Chapter 20 Melo's Hell, or Just Hell

Alright, everyone in?
Jacob R.: I am

Ambrose Betamax is ambrose shaped

Melo is shaped like a one and one half armed human.
Augmented < .: I love how it says on my char sheet that I “speak american”

Ambrose Betamax doesn’t really know how relevant this part of the group is until hell is over
AJ B. (GM): Well, last we left off you were in a bar having been left with a merc that you and Leah had hired to help you guys protect Melo.
As you are waiting Leah rushes back into the bar at full speed barreling into it and rolling over the top crashing into the back making some glasses fall. She tries to stand up as quick as she can a few cuts on her skin from the glass. “Melo’s in trouble, hospital needs Ambrose.”

Ambrose Betamax instantly gets up and follows.
Augmented < .: “Do you need me to come with you?”
AJ B. (GM): Leah nods “No telling what’s going on and more firepower is always a good thing. All I was told was bring Ambrose to Melo asap.”

Augmented < . gets up and walks over to the door
AJ B. (GM): Leah leads you both back to the hospital where a doctor is waiting. “Excellent very pleased to see you. We have news, and well frankly a problem with your friend. Please come with me.” With that he turns and walks briskly down a hallway.
Augmented < .: “Who’s this friend?”, he asks to Leah
AJ B. (GM): Leah nods as they walk “Melo Craft, a hero to the D-bees of the city, an enemy to those who prefer them to remain downtrodden, and a loyal friend and protector of Ambrose. He recently lost his arm to a demon and the hospital has been trying to help him.”
The doctor reaches a surprisingly durable door that appears to be made of steel. “Now before we enter there are some guidelines I will need all of you to follow. 1) Make no attempt to take his gun no matter what action he takes. 2) Do not touch him unless explicitly instructed by one of the staff. 3) Refrain from aiming any weapons towards him. 4) If a staff member says leave, don’t argue just do it. Are we clear?”
Freskari: “Sure… how come you let him keep his gun though?”
Ambrose Betamax: “this does not sound promising. Oh dear.”
AJ B. (GM): “He’s in a comatose and panicked state and missing more then his arm. His soul apparently got lost as well. His gun acts as a sort of safety blanket from a total shutdown. It was unloaded and therefore we Thought it was of no threat.”
Ambrose Betamax: “ha.”
Melo: (Cackles Priceless reaction)
AJ B. (GM): Leah nods her agreement and the doctor opens the door leading you in before you are a variety of machines, including Vault and a cyborg half his size who you have never seen. The small cyborg’s chassis is white with a red cross blazen across his chest and a second smaller one on his forehead. In the center of the room lies Melo (who I will let describe himself)

Melo was, when it came down to it, surprise of all surprises, a human! White flesh, hair down to his neck (Though that might be hard to see ‘cause he’s laying on it), three point five limbs, a head. In general, he looked fairly normal, if well built. His skin was a bit more pale than one might expect where it wasn’t showing the darkened brown-blue of bruising, though the broad optical implants across face didn’t look any worse for ware, chrome clean and shiney against bruised but healing skin. Just as focused as ever, the faintly iridescent blue looked blankly upwards. One never could tell when he was or wasn’t watching through those windows that actually weren’t windows to the soul for more reasons then one. Clad in simple hospital robes, his right arm was missing just below the elbow, a flat stump stitched closed and healing, though it still didn’t look exactly like the most healthy thing it the world. After all, an arm should have been there. In his left hand, o’corse, was a black laser rifle of a foreign make, massive scope on top, its clip missing from the handle, and the pump grenade launcher hopefully unloaded under it’s barrel. Otherwise, he looked like any other long haired white guy who’d been through a hell of a car crash, or perhaps a mugging. Nope, no real threat here. Just the slow rise and fall of breath and the steady ‘Beep. Beep. Beep.’ of a heart monitor moving at some 40 or so beats per minute.
Melo: (Hi. I write books. Sorry.)
Freskari: lol.
Vault: “Greetings Ambrose.” At all of seven foot tall, he’s your standard, every day death bot, built out in chrome, insignia “VAI_ILT” inscribed over his left chest plate. He looked a bit like a skelly bot, but less.. Spiked and skull like’.
(To Augmented < .): To make life easy:
Freskari: rolling 1d4
= 1
Ambrose Betamax: (well, your head just exploded)
AJ B. (GM): (going to respond to Vault at all Ambrose?)
Melo: (That’s.. Actually very possible at present.)

Ambrose Betamax looks at vault. “He still won’t take off the sunglasses.”
AJ B. (GM): The doctor just shakes his head and begins to open his mouth when Leah shakes her head and makes a shushing gesture towards him.

Vault didn’t make a move at the comment, responding in that simple, mechanical voice of his, ever polite in tone and inflection, despite the monotone underlines, “Ambrose, The Commander does not appear to be wearing sunglasses at present.”
Ambrose Betamax: “those are clearly sunglasses.”

Vault might, if he were programed to have a Genuine People Personality™ subroutine, think to himself, ‘Brain the size of a planet, and here I am with a deer who thinks bionic implants are sunglasses…’ But he didn’t. No, his programing went another route. “Ambrose, your assessment has been recorded for future reference. Most will find your assessment incorrect. The Commander has also requested that I instruct you to stop attempting to disassemble the fortress.”
Ambrose Betamax: lol
AJ B. (GM): The doctor just shakes his head. “Alright now that we’re on the subject of his requests. He has somehow been relaying them through Vault while still remaining comatose. Vault also returned with his arm a little while after you brought him in. Unfortunately something is preventing my staff from reattaching the limb.”
Ambrose Betamax: “Oh, what?”
AJ B. (GM): “Well quite simply any one of flesh that comes into contact with him goes into a full scale panic attack within 2 minutes, if contact isn’t broken for 5 minutes they begin to scream until they pass out. The single subject that held on after passing out began to suffer lacerations to the torso and eventually bled out. Our cyborg devision has faired better but not greatly. Upon contact they begin to malfunction having various pieces shut down until they are a brain trapped in an unmoving body.”

Melo went out fighting. He hasn’t stopped.
Ambrose Betamax: “…huh. that’s…odd.”
“vault, what’s with that?”
Vault: “The Commander has advised that he knows something is missing, and he has requested I assist in locating it. I have insufficient data to identify what he is searching for. The Commander is right handed however, but has indicated that his arm is not missing, as it has already been returned to him.” As always, his words were polite yet flat, showing no concern or alarm, simple raw statements of fact. “My programing does not include the appropriate subroutines to assist in the reattachment of The Commander’s limb, and access to my data banks and programing is restricted to those with appropriate access and the correct command codes.”

Melo looks surprisingly peaceful for someone who is able to kill people when he’s in a coma.
Ambrose Betamax: "Well we know his soul is missing but everyone is already in hell going to get it anyways. sort of.
AJ B. (GM): The cyborg speaks up. “Due to repeated references to Ambrose during this state, including when he Somehow blew up the previous door. We theorize that Ambrose’s presence may allow someone to contact him without being damaged. Doctor I request that we begin soon.” The doctor nods and turns to Ambrose. “We need you to talk to him, while my assistant attempts to reattach his arm.”
Ambrose Betamax: “Ok. Melo, please stop killing everyone who triest to fix you.”
Melo: (Haha)
Ambrose Betamax: ’they’d really appreciate it."

Melo makes the heart rate monitor go ‘Beep. Beep. Beep.’ At a steady rate of about 40 beats a minute. Granted, he was doing this just before Ambrose asked, too. And before Ambrose even got there.
Ambrose Betamax: “That’s probably code or something.”
AJ B. (GM): The cyborg places a hand on Melo’s shoulder and there is the prompt crackle of electricity as his arm goes limp and falls to it’s side out of contact with Melo.
Ambrose Betamax: “Maybe if I hold his hand or something.”
Freskari: “just be careful that doesn’t take out your arm too.”
(From AJ B. (GM)): you felt a brief intrusion into your mind, one similar to but different from Vault then a sensation of something moving past you at incredible speed before it was gone.

Ambrose Betamax grabs Melo’s remaining arm and points at it. “bad. let them attach your brother.”

Melo would tense a bit, that heart rate monitor picking up in pace a bit. 43. 44. 47. And then down to 42 once more; slightly elevated, but nothing alarming for someone who’s in, when it comes down to it, peak physical condition.

Ambrose Betamax wonders.
(From AJ B. (GM)): you feel a new sensation inside your mind one very familiar, the desire to facepalm is almost instant and the mental map says the source is in the maze behing that door.
AJ B. (GM): In the hospital room Ambrose seems to have zoned out into a daydream as soon as he touched Melo. and Leah looks towards Freskari with a worries expression.
In the hospital room Ambrose yells Melo in a rather excited voice and Leah looks more confused. “Umm, should we do something?”
Freskari moves to grab Ambrose’s arm
AJ B. (GM): Everyone holds their breath except for Ambrose and Melo who have no reaction at all.

Melo so far, hasn’t even raised his gun! Though his hand would be held rather tightly about it’s grip, his index finger was outside of the trigger guard.
Freskari pulls the deer-being’s arm free
Ambrose Betamax: “wha-hey aaagh aaaw.”
Freskari: “What happened?” Freskari asks quickly
Ambrose Betamax: “I had a little pet melobot.”
Freskari: “?”
Ambrose Betamax: "It was cute! in a “sp ugly it’s cute” sorta way.
(From AJ B. (GM)): The sensation of facepalm inducing presence in the maze has disappeared.
Freskari: stares, confused as to what he is trying to say
AJ B. (GM): Leah shrugs “Ambrose, how about you start from the beginning after you touched Melo’s arm so the doctors might be able to help?”

Melo would remain somewhat tense, heart beat fluxing between 42 and 43 beats per minute according to that heart monitor he was strapped into, but otherwise his vitals were stable.
Ambrose Betamax: “Well I was in this maze sorta place and there was this little tiny creature I found while I was looking for someone to give me directions.”
AJ B. (GM): Leah just kinda blinks. “Alright, that’s on a new level of weird.”
Ambrose Betamax: “IT WAS ADORABLE

Melo is juuuuuuuust a little screwed up in the head. Just a little. Where as Ambrose’s mind might be filled with cuddly nightmares frolicing with everything cute and innocent, his are dark, twisted paths of.. No, wait. They’re tangles of bruised brain cells. Oh yeah. This moment of Science brought to you by Exposition.
AJ B. (GM): The doctor shakes his head. “The mind is a mystery and often described as a maze, perhaps Melo is psychically reaching out and pulling those touching him into it, however like the body the mind will defend itself against intruders.” He points to Freskari “We need better information and you strike me as a man who knows what to look for. Would you go in with Ambrose and see what you can learn?”
Ambrose Betamax: "wouldn’t he be an intruder?
Freskari: “Would I even be able to? I assumed that only Ambrose could.”
“If so, then I suppose.”
AJ B. (GM): “Most probably, I am hoping though that the fact Melo’s mind sees you as a guest you would merit him some protection. I doubt it is just Ambrose. I suspect my staff that went in met up with whatever Ambrose did and it somehow reacted poorly to them. Ambrose did the creature you met have any blades that you could see?”
Ambrose Betamax: “the little guy was only ankle tall, But there was something else I didn’t get a good look at, since this man pulled me away right when I turned the corner.”
AJ B. (GM): “Well if you are both willing we would be extremely grateful for you doing what you can.”
Ambrose Betamax: “ok.”
Freskari: “Alright, let’s go ahead then.”
AJ B. (GM): The doctor nods "Alright both of you touch his arm. Leah and I will remain here if you need us to pull you out just yell “OUT” it seems loud exclamations do break through to the body."

Ambrose Betamax does as he;s told. “I hope I can find the little dude again.”
Freskari: grabs the remaining arm of the comatose man
AJ B. (GM): As soon as you do you both appear in the maze right where Ambrose was before but now the small creature is lying on its side and Melo is kneeling over it. It begins to screech a horrible noise and scrabble its legs the instant you enter. The walls themselves are shifting now as well, the parts moving but only just barely as if they are trying to connect but can’t. The loud thunk, Thunk, THunk of heavy metal running along a metal walkway is coming towards the three of you.

Ambrose Betamax tries to help the little thing.
AJ B. (GM): As soon as it is up it jumps between Ambrose and Freskari blades popping out of its legs. (picture of the thing is on the map for reference btw) and it begins to scrape the metal floor leaving deep gouges as it crouches and prepares to leap. (also is only about ankle high for height comparison)
Freskari: (so a robot headcrab? :P)
AJ B. (GM): (pretty much, though it has the face of a 6 year old boy with a permanent thankful smile on its “face”)
Ambrose Betamax: “whoooa whoa it’s ok lil guy!”
Freskari: "I suggest we follow him.

Melo was standing there, in that world of metal and parts, bricks made of clips, shell casings, bolts and rivets, steel and ceramic plates all layered atop and interwoven. A patchwork of mechanical parts. A world of the mechanical trying to imitate the organic. Really, more accurately, he was crouched there, rifle on his back, right arm a ghostly display over a digital wireframe as solid as anything else, reaching out for the small drone, jaw just a bit slack. That trembling thunk was almost ignored for a moment.. At least, until that thing finally righted itself. About he’d look, following it.. And right past Ambrose, and someone he didn’t know. His instant reaction? That rifle would be in his hand, and pointed at Freskari. “AMBROSE! MOVE, NOW!” Yeah, that.. honestly, did anyone really expect any other kind of a reaction? There was a frantic look about the man.
AJ B. (GM): The thing turns and looks at Ambrose right as another creature rounds the corner. This one standing head and shoulders above everyone and with the face of a male in his late forties twisted with rage coming around the corner and rushing towards the group.
Ambrose Betamax: “oh, hi melo! (he’d do as told.)”Your brain is scary!"
Freskari runs quickly around the large creature, putting it in the distance between him and the gun. If he was going to be shot at, he could at least lead the bullets in the right direction.
AJ B. (GM): (Alright I need a dodge roll from you Freskari as the creature reaches out and attempts to slam its claws into your stomach)
Freskari: (Not my stomach!)
Melo: (I keep all my giblets in there!)
Freskari: (Also what would my dodge roll be in dice?)
Melo: (1d20+ whatever your dodge bonus is; Sorry, can’t help you there as I don’t know any stats or bonuses for race / class)
Freskari: (and is there a specific number I need to pass, or is it just up to the GM?)
Melo: (At the least, 1d20+3, digging quickly as I can)
AJ B. (GM): (it’s a vs roll, I’ll have him roll to strike, usually put it in a hidden roll, you roll higher and you dodge, tie goes to the defender, crit can only be met with crit no matter the bonuses)
Freskari: rolling 1d20 + 7
= 14
AJ B. (GM): Freskari easily slips behind the creature who allows the momentum to carry it in a full spin until it is facing the man behind him. (alright if this is going to continue combat going to need init rolls from everyone)
Ambrose Betamax: (my bonus was +what again?)
Melo: rolling 1d20
4 (Init; checking Ambrose)
= 5
Freskari: (…)

Melo is apparently slow in his head. He’s still reeling from memories with the little guy.
Melo: (I have Ambrose at.. at least 1d20+1; confirming, think its higher than that)
Freskari: rolling 1d20+2
Ambrose Betamax: rolling 1d20 + 1
= 11
Freskari: rolling 1d20 + 2
= 9
Melo: (1d20+4, so 14 for Ambrose)
AJ B. (GM): (disregard the Freskari image, just needed a placeholder until he finds one he likes.)
Freskari: (where do I find them?)
Melo: (Google)
AJ B. (GM): (Alright looks like Ambrose is up first)
(yep, any image you like from anywhere I’ll add in here as your token/avi, can do seperate ones for each if you want as well)
Freskari: (does it have to be a link or could I just send you the file?)
AJ B. (GM): (ok so now we have a semi functional combat area as well. Either works.)
(I’ll have to make it a file anyways to load it up into here now that I think about it)
(there is a size limit but I don’t remember what it is, shouldn’t be a problem though)
Melo: (For those who want to keep track of combat: – I live stream a spreadsheet to keep track because honestly, Rifts combat is batshit in sane)
Ambrose Betamax: (lol)
Melo: (Ambrose, your action)

Ambrose Betamax does as melo said and dives out of the way of…everything. Especially since in brainland he probably is not armed. or wearing clothes.
Freskari: ohoho
AJ B. (GM): (lol technically you are a blend of your personal image and Melo’s image of you)
Melo: (You sir, glow in the dark and a trouble magnet)
Freskari: (so what would that mean for me? :P)
AJ B. (GM): (In all likelyhood you’d be largely your self image with only small input from Melo changing as he garners knowledge of you, such as swift reaction speed and tactical choice indicating that you’re a fighting man by trade)
(of course right now he may also believe you’re a figment of his imagination too, no telling on that)

Melo is, as far as he’s aware, in the real world. The fact that things don’t make perfect sense are hidden away and discarded by his mind’s reflex reaction to trying to make sense of things. Perhaps the only saving grace is that he doesn’t recognize you. But that’s also a possible, very, very bad thing. The last few things he’s seen like that ended up on the wrong end of The Spire Of Burning Light.
Melo: (Also, Freskari’s action. nodnod)
Ambrose Betamax: (is that an innuendo for his penis?)
(and if so he should get that checked out)
Melo: (Haha. No. In this case, it’s the construct of the laser from his rifle, when trapped within The Walkways of Searching. In other words, his gun.)
Ambrose Betamax: (This isn’t more hell stuff is it lol)
Melo: (Not exactly, no)
AJ B. (GM): (no this is just Melo’s head, so might be his personal hell but that’s as close as it gets and only hurts him through his knowledge of what’s going on.)

Freskari isn’t sure whether the whole “No guns” thing applies here, or if harm even matters in this world, but he’s not going to take any risks. He runs back to the edge of the wall while shouting out at melo “I’m with Ambrose!”. He can only hope that Melo will shoot it, and if not he’ll have to improvise further.
AJ B. (GM): (black line indicates a way through btw, red is the only solid walls)
Freskari: (way through how? A door, or what?)
AJ B. (GM): (empty space)
(I have to improvise with the tools they give for maps like this)
(is faster to draw boxes and then mark ways through then try and draw proper paths)

Melo responded to that call just as quickly, “Ambrose! True or false?” The gears were turning in more ways than one; a trained eye might see a few gears starting to spin in the walls as his thoughts raced, a pulse of light racing along a wall, followed by countless others, all moving in the same direction. That scope would be drawn to his eye… And then he’d freeze, with one hell of a close up view of that towering monster filling his scope.
AJ B. (GM): (Also as for weapons that’s based on perception, Melo has a gun because he sees himself with one pretty much always, Ambrose likely doesn’t because Melo has to remind him to bring them when they’re needed and even then I don’t think Ambrose is in favor of doing so. Freskari it’d be based on self perception, as a Mercenary I’m guessing his self perception includes being armed but that’s up to you. Also all of this is guesswork so if I’m wrong on Ambrose or Melo feel free to correct me.)

Ambrose Betamax would likely have a lot of pets with him though. and even bigger antlers. and possibly a cape.

Melo still knew little of the invader to his mind; What’s more, when he froze, those gears, and even the pulsing lights that raced along the walls froze with him.
AJ B. (GM): (you guys ok with breaking for an hour?)
Melo: (For or in? Otherwise, yep!)
AJ B. (GM): (for, I’ll be back at 9ish)
Freskari: ok.
AJ B. (GM): (9 my time for clarity sake lol)

Ambrose Betamax guesses he will yoga or something
Ambrose Betamax: (in the middle of the fight, yes.)
AJ B. (GM): (back)
Melo: (Welcome back(
AJ B. (GM): (thanks)
Freskari: (you’re fucking welcome)
Ambrose Betamax: (lol)
AJ B. (GM): (Alright so Melo has just yelled to Ambrose for clarification whether Freskari is with him or not to determine his action)

Melo actually locked up. Full blown mental freeze.
AJ B. (GM): (ahh kk, sorry)
The creature seems to hesitate taking a single step towards Freskari but no more.
Melo: (Ambrose, yer up)

Ambrose Betamax is kind of lying around wondering what to do now. being naked and All antlery and stuff.

Melo likely woulda envisioned the deer-bee with clothes.
Ambrose Betamax: (melo can’t stop thinking about how hawt ambrose is so there.)
Freskari: (I think Melo’s waiting for you to respond)

Ambrose Betamax gets off the ground and observes. His antlers are soooooooo big

Melo really does have that down to earth personality, even if he is a bit nuts.
AJ B. (GM): (believe it’s Freskari’s turn then while Ambrose admires himself lol)
Ambrose Betamax: (you have to admit ambrose would do that haha
Melo: (Yeah. Yeah…)
(Even in Melo’s head, he can’t be relied upon in combat)
Ambrose Betamax: (ha, you know combat isn’t his thing. He’s good at being all ambrose-y tho.)
Melo: (Yeah, but he couldn’t even give a ‘Yes, he’s a friend’ answer.)

Freskari Stands right around the corner, waiting to see what the creature does. If it charges him, he’ll run and bring it with him. Otherwise, if it turns around and heads towards the other two, he will rush to attack it from behind.
AJ B. (GM): (technically he can do that at any point during anyones turn, but we’ll see if he does I guess)
Melo: (True)

Melo hesitated. That long moment would be held, that light that was racing in the direction of the pillar of radiant light in the distance slowly starting to move again, but for the moment, that hesitation consumed him.
AJ B. (GM): (Ambrose you’re up again)

Ambrose Betamax finally gets over himself and starts shouting “Ambrose we were all in hell but they sent me back and now they are still there and they’s gonna get your soul and why are we in oyur brain?!”
AJ B. (GM): (Ambrose now starts sentences with his own name lol)
Ambrose Betamax: (ER. IGNORE THAT)
AJ B. (GM): (kk, so just to be positive Ambrose isn’t going to answer the question of is Freskari with him then?)
Ambrose Betamax: “Oh and that dude is ok Melo!”
Augmented < .: (Oh, yeah and by the way don’t murder my friend!)
Ambrose Betamax: (our character’s dunno eachother yet other than melo being drunk and liking your nose)
Freskari: (ik I was just joking :P)
Ambrose Betamax: (ignore my associative learning disability)
Melo: (Freskari I think?)
Freskari: (I was waiting to see if the creature was gonna do something)
Melo: (It’s out of actions for the moment)
(It’s a slow thought creation in the head of a man who had a brain freeze)
AJ B. (GM): (still he doesn’t know that IC)
Melo: (True!)
(So if you’re still holding, shall I spam us with another wall of text?)
AJ B. (GM): (so it is Melo’s action after getting verification of what’s going on)

Freskari continues waiting, while yelling “Shoot it” at Melo

Melo knew Ambrose commonly made absolutely no sense. He really did. But those brain gears? They were starting to spool up again after that momentary freeze, those gears in the walls spinning at a normal pace once more, though their speed was already growing to racing thoughts, those impulses of light seen among the cracks of metal plates in the walls was just as quickly flying, racing along with them. “No.. No..! You! YOU’RE DEAD! Your BRAIN Fuck’n EXPLODED on itself!” And yet he still hesitated even as he screamed behind that scope, that wireframe arm holding his rifle steady. The walkers had never paid attention to him. They’d never actually tried to attack… But he’d also never been here with anyone but himself. Why did he hesitate? Why was he holding his shot? Something was wrong here. This was a phantasm that he had no fear of. No reason to wish harm upon.
AJ B. (GM): (so Melo freezes up again then?)
Melo: (Yeah. Ranting and indecision)
AJ B. (GM): (alright, Ambrose you’re up)

Ambrose Betamax tries to calm down the little one that he’d been carrying about earlier. He thinks of it as a pet already so yeah.
Melo: (Freskari still holding?)
Freskari: mhmm

Melo would eventually drop his gun from his sights, moving to reach for Ambrose, turning his back on the larger creature.. At least, when he came to. That might not be for an action or two. He’d no idea who the new comer was. “RUN! Don’t stop for nothing! TOUCH NOTHING! 5th left, 4th right, and hide by the pool!” And with that, he’d turn to try and grab Ambrose and lift him up. The deer trusted him. And he could feel where he was to find him.

Ambrose Betamax uh just kind of went with it lol
AJ B. (GM): (Alright Freskari you just heard him give directions for bailing off and not shooting the monstrous creature and Ambrose appears to be going with him, so your action?)

Freskari decides to follow his instructions, hoping it won’t backfire. He tries to remember the way back in the back of his mind, although in a maze like this, even finding his way back wouldn’t do much good.
AJ B. (GM): You manage to make it through the maze to where Melo directed and although you do see a few of the creatures none seem interested in any of you anymore. However after arriving at the place Melo led you to there are three of these creatures standing nearby and the one in the center actually speaks. “Hello friends.”
Ambrose Betamax: “hello!”
Freskari: “Hi…”, he says cautiously

Melo would drag Ambrose along, after trying to push the small horror of the child like spider-bot from his hands, almost recoiling from the nightmare image. Why did he think it’d be a good idea to bring Ambrose here? Because here, he could protect Ambrose, really? Short of imprisoning the deer, there was no protecting him. He just as much had to protect him from the world of the physical as the world of the emotional; death was a part of life, but here? Here, he could maybe find what he was looking for. “Where Is It?! You’ve gotta know. How’d you get in? You’ve never been able to get past the door before! I coulda swore I locked it behind me..!” A hard turn at one point would draw them off of the main pathway, hopefully to another; a bridge, with a clear view of an endless spire of blazing light in the distance among pillars of pure geometric shapes, all details lost among them at that distance. Another pathway to that pool.. And Ambrose might even be able to see eyes widen; something that shouldn’t be possible with those digital implants that were just as much human flesh as machine attached to the solder’s face. “..No…” Yep, recognition would be there alright. “It’s.. Too long..”
Melo: (Welcome friends, to the precipice of madness)

Ambrose Betamax cheerily follows where he is dragged, mostly happy to see some version of melo that is moving around
Freskari: (did me running and speaking not count as my turn)
Melo: (Thankfully, combat has ended, so we’re back to interacting freely)
(Only have to worry about combat)
AJ B. (GM): The creature raises a hand and the other two turn. “If you would follow us we will lead you where you must go. Though he” points at Melo “knows the way just fine.”
(From AJ B. (GM)): a new room has appeared in the mental map one that pulses with a calming blue light whenever you focus on it.
Freskari: “Alright, I’m just gonna go with this, assuming you guys are okay with that.”

Melo held for a moment, before simply nodding. “Go with them. They’re friends. I’d lay down my life for them… James.. Stay a while? It’s been so damned long..” Yeah. There was a quiver in his voice. You don’t often meet the ghosts of one’s past. After all, he still didn’t know he was still in his own head, or his rifle. As far as he was aware, all of this was real.
Ambrose Betamax: “ok, uh…Sir.”
AJ B. (GM): James nods and the other two accompany Ambrose and Freskari acting as if they were more of an honor guard and after quite a few turns you find yourselves at a door that sticks out in this place as truly odd. It isn’t made of any recognizable material and seems to shift between being a solid mirrored surface, a reflective pond, and a pitch black void. The guards move to either side of it.
Ambrose Betamax: “uh…a mirror?”

Melo would be perhaps an hour behind the pair.. Or was it only a few minutes? Time trapped inside one’s brain was a strange concept, really. He’d look.. Better. As if a weight had been lifted. He wasn’t happy, but there was just something about him. A calmness. “Rak. Richard.” A salute was given at each. “I wish I could have done more. Andy made it through, but he panicked and bolted before I came to. You’re all burred in Germany. Wasn’t possible to try and get what was left back to the States. I’m sorry.” And a long, slow breath escaped as he looked into the door, that digital wire frame of his hand reaching, and then hesitating.
AJ B. (GM): Each of the creatures returns the salute and they nod encouragement when Melo hesitates. Rak then repeats something he was fond of saying in life. “Trust is hard to give but bridges the widest chasms.”

Melo nods, a smile cracking that face of his. “Always, man.. Always.” Before reaching forward, and grabbing at the handle to the door.
AJ B. (GM): As the three of you enter there is a strange hum and click noise coming from the center of the room. The walls are a mass of monitors showing various places Melo has been recently most though showing the maze. In the middle of the room is a wargames table that mimics the monitors but shows their locations a bit more clearly. The only thing missing is the burning spire but that is because it is in the hands of another creature. The source of the noise It seems to be studying the spire miniature and takes no notice of any of you walking in.
(and as has been the pattern is pictured on the map now lol)

Melo was who he was. He had to circle the room. There was no worry in his step, but instead he had to inspect the monitors, despite knowing every single facet of them already. After all, they’re constructs from within his head, of coarse he knew how they worked! Still, The Search was over. Finally, he approached that form. “141 nanometers. I should be able to get it down to 130 without loss of range with some minor adjustments in the focusing chamber.” Techno-babble. Yep.
AJ B. (GM): “I’m sure you could but that’s not why you’re here. Not why any of you are here.” The creatures voice is strange, a crackling static like sound mixed with a hiss like that of burning flesh. It pauses and turns its head towards Freskari “Well maybe that’s why he’s here.”

Freskari raises an eyebrow
Melo: “The Search. I’m looking for What Is Missing.” A statement, trying to keep the hope out of his voice. “That’s What Is Missing… Isn’t it?” He only knew something was gone. He’d no idea what. Really, scary the kinds of things you’re exposed to when you’re in the head of someone who’s mildly (Ok, not mildly) insane.
AJ B. (GM): The creature shakes her head. “No what’s missing is not here. Not anywhere in any of this.” She waves over the entire model. “It was taken much farther and you’ll need to get out of that damn hospital bed to find it!” with that comment Melo finds himself lying in a hospital bed strapped down with none of his weapons but still in the room with Ambrose and Freskari and the creature. “I can’t give it back to you, I can replace it though if you let me.” She twirls the burning spire around. “All you have to do is let me. Give up on finding it and let me be What Is Missing.” Although Melo hears “What Is Missing” Ambrose and Freskari hear “Your Soul”
Ambrose Betamax: “huh?”
Freskari: dun dun dunnnnnnn
Ambrose Betamax: “Oh, we’ve already got a bunch of friends looking for that though. We were in hell!”

Melo would, quite simply, start to lose it again. Reality was creeping in where it didn’t belong. Repressed memories of a fight, of a risk that didn’t pay off, the head trauma that followed and likely was a major part of the cause of his current state of being. “I.. What? No.. It has to be here!” He’d try and resist, to rise against the straps holding him down, and quite likely failing. “How could it not be here?!” Real panic this time was creeping into his voice, along with the anger of denial.
Ambrose Betamax: “whoa hey, everythings under control, we’re getting it back!”
AJ B. (GM): The creature shakes its head “Because Here isn’t a place. Hell here-here wasn’t a place until some dumbass thought the inside of his gun was safer then his own head.”

Melo didn’t know how to respond. This wasn’t adding up. “How can here not be a place? I’m right here! Ambrose is here! I’ve got no fucking clue who that guy is, and he found his way here!” Yep, vulgar human. “It has to be here!” And still he’d struggle, to try and fight his way out from those straps holding him down. Weaponless. That was perhaps just as bad as being devoid of his soul right now. His gun was all he had. It was everything. And now, it, too, was missing. Was out of his reach.
AJ B. (GM): The creature seems to have its body shift in what distinctly feels like an eyeroll. “Yeah that’s right here has to be a place, its not like you travel with a walking talking deer with the self preservation instincts of a lemming, hop in and out of machines at a touch knowing their every working mechanism with no training no work no effort, or that you are thousands of years from your own time and somehow haven’t aged into dust in that time.” The creature looks at Ambrose. “Is he always this dense?”
Ambrose Betamax: “It’s always worked in his favor before.”
Melo: (HA!)
Ambrose Betamax: “well…sometimes.”

Melo stopped, “And yet here we are.” There was that moment of fear that was suppressed by instinct… Or was it training? “These are my Walkways. And you? You Are Not Welcome Here.” Words would be slipping from his mouth, melting into the air and unheard for a long moment as he pulled against those straps trapping him in that bed.
AJ B. (GM): “You’re wrong again.” She turns to Freskari “You know him? Is he wrong this often or is it just the panic?”
Freskari: “This is my first time meeting him, so I couldn’t really judge.”
AJ B. (GM): She shrugs “Alright, well Melo Raynard Craft. You have a choice to make, and although I enjoy the conversation it’s time to make it. Your friends here can undo those straps and you can get out of that bed and keep searching for What Is Missing where it really is and maybe you’ll find it one day. Or I can undo them and I can take away the problem I can make it so What Is Missing isn’t worth worrying over anymore.” (same deal on replaced words as before.)
(To GM): Yeah. SN Strength. 2 actions to cast, converts PS to SN PS of 30. Yay / nay on snapping the straps himself? He’s.. uh.. He’s about to go fucking ballistic.
(To GM): And it’s likely a very bad idea on his end, but.. Yeah. The last few things that weren’t welcome didn’t get a chance to learn.
(From AJ B. (GM)): (unfortunately the straps are unbreakable from here. If the bed were outside the walkways it’d be doable, but in here it isn’t.)

Melo continued to mutter under his breath, struggling and straining against the straps that held him bound. “GET OUT!” Yep, he he’d made it to step two of five. And he did not look very happy about it.
AJ B. (GM): The creature shakes its head and sits back down toying with the models some more. “I Can’t.”
It turns to Ambrose and looks at him. “Please, tell him how you got here, maybe he’ll listen to you.”
Ambrose Betamax: “I was in the hospital and grabbed his arm. They can’t reattach his arm, stuff keeps happening when they touch him.”
AJ B. (GM): (and I think with that it’s time to call it if you guys are ok with that. its getting pretty late)
Melo: (Yeah, running really late tonight)
AJ B. (GM): (I’ll calc exp later when I’m more functional. Was a lot of fun guys.)
Augmented < .: (byeee)
Zea: Today is Tuesday, September 29th, 2015. EXP is about to be given at a later date. This is just a Ctrl F point.
Augmented < .: unless you’re on the east coast
Ambrose Betamax: thanks for a great game doooooood
Augmented < .: you time traveler
Ambrose Betamax: bedtime for me since it’s 2 am :s
Augmented < .: me too
Zea: Night guys!
AJ B. (GM): (night sleep well and glad you enjoyed it)
Zea: Record keeping update: For the 29th, 2500 exp each. 200 for Bharat, 300 for Ambrose, 200 for Quazil, 300 for Melo, 200 for Freskari.
And no, that is not a typo.
AJ B. (GM): you guys ready?
Matt S.: Sure
Zea: (Yep)
AJ B. (GM): bunthulhu kicks ass lol
Nefret: Quit staring at my face!

Bharat stares harder
Nefret: =:€
AJ B. (GM): (Alright) Last we left off Bharat having acquired The Gabriel Axe and followed Lilith out of the store had just swung it at her.
Bharat: (Oh balls)

Quazil could have been heard starting to whistle as the pair walked out the door. Unlikely anyone really knew the tune, but.. ( )
AJ B. (GM): (alright, need init rolls from everyone.
Quazil: rolling 1d20+20
= 35
(That is also not a typo)
Bharat: (HOW THE HELL)
AJ B. (GM): (btw second observer now, may be joining us)
Bharat: rolling 1d20
= 8
AJ B. (GM): (Alright however Bharat had swung before init, so roll to strike)
Bharat: (My init should be 3 higher. Not that it matters)
AJ B. (GM): (it may, there are tricks to lower init)
Bharat: (I don’t know them!)
rolling 1d20
= 18
whatever the axe may give)
AJ B. (GM): roll damage
Bharat: (Should I add my bonus from PS? Or does that not matter?)
Zea: ( for the combat tracker)
Bharat: rolling 6d6
= 22
Zea: (PS Bonus would be SDC only; if it is over 25, it should be +1 MD)
Bharat: (It’s +17 so I guess not.)
Quazil: (GM’s call, but I think weapon damage is added to SN PS Punch. GM call to confirm, please?)
AJ B. (GM): (yeah pretty sure it is)
Bharat: (I don’t know what that means. 0.0)
Quazil: (Throw another 4d6 roll)
Bharat: (Also, my power claw attack does more than this axe…)
rolling 4d6
= 12
(10d6 however… not so much. 0.0)
AJ B. (GM): That cuts deep into Lillith’s flesh and she bares her teeth. “You are going to regret that Lizard.”

Quazil started things off simply. Very, very simply. That casual whistling would end, perhaps leaving behind a faint sense of foreboding, giving way to softly spoken words that vanished from the mind the moment heard he turned toward the door. A step, and then he offered something to the shop keeper. “Friend, pardon me. I will return for the sword shortly.”
AJ B. (GM): Something very odd happens before Bharats eyes. Lillith turns to her handmaidens and says “stay out of it” Before her flesh begins to melt and warp and soon Bharat is looking at a mirror image of himself minus the axe who yells “ROCK! HELP SHE’S TRYING TO KILL ME!” in Bharat’s voice.
Bharat: Bharat almost laughs. “Q, she’s a shapeshifter! I’m the one with the axe.”
He looks at her. “You’re not very smart. Are you?”
AJ B. (GM): She grins Bharat’s grin. before yelling “Q, She’s lying, remember she carried the axe out”
The handmaidens do nothing.
(Bharat’s turn.)

Bharat swings the axe again, somewhat disappointed it didn’t take her head off the first time.
Bharat: rolling 1d20+6
= 12
AJ B. (GM): She leans back out of the way and chuckles. “Really, this the best you got?”
Bharat: “Don’t udually use axes. Claws usually serve me well, Demon.”

Quazil was, when it came down to it, quite relaxed. “And Friend, do be kind enough to watch my things for me.” Ever the polite tone used with someone he’s on good terms with. Already stone was starting to show along those magnetically clasped edges of his robe over shoulders and sides, pushing free. The shop keeper would soon enough simply find a large rucksack, a beheaded demon, and two halves of a ceremonial robe on the floor of his shop, and a disturbing lack of nearly 14 feet of earthen death.
(To GM): The Coming Moon → Vanish.
AJ B. (GM): Lillithg lashes out with Bharats claws.
and fails to even get near him apparently not as used to his body.
(Bharat’s turn)

Bharat looks at the axe and then to… himself and flips the axe upside down while glaring at Lilith-turned Bharat.
Bharat: (I gotta afk for like a little bit guys. back soon)
Quazil: (D’Oh! Ok.)
AJ B. (GM): (kk)
Bharat: (Sorry! I’m back!)
AJ B. (GM): (no worries)
As soon as Bharat moves the axe a black and green glow springs from it and circle around Lillith before dissipating. No visual signs of what it might have done.
(Quazil, you’re up)
(To GM): Movement. Plain and simple. Out of the building without a sound, and behind the two handmaidens who’d yet to take part in the fight, as they’d been told. Oh what a mistake they had made.
Quazil: (To GM) rolling 1d100< 87 Advanced Prowl: Stealth
= 0 Successes
(To GM): O’corse, he’s loud, but invisable.
AJ B. (GM): There is a loud crack as a chunk of the building comes off from the door fame.
Lillith again tries to use Bharats claws and it’s beggining to seem like she might be blind in one eye.
(bharat you’re up)

Bharat gives the axe a look and then swings again. “Shouldn’t try to be bigger than you are, Lilith.”
Bharat: rolling 1d20+6
= 25
(Oh my)
Quazil: (Nice!)
AJ B. (GM): (quick check, does your h2h crit on 19s?)
Quazil: (What level of h2h? Crit range is 18 for MA at level 6)
(Oh, he’s commando. Think its still 20)
(Yeah, 20 until level 15, when it drops to 17)
Bharat: (Yeah. :( No crit)
AJ B. (GM): (roll normal damage then.)
Bharat: (which is… 10d6)
Quazil: (Yep. 4d6 from SN PS of 32, + 6d6 from axe)
Bharat: rolling 10d6
= 30
AJ B. (GM): “Ouch you motherfucking son of a tadpole I’m going to rip your throat out”
(To GM): Aside from the door, the stone monster made no sound as he moved behind the two handmaidens. Nor did he make a sound when those twin blades came down from above on either side of the one nearest to the street with that speed and force that could shatter mountains. There was no bellow, there was no roar. There was only silent death as he took his first step to calling out the demoness.
Quazil: rolling 1d20
= 32
AJ B. (GM): It hacks into her but doesn’t seem to be a particularly damaging hit.
Quazil: (To GM) rolling 20d6*2
1 provided, y’know, it rolls below a natural 20, or even gets to roll.
= 149
AJ B. (GM): Without warning or notice there suddenly comes the schlick sound of blade through flesh. Then one of the handmaidens falls to the ground, or more accurately the three seperate pieces sliced down vertically do. her blood splatters outwards and behind her to her left a few drops of the black ichor that passes for blood seem to remain floating in the air.
The other handmaiden screams and Lillith yells out “Nicely done Q, we’ll finish this quick at that rate.” before again trying to slash at Bharat with the claws.
and failing yet again to get anywhere near him.
Quazil: (She is derping when she shoulda herped, and herped when she shoulda derped)
AJ B. (GM): The remaining handmaiden seems to fade from sight some, becoming more ghostlike.

Bharat gifted with many years of practice, blanks his mind and taps the axe to his shoulder.
AJ B. (GM): 10 balls of flame appear in an arc over Bhrats head.
Bharat: (Oh balls.)
AJ B. (GM): (lol)
(To GM): When it came down to it, that hand maiden had a single option to save her life. She had chosen the wrong one. An upward swing would follow, to catch the being in the torso before following through and slamming them to the ground with that same deadly force that had taken its partner’s life. Perhaps the only sound he made would be that of his weapons connecting with the ground, with the banshee in between.
Quazil: rolling 1d20+17
= 22
(Sorry, meant to be a hidden roll there)

Bharat looks up and then smirks. “Oh this is fun. I might start using actual weapons.” Leveling his eyes at his copy he grins. “This is a good gift indeed.”
AJ B. (GM): “Well then I am sure your prince will love it when we deliver it with your corpse back to him.”
Bharat: (That was a delightful roll)
AJ B. (GM): (roll damage at times 4 modifier)
Bharat: (I actually feel bad for lilith now)
rolling 10d6
= 36
AJ B. (GM): The second hand maiden is lifted into the air and slammed into the ground splitting in half and spraying more blood out, enough to reveal what looks like a rough patch of rock floating in the air.
Quazil: (To GM) rolling 20d6+1 (x2 if you count it as a crit)
= 79
AJ B. (GM): Lillith slashes with her claws (dodge parry simul attack or take it Bharat?)
Bharat: (Which is the one taht doesn’t cost an action again?)

Quazil might even be heard at this point. “? I’ll Seek you out… ?” A moment of hesitation as that body slammed into the ground, “? Flay You Alive… ?” That low, deep voice from where the handmaidens had fallen. “? One more word and you won’t survive… ?” True, one might be able to see where that patch of blood splatter was, and guess just what was behind it, but for the most part, one couldn’t see just what was making that call of death promised death.
AJ B. (GM): (parry or simul attack)
Quazil: (Parry; Simuli attack does eat an action I thought?)
AJ B. (GM): (oh yeah it does, ignore the crazy man)
Quazil: (You also have auto-dodge; that gets less of a bonus in general, but doesn’t eat an action)
Bharat: rolling 1d20+8
= 11
(That was a parry)
AJ B. (GM): The claws sink into Bharats chest as he misses the parry (16 Md)
Bharat: (To my armor right?)
AJ B. (GM): (yep)
(and it is Bharats turn)
(and jumping back for a moment) When ten fireballs rained down on her lillith tried to get out of the way only to place her head in front of each and every one of them.
(anyhow, Bharat you’re action?)

Bharat turns the flat of the axe blade towards Lilith, curious as to what’s happening.
AJ B. (GM): Nothing happens at all.
(Quazil you’re up)

Quazil seemed to hold still, watching the pair of lizards duke it out, though that deep, rising voice of the earth echoed through the busy market, heard by the cowed that may have fallen quiet to watch the event of two of their brethren being cut into thirds by that deathly, invisible force. “? And I’m, not, scared.. / Of your Stolen Power.. / See right through you at any hour.. ?” It was the voice of building rage, tempered by training and skill; Even without the musical backup, the voice carried tune and pitch.. And just a hint of thrilling madness. Of Promise.
(To GM): See Aura; better safe than sorry.
(From AJ B. (GM)): The aura’s are identical
(To GM): For record keeping’s sake: The difference is the imp’s aura is still in the lower one’s tail, with their back to Quazil.
(To GM): With the imposter’s back to Quazil*
AJ B. (GM): (Bharat need a save vs psy)
Bharat: (Psionics specifically?)
AJ B. (GM): (yep)
Bharat: rolling 1d20+3
= 10
(I hate life)
(Why does no one ever get scared by bharat’s HF?)
AJ B. (GM): Lillith just seems to stare. However Bharat notices something odd. It’s getting dark, really dark, pitch black can’t see a thing dark. he also feels his throat tighten some and an odd sensation he can’t place.
Bharat: (Joy)
AJ B. (GM): (Bharat you’re up)

Bharat taps the axe to his shoulder, summoning fireballs again.
AJ B. (GM): (roll to hit)
Lillith again tries to bob and weave her way out of this but can’t seem to track the fireballs accurately and places herself painfully in the way of every one of them.
She howls in pain.
(Quazil you’re up)

Quazil continued to simply sing, standing in place at a distance from the pair. Some might see blood dripping from the edge of nothing floating in the air, pointing at the duo, “?I won’t sooth your pain… I won’t ease your strain.. You’ll be waiting in vain..” A glimmer of light soon forming along the feet, ground and front of those armored lizards.
(From AJ B. (GM)): it is at this moment that a small rift opens next to you and you hear a female voice ask “ready to leave?”
(To GM): CoA under Lilith and on her body, front side,
Quazil: (Of one of*)
(From AJ B. (GM)): kk
(To GM): Wouldn’t dare interrupt his singing to answer, of course, with that blade held out as a focus, body towering above everything else. Quite clearly, he’s in battle; a glance and a smile offered before he turned his attention back to just what he was looking at. That’d be a very polite ‘no’ in this case.
AJ B. (GM): Lillith seems to focus for a bit and vanishes into thin air.
Quazil: (Question on that: She’s currently out of actions this round)
(Still free, jah?)
AJ B. (GM): (ooc was dimensional teleport so free)
Quazil: (Perfect, thank ya! Sorry fer questioning it in the open)
AJ B. (GM): (no problem)
(and with that we leave init/combat

Bharat swings the axe again.
AJ B. (GM): The axe whiffs in the air.

Bharat keeps swinging wildly
AJ B. (GM): The axe continues to hit nothing.

Bharat stops swinging but holds a ready stance to attack again

Quazil kept singing, even despite the wildly singing lizard, gaze still steady, “? I’m taking, it slow.. / Feeding my flame… / Shuffling the cards of your game.. ?” A soft breath escaping his mouth between stanzas of his song, likely unheard by most, a simple ‘no’ issued before returning to his next set of lyrics, “? And just, in, time… / In the right place.. Suddenly I’ll play my ace.. ?” Still, just a ghostly voice coming from a faint outline of blood splatter, soon turning and making his way back towards the shop.
AJ B. (GM): (you guys ok with calling it here. my cold is kinda kicking back up.)
Quazil: (Yeah)
AJ B. (GM): (may just need a break if I feel better and we’re still up for it maybe more later.)
Bharat: (sure)
AJ B. (GM): (sorry about this guys. hate being sick)

Chapter 20 Melo's Hell, or Just Hell

Elevators are Scary! StrykerC