Ghosts - IRC


A look "behind the scenes" on an IRC writing session, this is the chat log for the FanFic that is Ghost Story!

Session Start: Fri Jul 10 16:00:34 1998

  • Logging #galaxyrangers to: [#galaxyrangers.log]

<Mel^> anyone have a basic idea for the basic storyline???
<Bruinhilda> I do. :)
<Allronix> Only the enslaved ones - Slaverlords.
<Bruinhilda> but first...
<Mel^> what is it???

  • Mel^ might actually be up for writting a ghost story...

<Bruinhilda> ml topic �4Evil Writing Session in Progress, please take your seat...

      • Merlin changes topic to "�4Evil Writing Session in Progress, please take your seat...�"
  • Jayce passes the popcorn and s'mores around...

<Mel^> Kat don't hold out on me hear I love ghost story's what are you thiniking of???

  • CK pulls up the old easy chair and coils around it, pops in a big cigar, and lights up - 'Ready'

<Bruinhilda> The Setting: the badlands of Tortuna, among the ruins of the slaughtered Tortunian people...

  • Mel^ turns the lights down low....

<Bruinhilda> The plot: the rangers have crash-landed out there, and night is falling...

  • Cricket curls in her easy chair..

<Jayce> Did Goose pilot again? <G>
<Mel^> why where they there in the first place???
<Mel^> <snicker>
<Allronix> Investigation of Queenie's latest sceeme. Why else?
<Jayce> Ah!

  • Bruinhilda nods to Jessica

<Mel^> just wanted to know specifics. :)
<Mel^> get the feel...
<Bruinhilda> We'll leave the crown troopers out of it for this story. :)
<Bruinhilda> And assume they crashed undetected.
<Mel^> okay :)
<Jayce> Thank you -- no fake Western accents need apply!
<Mel^> they have sometype of stealth thing on ranger one anyway who all is in it???
<Bruinhilda> All four. Should we include the ambassadors?
<Jayce> Hmmm...
<Allronix> Warum nicht?
<Allronix> Why not?
<Mel^> Zozo running around scared out of his mind.... :)
<Bruinhilda> All right, then. :) All six.
<Jayce> Coolness!
<Allronix> And Waldo not buying it until he gets hit.
<Mel^> okay lets see here do you have an opening idea???
<Jayce> LOL

  • Mel^ cracks fingures she's really up fpor this...

<Jayce> How about all 6 staggering out from a crashed Ranger One?
<Mel^> Goose wouldnb't really buy it either neither would Zach
<Mel^> Doc and Zozo would be the first :)
<Bruinhilda> Ranger One is wrecked, buried halfway in sand. An incredible storm is on the horizon, and threatening to engulf our heroes if they don't reach shelter.
<CK> The team looked at the remains of their cruiser.
<CK> Ranger-1 had come in hard, but at the last moment,
<CK> Goose and Zach had managed to pull the nose up and
<CK> belly out onto the hard scrub.
<Bruinhilda> Nearby are some ruins of the Tortunian people..
<Cricket> and Doc would be saying he doesn't believe as he hides under his bed!!!

  • /sound: unable to find begins.wav

<Bruinhilda> Let us begin. :)
<Bruinhilda> With CK's line.
<Allronix> "Come on, guys," Zach said sternly as everyone rose and checked themselves over for broken bones.
<Bruinhilda> "Goose," Doc said. "*Are* you capable of flying without crashing the ship?"
<Mel^> goose stood close to their fallen craft looking at the wreckage

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<CK> "any landing you can walk away from..." Niko commented.
<Mel^> "I can't tell not in this light" he said glareing up at the clouds and seeing signs of the coming storm
<MattF> Hi SkyeFire!

      • CK sets mode: +o SkyeFire

<Bruinhilda> "Or stagger, at least," Zach commented wryly. They were all a little unsteady on their feet
<Allronix> "We have to scanvenge what we can," Waldo said. "Im afraid our craft is a total loss. And to prevent the Crown from getting the hyperdrive..."
<Cricket> "Yeah, but I had to give you something to complain about" Goose growled at Doc.
<Bruinhilda> "...we're going to have to blow it up. Wonderful."
<Jayce> "All right, grab what you can and take shelter. That storm's coming up fast," Zach orders.
<Bruinhilda> "Goose, Niko, get the horses. Doc, get the emergency beacon out."
<Bruinhilda> Zach sighed, and looked at his ruined ship. "I'll see about putting the ship out of it's misery."
<CK> "Give them the easy job...." Doc griped ashe clambered over the wreak.
<Bruinhilda> Waldo staggered to his feet. "Allow me, Captain. I know the engine best."
<Allronix> Within five minutes, Triton, Mel, Voyager, and Brutus were pulled from the wreck. It took Doc a bit more time to activate the beacon, as it was buried under what used to be the storage lockers.

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<Pounce> re :)
<Mel^> mounting the horses they scanned the horizen for shelter...
<Bruinhilda> Finally, though, he dragged it from underneath, and carried it outside.
<Bruinhilda> "Everybody out?" asked Zach.
<CK> "Beacon's on - let me cleck over the horses, they might have been damaged in the crash." Doc said, brushing dust and dirt from his hands.
<Jayce> Several meters distant, a series of three-story buildings rise from the sand dunes. They're obviously in poor shape, but it's the closest shelter.
<Allronix> "That ghost town over there looks promising," said Goose. "It might hold up against the storm, and it beats standing out here like Plagos."
<CK> "we're going to stay 'there'?" Zozo asked, a tremor in his voice.
<Bruinhilda> "Start heading for it. I'll be right behind you."
<Jayce> The structures appear to be the worn-down remains of suberbs, as broken furniture and ancient vehicles silently attest too. Still, they've held up through worse disasters.
<Bruinhilda> "What's wrong with there, Zozo?" asked Doc
<Mel^> Zach took a last glance at ranger one and "said it's the best we can to lets move out..."
<Cricket> Voyager was unhappy about heading towards the ghost town.."It might have bugs" she complained.
<CK> "It might be haunted." Zozo said, clutching at Waldo's cloak.
<Allronix> They mounted the horses, Waldo sharing Brutus with Zach, and Zozo riding with Niko on Mel.
<Allronix> "Kiwi and their superstitions..." sighed Waldo.
<Jayce> "Why should YOU worry?" Doc asked Voyager. "Your systems are sealed tight against darn near anything!"
<Cricket> "what are ghosts?" Voyager asked Doc.
<Bruinhilda> "Zozo! There are no such things as ghosts. Now, stop being silly, and let's get under cover."

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<Allronix> "I don't like spiders, Wilbur. Creeps me out, that's all."
<CK> "Insubstantial images of past lives." Doc replied
<Bruinhilda> Waldo sighed as Zach helped him up. "Kiwi!" he muttered.
<Cricket> "they sound creepy!" Voyager said.
<Bruinhilda> "Worried more about ghosts, than about joining the unliving.."
<Bruinhilda> Doc sighed. "It's gonna be a loooong night..."
<Jayce> Goose and Trition ride ahead. They stop before a structure in the center of town. "This structure is the most stable, Goose," the cybersteed says.
<Mel^> Goose turned and glared at the Kiwi saying "if there ARE ghost all your noise will tell them we are coming a mile away now frankly I'm not worried about that but if there is anyone else taking shelter there I don't want your jabbering warning them we are comeing"
<CK> The wind picked up, blowing a wave of gritty sand against them. "Let's ride." Zach ordered.
<Mel^> "Goose is right lets keep quiet as we get closer and keep your eyes peeled for anything." Zach agareed...
<Allronix> The sand seemed to be right on their heels, barely outrunning the waves of sand that looked like good ocean waves.
<Cricket> "what do ghosts look like Wilbur??" Voyager asked
<CK> "What do you think they look like, Voyager?" Doc replied
<Cricket> "Like you??" She answered
<Mel^> "Doc" zach repremanded... "lets keep quiet"
<Bruinhilda> "Gee, how flattering," Doc answered her, quietly.
<CK> Doc looked at Niko, who gave him a small grin. "Yes, Voyager. All ghosts look like me, charming, intellectual, and very snappy dressers."
<Allronix> "I'll download a file into your memory banks later, girl.
<Bruinhilda> "Then why are people scared of them?"
<Allronix> Goose glared at Doc and rolled his eyes, Niko couldn't suppress a giggle.
<Cricket> "why Zach? Are you frightened of them too?" Voyager asked Zach
<CK> "Will you two keep it down-" Zach hissedas they rode ino the remains of the burg.
<SkyeFire> "Ego intimidation, of course."
<Mel^> they moved ahead into the old dilapidated town Goose moved ahead scouting out what wwas left of the town...
<CK> A sudden bang spun them all around, but it was just a flap of metal slamming arounf in the wind.
<Bruinhilda> A lot of dust swirled around them as they moved down the streets, but nothing else moved
<Mel^> after a moment Goose road back "It looks all clear captain, nothing here but that building ahead looks stable enough"
<Bruinhilda> "Then we'll use that. We don't have time to be picky." Zach gestured to the storm overhead.
<CK> "If that's the ritz, let me call our travel agent, I want a refund." Doc muttered.
<Allronix> Niko took a deep breath. "That place used to be a hotel..." Her voice was distant. She looked back up.
<Bruinhilda> Doc grinned. "Maybe there's still a guestbook we can sign.
<Allronix> "Humans and Kiwi," Waldo muttered. "How did I earn this?"
<CK> "You sense anything, Niko?" Zach asked.
<Mel^> Zach nodded "lets move into the bottem floor and you can check out the rest once we get inside"
<Bruinhilda> "You decided to fly to Earth, that's how." Zozo replied.
<Allronix> Niko nodded. "Yes, but I didn't want to. This used to be the business district. It was crowded when the Queen's bombs hit. A lot of bad energy."
<CK> "Ghosts." Zozo said.
<Jayce> As the group went indoors, their footsteps creaked on the rotted wood. This place is now half-covered in sand, with more blowing through the cracks in the wall.
<Cricket> "Ohh Ghosts!!" squeeled Voyager happily.
<Jayce> Oops, change "is" to "was."
<Allronix> "Sounds unprofessional," said Niko. "But I'm inclined to agree."
<Mel^> "well we need the shelter this place is as good as any" zach nodded to niko as the group dissmounted and moved into the bottem of the vacent motel.
<SkyeFire> "If I recall correctly, Zozo, and I usually do, going to Earth was YOUR idea, not mine," Waldo said primly.
<CK> The wind began to howl outside as the storm began to sweep over thr ruined town. "Goose, we'd better secure the doors and windows to stop the sand blowing in. "Zach said.
<Bruinhilda> "Right."
<Jayce> A third of the doors and windows were beyond repair, bu the rest got secured quickly.
<Mel^> Gott it captain Goose said wrestleing with the old windows...
<Allronix> "Right," Goose said, as the pair rode Triton and Brutus up to the hotel front door, and walked in.
<CK> "picky, picky." Zozo shot back, his eyes wide as he tried to look everywhere at once, ever alert for his spectres.
<Mel^> once they had the place shut up tight they began to look around...
<CK> "Hey look, and old terminal.
<Bruinhilda> The hotel was in surprisingly good shape for it's age, and location.
<CK> "Doc said as he brushed the dust off a rusted metal object with a broken glass front.
<Jayce> Tattered white cloth covered some of the surviving furniture and windows. A dusty ledger stood on the remains of the front desk. The stairs were rickety, but manageable.
<CK> Niko walked over to the desk, and carefully opened the ledger. A cloud of dust slowly rose as she brushed one of the pages clean. "This place is over 200 years old." She said.
<Bruinhilda> "If it still works, see if you can pick up ESPN," goose suggested.
<Jayce> Zozo looked nervously around, with his senses on overdrive.
<Bruinhilda> "Zozo.." Waldo put a hand on his shoulder, and the Kiwi leaped 5 feet into the air.
<Jayce> "Y-Y-Yeah, Waldo?!?!?" he stammered.
<SkyeFire> "Darn it, Waldo, you scared me out of a year's growth! And I can't afford any!"
<CK> "The Queen had occupied Tortuna for two hundred ten years. This region would have been among the first to be hit when she invaded." Waldo commented.
<Jayce> "Two hundred -- ?!" Zach exclaimed.
<Bruinhilda> Waldo sighed, the Andorian equivient of rolling his eyes. "Would you relax? There's nothing here that will harm you."
<CK> "He's right, Captain. This place is long-gone. The only thing we're going to find here is tortunan Rats." Goose added.
<Bruinhilda> "Rats?!" Excalamed Zozo. He started checking his feet.
<CK> Doc let out a yelp as a dog-sized hairy thing ran out from behind the counte and scrabled up the stair.
<SkyeFire> "My Gooseman, you call THAT a rat!?!?"
<CK> "A tortunan Rat?" Niko said, looking after the vanished creature.
<Bruinhilda> "Face didn't look right," Zach said.
<Mel^> Zozo looked around nervously as the others brought stuff in and unpacked the horses. Glanceing down a hallway from the main room he noticed a movement and froze in place not breatheing waiting for more movement when there was none he turned to walk quickly back to the others but out of the corner of his eye he again saw movement and froze with a sinking feeling in his stomach he made a small crying noise and called out for help "Ummm Goose, W
<Mel^> Zozo trying not to move nodded slightly with his head.
<Allronix> Goose pulled out the blaster and chot one that was charging towards the party, leaving its friends to scatter. "Not anymore."
<CK> "They must grow them big out here." Goose said with a shrug. "Hey, relax Doc. They don't normally eat thig bigger than they are. Zozo, you'd better stick close to the rest of us though. You might be a tasty morsel."
<Allronix> "Oh, great." the Kiwi sighed.
<Mel^> Niko aimed her flashlight down the hall and saw a tall woman and a small child standing next to her started she dropped the flasshlight
<Bruinhilda> Zozo yelped, and jumped to Waldo's shoulders.
<CK> Goose spun around, blaster at the ready. "What?"
<Jayce> Zach and Doc stared in disbelief.
<Mel^> Zozo Screamed and hid behind her "Lets get out of here!!!"
<Bruinhilda> "I thought I saw..." Niko aimed the light again
<Allronix> "Guys, I saw something...I don't believe it."
<SkyeFire> Waldo, overbalanced, winmilled madly for a moment before toppling....
<Mel^> Niko laughed
<Bruinhilda> "It's a picture!"
<Mel^> "what are you laughing at Niko lets... huh??"
<Allronix> "not until the storm's over."
<CK> Goose walked down the corridor, then back to the main room. "There's nothing down here, Niko."
<Bruinhilda> Still laughing, she walked over. A full length portriat stood against the wall.
<Mel^> it's only a Mirror Zozo you where just wseeing your reflection "
<Bruinhilda> "I'm sorry. I saw this picture, and..."
<Jayce> Doc laughed out loud, easing some of the tension.
<Bruinhilda> "And we're getting way too spooked. We have to stay here all night, folks," Zach reminded them.
<Mel^> "thats why it kept moveing" she smiled comphorting and handed him the flashlight.
<CK> "We have at least ten hours before a ship from BETA can land and find us. "Let's make the best of it, people." Dos suggested.
<CK> Doc suggested.
<Bruinhilda> "Very real picture." Goose poked at it. "The artist knew his stuff."
<CK> "My gooseman, the art critic." Doc added.
<Mel^> "one of those Poe dolls will have that effect on you" goose said rather simpley
<Jayce> "Let's check out the upper floors and basement, see how well-secured they are... just in case," Zach suggested.
<CK> He walked back to the main room, leaving doc without a snappy comeback.
<Bruinhilda> Seeing Zozo's panicked look, he added "together.
<Bruinhilda> <who here's read the Shining?>
<Allronix> Zozo breathed a sigh of relief.

  • Mel^ raises hand

<Bruinhilda> <keep that book in mind>
<Allronix> "Hey guys, just remember what happened last time we thought there were ghosts about?" Doc said. "Turned out to just be a suicidal AI." He shook his head. "Bummer about Speck, though."

  • Mel^ looks around for cut bushes... "that part of the book scared me"
  • Allronix doesn't do horror books or movies - early and bad experiences.

<Bruinhilda> <real-life ghost experencies will do>
<Bruinhilda> "So we'll think of that first," Goose said. "personally, if it doesn't shoot, I'm not worried.
<Allronix> <real life - OK. Had that.>
<Cricket> Suddenly all the lights in the room turned on.
<CK> "What if it bites you?" Niko teased
<Allronix> The six of them walked up the creaky stairs single-file, led by Zach and his flashlight.
<Allronix> "I heal fast," Goose replied.
<Bruinhilda> <that's kinda too much, Z. Sorry.>
<Cricket> "Okay who found the light switch?" Zach asked
<Cricket> <no had that happen to me!>
<Jayce> "Not me." "Nope." Uh-uh." "Ditto."
<Jayce> Zozo really started to look panicked.
<Allronix> "Th-then...w...who did?!"
<Bruinhilda> Doc waved his hand in front of a small red light. The lights dimmed in response.
<Allronix> The Kiwi took a deep breath.
<Jayce> The ancient ceiling lights crackled on and off, sparking as they clung to life.
<Bruinhilda> "Automatic lights. But still working after 200 years...that's eerie." Doc let his hand drop.
<Allronix> "Take out the ehole city block, and the lights still work. The engineers deserve a good beer."
<Bruinhilda> "Well, never look a gift horse in the mouth." Zach snapped off his flashlight.

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<Jayce> "Just one problem with that," Goose frowned, "Triton didn't detect any intact power sources on our way here."
<Bruinhilda> Maybe a generator in the basement?
<CK> "Lights don't require much power, Goose." doc replied.
<Allronix> Everyone looked at each other, then at Doc and Waldo, the two most technically-inclined of the party.
<Bruinhilda> "Possibly." Goose frowned. "Still..."
<CK> "They could use a superconducter, with connection to a generator a distance away..." Waldo added.
<Allronix> "Maybe Triton had sand in his sensor array," Doc said.
<Bruinhilda> "Almost undoubtedly a generator," Waldo said. "One I'd like to have a look at. To work this well after so long..."
<SkyeFire> "Some intact solar cells on the roof, perhaps?"
<Allronix> "Very likely." Waldo said.
<Bruinhilda> "Quiet!" Zach commanded, and everyone fell silent.
<Bruinhilda> Thumps could be heard, very faintly.
<CK> "He and Goose were looking down the corridor. then everyone else hard it, a steady tapping sound, much like fingernailson a surface.
<Allronix> "I heard something," the captain said. "Everyon4e else?"
<Bruinhilda> Zozo's ears stood straight up and shiverred.
<Jayce> "Yeah," Goose replied as Niko nodded. Everyone drew their blasters and snuck quietly towards the source of that sound.
<Bruinhilda> Almost perversly, the thumps stopped, then started again, on the opposite wall.
<CK> "I hope it' rats." Zozo whispered to Waldo.
<Jayce> Doc rolled his eyes. "Poltergeists, maybe?"
<Bruinhilda> "I think we should me more worried about raiders," Goose said.
<Jayce> "Maybe they're here for urban renewal," Doc replied.
<CK> "Raiders don't act subtly, my gooseman." Doc reminded him.
<Allronix> "some of 'em might be smart. Stay sharp."
<Jayce> Zach motioned for silence, then used hand signals for the group to form a circle around the sound and move in.
<Bruinhilda> They continued down the hallway. The thumping followed them.

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<CK> Goose slowly walked forwward andstood beside the wall, He pointed to a section, and they could see tiny shivers in the dust that coincided with the thumping.
<Bruinhilda> He leveled his gun, then bellowed, "Come on out! Or we'll shoot!"
<Bruinhilda> The thumping stopped abruptly.
<Bruinhilda> "Uh, now what?" asked Doc nervously.
<Allronix> Outside, the storm was banging hard against the walls. they were holding up, but escape was going to be suicidal.
<Jayce> "Now we find out what's going on and take shelter," Zach replied.
<Bruinhilda> Suddenly, from downstairs, was a whinney of "Wiiiiilllllbuuuuurr!"
<Bruinhilda> Doc turned and raced down the hall.
<Allronix> Doc pushed his way past Waldo and Zozo, bolting down the stairs.
<Jayce> He took the stairs three at a time, blaster ready.
<Bruinhilda> Downstairs, all four houses were dancing around. Tiny little things skittered all over them.
<CK> Goose was right behind him, with the rest of the team following
<Jayce> "What the --?!"
<SkyeFire> "Somebody call Orkin!!"
<Bruinhilda> "Spiders!" Doc gaped in astonishment.
<CK> "Hold on, voyager, I'm herre!" doc cried, and brushed the thing off. He pulled his hand back with a snarl. "It bit me!"
<Jayce> The others used the tattered cloths to knock the spiders off.
<SkyeFire> "Damn! Never a flamethrower around when you need one!"
<Bruinhilda> Voyager was leaping, knocking over old furniture. She looked about ready to crash through the doors.
<Jayce> "Me and my big mouth," Zozo muttered.
<SkyeFire> "Voyager, honey, now CALM DOWN. These spiders can't hurt you, you're metal, remember?"
<Bruinhilda> "Easy, Voyager, easy!" Doc grabber her reins.
<Jayce> "B-B-But they ITCH, Wilbuuuuuuuur!" She was ready to bolt.
<Bruinhilda> "These do!" Doc had never seen a robot shudder before.
<Bruinhilda> "Easy. They're gone. See?"
<CK> And they were. All the spiders vanished as if they had never been there.
<Jayce> Voyager shuddered for a few more minutes, prancing around as her tail swiped away imaginary spiders.
<CK> "What in the name of-" zach said, looking around in astonishment.
<Bruinhilda> "All right. Someone's playing games, and I don't like it." Zach glared around the room.
<Allronix> <Does that spider bite do nasty things to the hacker?>
<Bruinhilda> "Holograms?" Asked Niko?
<Jayce> Doc raised an eyebrow. "Maybe. Let me see if I can trace them..."
<SkyeFire> <ghosts that AIs can see?>
<Bruinhilda> "Holograms don't bite." Doc held out his hand. "This hurts like hell."
<CK> "A hologram doesn't do this." Docsaid, showing the swelling bit on his hand.
<Bruinhilda> Niko blinked, then grabbed the medkit from Mel's pack.
<Jayce> "What if they're controlled from a central location?" Waldo asked.
<Bruinhilda> "I'd like to know how." Goose picked up a dead one that was still on the floor.
<Bruinhilda> "This is organic, not cybernetic. Doc?" Goose handed it to the hacker.
<CK> Doc pulled out his CDU with his good hand and manged to power up the compact sensing unit.
<Bruinhilda> "It's a spider, all right. A...Fenokee Acid Spider?" he asked in astonishment
<Bruinhilda> He looked at his hand again. The bite was bubbling the skin around it.
<CK> Niko grabbed hishand and sprayed some medical foam on it. He sighed as the anesthetic went to work.
<Jayce> Niko looked puzzled. "How did they get all the way here?" she asked as she treated Doc's wound. "A shipping convoy lose them or what?"
<Bruinhilda> "Nobody in their right mind would ship these. They'd eat the ship!"
<Bruinhilda> "That leaves about a billion crazies in the universe," Goose quipped.
<Jayce> She raised an eyebrow. "Including the Queen -- but it still doesn't make sense. She'd never let something like this get away."
<CK> "They could have been aboard a ship by accident. A few wandered aboard during a landing, then got offwhen theship landed or crashed here."

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<Bruinhilda> "Put that thing in a storage box," Zach ordered. If those things are being shipped around, we could have a major problem down the road."
<CK> Niko scooped the spider into a box and closed it, then slipped the box into Mel's saddlebag.
<Bruinhilda> "I'm sorry girl," Doc said as he patted Voyager. "You were right, they were biting you."
<Bruinhilda> Voyager pushed her head into his chest. "I want to leave, Wilbur. Can't we stay somewhere else?"
<Jayce> The background howling suddenly tripled in intensity as the sandstorm grows worse. The outer walls shaked slightly with their sheer gale-force.
<CK> "There is nowhere else." goose said.
<Bruinhilda> "'Fraid not, hon. Don't worry, we'll keep a watch out."
<CK> "It's gettig late." Zach said. "We'd better set up a watch and get some rest."
<Bruinhilda> "So much for privacy," Zach muttered. "All right, we'll sleep down here."
<Jayce> "Triton, old boy, what do your scans say now about this rat-trap?" Goose asked.
<CK> "Lots of rats." Replied the steed.
<Bruinhilda> "Zozo, Niko, come with me. We'll strip some beds. The rest of you, stay here."
<Jayce> "Where exactly?" Goose kept both hands on his blasters, just in case.
<Bruinhilda> "In the walls, in the ceiling, everywhere."
<Jayce> "Swell," Goose groaned. "So much for sleep. I'll never get any now -- I'll take first watch."
<Bruinhilda> Zach nodded, as he and the others walked upstairs again.
<CK> "I'll keep you company." Niko commented as she stood at the bottom of thestairs.
<Jayce> "'Preciate it," Goose smiled. He stacked the furniture against the cracks and holes in the walls to keep the storm out. He moved the cybersteed by the front desk for more security.
<Jayce> Make that "cybersteedS."
<CK> By the time he'd fisished shifting the furniture, the others were back with piled of dusty beedding.
<Bruinhilda> "Rats and Spiders and Boogeymen, oh my," Doc whispered.
<Jayce> "That's what I like about you, Doc -- your incurable optimism," Goose smirked.
<Jayce> His eyes narrowed as he scanned the room for trouble, then began his watch.
<CK> Niko sat on the counter, reading the old ledger, glancing around occasionally.
<Jayce> After patrolling the room for a few minutes, Goose went up to Niko. "You ever gone through anything like THIS before?"
<Bruinhilda> "Not really," she admitted.
<Jayce> "Any legends, stories, tales about stuff like this?"
<CK> "On Bastuit we encountered similar things, but not on this scale."
<Jayce> "What was on Bastuit?"
<Bruinhilda> "Aside from Mogul and his spells?"
<Jayce> "Yep," he smiled.
<Bruinhilda> Niko thought a moment. "there were...images. phantoms that would appear and dissapear.

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<Pounce> re
<Jayce> "Did you sense anything from them? Did they mean us any harm?"
<Bruinhilda> "Some of them were violent, others were just...there. The Basuiti are used to them."
<CK> We surmised they were aftereffects of Mogul's magic, but we wee never really sure what they were.
<Bruinhilda> She smiled. "Becka used to play with one. It never caused any harm."
<Jayce> "So all these spooks aren't violent?"
<CK> the ones on Basuit, for the most part, weren't - thereweresome that were, though." niko said.
<Bruinhilda> "They rarely are. They're usually just images. Old mental tapes, if you will."
<Jayce> "Okay... thanks, Niko." Goose resumed his patrol with a thoughtful look on his face.
<CK> brb

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<Jayce> Zach and Waldo were the only ones who got any decent sleep. Doc kept tossing and turning. Zozo's eyes were closed, but he was wide awake with fear.

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<LadyNiko> i'm here!
<Jayce> HI, LadyNiko!! :)

  • Jayce bows before and hugs LadyNiko.

<MattF> Hi Heidi!
<CK> A few hours into their watch, Niko looked up, her brows wrinkled with concentration, at a point on the ceiling.
<Jayce> Goose caught her expression. "What is it?"
<CK> "Something is watching us." She said
<Jayce> He took position before his sleeping friends. "Does it feel familiar?"
<Bruinhilda> "Not at all."
<Jayce> "UH-oh..." Goose nudged Zach and Doc with his foot. "Captain! Doc! We've got company!"
<CK> "What is it?" Zach asked, wearily getting to his feet.
<LadyNiko> "We're being watched, Cap'n," Niko answered
<Bruinhilda> Niko continued looking at the ceiling.
<Jayce> "Niko senses something -- and it ain't a friend!" Goose kept his blasters out, trigger-fingers ready.
<CK> Doc pulled out the CDU and set it to wide scan. "No electrical activity, aside from us, the horse,s and our eqquipment within a ten mile radius."
<Jayce> Waldo and Zozo woke up. "More ghosts?" the Kiwi asked with widened eyes.
<CK> A soft, but very deep noise rumbled through the room - an unintelligible sound, like a deep bass note
<Jayce> "Sounds like whalesong," Goose remarked.
<CK> The sound played again, this time a bit clearer ... 'eve'
<Jayce> "'Eve?'" Zach asked. "Now what the devil does THAT mean?"
<CK> The storm's intensity suddenly died, and they clearly heard a very deep voice say 'Leave'
<LadyNiko> "Leave?" questioned Doc.
<CK> "Y-you don't have to tell me twice." Zozo said, scrambling to his feet and running towards the door.
<Bruinhilda> "Good idea, except for those 100 mile an hour winds."
<Jayce> "Hey!" Goose yelled at the ceiling. "If you want us to leave, fine! But tone those winds down a bit so we're NOT blown to pieces!"
<CK> ... "leave"
<Jayce> Goose glanced at Zach. "NOW what, Cap'n?"
<Bruinhilda> "That does it." Zach pulled his blaster, and aimed it at the ceiling.
<CK> "We're not going anywhere." Zach said with determination
<Bruinhilda> "......leave....."
<Bruinhilda> Zach fired.
<CK> Doc cocked his head, then turned to Niko. "If I didn't know better, I'd swear that wasn't a real voice."
<CK> The blaster shot ripped a hole in the ceiling, unleaching a howling noise and a blowing wave of gritty sand.
<LadyNiko> "I don't think it is, Doc," Niko answered slowly.
<CK> Zach prepared to fire again, but Goose stopped him, "Captain, look."
<CK> The swirling sand took on the form of a figure,
<Jayce> The GRs moved in for a closer look.
<CK> Doc levelled the CDU at it. There's nothing there but sand and air. No energy source, no magnetic field, nothing!"
<Bruinhilda> With a howl, it lunged, and engulfed Niko.
<Jayce> "NIKO!" Gose shouted. He ran forward to grab her.
<Bruinhilda> Wind howled through the room, blowing dust over all of them.
<Bruinhilda> Goose was beaten back.
<Jayce> "Niko! Can you hear us?" Zach shouted.
<CK> Niko stood unmoving, surrounded by the swirling sand. Herhair flowing like a silky mane around her.
<Allronix> Niko shrieked, then turned ashen and moaned softly before thew dust dispersed, all but tossing her to the floor.
<Bruinhilda> <hang on...>
<CK> <uh-uh>
<Bruinhilda> The wind roared, and collapsed in on itself. Dust drifted to the floor. Niko was gone.
<CK> 1). Goose managed to grab her before she landed, and gently lowered her to the ground.
<Jayce> Goose's hands slightly shook as he took her pulse.
<CK> 2.) Goose yelled out inconherently, and raced over to where she had been a second ago,
<CK> <you picks>
<LadyNiko> #2 :)
<CK> "She's gone!" Zozo cried. "Where'd she go?"
<Jayce> "NIKO!" Goose screamed in shock, looking around frantically.
<Bruinhilda> "Nothing on the scanners," Doc stammered.
<CK> Doc pulled out the CDU and tapped his badge. Immediately, lifeline appeared. "lifeline, find the Series-5 implant for Niko. Find it now!"
<CK> The little icon-sprite flickered, and then shot off out the wall of the building.
<Jayce> Zach did a quick scan of the nearby rooms. No Niko.
<Bruinhilda> The lights dimmed suddenly.
<CK> An agonising few minutes later, the sprite reappeared and downloaded into the CDU. Everyone looked at Doc
<Bruinhilda> "She's not here." doc looked anguished.
<CK> "Life could find herwithin a fifty mile radius. And she's nowhere in that area."
<CK> "lifeline'
<Jayce> ZAch turned to Mel. "Mel, can you use your sensors to track Niko?"
<LadyNiko> "Zach, we've got to find her!" Goose wanted to go charging out to find her.
<CK> <but she's not here right now>
<Bruinhilda> Before Mel could respond, the lights cut out.
<Bruinhilda> "LEAVE!" thundered the voice
<CK> "Generator must have run out of gas." Zozo said.
<LadyNiko> "Not without Niko!" Goose shouted.
<Bruinhilda> "What did you do with her?!"
<CK> "Never!" Goose yelled
<Jayce> "Not without Niko!" Zach yelled back.
<Jayce> <Oops, sorry.>
<LadyNiko> <GMTA :)>
<Jayce> "Where IS she?!" Doc demanded.
<Bruinhilda> The wind swirled around them softly.
<Jayce> "We're not leaving until we find Niko," Zach promised in a quietly serious voice.
<Bruinhilda> Then, the voice laughed evilly.
<CK> "Then you shall stay."
<CK> theentier building began to rumble and shake
<Jayce> Doc looked around. "Can't say much for your luxury accomodations," he quipped.
<Bruinhilda> A ball of light formed at the ceiling. Then, with an explosion, it vanished, and Niko appeared.
<Allronix> "now do you believe me?!" Zozo barked at Waldo.
<Jayce> Goose ran forward and caught her in his arms.
<CK> "About what, little friend?" Waldo asked.
<Bruinhilda> Her body was cold, and she stared ahead unseeing.
<LadyNiko> "About ghosts, Waldo!" Zozo answered.
<Jayce> ZAch and Doc were immediately at her side. "Niko, wake up!" the captain urged as Doc scanned her vitals.
<CK> Doc set the CDU to medical and ran a scanon her. "She's alive, but beyondthat, I can't tell you anything."

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<Bruinhilda> "If you do not leave, you will join us. Forever." Then, the voice stopped, and the light came back on.
<LadyNiko> <hugz to Greg #1!>
<`Tripwire> (hi all)
<Bruinhilda> Niko gasped, and sat up suddenly.
<CK> "How can thathappen?" Doc asked.
<Jayce> "You okay?" Goose asked in relief.
<Bruinhilda> "There was nothing, nothing at all..." she shuddered.
<Jayce> Goose drew Niko in closer as she shivered violently.
<CK> "If we are being influenced by a 'ghost', how can we join it?" doc asked again.
<LadyNiko> ml op 'tripwire
<LadyNiko> ml op `tripwire

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<Bruinhilda> "It'll kill us. That's how."
<Jayce> "It could have done so already, if it really wanted to," Zach pointed out.
<Bruinhilda> "It's toying with us," Niko whispered.
<CK> "We're not going to die. None of us." Goose said through gritted teeth.
<Jayce> "Cat and mouse," Doc guessed.
<CK> Outside, they all suddenly heard a roar, then the sound of a massive explosion.
<CK> 'It is time to join us.' The voice said as the explosion echoed through the suddenly quiet building.
<Jayce> "Sorry, I'm lousy at paying membership dues," Doc replied.
<CK> Zozo pulled open the door, and the light from a massive fire lit the inside of the motel.
<Allronix> Music started playing, Zach whipped around with the flashlight. Not only was the old piano-like instrument in the lobby playing, but someone was playing it. He could have sworn that insubstantial things, like dying Slaverlords were walking around them...
<Jayce> "Everyone out -- NOW!!" he ordered.
<Bruinhilda> Voyager gave an electronic whinny, and bolted straight into the door.
<CK> Theh could see the flames, but they were ghostly, insubstantial, and the buildings thet were urbing weren't real, either.
<CK> burning - urbing
<Jayce> "Move it, move it, move it!" Zach urged.
<CK> Goose picked up Niko and carried her outside, followed by Triton and Mel.
<Bruinhilda> The wind howled around them.
<Jayce> Brutus and the Ambassadors were right on their heels. Zach and Doc brought up the rear.
<CK> "You will never leave now!" The voice said, fading away as if it was being drawn off by an invisible force.
<`Tripwire> "Is everybody here?" asked Zach.
<CK> outside was a scene straight out of Dante's inferno. The small town was alive with light and explosion. But it was all unreal.
<Jayce> The sandstorm's fury buffeted the Rangers in waves of stinging agony.
<CK> Doc walked over to a burning inferno and then stepped through it. "It's not real!" He exclaimed.
<Jayce> Zach looked puzzled. "Holograms or illusions?"
<CK> The storm blew fiercely, then faded away, leaving the night suddenly completely calm, except for the flickering ghost fires.
<Jayce> "This is too weird -- even for us," Zozo commented.

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<CK> "I can see the stars." Waldo said, looking up.

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<CK> "Slalverlords." Goose said, spinning to face the six slaverlords walking towards them.
<Jayce> Zach and Doc whipped out their blasters.
<CK> "They aren't there." Niko said. "Not really. This is anecho of the past."
<Bruinhilda> "So what do we do?" asked Zozo.
<Jayce> "You mean we're being hchased by _memories?!_" Zach asked in a disbelieving voice.

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  • Mauler sits down and listens, yawning as he is still waking uo...

<Bruinhilda> The fire suddenly intensified, and now there was heat to go with it.
<CK> "We have to leave this area." Niko said. Otherwise we may become part of the memories, and exist only in this loop forever. It's becoming more real the longer we stay"
<Jayce> HI, Mauler!
<Bruinhilda> "Where do we go?" Doc looked around wildy.
<Mauler> Hehrow!
<Jayce> "You heard the lady," Zach nodded, "fall back to Ranger One."
<Bruinhilda> "No! Back Inside!"
<Jayce> "Back inside?" Goose asked.
<Bruinhilda> "What?!"
<`Tripwire> "Huh!!" asked Doc
<CK> "But that's where the ghosts are!" Zozo cried.
<Bruinhilda> "Back inside!" she hollered. "If we leave this scene while still outside..."
<CK> "That building survived the attack. It's safe." Niko explained.
<Jayce> "We're IN the memories now?" Zach guesses.
<Bruinhilda> "The storm!" Doc suddenly realized. "If we step into that..."
<Bruinhilda> "...we're toast. Let's go." Zach motioned them all inside.
<Jayce> They headed inside the hotel once more.
<Bruinhilda> Voyager had to be coaxed inside, but she went.
<CK> Goose was last in, and he hauled the doors shut with a solid thunk.
<`Tripwire> I gotta run, but I'll try to get back
<`Tripwire> bye all

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<Jayce> "Now what?" Zach asked Niko.
<LadyNiko> <hugz!! be good!>
<CK> "Waldo, what do you know of the old Tortunans?"
<Allronix> "That they had reached a level of technology compatable with our own. tortuna itself was a coloy world. A port of call for all species. A haven world, so to speak."
<CK> "What about their psychic abilities, or mystic powers? Did they have any?"
<Bruinhilda> "Not that we know of."
<Allronix> "Some of the races might, but it's possible that the Queen kiled them all. She had a 'special' way of dealing with psuchics, I'm afraid."
<Allronix> "Many, many races and people were lost in her reign."
<Jayce> Zach glowered at the mention of the Queen's name.
<CK> Niko walked around the room. "I think that whoever inhabited this area did have a reasonably high level of psychic ability."
<CK> Doc narrowed his eyes, but didn't say anytthing, yet.
<Jayce> "So after they died, they left a psychic... fingerprint?" Goose asked.
<Bruinhilda> "This is no fingerprint."
<CK> possibly. If enough of them died. And from the looks of the attack outside, there was a lot of dead people here two hundred years ago."
<Jayce> "Bloodstain, then."
<Bruinhilda> Zach glared at the hole in the ceiling.
<CK> Doc walked over to the corner of the wall the voice had first appeared from. "Who were you?" He asked.
<Bruinhilda> The voice responeded with laugher. "I AM."
<Bruinhilda> "I have always BEEN."
<Jayce> Zach looked up. "What do you want from us?"
<Bruinhilda> The hotel rocked, knocking them to their feet.
<Bruinhilda> "Your life, your hearts, your SOULS!"
<CK> "To leave."
<Jayce> "In that order?" Doc asked.
<CK> <sorry>
<Bruinhilda> The secone voice was quiet, and mild. "Leave, while you can."
<Allronix> "No invaders! Death to the Monarch who caused this pain!"
<Bruinhilda> secone-second.
<Allronix> "We're on your side!" Doc shouted.
<Bruinhilda> <this is an older evil, btw>
<Allronix> Oh, sorry.
<CK> "You are the invaders."
<Bruinhilda> "Are you?" the voice laughed.
<Jayce> <Many personalities, or one force?>
<CK> <both>
<Bruinhilda> "The other voices are echos," Niko said suddenly. There's only one presence here."
<CK> "Can you do anything for it, babe?" Goose asked her.
<Bruinhilda> "No" the voice gloated.
<Jayce> "I wasn't talkin' to YOU," Goose snarled.
<Bruinhilda> "But I am talking to YOU," the voice answered mockingly.
<CK> "Unfortunate, isn't it?" Doc quipped.
<Jayce> "Yeah, well, too bad pal -- wait your turn! Well, Niko?"
<Bruinhilda> Thousands of spiders suddenly crawled out of the walls, and raced at them. Voyager shrieked again, and nearly bowled Doc over.
<Bruinhilda> "Oh, not *again*," he groaned.
<CK> Goose tapped his badge and leapt into the thickest batch of them.

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<Bruinhilda> "Upstairs, NOW!" Zach thundered.

  • Gerald shuffles in, a bit weary...

<Jayce> They ran up the stairs in 5 seconds flat, squishing a lot of spiders on the way.
<CK> "I've had enough of spiders, and rats the size of dogs!" Goose yelled as his bio-defenses actviated.
<Jayce> HI, Gerald!
<Bruinhilda> "Have you?" the voice laughed.
<LadyNiko> <hugz Mast G! How is everyone?>
<Bruinhilda> The spiders glowed menacinly. "Uh, Goose..." Doc begain
<Bruinhilda> ml op Gerald

      • Merlin sets mode: +o Gerald

<Bruinhilda> "Goose, come on!" Zach hollered. Goose ran for the stairs.
<CK> Goose's skin shifted until it glowed like liquid chrome. The defense against the acid.
<Bruinhilda> Behind him, the spiders started splitting apart, gushing more acid.
<Jayce> Zach and Doc covered for him as he dashed up the stairs.
<Bruinhilda> The floor hissed as it was eaten away. Holes started appearing.
<Jayce> A river of acid dissolved the floor benesth them, barely missing Goose's feet by inches.
<Bruinhilda> Then, with a roar, it fell in, crashing to the basement below.
<Jayce> The fumes made them gasp and choke for air.
<Jayce> "We should go into demolitions someday," Doc observed.
<Bruinhilda> "Someday will never exist for you," the voice threatened right next to Doc's ear.
<CK> Waldo looked at the staircase, and they all felt the floor shift. "That acdi's still working. It's going to collapse this entirebuilding.
<Jayce> "Back everyone -- move to higher ground," Zach ordered.

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<Merlin> the aussie has arrived!
<Bruinhilda> Come on, Voyager, move those hoofs!" Doc yelled, pushing at the stumbling horse.
<Jayce> Rehi!
<CK> I'm scared, Wilbur!"
<Bruinhilda> "I'm trying, Wilbur. These stairs weren't made for horses!"
<Jayce> "Better scared than dissolved!"
<Allronix> "I know you're spooked, old girl."

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<Bruinhilda> "Dissolved?" Voyager looked behind her, apparently unaware of what had happened.
<Bruinhilda> Then, she shrieked, and bolted. "Spiiiiiiiiideeeeeerrrr!"
<CK> Doc went from pushing the steed to falling over asshe bolted up the stairs in a second.
<Bruinhilda> "Oh my God..." Zach grabbed Doc, and pulled him up. "Move it, move it, MOVE IT!"
<Jayce> "Don't have to tell me twice, my brave Captain!" They made tracks.
<Bruinhilda> Behind them, a huge version of the little acid spiders crawled out of the hole.

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  • Gerald got harfed...

<CK> "I have had enough of this!" Goose said, and turned to face the creature.
<Bruinhilda> He raised both pistols, and fired right into it's face.
<LadyNiko> ml op Gerlad
<LadyNiko> ml op Gerald

      • Merlin sets mode: +o Gerald

<Bruinhilda> With a very human scream, it collapsed and vanished back into the basement.
<LadyNiko> <ooops! I'm dyslexic tonight!>
<Jayce> :)
<Jayce> "How much longer till our ride gets here?" Zozo asked.
<CK> fife hours at the earliest, Zozo."doc replied
<Bruinhilda> "Too damn long. Keep moving, people!" Zach yelled.
<Jayce> "I had to ask," Zozo gulped.
<Bruinhilda> "Nice shot, Goose." Niko gave a weak smile.
<CK> I'm not big on spiders." Goose replied, his biodefenses fading.
<Jayce> "Niko, any idea on WHY this thing's after us?!" Zach said.
<Bruinhilda> The upstairs hallway was dark now, and seemed huge, instead of narrow, as it had been earlier.
<Allronix> She shook her head.
<CK> The building began to shake and tremble as the explosions outside grew in ferocity and intensity
<Bruinhilda> "It just hates. It doesn't have reason."
<Bruinhilda> "Guys, check me on this," Doc said suddenly. "shouldn't it be more crowded up here?"
<Jayce> "Yeah," Goose replied.
<Bruinhilda> Everyone looked around them. Zach reached out, touched the wall with his left hand. His right didn't come anywhere near the other wall.
<CK> We're not in Kansas any more, people." Doc said.
<Bruinhilda> "You're late," piped a little voice. Everyone whirled, guns drawn.
<Bruinhilda> A little girl with dusky skin and feathered hair stood there. "You'll miss the party."
<Jayce> Zach looked at her in surprise. "Who are you?"
<Bruinhilda> "Come on." She turned and walked away. The rangers traded looks.
<Bruinhilda> "Niko?" Zach asked. Niko shook her head.
<Jayce> "I always _did_ like a good party... but not when I'm running for my life," Doc said.
<Bruinhilda> "I don't think it's...*him*," she said. "But I don't think it's safe."
<CK> what do we do?"
<Jayce> "What'd you pick up from that kid?" Goose asked Niko.
<Bruinhilda> "Nothing. She's blank."
<Bruinhilda> "An old image?" Zach asked.
<Jayce> "Just like those other spooks," Goose muttered.
<LadyNiko> "Another memory?"
<CK> "She's not real. I still cant' detect anyting other than us ... uh-oh." doc said.
<Bruinhilda> "'uh-oh'? What now?"
<CK> "I can detect the fire and explosions outside. They are now beginning to give off energy. It's becomingmore real."
<Bruinhilda> The thumping in the walls started again, louder than before.

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<Jayce> "Are we witnessing the Queen's destruction of this town?" Zach asked.
<CK> "I think so." Niko replied.
<Jayce> "So how do we get out?" Goose said.
<Bruinhilda> "You are witnessing MY destruction!" the voice laughed behind them. Everyone whirled towards it.
<Jayce> "Man, you really SHOULD be a _little_ creative when you threaten people!" Doc said.
<Bruinhilda> "how pitiful. Reduced to sarcasm."
<Jayce> "Sarcasm is a fine art, my dear ghost," Doc smiled.
<Bruinhilda> The murals on the wall suddenly brightened, and the pictures began to move.
<Jayce> "Stay close, everyone. Keep alert," Zach whispered.
<Bruinhilda> "So is destruction, my dear Walter," it hissed.
<Jayce> "Yes, but destruction's WAY too messy for my refined taste."
<Bruinhilda> The people in the mural laughed and danced. Music could be, very faintly, heard.
<Jayce> "Scenes from the past," Zach surmised.
<Bruinhilda> "Oh, you WISH, Zachary!" the voice laughed.
<Bruinhilda> The music stopped. All the dancers turned towards the rangers.
<Bruinhilda> "Guys..." Doc said, backing up.
<Jayce> "If you're so high-and-mighty, then what do you need US for?!" Goose growled.
<Bruinhilda> "I don't," it hissed. "But when mice are in your house, you do what you can with them."
<Jayce> "Uhm, chase 'em away and wish them a pleasant journey?"
<CK> "We're not mice." Goose said.
<Bruinhilda> The dancers features started to melt and run. Faint screams echoed from the painting.
<Jayce> "Oh my God..." Zach whispered in a horrified tone.
<Bruinhilda> "Perhaps you need a *proper* demonstration."
<Jayce> "No, no, no, we're just fine seeing it all from here, thanks," Doc replied.
<Bruinhilda> The room suddenly heaved, and they crashed to the floor.
<Bruinhilda> When they looked up, the ceiling was miles above them.
<Jayce> "OW!" "Yeeowtch!" "Get your foot outta my ear!" "Sorry, Zozo." "You okay, Niko?" "Fine, Goose -- thanks for catching me."
<Bruinhilda> The hallway had become an immense room. Zozo backed into a wooden pillar, and yelped.
<Bruinhilda> "This doesn't look good..." Doc murmered.
<Jayce> "I have a BAD feeling about this," Niko said.
<Bruinhilda> Goose looked up. "A chair?" he asked, pointing to the pillar.
<Bruinhilda> "This looks VERY bad..."
<Bruinhilda> There was a yowl from the mural. As they watched, the paint rolled and heaved. And left the wall.
<Jayce> "No..." Zach whispered as realization dawns on him. "We're the SIZE of mice!"
<Bruinhilda> "How very astute," the moving paint hissed. "And I'm the cat."
<Jayce> "And he's the fox, so you're in big trouble," Doc replied as he jabbed a thumb at Zach.
<Bruinhilda> It solidified with a snap, into an immense grey cat.
<Allronix> "Scatter!" ye3lled Goose as the kitty charged.
<Bruinhilda> "Mount up! Now!" Zach leaped to Brutus's saddle, pulling Waldo with him.
<Jayce> "Aim for its eyes when you get a chance," he ordered.
<Bruinhilda> Everyone leaped to the horses, and bolted. The cat landed right where they had been.
<CK> To hell with a chance..." goosesaid, squeezing off shot after shot at the giganticfeline.
<Bruinhilda> It raised it's head, and gave an ear-shattering yowl.
<Jayce> Zach shrugged and joined in.
<Bruinhilda> Then it charged straight for goose.
<CK> Zach tapoed his badge and primed the thunderbolt as the cat leapttowards Gooseman
<Bruinhilda> "There was a tremendous explosion as it connected. The cat exploded.
<CK> "yeuch!" Doc said as splattered bits flew everywhere
<Jayce> "Eeeewwww!!" Zozo held his nose.
<Bruinhilda> "Everyone okay?" Zach asked.
<Bruinhilda> "Smellier, but fine." Doc brushed blood off his shirt.
<CK> They all noddedas the bits ofcat dissolved back into smears of paint.
<Jayce> "Yeah, Cap'n -- a bit scratched, but okay," Goose replied.
<Bruinhilda> "That was too easy," Niko murmured.
<Bruinhilda> "You are SO right, Niko," the voice snarled.
<Jayce> "I wish you wouldn't say things like that," Doc sighed.
<Bruinhilda> The floor evaporated underneath them.
<Jayce> "YAAHH!" "What the -- ?!" "Noooo!"
<Bruinhilda> They fell, screaming. There was nothing but darkness around them.
<Jayce> <Where'a an ecto-containment unit when you need it?>
<Bruinhilda> <good Doc line, that. :)>
<Jayce> They all clung to their cybersteeds, praying for the best.

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<Bruinhilda> The ground suddenly rushed up at them, and they hit with incredible force.
<Jayce> "Owtch!" "Ohh, my head!" "I think I broke -- everything!" "Where's an ecto-containment unit when you need it?!" Doc asked. "I'm gonna talk to Q-Ball about this when we get home!"

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<Bruinhilda> "Everyone still in one piece?" Zach asked.
<Jayce> "More or less," Niko groaned.
<Bruinhilda> "I thig I bok my ose," Zozo muttered.
<Jayce> Doc grabbed the first aid kit from Voyager and went to work.
<Bruinhilda> "Where are we now?" Waldo asked.
<Bruinhilda> They looked around. "Offhand, I'd say Dante's Inferno," Doc answered.
<Jayce> "Good guess," Zach muttered.
<Bruinhilda> They were on a field of rock and crystal. Fire swept in rivers ahead of them.
<Jayce> "Ghost traps -- definitely make ghost-traps standard Ranger issue in the field," Doc resolved.
<Jayce> "What now, Cap'n?" Goose asked.
<Bruinhilda> Zach looked up. Solid rock closed overhead as he watched.
<Bruinhilda> "We go forward, I guess. Nothing else we can do."
<Jayce> After repairing minor damage on the cybersteeds, they did just that.
<Bruinhilda> "Wilbuuuur, the ground is too hot. My feet will melt!" Voyager cried. "I want to go home!"
<Bruinhilda> "Easy, girl, we'll get there. Just keep moving," Doc soothed.
<Jayce> "Don't worry -- it'll all be over soon," Doc soothed.
<CK> "The only way home, voyager, is to go forward." Waldo advised.
<Bruinhilda> They kept walking. Fire and lava bubbled around them. Sulfer rose in steam.
<Jayce> Voyager kept muttering -- and even cursed once or twice -- about the heat in the place as she continued.
<Bruinhilda> "Where is all this coming from?" Zach asked.

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      • Merlin changes topic to "Wav trading commences.... :)�"

<Bruinhilda> "From us," Niko answered. "It's pulling images out of our mind, and making them real."
<Bruinhilda> "Maybe we should be thinking happy thoughts," Doc quipped.
<CK> "But is it actuallyreal?" Zach persisted.
<CK> "It is as real, Captain, as we can imagine it to be." Niko replied.
<Jayce> "wait a minute.. if we imagine a tropical island paradise with dozens of dancing girls, we'll be there?" Doc asked.
<Bruinhilda> "Possibly. But it twists everything to suit it's needs," Niko said.
<Jayce> "So much for a free vacation," Doc sighed.
<Bruinhilda> "You work with what you have," the voice gloated.
<Bruinhilda> A hula woman stepped out of the fire, grinning madly.
<Jayce> "If this isn't real, then we can WILL ourselves outta here?" Goose wanted to know.
<Bruinhilda> "Oh no, my dear Shane. Only I can will you out of here. And I will you to stay."
<Jayce> Doc looked at her in horror. "I really need to learn to shut up."
<Bruinhilda> She laughed, and imploded back into fire.
<Bruinhilda> The ground shook again, causing the horses to dance uneasily.
<Jayce> "Niko, if we combine our power can you get us out of this?" Zach asked.
<Bruinhilda> "I don't know. But it's worth a try."
<Bruinhilda> They joined hands, and activated their badges.
<Jayce> Niko makes a six-way telepathic link.
<Jayce> Oops, "made."
<Bruinhilda> *Everyone, concentrate on the hotel. Picture us back there.*
<CK> the familiar yellow glow surrounded them, radiating from Niko in gentle waves
<Jayce> She combined all their wills together as they reached out as one.

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<Bruinhilda> With a howl, the inferno around them became void, and pressed in on them. Only Niko's sheild kept it at bay.
<Jayce> *Hang on,* Zach told everyone.
<CK> "You won't leave - I won't let you!"
<Jayce> *Don't look back, keep the hotel in your minds,* Niko directed.
<Bruinhilda> *We're going,* Niko said.
<Bruinhilda> "We're GONE," Doc added. And they were.
<Jayce> *Suck on that, ya creep,* Goose gloated.
<CK> The hotel shimmered back into existacne around them, as did the howl of the storm outside.
<Bruinhilda> They reappeared in the lobby. Three feet off the floor.
<Bruinhilda> "Uh, whooops!" Doc gasped as they fell.
<Jayce> The 'steeds landed on their feet. Their riders held on.
<Bruinhilda> Oof! I see the floor's back," Goose grunted.
<Jayce> "Everyone all right?" Zach asked.
<Bruinhilda> "For now, anyway." Zach looked around.
<CK> It was all an illusion?" Waldo asked
<Jayce> "Yes and no," Niko replied.
<Bruinhilda> Niko leaned over Mel's back, breathing deeply.
<Bruinhilda> "I can't do that again, Captain."
<CK> "I think we have to risk the storm." Zach said.
<Jayce> "Might be our only way outta this mess," Gose concurrred.
<Bruinhilda> "Death inside, Death outside!" the voice roared.
<Jayce> "Hey, better the stings of sanfd particles then all of this poltergeist stuff," Doc agreed.
<Bruinhilda> "I vote for outside," Doc said.
<CK> Thr strom isn't as strong as it was. Only eighty mile winds whipping that gritty dust." It'll just sandblast us." Doc added.
<Bruinhilda> "Better the porch than here. Let's go."
<CK> Goose pulled open the big doors, and they all stepped outside into the blinding standstorm.
<Jayce> "Triton! Can you detect Ranger One?" Goose yelled as his voice was carried away by the winds.
<Bruinhilda> The wind buffeted them, whipping their hair and clothes. They ignored it as best they could, and moved away from the hotel.
<Bruinhilda> "It's too far away! We won't make it!" Waldo hollered.
<Bruinhilda> "Everybody, hunker down! Get as low to the ground as you can," Zach ordered.
<CK> "walk behind the horses. Use them as a shield!" Niko yelled
<Bruinhilda> They did, the horses as well, surrounding the frailer humanoids with their bodies.
<Bruinhilda> "What now? do we just sit it out?" Goose yelled.
<Bruinhilda> "Better than getting lost in that storm!" Zach responed.
<Bruinhilda> The storm raged unabated around them. Everyone closed their eyes against the grit, and prayed silently.
<Allronix> Isn't Ranger 1 destroyed?
<Jayce> Maybe they could ttake shelter in the remains -- a burned-out shell?
<Bruinhilda> <It is. But the hull would be shelter>
<Bruinhilda> <but, it's moot. They aren't going anywhere just yet>
<Bruinhilda> <Hang on, we're almost done>
<Jayce> <Could they take cover behind the buildings as they gradually move their way out of town?>
<Bruinhilda> <Safter to stay put, actually. They're in something of a lee.>
<CK> <why not walk beside the horses. The corses can canter - so use them as bodyshields.
<Bruinhilda> <Right now, I have them hunkered down under the worst of the wind, with the horses sheilding them. And the hotel isn't done yet...>
<CK> "Let's move over there. Closer to that wall. It'sfacing thestorm, so it can give us shelter!" Doc yelled
<Bruinhilda> "Do you really think I am confined to that wreck of a building?" The wind howled in a familar voice.
<Jayce> "Do it!" Zach yelled.
<Bruinhilda> "Oh no. Can't we get away from that thing?" Doc groaned.
<Jayce> "Matches the wreck of your mind," Niko muttered.
<Bruinhilda> "I AM this place, this town," the voice hissed. "I have always been here, and I always will be. And will fall, as everyone else who came here did."
<Bruinhilda> The wind stopped abruptly.
<Jayce> "That come with a money-back guarantee?" Doc asked.
<Bruinhilda> A Crown Trooper staggered towards them. The rangers raised their guns.
<Bruinhilda> With an inarticulate cry, it simple collapsed.
<Allronix> <live or robot, or do they wanna find out?>
<Bruinhilda> Sun suddenly shone brightly. All around them, troopers and slaverlords milled.
<Bruinhilda> <they won't have time. It's not real, anyway.>
<CK> "The memory image - it's all around us!" Niko gasped
<Bruinhilda> "Now what?" Zach asked. He fired at a slaverlord that ventured too close.
<Jayce> "Oh, goody -- target practice!" With a feral gleam in his eye, Goose lept up and started firing.
<Bruinhilda> The shots had no effect.
<Bruinhilda> Niko put a hand on his shoulder. "Its not real. Not yet, anyway."
<CK> A trooper fired at some unseen thing behind them, and they felt the heat of the beam as it swept by them.
<Bruinhilda> "Whoops. That was," Doc said.
<Jayce> "So what's real and what isn't?" Goose was extremely frustrated.
<CK> "Parts are more real than other." Niko said. "The things that could do massive or irreprable damage are the most real. The figures themsleves are nor real."
<Bruinhilda> "All is real. All is false. Only I am." The voice gloated.
<Bruinhilda> "you know, I'm getting REAL tired of you, pal," Goose snarled.
<Jayce> "If you're all that's real, I quit," Doc said.
<Bruinhilda> "Oh, Docy-poo, don't be that way," Doc leaped straight into the air as a beautiful woman snuggled up to him.
<Mauler> ml topic Evil Writing Session in progress, please take a seat...
<Jayce> "That the best you can do?" Zach taunted. "I bet that's all you are -- parlor tricks! You have no power -- you're the one who's not real!"
<Mauler> ml topic Evil Writing Session in progress, please take a seat...

      • Merlin changes topic to "Evil Writing Session in progress, please take a seat...�"

<Bruinhilda> "Oh, I'm VERY real, Zachary. And you can't escape me."
<Bruinhilda> Eliza appeared, and walked up to him. "I can make you VERY happy, or I can kill you. All at a whim."
<CK> Zach's eyes narrowed. "That is the last straw."
<CK> "You can take on any form, trick us, torment us. But when you have the gall to take on the form of someone like her, who I know would never be involved with this. Idrawe the line."
<Bruinhilda> "'very happy, or very fearful'..." Niko's eyes widened. "That's it!"
<Bruinhilda> Zach pulled his arm back in a punch. Niko grabbed it.
<CK> Zach stepped back, and tapped his badge. "You aren't Eliza." He said as the thunderbolt charged. "I don't know what you are, but I am not afraid of you!"
<Bruinhilda> "We don't have to fight it. THAT'S what it wants.
<CK> Zach turned his ar, and the thunderblt blasted harmlessly against a crumbling wall.
<CK> "You mean, let's just walk away?" Goose said.
<Bruinhilda> Niko glared at the phoney Eliza. "It's a glamour. It feeds on strong emotion. That's why it hasn't killed us."
<Allronix> He turned to the illusion of his spouse, and said in a tone of sarcasam that Doc would have approved of, "Hi, honey. how's the kids?"
<Bruinhilda> "Eliza's" grin faltered.
<Jayce> *Way to go, Zach,* Doc silently crowed.
<CK> "You can't win." she/it said
<Bruinhilda> Niko looked at it with contempt. "We already have."
<Jayce> "You just can't see it," Doc interjected.
<Bruinhilda> She turned around, and walked away. "Let's go." Everyone followed her.
<CK> The figure shimmered and became The queen herself.
<Bruinhilda> "You can't escape!" she shrieked.
<CK> "You can't leave! I am in control of the situation here!"
<Jayce> It was one of the hardest things Goose had ever done -- but he turned and followed the others -- presenting himself as a visible target.
<Bruinhilda> "I will always be with you! No matter where you go, what you do, I will follow you!"
<Allronix> "I'm used to that," Zach said, continuing the sarcasm.
<Bruinhilda> It's shrieks dissolved into the howl of the wind...much lesser this time.
<Jayce> They ignored her as they moved on.
<CK> A massive explosion ripped throuhg the town behind them. Sending flaming fire and debris screaming towards them at near-sonic speeds.
<Bruinhilda> "Just keep walking," Niko advised. Her voice was shaky, but firm.
<Jayce> They kept on going, paying no heed to the illusion snares.
<CK> The debris flew past and through them, being an illusion, it did no damage

  • Mauler "Game over man! Game over!"

<Bruinhilda> The wind howled around them. They ignored it. Lightning struck nearby, and they ignored that as well.
<Bruinhilda> Zach suddenly blinked. They all looked up in surprise. The storm itself was gone, as was the town.
<CK> the wind slowly died down, the sand begn to settle, and the sky became it's normal calm self
<Jayce> "It's... over," he finally said.
<Bruinhilda> They were standing among ruined foundations. In the distance, one of Tortuna's suns crept above the horizon.
<Jayce> "No more ghost stories for me -- EVER!" Doc exclaimed.
<CK> They heard the sound of engines, and saw another Ranger cruiser desscending towards them.
<Bruinhilda> Niko sagged against Mel. "I suggest we get out of here. While we still can."
<Jayce> "Agreed -- move out, everyone," ZAch instructed.
<Mauler> Goose: "but that things still there...isn't it?
<CK> probably." Niko replied.
<Bruinhilda> "It is. And we can't do anything about it."
<Jayce> Goose helped Niko on to Mel, then rode alongside her on Triton.
<Bruinhilda> "Except mark it on the map," Zach said.
<CK> and avoid it in future." Zozo finished.
<Bruinhilda> "I suggest an old-fashioned 'here there be dragons', Captain," Doc said.
<Jayce> "Or DO NOT COME UNLESS YOU'RE THE QUEEN," Doc smirked.
<CK> <g>
<Jayce> Oops, make that Goose.
<Bruinhilda> Niko started giggling. Then, one by one, they all started laughing, to the surprise of the rescue crew.
<CK> We done?
<CK> <what else is there>
<Bruinhilda> The ship rose in a cloud of dust, and took off. Eventually, the dust settled back down.
<Jayce> <Their report that goes into the circular file?>
<Bruinhilda> All except one cloud, that drifted back into the ruined town.

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<Mauler> ...or the x-file? <G>
<Bruinhilda> <END OF STORY>
<LadyNiko> cool!

  • Bruinhilda bows with a flourish

<Mauler> Nicre.
<Mauler> Nice.
[LadyNiko SOUND]
<Jayce> YAY, Kat!!!!! :) <Cheers, claps, applauds, hugs, and bows low in homage.>
<CK> nice and fun
<Bruinhilda> <g> It has been a LOOONG time since we did something this much fun.

  • LadyNiko snickers and wonders if I should bring "trippeyville" over here <g>

<Mauler> EEK!
<Bruinhilda> Give us a bit to recover, first. :)
Session Close: Fri Jul 10 20:09:44 1998