Log:Explorer's Guild: Alzoc III Mystery

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Explorer's Guild: Alzoc III Mystery

OOC Date: March 24, 2020
Location: Alzoc III
Participants: Explorer's Guild: Corr Waldin, Grayson Oakfell, Yoska Lash, Maireni Lash, and Netep Muri; with Special Guest Stars Kryll, Mandl, David Ironside, and Evie Leven

"So you see, it started out innocent enough," Corr is saying as he leads the group through the Valley of Blizzards in the middle of an unseasonably calm period of weather. The normal sweeping winds that stir the snow into near-constant galeforce drifts are nowhere to be found, but there's a certain tenuous energy in the stillness that suggests they could return at any minute.

"A local Talz went off to fetch somethin' or other, and then just never came back. Nobody noticed until a day or three later, and by then, a few other Talz had also gone off on their own and they too just never came back." He crunches along through the snow, boots punching down through the crust atop the softer powder underneath.

"Now, maybe you're wondering why they called me up to look into it," Corr hedges, glancing over his shoulder at the party that has shown up to assist in the investigation. "This part of the countryside, it's all spotted with old Imperial mines, from back in the dark days. Lot of Talz tears shed in there. Lot of blood, too. Local village elder, he told me they're haunted by vengeful spirits and that's why they wanted us to look instead." The man stops and turns, swiping a mittened hand across his short beard, giving them all a squinty grin. "That's why I brought the Audiotizer 3000 in my pack, so we can record 'em. Counting on you for that, Muri."

"Why are their tears in a shed." Grayson will wonder quietly beneath her helmet of this stupid suit she has on, woman knowing full well that Corrs' cult gatherings often end in people being injured.

"Though ...if no one is noticing for days that one is missing ..maybe they have just gone on their own to start their own home elsewhere. It sounds like they are not good members to me." Said as her feet sink down into the snow as well, thermal suit offering her protection to -130, which means she's toasty woasty at the moment, a backpack worn with all her medical gear in it, blaster on her right hip, and a swiggle to her step.

"We are ...recording ghosts?" Is she being judgemental? She is. She's not even trying to hide it in her tone. She is an awful cult member. A soft exhalation of air, face well hidden behind her helmet, but she'll humor Corr. He looks good in beige, afterall.

<"We're hunting ghosts?"> David Ironside speaks from inside his toasty warm armor, gesturing towards Grayson posing a similar question. It's designed to keep him warm in the extremely unlikely event he finds himself floating in space, but a winter wonder-hellscape is probably similarly cold. He trudges along with the others, checking the massive weapon connected to a coolant tank on his back for its condition. <"Can you.. shoot ghosts? Because I'm equipped for shooting ghosts."> he questions, attaching the weapon to the tank again and continuing to check two blaster pistols at his sides.

"Yeah, you--oo!" Muri steps off track from the bigger footprints ahead of hers and punches through a deep patch. Mired up to her knee for a minute while fighting the frozen terrain to reclaim her limb and balance. "You bet!" Grumble, fraggin frik. Everything about Muri that screams MURI is hidden beneath the swaddling of furs over the thermal flightsuit. Except her voice. That rings true in any conditions, any outfit, any time.

"You bet your frozen tits we're recording ghosts! Gonna get SOMETHIN outta this..." *FLoof* One leg's free, the next disappears. "Bugger, KRYLL! Gimme hands." Because just one won't do. He owes her this much, after all! Because the Doaba Hermi is going to require more'n a hand to extricate her from the snow drift the student pilot plowed her into upon landing....

"They're HAUNTED?" Maireni asks with a high pitch that only swings higher at the end of the brief question. "Oh, oh oh I got something we gotta all use for this," she declares and digs inside a garish bag, spilling out wrappers, actual candy, and probably some glitter to produce a handful of stones that she's carrying for... some reason. "These will protect you from the bad spirits, just gotta keep 'em on you and you'll be safe." She rattles a handful of stones and then tries to offer them around, first to Grayson, because Grayson is still her best friend, and then around to everyone else. "Only swallow 'em if things get real bad."

Mandl replies to Ironside: "Ghosts do not exist-- routine threat-assessment protocols should be sufficient. Mandl is fluent in Talz, but is also an accomplished miner. Let us exchange comm-frequencies." The doughy Ph.D. is kitted out in riot-police garb, and waddles alongside David watching the horizon for threats...

Kryll moves along with Netep, his Trooper armor keeping him warm as he turns to regard Netep. <"Apologies, I told you that allowing me to land may not be a proper situation for us to try at this time."> he reaches to help her out of the snow, and get her to solid, snow? <"Six will remain on the ship and help work on it while we attend to this business."> once removing Netep from the snow drift, he moves his e-11 rifle to the sling over his chest, allowing it to hang there now for access. <"Again. Apologies.">

Trudging along through the snow behind the group's intrepid leader is none other than one Evennia Leven; not that that's immediately recognizable to some given that she's currently fully armored, wearing that blue, noticibly Mandalorian armor from head to toe and blasters attached in a variety of holsters along it. Though, it /is/ becoming more and more associated with the former First Order pilot given her proclivity for certain bars in the galaxy.

<< "Do you really think they'd be that heartless?" >> is asked of Grayson, first. << "If I were going to leave home for a while, I'd make sure people knew about it." >> ...and that's probably very true, given that her most famous departure from 'home' was announced in the loudest possible way.

Of course... the talk about ghosts gives her a shudder. The idea of spirits strikes her as something related to the /Force,/ and with only a couple exceptions that's a topic that sends chills up her spine. << "Local legends, I'm hoping. Unless one of you is carrying a lightsaber I don't know about." >> Slight annoyance at that thought in her tone, even through the vocoder. << "Everything weird gets pulled to those things like a high-powered magnet in my experience." >> Though, she will admit that David poses a good question:

"What? No, what would we need a lightsaber for?" Corr questions, not following Evie's line of reasoning. "It's just regular old ghosts, if it's anything. Talz ghosts. Real fuzzy ones." Nodding, he continues forward, plowing on through the snow. It's impossible to guess what might be underfoot beneath the white blanket that covers everything in sight, but on he goes, without a care in the world. "We're only recording 'em if they're real, and I don't think they are, but you gotta record to know one way or the other," he explains to Grayson, hiking his booted foot up high over a shapeless bump in the snow that's probably just a rock or something under there.

On the side of the hill ahead, a row of dark black pits mar the snowy white covering, like open wounds that have never healed after all these years. "Those are the mines, that's where we gotta get to."

A gentle breeze stirs idly across the plain, pulling up snowflakes and tossing them playfully against the explorers' gear. Then another, stiffer wind, and the next that follows is a gust that blows down from the hill and blasts stinging cold bits of ice directly into their faces.

"Why not? I thought I left my own parents for dead, and did so quite happily. It made me very rich, you see." Explained to Evie with absolutely no qualms whatsoever about the revelation, Grayson ohing softly, delight coloring her tone as she takes the rock from Maireni, plucking it up in gloved fingertips and bringing the rock to eye level.

"You are always so full of wonders, Miss Lash." Rock is then tucked into her breast pocket, gently patted with her fingertips, "Thank you for being so full of thought." All judgementalness that was in her tone for Corr has been wiped and she is now full of regard for the Lash sibling.

Then the wind cycles in and out, finding an unsecured seem at the back of her suit (THANKS CORR), which means Grayson gets battered with said cold gusty winds, teeth set to chattering as she shivers, arms coming up to hug around her own chest as the medical doctor comes to a stop to look off towards those mines, "Can we get to them faster? My toes are beginning to freeze .."

Stamping her feet down hard to get circulation going again she'll take heavier more exaggerated steps as she starts back up, trying to keep her bod warm, stomp, stomp, stomp.

<"I think there's room for debate on that point."> David tells Mandl. <"Not while we're out in the cold, you know, looking for ghosts. They might get upset if they hear us doubt their existence."> He takes his hand off his blaster pistol, peering at his fingers. Why are they cold?! <"Must be something wrong with my suit.."> he mutters. Like Grayson, he stamps his feet on the snow. The stupid cold snow. <"Why'd we leave Tatooine, again?">

"Y'know....I know." Muri sighs as Kryll gets her set right and claps him on the arm. "S'better than skimming the ridge of a canyon though, hey? Snow's forgiving. As am I." To a point. Without even considering what regrets she'll have later, Netep puts out a gloved palm to accept Maireni's rock(s) and stuff it into pocket. Could be she's learned it's better to just go with it than put up a logical argument against the Ryn superstitions.

A blustery chill ruffles all that fur rimming Muri's face and pelts her goggles with icy pinpricks. Very little of it is actually felt - just in the kisser, really. Under the parka, her bodysuit is maintaining a decent temperature. The helmet's been left off for now and bounces against the pack with every step. "There's no shortcut to any place worth going!" She offers this unhelpful advice to shivering Grayson with a too-broad smile. "So sayeth the FizzPop, just this week! We'll be there bfore ya know it. Specially if you blackout for part o'the hike. Great way to fast travel, that." Hah hah. Hahahah. A few expedited waddle-hops trudge Muri faster through the snow so she can catch up and slap something dug out of pocket into Grayson's hands. A cheapo pocketwarmer.

Who's here? YOSKA IS HERE, having augmented his unremarkable armor with brightly-dyed furs for warmth. Are they real? Dyed? Synthetic? Hard to say, but he does have six 'lucky' paws of some unfortunate small creature stitched dangling from his sleeves. All he'll say about them is that they're luck-feet, that you do not want to be without luck-feet, and that they cost 100 credits per lucky foot if you're tired of living your shallow and dangerous existence without the protection of lucky feet. 'Ghosts, yah,' he muses, and then comments to his sister in their weird, whistly native language, "*hoot* *tweet-tweet* *squeak* *chirp* *chirp* *hiss* *hoot* *twitter* *toot* *hiss* *chirp* *twitter* *whistle* *woop*, *oooer* *buzz*?"

Maireni beams when Grayson takes a rock /and/ says nice things about her, then continues to rattle the rocks around at everyone else. Especially her brother. The rattling is riiiight in his face. Rattle, rattle. Is she cold? No, not really, probably because she's never stopped moving. Even when not walking she's bouncing around, or doing a little dance. The mines they need to reach come into view, and she eyes them with a wary look. "If any of you start feelin' like you're cursed you gotta tell me or Yoyo, we can help." She listens to the whisles and chirps from her brother then nods quickly, answering him in the same language.

Mandl, no superstitious grandmother, _utterly incapable_ of the Evil Eye without eyelids, is still a geologist. "Ah, the gift of rocks! Now you are speaking Mandl's language!" They urge Ironside on, helpfully, casting a glance backward at anyone else who may yet be struggling...

For Evie, it must be because she's been scoping out a lot of frozen planets for a pet project of her own; her body's adjusted a bit to the cold so that even though her armor isn't naturally suited to this type of weather, it hasn't begun to bother her just yet, though that may change with time.

Either that, or this /particular/ Kuati-born Mandalorian is just that hot.

<< "That... sounds awful." >> is replied to Gray, the pilot grimacing underneath her armor at the very thought of leaving her parents without notice. Though, she has to wonder /if/ her birth family knows what happened. They almost certainly wouldn't have been present on the civilian side, and the other side... isn't the most honest. She'll have to send a message, she decides.

While the armor isn't meant for thermal protection, at least the durasteel keeps her feet from getting cold, and the helmet keeps the ice from touching her face. Eyes focus ahead on the mines, and feet continue to trudge in that direction. There's temptation to use her jetpack to cover the distance quickly, but between the possibility of Jedi-or-worse hiding in the mines, and not wanting her pack to get iced up, it's a decision that she doesn't choose to make.

The decision she /does/ choose to make it to take one of Maireni's offered rocks, gloved hand plucking one out and tucking it away among her gear. << "Thanks. Can't be too careful, I guess." >> ...besides. If these rocks are so good against evil spirits, maybe they'll make a good projectile if blasters won't do the trick! Added to Kryll as she overhears the familiar man, << "I'm only a comm away if you need a lift somewhere, Kryll; paying customers are my favorite." >>

"It'll be /fine,/" Corr asserts gruffly as he soldiers on through the cold, his own suit failing to lock out the cold as well as, say, a good thick layer of blubber might. His teeth start to chatter, his phalanges (both kinds) start to feel numb, and it's generally unpleasant. Snot runs down his face to crystalize in his rugged, manly mustache, twin icicles. "There's no ghosts or curses in there, it's superstition we're gonna disprove with our high-quality recordings of actual, honest-to-goodness ghosts, and get famous for discovering 'em." What?

The pits loom large, and as they approach the nearest one, Corr makes his way to the edge, slinging his pack off and rooting inside it. "Alright, here's- here's stakes for everyone to use, and cable, to g-get down there out of the wind." Shivering hands pass out the stakes and cables, along with a small chunk of metal meant to use as a descender and makeshift harness. "See you at the bottom."

"No, not awful, it was all a carefully crafted untruth by them, and a manipulation. Parent figures can be awful individuals." Said with a shrug of her shoulders as she ever so gratefully takes the handwarmer from Netep, her semi-frenemy but not complete enemy any longer, tucking it into the wrist of one of her gloves.

Rope and stake are taken, and Grayson because she's never done any of this before, eyes the setup and plonks the end of the rope into the snow and hammers it in with the stake. Then goes to rappel down and ...falls.

Down, down, down. Down.

Down. Down.

Into a huge pile of snow which breaks most of her fall but causes her to twist her ankle very badly. It begins to swell immediately. And she's starfished in the snow below. Wind knocked out of her.

David stares at Corr after hearing his mission statement, gripping the descender a LOT harder than he would if his hand wasn't freezing off. He stabs the stake into the ground, using his blaster (with the safety on!) to hammer it in. Tying the rope around the stake he tests the descender out a couple of times. Still pondering the Explorer's words as he goes over, he casually rappels down, pushing off of the cliffside as he goes. As he touches down, he'll check on Grayson's landing area.

"Ugh," Muri voices her displeasure in their option for descent but takes her sulking on a productive walkabout the rim of this deep, dark hole to find a suitable place to anchor. Toes scuff here, stake pokes there and she waffles through a few options before settling on what /feels/ like rock under the crust of snow. Sweeping away the more powdery stuff confirms there's a mineralized cloudiness there, so...

  • Whack*whack*whack*

A couple tugs on the line says it's secure, so Muri sucks in a deep breath and eeeeeases on over the side...

There's a few successful hops into the abyss but then that 'rock' fractures under the strain and the stake pops out and Muri's in freefall for a solid 1.5 seconds before the stake catches happenstance again! SAVED! Except the sudden, jerking halt dislodges Netep's grip from the rope so she resumes the fall anyway, emitting a furious "ARRGGHHH!!!!!" as she goes. The small explosion of white and abrupt sound of silence marks her landing.

The natural locomotion of the Ryn species is the scamper, and Yoska wastes no time with the stakes and cables. He makes up for what he lacks in actual knowledge with something that looks like bravery but is actually its close relative, stupidity, and scrambles down the chasm like a dumb, neon spider with mirror-shade snow goggles. "Ai yaaaahhh," he calls down. It echoes. Yah, yah, yah, yah, like a chorus of horrible Ryn children agreeing with him. "Looks like you all should have bought you some lucky feet! It's not too late!"

Scamper, scamper. The tail helps. At the bottom of the pit, he does a little roll to ease the landing of the last meter or so, and ends up near Muri's landing place, sleeve extended over the spot where she disappeared into the snow. Sleeve extended, with its tiny, colorful dangling paws. "Not too late to buy a lucky foot, Dr. Girlfriend. You don't wanna go without, ya feel?"

The rattling (and cursed?) rocks are shoved back into the garish bag to continue rattling around with whatever else is contained within, then does a similar scamper down along with Yoska, not yelling but there is a some toot-a-loot sounds coming from her nose that echoes much the same, and probably makes no sense to anyone besides the other Ryn in the group. She lands in the snow beside Grayson, tail swishing around hard enough to spray a little snow at those nearby. "Ayyyah that didn't look to good," she informs Grayson, bending forward so she's leaning over the woman. "Are you dead?" She crouches lower in case the answer is yes and there are some pockets in need of clearing out.

Mandl does their best with rigorous athletic exercise. Really, the whole affair smacks of someone who's actually not unused to scaling cliffs or bridging crevasse-- *aaand then it's beansed.* "... waugh!" cries the diminutive Doctor, as that last section of cable comes unlooped or the last piton shifts, and _FLUMPH_ Mandl down. Mandl... down... in a most undignified and uncomfortable posture.

Kryll gets to the ledge of the pit, and sees people climbing down the cables. He shrugs, and jumps off the ledge... after a short distance, he starts to fall slowly towards the ground. He passes a couple people on the way down, but clearly cannot keep up to Netep. He lands softly next to her, and helps her out of the snow. <"That crash is on you, allow me to help you up."> he looks to Mandl, and once Netep is up on her feet, moves to help Mandl next. <"Is anyone injured?">

<< "Thanks! Good to see you planned for this." >> Without hesitation, the gear is taken from Corr and equipped -- not that she doesn't trust her own abilities to fly to the bottom of the pit, but when in Bespin, you fly in a cloud car. The result? It's not Evie's most shining moment. Rapelling down a rope in theory is different than it is in practice, and the times she's done it never involved cold, wet weather. Gloved hands slip on the rope, and almost immediately the remote for her jetpack springs into her hand.

The pack flares up... but she wasn't paying attention to the direction the thrusters were facing, so instead of going /up,/ she goes /back/, slamming into the wall with a clank that disorients her, before landing on the ground in a less than graceful manner. THUD!

...maybe she'll have to reconsider this whole curse business. Maybe. "Ow..." ...perhaps that answers Kryll's question?

"It was pretty awful," Corr remarks about Grayson's parents once the doctor steps over the edge, contradicting the love of his life while she's in the middle of falling down a pit and only being saved from death by the snow at the bottom. It's whatever. He looks over the edge and sees her down there, with David checking up on the doctor. Seems fine. "You all good down there?"

Pulling his pack back on, he shoves his own stake into the earth a ways back from the edge of the pit, sidles over and sticks his butt out over the edge and then rappels down with relative ease, taking nice long easy bunny-hops out from the wall and gliding down in graceful arcs. He hits the bottom with a puff of powder and steps out of the makeshift harness. "Looks like everyone made it!" he comments brightly, surveying his crew and clapping his mittens together. "Not as cold down here." A wet sniff as he sucks the boogers that have frozen inside of his nose-pits back in.

A light flickers on as Corr produces a tiny flashlight that appears wholely inadequate for serious adventuring, but it doesn't seem to bother him any as he plows on into the mineshaft leading away from the main pit. It's carved into the rock and all around are the detritus of an industrial effort here, once upon a time not so long ago. Powered tools of extraction, big and bulky and overbuilt, covered in dust and hoarfrost. The beam of light cuts pitifully through the darkness. "Easy to see how somebody'd get trapped in here. Easy to see how it might be haunted, too, if that was real. Muri, get in my pack and get out the Audiotizer so we can prove this place is full of fake ghosts," he requests, swinging around so she can pull it out. "The rest of you, start poking around, see what you can find. Don't worry, there's no one to upset, and when you do we'll get it on record."

"I am rethinking our relationship, Corr." Grayson announces from within her snow grave, the woman sitting up with some help from the looks she's getting from David and Maireni, "Not yet, but keep an eye on Corr, he may be pilfered soon." Darkly warned from beneath her helmet, turning over to crawl from her pile, and then up to a unsteady stand as she begins to heavily limp. No one to upset, hey?

No, she's not upset at all. Which is why she's going to go look for something to murder Corr with, something she can wrap her hand around and really bash his brains in, as opposed to the very impersonal blaster she has at her hip. And look.

Twinkling in the low light is a likely looking metal spike, and Grayson will hobble towards it and grip the end sticking out to give it a good yank. Time for brain the love of her life.

Leaving Grayson's side to check on the next arrival, David shakes his head oblivious to Grayson's murderous intent as he checks Mandl first. <"Doing alright there, Doc?"> he asks. It's undignified and uncomfortable, sure, but David is A) freezing, and B) not a doctor. When and if Mandl does respond, he pats the Bith on the shoulder and goes looking for Jetpack Action Evie. <"Hey, hot shot."> he tells her, crouching by her side. <"Thought you said you were good at flying."> he offers, with his terrible bed-of-snowside manner. Something has caught his attention, though, his helmet's augmented vision outlining a pristine footprint. <"Walden, check that out over there, the large footprint. Are we on to something?">

"Wish I didn't," comes the reply from inside Muri's snowgrave. (to Yoska) One hand emerges to grab hold of an obnoxiously dyed paw while the other offers up a rock. A SPECIAL rock. "How's about a trade, love?" It's worth a shot.

After Kryll has again freed her from the snow, a few hobbles will confirm that her left knee is kriffed. A probing few fingers under her parka hood come away red, confirming something equally unfortunate. Evidently there was some rocky debris under the snow. Or mining equipment. Or one hell of an ice wad that's bent on telling her desert-people ass to go home. Fortunately there's Corr to distract her concussed brain with a task. Focusfocusfocus...

"Right." Netep gimps over to rummage through his pack and wrestle out THE AUDIOTIZER 3000! If only she'd had this beast on hand the other day instead of that janky, piece'o'poodoo '2.0' version that she's definitely sure was a fake. "Forgot how heavy this was," she mutters and finds something to lean against while bringing the gizmo to life. "Test..." "tessssst" spoken secondly in a softer whisper. The noises register on the recorder, as evident from the flickering light. "Atta girl," she murmurs and gives it a loving pat. A trepidacious look gets angled toward the looming dark ahead. "Lessee who's up for conversin, eh?"

Yoska bounces away from Netep's location and produces a small light of his own, though as though to make Corr's light feel even better about itself, it's somehow worse. A little keychain light barely bigger than the Lucky Feet, with a wavering barely-light emitted from one end. He lifts up his snow goggles and perches them on his forehead, then shines the teeny tiny light around. Mostly it catches the shine of his many rings, but he does announce to Netep as he searches, "No trading! You buy a paw or you get.... you get.... THE CLAW." Frowning, he illuminates claw marks on the walls. Four scratches in the rock, spaced like large fingers with claws on the end left them. They're horizontal and deeper on the pit-side, more shallow as you head into the mineshaft, and run for a good three feet. "Ohhhhh that's from unlucky feet for sure."

"Oh yah?" Maireni seems pretty cheerful at the prospect of being able to loot Corr's pockets. He always gives her money, he must have a ton of money in there. She'd get more in the long run if she just keeps showing up, but long term thinking has never been been something she's good at. "You want me to help?" she asks Grayson, offering to assist in murdering a certain significant other with a tap of the blaster she's got with her, then a point at Corr. If she has a light she doesn't bring it out now, operating by the light others are wielding.

Mandl arights themselves, groaning. They explain to Ironside, eyes wandering: "Ah, to Mandl's shame, Bith have not evolved beyond 'needing ribs.' One or more is bruised, at least." Still, to their feet they struggle. "... machinery is not the cause of our woe, at least. Standard Arakyd Industries garbage, woefully neglected. Those claw-marks, though. Worrisome."

Kryll looks over to David as he helps out Evie, and then turns on his helmet lights to help illuminate the area. He takes a cursory look around, but clearly isn't searcing too deeply in the area, as there are much more qualified people to do this, and he doesn't want to get in the way. He looks over to Evie, <"I am glad you are alright. Anyone here able to tend to Miss Muri?">

Fortunately, there's snow on the ground around her. Because while laying there, Evie's hands dig into the snow, pack some fluffy white stuff together into a sturdy ball shape, and lobs it in David's direction in response to his teasing. It takes her a moment to recover, though, so this is aimed at him from behind. Those who know her would probably recognize that her tongue is stuck out, under the helmet. << "I am. I just didn't want to show up the others." >> she insists.

Getting back to her feet with Kryll's help -- it's under the helmet, but he's getting a smile from the pilot for the assist, she nonetheless starts to look around the mine. Eyes on the ground, scanning across the snow for anything unusual that might indicate that someone's been down here... and eventually crouching down to collect a strange fruit she finds. Eyeing it for a couple moments in thought, before announcing, << "Looks like someone's been down here, folks. This thing's been... probably eaten." >> she speculates, holding up what looks vaguely like an albino coconut with a hole punched in it. << "Or drank, possibly. I don't go to many alien buffets, y'know?" >>

Corr is having a great time. It's cold, but the cold is bracing; it's dark, but the dark is mysterious. He peers into the darkness, casting about with his ineffectual flashlight, coming over to take a closer look at each thing as the others discover it and broadcast the find to the group at large. "Hmmm, very peculiar," he says of each, finally glancing over at Grayson where she's prowling towards him with a spike and giving his companion a wide grin. "This is a real adventure, huh babe?" Poor fool.

With the Audiotizer alive to record at the least the sounds of their own demise, Corr continues down the mineshaft, pulling a canteen from his belt as he goes and popping the lid off. "Anybody want a pop of whisky to warm up?" he offers, stopping to hold it out. "Grayson? Anyone who's not a Lash? Muri, lift with your knees, not your back, the 3000 is no joke." The passage beyond grows so dark it's hard to see any feature of it without shining a light directly at the area of interest.

Grayson Oakfell doesn't quite bean Corr yet. No, instead she'll take that canteen with a limping step forward into her free hand and then offer it directly to Maireni, "Maireni? Yoska? Are you wishing a warm drink?" Said as she holds it out to her side and slightly back, because Maireni has her back if she needs to commit a murder, and Grayson honors those who are loyal in such ways. The metal stick is kept at her side though, just in case she decides murder is indeed the way to go.

David rubs the back of his helmet where Evie struck him with a snowball. turning to see her, in her helmet. He can't read expressions through layers of beskar, so he just tilts his head and draws a heart on his armor, using the caked on snow as his canvas. He taps it and points at Evie. He politely declines Corr's diabolical attempt to make him freeze his head off, instead just watching as Grayson snatches the canteen. He turns his visor to the print he found earlier, determined to find another and establish a route. Where it leads doesn't matter.

As soon as he finds his precious abominable snowman footprint again, David is able to make out the direction, establishing Talz do in fact have toes. Add it to the database, suit. He peers in the direction of it, and finds no new prints, but instead points out to whoever's paying attention to him, <"Those stalactites didn't naturally form there, there was intent behind them. Might be some sort of waypoint.">

Netep waves off Kryll's concern with a set of earphones after dislodging them from the audiotizer. "I'm fine..." she fibs a little and takes her time loosening her hood to stuff the listening gear into position. Lopsided, one ear only, so the other's able to deal with ambient noise at a normal volume. Waldin's offer of a whistlewarmer gets her moving again and even motivates her mouth to keep shut about her knees that she's so totally not lifting with.

"Oooh, I'll t--"

Nope. "Actually, erm." *cough* Kryll's services are requested again as she shuffle-limp-crabwalks over to him backpack-first. "One more favor. Third pocket deep, right side. Er. NO! Not right. Left. Left side, bottle of Tsiraki. I'd get it myself but I don't have hands." Because they're keeping a tight hold on the audiotizer. "Also if you'll tip a lil into my mouth that'd be great. Help yourself to a swig for the trouble." While she's enjoying the proximity of Kryll's handiness and his light, she lets her gaze roam...which spies nothing that strikes her as noteworthy. David's observation does warrant a curious "Mm?" and headturn.

Yoska spends several seconds being so frightened of the claw-marks on the wall that his tail puffs up in alarm like a frightened cat, and then all is immediately forgotten as Corr starts his rambling INJUSTICE. "What?!" He turns his head so fast the goggles fall back over his eyes and have to be shoved up again, then Yoska immediately begins to whine. "Any but a Lash! Aiyaaah what is this! Unfair! You know the whole galaxy is unfair to Ryn? DISCRIMINATION! We're not allowed in nice places," shocker, "in some sectors you can hunt us for SPORT," guess where Ex G is going next, "They make us wait at the back of LINES," like Ryn can be made to wait at any spot in a line, "And now you WON'T let us have anything to DRINK so we are gonna FREEZE down here with the --- ohhhhh Grayson's got the hookup, rad. Yeah I'm wishing a warm drink!" He's already reaching for the canteen with his left hand, instinctively shoving his right hand toward Maireni's face to keep her from getting it first. "You a real one, Miz G. What're you doin later?"

Are they supposed to be searching for something again? As per usual for Maireni, she's not the least bit helpful in finding clues, or paying attention to what she should be. There's a distracting bit of alcohol being waved at her, and she sliiiides closer to Grayson with one hand out, gloved fingers wiggle in a gimmie motion. Then there's an arm on her way and she's shocked! APPALLED! She tries to slap Yoska's arm down an push in front of her brother so she can get to the booze first. "Yah, you're real nice to us. Nicer than most!" She shoots a sour look over at Corr, but she can't focus on him too long because the vital task of getting the alcohol before Yoska is dominating her attention.

Mandl follows Ironside, drawing their sidearm cautiously. "Yes, cleave toward verifiable facts. Reasonable explanations. Those-- those footprints are impressively large."

Kryll looks to Netep as she is indecisive about needing assistance. <"You want me to go through your pockets to find your booze, and poor it into your mouth?"> he shakes his head, <"That is a negative, I assume you do not want me to attempt to fly us off world, and you seem to be holding an important piece of equipment. That does not sound like a great concept.">

<< "Gotta admire your spirit, chief." >> is offered to Corr. She hurts some from the pinball-like descent, but the cheer isn't leaving her voice. Quite the opposite, as her brain jots this location down for future usage. A jetpack-race through frozen mines, broadcast via helmet recordings? /Exciting!/ These are the terrible ideas that she'll likely subject people to in the near future. Gray's probably, PROBABLY safe, given that they no longer share an employer, although the image of a jetpack-wearing surgeon /does/ amuse her... << "Not on the job." >> is added in response to the booze -- she loves to drink, but when the helmet's on, she's all business.

...or at least mostly business, as Dave gets a little wave before her attention returns to the mission. That mobile hand moving to her helmet to adjust her vision for low light, which allows her eyes to notice that... there's something different about the walls, here. Is it just because of the change in vision modes? That gloved hand reaches out to touch one of the walls. Curiousity might mean doom for cats, but hopefully not Kuati's.

Yoska's rant makes the armored pilot turn her head back towards him, watching through the t-visor. << "...which sectors would those be, exactly, Mr. Lash?" >> Any hint of why she's asking isn't immediately made clear, thanks to the vocoder. Although a hand moves to draw one of the pistols attached to her armor, though that was in response to Mandl's comment, definitely not the idea of hunting Ryn. Right?


BETRAYAL in the Alzoc mineshaft. Corr's whisky is not only given over to the unhygenic, unwashed Ryn masses, but his own lover fires the fatal shot. He stares in horror for a long moment before swallowing his rising gall and turning to investigate whatever David has pointed out, stepping closer towards that row of stalactites. "Yeah, huh. Look at that," he muses, reaching up to poke one of them.

Just as his fingers are about to make contact, the stalactites, along with the roof of the mineshaft, come crashing down to the tunnel floor, nearly taking those digits with them. "GAH," the explorer spits, rearing back and falling onto his ass in the process with a clatter of gear. The mineshaft ahead has transformed into a collapsed- no, it's something else, it's something inside the mineshaft that was pretending to BE a mineshaft, but now the ruse is over and two beady eyes stare hungrily at the crew from a grey, leathery face above that massive hinged jaw.

"Yoska, I would like to buy a foot, please," Corr mutters quietly as he looks up at the thing from his rump. Then the snow slug opens its cavernous maw with a sound like a crypt being cracked open and starts to wriggle forward.

Grayson Oakfell is pleased. The lowlight vision on this ugly helmet affords her the full glory of Corrs' look of horror after the lashes gain control of the whiskey, the former First Order Lieutenant Commander left to smile beautifully beneath her helmet, "I am assuming I will be fixing someone after this cult adventure." She's booked, boo.

Though talking to the two Ryn has Gray turned away from Corr for just the moment the cave comes crashing down, only to reveal itself as a giant slug, missing the reveal but not the thing wriggling forth.

A throaty scream lilts from the lips of the woman, eyes wide beneath her helmet, the metal stake she took claim of given a toss towards the slug, careening over Corr to clatter uselessly on the ground between he and the slug.

Weapon at her hip is struggled with, the safety clip keeping it in the holster struggled with and fought against before pop, out it goes, woman then trying to set it to kill as she limpingly hops back, trying to gain some room to take a shot.

<"Changed my mind, that's not a waypoint."> David muses, slinging his massive rifle into position and flicking the safety off as he steps back, keeping the slug in front of him. <"If anyone wants to suggest a strategy that doesn't involve putting a bunch of holes in that thing, speak up now and get behind me. Get behind me anyway, in fact."> he says, his visor being incredibly unhelpful with identifying the slug. Not even a proper name. Ugh.

"C'mon, don't make me drink after the ... my fuzzy comrades." Netep hisses at Kryll under breath, complete with sideways head jerk at the grappling contest going on between the two over that blessed canteen. It's not that Muri's racist, it's that she knows damn well enough of these /particular/ Ryn to be suspect of their orifices. "S'just to put a little warmth in the belly, yeah? You're sassin the third place Boozapalooza winner here, hey? Takes more'n a mouthful to put me out o'commission..."

Insert Muri's most award-winning smile here! And then promptly wipe it away because TUNNEL COLLAPSE! With eyes.

"If I die sober, I'll be hauntin what's left of you," she informs Kryll with a shaky whisper and starts to gimp-shuffle in reverse now. Then, to the rest of the exploring team a bit louder of one that borders on 'normal' volume cept with a hoarse lil squeak.

"I know I ain't the muscle o'this crew, but I've a lil somethin might be of use here on my belt. One of these pockets there's an adhesive bomb. Just pull and toss, yeah? Ought to glue its trap right shut! An' not bring down the ceiling 'round our heads..."

"Yah, pay him and maybe he'll tell you!" Maireni adds on the heels of Yoska's demand, but then there's something else to contend with. A big ugly thing, she has no idea what it is, but again that's no shock. She doesn't know what most things are, but that doesn't stop her from trying to kill them.


Said big gun is pulled out of the bag, which means that candy and rocks also spill out everywhere, and the strap tangles with it at one point. It's a mess, and it's probably about to be more of a mess because this is a weapon Maireni and Yoska should not have their hands on. Maireni pushes the coolant portion over to Yoska and hefts the gun portion for herself, trying to steady it and get a good feel before firing. She definitely won't be able to achieve that. There are only two people she makes sure she's not behind when adjusting the overpowered weapon, which are Yoska and Grayson. "Ayya you got your part set up Yoyo?" she asks, eager to fire this monstrosity.

Kryll shakes his head, <"I am not feeding you booze, nor am I putting my hands into your pockets. If you are going to need to drink while carrying things, perhaps invest in a hands free drinking apparatus."> he hears a scream, and sees too many people pulling out fancy weapondry, so he decides to draw a pair of vibrodaggers, one for each hand. <"If you die sober, you will not haunt me long. It is unlikely I will get the ship into orbit without crashing it again anyway.">

<< "I'm on the job, it's not. Maybe try throwing the whiskey at it, see if it's thirsty?" >> Because that's how you handle wild animals, right? Throw booze at them? ...who knows, maybe it'll be like acid to the thing, or something. Or maybe the slug will be so grateful that it'll just wander off to get drunk? It's... the most non-violent idea she has. Which is why her pistol's holding steady and aiming.

<< "I was going to suggest /you/ pay /me/ to put an end to it, Lash, but if you'd prefer to let the hunts continue, I suppose that's the free option." >> replies the Evie to the Ryn siblings. Then, to Kryll she's adding, << "Can't you tell when a girl wants you to make a move on her? We're gonna have to have a /long/ talk about the engines and the fuel hoses..." >>

Mandl can't do anything fancy-- they merely aim for the sensor-stalks or eye crystals and *pop* *pop* attempt to dissuade the creature from eating their crewmen!

It's about to get SLUGLY in here. The snow slug oozes forth, massive spiky teeth and glowering, evil eyes, the noxious scent of its breath something akin to rotting corpses. Its corpulent body gives off a surprising amount of heat, and while Corr scrabbles backwards, the walls of the cave begin to heat up while the slug vents steam.

The lunge forward is abrupt and alarming in its agility, as the jaw clamps down on Evie with ferocious force, and whips its head to the side, the woman's body smacking hard into Kryll as she's released from the oversized chompers.

"SHOOT IT!" This from Corr, who frantically fumbles with the blaster pistol on his thigh, but the snap holding it in place refuses to come unsnapped. Snaps are like that, sometimes, and usually at the worst possible moment.

Why did she leave the First Order again? WHY did she leave the First Order again. Finally getting the right setting on the blaster pistol Gray will level it as she still continues to scream within the confines of her ugly helmet, watching as Evie is taken up in maw, tossed away to the second beige man, Kryll, "I TOLD YOU." Screeched.

Corr's adventure times are CURSED. Also she meant it when she said she'd be busy patching people up after this. The screaming stops, only just, Grayson shivering hard from adrenaline and the cold, one shot going off, hitting the slug GOOD, the second shot going slightly wide.

"Oh my Goddess, oh my Goddess, oh my Goddess, I have much in the way of regrets." Whispered to herself as she readies to fire off more shots, still limpingly backing up until her back hits a wall, breathing coming fast.

She had it SUPER KUSH with the FO. It might not be too late, if she lives.

David doesn't have time to react to Evie being attacked, instead just squeezing down the trigger, lighting up the cave with red bolts, some of which even hit the massive monster. David retreats slowly, walking backwards with the gun still aimed towards the slug, making his way to where Evie probably landed, judging by the sound of crashing and probable pained exclamations. He doesn't speak, too focused now on not becoming a target himself. It was them two, with the massive gun. Not him, with an identical model.

"Wh--FINE." Muri /glares/ at Kryll's helmet and looks around for a 'safe' place to stash the Audiotizer. "I'll do it, just.." Muri wielding a grenade of any sort is bound to be a disasterous as the Ryn cannon "Actually, new plan!"

Muri ducks (stumbles) and cushions the expensive machine's fall with her parka-padded gut. Or was it the machine that cushioned hers? Eh, it's fine. She pushes it very lovingly behind the shelter of some frozen equipment while the slug starts trying to shake pieces of Evie loose. A swift rummaging through her pack procures an angular, metal container. "I was saving this particular vintage for a special occasion and now seems as good as any." Because it's not just any wine. It's "Gand wine. PLUG YOUR NOSES!" She breaks the seal, loosens the cap, and lobs it at the open maw.

Everyone who isn't Gand knows Gand wine is repulsive. But will it repel a slug...?

She'll blame the throbbing headache or her gloves or both later on, but the bottle doesn't exactly make its target. At least it wasn't adhesive goo!

Yoska and Maireni have done this before! Or at least thought about doing it before. Or discussed it once maybe under the influence of a lot of Avabush spice and Marcan herb. But he knows what to do! This weapon of Maireni's is too big for one Ryn to handle, so he takes up the coolant pack, both arms wrapped around the backpack-size unit so Maireni can hold the rifle. "Are you kidding me? Ryn don't pay nobody for nothin!" he hollers back at Evie. "It's against our religion!" He stumbles and shifts the pack to a better hold. "Not my fam out there anyway, ya fee-oooohhhh oh, oh dang." Evie got slugged. "I thought maybe... she's gonna be the one that saves me... but after all, she's the Rocketwall..."

"Yah, we ain't payin' and ain't like you could stop it none anyway, unless you're like real powerful," Maireni says as she eyes Evie a moment. But then she's slugged, which is a shame, but Maireni doesn't let that distract her too long from the very important tast of firing this weapon. She hefts it up and fires. Once. It's a massive weapon and makes her stagger back as it's fired, so she misses. Badly. Everyone duck. She misses with glee, however, finally getting to use this stupid weapon on... well, probably the walls of the cavern, if we're being honest.

Mandl hits the damn thing, although the power of a geologist's sidearm is questionable in these circumstances. Struggling vainly, they fire at areas David has already opened up!

First screaming, then Evie is talking to him about how Netep is making comments about Netep is interested in relations with him and Kryll shakes his head vigorously. <"No, no"> and then Evie is grabbed by a slug, and is flrying towards him. <"Oh no."> he disables his daggers and attempts to catch the flying Evie. The contact and 'catch' is successful, but the mass was never going to be negated and they both go flying back into an ice wall, before sliding down to the ground in a heap. There is a very long exhale, which doubles as a wince of pain, <"Ow."> he looks down at Evie, <"Are you alright?"> he moves to place her down on the ground gently next to him so he can kneel next to her and protect her from any further incoming bodies. <"Do not attempt to move, I will watch over you until the creature is dispatched and we can get you medical attention.">

...Grayson's not the only one rethinking life decisions. In the First Order, she had /so many troopers/ that she could hide behind. Evennia Leven is not a front line trooper and she needs to /remember/ that. The teeth of the giant slug will definitely go a long way towards serving as a reminder -- she's not entirely certain that there's not one still /stuck inside of her./

Kryll might get an apology for her crash into him while being slung around like a ragdoll if she's told about it, and might still get that education talk if she survives this mess. Because right now she's definitely bleeding, both internal and external, and trying to drag herself /away/ from the creature and closer to the back of the group.. at least until Kryll offers to be a human shield. How brave! Dave doesn't offer, but he's still between her and the creature, too. She'll accept this placement and stay still as instructed.

<< "Some... *koff* lucky rock..." >> she grumbles, giving Maireni a /look/ from underneath the helmet, before taking the rock out to throw in the slug's direction. Maybe, just maybe, its curse will follow the stone! ....sadly, not all the way to the slug, given as it falls about a /foot/ short.

...about a /lucky foot short,/ to make matters worse.

<< "If I don't make it... tell Ria I was... *koff* tryin' to save folks, 'kay?" >> is asked of Kryll. Nope, she's not doing well /at all./

The shots come in fast and hot from the twin staccato lightning cannons, and pepper the slug and the mineshaft walls with plasma. The creature lets out something similar to a hiss, pulling its face back in dismay as blaster bolts smack into its leathery hide. When the shots continue to rain down with no end in sight, the thing withdraws its body furiously, wriggling back away from the party with surprising speed, leaving only a smoking trail of mucus on the walls and floor. Embedded in the slime are traces of white Talz fur, and the remains of a proboscis.

Corr, finally freeing his weapon from its holster, rises to his feet and watches the monster vanish around a curve in the mine. "Well, I think that answers what happened to our lost Talz. They're peaceful folk, wouldn't stand a chance against a creature like that." A glance around at his crew confirms that even a merry band of hardened adventurers were at risk. Stroking his new lucky foot superstitiously, he holsters his pistol again. "Let's get out of here. By now the ghosts are all cursin' our names and whatnot," their fearless leader suggests, adjusting his pack. "Gonna be a long cold trek back, but we'll make it. And don't you dare die, lady," he warns Evie seriously. "I never had nobody dead yet and I'm not about to start to some kriffing worm." It's a slug, but close enough.

And so, the mystery is solved, another illustrious case brought to a close by the Explorer's Guild experts.