⚡️THUNDERFANG S2 #6
Locke struggles with how easy it would be to let the monstrosities of Shiningstar consume the good doctor.
Season 2, Chapter 6
Ira called me his hero.
A Bleeding Heart.
I was supposed to protect people...
The Risen—with its snake-like vines—was right there, within arms reach of Dr. Hendrix, one of the Benevolent. All it would take was an ill-yet-carefully timed moment of hesitation. The "good Doctor" would be consumed by the beings she no doubt helped to create.
"A tragedy," we would say. "We did everything we could, but we were too late. I wish we could have done more for her." Those who adored her—like they did Akim Salvi—would mourn her passing, and there would be eulogies written that sang their praises for all the "good work" they'd done for the Salvi Pass.
Two down, two to go.
No one would blame me...
. . .
I could practically hear Ira's voice. His hero with the Bleeding Heart, reduced to a Shady individual who only thought of himself. As much as I knew that my Heart was not my strongest attribute—how could it be?—Ira saw me differently. I don't know what he saw in me, but to him, I was much better than actually was.
But I wanted to be different for him. He saw me as a Bleeding Heart, and that is who I would continue to be.
I extended my staff and charged.
// Enter the Fray
This Shiningstar Risen is Troublesome, so it'll be 2 boxes per progress.
+3 (iron) => 7 vs 3, 10. Weak hit.
Ugh. My momentum is hella low. And now that we have John's help, we can survive being in a bad spot. So let's take +2 momentum 
A gust of wind hit my back—subtle shifts in the air thanks to John's Branding. I hoped Lestrade and Dr. Hendrix didn't take notice, but I only had time to deal with one problem.
Vines burst forth, a putrid green and black coagulated liquid oozing from orifices that shouldn't have existed. Jura moaned inhumanely and spasmed on the ground. The last spark of life left his eyes. Nothing could hold back the destruction now.
My staff clashed with its assault. The vines wrapped around it, pulling me closer. So close I could smell something sweet—an odd contrast. In tune with my thoughts, the wind that had pushed me forward now pulled me back. All that training paid off, apparently. I planted my feet and tugged with all my strength as I tried to pull Jura's body more toward me and away from Lestrade.
It could devour Dr. Hendrix for all I cared.
(I couldn't be held accountable for Shady thoughts.)
+3 (iron) => 5 vs... 1, 1! Strong hit and a match!
Progress twice. [4/10]
What does our benefit allow us to do? Action+Theme: 19 87: Change Survival. Hmmm...
I think the lights turn on. OH, maybe there's just a nearby star. We are near a viewing platform.
The combined might of myself and John caused Jura to lurch forward and collapse into a writhing heap in a beam of starlight. Vines slithered out of the body like worms in the rain, then extended their tips toward the light. A purple flower burst forth from an eye socket and soaked in rays.
It would have been a pretty sight if it wasn't a literal monster.
I braced myself for the next attack but...it never came. I shared a glance with John, who simply shrugged.
"They are attracted to strong natural light," Dr. Hendrix said. "It must be because of the changes they have undergone."
Of course, you'd know. I bottled my annoyance and took the moment of respite to examine the situation in greater detail. Maybe there was something more to discover.
// Gain Ground
+2 (wits) => ...
I stepped forward, staff still at the ready. John was an amazing teammate: I felt the air still around itself and me. It felt almost charged, ready for anything.
Dr. Hendrix was right—ugh. All of the plants that had slithered out of Jura Mihara were now facing the observation window, as if consuming all of the light. The purple flower shifted, its blood-soaked vine stretching inch by inch closer and closer to the source. I waved a hand in front of it and it moved as if alive, doing whatever it took to remain fully bathed in the glow.
The ship lurched. The starlight that had lit the area so well vanished in an instant. The flickering lights above ceased to be of any benefit. We were plunged into almost pure darkness.
// Gain Ground Result
3 vs... 6, 8.
Aw, crap. Let's roll for it. Pay the Price, 13: You face a tough choice.
Only one real choice, though technically it's not too tough. lol
I stumbled to the ground, the light on my helmet fizzing out. That left John's and Lestrade's.
Guess who the former Jura Mihara decided needed devouring?
The Risen, no longer drunk on starlight, scrambled towards Lestrade and Dr. Hendrix. Bones that no longer served a purpose cracked and bent as the body moved unnaturally, driven by pure instinct. Dr. Hendrix screamed, accidentally knocking Lestrade to the ground, pain from her injuries creating the most perfect clusterfuck of coincidences. The light from her helmet illuminated Dr. Hendrix, painting a spotlight for the Risen to follow.
The internal struggle was real. The Salvi Pass would be better off without Dr. Hendrix in it. I had no doubt in my mind that she was the reason for all the ill that had befallen what was once a symbol of hope and light for this sector. I could only imagine what would've happened if Akim hadn't been set ablaze. That man was demented in the worst way. He hadn't deserved to live, and if Dr. Hendrix and the other two were just as bad, they didn't either. I would have loved for yet another "coincidence" to befall the poor doctor.
No such luck.
I have to save her.
I leaped forward, a light breeze helping me along. I landed in the Risen's path and spun the staff around.
// React Under Fire
+3 (iron) => 4 vs 1, 5. Weak hit.
Let's Endure Stress -1 
+4 => 6 vs 1, 10. Weak hit. Just press on.
John rushed forth to flank the Risen, gun aimed high. The light on my helmet flickered back on, but it wasn't strong enough to make it freeze like the starlight did. I rushed forward and pointed the end of the staff at the Risen. Once I'd made contact, I lifted it up as much as I could, John letting loose a barrage of gunfire into the un-lifeless body of writhing vines and sickly ichor.
+3 (iron) => 9 vs 6, 10. Weak hit.
+1 progress [6/10]
Pay the Price, 24: You are separated from something or someone.
Oooooh. This is a good one.
I slammed the Risen down onto the ground as John emptied his gun. It still squirmed and attempted to stand once more.
I was glad it was away from Lestrade, who had finally managed to get back to her feet. I shouted back over my shoulder, "Take Dr. Hendrix and—"
The light on my helmet illuminated Lestrade, but no other person.
"She ran off, that way!" Lestrade pointed. I could just barely make out her figure attempting to escape down a dark hallway.
FUCK! I wanted to let an arc of lightning lose, strike her in her back and—at the very least—paralyze her.
One problem at a time.
The Risen screamed, if one could call the sound it produced that. It was gargled and throaty, low yet piercing. John and I exchanged glances.
Time for another coordinated effort.
We surrounded the Risen on either side again. Vines exploded from what remained of Jura's chest. John let loose another barrage of bullets—I hadn't even seen him reload—while I batted the creature away, doing my best to get in close.
+3 (iron) => 8 vs 1, 1. Strong hit and a MATCH! Yay!
+2 progress [10/10]
And we're gonna bank this match for after this fight is done.
John's firing echoed throughout the space, joined by the sound of my staff thudding and thwapping against foliage and rotten skin. We were overpowering it; it was on its last leg.
Literally, actually. One of the legs had been shot off. It tumbled over, the vines stretching out, making a last attempt at overtaking us. John switched to a small blade and slashed, slicing off chunks of flesh and plant fiber. I thwacked at the head of Jura Mihara until it stopped moving.
// Take Decisive Action
10 vs 2, 8. Strong hit!
+1 momentum 
What does our match give us this time? Descriptor+Focus: 48 34: Functional Faction.
Are these survivors? 50/50: 44… YES! And exceptionally so. Meaning this will go an interesting way...
How many. d6: 2.
At last, the Risen collapsed into a heap, dark greenish-red ooze pooling beneath the unmoving form of Jura Mihara.
"Time to move." I wanted to search for Dr. Hendrix. Hunt her down and feed her to her creations. But, knowing my luck, I'd cross paths with her again.
John and I rushed to Lestrade and helped her up again, and pushed toward the exit. Movement ahead caused us to freeze in our tracks, having barely gained any ground. More Risen, already? Had Jura's cry been a beacon for its kind to follow?
To our surprise, we saw three forms—standing and walking like alive humans—appear from the dark. Two held guns pointed at the one in front, her arms raised high in surrender.
Not the kind of luck I was expecting, but I'd take it.
"She was trying to escape," one said. "And leave us here with the mess she made."
"Y-you don't understand!" she pleaded. Despite her circumstance, she still had a touch of arrogance in her voice—or perhaps it was condescension?
I couldn't help but smirk regardless. "Come on, no time for that now. Let's get to the docking bay and off this ship."
// Undertake an Expedition
+2 (wits) => 7 vs ...
I need names.
... So, I rolled a 10 again. We're not doing this to ourself, lol. I will take Blade though.
76: Quinn Braddock.
Also going to use them to get the next three details in the Truth About Shiningstar table.
The one calling herself Blade—a bounty hunter, no doubt—held a gun to Dr. Hendrix as we carefully made our way to the exit. Quinn Braddock, the woman with her, had informed us that Blade had also made her way to Shiningstar in search of someone. While her quarry was lost to her, Blade managed to rescue her. They were both a wealth of information.
"This one," Blade began, her voice scruffy but light, "has been doing sciencey shit on terminal patients. Lost a few, helped a few. Not worth it, if you ask me."
"The ones who didn't make it were sent to be cremated. However, that broke down about a week or two ago I think," Quinn explained. "After that, we saw the first...thing. They hired more security, but something tells me Dr. Hendrix was just trying to hide the truth from us."
"None of you understand the gravity of this situation," Dr. Hendrix said, hands still raised as we approached the exit. "You couldn't understand what it is I'm doing here."
"Yeah, yeah." Blade shoved Dr. Hendrix forward.
"Have you two seen any more survivors?" I asked. They shook their head. If there was anyone left, I hoped them a swift death.
"Once the Risen attacked, it was hard to get out." Quinn's voice was low. Taking a second look at her, she wasn't wearing anything particularly protective. She was probably a resident, thankful that someone managed to save her.
"You're gonna pay for this, Hendrix," said Blade.
The doors to the docking bay opened and—
Dr. Hendrix practically flew through. She slammed something on the other side and the blast doors slammed shut. Something sparked.
The four of us rushed to the control panel. The doors were jammed shut. I flagged down Watt to help as well. Nothing.
We were stuck.
// Undertake an Expedition Result
7 vs 10, 10. MISS AND A MATCH. Ugh.
Story Complication, 6: Crucial equipment or device is sabotaged.
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!
and licensed for our use under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Want to own Starforged for yourself? Grab it on DriveThruRPG!