Lost & Found
Season 2, Chapter 5
It was her, no doubt about it.
Doctor Ashley Hendrix, the angry-looking woman from my vision months ago. In her free time, she apparently tried to eradicate people who were different from her. Or was it the other way around, and she healed the sick whenever she clocked out of doing illegal testing on Branded?
"Do you know her?" Lestrade asked. She winced slightly as I readjusted myself to better carry her.
"We need to leave, now." Despite her objections, we hastily resumed our exit. I wanted nothing to do with Shiningstar anymore.
// Undertake an Expedition
+1 (edge; because we are GTFOing) => ...
2 vs 7, 9. A Miss.
Let’s set the scene first. I think 9 can cause the most mayhem.
A promenade, overlooking a dying indoor forest. The plants and small trees look as if they havenʼt been watered in weeks. Below, Risen roam and bodies decay.
Movement ahead caused us to find a different route back to the exit. Had we properly gotten rid of the Risen we fought? Were these things immortal now because of the fucking Benevolent?!
I was fuming. And scared.
What the hell are the odds?
For a brief moment, I heard a voice in the back of my mind. Amari Wade in his final seconds, screaming, "MISS AND A MATCH."
Ira would agree. Whatever was going on right now completely fit the bill.
I did my best to shove thoughts of Dr. Hendrix away for now—there went all of the progress from the emotional learning I'd done. We needed to survive first. If we didn't get off of Shiningstar, nothing else would matter.
I hadn't been paying attention to where we were going, my body on autopilot. We found ourselves in what seemed to be a large indoor forest, both sides lined with floor-to-ceiling observation windows. We weren't near a stellar object, but I could only imagine what it looked like when the starlight shone through. In the center, a walkway overlooked a lower level. In its prime, it must have been gorgeous. Space and nature, on all sides.
Now, it was a haunted forest. A half-eaten bird lay off to the side.
"I can't leave until I check for survivors," Lestrade said, urging us towards the walkway.
I wanted to be selfish. I wanted nothing to do with this settlement anymore. If we stayed any longer, it was bound to get worse. I knew my luck. I was a magnet—a beacon—for all things conspiratorial.
Ira had called me a hero. A Bleeding Heart. What would he think of me if I abandoned people in this chaos?
The Heart won, as it always did. I nodded to Lestrade. John and I helped her across the walkway, being as careful as possible. It seemed as if Risen roamed the lower level, shambling slowly toward sources of light. Lucky for us, there was no way for them to get up to us.
Which one falls? 1-2 Locke, 3-4 John, 5-6 Lestrade.
OF FUCKING COURSE.
There was, however, a way for us to get down.
I couldn't tell whose foot went were, but suddenly there was a hole beneath us and Lestrade began to plummet.
// Face Danger
+1 (edge; to grab her quickly): 6 vs 2,8. Weak hit.
Okay, so Locke and John catch her. A reroll from John wouldn't help, either. Let’s just say we take it slow and -1 momentum 
John was quicker than I, and we managed to grab her—by her feet!—and pull her up. She winced as we helped her up once more. We took a few steps back and caught our breath.
"I wouldn't trust the rest of that walk," John said.
"The Risen down there..." She shook her head. "They all have vines growing out of them, and they... Hell, they look like snakes. And there are bodies down there. I think they're all dead at this point but..."
// Check Your Gear
So, this is an odd one. I decided, why the hell not? Let's see if Watt has the capabilities to scan for life. I've never had him do it before. Presumably, he's more than capable of it. I don't have the Utility Bot's third ability unlocked, so I'll be rolling +supply.
+3 => 8 vs 6, 8. Weak hit.
I think he does, but… fuck. It’ll take time. -2 momentum 
"Watt." He whipped and whirred at attention. "Can you go down there and see if anyone is still alive?"
And see if any of them are Dr. Hendrix, I added, masking my voice with that imperceptible hum. I'm sure John didn't even realize I added that detail. It would make my life so much easier if she was down there, rotting away. One less Benevolent to worry about.
Watt beeped in confirmation and floated to the level below, going around the walkway.
Now… is this Secure an Advantage or Gather Information. OR, is it simply an oracle roll? I couldn't tell, soooo... I let the dice decide that, too.
I think 1-3 SaA, 4-5 GI, 6 is Oracle. 2: SaA.
// Secure an Advantage
+2 (wits; Utility Bots can't help in this situation apparently): 8 vs 6,8. A weak hit.
+2 momentum [2, whew]
What does Watt find? Descriptor+Focus: 61 81: Lost Storm.
My first thought is a random ass Lightningbranded. I don’t think we have the capacity to take in any more strays. lol
Let’s roll again. 77 33: Prominent Facility.
... FUCK I THINK I KNOW WHAT IT IS. And it's using all of the words we rolled.
"Who sent the S.O.S. signal that got you to come here?" I asked as we waited for Watt. He was taking longer than I would have hoped, but it gave Lestrade time to catch her breath.
"No idea. The message was barely understandable. I tried to get the new chief to send me with some backup, but he refused."
"Speaking of, who exactly has taken over? Who has the power to remove you?"
"He's practically a kid, if we're being honest. No offense," she said to John. He shrugged it off nonchalantly. "His name is Jack Moriarty."
I felt like I should know that name, but couldn't tell why. "He must have some powerful ties to be able to do that."
"Powerful isn't the half of it. The Moriartys are one of —if not—thee most powerful family in the Salvi Pass. Hell, in all of the Forge. The Founding Clans are powerful, sure. But the Moriartys drive a lot of what they all do. They're responsible for more than eighty percent of the SPD's funding. They prefer to work in the background but, to be honest, I'm surprised they haven't made themselves more known before."
Watt made his way back to us. It masked a beep, alerting me that it had found something of particular interest. Without thinking, I had him show us whatever he'd found.
In the space before us, Watt played a recording of the level below. As Lestrade had seen it, there were Risen all about, moving aimlessly towards the windows and puddles.
"What kind of suit is that thing wearing? It's Salvi branded..." Lestrade pointed out.
I shot a glance to John.
Too many coincidences.
"Uh, no idea." I waved Watt to dismiss the projection and John and I picked up Lestrade once more.
What the hell?
The Risen was wearing my lost Mimic suit.
Somehow, it'd made its way here. Had they picked it up and brought it here for research? They must have. It was affixed with a Salvi insignia. They must have studied it and replicated it, or this one was actually mine. On its own, it was a functioning Mimic suit, a failsafe in case I had ever been captured and needed an excuse as to why I was punching with lightning-laced fists. Were they planning on using it?
Had I helped the enemy?
// Undertake an Expedition
+2 (wits) => 8 vs 2, 8.
+1 progress [6/10]. Almost done.
8: Off to one side of a communal area is an agnostic place of worship, though someone has set up the chapel for a specific deity. Behind it, a panoramic viewport, with a breathtaking view of space.
So let’s see what Peril #2 is… Two survivors. They share what they know with you. However, you quickly learn that one of them is in the process of becoming a Risen... right before they attack the other, and then you.
Oh. Great. lmfao
We managed to get near the docking bay. A communal area off to the side housed an agnostic place of worship. I never bothered with religion in the Forge. Though, to many, being Ironsworn was close enough. I felt for the piece of black iron in a compartment of my suit. It instantly calmed some of my nerves, knowing it was there. I was ready to see my Rose again after all of these Thorns. Until then, the viewport would do. There was an absolutely breathtaking view. A planet on full display. I was unsure of which one it was, though.
Motion down the hall drew our attention. I held Lestrade while Join stepped in front, the SPD training taking over as he aimed his pistol. As quickly as he had aimed it, he lowered it upon seeing two civilians walking toward us. One was limping, much like Lestrade, as the other held them up.
Let's roll up some names of these ill-fated individuals.
47: Jur0 Mihara.
10: . . .
YOU HAVE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING ME.
There is NO WAY this is happening AGAIN.
DO YOU ALL KNOW WHAT NAME NUMBER 10 IS!?
"Oh thanks the stars, we have help!" the woman standing tall said.
My heart raced.
Lestrade asked the limping man for his name, to which he informed her it was Jur0 Mihara. "And you," she said, facing the woman. "You are clearly Dr. Hendrix. We ran across your photo earlier. So glad you're safe. Let's get you two out of here."
I couldn't move.
Luckily, John could. Because Juro screamed in pain as a vine snaked its way out of his eye socket.
Wanna know what's in store for Locke and John on Shiningstar?
Check out Eric's playthrough over at The Dragon's Den!
And go through the adventure yourself here:
More amazing solo creators!
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