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Gemini Ascendant: Reborn


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Six Months Ago

Dar'Gredick watched the dim light of Kastos spread over the tall spires of Tunag. It was peaceful in the "now" of the moment and that serenity passed itself unto his hulking form. In this state, he was able to tune his sense of everything around him, as he had been taught for the last few years. He detected the approaching servant by his aura long before he even heard the heartbeat.

 

Without a word, he reached under the folds of his tunic and withdrew a device about as long as his forearm. A quick flip of a switch caused the glowing blade of energy to appear. Dar'Gredick studied it for several moments, enjoying the faint hum of the weapon. It felt like victory assured in just a few skillful cuts.

 

"That is not for you now. You know this."

 

Dar'Gredick nodded to nobody in particular and flipped the switch off. The blade disappeared, with a slight tearing sound. He placed it inside the offered box and dismissed it from his mind before he heard the lid close and latch. The servant exited with a bow and no words. That suited the Zharog Emperor's mood well. Fewer words, or none at all, was his preference this morning.

 

"Have you sent the envoy yet?" the sole other person asked. Dar'Gredick grunted at the intrusion into his thoughts and then quickly smoothed over his irritation.

"Yes. There will be peace. At least for a while. The Holdlords are a constant threat. The Ascension will throw them off guard, but not for long. And once we-" he started to reply.

 

"Speak not of that now. It is better to not distract yourself from the Ascension Rite," the other voice said without inflection. Despite its chill tone, Dar'Gredick sensed a small bit of kindness. He grunted again, though this time out of habit.

 

"The humans call it apotheosis," he offered.

 

"We shall not become a god. Our khalha will join together and be more than either of us separately. Our power shall increase ten-fold, perhaps more. But we shall remain of this universe and not another. At least for a time."

 

"Is there no other way?" Dar'Gredick asked. He already knew the answer and the other person did not answer. It had shared that knowledge a long time in the past.

"If only Ta'Rang and his crew did not open the rift." Dar'Gredick mused. "Perhaps none of this would have come to pass."

 

"Ta'Rang's actions were inevitable. I warned you that trying to destroy him would only have unpredictable results. In the end, our destiny is inevitable. It always was. All that we can do is summon our courage and face what is to come."

 

"What is to come," Dar'Gredick echoed. "Very well then, let is begin."

 

The Present

The old woman sat with her legs curled up and knees nearly touching her chin. Little did she realize how that action mirrored that of another member of the crew. She would not have cared if somebody had noticed. Some behaviors run so deep that you are born with them.

 

She let her consciousness wander; a dangerous thing on this world. Out of the hull of the ship in which she sat and over the icy shelf. Down through the research station and into the caverns beneath, all the way past the security checkpoint and beyond. She stopped when she drew too close to.....whatever that thing she sensed was. Carefully she withdrew her spirit closer to the Night Owl. She detected the fading aura of her pupil and the others. She stretched out again, following another path.

 

The warbling in the khalha nearly caught her off guard. That Thing had stirred, reaching from the depths of an eternal slumber towards consciousness. The echoes of its alien mind rippled through the world. A shockwave rolled through her consciousness at the same time the ground trembled beneath her body on the ship. She felt the tunnel collapse in front of her and snapped back to her body as if yanked back.

 

She lay there for several minutes. It took her that long to inventory herself and make sure that her body was still functioning. She picked herself up off the floor, stumbling a little bit as she stood up. She could not calm her mind enough to perceive beyond the body and she felt herself shaking.

 

"I am on the Night Owl not in those caves," she said to calm herself. But Samantha and Ta'Rang; the crew was under those rocks that had collapsed in the tunnel far beneath her!

 

Acknowledging that was the hardest thing she had done. Tears welled up in her eyes. Unbidden they came and for the first time in over a century, Kaylea Strom cried uncontrollably. She had tried to guide them and to save them. So much had hinged upon them and now they were dead. Despair took her.

 

Time passed. She was not sure how long she sat in the pilot's chair, lost in her own misery. Now it was time to act. But how? She was one old woman no matter her strength in the khalha. She stood more steadily this time and reached under her robes to retrieve a cylinder about as long as her forearm and just thick enough to fit comfortably in her grip.

 

She pressed a button, cleverly hidden amongst the scrollwork of the baton, and a beam of white light with almost blue edges sprung out to just over a meter in length. The khalha blade hummed in her hand as she assumed a stance. Slowly she began to move through a series of forms; almost a dance. With each step, each shift in her stance, Kaylea cleared her mind.

 

Once again she stretched out down the same path her consciousness took earlier. She firmly tamped down on a moment of hesitation as she reached the rubble that now clogged the tunnel. Slowly she scanned through the rubble until she found the first positive sign.

 

It took her only a moment to decide. She bundled all of her considerable power into her consciousness.

 

"Wake up Ta'Rang," she called as she started feeding energy into his nearly lifeless form. It was not easy at this range.

 

"Wake up Ta'Rang."

 

More and more energy she poured until at last her calls were answered by a faint moan.

 

"Wake up Ta'Rang. Your time for glory is NOW!"

 

Gemini Ascendant: Reborn

Welcome to the Gemini Ascendant: Reborn thread. After over a year on hiatus, the Gemini Ascendant crew are about to resume their journey across Frontier space and wreak havoc upon the very foundation of reality.

 

Characters have already been established so no guidelines will be posted here at the moment.

 

For the Players:

We will be using MapTool 1.3b80. This is supposed to be the final version of the 1.3 series. We have heard all that before, but we'll give it a shot and hope for the best. Keep in mind that I have changed the macros in some very significant ways. None of these way should affect what you do, but the results will be different and hopefully faster.

 

Here is a quick rundown:

 

  1. The Characteristic Builder now automatically updates the "current" values so you no longer need to hit Reset to Default right after inputting your characteristics.
  2. Added Systems Operation as an Everyman skill.
  3. The Attack Macro has been totally revamped. Instead of a box for "number of shots" and two separate multiple attack rules, I've created a hybrid of the Autofire and Multiple Attack rules. You will be able to choose up to five targets and the macro goes. In addition, the macro now automatically calculates damage, saving everybody the time it would take to hit Apply Damage.
  4. I've added Mental Attacks for Doc Caspar and whomever else happens to by psychically active. These work just like the regular attack powers, except that they have no range modifier. Since the macro already just grabs targets that your token can "see," it's just like Line of Sight for mental powers.

 

For Everyone Else (aka What's All This About?)

The Gemini Ascendant game was a Space Opera game originally based in the Star Frontiers setting a couple hundred years after the published timeframe. Over time, elements of Alien Wars and Terran Empire were tossed into the mix. Eventually, the whole setting was rebooted into a whole new one.

 

You can see the original Gemini Ascendant thread here.

Some write ups of technological items here.

And some recaps of the first three "seasons" of Gemini Ascendant here. There were two more after that, and you can get some information from my Hero blog. (Start with the last page and move forward.)

 

Thanks for stopping by.

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Re: Gemini Ascendant: Reborn

 

Reborn

static noise, a radio with no signal, surrounded the air. The buzz resonated in her bones, in her soul.

 

The first death is the hardest. The sudden realization that banking left just wasn't good enough. A plume of fire, the cockpit goes up as terror creeps in. The final moment of resignation. Black.

 

The static is a moving thing, a thousand thousand voices on the wind.

 

You get used to it after a while. . . the planetary bomber came gliding down. Star Angels they were called, at least by the side they supported. Huge long winged things with thousands of pounds of munitions. The anti-aircraft fire came like a torrential rain, angry at the sky. Fire and smoke. It began to spin, falling out of the big blue. She calmly sat in the cockpit, wrestling the yoke to keep the dying machine close to target. Nose down. one wing gone, the doors open. And death reigns down, one extra incendiary device amongst the explosions. In the end, bombers make good bombs too.

 

The static becomes the void. A thing watching, waiting, a presence with intent.

 

The gunshot was unexpected. In retrospect everyone should have seen in coming. They had been at it for weeks, shouting, threatening. They just never expected him to really pull the gun. She was always a little extra tense on planets, and that days screaming match between pilots escalated. She blinked and never looked down at the blood. Instead just falling back. The ground hit with a thud, it would have knocked the wind out of her lungs, if one of them weren't filling up with blood. The bright blue sky looked down, a few clouds floated freely. She smiled. And died again.

 

The Void Watches. The white noise is resolving to voices, hundreds of them speaking at once in a dozen languages.

 

The open black stared back. The rescue never came, the fleet had been defeated, forced out of sector. Eventually the air in the suit ran out. And dead open eyes watched the great expanse, looking past all the stars. A gentle smile on her lips.

 

Your purpose is waiting. Awaken and continue.

 

Last fighter out, out running the fireball as the hangar deck exploded, a barrage of missiles turning it to scrap. Her fight lasted seven minutes and ten seconds. She had a kill count of eighteen before too much of her own fighter was destroyed. Unable to maneuver she just held down the trigger waiting for the end. Calm resolve.

 

The static noise becomes a signal. A single voice. A reason.

 

Awaken.

 

Samantha breathes. And opens her eyes.

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Re: Gemini Ascendant: Reborn

 

Would you still be accepting players? I'd definitely be an "occasional" player but would love to try an online game - even if I once again have a local crew to HERO it up with ;)
Sorry but we currently do not have any openings. Check the Player Finder forum. Savinien, one of my former players, is getting ready to start on online game. I am sure he would be happy to have an extra recruit.
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Season 5, Episode 6: Pandora's Box Part I

 

Catching Up

The Gemini Crew is back in action! When we last left our heroes, they were following up on a distress call that led them to an uncharted planet. Subtle clues and information from sources unavailable to others revealed that they were going to confront an Elder, a being from the dawn of time and the embodiment of chaos and destruction. As they made their way to this climactic battle, a smaller battle took place in the cramped tunnels ahead of them. A battle that caused the ceiling above them to collapse on top of them.

 

Current

Wade found himself pinned. Why he was still able to think was a mystery to him. He should have been dead. The reason for his salvation soon became clear as he felt metal in his thrashing around. It took him a moment to put everything together, but he remembered Killian's pet robot Micah grabbing him is the debris fell. It was Micah that hunkered over him at this moment, protecting him still from the rubble that threatened to collapse.

 

"I wish this hunk of metal was awake," Wade thought.

 

Almost on cue, the three eye sensors lit up and Micah began reciting a litany of bootstrap procedure calls.

Summary of Events

The crew found themselves in quite a pickle this time, with the ceiling above them collapsing and trapping them under a couple of tons of rubble. Luckily, between Doc Caspar's special abilities and Ta'Rang's energy sword, everybody was able to get free.

 

A new companion, Jack, joined them. As it turned out, Jack's unit was scouting the planet and had been ambushed by zharog warriors. During the battle, one of the zharog threw a grenade. The resulting explosion is what caused the cave-in. Jack was tossed away from the collapsing chamber and ended up in a pocket between the rubble that blocked him from his team and the Gemini crew. He crawled through the narrow space left after the deadfall and came upon the others. Their greeting was somewhat less than friendly.

 

"Freeze scum bucket," Wade cried as he drew his pistol.

Jack was taken aback, both by the hostility and the large caliber slug thrower pointed at his direction. No less so because Ta'Rang stood with his khalha blade and ordered him to identify himself or face death. He tried his best "business" tone, "Alliance military. And I rather resent being called a "scum bucket." I am quite pleasant actually."

Once introductions were over, an aftershock brought even more of the roof down. Being prepared this time, the crew managed to avoid any further inconvenience. Indeed, the latest instability revealed a corridor above them. Unlike the natural cave they were in, this one appeared to be of dressed stone. It was probably that fact, more than anything else, that saved them.

 

Killian assisted Jack in repairing his radio while Doc Caspar kindly scanned the local area for minds. She locked in on Jack's team fairly quickly and discovered that they were still engaged against enemy forces.

 

Meanwhile, Samantha and Ta'Rang climbed up into the other corridor, where they noticed a dim light coming from a larger chamber at the end. After notifying the others, Samantha and Ta'Rang started moving cautiously down the hallway. As he got closer to the large chamber, Ta'Rang started to feel an enormous source of khalha energy. He sped up, almost involuntarily led by his curiosity to find out what such a powerful being would be. He found that it was Dar'Gredick.

 

Dar'Gredick had changed. The last time they met him, he was simply a powerful member of the Dargha clan (zharog heavyworlders). Now his form coursed with khalha energy. Ta'Rang immediately identified the energy as coming from one of the ancient beings that had been released about the time they had met Samantha.

 

None of that mattered to Wade, who immediately fired both his weapons at the zharog emperor. It was not so much that Dar'Gredick resisted the damage from those powerful weapons as much as he simply didn't acknowledge it.

 

"There is no need for that Wade McCode. I am not your enemy," Dar'Gredick sighed.

 

"Yeah, right," came the bitter reply.

Ta'Rang also attempted to surprise Dar'Gredick but was easily avoided by the powerful being. After a brief exchange where Ta'Rang accused Dar'Gredick of depriving him peace and Dar'Gredick commented that Ta'Rang was impulsive as the "traitor Alvarez," the two parties began a serious negotiation.

 

As it turns out, Dar'Gredick needs the Gemini crew to seek out four of the most powerful psychics in the frontier. Ta'Rang stubbornly refuses to help until Dar'Gredick can "prove" he is telling the truth. Dar'Gredick offers this truth in the form of a vision that he shares with Ta'Rang.

 

At first there is nothing, and then you are joined by a presence. Similar to the one that inhabited you before but different. This one is stronger, more forceful. But it does not seek to force, only to guide. It shows you aeons past in this very room. Hundred of beings joined together. They are pouring energy into a rift, slowly causing it to stitch shut like a wound. Even as they slowly close the rift, they die one by one, consumed by the sheer amount of khalha energy they are channeling. Soon there are only a few left. The rift is sealed, but those few know that it is only a patch. That someday the rift will open and the Elder will emerge.
The image blurs and you are no longer in the past, nor the present, but you are in the same room. Arranged at five points, like a pentacle, are Dar'Gredick, Taffy, a Z'Qruin Queen, Czarina, and some other species you do not recognize. The amount of khalha is staggering. Samantha then steps in the middle of them and the khalha is channeled through her. Something familiar....the Void! answers her call. The Void is the killing stroke. It will consume the Elder.

 

After seeing the vision, Ta'Rang agrees to help. But first, they must kill Alvarez to keep him from waking up the Elder. Dar'Gredick warns them that Alvarez is much more powerful since "joining" with the Elder. He also advises Samantha that Alvarez destroyed Elvis.

 

On their way to the lower chambers near the heart of the sealed rift, Samantha finds Elvis's head mounted on a staff. A single note is attached to the shaft; "Flowers."

 

ALVAREZ!!!

Behind the Scenes

Some of the quoted text is taken directly from the chat log and some of it is embellished a bit to add color. It is a new thing I am trying, along with moving these summaries from the blog format to the discussion board format. I hope both work well.

 

This is our first session in over a year. As such, I walked into it fully expecting to have some glitches. Good thing too, as we had them in spades. MapTool 1.3b80 has some sort of bug that causes Out of Memory errors when it autosaves. The coolest thing about this bug is that it only seems to manifest when the server is connected to clients. So I could not have foreseen this if I tried.

 

After some debate and some fiddling, I shut down the server, updated Java, restarted the server and turned off Autosave. There were still problems, but not the game stopping ones from before. I do not exaggerate game stopping. Each time I pressed a key, an error window would pop up. And they were all hollow with just the outer frame. Made chatting impossible unless I typed something in a text editor and pasted it in. I posted my findings at RPTools.net, but ultimately decided to regress to 1.3b74 after the game.

 

Aside from the technical side of things, I had a lot of fun. The group fell into their old roles (and new for Ragnarok) like they were a set of comfortable clothes. A lot happened in the three hours that we actually got to play (subtracting 30 minutes roughly for down time).

 

For this season, I actually have a plan for the sequence of events. I am going to try to guide the players along that path as much as I can without issuing passes to the G&M Railroad. We'll see how that turns out.

 

Great game everybody.

 

Experience

A great first outing with some pretty impressive roleplay to it. Everybody gets 1 for Show and 1 for Roleplay.

 

As always, an arc must be completed before XP can be spent.

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Re: Gemini Ascendant: Reborn

 

One other thing. The Hero Boards server downtime is happening the Monday before our game on the 20th. While I hope HERO is able to make the transition with as little pain as possible, technical stuff has me a little on edge. I suggest that we have a chat program up in the background on that day. My handle on AIM and Google Talk is.....wait for it......Nolgroth. Surprised? :) If we have some sort of chat backup, at least we can pass notes back and forth if there are any more issues.

 

Remember, we are switching back to 1.3b74. Sorry again about the debacle last night.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Re: Gemini Ascendant: Reborn

 

Due to an unexpected (but good, very good) chain of events, I will have to cancel the game tonight. I apologize for the last minute notice. I shall see you next week. Thanks.

 

The good news is that it gives me an extra week to prepare the next segment of the campaign. This is a good thing for all involved. Again, thanks for your understanding and I look forward to our next session.

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