98. Showdown with the Kuo-toa

Moving towards the security room, Gildor says “Everyone, if you haven’t gotten your gear from the clinic, do so quickly and meet at the security locker room. If you are ready, then follow me now, quickly and get in a chain at the door and hand stuff back keeping a bit for yourself as you do. Bring the sled thing.”


Gildor speeds up once he’s done talking, gets into the door and sees the small arms locker is partially stripped, but still inside are racks and containers including; 10 needler pistols, 6 pistols of an unknown type, 4 laser pistols, 2 laser rifles and 1 blaster pistol.
There are three boxes each
containing 20 grenades: gas, incendiary, and flechette. A full suit of plate armour is in a closed and locked locker (at the end of a row of 7 opened ones). A metal chest holds 3 boxes – 66 power cells, 39 anti-personnel and 54 sleep needler clips.

Gildor hands to whom ever is present, 8 needler pistols putting 2 in his sack, passing the others back, 4 unknown pistols, putting 1 in his sack, passed back 4 laser pistols, 2 laser rifles and one blaster pistol, 3 boxes of 20 grenades, putting one in his sack.
“Kalam and Kradorn can you carry the chest if not let’s grab half of each item in the chest”, ask Gildor. “Fast people, fast. Let’s get to the pod now. Hopefully that security golem distracts them long enough for us to get to the pod unmolested.”

After helping with the chest and taking what he wanted for his work, Kalam had an inspiration, sounded like a very good idea to him so he turned to Jenson.
“Jenson, LG is a creature which controls a whole ship, it can build and maintain things and so on. Do you think it can draw a design? His ship has been close to our world for a long time. I am thinking that there is a possibility of it having taken a good look at our world and if we could ask it to give us his knowledge from his observations as in drawing maps of what he has watched, this would be of incalculable value. If there isn’t enough time for him to draw maps of faraway lands, at least of the lands around Land’s End where we operate in as much detail as possible will be very useful for our future adventures. I do wish we had the time to ask him to draw maps of other places in our world, though. Who knows where we will end up in our travels and a map is a very useful thing to have when at a new, unknown, hostile place…”

Unfortunately, while LG has adequate manufacturing facilities, it tells Jenson that the resolution of its imaging devices, isn’t of sufficient quality to produce maps of any real value for Kalam.

Kalam will have a good look at both the clinic and the security room and lastly at the escape pod for materials he could use in forging. Also, the chest he helped Gildor carry.

There seem to be lots of different materials used to manufacture everything from the walls and floors to weapons and packaging. There is no wood visible anywhere. Most of the stuff is built from something that feels like smooth stone but is much harder to chip or crack and it also comes in a variety of softer versions where required. There are some metal items or fittings but not much. Through Jensen, LG says that there are plenty of tough structural components in the escape pod. The AI aboard the escape pod can identify these components to Kalam and can be worked to turn into light and strong weapons if that is what he wants.

Kalam also helped anyone else requiring help carrying stuff to the escape pod.

Once finished packing the grav-sled with all the heavy gear (again) Jenson moves the grav-sled to the door closest to the escape pod (not blocking it) “OK guys the sled is ready to go. LG, present locations of the fish-men? Do I have a clear path to to get the grav-sled to the escape pod in time?”

“Kalam, I think we are running out of time my friend. We can take apart the pod thingy for your raw materials.”states Gildor as they move to the escape pod.

LG says the ichthians are moving slowly along the corridors checking each room as they go, a group is moving slowly up the main southern corridor and another group is moving east from the southern drop-chute. If the party move at a walking pace they should be able to reach the escape pod before the ichthians.
LG sends a golem with Anita to escort her and the party to the escape pod.

The party move out of the security reception at walking pace, heading west to the western drop-chute. They move in marching order with Jenson and Gildor directing the grav-sled laden with items from the escape pod and taken from the security armoury.

They arrive at the escape pod with no sign of the Kuo-toa and begin loading all the equipment into the escape pod, putting back all the heavy gear in the floor slots where it came from. As the last few pieces are being loaded LG contacts Jenson.

“The security golem has reached the portal and passed through it…

…the connection has been terminated, suggesting the far end of the portal has been destroyed or disabled.”

The AI’s voice pauses. “Given the current situation and your assessment of the ichthians as hostile and destructive, I am forced to hold the escape pod until I believe the threat posed by the ichthians has been neutralised. As I am not in a position to achieve this by the limited forces under my command and the restrictions posed by my programming, I am afraid this task must fall to yourselves. Anita and the security golem I sent with her can remain in the escape pod in relative safety but I must ask your cooperation in the elimination of the ichthian threat. I have not been entirely accurate in my assessment of the progress of the ichthians through the ship’s corridor as you will shortly discover. Good luck.”

Moments later there is a signal from Kradorn indicating that he hears something and he signs that he can see three fish-men down the corridor to the east.

Gildor sighs softly, thinking – I was hoping we could get out of here and not make an enemy of these fish guys.
Gildor says, “Cynan and Jenson please help guard Anita. Place a chest in the doorway so the pod can’t launch without us. We’ll fight close to the pod in case you need us. Let’s move south and east but if we spot the fish-men we take no prisoners. In formation, let’s go.”

Mentally Gildor says, “Saphiria stay and protect friends.”

Gildor cast web on the hallway north of them to block off access from that direction. He readies his Needler with AP rounds and fires if targets present themselves. Should a large group form ahead of them he will use a flechette grenade, if it’s safe to do so without risk to his party.

Hearing LG’s communication, Jenson relays the latest twist to the group and shakes his head sighing. “We have less then 8 bells before LG reboots so lets get this completed before that time frame and be on our way.”
As the group prepares to leave, Jenson looks to Gildor surprised at his directions, “Um, if I do not go along, you all will not be able to communicate with LG and know what is happening along the way and back at the pod.” Looks inquisitively at Gildor, “Do you want that? No. So I am going too.”
Then looks to Anita and Cynan “Anita and Cyan you two cannot communicate so best use hand signals, I’ll relay what I can through LG of our progress. Cyan, the Security golem is programmed to protect Anita, this ship and keep the fish men out of the escape pod.” whispers “I hope”, “So if Anita directs you try to react accordingly since LG will be keeping her up to date on our status. Oh and use gas grenades as they do not do damage to the ship, the escape pod AND the security golem is not affected by the gas and can operate where everyone else is affected by the gas.”

Grabbing a gas, flechette and incendiary grenade, Jenson turns and hurries to catch up with the group. “LG, please keep me up to date on the fish-mens’ progress and locations best you can so we can help eradicate their threat”.
He pauses a moment in wonderment by the Web Gildor casts “Awesome” and then gets into position as the rear guard for the group – blaster pistol ready.

Gildor comments as Jenson catches up, “I was hoping you’d translate for Cynan if needed and I was not planning on running all over the ship to fight these fish folk. Oh well, Let’s get this done so we can be going. Thanks for coming along so we can make sure LG is satisfied the fish-folk are no longer a threat.”

Gildor moves up next to Kradorn, now that Cynan – the party’s main fighter – is staying back to guard Anita. The party carefully move east down the corridor and both Kradorn and Gildor spot figures hidden around the corners at the junction ahead and so are waiting when the kuo-toa step out with spears and harpoons ready to hurl.
Kradorn shoots twice before the Kuo-toa throw their spears, hitting the big leader and leaving smouldering slashes across its scaled torso. Three spears come at the party and Kradorn is hit. As he twists to pull a spear free, a harpoon slams into him, its barbed head piercing and catching on his armour and ribs.
Gildor pulls the needler’s trigger and nothing happens. The weapon bleeps and a red light flashes on the weapon’s grip. The elf’s shoulders slump and he casts the weapon aside and reaches round for the laser rifle strapped to his back. A spear comes hurtling at him but flashes past just as he brings the rifle to bear on the kuo-toa before him.

The big Kuo-toa pulls the cord attached to the harpoon and Kradorn goes down with a cry of pain, dragged off his feet. The laser carbine clattering on the floor beside him. Kradorn grabs the cord and pulls back, resisting the big Kuo-toa’s attempt to pull him closer and use its wicked looking dagger to finish the fighter. Kradorn draws his own knife and slashes the cord just as Gordon reaches him.
The gnome opens fire with his bulky laser carbine, hitting the leader and causing him to back off from the attack. Gordon shifts his attack on the other kuo-toa, all drawing fresh spears and howling a horrible battle song. His first shot just hits but does little damage and his next misses.
Gildor shoots three times into the mass of fish-men but is unsure if he hit anything or not.

With a roar the Kuo-toa charge at the party, armed with spears and shields. Kradorn is hit again and badly wounded before Gordon grabs him by the collar and hauls him back behind the front line. A spear pierces Gildor’s armour but only leaves a small wound.
Talo elbows his way past Gildor to put his shield and plate between the Kou-toa and the lightly armoured elf.
Kradorn staggers to the back of the party dragging his laser carbine behind him, he pulls his backpack off and throws it onto the floor.
The Kou-toa stab at Talo and Gordon but none hit. Instantly, five more Gordons appear before the startled fish-men, leaving them unsure which one to attack first.
Kalam and Gildor shoot over the heads of their smaller companions, Kalam bringing down a Kuo-toa, its skull roasted and brain boiled and Gildor hitting another and badly wounding it. Talo hits one of the Kuo-toa before him but only grazes it.
Jenson watches as Kradorn snaps the harpoon tip off and forces it out of his side, searches in his backpack until he finds a healing spray and then applies it to his numerous and bloody wounds.
“Get Cynan!” he snarls at Jenson between gritted teeth.

Kalam fumbles his weapon and almost hits Gordon, he adjusts the balance of the metre long white cylinder and then continues shooting, bringing down two more attacking Kuo-toa and lightly wounding the leader, who is standing beyond the fighting, back at the junction.
Gildor gets similar results, firing constantly he brings down two more Kuo-toa in gouts of fire and steam.
Gordon and Talo’s axes hack and slash at the Kuo-toa before them, Talo hits nothing but Gordon gets in two good hits. Gordon dodges all the spears the Kuo-toa stab at him while Talo relies on his armour for defence and takes only a glancing blow.

As he runs back toward the group Jenson pauses at the intersection ” I’ll stand guard at the intersection her and watch both the escape pod and the battle”

“Gildor get that f****n’ dragon of yours round here to blast the b*****s,” shouts Gordon as he swings his axe in a masterful figure of eight. The gnome tries to create himself a bit of space and time so that he is able to cast Colour Spray down the corridor at the advancing kuo-toa. If he is able to and managed to drop some he advances over them to any of the current bunch left standing or to place himself ready for the next wave who will also be on the receiving end of a Sleep spell once in range (cast in the centre of the group), and if that has a good effect he will use a second to try and drop more of them. If not he will continue to hack at the current group hoping to finish things off before the next lot turn up.

Gildor helps thin the enemy with a flechette grenade tossing it so it won’t hurt his friends saying, “Big boom coming. Stay back a second.” Gildor waits for a group to come forward then tosses it. He then calls to Saphiria mentally ~Come. Attack~

Gordon’s color Spray spell goes off with its usual explosion of unearthly colours and the four closest Kuo-toa fall unconscious under its flare.
Kalam blasts away with his laser rifle but hits little of consequence and sees the big leader slide around the corner into cover. Gildor pulls out a flechette grenade and throws it over the top of the closest Kuo-toa and sees it land somewhere near the junction.
The remaining Kuo-toa charge, to be met by Talo, whose axe wounds the first to reach him.
Jenson only pauses a moment to take in the fight and the amount of fish men before rushing down the corridor, turns and runs back to the escape pod, calling out Cynan’s name, “Oh Cynan, you are needed up here, the group is being attacked by a bunch of fish men. ” Jenson turns the corner and goes to the escape pod, seeing Cynan coming out, he tells him “They hurt Kradorn bad with a Harpoon and there are a bunch of them now, plus I think more coming down the corridor.”

Back on the front-line Gordon casts Sleep at the group of Kuo-toa before him but finds the spell completely ineffective against their ichthian nature.

Kalam’s next volley of flickering laser death, wounds, then brings down one of the closest Kuo-toa and Gildor’s laser is similarly effective, wounding and killing another Kuo-toa.

The Kuo-toa are enraged and both Talo and Gordon are hit and wounded by their spears. Unarmed Gordon cannot strike back but Talo’s axe brings a Kuo-toa down, gushing pale alien blood onto the deck.

Just as the Kuo-toa falls there is a sharp blast from the junction and the party can see where, moments before it was packed with warriors it now stands empty. The grenade seems to have killed or incapacitated many of the Kuo-toa caught in the blast, at least six or seven lie dead or injured and all those surrounding the blast are wounded too.
Gildor sees Saphiria swoop overhead looking for a target amid the chaos of the combat.

As Cynan reaches Kradorn, the warrior pulls his shield onto his arm and draws his sword.
“Time for these monstrosities to taste cold steel Cynan!”

Gildor mentally tells Saphiria, “Stay by me.” Gildor gets a poison gas grenade and says softly, “Poison gas grenade soon.”
Gildor licks a finger and puts it in the air to test if there is a breeze just in case so if he throws it the gas won’t come back at them. If there is a slight breeze away from him he’ll Toss it just pass the intersection so it engulfs the enemy group and drifts back.

Then Gildor picks up his needler and checks the powercell and replaces it if needed. He’s pretty sure he put a new AP clip in it so it must be a power cell or a switch on it that just needs pressed. By this time if the poison gas has dissipated he mentally says to Saphiria, “Attack my dear.”

Gildor tells the others, “Fire low so as to not hit Saphiria please. Jenson, any update from LG?” If his needler is ready he will make low attacks so he does not hit Saphiria and waits for clear shots over Gordon and Talo’s heads to the front line enemies.

Jenson flinches at the sound of the grenade going off fearing more for the damage to the ship vs the damage to the enemy.
From his spot while watching all the ways back to the escape pod he asks LG “LG, can you give me the locations and numbers per location of fish-men and if they are located such to threaten to get around us? Any communication from that security robot you sent out to close the tunnels?”
Jenson will relay what LG tells him on the locations and numbers to the group and if needed move back to protect the webbed hallway.

Kalam concentrated his shots low so a not to endanger Saphiria.

Gordon will use his ColorSpray spell to disable as many Kuo-toa as he can with repeated castings before Cynan and Talo become engaged in melee, he will then heft his axe and join them (along with his illusionary selves), but he also calls a warning not to get drawn beyond the junction and to keep the fight on one front.

Jenson readies his blaster in case there is trouble where he is in protecting the rear of the group and the escape pod entrance. On his mind is the gas grenade, if the fish-men prove too much for his blaster where he can take more of them down without damaging the area and hoping that awesome web holds.

Kalam takes aim and keeps shooting at oncoming Kuo-toa, the brilliant, thin line of the laser bringing two of the creatures down in gouts of fire and steam.
The Kuo-toa crash into Gordon and Talo’s shields and stab with their wickedly barbed spears. They miss Gordon, and Talo parries two more but neither gnome nor dwarf are able to land a counter.
Kradorn elbows his way to the front line next to Gordon, closely followed by Cynan, though the paladin can’t get into the combat.
Gildor pulls out a poison grenade and tosses it over the Kuo-toa front line. It lands at the junction and rolls round in a little circle amid the creatures’ webbed feet.
The mass of Kuo-toa surge forward, missing Talo but hitting a Gordon and popping him and lightly wounding Kradorn before he can get into a fighting stance.

Kalam’s laser flickers over Gordon’s head and two more Kuo-toa fall burning.

Kradorn brings his longsword to bear, bringing down the fish-man before him and stabbing another attacking Gordon, which goes down with its thin blood gushing from its side.
Another Kuo-toa steps up to fill the gap and gets messily filleted by Gordon’s axe.

Gildor is busy checking out his faulty needler pistol when the poison grenade goes off. A red cloud fills the junction and the area around it, barely missing Kradorn who has to jump back into Cynan to avoid the fine red powder. It covers the Kuo-toa and sticks to their wet ichthian skins, eyes and gills.
Gildor can’t see where a power cell would fit in the grip but fiddling with the ammo block, he hears it click, beep and a green light appears on the grip.

The Kuo-toa look somewhat put out by being cover in the red powder, which quickly settles on the walls and deck around them but it seems to cause no immediate harm.

From the back of the Kuo-toa group comes a chanting, something Talo immediately recognises as a prayer being cast and shouts out a warning. Kalam feels invisible tentacles grip him, holding him in place, unable to move or talk. Kradorn feels the spell too but is able to fight off its paralysing grip. But not before one of the Kuo-toa catches him with its spear leaving a slight wound through his armour. Talo and Gordon dodge or parry the spears of the fish-men.

Kradorn, Gordon and Talo all counter-attack and three Kuo-toa fall under their swords and axes.

One of the big Kuo-toa comes up behind its fallen companions, looking a much more considerable foe. Gordon, letting his axe dangle from his wrist casts Color Spray right into the creatures face, staggering it for a moment and leaving it blinded.

A jet of flaming venom from Saphiria then catches the big Kuo-toa, the cleric behind it and the warrior behind that, dousing the unfortunate creature in fire. It staggers back and falls to the deck burning with a foul stench.
Gildor notices to his left that one of the Kuo-toa effected by Gordon’s first color spray spell is now getting back to its feet, unnoticed by Talo, who is swinging wildly at the creature in front of him. Gildor shoots and hits it with three of the explosive darts, the Kuo-toa is rocked by the damage but still standing. With a snarl it turns to face him.
Gildor shoots again but the Kuo-toa parries with its shield and the needler sprays the wall and ceiling with tiny, exploding darts.

Gildor shoots again but the Kuo-toa blocks the needler with its shield, leaving a string of 5cm holes across its shell-like surface. Finally as it raises its spear to strike the elf, Gildor puts a burst into its chest, which moments later vanishes in a explosion of white and pink flesh.

Kradorn and Talo are hit by Kuo-toa spears, then they feel the iron tentacles of a hold person spell. Both resist its grip but Cynan gives a cry and falls against the bulkhead, frozen in place.
The blinded Kuo-toa captain stabs and slashes wildly with its spear but Kradorn manages to get close enough to inflict a serious wound on it.

Gordon notes that the poison powder has changed colour and is now a bright yellow.

The gnome targets one of the Kuo-toa priests and those behind it with a color spray, bringing it and three other Kuo-toa warriors down in a wash of polychrome light.
Kradorn, also seeing the threat posed by the Kuo-toa clerics, attacks the other one but only just managing to hit it and leaves a minor wound. The creature turns on Kradorn and casts another hold person spell at him as he tries to parry two other attacks, to the fighters great relief he manages to fight off the spells hold yet again.
Talo swings wildly, gets his axe stuck in the wall next to him and takes a spear in the shoulder for his troubles. The dwarf throws away his shield and taking the axe in both hands pulls it free from the wall with a roar.

Gildor moves forward and drags Kalam away from the fighting and back to Jenson.
Saphiria shoots another line of burning venom down the southern corridor catching the remaining Kuo-toa cleric, another big captain moving into the fight and judging by the screams, several more Kuo-toa further down the corridor.
The poison gas seems to have turned green now.

Jenson moves up to help pull Kalam back “Gildor, what, what happened to Kalam, is he, is he dead, he is all stiff like rigamortis set in already” Looking at Gildor “Tell me what to do, I never seen this before?”

Gildor replies to Jenson, “It’s a priest’s prayer to hold someone completely still.”

“Gildor, wow, really a holy spell to freeze a person stiff.” Gushes Jenson.

Gildor mentally tells Saphiria, “Good job girl. Attack the priest again my dear.”
Gildor will focus his efforts to cover Jenson as he helps Kalam and Cynan and thinks, ~That potion gas is either smart and changing to find the enemies weak immune points or it’s not affective against Fish folk.~

Gordon will continue to use Color spray to disable Kuo-toa and then his axe to finish them off once they are incapacitated. “Jenson, how many more of them are there, see if LG knows?” shouts the gnome back at the human.

As Jenson is helping pull cyan back, “Sure, LG what is the current situation with the fish-men, please respond as we need to know the current locations and numbers. LG?”
“Gorden, what about those other fish-men laying here, will they also awake soon?”

Kradorn closes on the big Kuo-toa in an attempt to finish it as quickly as possible but gets caught by a random stab by the blinded creature and is wounded. As the Kuo-toa raises his spear to strike again, Kradorn stabs it and dodges its riposte easily.
Gordon joins in the attack, his axe hacking into the Kuo-toa’s leg and bringing it to its scaly knees.
Talo swings his axe over his head and brings it down on a Kuo-toa shield, splintering the shield and wounding the Kuo-toa behind it. The creature stabs ineffectually but is driven back by the dwarf’s insane fury.
Gildor watches in horror as the ‘held’ Cynan is stabbed by two Kuo-toa, neither is able to do much damage through the paladin’s armour but it is only a matter of time before they strike some vital spot. Then his attention is caught by Saphiria, attacked by three Kuo-toa and wounded twice. The fire-drake twists and blasts fiery venom down upon those below it, bringing down the Kuo-toa cleric, a warrior behind it and more Kuo-toa beyond them in the southern corridor.

Gildor will also reload or switch to his laser carbine as the situation dictates. Gildor also switches targets to cover Saphiria or other party members depending on the urgency and how the battle develops.

Jenson looks out in Cyan’s direction, “Do you need help with Cyan too, I’ve been guarding our rear and escape pod area” as he points back to the pod area.

“Yes, help Cynan too.” says Gildor

Nodding his head, Jenson turns and moves up to recover Cynan from the battle the best he can, avoiding disrupting his comrades attacks and defending himself where he has to.
“Okay, I’ll get Cynan back out of the battle, till he awakens.”

Gordon casts color spray again and another Kuo-toa warrior falls, dazzled and stunned by the spell.
Kradorn meanwhile is hit by one of the big Kuo-toa’s random stabs but not wounded and his counter slashes across the monster’s hideous ichthian face splitting its upper jaw.

Gildor moves up quickly to cover Saphiria and catches his breath as the fire-drake dodges two more spears, then twists in the air and disappears up the northern corridor.

Talo’s axe descends again and this time buries itself in a Kuo-toa chest.
As Jenson reaches Cynan, he sees another spear clatter off the paladin’s armour. Taking his blaster he tries to shoot the Kuo-toa beyond Cynan but can’t get a clear shot. He grabs Cynan with one hand and blasts away at the Kuo-toa, hitting the first time but blowing holes in the walls with his second and third shot. The fish-man raises its spear again but then Gildor’s needler reduces its head to a pale pink cloud.

Gordon and Kradorn are still locked in combat with big Kuo-toa, and when the gnome casts another color spray at it and blinds it again just as its eyesight was returning, it gives a roar of rage and frustration. Kradorn takes advantage of the momentary distraction and drives his sword through the creatures gills and neck. As it goes down, Kradorn raises his eyes to the heavens and gives thanks to the gods.

Gildor is just about to reach the junction when a blast of fire from the north lights up the Kuo-toa before him and reaches down the southern corridor.

A Kuo-toa warrior appears from the southern corridor and charges at Talo but before the dwarf can swing his axe, Kradorn’s sword slashes through its neck, almost taking its head off. Talo snarls at Kradorn just as a harpoon flashes past them and buries itself in Gildor.

Talo grunts and heads south, after the big Kuo-toa that threw the harpoon. Saphiria gives a shriek and darts after the dwarf.
Gordon looks back and sees Kalam and Cynan unmoving but safe, then takes his axe in his hand and makes sure none of the stunned or injured Kuo-toa get up again.
Kradorn grabs the cord attached to the harpoon in Gildor and cuts it with his sword. To the south he sees all the Kuo-toa running off, pursued by Talo and Saphiria. Gildor calls Saphiria back but Talo is oblivious to Kradorn’s calls.
From where he stands, holding the Harpoon that has impaled his thigh, Gildor can see about 40 Kuo-toa, all dead or dying under Gordon’s axe and Kradorn’s sword.

According to LG, there is only one other group of ichthians, centred on the southern drop chute, it counts perhaps twenty in total. Kalam feels the effects of the hold spell fade.