We are safe at The New Hive. Will post this before we take off.
After we returned Luigi to Bral, we took off for the Hive. On the way there, we had a long & meandering conversation regarding whether or not we were being tracked and if so – how and by whom. Near the edge of the crystal sphere Vedis, Lenata and Ef Utan are struck by a vision of a cat’s cradle of threads that run across everything and everyone – feeding into huge looms – and running through us on the bridge.
In case our current bout of paranoia wasn’t enough – the vision prompts a discussion of the fates. But paranoia takes a back seat to the three ships Kenari and Ef Utan spot coming up fast behind us. Really fast. Lenata hits it ( Penumbra can move!) and we make the sphere….but the three ships coming up behind us are keeping up. Except…well, I don’t know what kind of ships they a or where they are from – but when they leave the sphere and hit the Phlo they explode. Because they are spewing fire behind them. So not from around these parts?
Fen and I spend quality time assembling the still (priorities) and it turns out that my ability to manipulate ki energy means I can fly the Penumbra!!! The Captain can also pilot – so she spends most of her time getting flying lessons from Lenata (my turn will come). And your Uncle learns to use the consoles in the helm room. It’s a fairly uneventful trip to the New Hive – except for the debris field. The Bonecloud debris field (that only appeared 10-15 years ago) is a huge haunt. Specifically, the debris is real – but the ships and people you see – not so much. The Haunt is strong too – as an especially graphic appearance causes all of us to experience some nausea. We notice that some of the Haunt ships resemble the ships that tried to chase us out of sphere and blew up.
It takes a while to get through the debris field, but Lenata is able to do so skillfully. Near The Hive, things get interesting. There’s a huge shock wave and a disruption and we realize that part of the asteroid The Hive sits on has exploded. Lenata tells us that there is a pulsing sensation coming from somewhere behind The Hive. And as that explosion happens – another ship – different looking – and again, not from here appears and races towards us. Lenata does evasive maneuvers and the other ship does not crash into us. I, Kenari and Ef Utan hop over to the other ship and realize it’s Melisande – we had met her briefly in the dreaming (and she gave Kenari a gun, so Kenari is a fan) and Melisande realizes she had traveled to what she calls “pre-gap” time, so she is really excited to see us.
5 Hive ships appear and the next I know – Kattar is on the deck barking at everyone. He’s a little charged up and looks as ready to fight as he is to talk. Melisandre does a fantastic job of grovelling and he seemed a bit mollified – though I later heard he hopped over to the Penumbra too and barked at your Uncle that he was responsible for everyone’s behavior.
We are allowed to dock at the New Hive, but not allowed to leave our ships – so everyone else wanders over to Melisandre’s ship to check it out. Although – Fen is allowed to leave. Membership has its privileges. The Captain notes that Melisandre is a psionic like she is and we go through introductions. It would appear that Melisandre is a descendant of Lenata’s…
While we are getting to know one another – Mel yells out “tentacle faces 5 o’clock”. Out the port window we see two – an Illithid and an Ulitharid. The Captain quick tries a mind blast to no effect. I abundant step outside and hit the Ulitharid with Quivering Palm. He drops. The others make quick work of the 2nd Illithid. Especially when Mel casts some kind of Polar Vortex…Fen shows up then and starts yelling at us “Am I the only one doing my job?”
We haul the corpse in to what Mel calls her “med bay” and she starts doing some technical things to it. Not going to lie Anya – I was only paying half attention to most of this conversation. Until they get to the bits where we can kill Illithid more effectively, it’s just not that meaningful to me. But I think that’s what they were getting at. Melchior is summoned by the Shintak – apparently she wants the gunslinger to be Sheriff for a bit – so he’s going to stay at The Hive.
But eventually, the Shintak herself deigns to appear. We are put through Kenari’s gatekeeping protocol. I believe it is 7 Stars protocol now – so you probably know it (Detect Evil, Detect Aberration, Detect Psionics, Detect Compulsion, Heal & Bio checks – good grief – not suspicious or anything) and once the Shintak’s people clear us she is joins us onboard The Artful Driftdodger (which is the name of Mel’s ship). Mel is really good at the kind of etiquette that Taj Pach likes (Mel actually has etiquette skills so that’s a damn fine start right there) and she and Taj Pach have a long conversation regarding surgeries, enhancements, bioware, something called nanny mites. Mel is going to help us all out with some enhancements in preparation for going to the Underdark.
There is another long conversation about using the Illitihid Lord as a shield or maybe a weapon or a virus. I’m not really sure. But eventually the Shintak asks us what our plans/next steps are. Captain Vedis (Commodore – I should be saying Commodore) explains that we need to get to Greyspace/Oerth/Greyhawk specifically because that is where the Illithid are going to do whatever it is they are planning. So we don’t have a plan, per se, more of a solid idea about how to cause chaos. Ef Utan asks Taj Pach about the the Illithid Wizard we keep seeing in our visions. Taj Pach explains that she and Tavist met him once – when they were fighting the Illithid – and it was a brief meeting. But Strom Wakeman was a wizard from Sigil who figured out an alchemical way to save his personality during his conversion and he has been fighting the Illithid from the inside for years. She tells us that if Strom wants to talk, he will find us – but that we will pretty much definitely not find him – so don’t waste a lot of time trying. Taj gives the Commodore 2 scrolls of Word of Beckoning as well as 1 each of a Cat’s Grace & Bull’s Strength (mass). She also tells the Commodore that her sword, the Fang of Sardior, may well be enough of a relic on it’s own to take out the Elder Brain.
There’s some more back & forth on possible plans. Apparently the Artful Driftdodger has really good weapons that have quite the range on them. The Shintak spends some time talking to Penumbra before she wanders off. She does tell me though that the Serenity is in dock getting some upgrades courtesy of 7 Stars (nothing is ever free). We are reunited with our friends from the Nomad and Serenity. We tell them about our next mission and make it clear it’s basically a suicide run. The decision is made to tuck Serenity & Nomad into The Harrowing with all non-essential personnel which takes a few days to accomplish. Mel performs various surgeries and upgrades. Turns out one of Ef Utan’s descendants is also on this ship (ahhh Fate) and true to form, your Uncle tries to proposition her. It’s ok though – he gets distracted when he discovers there’s a cat on board and he wanders off to find a brush. So I don’t believe you will have a new Aunt anytime soon.
Anya, the Shintak never did explain what happened at The Hive. She didn’t seem all that surprised to be confronted with a dead Illithid Lord. She did, however, seem angry. As angry as I have ever seen that bug. She spent a bunch of time staring at your Uncle so the Phlo knows what she conveyed to him. And as for the Hive…well, if I had to guess – she is prepping for war. One thing I noticed was that when she was told by the Commodore that the Illithid are breeding fate-eaters (as a way to avoid detection by the fates) she emphatically told us to tell her where when we find the location so she can organize a strike mission. And she seems especially close to the Githyanki right now. So Anya, much as I’d like to tuck you into The Harrowing too – I know you won’t go. But keep your head low and your weapons close.
What in Bowels of Ba’ator? Dad? Get me details as soon as you can. I’m sending this from our Greatspace offices on Thesalyss where I’ve been making arrangements for some special siege weapons for our fleet. Despite some of Uncle Fen’s shennanigans we still lead a majority voting block on the Council of Captains and Bral is quietly arming up.
The illithid Embassy is closed up tight and while there are those who swear they’ve seen Ishathrandra leave our rock with their own eyes, there are just as many who say it could be the product of mind control. So far the few who’ve tried to gain entrance have failed.
I can’t add more in case this is intercepted, but watch your ass!