Open the doors. Our strange subject just passed through a wall."
Leodhais looks over at Tay, blinking a bit. He turns to Ruin. "No, not really. And I have all the data I can work with right now, unless you can give me more. I'll see what I can do with what I've got, not much else to do," he says with a shrug and gets up. "Sounds like a plan."
Taeren is feeling along one of the walls, as for something in particular. The apparition has disappeared.
"He couldn't hurt us," Ruin replies, "and whatever he was afraid of, I don't think we could hurt him either." He walks back - slowly - towards the Franklin. "He came from here, or around here..." He doesn't particularly want to find the exact spot by stepping on it, though, instead listening to see if the noise comes back. "...I wonder if he'll get more real, or less, the farther he goes?"
Norton is still not dressed any more martially than when he first got off the shuttle; although, he is wearing the pistol belt now instead of simply carrying it. He's also grinning. "Well done, problem solved."
"Aha!" Taeren exclaims, poking at a small brown circle on the wall. "A button." He looks expectantly at the wall, and as nothing happens, he frowns, and reaches for a screwdriver among the tools at his side. "Ruin, lend me a hand ..." He moves - carefully - to remove the button's housing and reveal what's underneath. "... I bet this hardware just needs some tender loving care, like the rest of this rusty ol' rock."
"...mmm?" Leodhais looks over at Taeren with renewed interest. He gets up and wanders over near him, careful to stay mostly out of the way so that Ruin can do his thing.
Ruin comes over to see what Tay's found. "Oh," he says, blinking. "I see - so if he's a time traveller, then...this station is old..." he trails off as he peers at the circle. "Tender loving care and seven vats of WD-40," he adds absently, studying the button.
"At least we don't have to call an exorcist," mutters Norton. He doesn't move over to get a closer look at the find, however.
Taeren makes a face. "Ugh," Taeren says. "Make that eight. We'll have to pull out this whole circuit to figure out where it went." Nonetheless, he removes the wires from the switch. Whetting his fingers and running them along each wire individually, he starts scraping the two exposed leads together. "I bet he predates even the caves we're using. This station is three miles long ... there could be a whole network that was once inhabited, a network we've never seen." All this as he tries to overcome years of rust and rockrats.
... with some saliva and good-old-fashioned Timonese spacer know-how.
Leodhais continues standing out of the way, knowing that the non-engineer or technically minded types would only mess things up. He does, however, continue to watch with interest. "...time traveler, someone mentioned?" he asks softly, not addressing anyone in particular.
Ruin nods. "Time traveller," he agrees. "And from the decay - could be centuries." He pauses. "Either way, if it's ever fully restored..." He steps back, considering. "Captain - some of the cleaning kits from Engineering? And an electronics toolkit for when it's all scrubbed. And meantime maybe ask Izolda if she knows anything about the uniform or the button?"
Norton walks over and takes a seat on the foot locker, looking over at the shuttle somewhat longingly.
"This asteroid was inhabited sometime long before we found it," Taeren explains to Leodhais. "We didn't build all this. We salvaged a great deal from long ago. My guess would be he's a consequence of the same temporal disruptions we've been seeing throughout the universe; other people have emerged from rifts, albeit in more corporeal forms." The Timonae sighs, nodding to Ruin as he stops, leaving the wires connected in what would be an "On" position as he steps back. "This is a project for more than one night. Our spectre lead us to one of the ancient secrets of this asteroid. And I've got a war to fight; I don't have time to devote to this." He grins at Ruin. "So ..."
Leodhais looks thoughtfully at the wall. "...those rifts. Sanctuary... six months..." his expression is closed off, only slight curiosity showing on his otherwise blank face.
Ruin frowns - almost scowls. "Yes," he agrees. "The needs of the present take precedence over any mysteries of the past. For me as well as for you. I'll work on this until it's time, though. Let me go get the electronics kit out of the Haste, and get someone to get me some cleaning kits from engineering, and I'll work on it for you." He turns and jogs back to the Haste, disappearing inside.
Norton's grin gets extra wide when Taeren brings up the war he has to fight. He starts to hum. Then, he checks the status of his stun gun and puts it away.
"Six months for four hundred years," the Timonae finishes, for Leodhais. He turns and exhales. "Sorry to call you out of the whorehouse for nothing, Sergeant. Get your squad to stand down and go back to your beer." He smirks. "There'll be a treasure hunt in a couple days, looks like, if that's your thing." He turns back to Ruin. "There'll be a contractor to work with you." The Timonae turns for the exit. "Thanks, everybody. See you tomorrow."