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Escape from Boston

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Alert Re: Escape from Boston

Post by The Nekromonga February 23rd 2022, 7:32 pm

The gravity of the situation had even sunk into the orc’s thick skull. The big brute meekly produced a rock he was hiding, his ‘bug smashing’ rock. “Torr have rock. Torr give rock to lady. Lady give rock back to Torr.”

“Move over lass.” Tholreka saw what Alexis was attempting, and she and Ellistra move in front of Alexis to better conceal her activity. “A nail? Excellent.” The assassin commented.

There was a frequent rotation of watchers. At two shifts they brought in a hybrid, and that was when they had to be most vigilant in their activities; but it seemed they were short on staff, as one shift had a pair non-augmented elf guards that seemed rather indifferent. Once they were settled in, This particular pair were as much concerned with getting their next Black Spore high as being effective wardens. They taunted the prisoners as well with the sweet poison smoke.

It felt like too much time had passed. Even with the pragmatic spooning, the shivering and chattering of teeth, it was just too cold. Joints and limbs became stiff. The telltale steps of the guards coming with a cauldron caused all the others to stir from their deathly torpor. Once again, the one-armed, maimed elf was doing the serving.

Then the most peculiar thing happened. Noid expelled some transparent spores, catching Quisellius, Sage and Alexis. “I am… Noid.”

The guards were not happy at the mushroom’s actions. “Wretched Noid.” For his trouble, the wasps came and took his arm in one swift cut. Thankfully he was a mushroom, and there wasn’t much blood; but Noid clutched his arm in pain. “I am Noid!” he sounded like he was crying.

“There, there lad. It’ll grow back.” Tholreka said, as she and the other prisoners dug in.

“I am Noid.” He agreed, and joined the meal.

“Stupid mushroom… hmph… that one isn’t moving.” Quisellius glanced at one prisoner lying in the back not moving. He slowly pushed his way into the cell, and his thoughts were somehow now audible to Sage and Alexis. Sage just realized the immense contribution Noid just made.

“You! You’re definitely not fond of the wasps. Why aren’t you like them?” Sage thought. She yielded at last to the ache in her gut and scooped up the foul gruel. She puts it in her mouth and it took all her will not to vomit all over the trough.

“I am myself because I was found unworthy. Telepathy spores. Hmph. Ask your questions; better company that these spore addled weaklings, or those mutants.” Quisellius shoo’d the prisoners aside and stood over the unmoving prisoner. He kicks him twice, and seeing no response, began dragging him out of the cell.

“I can sense there is a gulf between the hybrids and you unaugmented Deep Elves.” Sage made her statement, trying to concentrate while gulping down a second handful, coughing from the horrid smell.

“To be a hybrid is no augmentation, no improvement. It is a vile curse.” Quisellius responded.

“We can help you. Can you-”

“The wasps control all the keys. Ask another question. Quickly.”

“Uh. Uh… What’s your deal?” Sage asked, realizing how short their conversation was.

“Quisellius is my name. Once I commanded this prison camp. No longer. Foolishly I threw myself at a corrosive black ooze; for my dutiful loyalty, I lost my station and my woman to Sicarius. The hybrid who welcomed you. Now. Hurry, what else?” he said, purposefully walking as slow as he can, dragging the corpse with him. To make absolute sure the prisoner had expired, the wasp hybrid took their stinger blade to his throat and slit it open. If you died in the cell, they made sure you left dead.


Last edited by The Nekromonga on February 24th 2022, 1:26 am; edited 1 time in total

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Alert Re: Escape from Boston

Post by elephantlord February 23rd 2022, 10:59 pm

Whatever strange rules were in place seemed to not like technology, and so she better have a damned good reason why she could do what she did.  She told them some bullshit about her father being a locksmith and she that she was the black sheep of her family.  She'd fallen into a life of petty crime after her magic powers manifested, not that they did her much good here.

Not trusting herself to strike the nail true, she handed the rock over to Tholreka.  She had the dwarven woman beat the head of the nail into the shape she needed, making sure it was just right.

Once it was made, she handed back Torr his 'bug-smashing rock' with grave ceremony.  "Treat that rock well, Torr.  It may have just saved our lives."  With that done, came the next part.

Alexis placed the head of the nail inside the lock.  She tested each grove she found, keeping gentle tension on the locking mechanism.  She moved carefully down each grove until she felt it bind.

The cuff opened with a faint click.

Alexis wanted to laugh.  She wanted to cry in triumph and beat the walls and weep.  Instead, she closed the lock again.  She clasped them each on the shoulder, then hid the nail away someplace hard to find.

---

Alexis remembered a quote from a movie once: prison time was slow time.  They should try chattel slavery.  Alexis could upclock her perception of time using the same ability that allowed shift her reasoning over to her computer, yet it still dragged on.  She knew this was the intent.  The combination of degradation, boredom, suffering, and addiction would eventually wear down their wills.  Or kill them.  It didn't seem to matter either way.

Then again, Alexis could cheat.  She could play Tetris in her head and dilate her perception of time.  She could lose herself in the machine dream and replay memories of eating good food.  She helped Niao and the others as best she could.  She challenged Niao to mental Go tournaments, played 'What is the Weirdest Thing You Have Crushed' with Torr (who won), taught Ellistra how to thumb wrestle (and lost 74 times out of a 100), helped Tholkra shape rocks, and had long, sprawling conversations with Noid.

When mealtime came, Alexis once again forsook it.  It was becoming difficult to resist, though.  She was so hungry.  

So it was to her eternal shame that when Noid made his move, Alex was barely able to understand what had happened.  All she could see was the severed arm.  And a corpse.  One of them was dead.  Despite Tholreka's comforting words, she knew that could happen to any one of them.  They could lose an arm, or be dead.

Alexis had been so shocked she hadn't realized there were new voices in her head.  At least, for a moment.

"Bless you, Noid," she whispered.  She seized the opportunity, barging into the mental conversation.

What would you be willing to do in exchange for revenge? Immediately, Alexis had began to negotiate.  She had no ability to leverage a position of strength or build a mystery.  Instead, she went for the kill.  It seemed that would literally be the case this time around.

Revenge.... the thought has crossed my mind often. I can make it so the bridge to  the next stalactite remains extended. You figure out how to get out of your cells. But I decide what happens to Sicarius.

What would you accept as payment for your help? It seemed a redundant question, but it was important to define the terms of any bargain.  Implied conditions were often broken conditions.

Sicarius's head, the under-elf replied.

Alexis nodded at that. As expected. My friend here is a powerful mage.  How long do the effects of the spores last once we are free of them?

Five to ten minutes depending on her personal strength.

A plan was beginning to form.  She glanced at Niao.

Once we are free of this cell, where can we find supplies to arm ourselves with?  We're useless to you as naked fodder.

Five to ten minutes depending on her personal strength. I have some of our old weapons stored away, since the wasps grow their own armaments.  Even his mental voice seemed to growl.

Well alright then.  This is what I propose.  If you have a poison, place a small bottle of it in the gruel the next time we are fed.  We will escape and make our way to your cache, and then arm ourselves.  Can you remove one of the slaves watching us?

I will smuggle you your poison at your next feeding. I cannot command the personnel, but I will give those two addled guards extra black spore for their shift. Surely you can handle two of them.

Alexis wore a wolf's smile.  Bargain struck.

Good talk. Prepare yourselves. They'll have you working. Today.  And with that, the one-armed elf finished ferrying the prisoner out of the room,

"Fuck all kinds of duck," Alexis sighed, then laid back against the wall.  Plans turned over in her mind, but there was a piece missing.  They would be a handful of malnourished slaves attacking well-rested and well-armed super soldiers, essentially.  Why not go kick Atlas in the balls or piss on Mad Jack's head while you were at it?  

No, this wouldn't work as initially drafted.  Quisellius was playing them.  He had very little risk in this plan.  The hybrids wouldn't take prisoners if they put down an attack.  They'd slaughter everyone and then probably the deep dwarves too for selling rebellious slaves.  No questions asked.  

They needed an edge.  Maybe something would reveal itself on work detail.  For now, she would bide her time.  She was so tired and so hungry.  Tomorrow, she'd have to eat or risk not having the strength to do what she needed to do.  Was it possible to pre-vomit?  For some reason, the thought of eating that vile food made her more depressed than anything.

And then Alex felt Niao. Felt as she shivered in the ever present cold.  How the bastards had made her eat rotten gruel like a pig and shit in a dark hole.  This being, who was older than Christ.  Who could make lead into gold and raise the very pillars of heaven.  THIS was how they treated her?

In Adjunct's heart, an anger ignited as bright as dragon fire.  She had to go on.  For Niao.  For her friend.

...New Power Obtained: Heart of the Earth Dragon


Last edited by elephantlord on February 24th 2022, 5:24 am; edited 2 times in total
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Alert Re: Escape from Boston

Post by The Nekromonga February 23rd 2022, 11:51 pm

Moral was up slightly more with Alexis doing all she could to help them. The group listened intently, one by one, to the conversation that took place, then relaying the information to the next prisoner in hushed whispers. However, they refrained from inviting the Bostonians.

After that meal, the threat of a long stretch of doing nothing in the cold was averted by an unscheduled visit by several hybrid warriors. They banged on the cage and brought out the prisoners.

“You. Surfacer humans. You wish to have some meat in your next meal?” They suddenly asked, and while a moment of confusion passed, they all answered heartily. “Yes, ma’am!” “Good. You’ll come with us to the river below.” They grinned with a sinister intent, as hopelessness sunk even lower into their hearts. Fishing? In those icy waters? Better to slit their throats and be done with it. They were black bagged and taken away.

“You. Mushroom.” They started with the party. “I am… Noid?” He inquired, before being handed a pair of knives. They pointed at the dead Bostonian. “Hack him to pieces, we will feed him to our beetles. Do not get your hopes up, prisoners! We would never feed you meat. Hahaha!”

“Noooid…” If he had tear ducts, Noid was on the verge of tears at the morbid task. He dragged the body to an adjacent cell and began butchering the dead prisoner. At the bare minimum Noid did not have to go so far or do so much, but with just one arm it was an arduous task nonetheless.

“Dwarf, orc.” The sworn enemies, now uneasy allies, stood up next. “We have many stones and boxes need moving. Come with us.” Typical menial labor for the two strong, meaty members. Their heads were covered and taken away.

Next they brought in a bucket, brush and mop. They hand them roughly to Ellistra. “Clean every cell on this level. They’re filthy.” Ellistra shot them a defiant but subtle look, and took the cleaning implements.

“Earth speaker. They wish to see your abilities.” Sage stood up and exited the cell, having an escort of three additional dark elves.

“How thrilling.” Sage responded. She was too weak to try something by herself, though she welcomed the relief from boredom.

Finally, they fetched Alexis. “You are in luck surfacer. You will service us at the barracks.”

They bagged her head, and pushed her along. There was nothing but opaque darkness, but they walked the whole way, walking down a corridor, ascending stairs, a long walk where the chill of the underdark stung bare skin, descending stairs, ascending more stairs, walking in circles… then finally being suddenly unbagged in what seemed like a twisted hive.

Hexagonal pods like those found in wasp nests lined one wall where the hybrids contorted to rest. Only a third of the thirty or so pods were filled, the rest likely on duty. A fire place on another side burned with the unwelcome warmth of black spore. The whole chamber smelled of the narcotic, though in much more manageable quantities, not the knock-out dose for prisoners.

A trio of the female hybrids, warrior strains, poked Alexis with a blunt stick. They laid their feet on a stone bench, still vaguely humanoid, but encrusted with dirt and other nasty things. The toe nails began to become more twisted and mutated, meaning their transformation was still mid way. A basin of water, towels, brushes and wooden scrapers were prepared for her work.

“Surfacer. My feet are dirty and calloused and ache from a day’s work. Attend to me.”

“Mine as well. Come closer!”

“Hmmmm… Serve us well and your life might become easier.”

A foot spa and massage. These hybrids wanted a foot spa and massage. And not just these three. But all of them, rotating in groups of three to be serviced.

The time spent on this back breaking labor for all of them would span somewhere between 8 and 10 hours, with barely any rest. Such that when they returned to their cells, now cleaned by Ellistra (but their hidden items undisturbed) it was already meal time. Ellistra’s hands and knees were heavily scraped, Torr and Tholreka covered in grime and dust. Sage returned in fair shape, keeping her expression neutral.

Quisellius went the extra mile this time, the gruel lacking mold or vermin, and even having the slightest hint of salt and sugar. The helpings were now sufficient, especially since only one of the humans had returned, deathly pale, shivering and near death that she could not even feed herself. Alexis’s request was delivered as promised.
Quisellius only made a nod at them. The telepathic bond was still up.

Rest now. Wait for the second shift, I gave them extra black spore. Once their minds are gone, make your move. Only one Hybrid bars your way, but if you are discovered an alarm may be sounded. The bridge will remain extended only during their shift. It’s now or never.



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Alert Re: Escape from Boston

Post by elephantlord February 24th 2022, 3:19 pm

Interns were often called on to do degrading things, and Alexis had no lack of experience in her life being told to fetch a coffee or run office errands.  After a while, you became numb to it.  Only after Alexis had developed some level of professional self-respect did she realize how bullshit those tasks were.  

Yet no Starbucks run or demand she fetch everyone lunch was nearly as bad as what these underground elves had demanded.  That was the difference between internship and slavery, Alexis supposed.  You could refuse to do the former and be fine, but refusal of the latter had some unpleasant health consequences.  And when the choice was between doing what your told and death, that was no choice at all.

Even before she was told her task, Alex knew it would be unpleasant, dangerous, or degrading in some way.  It seemed to be a form of entertainment to the deep elves.  It surprised Alexis, frankly.  With the 'burn rate' these Wasp Mutants went through chattel, they must have an incredible source of income.  She doubted the slave shipments came all that often, or that the slavers that brought them struck bad deals.  They were assholes, not idiots.

Alex went with the taskmaster meekly, displaying no defiance whatsoever.  When she was addressed, she replied with a flinch and a subdued response.  Not that that it was too hard to feign.  Having a bag over your head made it rather easy to be pliable, Alexis discovered.

When the barracks was revealed and Alexis discovered she'd be working as some sort of weird pedicurist, she all but laughed.  The fact that the entire group had apparently skilled leg day made it even more ridiculous.  She knew wouldn't be pleasant, despite how funny it suddenly seemed.  She'd be under the direct supervision of multiple mutants and subject to their whims.  She decided to double down on her slave persona.  She went to work, without complaint or reaction.  

Alexis found herself going on auto-pilot as she thought.  Ironically, grinding down callouses and massaging feet were a good way to let yourself go, despite the attempts of the mutants to get a rise out of her.  The ultimate multitasker, Alex let her thoughts drift as she worked.  

Labor had an inherent value, so the entire situation was strange.  Cultivating a stable labor base would be intensely important to a pre-industrial society.  Was magic the factor?  The ability to cut out the middle man and cause what was desired directly would likely devalue individual productivity.

Of course, other than their mutagen and their prolific drug production, Alexis had not seen a great deal of mystical understanding from these. Their shackles could be unlocked by a bent nail, for the love of Christ. It made Alex wonder - were these creatures as smart as she gave them credit for?  She at once quashed that line of thought.  Underestimating her opponent for the sake of soothing her fears was so stupid she didn't even know where to begin.

And then it came to her.  The Wasp people sold slaves as well as bought them.  However, unlike the deep dwarves, this group turned out refined products.  The dwarves were in it for quick money, but the elves were investors.  They bought in bulk, ground down the ones that were too defiant or too weak.  What mattered the lives of a hundred, or even a thousand, unskilled laborers if you gained someone of real value?

And it was why they were so goddamned interested in the Sage.  They would focus on Niao, Alexis had realized in a cold sweat.  They would brutalize the other slaves and give her privileges.  Addict her to their vile mushroom and demand she use her gifts for their advantage.  They couldn't be that far under Boston, after all.  There had to be exits to the surface.

Then Alexis saw the scope of it, the whole sprawling mess that was about to happen.  What could a group of slaving Wasp Super-Mutants do with easy and unfettered routes to the surface world?  Fuck Boston, this group would terrorize the entire Eastern seaboard if they broke out that hard.  Slowly, with each brush of the rasp pad, Alexis felt her goals shift.  

It was strange, realizing you had just dedicated yourself to the extinction of a people.  Alex felt like she should be more upset about it, but she found it felt neatly into her ethical structure.  Us and them.  It was no longer about revenge for Niao.  It was about the continuity of their species on this planet.

The rest of the shift passed relatively quickly for Alexis.  Every cruel word or mark they left upon her fell like water off a duck's back.  No use to spend hatred on the dead.  

Back in their cell, Alexis found that she was not nearly as tired as she should be.  Her knees were in agony, but the grim resolve she had found during her work had helped steel her.  She took stock of them, realizing they were two fewer, and went to do what she could.

Alex had only been steal one thing when she had been laboring.  A single scrap of cloth, hardly bigger than her palm.  When they were brought the water, Alexis had drank most of her portion and dipped the rag in the rest.  She used it to clean her hands and face.  To each of the remaining slaves, she did the same.  There was something heartening about being able to do that simple act.

Niao got the full Empress treatment.  Alexis went so far as to wash her feet!  What luxury.

In the darkness, Alexis waited.  Instead of Niao, she had curled up with the Bostonian woman who had gone catatonic, trying to keep her alive.  She kept the nail and vial close, going over plans in her head.  

The clock she had set chimed.  It was time.

Alexis had rose without fanfare.   She simply got up and freed herself, then the others by order of proximity.  Alex found her hands were shaking from the adrenaline.  She had to take a breath and steady herself before they would stop.

Only then did she attempt the door.


Last edited by elephantlord on February 25th 2022, 11:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Alert Re: Escape from Boston

Post by The Nekromonga February 24th 2022, 7:42 pm

Once meal time was over and the hybrid guard was relieved by the two stoners, Sage revealed her own task to Alexis. “We are in luck. We are not miles below the surface, but mere hundreds. I breach the Boston tunnels in an hour. We will be on the surface in two.” This message of hope was probably as potent as any improvised weapon they manage to scrounge up.

Whatever Quisellius put in the second shift guards’ black spore, it worked. Hardly an hour into the shift their eyes rolled back into their skulls and were for all purposes incapacitated, responding with weak laughter at Alexis’s attempt.

It was go-time now. Torr got his trusty ‘bug smashing rock’ ready, while Tholreka had managed to fashion a metal shiv from the crates during their shift. Ellistra …produced… don’t ask from where… an onyx ring she had kept hidden, and slipped it on. She comforted Noid, who was still morose from his morbid task. The Bostonian too, beaten and weak as she was, sat up and watched the attempt with earnest.

Once the cell bars were unlocked, it was now or never.

“All of you… get ready.” Sage stood up, mustering inner strength she had stashed away. In her hand she gripped her own weapon she’d procured for this event.

“Guard? Guard!” She called out to the Hybrid warrior who was irritable at prisoners calling for them.

“You dare call for…” The hybrid guard came into view just barely, and was met with two laughing, nearly passed out guards, stoned out of their minds from narcotics.

Sage sprung her trap and blew the extremely sharp iron filings laced with salts into the hybrid’s face, and she screamed in agony. What little power she could muster in this cell she put into having the filings fly. Niao was never one for violence, but she was intimately familiar with ways of inflicting it on her enemies nonetheless. If the hybrid was not about to be murdered violently her eyesight would be ruined for the rest of her natural life.

“TORR SMASH BUG LADY!” Enthusiastically, Torr was first to launch himself at the Hybrid, grabbing her bodily and throwing her to the ground. This was more than an escape; this hybrid was going to be the first to taste their pent-up anger and resentment. Torr mounted the Hybrid and began wailing at her head, while Thoreka joined in, trying to find weak spots in the wasp woman’s joints.

Still, victory was not assured, as the wasp still manages to resist; she was not going to go down easy, and she would make the prisoners work for their win. Her carapace was resilient enough to bug-smashing rocks, suffering only hairline fractures, and the seams in her joints were few. The Dwarf drew little blood.

“AARGH!” Torr was thrown against the adjacent cells and suffered a cut on his face from the wasp’s own stinger blade. Thoreka put her entire body to pin that arm down and disarm her, but by the ancestors she was strong!

“Pile in on her! Don’t let her think!” Ellistra quickly commanded, as she quickly moved and relieved the guards of their daggers and clubs, giving them better options. Tholreka grabbed a club and used it to leverage her neck to pin her. Ellistra stabbed methodically, finding the weak points Tholreka couldn’t, opening up her tough outer shell at the neck. The hybrid let out an alien scream of pain. Alexis had a blade or a club to use as well.

Sage got out of the cell and away from the melee, into the fungus free hallway. She grasped the solid earth and felt her magic beginning to flow into her uninterrupted once more.

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Alert Re: Escape from Boston

Post by elephantlord February 24th 2022, 8:24 pm

Despite Niao's news that they were only a few hundred feet rather than a few miles did not raise Alexis' spirits.  Suddenly, the threat became much more pressing.  While they still might need the Sage's abilities, the dark elves most likely had no need to find a way out.  If the escaped and a significant number lived, the mutants would hunt them down.  They were not the easy going sort.  

Nor did they go easy, apparently.  When the ambush was sprung, Alexis watched as Torr got hurled off of the much less massive woman like he was a particularly feisty cat.  It was like dealing with a meta-human gang primarily composed of physically gifted individuals.  They had the advantage of surprise and numbers, and they were losing.  

Alexis did not pause to consider.  She carefully undid the stopper on the vial, and laced the blade put into her hand with concoction.  It was black and tarlike, and smelled like spoiled gasoline.  When she had the surface well-coated, she carefully stopped the vial.

Throwing caution to the wind, Alex caught the wasp woman's foot after three fumbling attempts.  "Don't stab yourself, don't stab yourself..." she muttered.  Once she caught the leg, Alexis held it in a deathgrip and then stabbed down.  The poison-coated blade bit home, sinking an inch into the tender flesh of her foot.
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Alert Re: Escape from Boston

Post by The Nekromonga February 24th 2022, 8:47 pm

Once stabbed in the foot, the hybrid reflexively kicked with the other at Alexis in panic. The poison Quisellius provided was fast acting, likely a refined product of centuries of Deep Elf strife. The three who were fighting could feel her immediately weaken. Torr wailed wildly with his rock for a moment, before the cut on his face began to bubble, and he started seizing up. Tholreka got more results restraining the hybrid in an arm and head lock, and Ellistra opened up the crack in her neck, plunging black steel into an important artery. In a most Tarentinian fashion, blood spurted from the monster’s throat like a geyser, spraying Ellistra and Alexis with a watery, stinking blood of pale-yellow hue.

The hybrid fought on for a few more seconds, getting a good punch at Ellistra’s jaw. Then her eyes clouded up, and she eventually, finally, stopped struggling. Tholreka cursed in multiple languages, pushing the dead wasp off her.

“Torr!” Perhaps most surprisingly, it was Tholreka who came to Torr’s aid. “Blasted venom!” She let Torr bite down on the club as so he wouldn’t bite his tongue off.

Once the fight was over, Noid went to Torr’s side. “I am Noid!” the mushroom fella trembled a moment, then he sprouted a single spore the size of a golf ball. He squeezed it and applied it to Torr’s wound. His breathing slowed and he calmed down. “Torr thank… mushroom man… Torr promise not eat him if Torr hungry.”

“You were going to eat him?!” Ellistra asked in disbelief, then let out a laugh. She massaged the bruises on her jaw and arms she got from the wasp. This altercation with a single blinded and then poisoned Hybrid was one of the hardest fights of her long life.

“We need to think of a plan that doesn’t involve fighting any more hybrids.” She said, and no one was in disagreement.

Sage inhaled and exhaled, and the floors and walls began to vibrate as her power was coming back online. She pushes the stoned guards down and stripped them of their gear. She tosses the armor to Ellistra and Tholreka, as they did much of the fighting. “I’ll meet you on the bridge. I’ll get the other Bostonians.”

The ceiling above opened up, and the floor raised Niao upward to the next level. One could hear metal upstairs being twisted and grinding, and an angry Chinese girl telling people to move their asses.
Once at the bridge, Quisellius took an uncomfortably long, dramatic time to show up and extend the stone bridge to connect the prison to the main stalactite, but at least he had kept to his bargain. Clothes, weapons, armor, medical supplies were present at the midway span. Sage trailed behind with the huddled masses of Boston.

“…We’ll need a plan moving forward.” Ellistra said as she equipped herself with leather and blades, then passing
on the items to whoever was willing to fight.
Sage settled on a large rag to wear as a towel until she could get her equipment. “I should be able to seal off doorways now. Where did the hybrids take you, Alexis?” she asked.

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Alert Re: Escape from Boston

Post by elephantlord February 25th 2022, 1:45 am

Only once the hybrid was dead and Torr rescued did Alexis breath easily.  This was definitely going into an overtime submission request.  She was exhausted, half-starved, covered in mutant blood, and not in the best mood.  Going to the pile of armor and weapons, Alexis girded herself with a simple leather harness and a quiver of arrows.  She was still nude, but yeah, at least she was covered in ichor!  

"The barracks.  They made me tend their feet.  Yes, it was very gross.  What I wouldn't have given for my... nail... kit..."

Suddenly, something occurred to Alexis.  She squinted at the vial in her hand.

...Store Item: Quisellius' Poison

The vial vanished from her hand in a swirl of blue mist.

The smile that lit up Alexis' face was the very devil.  She looked to the ichor on her body and made a flicking motion with her hand.  The ichor vanished as the vial had.  

Slowly, Alexis began to chuckle.  It built like a tsunami, a great tidal wave of gut busting laughter that was entirely inappropriate for this situation.  Suddenly, a fashionable green business suit appeared on her body.  

"Oh, fuck me running I missed this," she said, rejoicing in the feeling of having underwear again.  Alex shivered with the sheer pleasure of having clothing again.  

And then it was time.  Alexis stretched forth her hand, like some dark sorceress.  "I beckon to you.  Come forth, my desire.  I open my hand to you.  Pierce the veil of absence and join with me.  I, Alexis, daughter of Alexander, call to you.  Appear!"

A large, warm pastrami sandwich appeared in Alexis' hand.  The bright white rye bread was marbled with streaks of brown.  The spicy mustard glinted tantalizingly in the dim light.  Alexis attacked it like a starving wolf.  She went two bites in before she glanced around and realized there were other people there.  

"Sorry, I am being rude," she said with her mouth full. Alex waved her hand. A picnic table appeared, along with a catering spread.  It was mostly artisanal crackers and tiny sausages.  It was swiftly joined by premade sandwiches and several large pitchers of lemonade.  "Please help yourselves."

"I never thought the picnic I had planned would be in the underworld."  Alexis kept enough wherewithal to prevent herself from eating more than she needed.  The remains of her ravaged food vanished, and she sighed contentedly.  

"Oh.  And my apologies." She produced a package of Da Hong Pao with a flourish, offering it to Niao.  "I obtained this when I collected your mirrors," Alexis had a bright smile on her face.  "I had intended it for your birthday, but I feel that now is a more appropriate time.  I would brew it for you, but... you know," Alexis made another flicking motion with her fingers, "Wasp mutants.  I hope the fragrance is comforting."

Once that was handed off, Alexis made her big play.  She closed her eyes and concentrated.  Something was resisting, but not very hard.  She stretched forth her hands and a blue mist formed between then.  Then, with a faint pop, a Tayor TAR-21 Assault Rifle fell into her arms.  

Alexis began to chuckle darkly once more.  "Let's fumigate."
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Alert Re: Escape from Boston

Post by The Nekromonga February 25th 2022, 8:38 am

Sage looked at the familiar dried leaves and graciously accepted them. She took a moment of time out of the mission to deeply inhale the herbs, and remember a simpler time with family and mountains. For a moment her mind was taken back to happier times. “Why… this is very considerate. Thank you. I’m afraid I do not have a storage space though. Please hold on to them a bit longer.” She returns the tea leaf to Alexis.

Hunger and desperation made the famished group blink in confusion a moment, before the food registered in their minds and attacked the buffet table. Sage simply took a few bites to eat, just enough to regain her strength. “Torr will eat until Torr stomach ache!” He said happily, voraciously getting meat.

“That’s enough. You’ll hurt your stomachs. Let the other captives eat.” Sage reprimanded the group, and despite her stature, she was obeyed. “She is right. We still have a task to do.” Ellistra gulped down a cracker. Once the war party had their fill they moved on, leaving the Bostonian captives to distribute the food among themselves, deeply in gratitude to Sage.

Sage eyed the Stalactite housing a majority of the mutants. At that point Quisellius deigned to join them.

“Do you have any more Black Spore? I need all that you can produce.” She asked.

“Hmm? I do. A considerable amount. What are you planning?” Quisellius responded, curious.

“The fire pit in the barracks extends through the entire stalactite.” Sage explained, needing to say nothing more.

“Give me ten minutes.” Quisellius grinned and went off to somewhere on the Stalactite.

At that point Ellistra approached Alexis, and offered her the onyx ring she kept. “You are in better shape than I am. Perhaps you should go. It is a ring of the spider; it shall let you scale the walls like them.”

Once their Quisling returned, with a pouch of black spore, Sage accepted it and hands it to Alexis. “The chimney has exit vents that feed directly to the fire pit. I will seal off the exit except that one that exits to the bridge. Let us prepare a welcome party for those who leave the hive.”

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Alert Re: Escape from Boston

Post by elephantlord February 25th 2022, 8:19 pm

It should be noted that Alexis didn't like magic much.  Magic always felt... weird to her.  Science, for all it's frustrating ambiguity, made no pretense that it was anything less than logical.  The realm of the mystical, though, made Alexis deeply uncomfortable.  Still, she accepted the ring and slipped it on her finger.  She had been through too much to be spineless now.

In return, Alexis handed over her rifle and a pair of clips to the dark elf.  Alexis manifested two more and handed these over as well.  Her trip to China had been very productive.  She handed a pistol to the Bostonian and with a sigh, her M36 Revolver Style Grenade Launcher to Thokra.  Her impulse had been to give it to Torr, but the orc made... bad decisions.  She also handed 15 of her hand grenades over, nearly depleting her entire stock.

"You know, it's funny," Alexis said idly to Niao in her bad Chinese.  "I pride myself as a good Girl Scout.  'Always prepared'.  Yet ever since I started working for Mr. Black, all I've ever felt is woefully inadequate.  I just dispensed a small armory to our friends here and I just wish I had claymore mines or a minigun to hand to Torr."  Alexis shook her head, looking down and laughing softly at herself.  

The final thing Alexis manifested was a bottle of California Cabernet Sauvignon 1985 and a several wine flutes.  After popping the cork, she poured a liberal portion in each glass and handed the half that remained in the bottle to Torr.  Typically, Alexis' inner wine snob would have insisted she let it breathe.  Now, though, she found she did not give a shit.

"If we die, we die free." Alexis toasted, then kicked back the entire glass.  

It had been chosen because it was ripe and supple, well-known for its quality. It was 'bribe booze', as she thought of it, used to butter up executives or politicians.  Nothing seemed to seal a deal so fast as being able to pull an expensive red out of your ass and toast to the good health of a future endeavor.  She used to keep a bottle of goldschlager as well, but she drank that the night after Rick Candlebrand and her co-workers were murdered.  That had been a bad night.

Now fortified, Alexis vanished the glass and nodded to her associates.  Once again, she was herself.  She gestured and a suit of a dark leather armor and bandolier of daggers disappeared into her dimensional storage, along with a bow and several quivers of arrows.  

With that, Alexis nodded to them and gave a small smile to the sage. "If I do not return, it has been an honor, wǒ xīnzhōng de mèimei." Sister of my heart.  "Try to stay alive everyone."

And with that, Alexis was off.  The business suit disappeared, replaced with the leathers.  A dark cloak of fine cotton appeared around her as well.  This was actually something Alexis already had, having gone as a Sith Lord to an office party back in the day.  She wondered if she could pick up a functional lightsaber here as well but decided that the forces of copyright extended past the mere bounds of dimensions.  The Mouse had to have its cheese, after all.

The wall was rather easy to scale, Alex discovered to her delight.  She went up the wall like a shadow, each handhold feeling as if it were climbing a ladder rather than a wall.  

It did not take Alexis long to find the vent the Sage had told her about.  She took the pouch of drugs, and then paused, considering.  She reached inside and placed a finger on one of the evil mushrooms and vanished it into her inventory.  Nodding to herself, she waited.  She pulled what she needed form her digital storage, then waited. And when it came, Alex dropped the entire bundle into the shaft...

...along with a phosphorous grenade.
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Alert Re: Escape from Boston

Post by The Nekromonga February 25th 2022, 10:03 pm

A DRINK BEFORE BATTLE
The various captives looked at the weapons with excitement. Tholreka hefted the grenade launcher and wielded it well. “Like a crossbow it is!” Ellistra had no problem with the firearm either.
Alexis was getting all dramatic with Sage. Niao simply smiled. “Oh Alexis. You have no idea how outmatched these pests are now.”

The group didn’t expect they’d get a drink before the fight. They received it gracefully, even Noid.

“Ack, I should have ye try a stout dwarf ale some day, not this fruity tart nonsense.” Tholreka being a walking stereotype.

“Pleasant to me actually.” Ellistra had a better taste it seemed.

“Torr want more. Lady have more yummy drink?” Torr searched his glass for any more drink.

“I am Noid.” He seemed agreeable as well. Tholreka was outvoted 3 to 1.
Ellistra was about to ask Sage how she’d get to the stalactites when the master of earth casually started walking off the walkways and taking strides along stone steps that emerged from the stalactite. “If they come through that doorway, feel free to rip them to pieces.”

DRAGON TIME

Time was of the essence, and Sage decided it was time. A menacing growl escaped her frame, as her body transformed and grew in size many times over, until the little earth mage was replaced by a wingless, long bodied drake with coal black scales. She kept the roaring to a minimum, instead keeping a constant, low thrum that seemed to make everything vibrate. The sudden appearance of a large dragon frightened the captives, but Dragon Sage crawled off the bridge and onto the side of the stalactite, moving faster and more fluidly than if she would as a human.

“Now there’s something ya don’t see everyday.” Tholreka said, scratching her head.

BARRACKS

Three wasp mutants were sitting at the fireplace when the phosphorus grenade landed and exploded, setting them on fire. The fire mixed with the spores, generating sickly sweet smoke spread throughout the stalactite. The others in the barracks move towards the nearest exit, intending to fly out.
Dragon Sage stood there in front of a dozen or so angry mutants. They shouted commands to attack, only to have the doorway close shut with thick earth and stone. They tried to dig away at it, but the building smoke made them search for another exit. Sage scaled the face of the stalactite faster, and closed exits rapidly.

One wasp manages to slip past and fly out. “You dare, surfacer? You will be-” she hissed, and then pointed her spear at Dragon Sage, ready to attack, and thinking she was out of range. but Sage interrupted by extending herself from the rock face and biting the wasp in half and spitting her blood out like tough phlegm.

The smoke from the fire pit proliferated throughout the rest of the stalactite, and forces the remaining mutants to move, only to find that their home no longer had any windows or exits. Sage did not fight them; she did not have to. Smoke filled up and funneled the insects to the waiting trap they had set. The carapace didn’t stand up as well to firearms, the mutants’ superior strength all for naught. Caught between suffocating, narcotic smoke and piles of their dead, the wasps were eventually overcome by the Black Spore, and they become incapacitated in the hallway.

The group gave Torr an improvised charcoal mask to negate the smoke’s effect, and also the job of dragging drugged wasps out one by one to be killed. Bullets did a much quicker job, and Ellistra did her neck-carapace slicing thing to make sure they were dead. The bridge platform was slick with yellow blood.

Once there were no more threats, The one-armed Quisellius lead the survivors down a secret path on the side of the stalactite, stone and wood that was difficult to spot but easy to navigate once found. “Follow me to the main stalactite. Our reckoning with Sicarius is now.” They follow their unlikely ally, and eventually make their way to the last battle ground…

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Alert Re: Escape from Boston

Post by elephantlord February 25th 2022, 11:07 pm

From her vantage near the vent, Alexis found she had an excellent view from what came next. And despite her proximity to the poisonous smoke, Alexis had found she was not affected by it. Strange.

However, instead of heading back down as she probably should, Alex elected to stay on her vantage and do overwatch. And it was just such an amazing platform to watch Niao work from. The Dragon Sage was having a field day. She almost felt bad for any that escaped.

Almost.

"Never forget that you live in a world where dragons have tea with you, Ms. Lovelace. If you ever get a big head, remember that." Alex laughed at herself and shook her head. It was an amazing sight. Dabbler would love the home movies Alexis was recording. She manifested a bag of prepared Jiffy Pop and simply witnessed what happened.

Revenge was a dish best served with butter and salt.

--

Eventually, though, it was time to return back down to the ground.

Alexis eyed Quisellius as they followed him. She remembered the agreement they had struck in the cell but knew this could not last. He may have been a slave, but he was complicit in what had been done to them. But for a stroke of fate, he'd be a mutant as well.

For now, Alexis kept to her word. Once given, she would not forsake her promises lightly. There was something about her that made it very hard to do that. Yet.
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Alert Re: Escape from Boston

Post by The Nekromonga February 26th 2022, 4:57 am

TREASURE ROOM
Climbing in through an opening, Alexis and the now human Sage rejoined the group. They reached the plunder chamber first, containing many treasures clearly taken from past victims. Tholreka was first, as her divine hammer flew from the weapon rack it was kept and into her hand. A great thundering boom and a flash of energy restored her armor magically, her hair now properly braided. “Lord of Thunder! your servant is returned!”

Torr found his trusty battle axe and spiked helmet. The gear he had salvaged was already good enough anyway. Ellistra recovered her assassin leathers and blade, though had a great appreciation for fire arms thanks to Alexis.

Their unlikely ally Quisellius equipped himself with his old armor once more, and carried his sword on his belt, though lacking an arm his fighting style was no longer as good as before.

Sage’s ensemble, a metal laced, and multi-layered Chinese robe flew through the room and assembled on Sage. A metal comb fixed her hair in her preferred neat style, and her little dagger was once more at her side. “It is good to be back. Now, let us finish this. I am eager to move on from this ordeal.”

SICARIUS’S QUARTERS

As the new commander of this prison camp all the best treasures and spoils were placed here, in the commander’s quarters. Sicarius had two non-mutant Deep Elves in his bed, exhausted and in a drug induced stupor.

The party entered, and surrounded the captain. He was outmatched, that much was true, but as was agreed, this was his fight. That didn’t mean everyone didn’t have murder in their eyes. Sage herself was tempted to simply end him herself. But, a deal is a deal.

Sage sighed. These honor duels were always so… indulgent.

“Well? Who wants to go first?” He asked nervously, seeing it was easily seven to one.

“None of them will aid me. You are mine alone, Sicarius.” Quisellius said, having a short blade in hand.

“HAHAHA! You are a fool. You are an old and weak amputee!” He laughed, then accused him.

“And you are the coward who refused to enter battle when commanded! Then offered yourself up to become a monster! I think we know the one who is truly a coward.”

“Enough lecturing from you, old man.” The mutant drew his stinger blade.

The two begin their melee, the overconfident mutant charging in, relying on his brute speed and strength. But the seasoned warrior simply waited, sidestepped, and used the mutant’s momentum against him, sending him sprawling. His enemy prone, Quisellius goes in for the attacks, putting his former protégé on the defense; quick, clean thrusts and cuts were parried with wide parries. The mutant gets to his feet and momentarily attempts to regain his momentum, but Quisellius was relentless, managing to parry and counter attack, then finally catch the mutant’s arm with his stump. With a hammer blow with his pommel, the older warrior demonstrates a clean disarm, shoulder checks him into the wall, and pins him, his dagger point under his chin.

Sage was impressed. “…Imagine if he had his other arm.” She remarked. The others were equally impressed.

“No… no! please! Spare me!” the captain revealed his true colors, beggin for his life.

“Always the weak and snivelling worm, Sicarius. Don’t beg- please die with whatever shred of dignity you have.” He thrusts the blade upward, into the mutant’s skull, and it is done. Yellow blood spilled to the floor, the Captain slumping to the floor.

“Torr thinking, he not smash point ears with one arm.” Even Torr could process the masterful skill displayed by Quisellius.

The one-armed warrior spat on his dead foe. “It is done. Our oaths are fulfilled…” He looked at the party, realizing that now, he was the last remaining Deep Elf here, save for the two elves in bed oblivious to the goings on. “so… what now?” He asked them, perhaps expecting to be betrayed.

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Alert Re: Escape from Boston

Post by elephantlord February 27th 2022, 4:05 am

'What now', indeed.  Alexis had been pondering that very question.  The fight had not changed her mind in and of itself, though it did give her time to contemplate.  There were risks in letting Quisellius draw breath.  He had been part of the system that had created these wasp mutants. But for a missing arm, the dark elf would be the one they would have to confront. That he had helped them was only to further his agenda, rather than any sense of altruism.  No, she owed him no good will.

Perhaps it was sheer arrogance on her part to believe so, but Alexis hadn't really been too worried about escaping.  Oh, she had been worried for the others; Niao, in particular.  However, it was the nature of Adjunct's power to change with adversity.  If the abuse had gone on much longer, Alexis could have forced a bond with one of her captors.  Her bonds did not need to form out of mutual care and respect, Alexis just vastly preferred those. Eventually, Alex would have gained some aspect of these people or something that allowed her to escape. Perhaps a phasing power or the ability to summon flyswatters at will.

Letting Quisellius live had it's costs.  They left an individual at their backs who had nothing but time and resources at his disposal.  It would take him time to consolidate his base, but if the dark elf wanted to, he could run this place after a time.  The obvious solution there would have been to put a bullet in his back and have done with it.  

However, betrayal wasn't in Alex's nature.  She was a creature of relationships; of oaths and mutual respect.  Even if it was inconvenient to do so, double crosses did not come naturally to her.  So, Alexis decided it was time to indulge in a time honored tradition as old as humanity.

Haggling.

Alexis smiled at Quisellius.  "That depends on you, I think.  Quite unexpectedly, I find I have grown fond of mushrooms.  As I recognize you as the regional power here as of..." she glanced at the still twitching corpse, "Thirty seconds ago, I would like to negotiate for your entire stock of exotic fungi.  I believe I can offer quite reasonable terms."
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Alert Re: Escape from Boston

Post by The Nekromonga February 27th 2022, 4:47 am

Quisellius tensed, then breathed a deep sigh of relief. He had expected treachery, to be discarded as a no longer useful pawn. Instead he was met with a bargain he very willingly took. “Take it then. All yours. Including the plunder of this place. We have a growing level above, and more wild ones growing on the bottom of the Stalactite. If that is the price of me actually living. Hmph. Actually, I think I will leave this place. Vespania will not be pleased her slaver camp has been thoroughly eviscerated.”

“Wait. This Vespania. She is your queen?” Sage figured that a wasp people would have some kind of queen at the top of their social structure.

“She was… once a priestess of our true gods, and… something more.” He said with the angst of a young adult novel character. “But, everything changed when she met the arch sorcerer Maldeth. He had brought us to this strange land… Boston… a land ripe for plunder and slavery. She craved power and he transformed her and the leaders of our society into the vile hybrids. Except for me. She then devoured all who opposed her, until the choice was only servitude or death.”

“Maldeth. The one responsible for all that is occurring in Boston. So, he is related to our plight.” Sage said, finally finding a connection to this terrible suffering of theirs.

“Vespania has a hive on the surface. There she has her strongest warriors, capturing slaves and dealing with resistance.”

Sage looked around the room and searched for anything of note. Like some wonderful videogame all the treasure spilled out from chests and onto the floor, but there was one stone inside a secure box that caught her attention the most. It looked and felt like metal, but she could not manipulate it.

“So, what does she need slaves for? To build your empire?” She asked.

“Worse. A Hybrid Larvae develops one of two ways – bonded with a Deep Elf – as only we can undergo apotheosis with them, or be implanted into a victim, to grow from their consumption of their innards.”

“…Like wasps. Anything else? Tell us of the hive.”

“Ah. A weakness you mean. To control her people, she regularly feeds them a jelly she regularly excretes. In a storage vault below the hive, they store the jelly and consume it ritualistically. It is usually in a separate chamber.” He grinned at Sage, knowing that the small earth speaker had a cruel streak to her.

“I see. Alright then. So, what will you do?” Sage asked, curious.

“I will lead these misfits into the Under World. Perhaps visit the other settlements. Go on strange, wonderful adventures. Die a pointless death. We will take some boats and descend to the river below.”

“Then this is where we part ways.” Sage said, only at which point did she acknowledge their comrades and bid fare well. They keep their departing words to a minimum.

“I am Noid.”  The little mushroom man avoided combat, and only just emerged. But had listened, and prepared a parting gift. He had heard Alexis’s request, and very kindly prepared special organic pods that stored a healthy sample of the special fungi of the underworld.

“Best of luck surfacers, if you seek to make Vespania your enemy.” Quisellius parts, the party make their way to the lifts outside afterward, preparing the boats they will take. Now there was only the walk to the surface, leading the Bostonians back to their likely still troubled home.

((Neko Last post! words: 9,529 ))


Last edited by The Nekromonga on February 27th 2022, 7:59 am; edited 1 time in total

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Alert Re: Escape from Boston

Post by elephantlord February 27th 2022, 7:55 am

Alexis smiled down at Noid, leaning down to give the mushroom child a kiss on his cap.  "I'll miss you.  We'd not be here without you.  None of us would."  She smiled down at him almost like a proud mother, and then manifested a necklace and put it around his neck.  "Here.  Something to remember me by.  Try to keep your limbs attached, sprout."  Strangely, Alexis found herself getting misty.  She stopped by everyone and gave them a similar hug, save for Quisellius.  Alex smiled with Torr blushed and gave her his bug-smashing rock.

Once Alexis had made her goodbyes to her satisfaction, she wiped her eyes and looked to Niao.  "I'm going to miss them.  Strange what bonds can be made in hard circumstances."  

"All right, let's get the fuck out of here.  Ms. Lu, would you be so kind as to do the honors?"  With that, Alexis took one last look at this den of horrors.  She decided she would not revisit it... save for perhaps with a therapist.  She had some things to unpack and no mistake.  

As the path opened before them, Alexis put the butt of her rifle against her shoulder.  They had been through a lot, and there was still a long road before they could stop.  Alexis squared her shoulders.  She was no stranger to overtime.

"Let's go save Boston."
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Alert Re: Escape from Boston

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