The Old Tower (Sun God Ascendant V)

Summary:
November 4, 2014: The Outsiders have tracked down the warriors that attacked Koriand'r spaceship to a strange tower in the Great Swamp. They demand answers, and that means a battle with the Savage Land mutates. Meanwhile Polaris was just trying to escape.

Tower of the Ancients

A strange stone tower surrounded by a wooden stockade.


Characters

NPCs

  • Gaza
  • Amphibius
  • Whiteout
  • Piper
  • Brainchild

Mood Music:
[*<http://insert.video.or.music.link.here>]


It is the dawn of the fourth day the Outsiders are in this lost land.
'Dawn' is not the same as 'sunrise' here. The sun never goes away from its position very low in the northern horizon, but something happens with the sunlight. During the night the sun dims to be barely as bright as the moon, and when 'day' comes, it brightens until the sky is as bright as any day in an equatorial country.
Except in the Great Swamp it is usually raining when it dawns. Today is no exception. Usually the Zebra Tribe guides prefer to camp at night. But not today. The group is well within the Swamp Men territory and pterodactyls don't fly at night.
The trip through the swamp was easier than expected once the Zebra Tribe agreed to help. It happens they know how to tame large herbivore dinosaurs. Really big ones. The local predators tend to be reluctant to attack adult diplodocus, and they manage a surprisingly good pace through the swamps. But the transport stayed back, at the frontier of the Zebra Tribe territory, and the night was highlighted by a couple skirmishes with oversized crocodiles and some kind of house sized cockroach thing. The Zebra folks are quite impressed with the Outsiders fighting skills, and not so impressed about their ability to move quietly in the swamp.
They are not as friendly as the Fall People, but they were happy to serve as guides seeing the Outsiders have a problem with the Swamp Men. They are scared, because there are rumors the many warring tribes of the Swamp Men are uniting under the guidance of a tribe of super-powered warriors (they confirm Barbarus is one of them). Also, something apparently impossible has happened: they are in peace with the Sun City, and maybe even allied with them.
And from the Sun City, more bad news. Their Sun God has manifested for real. Garokk is not well-liked by the other tribes, since 'he' tends to be the reason the priests of the Sun of the theocratic Sun City launch conquering crusades. But the Sun God appearing in person is the stuff of old, old tales, and not good ones. On top of that, the high priestess of the Sun God, Zaladane, is now also the queen of the Sun People, which is a very rare concentration of all the political power of the Sun City in one person.
So the Zebra Tribe fears a war is coming, and if the Swamp Men are fighting along the Sun City, they are the first nation that will get invaded. If the Outsiders have a problem with the Swamp Men, maybe they can cause some damage, right? Like taking those super-warriors out of the equation. The Zebra folks know they have set camp in one of the ancient places. Which are taboo for all the tribes and even the animals avoid. They are clearly evil. This 'ancient place', a tower, should be half a mile ahead, but the mist and generally crappy weather means it is not within eyesight yet.

Bad news, huh. Lunair is happy to make friends pretty much wherever she may go. All of the bad news is worrying, although the herbivore buddies are pretty awesome. It's this and that, give and take. She does have a bit of a hard time managing in the swamps, but she tries. She's learning so much during her stay here. Nevertheless, she keeps some vented armor on, and a sturdy weapon at hand as she moves with the others.
And anyone who camps in an ancient, likely sacred and taboo place is probably kind of a jerk anyway. She's a quiet, attentive traveler, eyes wide and taking in all that she can.

Roy's ability to move quietly depended a great deal on being able to keep all the metals on him from clanging into each other - one reason he forewent the heavily armored costume he had at one point, and shifted to spandex.
It didn't hurt that it totally looked -awesome- on him either.
Listening to all the discussion about the ongoing politics in the Savage Land as he trundled along, it seemed like the answer was fairly simple - with all the power concentrated in a couple of figures, removing them from being able to command would be chaotic enough to maybe give the Outsiders a chance to get away, preferably with Starfire. Checking in to see what the most likely place to keep her prisoner in, it seemed like that 'tower' might well be their best chance.
But hell, the more information they had, the better. Which meant pestering Lunair for some means of spying. Preferably a rifle with a huuuuuuge zoom feature to peek through.

Somewhere between the Outsiders and that tower is Lorna Dane, sometimes called Polaris, today more accurately called wet, miserable and lost.
Just escaping the tower was a minor miracle, Lorna never having been counted among the X-Men's resident experts in sneaking about, but escape she did - right back into the noxious swamp she landed in, what feels like a lifetime ago. At least she managed to retrieve her costume on the way out, squelching through the muck in the tunic and slippers she'd been wearing while Zaladane's 'guest' would have been the final straw. Having not really expected to make it out, Lorna's plans beyond that point are a bit unfinished. She had a vague idea of hiding out in the swamp until her powers returned (if they actually did) and then attempting some kind of Round Two with Zaladane, but as soon as the mist and rain swallowed her up she lost all sense of direction.
Finally squishing her way onto a fairly solid, grassy outcropping, Lorna stops to take stock of her situation. She's just gotten into mentally berating herself for getting herself into this fix, when she… feels something. It's faint, just on the edge of her senses, but she knows what it is. And despite the mud and the rain, she smiles.
Metal. Many small pieces of metal, in motion, not too far away. Lorna turns and starts walking, on a direct intercept course with Arsenal.

Skaar would say he handles the swamp just fine. It is just he doesn’t usually hide except when he is hunting. “We have about forty minutes, then the mist will clear and the riders will see us easily,” he observes. Contrarily to most of the others, he is not missing Internet, pizza or a job back in America. For him this place is less alien than the high-tech cities of the American East Coast. He is comfortable here.
“But that is not a tower, it is a… like a needle,” he adds, frowning. Apparently noticing something the others can’t see yet.

Lunair is pretty impressed. He's so tall and yet here he is hiding. Seriously. For her part, Lunair will let Roy have a rifle with a remarkable zoom lens feature. She seems surprised by Skaar's ability to read the conditions so. And while she does miss internet and some stuff, she seems pretty okay with it. There's so many PLANTS! So many! And the baby dino? Cute. There's things aplenty for her to relish. She furrows her brows. "Like a needle?" Is it an illusion, maybe?
Lunair's armor, if there's metal in it, is ripped straight out of a video game. How does she DO that? Frightening at times. Nevertheless, she keeps quietly attentive.

Sighting down the tower with the zoom feature of the rifle, before shifting over to the riders, Roy considers. "You know, I could probably scare off the riders -without- getting them suspicious of us. Start up a little stampede, get them distracted…"
Shift. Something green. Unnaturally so. It moves like… like hair.
Hm.
Wait.
Unzooming it just a little bit, Roy catches sight of something coming their way. "Uh… were we expecting company?"

The sense of metal remains irritatingly faint, disappearing and reappearing as Lorna tries to focus on it. She tells herself it's because her powers are taking their time coming back, and tries not to listen to the nagging voice in the back of her mind that's suggesting that maybe she's just imagining that there's metal out there.
Even so, she's still relieved when she hears what sounds like voices begin to filter through the mist and rain, and she does her best to pick up her pace. It involves more splashing, some quiet cursing, and not a whole lot of additional forward progress, but finally shapes start to loom out of the murk, voices resolve into what sounds like English, and the sense of metal resolves itself into what is, from the size and shape, undoubtedly a sniper rifle. Pointed directly at her. Oh dear. And Lorna had already started waving, too.

“I mean it goes down through the earth for hundreds of yards, until it touches the molten earth,” explains Skaar, shaking his head in disbelief. They have been advancing slowly, and the tower is a shape ahead. It looks a stone structure maybe forty feet tall, a simple cylinder of stone. There is a wood stockade around it, though. The Swamp Men’s camp. And then someone begins sounding horns of alarm. Either they noticed them or they noticed Lorna has escaped.
Looks like yes, they are going to have company soon.

"Oh," Lunair nods at Skaar. there's a curious look. Why would someone…? Hrm. That probably couldn't end well. Molten earth… energy? Weapons? She is uncertain. She looks to Skaar, then to the tower. There's suddenly horns of alarm. "No, not besides her highness, I thought?" Lunair has a hard time with things involving people.
"Although, we are about to have company, regardless of friendliness." Whomever they noticed. Since Lunair can't see Lorna, she likely assumes it's them. Quiet. Maybe time to pull that alarmingly long, slender white laser cannon. Did she watch some giant robot shows or something…?

"Right. Okay. You don't -look- like a swamp man. So who are you?"
Right to the point, that Arsenal fellow.
The noise has Roy glancing towards the alarms, followed by a look at Lorna. "They're after you, are they?"

Lorna considers the state of her powers. She has no confidence that she's capable of stopping bullets quite yet, so she raises the hand that wasn't waving and keeps them both up as she approaches, moving more slowly and carefully now. She doesn't want to do a header into the swamp without her hands to catch her, that's for sure. If there's any GOOD news for her in this situation, it's that the rifle is as out of place in this swamp as she is, and from his appearance, so is the man covering her with it.
"I'm definitely not a swamp man. Lorna Dane." Lorna winces. She's been out of the X-Men game too long, but it's done now. "Or Polaris, whichever you like better." And then the horn sounds, and Lorna winces again. "Probably." Lorna agrees. "Do I have to keep my hands up, or can I assume you don't like them much either?"

Skaar glances at Lorna’s outfit, and given she is speaking English… “she must be an outlander too,” he mentions to Roy. “What are you doing here, woman?” He asks, looking about as diplomatic as your typical seven foot tall Hulk.
Up ahead the mists are clearing, and there are shouts coming from the tower, as the Swamp Men are awakening their mounts and arming up. But there is still a minute or two to chat.

Lunair peers over that way, too as best as she can. She looks to Roy, "I know her. She's good people," The young mutant holds up a hand. "I bet if she's not clobbering them by the dozen, something happened," She offers. Lunair's not entirely familiar with Lorna, but she does recall some bits. And most X-men really do hold their own in a fight far as she's ever seen. "Uhm. Hang on." If she's up above them, Lunair pulls out a portal gun. One exit beside herself lower, one next to Lorna. There! "I ran out of rope. Sorry." She's bad at adventuring, really.

Keeping the rifle fixed on Lorna, Roy looks up, and towards Lunair. "You sure?" Eyeing Lorna, the Checkmate agent shrugs, lowering the rifle. "Get here, fast. Before these guys arrive. Love the hair, by the way."
Shifting his posture, Roy re-checks through the scope at the mounts. Right. Maybe he could save himself some time and cause trouble by causing a mount stampede… let's see. Where's the one that's fidgeting… ahhh! A bullet at their feet, then, that one has to be the most nervous one…

Jericho, who had been looking ahead (digital wings are so handy sometimes) lands next to Roy with a thump, large glowing batlike wings folding as he does. He's got an odd curved blade in his hand and it looks like it's already wet and gleaming. "I can't leave for fifteen minutes…" He teases the spy. "Looks like the natives are getting restless. I assume the woman next to Lunair's okay? Since you haven't shot her yet."

Lorna looks over at Skaar when he addresses her, double takes, and looks back at the man with the gun. One thing at a time, she decides… and then her head nearly comes off her neck, so quickly does she snap it around on hearing Lunair's voice. She squints to make sure she's right, but she is! Someone she recognises! Things are finally looking up!
Lorna doesn't hesitate, plunging through the portal to join Lunair. "Thanks, am I glad to see you! I'd ask what the hell you're doing here but…" Lorna looks around at the others. "I guess your friends…" That gets a quirked eyebrow, Lorna's just making sure they ARE Lunair's friends, "…asked first." Lorna falls in beside Lunair, and addresses Skaar first. "Would you believe I came here looking for a long lost sister? Bad news for me, I found her." Lorna switches her gaze back to Lunair. "And that's the something that happened. She did something to my powers. They're starting to come back, but…" Lorna shrugs, and finally glances back at Arsenal. "The hair really works in a swamp, huh?" She asks, with a bit of a smirk. Things are bad, but she still manages to find a little humour.
And then someone else drops out of the sky. Lorna tenses up, then eases down when it becomes obvious the newcomer's known to the others. "Don't remind him. I think he's still tempted."

Skaar shrugs when Lunair acknowledges Lorna. Perhaps he should be more surprised they know each other, but the workings of earthlings and their super-beings are still somewhat vague for him. Here looking for lost sister sounds a little weird, though.
A few of the pterodactyls are rising, so they are almost out of time. Also, someone is playing a flute in the background. Skaar will add that one to his now long list of oddities. "Here they come. We should try to leave a few alive so we can ask them questions." That said; he quite ignores the typical super-hero code of ethics, grabbing a large tree, uprooting it, and throwing it at high speed to the cluster of pterodactyl riders.

Lunair looks to Skaar, nodding. "I didn't know you had a long list sister," Lunair admits quietly. She dismisses her portal gun. "And I am glad." She smiles to Lorna. "This is Skaar," Point to Skaar, "Roy," Point to Roy, "And- I think he likes to go by Jeri," Lunair seems uncertain on how comfortable Jericho is with his name being shared. But they are each pointed out.
She looks concerned, as Lorna mentions lost powers. "Really? That's not good. I wonder if they are doing it to others. Uhm. Did you want a weapon of some sort then? Or some armor?" She doesn't expect Lorna to - "It's nice hair," Poor Lunair is distractable on a good day. There's even a greetnod for Jericho. "She is one of the people like me." A mutant, read. The portal too, is dimissed so no one else can hop after Lorna. Then she looks up. "Musical pterodactyls?" Well, those are ominous. And in Skaar's defense, Lunair seems to have few qualms about killing in a fight. But she tries to temper it. Nevertheless, the laser cannon is up and out. Pew!

Trying to start a stampede… well watching one startle but get reigned in quickly by his rider has Roy discarding the notion. Tsch. Lowering the rifle, Roy considers. Could try picking them off one by one, but killing really wasn't his style.
"Try giving the greenhair lady something that doesn't require aiming, then. Flamethrower? Just warn us not to be anywhere near her, though!" Roy calls out, before shaking his head at Jericho. "Lunair vouched for her. What'd you see out there?"

Jericho's traces go from amber to blue as his wings fade, but he doesn't start projecting anything else just yet. Similarly his blade folds back into a gun. Not a huge gun, mind, but things haven't proven especially bullet proof here and the hacker prefers to do some of this kind of work at a distance. Particularly if his opponents are going to be doing the same, and he well remembers the spears and arrows from last time.
"That tower is made of stone. Solid stone with no visible enterences unless it's underground. There's a hole in it though and I could see that it looked like the floor was made of metal. I don't think the Swamp People like it much. Their buildings aren't anywhere near it and they seem to avoid touching it. Whatever it is I don't think they built it. The Raiders themselves have about twenty flying creatures and twice that many warriors. Iron blades, bows and spears." And if they're anything like last time, perhaps metahuman champions of some kind.

"Trust me, I'm missing being an only child already." Lorna tells Lunair, her tone grim. She is NOT pleased with Zaladane, that much is pretty clear. Still, whatever vengeful thoughts she might be having are pushed to one side as Lunair makes the introductions. Knowing names is good, but each one gives Lorna about half a dozen questions she doesn't have time to ask, let alone get answered. "Got it, thanks." She tells Lunair, then shakes her head at the offer of weaponry. "Thanks, but… Roy?" Lorna raises her voice to call to the man. She can feel all the metal on him. "Mind if I borrow some of your gear? And thanks for the vote of confidence in my aim, too!" Assuming he doesn't look like he's going to shoot her just for making the suggestion, Lorna locates a couple of bits and pieces that don't seem vital to him in a fight with flying lizards, and grabs them. It's far, far more effort than it SHOULD be, but at least the metal MOVES. Gritting her teeth, Lorna fashions the throwing stars and other bits into a metal sphere which begins lazily orbiting her, then looks up at the pterodactyls. All she does is squint, a bit, and the metal ball suddenly streaks into the sky, heading for the skull of a flying lizard. And if it dodges, well… Lorna hasn't let go, that ball will change directions as many times as it needs to.

Without taking her eyes of what she's doing, Lorna listens with half an ear to Jericho's report and adds, helpfully. "If you REALLY want to go in there, I've been inside. I can tell you what I know." Assuming, y'know, they live through the current battle.

A couple of the flying lizards are hit by the large tree and they fall, looking pretty broken, the riders screaming in terror. Then Lunair laser cannon begins to punch holes through wings and bodies and the riders try to scatter, losing another couple to injuries, and yet another crashes when Polaris metal sphere hits the skull.
The survivors throw some javelins and arrows to the group, but they spend more time trying to avoid getting shot (without much success, they can hardly dodge a laser!) than attacking. Perhaps this will be an easy battle.
It is then when the snake appears. Said snake is about fifty yards long and the head alone is the size of a truck. It surges from the swamp at the speed of a freight train and snatches Skaar, pulling back (incidentally crushing a few trees around the Outsiders) to try to dive into deeper water. And a second later there is a bright, blinding flash of white!

Oh. Lunair looks a little consterned. She winces as the flying lizards get hit. "Sorry guys," She relaly does feel kinda bad for 'em. They are probably related to the wee dino Roy put on her head awhile ago, after all. Lunair just nods, not seeming to mind. "And er," Oh dear. She lifts her eyebrows at the aim comment. "I am sure her aim is fine. besides, aiming with a flamethrower is important, too," She points out. No one wants to get team killed by the same with the flamethrower, after all.
She would answer Lorna's questions as she could, but there is no time. Her eyes widen as suddenly a snake appears. SNEK! "No!" Skaar got grabbed! And then there's trees and - she winces, blinded by the attack. Lunair has 0 psychic ability. "Hey…" Come back, Skaar, alright? She believes he can punch the snake, but her laser firing has ceased and she rubs her hands at her eyes - or where her eyes would be, after she opens the visor of her helmet.

"Help yourself," Roy replies, before Lorna snatches the throwing stars. "HEY! I thought you meant a gun or…" Ohhh nevermind. She's one of Lunair's friends, after all… it kinda made sense. Lunair and the green-haired woman were probably something like Gun Templars or something.
Whether the wee little dinosaur is squeaking in response to Lunair's feelings, or to the large dinosaurs being felled is anyone's guess… it's probably more comforting to think it was more empathic to Lunair than to consider that it might grow up wanting revenge like a bat in the night…
Considering the notion, Roy decides to just make things a bit hectic for the flyers, as he pulls out the exploding arrows. Whether or not they hit, the explosions -should- divert them. See if he can make them crash into each other…
Ready, aim… fire!

Jericho flinches back as his mind registers a flash of light enough to rob him of his vision. Ow. His eyes glow red abruptly as he shifts to viewing the thermal spectrum. Reptiles are cold blooded and hard to pick out of the background. It So he looks for something that's got Skaar that's moving. Aaaaaand… there it Up comes that carbine as he lunges forward, the image of a demonic werewolf springing into existance around him.
And then he too opens fire, on the snake.

Lorna probably should feel bad about braining that pterodactyl. But she doesn't. Her powers are starting to come back, and she's just managed to do something useful for the first time since landing in this swamp, so she'll feel guilty later - if she remembers. For now, she grins as her metal ball strikes home and the flying lizard takes a nosedive into the swamp. "Yes!" She crows, her metal ball abruptly arresting its own fall as she brings it back under control. It worked once, she's going to try that again!
…and then there are arrows and javelins being flung in her general direction. Lorna takes an instinctive step back, before realising that a) they must be metal tipped, and b) her powers are continuing to recover, since she can feel those delicious iron tips. Who needs to meditate, anyway? A bit of adrenaline seems to be doing the job for her. "Bad idea." She says under her breath, in an almost gleeful tone, as she reaches out magnetically and the incoming missiles curve around and begin chasing the people who fired or threw them!
And then a giant snake swallows Skaar. To say Lorna wasn't expecting that would not be an understatement. "I hate this place." Lorna says, honestly but unhelpfully, and then she's blind. "Argh!" She yelps, stumbling backwards as the world whites out. Blinking frantically, she grimly holds on to all the metal she's gathered up, although it stops chasing its former owners and instead forms a spiky barrier between Lorna's group and where she remembered the bad guys were.

The giant snake is trying to swallow Skaar before diving, but the green giant is holding to a monstrous fang for his life. He roars in anger when a flash of light robs him of his sight. Then Jericho is firing at the snake, the bullets tearing through the scales and leaving painful holes on the skin. The snake thrashes, and waves of swamp water several yards high fly everywhere.

Roy explosive arrow scatters the flying reptiles, a couple crash-land hit by shrapnel. But one of them dives towards the archer instead. Several others are going into crazy acrobatic maneuvers while chased by their own projectiles.
Meanwhile a group of a dozen Swamp Warriors on feet charge the Outsiders. They are led by a very tall, blindfolded man that instead of sword or spear carries a simple wood staff. An albino-looking woman lingers behind this group. The first female they Outsiders have seen among the Swamp Men.
And Lorna gets tacked from behind, by someone surging from underwater. It is a skinny, slimy but strong someone, details blurry because she is blinded. "Pretty, pretty. Stay still… or Amphibious is going to crave your pretty face. Zaladane won't mind too much." Someone that speaks English with the very strong accent of the Swamp Men.

Ow ow ow. Lunair is reeling for a long moment. She really doesn't have any psychic defenses. not even a tinfoil hat. She hears those around her, and thankfully, javelins and arrows thunk and slip off her armor. She clings to her laser cannon, as if it were a crutch and a comfort. She also reaches up to make sure the wee little dino she's tucked away safely is okay. "It's okay little dude…" It's okay.
For her part, she decides to give herself a moment. Then, there's - someone playing music? Lunair's sight is a bit close to useless, so she's going to use the music to find things. C'mon…

With one of the divebombing reptiles on its way, Roy exercises something a little -less- damaging, hoping to at least avoid absolute kill-shots.
Which was why the ice arrow comes out - freeze it right in their faces, see if they can still steer with a giant ice snoozle.
As it crashes, Roy spins around, already whipping out a smoke arrow, aiming in the middle of the group to try and sow some confusion…

Jericho is fored by spear and arrow to leave off chasing the snake for a moment. At least it's wounded. The huge, demonic glowing werewolf-constuct turns that carbine on the flyers. Two can play the 'air full of sharp pointy things' trick. One, then two of the flyers goes down and the hacker sprays their riders down with lead as well.
Then Lorna yelps. Jericho is too far away to get to her and doesn't have a proper angle for a shot… but… maybe… he can give her what she needs to help herself. He saw her manipulating metal just a moment ago. So he picks up one of the spears fallen around him, turns and hurls it at the magnetic scion. "CATCH!"
God he hopes this works.

Already thrown off-balance by what she perceived as a blinding flash of light, Lorna's in no position to resist when Amphibius slams into her back, pitching her forward into the swamp. She only just manages to catch herself on her elbows or her face would be submerged in the filthy water - and that would be game over. Even so, her concentration is broken, and there's a sudden rain of arrows and javelins as Lorna loses her grip on the iron tips, sending them plummeting into the swamp.
Despite being dazzled and having the breath knocked out of her, Lorna still fights back, trying to buck Amphibius off of her, but when the threat is made, she seems to sag limply in defeat. It's anything but true, though. She heard Jericho's call, and this close, Lorna can sense Amphibius' personal electromagnetic field. She doesn't need to see him to know exactly where he is. She has the spear Jericho threw firmly in her magnetic grip, and she's going to use it to smack Amphibius right off of her.
And God, she hopes this works too.

The cloud of smoke engulfs the group of warriors, and so they fail to see Lunair sneaking out. But the blindfolded man is not bothered by the smoke and charges Roy, the staff blurring in his hands as he aims to disarm the archer. The blind warrior is definitely stronger than a normal human, and also a very skilled fighter.
The pale woman follows a bit behind, coughing. Upon spotting Roy and Jericho, she concentrates and tries to blind them again. The Swamp Men move on Jericho too, as they believe Roy is not going to last long against Gaza.
Meanwhile Amphibious is crackling like a lunatic, and trying to push Lorna’s head underwater. He falters when the spear smacks him on the head the first time, and raises a hand to grab it, looking confusedly for the unseen attacker.
Somewhere in the distance a giant snake is getting stabbed by its own fang. But Skaar is too busy to be of any help.

That giant snake had it coming! Give back Ska— uhm. Lunair is not biased in the slightest. But she is letting her hearing guide her, grateful for the cover of smoke. Stop. Listen. Headtilt. Follow noise. Avoid dino. Although, she would totally be impressed if she could see all the awesome fighting going on. She does see some of it. Neat! Where is he, though? She goes still.
She hopes her path takes her the right way.

Oh -great-. A blindfolded man. And he, of course, was avoiding the smoke. What did he have…
Doing a mad scramble, Roy pulls out a ice arrow. Right. If he can't see…
"Hey, hey! Over here!!!" he calls out, backing up against a tree, and then whistling as he hurls said arrow at the blindfolded man's feet.
Whether the momentum kept him going, Roy didn't know, but he was -definitely- going to keep moving and out of the way of -that- staff…

Whether Lorna gets free or not is in her hands because Jericho suddenly has his full. The gun folds back out to that saber and the combat cyborg begins to lay about with it. He's easily capable of tossing small cars around in an urban environment. Here? Not so many cars but that doesn't stop him from pickin up a reptile corpse and hurling it into the nearest knot of approaching hunters before- gah! His vision goes white and a burn sparks on his chest as a spear glances off his wolf armor. Okay. Who is… … … her. With a snarl that sounds more feral than human, Jericho fligs himself clear of the approaching warriors and right at Whiteout.

Whether Lorna gets free or not is in her hands because Jericho suddenly has his full. The gun folds back out to that saber and the combat cyborg begins to lay about with it. He's easily capable of tossing small cars around in an urban environment. Here? Not so many cars but that doesn't stop him from pickin up a reptile corpse and hurling it into the nearest knot of approaching hunters before- gah! His vision goes white and a burn sparks on his chest as a spear glances off his wolf armor. Okay. Who is… … … her. With a snarl that sounds more feral than human, Jericho fligs himself clear of the approaching warriors and right at Whiteout.

Lorna barely manages to take a quick breath before her head is thrust underwater. First she can't see, and now she can't breathe. She feels a tiny thread of panic start to tighten her chest - but then Amphibius' grip on her slackens as her borrowed spear slams into him. Lorna doesn't hesitate. She puts all her strength into pushing herself up, out of the water, wrenching her shoulders around to deliver a vicious elbow to any part of the mutate she can reach. "Get… OFF!" She grinds out through gritted teeth.
Successful or not, she's wrenching the spear out of his hand and trying to batter him with it at the same time. At this rate she might be left with only the tip… but ethics have to take a backseat to drowning.

The music seems to come from a thin fellow playing some pipes, he leans against a thick trunk, his back against the bark and takes occasional glances to the battlefield. Nothing too interesting, except there are a pair of velociraptors at his side, acting as guards, and as Lunair watches several large anaconda snakes slide between his feet, heading for the fight. One of the raptors has seen her, and charges!
The mutate Gaze is blindfolded, but apparently he has no problem seeing, since he follows Roy gracefully and casually bats away the arrow before it hits the ground. The icy explosion takes him by surprise, though, and he recoils surprised for a second. Just a second, then he comes forward again to try to smash Roy’s head with the staff.
The Swamp Men warriors try to surround Jericho and stab him with their weapons, but the iron blades are not up to the task to cut through the high-tech armor. A couple get crushed by the dead reptile, the rest can barely slow the hero down, they are just not strong enough! Whiteout recoils, trying to blind him again and again, but her power can’t deprive him of seeing the infrared spectrum. Jericho is going to see spots in his eyes for the rest of the day, though.
Meanwhile Amphibious fails to keep down Lorna and his hold of the spear. In fact, he loses his grip when the woman elbows him on the snout. Because Amphibious looks pretty much like an humanoid frog.
Clinging at the spear was maybe not a great idea, as Lorna can pull with enough force to drag him away. But as he is dragged, he aims a kick at the green-haired mutant head.

For a few seconds, Lorna's personal fight with Amphibius turns in her favour. She rears up from the swamp, the solid, jarring blow that her elbow imparts to Amphibius' snout giving her the second she needs to scramble from her knees to her feet, and she's twisting around to face him - when her head connects with the mutate's foot going the other way. Lorna's head snaps back and she's thrown backwards into the swap, dazed and nearly unconscious. She's out of this fight.

Lunair peeeers around the trunk. His anaconda DO want some! REVENGE! That is. What? What were people thinking? Her eyes widen beneath her visor and there's a raptor coming her way. Okay, then. Time to get her fight in. She's forced into melee, as short of a flamethrower, this is gonna be tough.
What was it Gambit taught her? It was really french and involved staves. She swings her cat staff, creating a shockwave in front of her, hopefully knocking the raptor into the guy.

That Roy is too fixed on dealing with Gaza… yeah, one thing at a time. So whatever else was going on around him, for the moment, had to be shuffled into 'background noise'.
Dashing forward to meet Gaza, Roy brings his bow up, trying to take advantage of the ice on the ground while it existed to sliiiiide forward and take him out at the knees like a bowling ball…
(That he may or may not have been humming 'I came in like a wrecking ball', he'd deny if someone ever asked…)

Jericho is permanently on Thermal vision for the moment which makes everyone look like colored blobs but is better than not being able to see at all. Which would have been the end of him. He's not one for offering mercy generally, but he does occasionally give chances to be useful. Claws sweep out as the seven and a half foot tall demonic wolf swipes at the woman in front of him, intent on knocking her off her feet and pinning her down. "Only warning. Surrender and knock it off." The or else isn't mentioned. He figures she's seen what 'or else' is by this point.

The raptor comes at high speed and jumps to claw at Lunair, and then the shockwave sends it flying in the opposite direction. The poor lizard goes flailing and shrieking in confusion, and lands on top of the musician. There are some broken bones involved. It is all very sad and there is no more music for a while. The anacondas and the other raptors look around in confusion and go away to look for food elsewhere.
Roy finds Gaza a rather more agile than expected as the tall man easily jumps over him when the redhead tries to tackle his knees. Instead of trying to hit the archer again, however, the man runs to help Whiteout. The pale woman has been pinned down by Jericho and she… doesn't understand a word of English, so she is panicking.
Gaza understands, though, he also happens to be as strong as five men. "Fight with me, wolfman!" He shouts. "I am Gaza, champion of the Swamp Men, I challenge you!"

"… sorry. That did look kinda painful. On the other hand, no using innocent animals!" That'll teach him. She decides not to - well, she does peer at the fallen guy. Should she finish him off? She looks puzzled. On one hand, Lunair has no problems killing. On the other, the tribespeople and animals suffered a lot more. Fortunately, there's rope. So once the lizard isn't quite as big of a danger, Lunair will pry the man out from under him and tie him up (carefully - if he's got broken bones, she wouldn't bust him up more).

The blade that had been at Whiteout's throat, giving another layer of 'you have made a terrible life decision' to his threat, folds back into a gun and as Gaza runs at him the hacker does a singularly unchivalrous thing. He starts shooting. He's got no idea if this guy is tough enough to shrug off bullets (he kind of hopes not) but if he gets up to fight, this damn annoying woman is going to GET AWAY!

Gaza is tough, but not bullet-proof. He also has very little experience with firearms, so he fails to react when Jericho aims at him and takes several bullets on the chest, falling down badly wounded.
When Lunair returns, she finds out Amphibious diving for the water, apparently the only one of the enemy warriors that was left standing. But the frog-man didn’t like the odds. Skaar is getting back too, and the giant snake is floating belly-up some distance away.

Lunair returns, blinking as Amphibious dives for the water. "That's right? Hmm." Well, on the other hand? Frogman totally kicked Lorna in the head. So it's NET GUN TIME and she's going after the frog guy. She'll fire it, but she's not too hopeful about actually hitting him.
What makes her happy though, is seeing Skaar making his way back and a floating, dead snake.

"Hey, wait…!" Roy calls out after Gaza, as he tries to scramble back to his feet, only to sliiide, slip, then stomps harder onto the ground to shatter it so that he can get a footing down in order to draw an arrow, and…
"They're retreating. After them!"

"Bit busy here!" Jercho calls back, one eye on the downed Gaza. Once he's convinced the guy isn't going to get back up, it's time to secure his prioners, first Whiteout (vines will have to do for rope if he can't find any. Didn't Lunair have some?) and then the fallen champion… if he hasn't bled out by the time he's done making sure the first one isn't going anywhere.

Looks like Gaza is alive, if badly injured. A dozen other Swam Men are also alive in different states of hurting. A few others are hiding behind the stockade. They even shots some arrows at the Outsiders, but surrender or escape when Skaar just walks and kicks the gates open. “We should check inside that tower, there might be more hiding in there,” he points out.

Dang. Sadface. "Yeah, well." Pout. Lunair just goes with it, then and returns to the others. She blinks as Skaar just kicks the gates open. Her eyes widen a bit. She does give Jericho some of her rope (sharing is caring). She switches her laser cannon to a laser rifle because they seem to be moving now.

"Yeah yeah, hurry up and take care of her, c'mon, we're going to go shake some information out of them so we can get Kori, now," Roy growls, already stalking quickly through the gates to go after.

Jericho ties up Whiteout and marches her and Gaza over to an outbuilding where they can be secured while the tower is searched. "Be careful. No telling what's in that tower if the locals don't like it." Though why exactly they'd build a town around it is a good question in that case.

It looks like the only Swamp Men that spoke English were Gaza and Amphibius, but with the translator device from the starship this shouldn’t be much of a problem. They should check the tower first, though.
It is completely different to what they have seen so far in the region. The stone wall was just a facade. Inside the tower is gleaming metal of very advanced alloys. The Swamp Men have brought in some crude wooden furniture and tapestries, but the basic, ancient construction is certainly more advanced than current modern technology. The upper floors seem living quarters for maybe eight or ten people, they are unremarkable. Underground, however, there are storage facilities, a jail and labs. There is some high tech equipment there, modern stuff dating from maybe eight or ten years ago.

Lunair is glad for the translator, she really is. She seems concerned, nodding. "A lot of the time, there's a reason," She offers. She blinks at Roy, and follows along. Lunair is not a front line combatant, so she keeps her laser rifle ready, wary.

You just don't argue with RPG tropes like building towns around Evil Towers. It was probably one of those tourist things - "Come try killing Evil Boss! Along the way, do buy these lovely swords, shields, potions…"
Roy couldn't care less, though, as he tromps his way through the tower.
Arriving at the underground, though, Roy has to stop, starting to poke thorugh the equipment. "Jerry! Get down here! There's a helluva lot of items that needs YOUR touch…!"

A flap of wings brings the hacker swiftly over to Roy's location and he lets out a curious grunt when he sees what all the shouting is about. "Huh… modern gear about a decade out of date. So people have been coming back and forth… but the building…" He glances around. "The building is both older and more advanced. Right, let me have a look. Looks like someone was doing research. With any luck I can pull some data…" And with that he gets to work. "Don't let our prisoners wander off. I locked them up in a shed but I wouldn't want them to be unsupervised for too long."

There must be more levels down the tower, hundreds of them. But they are sealed behind metal doors that have not been opened in thousands of years. The upper floors were forced open by someone of considerable power, however, maybe a decade ago.
They are not completely empty; the Outsiders find another Swamp Man hiding in a closet. Armed with a crude plasma handgun. He is rather short, with an oversized head. “Stay away,” he growls, his English much better than the others. “This place is mine. Leave or I will kill you!”

Lunair boggles. A tower. She's really only seen these in video games. But there's a door puzzle in front of her with a strange fellow. "It does not have your name on it!" She retorts. "And you are being an absolute jerk about all of this," She states simply. A pout. With that, she leaves the door to Roy. She does, however, pull a portal gun. A portal in front, and one behind. Now all it needs is a good KICK. Ahem.

"Yep. Working on that." First thing Jericho has to do is make sure the machines have power, then figure out which ones have computers he can plunder like a digital pirate. Yarr. He opens a panel and starts to fiddle with one of the machines. "Let me… have any of these been used recently?" Anything he can find on who is here, why and where Kori might have gone will be useful.

"… you have to be kidding," Roy says, as he stares at the person behind the closet door.
Without further ado, he kicks the door, leaving him back in the closet. And… oh look, portals. Fun with portals.
"Nevermind that, Jeri, get back to work. I'll keep an eye on your prisoners. See where Kori is," Roy says, as he checks his crossbows, and goes back to check, leaving Lunair to attend to Closet Dude.

That is no way to treat a genius super-villain. Brainchild angrily kicks the door open, then stumbles into the portal and falls face fist at the other side, the gun clattering away. He was quite proud of that plasma gun, which he built himself.
It is not hard to tie him up afterwards; he is very angry but not really dangerous.
The computers have a good deal of interesting information which is not encrypted. Seriously, who was going to hack it here? A triceratops?
The programs are old, but the files contain a good deal of advanced genetic research. Sometimes very complex stuff. They are also control programs and protocols for several medical devices and scanners and stuff that is neither and looks out of a mad genius imagination.
Not much around world-conquering plans. Nothing about Koriand’r. But detailed files in several superhumans, including Gaza, Amphibius, Barbarus, Whiteout, Brainchild, Piper, Polaris and Zaladane. And some folks the Outsiders have yet to meet: Lorelei, Lupo and Vertigo. It is very interesting for a geneticist, really. Genetic testing of Zaladane and Polaris show they are closely related. Sisters, according the notes.
Genetic testing of Zaladane, Polaris and Magneto shows also they are closely related.


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