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Round 2 - The Mekhala Mad Dash of 2037!


EmBark

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A Starstruck Ambassador

 

17 hours ago, EmBark said:

Before the Race -- VIP platform

High Lady Anathe of the Imperial Embassy to Mekhala

Before The Race (VIP Platform)

The High Lady of the Imperial Embassy to Mekhala has been a mysterious, elusive figure. Though present for the ascension of Duke Esarhaddon III, she spoke to almost no-one and vanished from the gathering just as festivities were getting underway.

But here she is, still in her shawl and with her blanket across her legs, hovering along on the VIP platform in her hoverchair, surrounded by her drones. High Lady Anathe, whispers and rumours attach the name to her. She can kill a man stone dead at twenty paces with a withering look from her blind, milky eyes, they say. Her drones are just the eyes that see on the physical plane- she can read your mind with a bare flicker of effort. So they say.

Her hoverchair hums gently as she approaches the hosts, ignoring the offered refreshments. She smiles, and inclines her head slightly. "Emperor's Blessings upon you. You will forgive me, I hope, if I do not bow."

Ambassador Yessikruz Donce let out a small gasp. "High Lady!" She bowed. "Of course, no forgiveness is even necessary. We are honoured. You are most welcome."

She cupped her glass with both hands just so that both of them were kept occupied. She was a little flustered at the High Lady showing up and didn't know what else to do with those hands. Shake hers? That was probably improper. At least bowing was general safe. She spotted a crease in her green flared suit that she hadn't noticed before and brushed a hand over it to flatten it, trying to look inconspicuous and proper.

"Blessings be of and to the Emperor, I admit it was our hope you would attend, though we didn't know whether to expect it at an event such as this."

"Oh, I wouldn't miss the opportunity to watch racing. I've always felt it to be the finest of sports. The speed, the energy, the rivalry and passion... in my younger days, before my accident, I was something of a sunracer myself. Those days are long behind me, though. I can pilot remotely, of course, but it simply isn't the same." A camera turns with a wistful twist to look at the racers at the starting line.

"And of course, the Emperor has heard much of the Society. It is nothing less than my duty to be here. Your position is ascendant, and I am ever his watchful eye."

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Pre-Race:

"Aye, our boy Lewie knows what he signed up for. His ship's got more than enough armor to see it through." 
Then the green light goes on. A cheer rises from the assembled dwarves as the ships rocket out of the gate.
"The way we saw it, this is an endurance race. We'll follow along in our pitship just in case, but our expectation is Lewis can complete the course without resupply."

 

At the starting line:

Lewis grips the controls. "Otto, prepare broadcast for the moment of the green light."

[Affirmative. Ready.]

GREEN LIGHT!

The dwarven ship's engines roar to life, a tail of flame and gas trailing behind as it rockets off along the track.
A comms broadcast starts; a bombastic dwarven drinking song set to thrumming guitars and beating drums.

 

Space-Kelp Cluster:

"Otto, ready maneuvering thrusters."

[Affirmative. Ready.]

The dwarven ship reduces its breakneck pace slightly as it enters the obstacle course, maneuvering thrusters firing to keep it on course... or more or less on course. The vessel handles well for a brick, but it's still basically a brick. It's armored prow smashes through some of the kelp along its way.

Unfortunately, the dwarven ship doesn't have the force necessary to break through. "Reverse thrusters. Plot us a new course, Otto."
This will cost valuable time going into the next leg.

Edited by bc_56 (see edit history)
Name
Space-Kelp (2d6+MIL)
11
2d6+7 2,2
Parrot's Perch (2d6+MIL)
16
2d6+7 4,5
81-83 (2d6+ECO+1) (Fusion Power)
14
2d6+5 6,3
Khylosen (2d6+MIL+1) (Arcane Amplification)
19
2d6+8 6,5
90-91 (2d6+ECO+1) (Algorithmic Imagination)
12
2d6+5 2,5
al-Miraiya (2d6+DIP+1) (Xenolinguistic Cataloguing)
15
2d6+5 5,5
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During the Race -- on the VIP platform

46 minutes ago, Silent_Interim said:

"Oh, I wouldn't miss the opportunity to watch racing. I've always felt it to be the finest of sports. The speed, the energy, the rivalry and passion... in my younger days, before my accident, I was something of a sunracer myself. Those days are long behind me, though. I can pilot remotely, of course, but it simply isn't the same." A camera turns with a wistful twist to look at the racers at the starting line.

"And of course, the Emperor has heard much of the Society. It is nothing less than my duty to be here. Your position is ascendant, and I am ever his watchful eye."

"There is quite nothing like it, indeed," Yessikruz said, again joining the High Lady in conversation. "It is physical and competitive, yet with a different kind of violence than one sees in martial competitions. It engages your every body part, yet it also asks the most of your vehicle. Mechanical parts, electrical hardware, software programming, the team support behind the racer, the audience cheering them on, it all comes together in a climax of the heart."

She noticed the glimmer in the High Lady's eyes, similar to that wistfulness she'd seen in veteran racers past their prime, but at least they had a satisfaction to them that their careers had been glorious and ended through choice, not accident. Yessikruz wondered if there was some medical solution, but she dare not say it out loud. That would likely be improper, let alone that it might bring unnecessary pain.

Yessikruz bowed her head. "Of course, High Lady. We are most grateful of the Emperor's gifts and the guidance he provides through you and his other extensions of self."

 

During the Race -- Parrot's Perch

1 hour ago, BladeofOblivion said:

[...] Iris' protests were cut short an instant before impact, as the vessel...wasn't. The runes painted along the wings shone bright for an instant and the racing ship momentarily became a torrent of surging energy, conducted across the excited energy barrier in that instant before reconstituting itself at speed within the barrier! As Iris predicted the stardust gathering upon the front of the ship was burned away on reentry, creating a massive ash cloud that would either force the engagement of atmospheric scrubbers or worsen the local air pollution for a time. The locals, indeed, probably would not be happy. But there was little argument that the ship had entered the atmosphere intact. That they'd lost enough speed to exit again without exploding was a happy accident, and they did so in a hurry.

Ani-Quin entered Glix space calmly at regulation speeds, their ship almost parallel to Nsott'Blihg of the Glix Combine. Of course he would do well here, in native space. Ani-Quin thought they had nothing to worry about. They soared gently through the region, opening a channel to drink in the crowd's reaction and giving them a little show by making a barrel roll and a double loop in the air. Then they noticed a burst of energy on their screens. They tried to look closer, turning around in their cockpit, to notice Alud space-damned Soom hot on their tail and shooting past well before they could gather their bearings.

"Frak! Frak frell cruk kriff!" Their foot slipped off the pedal and the ship had an unfortunate spin before Ani-Quin got a handle on the steering wheel and righted the ship before it crashed straight into the ground. The ship passed through the blue shimmer of the barrier and then they slammed their foot down again. They got closer again to Alud Soom, though they had lost sight of Nsott. They opened comms, hailing Alud Soom's ship.

"Pardon my Sansarian, but gorram, that was quite a stunt there, Alud Soom! If you have more tricks up your engine like that, I should start being careful."

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1 hour ago, EmBark said:
During the Race -- Parrot's Perch

Quote

Ani-Quin entered Glix space calmly at regulation speeds, their ship almost parallel to Nsott'Blihg of the Glix Combine. Of course he would do well here, in native space. Ani-Quin thought they had nothing to worry about. They soared gently through the region, opening a channel to drink in the crowd's reaction and giving them a little show by making a barrel roll and a double loop in the air. Then they noticed a burst of energy on their screens. They tried to look closer, turning around in their cockpit, to notice Alud space-damned Soom hot on their tail and shooting past well before they could gather their bearings.

"Frak! Frak frell cruk kriff!" Their foot slipped off the pedal and the ship had an unfortunate spin before Ani-Quin got a handle on the steering wheel and righted the ship before it crashed straight into the ground. The ship passed through the blue shimmer of the barrier and then they slammed their foot down again. They got closer again to Alud Soom, though they had lost sight of Nsott. They opened comms, hailing Alud Soom's ship.

"Pardon my Sansarian, but gorram, that was quite a stunt there, Alud Soom! If you have more tricks up your engine like that, I should start being careful."

A hearty laugh emerges across comms from Alud's vessel:

"It seems we shall be racing alongside one another for a bit longer after all! Perhaps you'll get to see my remaining tricks firsthand."

Edited by BladeofOblivion (see edit history)
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"WOAH! We're really getting into the thick of it now, quite literally. Is that, is that Ani queen in the front? I think it is though it's hard to tell because of the nature of the maze but Holly is here to bring you the news! We've got rabBots stationed at the checkpoints to get those cameras in closer as the racers go on while I get ready for the photo finish. Our Moonsung hero seems to have gone entirely missing and lost, but hey, you know what they say about an underdog! Lets scope in on some racers to tell the tales!"
 



dwarfbrick.jpg.36bdcade4bf74c04e3cd9b28c5a9fca8.jpg

"That part of the course is moving, wait no! It's not a part of the course that's a ship! Like an inevitable waterfall it slowly, SLLOOOWWLY, trickles along. But inexorably is the best kind of exorables, so these dwarves have a good shot at getting to the end eventually!"
 


 

Neon Light Illusion, meanwhile, seems to have something entirely different in mind. It's been missing for a while now, feasting on the kelp, snacking in a comical way as it utterly unconcerned with the race itself. It's got a strange package, a strange message attached, the metal meteor drug around the size of a empirial standard double-decker fridge.

"Right... here. This should do. Heaven help us all."


The squid looks around, burrowing deeper to feast on the kelp, dragging its cargo in tow.

Edited by Rocket Relm (see edit history)
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"On your marks!"

Red One

"Ready?"

Red Two

"Get set!"

Red THREE

"GO!"

GREEN!

In the cockpit of the Lilin, Naqi'a slammed down the throttle. Her crimson dagger bucked forward with a sudden flare of its fusion drive, scorching the tarmac and sending her hurtling alongside the other racers into the void. Slender fingers danced across her control console as though she were playing an old-Ophon piano, calculating the route to CASSIOPE space and settling back to relish the acceleration and the anticipation of the first obstacle.

Approaching CASSIOPE's kelp maze, Naqi'a shook herself from her fugue and gripped Lilin's manual controls. The welcoming embrace of the first marker sped past in a blur, and as a weapons discharge warning blared beneath her notice, she opened a channel to the other racers.

"GLORY IN FLIGHT!"

Her maneuvering thrusters spun, hammering her into a high-G turn that even her inertial harness strained to compensate for. As the breath was forced from her lungs, she launched into a battle song in Old Imperial, broadcasting through the vibrating strands of kelp until an anthem of her forefathers was racing along with her. Through the dizzying maze, she saw that she had fallen behind two racers, but it didn't concern her - she would have her time in open space.

 

Parrot's Perch

Free of the kelp cluster, Naqi'a wasted little time before rocketing back into the pack, vectored for the Glic Blue Zone. One by one, the other racers spun into a deceleration burn, but Naqi'a kept pace with the maniac from Veehra until the last possible moment. The sudden blast from her emergency deceleration would have broken her spine if not for the inertial harness and her flight suit, but she still tasted copper as she sailed majestically through the open air. Far to starboard, she watched the stardust folly of Alud Soom's abrupt re-entry, and idly wondered if the dust-eater had saved any weapons' charge for the actual hostiles lurking ahead. Putting her Lilin into a delicate spin, Naqi'a caught a passing cloud and spun it into a long double helix before punching out of the atmosphere.

"Mad Dash racers, this is Naqi'a of the House of Fire. I am transmitting the Ducal IFF frequency of the fleet action taking place ahead. You should be safe from the Tiamat and the Bull of Heaven so long as your flight computers are repeating the signal. I make no promises for the rock-hoppers."

 

The VIP Platform

As the drive flare of the Lilin faded into Mekhala's innumerable stars, the Duke and Duchess finally turned to greet their hosts. As they approached her, Ambassador Donce noticed the gifted crystal weave scarf tied around the Duke's waist as a sash, the sole piece of incongruity in Esarhaddon's starkly militant regalia.

"Ambassador, a pleasure to see you again. Allow me to introduce my beloved, Ana-Tashmetum-taklak."

The Duchess favored the ambassador with a slight, polite curtsey within the billowing folds of her diaphanous gown.

"Truly, Ambassador, the Protectorate has outdone themselves with the splendor of this contest."

Edited by TheDarkDM (see edit history)
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At the Ring of Blood

 

This was tight, and dangerous. Nsott chanted the Jy'mar mantras against claustrophobia and relaxed...

 

Later

1 hour ago, TheDarkDM said:

Mad Dash racers, this is Naqi'a of the House of Fire. I am transmitting the Ducal IFF frequency of the fleet action taking place ahead. You should be safe from the Tiamat and the Bull of Heaven so long as your flight computers are repeating the signal. I make no promises for the rock-hoppers."

"Much Obliged, Lady Naqi'a!" Signals Raum as Nsott sets his beacon to the frequency provided.

 

Blihg Teivosk had special prototypes for this next leg. Pshrikes, psionic space birds that served as living flak, they released to chase Nsott...

Edited by Featherscale (see edit history)
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The light burns green, and the three Khylosian ships... creep forward. Despite constant promises to the contrary, khosee-Huel knows better than to ignite several large fusion drives in close proximity to important delegates from across the solar system. No, she instead trusts in her own skill and the power of the ships to catch up in short order. And, she thinks with a hungry grin, no on can match the endurance of a fully-stocked Khylokian sanguimancer.

During the Race -- The Space-Kelp Cluster

 

As the three ships approach the maze, now at true travel speeds and with all crew alive thanks to empower sanguimancy, their leader frowns at the message and drones. No one would issue so helpful a message to competitors... Over their private channel, she hails the two smaller vessels.

"It's obviously a trap. Eki Orkatan, interference. Mutual mist if you have to, for the honor of the Bloodlord. Uyu Ungke, with me. Both of you, eyes peeled for tricks. Let's show these 'stroid slugs how to fly."

Eki Orkatan wastes no time in peeling away from the trio, buzzing past custodial units in tight spirals as though trying to draw fire and bait a chase. The other two ships glide into the labyrinth at, frankly, suicidal speeds.

During the Race -- Parrot's Perch

Surprising no one, Eki Orkatan perishes in a brief flash of nuclear energy after hitting the edge of the Blue Zone at a truly staggering velocity. The other two ships of the Reign of Blood slow down considerably (requiring an unfortunately large series of fusion blasts), and khosee-Huel comms the Glic ship.

"What's with the brakes? This is a race! How do you ships even take off in this? It's unnatural!"


During the Race -- Warzone 1

 

Still trailing a bit, the Khylokians receive the signal from the Lilin and promptly disregard it. Why would someone transmit the secret to surviving to their foes? No, this is clearly a ruse by the canny Naqi'a to peel back the stealth such small craft operate under. Sometimes, a simple generative intelligence is all it takes to create a safe route through an active warzone.

 

The Ring of Blood

 

The ring of blood is the Khylokian's checkpoint. It is as far from Ophon as possible while still being in nominal Khylokian territory. It is more than a mere ring - it is a massive flat disc of blood, oriented parallel to the orbital plane. The shortest path from the previous leg to the ring is through a small cluster of asteroids, perfect for an ambush. Well, not an ambush. It's pretty well advertised. There are raiders here, ready to take potshots.

Edited by JBarca (see edit history)
Name
Space Kelp (MIL with Arcane Amplification)
13
2d6+7 4,2
Parrot's Perch (MIL)
11
2d6+6 4,1
Warzone (81-83) (INT with Algorithmic Imagination)
11
2d6+4 6,1
Khylosen Cluster (MIL)
14
2d6+6 2,6
Warzone (90-91) (ECO with Fusion Reactors)
14
2d6+5 3,6
al-Miraiya (FAI with Xenolinguistics)
15
2d6+6 6,3
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Green!

Unfortunately, Talza had chosen the preceding minute to doze off. The countdown began to stir them from their slumber, interrupting a lovely dream of surviving an exhilarating crash. The roar of the other racers pulling well clear of them snapped them into alertness. "Aieee! Talza incompetent! Talza dishonour entire family! Talza-" At that moment Talza felt an enormous pressure building in their raceship's command circuit. Their eyes widened as they saw their racecrew waving from the start line, holding the end of a starting cord. "Talza away!" they screamed as the initial booster pods fired, sending Talza screeching away apace, far behind the back marker racers, but now at least having begun. From the VIP box, Melvin, academic ambassador to the Rahakaz, buried his head in his paws. "Of all the sorry racers these nitwits boast of, how was this the one they deemed their finest?"

 

The Kelp Maze (9)

Talza was lost. The maze seemed endless, the filaments were coating the visor of their vacuum suit, and the last of their booster pods had been exhausted. Now their fate rested with the magic of the academy, housed within stone chests lashed to the shimmersteel frame of the raceship. With great trepidation, Talza uttered the incantation Melvin had given them.

They felt a phenomenal updraft as air materialised in the vacuum of space, throwing their vessel forward at tremendous speed. Moments later, the air subsided, the acceleration continuing as the chests came under Melvin's control. From a meditative seat in the box, he bent the craft's speed to his will. Talza reached for the controls loosely linked to the chests and waggled them. The raceship leapt about at the slightest touch. They sighed. Their race was far from over, but they would feel every momentary lapse within it.

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Parrot's Perch:

"Who in blazes runs a racetrack through a city!? It's like they want a traffic accident. Otto, plot a course and try not to smash the place up too much, aye?"

[Affirmative. Course plotted.]

The dwarven ship dips low into the dome city's streets, no doubt causing no lack of consternation to the locals, but more importantly making up for time lost in the kelp maze. "Now this is star racing!" Lewis declares, blasting his music as he rockets away and onto the next section of the track.

81-83:

The long straightaway beckons Lewis and he settles in for another drink. "Otto, put a lil' more oomph in the core and let's show these slowpokes the real power of dwarven engineering!"

[Affirmative. Engaging overdrive.]

The dwarven ship's engines glow red hot as the stream of superheated gas propelling it brightens to an incandescent glow. It accelerates rapidly, gaining even more ground lost in the early collision. Keeping most of his velocity, Lewis turns the ship into the Khylosen Cluster.

Khylosen Cluster:

[Warning: Hostile craft detected on intercept course]

"Raiders? Otto, we're plowing through. Progenitor guide us!"

Dwarves do not truck with magic often, but just in case, the racing ship has been scribed with remembrances of the Progenitor's strength and perseverance. Even so these are quickly scored off by the raider's fire, but the ship holds together; a testament to the heavy armor and resilient construction with which it was built. The dwarven vessel rams the last raider away and continues on, flying through the ring of blood and proceeding into the next area...

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During the Race -- The Long Straightaway, or the first Warzone (depending on who you ask)

His banter with Ani-Quin tabled for now, Alud Soom considered the Lady of Fire's offer of a safe frequency. Could it be trusted? A matter of honor, he supposed. Not wanting her own people to accidentally interfere. Did offworlders have Honor? Perhaps.

"Iris. Duplicate the frequency." She obliged. The Long Straightaway was ahead, the longest burn of the race - a place to catch up if you could, or be left behind if you could not. Days, maybe weeks, of uninterrupted travel. Hopefully he'd spend less of it arguing with his copilot than he had so far. Either way, this was the place to use the supplementary nuclear fuel his mechanics had strapped to his engine at the last minute - dearly hoping the power surge didn't make anything overload - he'd already burned more of his fuel tank than he'd like, and he needed to budget what he had left effectively. Would be far better to be shot down by the Khylokians on the next segment than be left drifting until his water supplies ran out.

"Oh good, you're being sensible for once, budgeting your supplies and trying to make it to the end with us both alive. First time for everything."

"Shut up, machine."

Time passed. He kept an eye on progress - he was catching up quickly with the Glix racer, who had initially seemed to have a commanding lead, and even the fearsome Naqi'a was still within sensors, not disappearing so far ahead he couldn't catch up with a little fortune. Ani-Quin, to his surprising dismay, had dropped off his radar, somewhere in his trail. Perhaps they'd return. Oh well. The Ring of Blood was approaching, and he couldn't waste much of his attention on sentimentality. For now, he got some rest.

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There was a long time to think, out here in the vastness of space. Neon Light Illusion was near the back of the pack, and some people were expecting some kind of comeback. Certainly Holly was cheering for it. The fool. The witch. The ... X? I think that's what these offworlders call it. These competitions were just games and jokes, but the true prize at stake in the wider game played here was much more tangible.
 

Mad Dash racers, this is Naqi'a of the House of Fire. I am transmitting the Ducal IFF frequency of the fleet action taking place ahead. You should be safe from the Tiamat and the Bull of Heaven so long as your flight computers are repeating the signal. I make no promises for the rock-hoppers."


Hm. Another voice. A piercing shell into the solitude. Buck up, it's something, food for thought, and promises of food up ahead. Yes... lets put out a signal to chat before the grand finale.

"Anyone there? I'm probably speaking into the void, but incase I'm not, I figure it'd be nice to chat with the fellow racers. I may be too far behind though, but at the very least I won't break my losing streak."

 


And of course, eventually, would come the other ring. Where shots from the ambush, and sniffing out to counterambush, would occupy the squid...

Edited by Rocket Relm (see edit history)
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Hm. Another voice. A piercing shell into the solitude. Buck up, it's something, food for thought, and promises of food up ahead. Yes... lets put out a signal to chat before the grand finale.


"Anyone there? I'm probably speaking into the void, but incase I'm not, I figure it'd be nice to chat with the fellow racers. I may be too far behind though, but at the very least I won't break my losing streak."

During the Race -- The Long Straightaway, or the first Warzone (depending on who you ask)

"Bold of you to seek the attention of others.", Alud replied over comms. "Try not to broadcast your location to pirates without cause - though perhaps it will be an entertaining diversion."


 

During the Race -- The Khylosen Cluster, or the second Warzone (depending on who you ask)

The so-called Ring of Blood lay ahead. Alud Soom's mining laser had already run largely dry, no more than a shot or two left. The mass driver still had a few shots, at least. He'd have to make them count, which was easier said than done while moving in a serpentine formation to avoid his thrusters getting clipped by Khylokian fire. It had become increasingly clear to Alud, throughout this race, that he had an experience gap in three-dimensional movement: This might get him killed here - those utterly fearsome contenders with the Ram had already punched a hole through the worst of the raider presence moments before (and passed him, to his chagrin), but still one dogged pursuer remained on his tail.

"Iris. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I require your assistance with a targeting solution. We have a tail and the mass driver is front-mounted. I...am going to attempt what the youth call a 'backflip'."
"...Please do not say it like that. Fine."

He pulled up on the wheel hard and cut his thrust, sending blood rushing to his head as the already fast-moving vehicle inverted itself to pass through the barrier of viscous fluid. It was good that he had asked Iris to get a lock - he wasn't sure he could have aimed through the haze of red and the momentary dizziness. An electrical crack rang out as the mass driver fired, and the pursuing ship too wounded to continue. The checkpoint passed, Alud righted his vessel and set off once more into the next stretch.

Edited by BladeofOblivion (see edit history)
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During the Race -- Outside the Race -- VIP Platform

14 hours ago, TheDarkDM said:

The VIP Platform

As the drive flare of the Lilin faded into Mekhala's innumerable stars, the Duke and Duchess finally turned to greet their hosts. As they approached her, Ambassador Donce noticed the gifted crystal weave scarf tied around the Duke's waist as a sash, the sole piece of incongruity in Esarhaddon's starkly militant regalia.

"Ambassador, a pleasure to see you again. Allow me to introduce my beloved, Ana-Tashmetum-taklak."

The Duchess favored the ambassador with a slight, polite curtsey within the billowing folds of her diaphanous gown.

"Truly, Ambassador, the Protectorate has outdone themselves with the splendor of this contest."

Ambassador Yessikruz Donce gave a bow to the Duke.

"Hail and greetings. It is a pleasure to see you again as well, Duke Esarhaddon."

She bowed to the Duchess as well.

"Thank you, Duchess Ana-Tashmetum-taklak, you are too kind." She said, having only slight difficulty with the 'sh'. She'd practiced to make sure she could pronounce the sounds not present in the Sosai language of the Society. "It's been our hope to do the first Mad Dash after the opening of the Elect with appropriate honours. I noticed that one racer from your part of Mekhala is your daughter, if I'm not mistaken? I have little doubt that she will do well in the race. It will be interesting to see how everyone measures up."

10 hours ago, Ausar said:

From the VIP box, Melvin, academic ambassador to the Rahakaz, buried his head in his paws. "Of all the sorry racers these nitwits boast of, how was this the one they deemed their finest?"

Hecaton Karcheras Katos made note of the ratman and gestured at a waiter to come over.

"Ambassador, not seeing the kind of racer you wished you could have accompanied, I see?" He took a sip from the dwarven mug. "If watching them brings you no joy, why not join us?"

 


 

During the Race -- from Parrot's Perch to 81-83, the First Warzone

For a long stretch, it was a smooth drive. Accelerating and coasting through and just watching the warnings and shooting small threatening asteroids when necessary, much of which could be left up to the systems. When Naqi'a sent her message, Ani-Quin gladly seized the assistance. They turned on the comms.

"Naqi'a of the House of Fire, Emperor's blessings be upon you." Ani-Quin said. Then, a little playfully: "Although I hope for the sake of your father's soldiers that no racers here are on the side of your father's enemy and sending the signature frequency to them."

The rest of the way didn't go smoothly for them. There was a glitch in the mapping software, then needing to avoid a stray rocket from the other side, and then trying to sneak past through what seemed like a shortcut that didn't pay off. Ani-Quin was falling behind.

 

The Khylosen Cluster and the Ring of Blood

While they'd fallen behind a bit, perhaps that was to Ani-Quin's benefit. Passing the raiders required a few choice shots. One of them hit the hull and warning lights flashed brightly. They rolled their ship out of the way of a second shot that grazed one of their thrusters, then fired a shot back, hitting the raider's cockpit, cracking it open. Ani-Quin watched with some satisfaction as the raider got sucked into space.

"Ah frak," they said to themself. "I can't make too long of a stop... I'll pass through the ring and then find a planetoid."

Then they saw the ring, and realized that it was less of a ring and more like a disk.

"Cruk!" They shouted. "Gross!" And then plunged through the liquid. The lights inside the cockpit turned on, lighting up their now completely sanguine red surroundings. Did the Khylokians expect them to have windshield wipers? Such a planet-bound notion. Another reason to land.

 

90, the Second Warzone

Ani-Quin landed on a planetoid that didn't seem to have any inhabitants. It was a little risky, being outside your ship in an active warzone, with the Dwarven Mining Conglomerate invasion happening close by. Although "close" was still a factor of half a satellite orbit away; Mekhala standards were just different.

Putting a helmet on to cover their head and seal their suit tightly, Ani-Quin opened their craft. The air escaped quickly and some food packaging waste floated away. The waste seemed fine. The air would be another issue for later. Thankfully their air reserves in the suit itself showed just enough to be able to last until Al-Miraiya... if they were lucky.

They took out the tool box from the pilot's side and heaved it out. That was the downside of not having a full team of your own. Ani-Quin had to do it all on their own. The box landed gently on the ground, kicking up some space dust. Ani-Quin grabbed the edge of the cockpit and vaulted over it, their feet landed next to box. They stared at their hand. Blood. Ugh. They wiped it off on their suit.

Looking at the part of the hull that had been blasted open, it had been a bad plan to go through the Ring of Blood first. It was completely covered.

"I'm going to be here a while..." Ani-Quin made a sour expression. "If I can even fix this at all. Stupid. Stupid! I'm going to finish last if I finish at all! This is not the climactic finish I wanted!"

Almost as if to grant their wish, there came some warning noises from the cockpit. Ani-Quin rushed to clamber back up, slipping on the small blood-covered wing of their craft, falling, catching themself, hoisting themself into the cockpit. The screens showed incoming fire. Here? Exactly here. Ani-Quin looked at the space above and saw a twinkle with a fiery trail. A rocket. A stray, or aimed at something on this planetoid they hadn't been aware of. It was headed straight for them, probably having detected a spaceship to target.

"Kriff!" They cursed, kicking into action, trying to get away. The engines did not respond. "Gorram machine! GORRAM IT ALL!"

 

OOC

Oops, I rolled snake eyes (1,1 + 4) on the penultimate stretch of the race! Figured a death would be appropriate in that case, unless someone wants to take the opportunity to save Ani-Quin.

 

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The Sorcerers did not send a delegation to this Mad Dash, atleast, not a proper one. Their sole representative pulled in on a single person Corvette. A sleek gunmetal silver painted ride that was little more than a massive tube (Painted to resemble a scale covered egg) encapsulating a purple crystal that protruded from the front and back with two long handles jutting out the top and a dizzying number of blades, syringes, and beeping devices strapped to the side. The rider wore a black leather jacket, a long parted crimson skirt, and an emerald biker helmet painted and sculpted to look like a cobra with its hood stretched and fangs ready to strike. She didn't bother with any kind of pre-race banter.

 

These people weren't worth her time.

 

The protective arcane bubble around her corvette enshrouded her in a slightly opaque technicolor field. The shimmering lights gave a simmering iridescent look to the massive anaconda that emerged from a hidden compartment and wrapped itself around her waist and shoulders seemingly organically buckling her in place? The anaconda hissed in an arrhythmic pattern (Was it a wheezing laugh?) and stared at Ani-Quin with delicious malice. When the Green was sounded, the crystal kicked into overdrive and she was off!

 

Valus Vile takes the stage.

Name
CASSIOPE DIPLOMACY (With Arcane Amplification)
16
2d6+6 4,6
PARROT’s PERCH DIP PSYCHIATRY
17
2d6+6 6,5
81-83 Military Algorithmic
16
2d6+5 5,6
Khylosen Mil In Vivo
14
2d6+5 4,5
90-91 Intrigue xenolinguistic
14
2d6+4 5,5
Al-Miraiya Nuclear Fusion
14
2d6+7 3,4
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