To Smite A Balseraph

* Space. There's a lot of it. And if you're stuck on a corporate long-range freighter, making the bi-weekly rounds between Citidas Station and Rhadymanthys, it's also BORING. 'The Final Frontier' my ass... *cough* Anyway. It happens to be July 25, 2071 in the space between Saturn and Jupiter, and the TriOp ship in question is making good time thanks to its overly-qualified pilots.

{Pilot} (broadcast) This is your pilot speaking... if you look to your left, you'll see absolutely nothing at all... if you look to your right, you'll see even more nothing, as well as the absence of several herds of cattle. Please extinguish anything that may be bringing to you the slightest degree of joy and abandon all hope ye who pass this way. We're gliding at 'damn, that's high' and all lights are green except for the ones they never taught me to read in flight school. That is all. Have a pleasant trip.

{Gerald} {called out} *Thank* you....

* Brian snickers faintly.

* Gerald idly reads one of the interminable propog--er, *information* TriOp pamplets lying around everywhere. He suspects they breed in dark corners.

* An annoyed snort issues from the secured cabin where Arbaham Nelson (Esquire! ESQUIRE, I tell you!) idly sits, arms crossed in front of him as he sits on his bunk.

* Brian works on cleaning his sidearm. Not that it really needs it, but it's something to do, certainly.

{Gerald} {absently} Some of the slides always benefit from the use of a small wire brush.

{Brian} {likewise} I've noticed this, yes. Keeps the number of jams to a minimum.

{Gerald} Ditto oiling. Good God, is all the reading material on this ship either this dreck or "Better Hydroponic Food Algae?"

{Brian} Well of course. After all, why would a true Tri-Op employee want to read anything else?

{Gerald} Ohhh yes. But why the hydroponic algae?

{Brian} That one I'm not sure about, but there's probably some hideously obscure reason.

{Gerald} It's not even the good kind. Where's the kelp?

{Nelson} *dryly* Oh, I'm -certain- that if you looked hard enough around this antiquated relic, you could find something more appropriate...

## INServ rolled 3d6 = 15 (4 6 5).

* Brian arches an eyebrow in Nelson's general direction.

{Gerald} . o O (Image: Balseraph Sashimi)

-} *R-Type* Nevermind, he blew it. With his 1 dissoance, he JUST missed it. :)

-} *{^}* Nevermind, he blew it. With his 1 dissoance, he JUST missed it. :)

*R-Type* heh

*R-Type* [["Can we KILL him now?"]]

*{^}* [Giri] Ah. trying to resonate us out of the way?

-} *{^}* to hopefulyl get you under his sway to get out of the way, yes. Of coruse.. yuo coudl always play along... ;)

{Brian} I doubt that very much.

*{^}* [Giri] I don't know that he's trying to resonate me, mind.

{Nelson} A pity all my reports were confiscated by my associates... I could have provided them to you to read.

*{^}* [Giri] If we've had to put up with him this long, I probably *will* be willing to kill him about now.

{Gerald} I'm sure they'd have been very informative....

* Brian eyerolls a bit and finishes cleaning his gun.

-} *++* Hey. There seems to be a mild flux in one of the starboard ion drive ports.

* The pilot frowns, beginning to work at his controls...

*++* Any way for him to clear it up?

* Gerald glances over at Brian a second, giving him a speculative glance.

*{^}* and what's happening with Frob's pilot?

-} *++* Huh. It just vanished. Must've been a glitch. Now a door lock seems to be indicating it isn't....

{Brian} I tend to stay away from explosive documentation unless it's an ordnance manual.

*++* Any security on board he can contact?

-} *++* Why, yes! Brian and Gerald... :)

* The pilot pages an intership communication to Bri and Ger. "Ah, hey, burly boys... we've got a possible sitch going on and I don't want to alarm the general crew... mind checking out door 2.0.1? Thanks in advance."

{Gerald} {called} Will do. Thanks.

{Brian} {called} We're on it.

* Gerald glances over at Brian. "Let's go."

{Brian} Right. *gets up and leads the way to 2.0.1*

* Gerald follows, glancing around him.

* Door 2.0.1 is about midships, leading to one of the cargo holds.

* Gerald glances in, if possible.

* The door... it is rather securly locked. Both electrically and pysically.

-} *++* Hey, the door is locked again. They must've secured it.

* Brian hrms, and gets out his security keycard.

* Gerald waits, glancing around as Brian does so, his eyes flicking around in a practiced gesture.

-} *R-Type* You gonna unlock the door?

* Brian swipes the card to unlock the door.

*R-Type* Thought I just did. *wl*

* The door unlocks, and opens. Oooo. Cargo containers.

-} *++* The door is unlocked again (same door as before).

* Gerald *now* glances in, making sure there nobody about, thankoo.

* Brian pockets the card, and unclips his sidearm. Wouldn't do to be unprepared.

* Lots of happy cargo containers. All happily marked with the the TriOp corporate logo, with little sub-labels indicating contents. Looks like this cargo hold is carrying many happy pharmeceuticals made by the good employees of TriOp, if the chemical formulae names are any indication.

* Brian looks around for anything unusual, skewed or open crates, stuff out of place, locations for snipers to perch, etc.

-} *R-Type* roll for Tactics.

## R-Type rolled 3d6 = 10 (1 5 4).

* Gerald does likewise, sliding his own sidearm out.

## {^} rolled 3d6 = 10 (3 4 3).

-} *R-Type* You are ABSOLUTELY SURE that there isn't anybody in that room. Everything's nice and secure. Your tactical sense is telling you that there is nothing wrong in this room.

-} *{^}* Looks safe to you....

*R-Type* whee!

*} {^} nods!

{Gerald} {w} Don't see anything. You?

* Brian hrmmms, taking a long look around. *w* "No. Everything seems perfectly fine from this angle."

* Gerald nods. {w} "What's the situation he was talking about? Should I ask?"

{Brian} *w* Might be a good idea.

* Gerald nods, slips over to the door with a clear view of the room, and opens the comlink. {q} "Hello...this is Naismith. What was the situation in 2.0.1? We don't see anything."

* No answer. No answer at all, except for the cold hard response of silence! They don't pay me enough for this stuff.

-} *++* (Congrats, you've been taken hostage. ;)

* Brian glances back at the notable silence, eyebrow arched.

{Gerald} {w} Um. {arches eyebrow back at Brian}

{Brian} *w* Try one more time, and we head for the bridge if no answer.

* Gerald nods, already repeating the page.

-} *++* (you know, they -really- should've gotten back up to the room as soon as they noticed that, OH, the hold was -locked- when they got there....)

* The only response... is silence. Muahahahaha.... muauahahahaha... MUAHAHAHAHAAHA! Or maybe something's broken.

*++* Yup! Poor them...

{Gerald} {w} Nothing. Bridge, Brian. Something's very wrong.

{Brian} *w* Shit. Right, let's move.

* Gerald nods, striding out with Brian, getting the door closed behind them.

* Door 2.0.1 is nice and closed.

* Brian strides with suitable urgency toward the bridge.

* The route towards the bridge is nice and clear... and when you get their, the pilot officer is still doing his flying thing.

* The pilot glances up at their entrance, then resumes his work...

* Gerald blinks at the seemingly unimpeded pilot. "We couldn't get you. What was the problem in 2.0.1?"

{Pilot} Oh... ah, just a fault in the board. You know these old T-O ships...

{Gerald} That was...a pretty elaborate fault. {tries to get his eyes}

* Pilot glances down at his panel again, making sure they don't run into some hard vacuum or anything...

* Brian glances at Gerald, but says nothing so Gerald can do the eye-catching bit.

* Gerald glances over, now seeming seriously apprehensive.

-} *R-Type* Perception roll, please.

-} *R-Type* Perception roll, please.

* Brian has similar misgivings.

## R-Type rolled 3d6 = 13 (4 3 6).

*R-Type* two of them?

-} *R-Type* oop. meant that for Amy. *wg*

*R-Type* heh

-} *Gerald* Perception Roll, please.

## Gerald rolled 3d6 = 11 (2 4 5).

-} *R-Type* You notice nothing odd.

*R-Type* feh, did I blow it again? |P

-} *Gerald* ... was that a 'click'? You could have sworn you heard a click. That was definitely a 'click', behind the two of you, and hey, wasn't that guy with a sidearm before?

-} *R-Type* *blink* Oh. No, d'oh! My mistake.

*R-Type* ack!

-} *R-Type* Rear closet just became Ajar. Click of a trigger being pulled back. The Pilot officer doesn't have his sidearm anymore.....

* Gerald doesn't stiffen. But only because it's very, very long practice. His eyes flick over urgently to Brian.

-} *R-Type* (forgot you'd -upgraded- perception. D'oh. *wl*

*R-Type* aha. Should I do desc of surroundings and then act? *wl*

-} *R-Type* Yup. You and Giri have higher agility and therefore combat precidence to the Bal.

*R-Type* Right.

-} *R-Type* Unless we get to supernatural, in which case it becomes Giri, Aram, Ian.

*R-Type* We shall see, then. *swl*

* In the span of about half a second, Brian notices that 1) the pilot's sidearm is missing, 2) the closet door is slightly ajar, and 3) *click*... He promptly lunges out of the likely line of fire, pushing others aside if necessary/possible.

* Gerald dives as well, putting all his considerable agility and speed behind the effort.

* Pilot blinks. "No! Wait!"

## INServ rolled 3d6 = 6 (2 2 2).

*R-Type* Ah, a 2 2 2. God almost decided to check out the sitch. *wg*

* Nelson dives out of the closet as a pistol goes off, grazing Ian in the shoulder but not at all seriously wounding him. "DAMN you!" He then sprints down the hallway.

* Gerald snarls, handsome face going into a mask of rage, rolling to his feet with inhuman speed and blazing after Nelson, legs churning.

* Brian GAHs! as he gets tagged, then rolls and charges after Nelson as well, looking THOROUGHLY PISSED OFF now.

* Nelson sprints down the hallways of the ship, occasionally firing back, but he's more a scientist than an athelite. More than one shot ricochets nastily. There's a REASON why you're not suggested to fire inside a spaceship...

## INServ rolled 3d6 = 15 (6 4 5).

* Gerald dodges aroudn firing as best as he can. {w} "Idiot serpent..."

-} *R-Type* roll to shoot (precusion + RW -- target 9 or lower)

-} *Gerald* roll to shoot (precision + RW -- target 9+ whatever your pistol sill is. *wg* )

##} R-Type rolled 3d6 = 7 (3 1 3).

*Gerald* He was dodging around Aram's shots. {wg}

* Brian also dodges, and aims his weapon.

* Gerald gets out of the way of friendly fire, getting his own gun out, trying for a hamstring.

## Gerald rolled 3d6 = 6 (1 2 3).

-} *Gerald* = Ah. :)

*Gerald* NOW he fired. And got a 3 on it even without RW bonus.

* Nelson curses, as Brian and Gerald get both good shots on him, taking him high in the shoulder. He drops his gun and rolls...

* Gerald tries to get him taken down, depending on how much distance there is between himself and the Balseraph.

* Physical takedown, that is. [Gerald]

* Brian is ready to body-check the snake if Gerald can't manage it. He also tries to snatch up that dropped gun if there's a chance.

## INServ rolled 3d6 = 14 (6 6 2).

* There is a Ripple of Essance, and then Nelson starts cursing in helltounge.

* Gerald twitches as it hits his ears, but keeps closing the distance.

* Brian also twitches, and gets ready to pin the bastard to the floor with his knee.

* Nelson is also tackled. He isn't that strong, compared to the two of you...

-} *R-Type* Percetion roll

-} *Gerald* Perception roll

## R-Type rolled 3d6 = 6 (1 3 2).

## Gerald rolled 3d6 = 8 (1 2 5).

{Brian} *snarled* I am REALLY getting TIRED of you.

## INServ rolled 3d6 = 12 (2 5 5).

* Gerald makes a face, but stays quiet, trying to keep the Serpent subdued.

* ... and then, as if mockingly, the symphony -squeals- as Nelson's corporeal flesh unravels like smoke, revealing the six-leather-winged form of a Balseraph, scales glittering like oil slicks, wings scored with circuit traces. "FOOLS!" he exclaims, darting through the wall and ceiling.

* Gerald spits a curse, taking celestial form after him, wings bladed.

* Brian curses as well and also vesseldrops, pursuing.

* Gerald's wings blur as he pours every amount of his monster Perception into catching the Bal before he can Descend, a rapier snapping into his hand.

* The symphony continues to chime as the two angels join in pursuit. Odlly, the balseraph doesn't appear to be trying to -descend-, but is vectoring towards the back of the ship, towards the massive ion thrusters that propell it...

* ... but, even as his leathery wings beat against the vacuum of space, the two angels catch up to him about halfway...

{Gerald} Dammit! Catch him! {his wings sear the void as he goes into a raptorlike powerdive, face a mask of nigh-Malakite fury}

* Gerald *slashes* with the relic rapier, trying to shred wings and bite into scales.

## INServ rolled 3d6 = 8 (6 1 1).

* Ian puts all his power into the pursuit, leaving a cascade of purple sparkles in his wake, a broadsword appearing in his celestial hands.

* There's another ripple of essence use from the Balseraph, but no visible effect, as Gerald gets up close and personal with the serpent and slices one of his wings.

* Gerald tries to slice again and remove a wing, crippling the demon, feeling the clock tick all this time...

## INServ rolled 3d6 = 13 (1 6 6).

* Ian slashes hard, going for a body hit or, better yet, a nice cut across the neck.

* Aram's tail LASHES outwards, slamming the Bright Lilim in the stomach. "You will find yourself bound to the doctor's experiment tab---ARRGH!" His rant is cut off as a nice section of scales is sliced off.

-} *Gerald* = that was a POWERFUL hit. You've been slightly 'winded', celestailly.

* Gerald grunts in pain as he feels ribs give, being slapped back several yards, and needing precious seconds to recover. [Gerald]

* Ian closes in, trying to get his hands around Aram's neck.

*R-Type* (Generator work in celform? I forget. *wl*)

-} *R-Type* Don't think so, sadly. You've got Claws, tho, and 10 essence to spend.

*R-Type* Right, claws should do nicely... provided they'll come out. *vvswl*

* Aram snarls and writhes, his wings beating against Ian's own. "The doctor take you to the soul forges, blackwing!"

-} *R-Type* Hey, can always spend extra essence to boost the target #....

*R-Type* True. *wl*

* Gerald meanwhile does the celestial equalivient of wheezing to get his wind back, angrily realizing he's not yet recovered and afraid of that.

-} *R-Type* (roll, and tell me how much essence you're spending over the 1 essence cost.)

* Ian snarls back, roundly unimpressed, and funneling a couple points of essence into bringing forth his claws. "I don't *think* so, Liar!"

*R-Type* 2 Essence being spent

## R-Type rolled 3d6 = 12 (6 4 2).

*R-Type* fsck, don't tell me i missed the goddamn thing again...

-} *R-Type* ... hell with it. Say you spent 4 to get it up there, and JUST made it.

-} *R-Type* Dramatic necessity. ;)

*R-Type* *Thank* you.

* The symphony ripples once again, and Ian's celestial fingernails become celestial claws, digging into the Balseraph's 'neck.'

* Aram -SCREAMS-, and tries to turn and writhe out of Ian's grip...

{Ian} Tell your delusional boss the *REAL* angels around here say 'hi'. *squeezes harder*

{Ian} . o O (if you live, that is)

* Gerald finally recovers enough to dive in for another attack, saying to Hell with just crippling the sumbitch and going for a full impalement with the blade, his pale eyes nearly white with hate.

* Aram laughs, but it's a cruel parody of Seraphic laughter -- well, it'd be a laugh if he didn't have a Malakite digging into him. "Fools! FOOLS! You know not what awaits --- ARTRGHHH!" He screams again, and slams his wings about once more as he gets impaled....

## INServ rolled 3d6 = 10 (2 3 5).

* Gerald snarls, lips peeling back, digging in harder with the blade, twisting.

* Aram manages to beat himself away from Ian and Giri, his wings breifly tagging the two of them, but he's clearly seeing better days...

* Ian is buffeted but just as quickly pursues again, ready to do some serious damage with those destructive hands of his.

* Gerald swears virulently as his blade is yanked out of his hands, and dives in again, attempting to get his hands around it.

* Aram mockingling laughs, pulling Giri's sword out of himself, handling it with one wing to try and parry Ian's claws.

* ... sadly (for the balseraph), he's not that GOOD with it.

* Gerald *curses,* spitting about his blade being sullied by the touch of a Serpent, and reaches into ScabbardSpace again, pulling out two relic shuriken...

* Ian moves to duck under the parry and stab or slash again.

-} *Gerald* Gimme a per roll.

## Gerald rolled 3d6 = 12 (2 4 6).

-} *R-Type* Gimme a per roll.

## R-Type rolled 3d6 = 13 (5 4 4).

*Gerald* Made it!

* Aram SCREAMS again as the two relic shiruken take out two sets of eyes. And Ian's claws dig in, ripping one leathery wing nastily into nonfunctionalness....

* Gerald dives in while the snake is distracted, aiming on wrenching his rapier out of the thing's claws.

* Ian wastes no time and goes for more slashes at the same time.

-} *R-Type* = I'll say you spent a little more essence, though you're now getting on the low end... 'bout 3-4 at the most. wl*

*R-Type* So basically, many long days being nice and quiet. *swl*

* Gerald gets his rapier. Ian makes more tags. The Balseraph starts flailing about desperately, as a Force unravels from his being... and another...

* Gerald hisses, aiming his blade above the thing's head if he can at all manage, and drives it *DOWN*.

{Ian} *unkind whisper* Die, Liar.

* Aram begs and pleads and howls and curses and then finally SHRIEKS as Giri's bade slams through its celestial skull... and with a last ripple of disturbance, the Balseraph unravels, its Forces scattering to the 'winds', leaving naught but even scales, leather, or ash.

* Gerald grabs the rapier back, making hoarse, ragged 'breaths', arm going up to cradle his ribs. {flatly} "Mission accomplished."

* Ian is silent for a moment as the ripples subside. *q* "Indeed. By all the Archangels, that felt good." *pause* "Are you all right?"

{Gerald} {q} He got me hard across the gut and ribs. That hurt. We need to reassume vessel.

* Ripples in the symphony continue to spread and die down as the combat completes, leaving just the steady tone of two angels in Celestial form... who are rather far from the ship that's now more just a speck almost in the distance....

{Gerald} {q} Dammit. We're running out of space and time to do that.

{Ian} *q* Indeed. Shoulder wound on my vessel... and we'd better move before we lose track of the ship.

{Ian} Let's move, then.

* Gerald nods, unfurling wings and taking off after the ship, the aura shimmering in the light of the distant sun, making sure Ian is with him.

* Ian is indeed with him, his wings catching the light and cascading purple sparkles in his wake as he streaks after the ship.

* Gerald beats wings rapidly, still feeling the internal counter wind down its last minutes before he is either forced to resume Vessel or end up at his Heart.

* Ian can feel it as well and puts all effort into getting back to the safety of the ship.

* Fortunately, the two angels are sufficently celestial badasses to easily catch up, though Ian lags behind a bit... they have JUST enough time to make it to the back area of the ship, near the engines.

* Gerald tries to ensure he's in a place with air, and then reassumes vessel, wincing slightly.

* Ian also reassumes vessel in the same area, wincing more and leaning against a wall as his shoulder reminds him about the recent insult.

* The two angels reassume their corporeal forms. There is air.

* Gerald looks at his now-corporeal rapier, holding it by the ends of his fingers as though it was dirty. Which to him, in a sense, it is. {m} "I need to wash this thing, I swear."

* Gerald then glances over to Ian. "How bad, and you need first aid?"

{Ian, now Brian again} nngh... probably a good idea. That cost me a great deal of Essence.

* Gerald nods, reluctantly Scabbarding his blade, before grabbing some sterile bandages and disinfectant from the same place, beginning to tend to the Malakite's shoulder. {q} "But it worked. He's soulkilled now."

* Brian nods. *q* "The Boss should be satisfied with that development."

{Gerald} {q} As will Kafziel. And the Lord Commander.

{Gerald} {q} We need to check the engines though. Why was he heading back there instead of descending?

{Brian} *q* Of course the party is far from over. There are several more to be expunged. And indeed, that's a good question, and we probably won't like the answer.

{Gerald} {q} Aye. {nods} Any better now?

{Brian} *testing his arm a bit, q* "I'll manage."

* Gerald nods. {q} "Heh. My ribs still hurt and my vessel wasn't the one damaged."

{Brian} *hehs faintly, q* "In that case I suggest we both get some rest as soon as the opportunity arises."

{Gerald} {q} Indeed. And report. And figure out a cover for what happened.

{Brian} *q* Aye. That may require some creativity.

{Gerald} {q} The idiot spaced himself. Naturally.

{Brian} *baps forehead* Ah, of course.

{Gerald} {q} Well, he tried futilely to escape or hijack the shuttle, then realizing he couldn't do so, decided he couldn't handle the sully to his name and committed suicide.

* Gerald looks very wry. {q} "Convenient I'm not a *real* Seraph, eh?"

{Brian} *q* "Very much so." *small smile* "I think my comrade would let that slide, though."

{Gerald} {q} True. {small wry smile} As long as nobody asks her...

{Brian} *q* She's adept at getting others to speak on her behalf. *wl*

{Gerald} {q} Wise Most Holy.

* Brian nods. "In any event, we'd best have a look at the engines, and see about getting this all settled."

* Gerald nods. "Shall I give you some Essence?"

{Brian} Considering how much I threw around, it would be very kind. *wl*

* Gerald nods, holding out his hand. "How many do you need? I have some to spare."

* Brian considers, then extends his hand. "Four or five if you can spare that much."

* Gerald ponders his reserves. "I believe I have ten." {takes hold and transfers five Essence}

* Brian sighs, looking a bit relieved. "My thanks. I seem to be relying on that to counter my horrid bad luck of late." *wl*

* Gerald smiles wryly. "It happens. Either You Know Who does not like this, or another Force is in order someday. But you did very well out there."

{Brian} As did you, and the help was much appreciated.

* Gerald nods. "What is first? I would like for one of us to take celestial and examine the rear of the ship, and we also badly need to edit logs as well."

{Brian} I'm willing to look over the ship; I've probably got the most technical knowledge of anyone here.

{Gerald} Right. And I'm a bit...bruised right now. {wry smile} Unfortunately, I do not think I have the knowledge to edit the logs, so that is secondary priority. Suppose I wait here, you inspect and come back after?

{Ian} Fair enough.

* Gerald nods.

{Gerald} Ready when you are.

{Brian} Right.

*R-Type* How close are they to the engines right now? Or does it really matter?

* Gerald steps back a bit.

*R-Type* agh, bio

-} *R-Type* They're in the back, near the engine sections. He could prolly investigate 'em without going celestial, since clearly Aram couldn't have gone to vessel on the OUTSIDE...

*R-Type* {return} *nod*

* Brian closes his eyes for a moment, then hrms and, rather than going celestial, starts walking back toward the engines. *q* "Now that I think of it, what would he have been able to accomplish outside?"

{Gerald} {q} You....raise a very interesting point, come to think of that. He couldn't have touched it in celestial form.

* Gerald follows, looking bemused.

{Brian} *q* We can always do that later if an inside look isn't informative. *wl*

* The engine section, thanks to Brian and Gerald's keycards, is easily accessable. Things don't look -that- out of place... if you've ever been in a spaceship engine room.

{Gerald} {q} Indeed. {pause} Come to think of it....he had probably been planning on moving back to the engine rooms, going corporeal again, and sabotaging the engines somehow.

{Brian} *q* That could very well be. *he begins looking around; of course he's not sure what he should be looking for, so he scans his surroundings carefully, looking for anything odd, listening for unusual sounds, etc. etc.*

{Gerald} {q} Yes. He was amazingly deluded, even for a Balseraph.

{Brian} *q* Which made him that much more dangerous.

* Gerald has even less idea of what to look for, given his background is mostly killing things and not machinery, but gives it the old college try. {q} "Yes. I could have seen him easily stalling this ship, never mind he could be stalled with it."

{Brian} If he didn't Descend right after the fact, anyway.

{Gerald} True. 'He was a Balseraph, this makes him automatically crazy.' I should remember this.

* Brian hehs.

* Gerald keeps inspecting the area, drifting over to the portion of the engines Aram had been heading for. "You'd think, being Hellborn, I'd have remembered that."

{Brian} Sometimes you miss the details looking at the big picture. *wg*

* Nothing seems particularly out of place, mechnically. Though, hmm... a few tweaks near this one console, if triggered via by computer, could have led to something nasty...

{Brian} hm? *takes a closer look*

* Gerald blinks at this, chewing his lip. "Your call, Virtue. I don't know enough to know the specifics but it does look odd."

* Further investigation reveals that, if triggered at the right time, a nice little cascade faliure could have been started... overriding safety interlocks... and then from there, it would've been a short few steps until the engines (and the ship) would have gone nicely supercritical.

* Just another way that Tri-Op makes your day a bright, sunny one.

* Fortunately, our friendly Virtue of Lightning can nicely work to -de-program that little nasty bug in the system.

{Brian} *q* This could have been very, very annoying. Pardon me while I remove something from the reactor's OS.

{Gerald} {q} What was it?

{Brian} *q, making adjustments* A nice little Trojan that, executed in this particular computer, would have caused a control cascade failure, overridden the safety interlocks, and produced a very very large chain reaction in the reactor core.

* Gerald pauses, and goes white. "Brian, I'm a Servitor of the Sword, yes? Pardon me while I use some foul language."

* Gerald does impressively so.

* Brian makes no comment one way or the other, merely continues debugging the reactor's computer.

* Gerald finishes cursing. "There, I feel much better now."

* Eventually, the reactor is nice and happily sqeaky clean. Just call Brian the digital orkin man. (clearly, his long late-night association with Tina has paid off in more than one fasion...)

{Brian} *sighs heavily* There, that should help prevent everyone's day from being ruined in a spectacular fashion. *wl*

{Gerald} Good. Now we need to cover our own rears lest our Roles be besmirched too.

{Brian} Right. Idiot wounded me and tried to hijack or sabotage the ship, and spaced himself rather than be taken in when that didn't work.

{Brian} Which, in a way, is largely True. *wl*

* Gerald smiles, unnicely. "Taking on us *was*, essentially, committing suicide."

{Brian} Which he was clearly too delusional to realize. *equally unnice smile*

{Gerald} Of course. {tight smile} But we need to edit any logs of the pursuit and us going celestial. I wish we had one of your Domination companions with us.

{Brian} They would be useful right about now, yes. I suppose we'll have to make do in the meantime.

* Gerald nods. {wry smile} "Again, doing that would not be one of my fortes."

* Brian hehs a bit. "I'll see what I can accomplish, then." *wl*

{Gerald} Sorry about that.

{Brian} No need to apologize. Swordplay is what you do best.

{Gerald} Thank you. {small smile, slight bow}

* Brian bows back. "At any rate, I suppose I should begin the CYA operations." *wl*

{Gerald} This is always a good and noble thing. Then we'd have to do some more covering our bums to the pilots.

{Brian} Right. One step at a time, then. *wg*

{Gerald} Iiiindeed.

* Brian hehs a bit, and heads in the proper direction for doing the thing of editing of any 'questionable' documentation.

* Gerald follows, keeping watch.

* And probably it works!

{Gerald} {q} Done yet?

{Brian} *q* Just about. The logs show the start of the confrontation, although the later bits are absent for some reason, perhaps a bad camera. Computers -do- show unauthorized use of Airlock Two at the appropriate time. *wl*

{Gerald} {q} Ahah. {wry smile} Hopefully that will work.

{Brian} If this minimizes Tri-Op's embarrassment, they'll make it work. *wl*

{Gerald} {q} True indeed. We need to quiz the pilot now.

{Brian} *q* Right. Wouldn't do to have confusing stories floating around.

{Gerald} {q} Right. Ready if you are. {heads for the bridge}

* Brian nods and follows Gerald.

* Pilot is working on the bridge, seeming as though nothing strange has happened. he glances up at them...

* Gerald smiles tiredly. "Hey there. Things went to hell and back."

* Gerald also resonates if he can make eye contact.

{Pilot} Is he... the man you were chasing... is he all right? *he looks Gerald in the eye, this time...*

## Gerald rolled 3d6 = 9 (1 3 5).

* Gerald sighs. "No. He tried to sabotage the engines, and when that failed....he spaced himself."

* Brian doesn't say anything for the moment, letting Gerald do the talking.

* Pilot looks stricken. "*q* I lost a man on my watch?"

* Gerald closes his eyes. {q} "We did as well. This will not look good."

* Pilot lets out a slow sigh. "Who was he working for... did he say? He was... such a *nice* person."

* Gerald glances over at Brian, questioning. "I thought he was a TriOp employee....what did he do up here?"

{Pilot} He just went in there and told me to keep working... *he sounds as though that was the most normal thing in the world*

{Gerald} {q} And he asked for your weapon?

{Pilot} Well yes...

{Brian} Was one of the researchers for the gravity project on Citidas... then again, he could have been working for anyone.

{Gerald} Very likely, yes.

* Pilot looks between them. "Was an a corp spy?"

{Brian} That or a terrorist. He seemed to enjoy blowing things up. Accidentally of course.

* Pilot groans, leaning back in his chair...

{Gerald} He could have been. The fact he committed suicide rather than letting us take him...

{Pilot} This is going to look terrible on my record...

{Gerald} It's not your fault. He was holding you hostage. If anybody should take the blame, it's Mr. Sheurs and I. {small wry smile}

{Pilot} But... I mean, he seemed so *nice*...

{Gerald} {gently} I know. But sometimes the worst kind of people can seem to be the most harmless.

{Pilot} And... I just gave him my gun... I'm *so* done for.

* Gerald glances, rather helplessly over to Brian. "We'll vouch for you, ah, what's your name?"

{Pilot} Clem. Clem Samuels...

{Gerald} Right, Clem... Gerald Naismith here. I'll do my best to defend you when we reach Rhad, and explain the situation. Scheurs and I both know what we saw, and honestly, I don't think it was your fault at all for what happened. I will state this *repeatedly* until they get the clue. {wry smile}

* Clem nods, looking only 2% more relieved...

{Gerald} You're fairly new at this, I take?

{Brian} We'll be the ones in the hotseat, Samuels. Not you. We'll make sure of that.

* Clem swallows, nodding. "well, thanks..."

{Gerald} You're welcome. {small wry salute} Do you know how long it is before we reach Rhad?

* Clem checks his instrumentation. "A while still... so you'd better make yourselves comfortable."

{Gerald} Will do. {small smile} Scheurs got wounded, so he could use it.

{Clem} How... badly?

{Gerald} . o O (Never mind my own soul is *still* aching...)

* Gerald glances over to Brian.

{Gerald} Well, he's upright and in no danger. I think all he got was a glancing hit on the shoulder.

{Clem} Make sure you use the medical facilities...

{Brian} Nothing a few days of rest can't fix, but yeah, I will.

{Gerald} Right.

{Clem} No need to play the hero...

{Brian} Can't help it, I like saving the universe from evil. *small grin*

* Gerald looks very wry. "I thought it was look stern, guard things, and have very good bladder control." His expression is deadpan.

* Clem looks between them in mild confuzzlement.

* Brian eyerolls. "Well I can dream, can't I?"

{Gerald} Dream on. {small wry smile}

* Gerald hehs. "Trying to cope, Clem."

{Clem} I've found drinking until I pass out helps there. Just not while on duty.

{Gerald} Point. You don't do it too often, I hope?

{Clem} Been through a messy divorce, so ask me again in a few months...

* Gerald winces. "My sympathies. I've altercations in the past. My mother refuses to have anything to do with me anymore."

{Clem} Ow, harsh world...

{Gerald} It is, sadly.

{Clem} well, I sure hope things work out for you... and if you'd excuse me, I've got a few critical course corrections ot make? Don't want to fly us into an asteroid or anything.

{Clem} . o O (I swore that off for Lent.)

{Brian} Point taken. *wg*

{Gerald} True. My apologies. Let us know if anything comes up.

{Clem} Out of nowhere in the middle of space? If something does, I'll call you from the lifepod. *he turns to the console to tickle the ivories*

{Gerald} Save one for us. {small smile, turns for the door} And more meant when we get near Jupiter.

* Clem nods, giving a thumbs up.

* Brian gives a thumbs up as well, grinning, and follows Gerald out.

* Gerald mutters once he's out of earshot. {m} "I hate it when people get damaged because of crap like that."

{Brian} *m* No kidding. If the snake wasn't already dead I'd kill him again.

{Gerald} {m} I concur. We'll have to think of a good way to save him from the brunt of this.

{Brian} *m* Maybe we can say he got hypnotized.

{Gerald} {m} True. After all, Nelson *exuded* charisma. All over the floor and on the walls. {snort}

{Brian} *m* Yes, we'll have to disinfect the entire ship.

* Gerald makes a face. "And my rapier. I'll probably end up having to reforge it just to not feel dirty handling it."

{Brian} Good idea. *wl*

* Gerald sighs. "Yes, but I liked it."

{Brian} Well, maybe you can just burn the impurities out of it somehow. *wl*

{Gerald} I'll see. {wry smile} Perhaps Kafziel will have suggestions.

* Brian nods.

* And so the ship travels on, into the eternal night.

* Cue Star Trek Theme!

In Nomine 2070