Wolves Among Sheep
Summary: Vollista sends out a plea for help. Several groups answer the call, with mixed results.
Cast: Ace, Dirionis Callot, Fayth, Larin, Lucius, McDowell, Ruin, Volouscheur
Air Date: 3006.09.05

Cockpit <IND Saviour's Haste>

- IND Saviour's Haste -

The cramped cockit barely has enough room for the pilot's bench and second officer's station behind, every square of space inch filled with monitors, switches and system telltales. The glassteel canopy provides minimal headroom, the long slender bubble providing an excellent view of the surrounding space. A holographic heads up display provides navigational information while the console signals add faint rainbow reflections.

The sound of claxons ring through out the ship, signaling that something is wrong. The comm frequencies are currently chattering loudly, denoting that one of the planets has put out a mayday call for help.

Brandon sits at the pilot's bench, currently flying the ship, and checking on some paperwork every now and then.

Ruin comes up from aft, somewhat sleepily, and evidently surprised to find the ship in flight. "Ah - wha?" he manages, with pre-caffeineated intelligibility. "Where are we off to?"

"Vollista," Brandon says, not glancing up from his paper work. "Something's going on there... You might wanna see if you can drag the journo out of bed."

"Not likely," Ruin admits. "Think he was up late with his messages or something." He frowns at the alarms. "Vollista?"

"Yes... Vollista, home of the Vollistans," Brandon says, before giving a long suffering sigh. "Is there a problem with that? People are in trouble, and we can't just leave them sitting around."

Ruin shakes his head, quickly. "No, not at all," he replies, surprised this needed clarification. "If we can help, we should. But what kind of help are we able to give? What's the trouble?"

"They need investigators, right?" Brandon says, as he glances over his shoulder. "What are we at the moment? We're investigators. Somethings going on, and we're gonna find out what it is."

Ruin nods, slowly. "I've never been to Vollista," he remarks. "Should be interesting...maybe I should send Scheur a message, if the NLM will let her go for a while?"

"Last thing I need is an overly emotional Vollistan crying their eyes out in case this is bad," Brandon replies, as he quickly shakes his head. He then leans back into the chair, and stretches out. "Contact the NLM by all means, send the message to Jeff and Tay, see if they can provide a transport."

Ruin frowns at that, remembering. "Yes...she is," he agrees. "On the other hand, it makes for a good weathervane for 'normal'. And if she goes, Voliast probably goes too, and he's at least one kind of" He looks a bit sheepish. "See, I've actually met Scheur, and have some idea what I can say to her - personal, you know, not job related. If I contact Jeff and Tay, doesn't that mean I'm asking the NLM as a whole to get involved?"

"Ruin... We're the Watchers, you're forgetting who the founder is and what his position is in the NLM," Brandon states, blunt as usual. "If they want to prance around like idiots, then let them go ahead."

"I'm not forgetting," Ruin replies quietly. "I'm also not forgetting that the NLM has the military strength of a used teabag comapred to a lot of other planetary forces, that people have been trying to blow Hancock station up lately when they're not shooting local politicians...and that New Luna has one of these ...warp-gate things too, right outside Freedom City." He shakes his head. "If the NLM can spare one ship that's probably being generous. But maybe we can ask for one."

"We only need a transport, if something goes wrong here," Brandon replies, before swallowing. "What if every planet has one of the rifts on it?" he then shakesh is head. "I think it's the Kamir behind this."

"I thought the Kamir were....dead, or gone, or something?" Ruin frowns. "There's just the touched people, like the one in the news a few days ago."

"They're back," Brandon mutters quietly. "They're back alright... If the Kamir are back, perhaps we need to find a way to bring back the Hivers."

Ruin leans in the doorway, watching Brandon. "You know it?" he asks. "It's not a guess? Maybe it's that touched one or something...something less."

"Got a feeling," Brandon says, as he slowly shakes his head. "Just there, right beyond reach... I know something about the Kamir. Something that only a few people know."

"Will you share it?" Ruin asks, very carefully.

"I don't know what it is," Brandon replies, as he thumps his hand against the bench. It wasn't out of anger, but judging by the tone in his voice, it was out of frustration. "It's just a feeling."

Ruin raises a hand, backing off. "One of the things you lost?" he guesses. "Leave it be, if it won't come to mind. At least you know it's there, somewhere."

"Yeah..." comes a faint muffled reply from Brandon. "Just hard... It feels like months of my life and be ripped away from me. Some things, they bubble to the surface, but only for a moment... Teasing. After that, nothing."

"...And you want to go to Vollista," Ruin notes, in the same tone he'd say 'and you want to become a skydiver' to someone terminally afraid of heights. He purses his lips, considering that, and then gives a little nod. "All right, captain. I follow your lead."

"People need help at Vollista," Brandon says, using the same tone that one might use to talk to a child. "We go to help where we are needed."

Ruin smiles. "Good," he replies. "That's a good way to be."

"My crew are utter geniuses," Brandon mutters, before shaking his head. "You sent that signal out yet Ruin? We might only have one chance to get this out."

Ruin grins. "I'll get on it," he says, taking out his PDA and turning it on.

"Excellent," Brandon says, as he starts to prepare for the ship to drop back into realspace. "We'll get this shit going, and hopefully save some people."

Ruin hits the final key and turns his PDA off. "Good timing," he says, noting the break into realspace. "Message sent, but the brigadier general's bounced."

"Crap," Brandon replies, as he guides the ship towards the Vollista Orbit. "Typical shit, you know?"

Ruin's PDA beeps as they come in to land, and he takes it out to check on it. "Oh - hey," he says, surprised. "Looks like we're at least on similar pages." he turns the PDA around so Brandon can see its screen. "Will that do?"

From: Taeren

Subject: Re: Request


Good to hear from you. I've been waiting for our Vollistan contingent to come on-shift to ask them if they are up for leading an all-volunteer expedition, as Dr. Voliast has indicated he has some skill in psionic healing.

In a more immediate sense, I can't dispatch any Militia ships -- I lack that level of authority without a pressing emergency -- but I do own and operate a civilian fast freighter with a very clean and roomy cargo hold. I can be in there and out again in less than an hour.

Do you have a timetable for transport?

- Tay

"Yup, that'll do," Brandon says, as he settles the Haste in for a landing. As soon as the ship has touched down, he's straight away unbuckling his restrants and standing. "Just get it here as soon as possible, cool?" With that said, he heads towards the aft hatch.

Ruin nods, tapping keys. "I'll tell him," he replies, making room for Brandon to pass.

McDowell punches in a keypad code and exits.

Vollista Outpost Landing Deck <Vollista>

- Vollista -

This massive round pad is suspended over the sheer zhzxgrayzn mountainside. Wind whistles around the weathered structure, which shows little evidence of recent, consistent use. A protective railing serves as a meager barrier to the panoramic view of the rocky mountains that the outpost clings to. Far below and sprawling along the base of the peaks, a rich growth of zbnavy blue pine treeszn covers like a blanket. A small lake is also noticable among the pine forest immediately below the outpost, reflecting the zggreen-tinted sunlightzn. The sky itself is a tumult of zhzggreen plasma tentacleszn, wrapping across the sky like a fantastic spaceborne highway with the zhzgflaring emerald star of Volirzn at the center.
A small structure has been built of the rough zhzxgray stonezn of the mountainside. It stands near the stairway which pierces the protective railing and leads down the mountain. Through its thick zhplasticzn windows several Vollistans can be seen; they politely check to be side no visitors to the planet carry psi blockers with small handheld devices they carry.

Anyone coming to Vollista right now would find it in a state of relative panic. Its leaders and skilled clergymen have fallen prey to some kind of psychic pulse that's rendered them quite injured, any inquiry into local rumors would find.

Uncharacteristically non-glowing, an unusual trait in a Vollistan, a pale telepath stands on the landing deck, looking about with worry and waiting to inform those who arrive to help. He dashes over to the Artemis, looking quite harried, and inquires: "Are you here to help with this? Did you bring supplies, healers?" His eyes dart to the large ships, apparently calculating. "I'm here to tell you about the guidelines while you're on-world, and to ... what's the word... negotiate any help you'll offer?" His Standard is prodigiously perfect, and one would note that he is one of the more modern Vollistans: scanning equipment is lashed to the silky sash that forms the belt of his robes.

Fayth is sitting on the ramp of the Artemis, cigarette in mouth, PDA in hand. Reading the news, or perhaps looking at pictures, or the hundred other functions the little machines are capable of today. Regardless, he's here. "I got some Valsho Berries in the bay.. but, really.. I'm here to look for a young Vollistan called Volaya. If I can help with your struggles, God Willin', I will. Payment for deeds, as always, appreciated." The man stands up, offering a hand. "Faith."

The Saviour's Haste comes in for a landing near the Artemis, and a few moments later the airlock door hisses open. "Right..." Brandon says, as he exits from the Haste, turning to talk to someone behind him. "Make sure you keep our reporter up to date..." He finally turns around to study the ship beside the Haste.

"Where is the prat anyway?", a disembodied voice shouts from inside the entrance ramp. The voice later attaches itself to a Lunite with a build much the same of a child's top. He follows Brandon down the ramp, his hands shoved in the pockets of his unzippered jacket. It's quite obvious he's wearing a fair bit of bodyarmor underneath because of this.

Voltrema smiles, but there is something slightly odd about it. His eyes gleam eerily as the still unglowing Vollistan inclines his head in respect, but does not return the handshake. Suddenly, as a golden-robed figure bustles in from the caverns nearby and whispers something in his ear, the Vollistan smiles and nods, a true smile this time. "Err... I must go attend to something in the temple. In the meantime, Volseneth will be your guide. Voltrema is my name..." Inclining his head again, the taller Vollistan rushes off to the far interior of the complex, a slightly enigmatic skip in his step.

Volseneth quirks a brow. "Volaya... I have heard the name. Our elder was renowned for his memory, if he is healed, I am sure he or the other Intermezzos could help..." This statement finished, the young telepath's eye turns toward Brandon, Larin, and the others exiting the nearby ships. "Ah, surely help has come, this is very fortuitous. Thank Volir... we are experiencing much hardship of late. The people are confused." He seems oblivious to these broader facts being stated despite no formal introduction, but states to the area at large: "We do have a few guidelines..." At this point, one would have noticed those with psi-blocker scanners and other devices are standing a short distance away. "If you need any other help, or information on the situation, I will gladly provide."

Ruin is the last to disembark from the Haste - unarmed, unarmored, and mostly paying attention to whatever it is his PDA is telling him. "Taeren's on his way," he remarks, and then, "Oh - up last night with reports, I think, and -" he finally registers the chaos. "I am severely underdressed, aren't I."

Fayth's hand drops down, nonplussed, shrugging absently at the retreating figure. The newly arrived trio gets a glance and a nod from the man of the good book.

The Captain of the Haste, he simply gives the security scanners a flat look. He pats himself, before muttering something vile under his breath, making reference to firearms, garrotte lines and psi-blockers. Brandon then looks over his shoulder to Ruin and Larin, and finally answers the later's question. "Sleeping," and then for Ruin. "Tay's on his way? Excellent... This place might need all the help it can get." He then starts heading towards the Artemis, Fayth and Volseneth. "Morning, evening or what ever time of day it is here... Heard the call and got our butts into gear to help out." He offers a friendly smile upon his approach.

Volseneth intones in response to Ruin's statement: "On the contrary... your compatriots are. We... are not a violent people. This havoc is caused by a lack of strong leadership and fear of the unknown. My people believe a sign of Volir's unhappiness was made manifest in the strange gateway. While they may need comforting and be irrational, true force is unlikely, and its reciprocation unwarranted..." His voice is calm and smooth. Turning to Brandon, the Vollistan priest smiles broadly. "We are glad you are here to assist us. Primarily, we may need help taking some injured individuals to... hospitals more apt to deal with their injuries." He returns the Haste Captain's smile with a genuine and beaming one, before gesturing further into the complex, and saying: "It is not far to Radiance. Once you are cleared through here, and we are sure you have no psi blockers, or other illicit weapons of death and discomfort (though we will allow personal "firelegs" was it? No matter... that is the state. We will thank you for your investigation, and offer supplies, our thanks, and the gratitude of our government to any who help here..." He awaits questions with an open expression.

"I've still got my DS and the Vollistans can be damned if they think we're gonna be going into this situation unarmed.", Larin tells Brandon rather frankly. "I believe we've also got a pulse rifle onboard that'd I'd like to have with us just in case ...". He turns his attention to the Vollistan. "Assuming we can get proper clearance for that. I'm former law enforcement and I know all about proper utilization of force. I'd rather not have to shoot any of it but I don't want our crew going into a situation unprepared for the worst."

Ruin frowns. "Armor and a stun gun," he ventures. "Would you still call that excessive? There's a lot of panic going on."

Fayth reaches behind him, taking out a BD 630D, standardized Ungstiri personal firearm. He doesn't seem to be wearing body armor. "What ya see, what ya get. I can surrender it, if ya rather."

"If you don't mind," Brandon says, look directly towards the Vollistan that is addressing the group. "I wish to bring my stungun along. It isn't worth injuring the civilians." He chuckles faintly and then shakes his head. "Please, excuse us and forgive my rudeness... I'm Captain Brandon Starchaswer-McDowell of the Saviour's Haste," He then motions with his head towards Larin. "My security detail, Larin Weyr." The Hastes's Captain then motions towards Ruin. "And one of my Engineers, Ruin Pia. Mister Leodhais Chaloux may be joining up with us later."

Volseneth ahems at Larin's statement about the Vollistans being damned. "It is acceptable to bring some weaponry. Our own... law enforcement officers, will know if your intentions in a situation are pure or not. We will not connect telepathically with you unless it is necessary, knowing that the non-telepathic can be bothered by this. Some of us do it instinctually though, especially children, so please do not over-react. Thus, since as long as you do not illicitly carry psi-blockers on-world, or weapons which are likely to inflict a large about of collateral damage, you are free to enter."

To Ruin, he simply intones: "No, that is more than acceptable. Any degree of armor may be worn, it is the degree of harm your weapons may inflict that can be deemed unwarranted. As to psi blockers... to us, they are like having a splinter out in one's brain. To wear them, as some unlucky few have been forced to by patient torturers, is as having a whole sense encased in metal, I have been told..." The young priest shudders, and adds: "They are our primary concern, and offenders -will- be dealt wi..." Shaking his head at Fayth's statement, he says: "No... you may carry that. I trust you not to misuse it. I see your namesake is not lost on you, though I shall probe no further..."

Enigmatically, the Priest turns, glancing around, and says: "What type of aid do you all intend to provide? Investigation, I presume? As near as can be seen, the gate is causing the psychic disturbance, but we do not know what is causing the gate..." He adds: "We also need medical supplies and a doctor able to help our own. The fallen, all over the planet, seem to be in unchanging comas." Brandon's statement is followed by a respectful bow and the words: "Volir bless, You may carry... this weapon. But misuse it, and Volir's wrath may be swift, sadly..." He awaits answers to his questions, shifting nervously from foot to foot and glowing faintly indigo.

Fayth grimaces at the priest's words to him, sliding the weapon back into a holster. "Let not lies carry our fate, but our feet and our hearts. Or somethin' equally profound, of course. Never was good with quotations." There's a pause. "Where can I bunk down for the night, before I go about, uhhh... investigatin'?"

"Excellent.", Larin responds with a quick nod. "I'll head back up and make sure we've got the proper equipment then." A small smirk falls to his lips and he seems genuinely happy to be doing his job. A few quick strides lead him back up the ramp of the Haste.

Ruin moves to follow. "I'll go get mine on," he says. "Tay's coming with the Outcast - that should help get refugees out."

Brandon returns the bow to the Vollistan, and then straightens himself up. "We are here to help INN investigate first, get the word out about the problems that have come to cause problems," he then offers a refue little smile. "Also to provide a status report to foreign medical services, though none of us are doctors... And to help those who wish to flee to safety, to get to safety. We've got a friendly freighter due to be arriving soon, just in case you wish for the start of an evac. The Haste she's able to carry about twenty people in the passenger section. Might be able get two more freighters in tomorrow, if needed." He then turns and starts to follow Larin towards the ship. "Please, excuse me... I'll need to get my stungun."

The Vollistan bows and begins walking in the direction of Radiance. "It is quite alright... I must check in with the elder. I will meet you in the central plaza while we try and find what is causing this. There are some very injured individuals who will need evacuation." He's walking off, smiling, and calls back also: "Meet me at your leisure."

(After a pause while everyone grabbed gear and got ready...)

McDowell sits on a folding chair beside the boarding ramp of the Haste. He's got a coffee in hand, and is whistling a tune to himself.

Ruin, finally kitted out with a flak jacket and stun gun, makes his way out of the ship to peer at the general panic. "Think we can take many on the Haste?" he asks.

"Twenty," Brandon replies, as he pushes himself slowly out of the chair, and takes a sip of his coffee. He then motions towards the shuttle nearby. "C'mon, we're gonna go ahead, see how bad it is."

Ruin shrugs, and follows. "Is Volouscheur ...typical, for a Vollistan?" he asks.

"I don't know," Brandon honestly replies, with a vague shrug, as he digs inside of his jacket to retrieve something. "Don't know anything 'bout glowies." He then starts up the ramp of the said shuttle.

"..Oh," says Ruin, somewhat disappointed. "Oh, well." He tags along after, falling silent.

McDowell boards the sleek new shuttle and begins the long journey to the seaside.

Radiance Shuttlepad <Volaissandrelle Heights: Vollista>

- Vollista -

This small, utilitarian shuttlepad is set in a cradling hollow in the midst of rolling hills covered in waist-high cyan grasses. A crisp sea breeze blows in from the north, while to the south mountains rise up sharply, clad in a purple forest. The pad itself seems very new, the slick plascrete surface still fresh enough to reflect glints of the green sky.
A closer inspection of the hills immediately around the landing pad reveals a door cut into the turf of the closest one, its pale sun-bleached wood surface nearly as light as the cyan grasses. It is eight feet tall, narrow and with an uncomplicated latch mechanism. A path leads through the long grass to this door, and several others radiate out in sinuous ambling spokes to other destinations.

After a few minutes, the shuttle settles down and then opens it doors for the passengers to disembark.

"Yeah... Mind you, I don't know 'Scheur, so she might be different," there comes a vague and slightly confused expression.

Ruin notes the shift. "Another almost-memory?" he asks carefully.

Volseneth suddenly dashes onto the shuttlepad, looking mildly perturbed. He's sighting around, biting his lip and seemingly seeking for something.

"Nope... Nothing there," Brandon says, before giving a long suffering sigh. He then starts to make his way down the boarding ramp, but pushes his sunglasses to the top of his head. The notices the rather disturbed Vollistan and then calls out. "Everything alright? Don't worry, we're here to help you. I'm Brandon Starchaser-McDowell of the Saviour's Haste."

Ruin gives Brandon a very searching look - or at least, gives the back of his head one - as he follows after, but his attention's diverted soon enough by the Vollistan. "What's wrong?" he calls.

They would undoubtedly note that this was the same Vollistan in gold robes who had met them earlier. He announces suddenly: "It's... there's someone attacking civilians in Radiance. Forcing itself on them mentally. We've thus far been unable to pinpoint the individual, because the odd behavior seems widespread, but it's only a matter of time before someone does something stupid. We can't seem to get hold of whoever it is mentally..."

"Great..." Brandon mutters, and then grimaces at the words spoken by the priest. He looks over his shoulder to his Engineer. "You ready for this stuff, or you want to head back?" He doesn't take anymore steps towards the Vollistan.

Ruin pales a bit, but gives Brandon a steady enough response. "If you go, I go," he replies. "But we have no defense against a mental assault." He indicates the Vollistan. "Unless he's able to shield us, and it doesn't look like he's even able to shield himself."

The Priest nods and intones: "I can't shield you. It's... hard to interfere in that fashion. We understand if you do not want to help. It's just that, we think that rift we found by the lake shore has something to do with it... this thing supposedly came from there, and it does not look like an ordinary Vollistan... not one of Volir's children..." He shudders, and makes a small symbol of prayer, gazing at them with an inquisitively raised brow. "But... there are women and children there... we're not strong enough, but..."

"Gotta do something," Brandon says in reply to Ruin. "Ain't letting women and children get... Injured or anything." He then starts to head towards the Vollistan, cautiously at first. "Right... I'm ready, but I don't know about Ruin there."

The young priest nods, needing hear no more: "We thank you for your help. We have no... physical weapons, of worth. We do not hunt, we do not fight..." He begins bustling off toward the cliffs nearby, waiting to see if the others would follow.

Ruin rolls his eyes a bit, exasperated. "You wouldn't go into a firefight without a flak jacket - why do less with your head?" he retorts, and then turns to the Vollistan. His tone gentles considerably as he asks, "Look...we're going in anyway - can you tell us anythng we can do to ...protect ourselves, not make things worse?"

Brandon shakes his head at Ruin's words. "Imagine this Ruin... Someone beating you around the head with a steel pipe, that's apparently what a psi-blocker in close range feels like. Besides, I hate the things, makes it a little bit harder to notice things." His attention then goes back to the young priest. "Do you have a general layout?"

"You are right, sir. The Psi Blockers are horrible... and would only add to the panic. We think they are near the central square of the catacombs, but we are not sure...the area is hazy with telepathic power, none of us can think clearly enough in there to look... they are not being quiet though, we hear it, stalking the place..." He gulps. "If... you will come... I will place myself up as "bait" to lure it out. Volir will be my shield... I do not want, whatever this is, hurting anyone..." He seems very nervous, but resolved.

Ruin nods. "Will the haze affect us as well?" he asks. "Should we be ready for it, or can we be?" He frowns at the mention of 'bait', though, and looks to Brandon. "D'you think whatever this is takes bait?"

"I use the word... wrongly I think. I will lower my shields, beckoning it out mentally, -trying- to call whatever it is to the square, invoking Volir's word. To us... this has power. It is... what you call crowdthink, that makes this haze. People panic, and we all panic..." He seems disoriented still, but says: "I am worried what will happen if I do not try something."

"Vollistans can get overwhelmed by too many emotions being put out, or so I've heard," Brandon says to Ruin, still with his eyes fixed on the priest. "Yeah... See, what the glowing one said." He then slips his hand inside of his jacket, and cocks a brow at the rest of the priest's explanation. "Knew I should have brought something that's higher in power... But anyway, lead the way my friend."

Ruin nods. "A stun gun works well enough," he says. "If all else fails - knocking out the panicked ones for a while just might be good for everyone. Less crowd to crowdthink, less cover for whatever this is to hide in, and we can get the fallen somewhere safer before they wake up. Hopefully won't need to - but it's an option."

Turning and beginning to walk off, the Priest intones: "I thank you..." He is holding the Suburst of Volir like a talisman, which it more or less is, and glowing sharply white and indigo with distress. He pauses and says: "Do what you have to, but do not harm the innocents... you... though I and Volir do not like it, say you may harm the one who does this..." His voice slips into the telepathic, where it is an eerie and sibilant whisper: ~I will help, once they come... so will the others, that we can make think straight.~ He is now walking on...he turns and waves to Fayth, not pausing, due to urgency, but calls nonetheless: ~Please, come if you wish.~ And keeps going.

Centre Plaza <Radiance: Vollista>

- Vollista -

The cavern is formed from a large, airy, asymmetrical flaw in the surrounding pink-streaked granite rock. Low at the north end, the ceiling of rock lifts away until it arches down into the south wall of the cavern nearly a hundred feet above the abstract spirals of floor mosaics.
The south wall itself is pockmarked with graceful balconies and windows as it falls back to the plaza floor, most glassless and hung instead with fluttering curtains or intricate tapestries. The flickering lights of Vollistans within shine through many of these, and the occasional conversation takes place in either Volspak or tortured Terran Standard between the occupant of a balcony and someone below.
The plaza floor tends to be rather full at all hours of the day and night as Vollistans and the occasional alien flow over the mosaics and around the occasional fountain set into the floor. Conversational groupings form, linger, and break up again as the individuals that create them disappear into one of the many exits from this central area. A very low murmur of conversation fills the area, muted into incoherency just as the blended glow of many bright bodies mingles into a white shimmer which lights the place. The telepathically sensitive will note a similar hum on the mental level.

The normally peaceful air filling the plaza has been shattered. Vollistans run left and right in a state of relative panic. Every few feet, an unconscious individual lies on the ground, utterly still. At least, the lucky ones. A few are screaming and twitching, barely supported by their friends or family, trying to bring them away from the source of whatever causes this. The Priest becoming bait is apparently unnecessary. There is a single, pale, non-glowing individual amidst the raging tide of individuals milling around... and she is smiling. Smiling and laughing madly, but not doing anything overtly or apparently hostile.

Volseneth whimpers and dashes behind a wall, muttering: "I can't look right at it... it's dark around it... dark..." And crumpling into the wall in relative uselessness. Meanwhile, some of the more cogent individuals are evacuating the square. The few people collapsed closest to the threadbare female Vollistan's form, seem infectious. Anyone who tries to move them collapses likewise. The air is palpably charged with a psychic presence, and a murmuring as of many voices speaking at once...

Fayth, who had followed after the initial wave his way, pauses in the face of the storm. No windchaser he, but he still seems to have a knack for landing in the worst places at the worst time. This is definatly one of those bad times. A single gloved hand slips back to where his gun was holstered, eyeballing the eye of the hurricane to speak... Miss Ragged Vollistan with no Sunshine Glow.

McDowell makes his way along, following after Volseneth. His hand still rests inside of his jacket, almost in a Napoleon-eqse way. "This is fucked up," he mutters to those in earshot, as he shakes his head. "Like something from a crap Sivadian holovid horror flick... 'Cept that it's here instead of instead of the holoviewer." Like Fayth, he patiently watches the apparent epicenter of choas. But unlike Fayth, he calls out a friendly greeting to the insane non-glowing glowy, though in a very nervous manner. "Evening miss... How're you going?" He moves himself up close to a wall, just in case of being crushed in the event of a stampede. "Nice night."

Ruin just stares in blank shock at Brandon, and then, with a frustrated 'hmph!' moves toward the Vollistan maniac from a different angle. Doing his level best to dodge the panicked throng, he puts his hand on his stun gun. The nice thing about being Lunite is, he's about eight inches shorter than a short Vollistan. The unpleasant thing about it is, he's eight inches shorter than the panicked throng, with a body mass comparable to theirs. It's a trick and a half just to not get trampled.

The woman calmly declares to Brandon, with surprising lucidity: "Isn't it...?" Her voice sounds a little stuttering, and dreamy. Suddenly, she points a finger at McDowell, smiling, and declares: "Die." Stones lift themselves from the ground, simple pebbles that've been sitting around... they rise, tiny flecks of hard and sharp pumice or other minerals that've been left around, and hover... She seems to be ignoring the gradually thinning chaos around her.

Then, Fayth comes to her attention briefly, she glares at him, pouting, and, now having forgotten about McDowell utterly... insanity can do that for you. The rocks fly: moving in excess of 200 miles per hour. As to how accurately, they would soon find out... Ruin does actually go unseen for the moment. Not because of his inherent stealth, but because she's not operating in the same set of dimensions or perceptions as everyone else...

Adam is hit from a few stray rocks, stumbling back, but whipping out the pistol in response. It's that ole' fight or flight response, and he apparently knows which one he's doing already. Taking shots at the crazy lady.

Sticks and stones may break bones, and that's a lot of stones being thrown, so that's the reason that McDowell goes to scoot behind cover, moving a bit closer to the crazy stone thrower. "I want me rifle," he grumbles to himself, as he peers back towards Fayth. The stun gun is out, and he flicks the power to it. The weapon hums into life, and he calls out once more. "Oi... That's not very nice! We were only trying to be bloody friendly!" Maybe he'll cause a distraction for the rest of the people in the area to be able to take her down.

While McDowell is off marching into the plaza like Napoleon, Larin was busy riding an elevator up to higher ground. Ding. Assault weapons and crazy Vollistans, floor nine. Larin steps off onto the roof access landing, shouldering the pulse rifle as he moves to the edge. Unfortunately for Larin the building he picked was a little bit too close or his vantage point is a bit too high to get into the proper prone supported position. He instead fixes the rifle firmly into his shoulder and waits for an opportune moment for their not to be civillians in the way of a burst from his pulse rifle. "Having some trouble down there, boss?," Larin asks into his commlink. He doesn't wait for an answer as he triggers off a few shots downward.

The female stares down the incoming blast from Fayth, and rolls out of the way with a dancer's grace. She gurgles and spits as the incoming Brandon shouts out, and catches her attention. She doesn't even move, or bother with any more telekinetic assaults now. Her aura flashes into life, spreading through pure, white light that obscures her being.

The civilians have mostly escaped or fallen to the ground at the sudden sound of blaster fire and the more hostile actions of the Vollistan female in the tattered garments. Suddenly, eyes rolling back in her head, she lifts one hand in front of her face... and digs in her nails, leaving bloodied streaks under her eyes. The phychic pulse is echoes out toward the unprotected mind of Larin, where he was sniping down at her, burning the air with psionic might. It's fast, and deadly... and it gets sent off right before the blast and sizzle of the rifle rings through the air. The first blast hits a psionically-generated dampening field. So does the second... the third slams her in the chest. The force of telekinetically weakening the pulse shot causes blood to stream from the woman's nose, but her berserker state doesn't allow her to drop. Rising, chest and shoulders burnt with the might of plasma fire, mind burnt with the effort of continuing, she screeches and runs behind a nearby crowd, lifting the supine body of a Vollistan child and holding it like a shield.

Ruin growls at the taking of a child shield. Rather than fire, he slams his stun gun back into place and charges her - aiming, if nothing else, to tackle her to the ground so someone with better aim can take her out. He runs leaning forward, in the hope that even if he's knocked out the momentum will still carry him forward a bit.

The female stares down the incoming blast from Fayth, and rolls out of the way with a dancer's grace. She gurgles and spits as the incoming Brandon shouts out, and catches her attention. She doesn't even move, or bother with any more telekinetic assaults now. Her aura flashes into life, spreading through pure, white light that obscures her being.

The civilians have mostly escaped or fallen to the ground at the sudden sound of blaster fire and the more hostile actions of the Vollistan female in the tattered garments. Suddenly, eyes rolling back in her head, she lifts one hand in front of her face... and digs in her nails, leaving bloodied streaks under her eyes. The psychic pulse is echoes out toward the unprotected mind of Larin, where he was sniping down at her, burning the air with psionic might. It's fast, and deadly... and it gets sent off right before the blast and sizzle of the rifle rings through the air. The first blast hits a psionically-generated dampening field. So does the second... the third slams her in the chest. The force of telekinetically weakening the pulse shot causes blood to stream from the woman's nose, but her berserker state doesn't allow her to drop. Rising, chest and shoulders burnt with the might of plasma fire, mind burnt with the effort of continuing, she screeches and runs behind a nearby crowd, lifting the supine body of a Vollistan child and holding it like a shield.

Then Ruin slams into the female, who claws at him futilely, pinned beneath both Ruin's tackling form, smaller than her though it may be, and the unconscious Vollistan child. Of course, this makes things no less dangerous, on a larger scale... her mind isn't pinned...

Fayth sees the woman go down, and pistol clasped in one hand, bleeding along his cheek from where a sliver of rock cut him, approaches warily on the Ruin-Pinned woman. "Get off of her, pal. I got her covered."

McDowell takes the chance to peer around the corner, watching as the Vollistan takes a hostage. He removes himself from cover, then yells out. "Careful of the bloody kid!" She goes down, and Brandon grimaces. He cautious and quietly starts to approach, trying his hardest not to make a noise, weapon leveled and humming in his double handed grip. He slowly approaches, keeping clear of Fayth's and Larin's line of fire.

The psionic attack hurtles up towards Larin and he curses at it hits his mind. He winces slightly as pain courses through his head as if he'd been hit in the head with something heavy. As it resolves itself into something along the lines of the dull throbbing attached to a hangover, he takes a moment to reposition himself on the roof in hopes of finding a better vantage point lest any other crazies decide to spring up from the crowd. "Larin on overwatch? Report on hostile? Looks quiet from up here ... ," Larin murmurs into his commlink.

Ruin gives Fayth a blank, dumbfounded look. Looking back down at the woman under him, aware she's still conscious, his hand at first reaches for his stun gun - but then balls to a fist as he clocks her instead. "The only way she's 'got' is if she's out cold," he says shortly.

The woman's lost her steam. Whatever madness enabled her to keep fighting has left, a weak, limp, crying form now. The child rolls to the side, stirring. It would seem that whatever hold was on them, is gone. Meanwhile, the Vollistan Priest wends his way into the area once more... eyes looking around to the slowly stirring unconscious form. He shudders, and seems to have trouble speaking: "Not... only one. Not..." Then, he falls to his knees, and throws up a little bit, before crawling off to the side.

The awakening figures have glazed expressions, and their motions are stilting as they stand, disoriented. Everything seems alright. Then they start to murmur: "Not welcome. Not welcome. Outsiders on Volir's world." They're staggering slowly toward the captain of the Haste, Ruin where he pins the woman, and Fayth, a few Vollistans to each respectively. They glow red with anger, and seem to be half asleep.

Larin would, in a routine scan of the area from such a high vantage point, see a figure in a completely black cloak on the balcony opposite, looking down upon the grisly pantomime below. Even as all of this goes on, Ruin's fist balls and rockets toward her face, knocking the woman cold. Of course, they now have the fresh hell of ten or so Vollistans, formerly unconscious, standing and bearing down on them. Oh, and the puking Priest, but he doesn't count.

"Didn't it occur to you that maybe she wasn't dangerous anymore, or you'd be whimpering an' bleeding from your ears?" Fayth asks, flat-voiced, before reholstering his gun. "Now, can you get up? I want to see something an' you're in the w-hey, the hell ya'll doin'?" That's directed to the approaching Vollistans, eyeballing them warily.

McDowell comes to pauses near the Vollistan, and cocks his head to say something in reply to Larin, using a small microphone that's attached to the side of the jacket. "Stay on overwatch Larin... Keep on monitoring the situation from up high," he then glances towards the down Vollistan, just as Ruin wackers her in the back of the head. "Hostile is down and out. Make sure you give us movements of anything that might be of danger to our position." With the merry sound from his PDA pipes up, he flips it open and quickly reads, before turning to see the Vollistans approaching the group. "Fuck, message's corrupted... This ain't good." He drops the PDA to the ground and prepare for a fight, slipping away his stungun and waiting for them to get close enough.

Ruin rolls off the woman's body, disentangling himself from the child. "Bleeding out my ears...or just like that," he says warily. "Can't kill..." he mutters to himself, then, "Who's doing this?" more clearly, as he pulls out his stun gun again.

"Gotcha, boss. I don't see any more hostile but ... hell...," Larin replies into the commlink clipped to his jacket, as he swings the scope on his assault rifle over in the direction of the figure in complete black. "This is the point where the sinister music starts playing as the overlord looks down upon their minions wreaking havoc ... I've got one confirmed unknown also on overwatch. Can't tell if he's armed or not. Advise to evacuate and find some cover." He adjusts the scope to see if he can get a better image and range on the bogey.

In the center of the plaza is a Vollistan woman, unconscious. Nearby, a Vollistan priest is throwing up violently, apparently staring into the middle distance at something no one else would likely be able to observe. White fire burns in the air around ten or so indistinct figures... Vollistan civilians, hypercharged by some unseen force, their pupils indistinct, eyes hazy as though just waking from sleep.

On a balcony above is a single figure in a black robe, leaning casually on the railing and watching what is unfolding. He seems preternaturally at ease. The Vollistan figures sway back and forth, murmuring something about everyone present "Not being welcome". Larin is on an upper balcony, Ruin, Fayth, and McDowell stand toward the center of the area, near the woman and the priest.

"Larin, if you've got a shot, take it, else get yourself outta that building and outta here," Brandon says into his comm, before snapping his gaze towards his two companions on the ground for a moment. "Right... Ruin, help the priest and get outta here, don't look back and I'll meet you at the shuttles. Priest guy, you feeling up for a fight? Just until one of my crew's off the roof. If not, help the glowy girl and get the hell outta here. I'll stay back and make sure you're all out... Or cause a distraction."

Has he got a shot. Fuck yeah he's got a shot. He's been scoping this sucker out for the past few minutes, even going so far as to adjust sight. "I got the take the shot part boss but hell ... I'm getting a fair bit of interference here. Taking the shot and will provide covering fire until everyone is clear of the plaza.". Larin smirks lightly at the last bit before his steely resolve returns. He times it, holding his breath ... one ... the scope from the automatic weapon just beginning to dip over his target ... two ... readjusting the shoulder sight ... three. He gingerly triggers the weapon in another burst.

Ruin takes Brandon at his word. Putting up his stun gun again, he tries to charge between two proto-vol-zombies in the direction of the Vollistan priest.

Not being in marine armor, Ace is a bit ahead of the NLM marines as they arrive on the scene. Having heard the gunshots, her rifle is unslung, carried in front of her as she comes to a stop in the mouth of the tunnel, assessing the situation. "So...this is different," she muses as she figures out who's who. But seeing no armed Vollistans at the moment, she opts not to open fire yet. Instead, she charges the nearest 'zombie' threatening the priest, leaping in with a flying kick aimed for the small of his back, looking to drive him into the ground.

Volouscheur trots into the plaza, making her way towards some cover. However, as the tallest one in the squad, she's still going to stick out a bit even once she's behind cover. Her rifle is at the ready, but she's keeping it where it is until she has a better grasp of what's going on.

Dirionis follows after 'Scheur, making his way to nearby cover, PAR ready as he scouts whats going on.

Out of one of the many small cavern entrances which snake off from the central plaza comes the stomp of boots. No, not ordinary boots - the heavy, clanky type which really big things wear. So it's no surprise when out of this passageway pops one form, two form, three forms.. and more. In the end, fourteen massive figures have moved quite quickly (despite their size!) from this way, all clad in identical grey urban camoflauged marine combat armour, all carrying weapons. They quickly split off into three seperate tactical columns, moving to head behind cover.

As the three seperate columns spread to find cover behind a variety of crates and rock formations, most of the soldiers fall into crouches out of sight for at least the moment from people on the ground. However, they quickly realize that this is a unique battlefield and begin to scan the balconies upwards. Meanwhile, other marines train their weapons, a ecclectic mix of heavy and standard weapons, on the cavern entrances, covering the group's six.

Lucius, having taken the middle column up behind a rock outcropping, also drops to his knee. He pops his tinted helmet up over the cover, modified assault rifle following suite, to take a look around. Clickity click goes a control inside his visor, and the view is zoomed some as he takes in the scene. Unzooming and keying his comm, he pops back under cover momentarily."2nd team, target those crazy looking fuckers. Hold fire. 1st team with me follow suite. 3rd team, be on standby to provide covering fire and watch our six." Then he raises up, taking careful aim on one of the closest civilians. "Drop down to the floor, now, or we will be forced." He yells out his vocalizer. Not that that'll do much good. Oh well.

As Brandon is making his plans, one of the surrounding civilians seems to be arguing with themselves quite nearby. "No... I don't..." ~WANT~... "To...well... okay. If he says so." Glaring at the captain, the Vollistan dreamily smiles, and emits a psychic pulse of moderate strength. They seem too scatterbrained to do much more than mentally minorly mudbrain at the moment.

White fire blazes through the mind of the figure on the balcony. He can sense the oncoming bullets somehow, and he's already begun rolling off to the side by the time the powerful energy shots slam into the cave wall. He turns and smiles faintly beneath the black hood. "Fine..." The murmured voice would have strange subharmonics, even as the concealed Vollistan raises one palm and points his hand at Larin. "Fall." The psychic pulse echoes through the air, and would draw anyone who noticed that kind of thing, into looking upwards. It's concentrated psychic force, searing the air on approach to Larin.

Ace's blow drops a Vollistan civilian unconscious, leaving nine standing, gazing around, still seemingly half-asleep. Scheur and Dirionis go ignored at the influx of Lucius' troops. Eight psychic attacks echo toward them in a simultaneous wave, some other force governing them. Lucius himself would be target for two. The figure above continues to watch, slightly smiling...

Ruin's grasping of the Priest is not resisted, and he does stop throwing up long enough to help the young man carry him aside. Explaining hurriedly, the man of Volir says: "Look...this is stupid... they're... not that dumb. This... doesn't make sense...urgh..." He throws up again. "It must be a trap, a trick... there's someone nearby, up... strong..." He blacks out.

Fayth, who has been mostly quiet during this exchange of mental prowess, firepower,and feet of fury.. well, one might be wondering what he's been up to, right? Well, he was crouched over the unconciousness crazy Vollistan, fingers gently cradling her chin, turning her face slightly. Inspecting meat fresh from the (semi)slaughter? Whatever the case, after a moment, he stands up with a soft sigh that can only be something between the bastard child of relief and disappointment, before turning back to the dangerous zombie-mindrapers. The nearest one is singled out, gun still in hand, and he fires a shot. Not a stun.

Brandon takes a step back away from the encroaching mob, trying to deliberately place between the unconscious and injured Vollistan woman. What ever the Vollistans were doing, it certainly hurt. McDowell blinks several times, and then shakes his head before raising a hand to his temple and grimaces. For a moment, he goes weak at the knees, before looking towards the nearest one. He stands back up straight, takes a moment to recompose himself, despite the thumping in his head from the psionic injury. Lost train of thought and slightly confused? That pretty much is the expression on Brandon's face, too. "Fine..." he mutters, as he gives his suit jacket a tug and then narrows his eyes. In an irrational move, he charges towards the one that Fayth's not shooting at, but still close by, attempting to tackle one of the Zombistans.

Just another squeeze of the trigger ... and ... WHAM! A torrent of psychic energy hits Larin just as he was focusing on his target. His finger continues to pull the trigger purely on muscle memory, which hopefully is still pointed in the direction of his attacker. His vision flashes black for a moment as he stumbles backward, barely coherent. For now he's sitting on the roof trying to figure out just what the hell happened to him. He probally doesn't even know he fired.

Ruin nods, pulling the priest across his shoulders as much as he can. "Don't bother with the controlled!" he shouts. "There's someone doing the controlling - get him!" And he does his best to get out of the cavern, pulling the priest with him.

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