Leaked from the forums: Deja Vu (part 1)
We’ve got a rich trove of material that hasn’t normally been exposed to the public viewing (or – sometimes – even daylight): the roleplay-writings of our forum’s “inner compound”, that shall now be featured among our reading samples. Such leaked-from-the-forum bits will be presented mostly unaltered, receiving only the most essential spelling and grammar cleanup, and cuts for clarity.
Deja Vu twists together some older and newer settings and characters, and adds an important dimension to our growing story-verse. This adventure marks a junction in the long lineage of forum posts, serving as a connection point and a recap tool between the older material, the upcoming stories, and the potential greater story-arcs to be woven into actual books. The original forum thread ran from May 2014 to Oct 2014.
Co-authors/players involved: David Noë, Laura Loolaid, Kieyotie McDermott, Drew Eckhardt
Copyright (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0): 2017 David Noë
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It was happening again… Had it all been a dream?
As the groggy mercenary sat in his blood-soaked coat at the bar, roll-up in hand, his mind was an absolute mess. Through the haze however, he came to realize exactly where he was, and it shocked him to the core. ‘Tucker Nine…’ He quietly muttered to himself in disbelief as he stared down at his shoddy, half-smoked roll-up and empty glass. Without thinking, he slammed the empty container on the bar and demanded “Another!”
As soon as the words left his lips, a wave of disbelief flooded his entire body. Lifting the roll-up to his lips, he stumbled away from his stool and out the bar-door in a dizzied frenzy, his mind was racing.
It was slowly rolling in to evening on the small moon, most of the workers and their families had packed up for the day and were either on their way back to one of the outlying settlements, or heading for the bar to relax after a long day of hard graft. After gathering his thoughts, the mercenary pulled himself alongside one of the many hover-bugs charging in the last of the light and took a long hard look in the mirror.
“Wh… What?” He stuttered to get out. The wrinkles had disappeared, his hair had returned to its dark brown hue and was much thicker once more. It was as if the events of the last thirty-five years had never taken place. With renewed desire to learn more answers, he straightened himself out and headed back into the bar to clean up.
* * *
This is wrong… I’m out of time…
“Do you think we should wake him up?” One of the settlers asked with wide-eyes.
“Is he still alive?” Another replied, equally entranced by the visitors sudden arrival.
“We should take him into town, the doctor will know what to do,” came another suggestion.
The settlement was abuzz with conversation that evening – a bright light had been seen in the sky before the local grain-house had been blown into pieces. Investigating settlers had discovered a body crumpled in the grains and brought him out to the main yard.
The visitor suddenly lurched forward and coughed loudly, causing most of the settlers to jump backwards, some even drew their weapons. He was in a bad state, torn clothes seemed to cover him from top to toe, and had there not been any shape under the rags, it would have been acceptable to assume he had no limbs. As far as the settlers could see, his left arm was hanging down, while his right leg was bleeding heavily.
“He.. Hello?” He asked meekly, through nearly closed eyes.
“Easy son, you took quite the tumble…”
“Doc… Doctor…” He tried to say, only to be interrupted once more.
“You heard him! Matthews, we’re using your truck, you two, help me load him up!”
The settlers were quickly put to work, noting that the traveler was much heavier than they had anticipated. They moved swiftly to get him into the back of Matthews hover truck before speeding towards town.
* * *
This life feels new… Born from something… Unnatural…
Her eyes opened slowly and adjusted to the panels on the cooler panel above. After allowing a few moments of thought to try and clarify what was happening, the young woman tried getting to her feet. She stumbled from the bed with little control over her arms and legs, it was as if she’d only just been given this body. For a few moments, she tried to gain control of her arms and bring them into view. As she glanced across her nearly perfect skin, she noted that a network of silver coloured markings criss-crossed her entire body. She found the markings relaxing, and seemed to draw an energy from them. Slowly, methodically, the young woman got to her feet and, using the furniture in the room, pulled herself towards the door with little more than the bed-cloth around her.
“Miss Seraph!” Came the shrill voice of a woman from the other side of the door. “I have your clothes here, I shall leave them outside the door. Dinner will be ready in half an hour. I hope to see you there!”
‘Miss Seraph…’ The young woman tried to say to herself, but with little control over her vocal chords, it simply sounded like mumbling. For the next few seconds, she tried as hard as she could to say her last name, with little success.
As the sound of footsteps left the corridor, the young woman waited for a few more moments before reaching for the door handle and opening it slowly onto a tiled corridor painted with some-kind of thick white paint. It looked lumpy, but oddly familiar. ‘Miss Seraph’ reached for her clothes and retreated back inside her room. Things were slowly beginning to make more sense although clarity was not returning to the young woman’s mind. After a short struggle, she had pulled on her clothes before turning to face the mirror. Once she was satisfied that her appearance was satisfactory, she began searching the room for any further information while also trying to regain control of her voice.
“Se… Say… Sera…”
Upon opening the small, wooden wardrobe in the corner of the room, she discovered a quarterstaff of exquisite design, and a book titled ‘The Empyrean Code’.
“Seraph.” She suddenly said with perfect clarity. “Moirai Seraph…”
Her memories were beginning to solidify and form in her mind. With a deep breath, she took the book in one hand and the quarterstaff in the other.
She knew herself to belong among the Empyrians – the defenders of human homeworlds, at odds with their Reclaimer brethren. However facts like her location, how she came to be and why she was there still escaped her. With quarterstaff strapped tightly to her back and book at her side, Moirai Seraph stepped out into the corridor.
* * *
Things are the same, but different… What is this…
Now much cleaner, the mercenary stepped back into the bar and already knew that no-one would take his seat. He couldn’t explain his strange sense of deja vu but it was beginning to drive him crazy. He seemed a bit more sober for his clean-up too, and moved to clarify this by re-taking his place at the bar and rolling a smoke in preparation for what he knew was coming, often checking his remaining rounds or making sure his rifle was easily accessible.
And then, almost on cue, it happened, although something was much different.
He remembered having a companion alongside him for the coming battle, a face that he knew he could rely on. Although this time, he was no-where to be seen. And as this thought sunk in, an awful racket began to stir outside.
“We need a doctor!” Came the cry from outside before all hell broke loose. Townsfolk began to scream loudly, running frantically for cover as the sound of a ship came crashing down in the distance.
He steadied himself for the shock-wave and remained the only one on his feet as the windows blew in upon the ships impact.
“Everyone keep down and get to the bathroom!” He snarled knowingly, automatically, before pulling his rifle forward and turning to the door in wait for the Reclaimer assailants due any moment.
Three shots, almost predictive in their nature struck at three targets with almost divine accuracy as they attempted to breach the tavern. With renewed sense, the mercenary dropped low and headed for the door, taking out another Reclaimer as he rolled into the street.
A group of people had gathered around a truck and were using it for cover while trying to pull something, or someone, from the back. Since most of them seemed to be armed, and willing to fight for their rock, he decided to join up with them.
* * *
This doesn’t make any sense…
“Evening! Seems like I picked a merry old time to visit Tucker Nine!” The mercenary shouted over the sound of incoming gunfire.
“Make jokes or help us defend the place, your call!” Came the stern reply from one of the people trying to lift the traveller from the rear of Matthews hover truck. Again, the mercenary responded with almost predictive ability by taking out three nearby Reclaimers.
His attention then turned to the person they were trying to lift with little success.
Suddenly, the mercenary caught sight of the traveller’s left arm and a wave of hope flooded his body like no other feeling before it.
“Knux!” He cried out with almost euphoric emotion. The mercenary rushed to push the townsfolk away and reached for the engineers arm.
“Come on…. Come on…”
“You know this man?” One of the citizens inquired.
“Do I! Cover me, this shouldn’t take long…”
The mercenary found a switch on Knux’s arm and flipped it to reveal an opening to a network of tubes lining either side of a small control panel. With a couple of button presses, the mercenary rebooted Knux’s arm and began the nano-repair program. With that underway, he turned back to the invading Reclaimers and went to work dispatching them whilst keeping Knux safe. If anyone was going to know what was happening here, it would be the engineer with a history of inter-dimensional travel.
* * *
Our duty is to protect those who cannot protect themselves.
The commotion in the street had drawn all sorts of attention, least of which from the diners at the hotel who had been enjoying their meal on the balcony overlooking town. Without thinking, Moirai had leapt from from the balcony, quarterstaff in hand, ready and willing to engage the Reclaimer invaders who had taken a shine to this seemingly insignificant moon.
Moirai continued onwards towards the pockets of resistance lining the streets.
“Ah! Glad to have an Empy fighting on our side!” One of the townsfolk mentioned as he took cover from a barrage of energy weapons fire.
Moirai joined a rugged mercenary behind the hovertruck. “What’s the situation?”
The mercenary fired a few rounds towards the buildings at the far end of the street before reloading. “I need to reach the bank…” He mumbled, “If I’m going to find out what’s going on then that’s where this all leads to.”
“Where this all leads to?”
“Look, I don’t exactly know what’s going on, but if it’s anything like the dry-run, then those Reclaimers just crashed down on the bank. They’re here to steal the money, but instead…” The mercenary’s eyes began to wonder the horizon, almost in a trance.
“But instead…?” She pressed.
“Sorry…” He shook his head, “Instead I steal their ship and escape to Ar-Kaos with a friend.”
“How do you know all this?”
“This isn’t the first time I’ve done this run, but it’s different to before. For example, I’ve never seen anyone who looks like you before.”
Energy weapons fire registered hard against the truck, killing two of the townspeople and wounding several more. As the vehicle shook violently, Knux fell from the rear and began to regain consciousness.
“We… What’s going…. on?” He asked, groggy from the excess of Nanites in his system.
“I have no clue, but it looks like we’re on Tucker Nine, Thirty-Five years prior to the battle at the Void Cloud.”
Moirai spoke up, “What are you talking about? Thirty-five years? Void Cloud?”
Knux couldn’t understand what was happening, he needed a few more minutes to gather his thoughts.
“So what’s the plan?” Moirai asked.
“The plan?” Corey replied, “You sound like someone I know… The plan is, we reach their ship and steal it. Tucker Nine is later compensated, it recovers from this.”
“And what about your friend? He looks kinda heavy…”
“Just give him a minute or two, we’re not leaving him behind.”
“Do you have any other friends around here? Do I at least get to know your names?”
The mercenary nodded and ducked from another barrage of energy weapon’s fire.
“I don’t know where the rest of my team are, I’ve only found this one so far. He’s Knux Vee-One, but I know him as Elder Knux.”
“And you are?” Moirai pressed.
“I’m Corey Henderson.”