The Accretion Gospel
Episode 6: The People, Cicada
They found themselves in a large and derelict old structure, apparently the remains of a once grand underground facility. Whether the facility was civilian or military in origin was unclear- in fact, everything about the place was completely alien. The technology used in the place was highly advanced, rivaling even the most advanced devices used in the Rovano system.
A few hours into the search, they discovered Orsa in a heated battle with some strange robotic devices. These devices brutally assaulted the forsse, and once the women came to the creature’s aid, they too found themselves undergoing an assault. The devices were highly unusual. They were clearly electronic, but seemed to operate based on a higher intelligence than was suggested by their form. Tuona said she could feel a cold, sad presence lurking within their steely frames- an announcement that made the other women uneasy.
As they traveled, they uncovered many perils- vast chambers flooded with deadly radiation, hungry alien creatures prowling the ruins for a chance of finding any sort of prey, and more and more of the unusual robotic beings. At one point, one of the beings attempted to grappled Tesla, and then connected with her equipment.
Her gear and even weapons took on a life of their own, commanded by what Tesla eventually deciphered to be a life form that was composed entirely of computer data. After they apprehended and quarantined her gear, Tesla managed to hack into the programming of her personal computer and isolate the entity within a few lines of protected code, hoping to study it further at a later time.
The three of them continued their exploration for some time. Night approached, but fortune smiled and the women were able to find what appeared to be a functional computer terminal. Despite being in an alien language, Tesla was able to crack the code and operate the device. What they uncovered was highly disturbing.
It appeared they had been somehow transported to the Votum star system, a dead system on the far reaches of the Milky Way. This system was discovered several decades ago, where explorers uncovered two things- the planet-wide ruins of a civilization with technology so advanced it made their own look coarse and primitive in comparison, and a highly unstable environment plagued with lethally high levels of radiation in all but the deepest underground ruins. It was unclear what had happened in the Votum system, but it was apparent that whatever it was, it was indeed terrible.
Tesla uncovered even more information- it appears that the people of Votum, who called themselves the Nashan, were a highly religious society that predated even the Rovarri, and their evolution had reached a point where they were effectively able to prolong their lifespans indefinitely. They were ruled by a class of sexually ambiguous clerics called Star Speakers, who were said to be able to control the movement of planets and celestial bodies. These Star Speakers revered solar bodies particularly, denoting them as physical manifestations of a being called Seid.
According to what little records she could uncover, Seid was said to be a component of a great dualistic being. Seid resided on a plane parallel to but distinct from the world the Nashan lived in, and she or he was the mirror image of a being called Zaid. Zaid was the embodiment of the universe itself, a majestic and immortal being that slept perpetually while forming all varieties of matter-based creations within his or her womb.
The Nashan believed that Zaid and Seid longed to become as one, but they had separated at the dawn of time in order to bring forth multiple awarenesses within themselves as a means of reaching a supreme transcendental state. Zaid was said to draw the blood from Seid, and form it into stars and planets, wherein these stars and planets would draw forth from their own blood and give birth to lesser beings.
However, the Nashan believed that since they were at one point born from Seid’s blood that they must also exist within Seid as well as within Zaid- and that in order to achieve enlightenment, it was necessary that they return to the plane where Seid resided and reunite with their Seid-born halfs.
The Star Speakers were said to have been touched by the dreams of their Seid-born components, and as such could find the way to return to Seid. However, it seems one such Star Speaker felt that is Zaid were to bleed, Seid would in turn draw out her companion’s blood and use it to create new life within herself- and that if the Nashan were able to bleed Zaid to death, Zaid himself would be drawn into Seid.
Records then indicated that a Star Speaker known only as Naar collapsed one of the largest suns within the Votum system in hopes of actualizing this belief, and thus caused the central planet to become uninhabitable. Records stated he was “separated from his Seid-born” and confined within a tomb of Seid’s blood. At this point, the records began to become even more vague and difficult to translate, but Tesla had reason to believe that the Nashan initiated some sort of mass migration through the fabric of space itself, perhaps abandoning their homeworld in an attempt to enter Seid.
This information was as enticing as it was hard to believe- how had the three of them been drawn over so many light years and deposited in the rotting remains of Votum? The only way to find out more was to attempt to uncover more information, so the women trekked deeper still into the haunting passages.
As they went deeper, they were shocked to find use of alchemical technology, and large deposits of orexisite stored within the facility. They also uncovered a chamber that was free of radiation and alien life forms which contained a massive stone of pure white orexisite. Scans indicated it was an molecularly perfect mass of lure, somehow created without any of the impurities commonly found within the ore. Tesla pocketed a small fragment of this stone, hoping to analyze it later.
Before long, they uncovered a large communication center. Tesla once again worked her technological savvy and managed to open communications to the nearest Coalition station. She was, strangely enough, greeted with a very gruff response, which ordered her and her companions to remain where they stood until such a time as Coalition forces could arrive.
Unwilling to sit around without finding out if the others were alright, Tuona ran off, and Janet and Tesla took after her. They wound down several more flights, until Tuona turned up with Mauta’s familiar, Baby, in hand. The dracofeline scratched at the girls and ran off. They trailed him, hoping to find Mauta, but wound up in a large, eerie chamber.
A large black stone stood in the center of the room, and within it was the strange skeletal structure of an alien being. As they approached it, a massive psionic resonance occurred. A mass of crawling ooze was excreted from the stone, and Tesla felt the cold, alien voice within her head that she had encountered while teleporting with Mauta in Larcald.
The ooze began to multiply, and threatened to engulf the women. Janet found her weapons doing no good, but Tesla’s cryonic grenades and Tuona’s bolts of thunder and gusts of wind made short work of the filthy creatures.
After defeating them, they ran from the chamber, a sense of deep, pervading fear flooding their minds and hearts. Just then, they encountered an explosion as someone blew through a nearby wall. Mauta crawled through the opening, draped in smoke and crackling mystical energy, following by Roth and Arro. The Mendel and the Chirotrani drew their weapons, but only for a second, as they were soon overjoyed at the sight of their companions.
The two groups quickly exchanged information, but the reunion was short lived. As they began to plan a way back to the communication center, a group of Coalition soldiers materialized in the center of the room, armed with heavy firearms and combat armor. Confused, Arro and Janet were taken down very quickly. A commanding officer placed them under arrest, citing them for violation of the PTEA and for the destruction of Arkova IV.
In the bedlam, the Arkovans assaulted the soldiers, while Tesla hid behind some wreckage, trying to figure out the situation. Just then, Arro’s commanding officer and companion, Major Ressa Armandag materialized. Using her potent telepathic skill, she knocked the Arkovans out and then commanded Tesla to come forth. She shackled the girl, and told her she would be taken back into her father’s custody- being spared by his diplomatic immunity. Janet and Arro were cuffed and teleported away, and the Arkovans were taken and ordered to be placed under scientific observation. It was then that a soldier reported the large mass of lure in the nearby chamber. Ressa received order to take it into military custody. However, as she did, she felt a strange, foreboding feeling come over her…