94. Everyone’s a Critic

Once Jenson is unfrozen, the gnome asks about any magical devices his people might have for transporting large or heavy items, flying carpet type things which they could load up with supplies form this strange world and take with them?

The doors into cargo bay six close and a red light comes on over them. Gordon tries the door again and although it opens, it only does so for two or three seconds.
Jenson, who is just beginning to recover from his paralysis hears the door say that, ‘The room beyond is hazardous to life and is being sealed off so the atmosphere can be vented to extinguish the fire inside. This door can now only be opened from the inside or by security and fire control personnel.’
Jenson says he saw two grav-sleds over in the south east corner of the cargo hold. They’re just 2m long by 1m wide by 10cm high slabs of battered looking steel with two tall handles at one end.

Jenson points to the sled, “I can use one of those to carry the cells” looks to the group, “By what you described when the power cell was placed into the alcove and turned red, it is not charged and I hope is recharging now, though I am not sure how long it will take to charge.” Jenson opens the door to get one of the sleds “We best keep an eye out for any other security boots and next time, if we see any robots we should steer clear of them.”

As soon as Jenson re-enters the room the door shuts behind him. The room is hot with burning material falling from the ceiling, which is shrouded in black smoke. There is a roaring sound coming from the doors to the south and after a few moments in the room Jenson feels his ears pop.

Realizing he just re-entered the cargo hold that is ablaze and about to be void of air, to put out the fire, Jenson turns around and gets out of the room, forcing the doors open if needed then forcing them shut behind him to reseal the room.

The doors open as soon as Jenson presses the button but close right behind him, staying open for only a couple of seconds.

Once Jenson regains his composure and breath he says “Do not go into that cargo bay, gads what was I thinking!! We will have to wait until the bay is habitable again.” Sighs and stops anyone from going to the door “There is or will be no air in there soon, when the red light” points to the red light above the door “goes green, we can go back in.”
He looks to the group “Worst case, if we can find the fire fighters gear, we could try to go back in but um.” Shrugging his shoulders, “I’ll explain later about the fire fighters gear, but now, we should look for another cargo bay with power cells and a way to avoid the lift and security robots or even look for the fire fighter gear or go back to LG for further assistance, um help.”

Gildor calms himself waiting for the paralysis to wear off. Once he regains movement he gets up and assists where needed, saying,”We probably need to get moving and get those power cells back to the chutes. We can clear this area before we actually take them up though.”

Gildor once No longer paralysed says,”We need the power cells in there. If we have time we need to get them. If not yes let’s check another cargo bay but avoid any more security or cargo metal beasts.”

The party have to wait 5 minutes for the effects of the paralysis gun to wear-off on Cynan and Kradorn but it takes almost another 20 minutes for Kalam to come out of his deep sleep.
The party set off west, first checking the blank door in the south wall, to discover a narrow room filled with cleaning products.
Then the corridor comes to a junction, to the right it heads north, where they can see double doors, then turns west again, while to the left it doubles back and looks to head up a ramp. Turning right they come to the set of ‘black’ double doors. The main corridor continues west then turns north, up another ramp.
The party ready themselves and open the doors. They reveal a set of shallow steps leading up to a wide, high ceilinged room with a thick, tattered crimson curtain running east to west across the room. There is obviously a large room beyond the curtain but its difficult to see any details. The whole place is dirty and grim, the ceiling lost in darkness but ropes and pulleys can be seen amid the shadows.

Jenson stood there a moment looking at the large room, “Hey, this could be a loading bay or something where they move a bunch of heavy material about or even part of the engine room with all those pulley’s?” Best to move carefully and just peek beyond the curtain just in case there are more robots not willing to listen to the tablet. As I think we should try not to destroy any more then we have to.”

Gildor says, “While we try to help LG here, we seem to cause our share of problems. We’re just trying to find the stuff to get us back home. We’ve got some time, so let’s go slow and be careful. This floating ship may just be doomed, if it has too much damage to stay afloat.”
“Saphiria come along dear.”
Gildor takes a more stealthy posture and movements when he can benefit from doing so as they continue searching.

Jenson motions to the group he will go right and quietly moves to the right hand side of the curtain as quietly and carefully as he can and listens before peeking around the right hand edge curtain.

“Bit of bloomin strange thing to ‘av in a loadin’ bay if y’ask me,” comments Gordon nodding towards the large red curtain. “You go take a look young Jenson, I’ll stand ready wi mi axe just in case.” The gnome gets his axe and shield ready and follows the human over to the corner of the curtain, ready for any sudden change in the calm situation.

Gildor gets into stealth mode and follows Jenson whispering, “Let’s not take too long though my new friend.”

Jenson nervously stiffens at Gordons loud comment then looks back, shaking his head in agreement to Gildor, then turns, almost tripping over a stray piece of rope. Pauses to steady himself then moves to the end of the curtain, stops, listens best he can, looks back to Gildor and Gordon (if he heard anything does the sh sign – finger to the lips else shrugs) and calmly does his best “peak a boo” around the curtain trying not to touch it or move it as little as possible. He will not completely walk around the curtain. Only expose as little of his body to the other side as he looks.

Jenson gets within a couple of metres of the far end of the curtain when something drops from the darkness above. It is about 2m long and pointed and strikes him, leaving a tear in his armour and a gash down his back. It thumps into the deck and rolls away into the darkness. Another smaller object, 40cm long, strikes him a second later but causes no apparent injury, just causing him to stagger back, towards the corner of the room. Something whips under the curtain where Jenson was stood, a long thin tentacle of some kind, missing his foot by centimetres.
As everyone draws weapons and looks anxiously up into the darkness, the curtain is drawn aside by one tentacle, while three more lash out at the party. Gildor and Saphiria dodge the 3cm thick tendrils but Jenson is hit and tangled in its sticky embrace.
Before him, no more than 3m away, stands a 3m high, 1m thick cone of grey, pulsating flesh, with a huge tooth-filled mouth in its middle and above that, a single hungry eye. Jenson tries to struggle but he feels his strength ebbing away moment by moment and is drawn closer to the horrifying creature.
The rest of the party charge in to help and Gildor spots the smaller of the things that fell from the ceiling and stuck Jenson, crawling slowly away, towards the wall. It looks like a small stalactite but with short tendrils projecting from its side and a single frightened eye looking back at Gildor.

Cursing like a sailor, Jenson tries to struggle against the tentacle, leaning back away from its pull, trying to delay the inevitable as his strength fails him.

Gordon casts Summon swarm and attacks the big eye thing with the swarm whilst trying to stay out of the reach of the tentacles.

Gildor uses his Laser Carbine and fires at the blob that has the tentacle attached to Jenson, “Be careful there are little ones too in the ceiling. Not sure how many there are.” Gildor keeps his buckler overhead as he works to help Jenson. “Saphiria stay back my dear.”

Talo, Kradorn and Cynan all scramble under the heavy curtain, some more dexterously than others, to get a better shot at the monster latched onto Jenson. Something lands heavily by Talo as he stands and Cynan dodges another piercer, which thunks into what appears to be the stage they are standing on. The hall beyond is huge, more than 30m wide and twice that long. A set of wide steps descends from the stage and the hall is filled with rows of luxurious, if rather tattered leather seats, dotted with fungi of various types and sizes.
To their dismay, there are two of the large creatures, another lies 3m further along the wall by an open doorway. With a liquid snap, a long, thin tentacle snaps out at Cynan and wraps around his left arm and torso. Another quickly follows, hitting and ensnaring Talo whilst the dwarf is in the middle of casting his Spiritual Axe spell.
Kradorn levels his laser and shoots, hitting the closest roper with a tentacle around Jenson, the thin beam leaves a smouldering line but does no real damage. A third tentacle pops out of the second roper at Kradorn, who dodges it easily. Cynan joins in the barrage hitting and wounding the first, followed by Kradorn, whose laser still can’t damage the monster’s tough hide. Kradorn shakes his head, then dives for cover as a tentacle whips past his feet.
On the other side of the curtain, Gordon casts his Summon Swarm spell whilst Gildor burns the roper with his laser carbine. With a spurt, a tentacle shoots and hits the gnome, Gildor tries to turn the laser on the tentacle but misses, something in the dark causing him to trip and almost fall. Jenson leans against the tentacle’s grip and to his surprise it unwinds around his thin, silvery chainmail and he is free. His relief is short-lived, as he sees Gildor hit by another tentacle. The mage-in-waiting pulls out his blaster and takes aim.
Gildor doesn’t try to resist the pull of the tentacle but shoots back along its length, hitting and wounding the roper twice. Jenson’s two shots are somewhat less accurate and all he does is manage to blow a couple of holes in the wall next to the monster. Little black shapes begin scuttling out from under the seats in the hall, clamber up onto the stage and converge on the roper. Cynan utters some oath amid the chaos and hits the roper straight in the eye with his blaster, the 30cm sphere explodes and the creature topples, twitches and lays still.

Everyone concentrates their fire on the other roper. Kradorn, despite playing the laser over its torso in a series of hits, does it no real damage. Jenson moves to the edge of the stage and shoots down at the large monster, hitting it three times and leaving a couple of burnt and bloody wounds.
While Talo and Gordon recast their spells, the remaining roper hauls in Cynan and Talo. Cynan falls from the stage and drops his blaster, which bounces under the seats. Talo just manges to stay upright and summons his holy axe above the creature.
Gildor shoots as straight as he can but only manages to hit the thing once and does little damage.
The roper pops two more tentacles at Kradorn and Jenson and ensnares them both.
Gordon’s swarm of insects flows from the dead roper to the living one, the tiny assassins nipping, biting and stinging.

Cynan is jerked to the roper and bitten in one swift move, the creature’s terrible jaws tearing and puncturing the paladin’s already damaged armour. Kradorn, Jenson and Gildor all shoot, trying to kill the thing before it can do more damage but they miss and the thing takes another bite at Cynan.
Talo’s axe strikes true but seems to have no effect on the roper.
Cynan tries to draw and swing his sword at close range but roper is too close and it bites him again, blood gushing onto the floor around the stricken paladin.
Kradorn slices through the tentacle holding him as does Gildor but Jenson misses.
Cynan slumps and his sword clatters next to him.

Talo tries again but the magical axe sweeps through the roper without leaving a mark. The roper drags Cynan closer and delivers a final, decisive bite to the paladin. He drops to the floor gushing blood from his wounds and the roper turns its attention to another victim.
It jerks Talo off his feet and down towards its mouth, barrelling Gildor and Jenson out of the way in the process.
As it bites into the dwarf, Kradorn moves to a better position and burns the roper with his laser with varying success. Gildor tries to pull Talo away from the roper while Jenson blasts it but he is too weak. Its jaws sink into the priest’s neck and shoulder and strips off armour and flesh. Talo tumbles down next to Cynan, bleeding profusely.
Kradorn continues to burn the roper, even as he is hit and drawn to it. It bites him through a blizzard of lasers and blasters, jaws clamping on his left arm, piercing armour and flesh. Jenson and Gildor shoot again, Gildor hitting the weakening roper and Jenson hitting Kradorn. Kradorn reels from the hit and the roper uses that to bite his chest and ribs, teeth scraping and scratching against armour and bone. As it opens its jaws to take another bite Kradorn jams the laser in its mouth and the beam cuts a neat hole in its back. Jenson and Gildor shoot again but miss, trying to avoid hitting Kradorn.
The roper’s jaws close on Kradorn’s arm and the laser carbine but the bite is a weak one, barely penetrating Kradorn’s armour. He pulls the weapon out of its mouth and takes aim at the things eye only to have it topple back with a crash, insects pouring out of its mouth and its various wounds.

Weakened but still standing, Jenson unwraps himself from the dead Ropers tentacle, takes note where Cynan’s dropped blaster bounced under the seats as he moves off the stage to Cynan and Talo yelling “keep an eye out for any more of those things that dropped”, doing the same as he moves.
He then points to Gildor and Kradorn, who are closest to Talo and Cynan. “Healing sprays, the cans marked with first aid on them, who has them? Get them out and help me spray them on the wounds, we have to stop the bleeding.”

As he gets to Talo and Cynan, if given a healing spray or told where to look on either Talo and Cynan body for one, Jenson bends over Cynan or Talo, whomever anyone else is not trying to render first aid to and uses a healing spray.

As Cynan and Talo are getting first aid with healing sprays and bandages Jenson stands guard/cover.

Gordon will maintain his concentration with the Summon Swarm and try to have it engage any of the dropping creatures which still hang and threaten them or are returning to their perches.
Gordon catches one of the smaller piercers with his summon swarm and the creature dies under a heap of creepy crawlies. However the spell cannot move once cast and he abandons the idea of using it to hunt any more.

Kalam goes straight to the paladin and Talo, takes out of his backpack the healing spray and regeneration potions and gets ready to use them. He tried to use the healing spray first on both, hoping to stop the bleeding and then opened their mouths and made them down the liquid of the potions, whether still unconscious or not.

Kalam uses the healing spray on Cynan and Talo and while both improve (Cynan comes to a few seconds after the spray is applied) Talo continues to bleed out. Kalam administers the regeneration ampoule but it doesn’t look like the medicine will work fast enough to save the dwarf.

Kalam looked around and spoke hurriedly: “Does anybody else still standing have more healing spray for Talo? Mine wasn’t enough for both him and Cynan and he is still bleeding, quickly!”

Jenson seeing Talo sis till bleeding out, goes through Talo’s gear looking for any healing sprays, bandages and such – “Talo is a healer, he has to have more healing spray’s plus bandages to stop the bleeding” And administers more healing spray and starts to bandage his worst wounds best he can, apply tourniquet if need with a belt or part of a rope near by “I need some rope, or a belt or long pieces of cloth to help stop his bleeding, he cannot die”

Gildor tosses the the sprays and protects them from falling roper thingies. Buckler raised above his head. “We should back out of here with the wounded and go back up to let them heal.”
Gildor says,”Jenson, I tossed over 2 healing sprays. Make sure they get used on Talo, okay?”
Gildor keeps watch at the ready.

Jenson uses the healing spray on Talo again hoping to stop the bleeding. “Yup Gildor, I will use them all if I have to, Talo can’t die!”

Within moments the dwarf gives a groan and sits up. “I’m hungry.”

“hmm, so am I.” agrees Cynan and digs out a couple of the ration packs for him and Talo.

Once the situation calms down, and Talo and Cynan are taken care of, Jenson will help recover Cynan’s blaster – being careful avoiding any of the creatures still around. “I think Cynan’s blaster is over here, but be careful of the other creatures”

Jenson recovers Cynan’s blaster from under the seats with no problems, though he does see various things scuttling around in the semi-darkness.

“We have to get Talo and Cynan back to safety to recover but we also have to get a power cell, to get out of here.” he sighs, “First we should get those safe, then go back and find the cell.” says Jenson.

Gildor says,”Back out the way we came. All the way back to LG. No new areas just back-track.”

Cynan agrees but thinks that perhaps the party should wait until everyone is back to full strength before setting off again, the piercers only seem to hang about behind the curtain.

“After we’ve got the power cells we came for Gildor, not getting us bashed up like this, without getting what we came for.” offers up Gordon who would be happy to return to the relative safety of LG but would also like some shiny stuff to take as well.

Kalam stood guard after using the healing items, constantly checking for more intrusions from the piercer creatures or any others in their vicinity.

By the time everyone has got their strength back, more than quarter of a bell has passed (45 minutes by the clock at the back of the auditorium) but there are no signs of the piercers and nothing has moved in the corridor to the east. Many of the insects summoned by Gordon have hung around and the bodies of the ropers are crawling with them. A cautious check around the auditorium reveals nothing of interest but a couple of skeletons, sat next to each other in the back of the hall. They have nothing on them but a couple of black door cards.
Cynan and Talo’s wounds are both healed to a large extent, thanks to the regeneration potion but they are both still somewhat battered by recent events. Cynan has finally had to abandon his plate armour which is now torn and battered beyond repair.

Jenson will take those Black door Cards from the skeletons then give back Cynan’s dropped blaster “Here, you dropped this.”

The paladin nods his thanks.

“Oh, while I was retrieving this I noticed a lot of various things scuttling around in the semi-darkness so best we get moving.”
He looks to the group, “I am not sure how long the charger takes to charge up a cell but we could go back and check on it? That is if we can get back into the area, plus that could tell us if the fire is out”.

Talo revives from his reverie of pain and begins healing everyone he can get his hands on. “Sorry, gents. Been neglecting my duties,” the dwarf says with a mirthless chuckle.

He puts a hand on Jenson’s arm and looks to the rest of the group, “Thank you – thank you all. Clanggedin was not ready for this one just yet.”

Talo prays over Jenson, Gordon and Cynan and in turn, the paladin lays hands on the dwarf.

Jenson blushes, “Talo you are welcome, no one should die out here and thank you for your care and um healing.” as he shivers from the cure.

Kalam moved ahead and kept his attention focused on their surroundings.

Gildor hearing Gordon says, “Alright Gordon, let’s find the power cell first. Let’s back out of this place then search the rest of this level.”

“Right then let’s go,” says the gnome. And they head back to warehouse area they left ablaze.
Kalam leads the way under the curtain and is immediately attacked by two piercers, that drop from out of the darkness above. The first misses and thunks into the stage by Kalam’s head, the other, much bigger piercer, lands between his legs and the thief rolls quickly away before more piercers can attack.
Using Jenson’s flash light, the party are able to spot the creatures amid the ropes and pulleys above and move to the far end of the curtain, to pass under it unmolested.

They pass south through the doors at the back of the auditorium and head south down to the junction and then east to the double doors leading into cargo hold six. The doors open to a hive of activity, there are at least six of the spider-like repair golems either clinging from the ceiling or walls, working on repairing the fire damage. More can be seen working through the doors in the west. The golems don’t react to the party at the door and upon entering the room their disinterest continues.

The fire has been extinguished by this time and Gordon is permitted to enter once more and check the state of the power cell charging station.

The power cell shows a 70% charge and an estimated time for full charge of 12 minutes.

Gordon asks Jenson to show him how to use one of the ‘power sledges’ and brings it over to carry the power-cell, and if they charge quickly he’ll shove another on to be on the sure side whilst poking around the stores to see what other goodies he can find (now they can carry a lot more with the aid of the sledge).

Jenson shows the group how to use the Power Sled once they can re enter the storage area and checks on the status of the charging cell.
“Some one should watch for guards or more of those robots while we check out the cell”

Cargo hold six seems devoid of cargo.