|Beneath the Cabbages|
Morgana, Doommuffin (and her cat), and Muradin were enjoying a pleasant evening when the siren suddenly got a craving for vegetables of all things. As if summoned by fate itself -or perhaps whatever energies Twisted is made of- none other than the Cabbage Guy decided to swing by the beach at the very moment and fall down a pot hole. This is when our brave heroes discovered that all the cabbages were in reality Xenomorph aliens.
The Cabbage Guy swears that he has no idea where those things came from, and to avoid getting his face mauled off by an angry siren, he has agreed to take the group back to his cabbage farm to investigate this mystery.
It is presumed that on the way there the party picked up Urus.
Doommuffin is actually riding on top of Deathcake's robotic body as they make their travels. "Is it near the bus network? I have yet to partake in the local public transport, and I was quite curious as to how it is handled, precisely." Sure, of course she's making idle chit-chat as they travel to investigate these hideous, vile creatures.
The siren moves with that ever undulating movement she usually has when on land. Her hips roll like waves. For today at least she is clad in a loose hanging mail shirt. Its clear its one Muradin's, just by the fit but it is enough to protect the lady perhaps a bit should things go wrong. When she moves just so, one can see the slowly developing baby bump at her lower belly. The mail is held close to her by a loose belt of gold links and her hair is bound in a tight braid down her back. As she walks with her family she takes a small pouch off her belt and calls to Urus then tosses it to him. When he opens it with in he will find an antique gold chain with a rather ostentatiously jeweled, gold cross, clearly some piece of some ancient treasure.
Urus is coming from the S-mart from the hill and happens within eyeshot of the band, accept for Muradin, the group does not leave the beach much, especially clad in armor. Whatever they are up to, he wants in. And there is the cabbage guy... he told them that guy was trouble. He breaks into a jog to catch up coming up behind the group greeting them all in turn. "Morgana. Muradin. Doom. And kitty." Hoping that just being there will prompt them to tell him what they are doing. For the not too keen observer there is a large Rifle in a holster that seems to work with the gun although obviously not built for that exact model, It running across his back parallel to the bandoleer.
As Morgana tosses Urus the bag he catches it deftly and raises and eyebrow as he looks inside. As he pulls a portion of it out he asks Morgana cautiously "What is this for??? Do you need something else done? What is it this time?" It's not every day a siren gives you some treasures from her vast ocean, last time it was in trade.
"Not quite." The Cabbage Guy speaks nervously to the gnomish death knight astride her mechanical steed. "My farm is over near the wastelands, its better for the plants."
"Oi, well no wonder ye got so many problems, mate." Grunts Muradin as he facepalms "Ye gotta be sodding outta yer mind building anything near there. Dinnae ye know tha' place is haunted?" Though not technically quite right, that's how a Khaz Modanian dorf would refer to something is warped as the Wastelands. That place reeked of demons just like the barrens of Draenor, so they must be of similar nature! At least according to Muradin's logic.
Coming across Urus, the dorf hails the mercenary of his family and bids him to fall in with the group. "Hail, Urus! We're off to investigate these bloody beasties. Ye should come with!"
After a short trek that takes them to the outskirts of the city, the group finally reaches the fabled farm of the Cabbage Guy.
It looks like any other farm really. Though perhaps with the oddity that there's nothing but rows of cabbages everywhere. He doesn't seem to grow anything else besides his precious cabbages.
Doommuffin glances at the sniper rifle as Urus comes by. "Hrm. Going to hide in the back while we do all the dirty work?" she asks him. But soon enough they're at their destination, and she scoffs at the farm. "Wait, you are this close to the barrier? Haunted is an understatement. While there indeed are many ghosts out there-" Of course she would know. "-the sheer array of unknown threats that may come through is utterly staggering! Why have you not set up automated turrets and other such defenses? Do you think your measly wooden fence will keep out the hordes of monsters that hide just inside the swirling dust storms on the other side of that delineation?" Really, she looks at the cabbage guy like he's absolutely crazy. Then she hops off Deathcake and slides her goggles down over her eyes and starts walking right towards the edge, looking to set up guard against anything else coming through.
When Urus catches the pouch and checks inside the siren offers a regal nods and smile "it is a gift, my warrior. You were correct in your observations of the merchant and his good. You gave a wise warning that in all likeliness helped in keeping our family and our waters safe." She follows her chosen one and when the group arrives at the farm, the siren wrinkles up her nose. She has no need reiterate what her mate and DM have said and frankly she is reserving the option of making the merchant a meal and having Urus deliver his head to the war god for the merchants shear stupidity and the near miss of having those vile beasts in her waters.
"M-Monsters?? A-automated turrets??" The Cabbage Guy asks in total stuttering bewilderment as DM rightfully chastises him. He seems to have no idea that he picked a pretty bad spot to build his farm.
"I haven't had any problems with anything until now! And this is the only place that's away from the city's fumes! Where else was I supposed to plant my cabbages? They need fresh air you know??"
Muradin just shakes his head and refrains from punching the guy's head off. Instead he turns to Morgana and grasps her hand gently. "Ye gonna be alright with this, me luv? I donna want our child getting hurt. If ye want, ye can wait 'ere while we three take care o' this one." Looks like Muradin is gonna be one of those overly protective parents.
Doommuffin says, "Of course automated turrets! The only reason I've not set them up on the beach is that it is a public place! This is a private location at the edge of the city! Not setting up such precautions is reason for chastisement in and of itself!" She continuously adjusts setting on her goggles, trying to find a setting that allows some semblance of being able to see through the swirling sands. "You should have inquired with the local authorities on an appropriate location for a farm, and they would have told you of the danger and possibly even had someone keep an eye on your location from time to time."
As Muradin turns to her, the siren smiles at her mate. "The offspring will be fine, My Own. I can not sit back and not aid you in protecting our waters, and by that, all of Twisted from these things. You made sure I wore your metal garment and I have a weapon. I know not to bite the beasts or set talon to them. I will use my voice and keep to the distance of my trident." At mention of said trident she uses the butt end and prods the nearest cabbage.
Urus takes a few strides switching hands as to have the gun in his off hand as he takes his arm around the cabbage man. "Let me tell you a few things..." he whispers. "First, you are lucky to be alive. Second, I think you should stop talking, I think a few of them are getting discontented. And third, take these," as he says such he takes out a small key ring with a single key on it. "Room 5E Integra arms apartment. Only rule is do not touch the Duck, Stay there, and I will come back to get you when we are done." Urus turns the two of them around and points with his gun at the town. "Go." The LAST thing they need is a whining baby underfoot while something goes wrong, besides, knowing him. This would be a nightmare, all his cabbages... just suddenly disappearing.
Muradin understands of course, Morgana is a tough lass, he's known that literally from the very first second that she met her. Though he can't help but worry about taking his pregnant wife into yet another dangerous dungeon crawl, he knows that it is Morgana's nature to do these type of things. Besides, he is certain she will be fine, with that chain mail armor that he gave her and the trident given to her by the Naga, Morgana is more than well equipped to handle anything these Aliens might throw at her.
And even then, Muradin is going to make absolutely certain nothing even comes close to her.
Meanwhile the Cabbage Guy is understandingly freaking out. After what Doommuffin told him about the true dangers of the Wasteland it looks like its finally dawning on him that maybe he should have taken a few more things into consideration other than soil fertility in such a strange land like Twisted.
By the time that Urus starts telling him that he's lucky to still be alive, he looks ready to faint. It doesn't take much convincing for him to accept the offer of getting out of there. "O-Okay! Thank you, sir!" To be fair, that's probably the nicest thing anyone has ever done for the Cabbage Guy. He takes the keys and runs away from the farm as fast as his legs can take him.
Because as everyone suspects, this is about to get real serious in a second.
The cabbage that Morgana taps with the butt of her trident opens like a red flower and-- right before a facehugger can come out, Muradin is slicing it in half horizontally, sending acidic blood and limbs splattering to the side. "Aw, bollocks!" He curses and holds real still. "All these cabbages might be infested." He kneels close to the destroyed egg/cabbage and peers inside it.
"Aye, juss as I suspected. There's a small tunnel there, much too big for cabbage roots."
"The hive must be underneath the farm field."
The question now is how are they going to get in there?
Doommuffin says, "Oh, so they aren't just sneaking in from outside?" She walks on over to take a look at the tunnel... casually casting Death and Decay over an area of cabbages as she does so. The roiling pure necrotic energy looks almost like the very ground is bleeding underneath the offensive vegetables. "Let's see... Oh, my. Yes, this would be difficult even for me. Well, master digger... did you bring your shovel?"
As the cabbage erupts and the little alien leaps forth the siren leaps back with a hiss. Muradin of course has the thing cleaved clean in twain before she lands. Her eyes narrow and her fangs are bared and for a moment those eyes dart toward the merchant. Of course Urus has then man under his arm and is offering him keys. The siren trusts those that belong to her and so she gathers herself again and straightens up to watch as DM steps over and examines the cabbage field. As the cabbages die back and wither into a pile of necrotic goo several holes are visible, almost as if they had been drilled into the earth from below. Being the mate of a dwarf she is aware of how eager he usually is to dig.
As soon as the man is out of earshot, Urus shakes his head and walks over to the rest of the group again. "I do not think that guy know how close he was to meeting his maker." Or whatever thing takes the souls that have died in twisted. "Well... This is... disturbing." He mentions poking at the hole slightly. "Looks like we brought the right dwarf for the job." If it's too small down there... there might be some issues when things inevitably get interesting.
Muradin takes a step back and puts a muscled arm in front of Morgana to shield her when DM casts Death and Decay upon the field of cabbages. As much as he likes the gnome and thinks of her as kin, Muradin wants no necromancy to get anywhere near his unborn child.
It does, however, accomplish its job. The cabbages wither and decay along with the eggs they were holding, the unborn facehuggers melting into a pool a sickening green goop.
"Aye aye!" Muradin exclaims eagerly and pulls his trusty pick axe from his backpack. Looks like its his time to shine here as he immediately gets to work. "These sodding beasts canna even make good propa holes. Look at all these shoddy craftmanship." Of course, its kind of unfair for Muradin to criticize the Xenomorphs' methods of digging seeing that they are little more than animals, but still, you know, dorf.
Additionally, though a personal normally would need both a pick axe and a shovel to make a decent hole, Muradin seems to accomplish it with just his pick axe. Because, again, dorf, That's all the explanation he should need.
"Och, sod me." Comes Muradin's voice from way beneath the hole he's dug. "Come on down, mates. I think we found it."
It doesn't take much digging. Beneath the soil of the cabbage farm lies the tunnels of the Xenomorph hive. One can easily tell its the hive because its got a bunch of Twisted civilians wrapped in cocoons whilst pasted to the walls. A catgirl there, an elf here, oh hey, is that one of the Orks from that one time at the UR?
Doommuffin leans back against Deathcake as she watches Muradin dig. As her runes recover, she casually flicks a hand, causing another area to erupt into roiling death. This repeats a few times as she systematically covers the whole field, killing all of the things. "Ooh!" She shouts as she trods over to the hole. "In ya go, DC." She points down, and the blue and gold painted mechanical lion(maybe it's a tiger? really, it's just vaguely cat-shaped) pads over and jumps down, shortly(ha!) followed by DM. "My, this place looks like something the Burning Legion or Scourge would build. So, where shall we aim our destruction?" She kind of answers her own question as she spots another batch of eggs and throws down another death and decay on them.
The siren stands back from DM as the gnome clears the field of the alien brood. She listens for the call of her chosen and when Mura tells them that there are tunnels below and that its likely a hive, the siren prepares to go in. Once DC an DM go down into the hole, Morgana steps to the edge, waits for a clear spot then drops down into the darkness. Luckily her eyes are made to see even in the darkness of the great ocean depths and so she sees quite well in the tunnels. Quickly she does a look around then steps out of the way so Urus can come down as well.
Urus waits patiently for the signal, allowing all others in first before hoping down himself, landing into a kneel with a small puff from the loose dirt rising into the air. Misjudged how much an extra 24 pounds worth of equipment was going to affect his fall. He looks around standing. "Again, slightly disturbing." He says. He looks to the people in cocoons and shakes his head. That is until he sees the ork, to which he quickly raises his gun and fires a three shot burst into his head, or at least where it would be. The silencer softens the report almost sounding like a paintball gun. "Always hated that guy." Then looks back at the party. "I won't say anything if you don't" then listens to skittering and other very faint noises. "These tunnels echo. I have no clue which direction if any they are coming from..."
DM is quite good at answering her own questions because as it so happens, the Xenomorphs act a lot like ants, and what things are near ant eggs that are ready to hatch? Why, ant warriors of course.
It doesn't quite matter that Urus has the good sense of keeping a silencer on his assault rifle. When the gnome unleashes another barrage of Death and Decay upon an egg brood to liquefy it, hisses are heard in the darkness and about five bulky Xenomorphs skitter their way quickly through the tunnel, having sensed a disturbance within the hive. They come from all sides, some crawling on the ground and others clinging to the walls and ceiling.
"Well." Muradin pops his neck and trades his pickaxe for his Troggbane axe and Mirhitos warhammer. "I guess we can just hack and slash our way through these beasties until we reach the core of their hive." Answers the dorf to his gnomish companion, because that's a good alternative as any.
As he says that, he hurls his magical hammer at one of the incoming Xenomorphs which explodes into a large splash of green, acidic blood.
In retaliation, the remaining four aliens shoot acid from their tails at the group before closing the distance.
Doommuffin says, "Well...It is time to gorge, is it not? DC, cut... oh, wait." She glances at the robotic cat and frowns. "DC, just... do whatever. Do not fight. You are not acid-proof in the slightest." Oh, sure, like she is? Well, at least her weapon and armor is magically enchanted. That should keep them from melting, right? Right? Well, no time like the present to find out, as, after dodging to the side to avoid the splash of acid, she immediately reaches out with a tendril of dark energy for the creature that spit... sprayed at her? Either way, she uses death grip on the thing to pull it towards her waiting rune sword."
The siren scowls as Urus fires a shot in the echoing tunnels. Her eyes narrow and she scours the dark for movement. When DM sends out those dark tendrils to kill off the eggs , the siren catches sight of shadowed shapes in the darkness. There is a hiss and then the spray of acid which she like the others darts away from. The tunnel echos and so in such a place her voice will carry and magnify, carried by the tunnels. She chooses her prey , a dark shape crawling across the ceiling of the tunnel. She carefully steps into a good angle and then lifts her face and takes a long breath before letting loose a long discordant shriek. The sound is directed and so the sound moves in waves toward the dark figure and hits like a physical attack.
Urus Despite having years of experience, does not make it well known. As the Aliens catch him off guard and a jet of acid hits him in the chest. He grits his teeth and winces in pain as the acid slowly eats away at fur and flesh. He attempts to tough it out though as he drops his SMG by his side and yanks out the massive sniper rifle. He quickly takes aim and fires, the sound of 12.7x108mm round going off nearly but not quite matches morgana's ear piercing screech. The round flying straight towards revenge at the farthest of the creatures. With a strong, straight pull back the casing flies against the side of the tunnel. "Mind if I help?" A familiar voice asks him. "YES!" Urus shouts aloud, everyone else only hearing his response.
Fortunately for those who happen to have equipment from Azeroth, magical enchantments do help a lot against acidic attacks. Though DM avoids the attack thanks to her small stature, Muradin tests the theory out by bringing his axe up to deflect the acid splash at best he can, putting himself close to Morgana to protect her as well. The acid gnaws and hisses at the blade of his axe and dwarven armor and yet seems unable to eat through it.
Dark tendrils grab hold of a Xenomorph and it flails around is its yanked towards the gnome's runeblade. It gets impaled through the chest, but these creatures are surprisingly resilient. Even after what is quite likely a fatal injury, the Xeno still thrashes about, trying to claw and bite at DM with hits elongated second mouth.
The incoming sonic blast from Morgana has the same effect as it did before in the Welcome Center. It pushes the Alien backwards sending it flying and slams into an opposing wall, its head exploding as it collides with hard surface.
The two remaining Xenos dart at the group in a desperate attempt to close the distance. The one that Urus opens fire upon is torn to shreds by that single powerful bullet, which means that only one makes it within melee range.
And, of course, poor Urus. The surviving Xeno seems to take especial slight against him and launches straight into the hyena man in an attempt to tackle him into the ground and dig sharp, acid covered fangs into his collar bone.
Even now, more Xenos are heard approaching through the tunnels. These were just buying time for the others, it wont be long until the group gets swamped by the creatures, which means they need to take care of the one attacking Urus quickly.
Doommuffin looks up with a bit of disinterest at the snapping jaws in front of her. Really, it is pretty dangerously close to her... but it's almost impossible to intimidate a death knight. She swings her blade to let a centrifugal force clear it from the sword, then continues swinging the blade fully around behind her, into a full circle before aiming to strike the creature again, the blade somehow seeming to glow black with necrotic energy as a rune on it glows.
Morgana watches with satisfaction as the alien she was attacking is thrown across the tunnel and smashes into the wall hard enough to split its skull. As another creature comes forward and attacks Urus the siren spins, using the butt end of her trident she aims to hit it like a child playing T ball. Morgana is aware of the acid and so its blunt force against the hissing dark head and not trident prongs that is used as the alien tries to bit her hyena. She would offer up an other sonic attack but so closely directed to Urus and she might harm him as well.
Urus struggles with the creature, even with Morgana knocking it around, he is ill prepared for hand to hand combat. "Know what?" The voice says "Move aside, this is my game." With seemingly Renewed strength Urus gets his feet under and up against the squirming monster and kicks up to get it enough off of him to warrant actual combat. With claws brandished he turns the tables against his opponent grabbing at the neck in one hand claws sinking in and green ichor leaking and burning his heands. His other hand is on the elongated back of the head, and attempting to manually tear its head off. "Oh this is going to hurt," Urus says mentally, now out of control and only able to watch and think as his beast has decided now of all times was the best decision. "Wait, It's going to hurt you. Then me when I get it back, oh bother." Almost seeing a bright side, and then losing that bright side in realization. The ones that are coming are of no concern as the only thing worth worrying is in the moment.
Magic or no, getting swung around a blade that is currently eviscerating you is quite likely to be fatal, even for something as resilient as a Xenomorph. The alien currently stuck on DM's blade flails and trashes about furiously as best it can in an attempt to at least take the gnome down with it. Ultimately though, all it manages to do is cut itself more into the blade. As DM swings it around like a rag doll, the Xeno ends up split in two with its legs flying to one side and its torso flying to the opposite side.
Speaking of spinning attacks, Muradin nods approvingly even in the midst of this chaos as he sees Morgana perform a quite skillful spinning smash to the back of the Xeno's head, looks like someone's been practicing!
Its enough to stun the Xeno long enough for Urus to get some good leverage and lift it up. As expected, Urus is quite right in at least something.
Ripping the alien's head off was going to hurt a lot!
"Och! Watch wot yer doing!!" Exclaims Muradin as he again shields Morgana from the fountain of acid that sprays out of the alien's neck, protecting the siren with his armored body. Urus won't have the luxury of having a dwarven defender to protect him though, he gets splashed almost from head to toe in acid.
Muradin can't wait to check if the hyena man is okay though, the Xeno reinforcements are approaching fast. "Quick, let's get through this tunnel before they corner us." Says the dorf and moves through one of the adjacent corridors.
The runes expended on Doommuffin's blade shift to purple as she looks out towards the direction Muradin runs in. With a light shrug, she quickly follows after him, wincing as she looks towards Urus. She's far from a healer, however, and can do nothing to help him... so she just continues into the corridor.
As Mura runs toward the next corridor the siren holds back. The hyena is hers now, just as Muradin , just as DM. Perhaps it impending motherhood but she is not going to let Urus go unattended. She turns to her warrior and flashes teeth "be done and come" Her trident butt comes forth and knocks the now decapitated alien from his hands and picking an unsplashed spot of hyena scruff she pulls him up off the ground the way a bitch would lift a pup. With a quick reach she curls a talon into the webbing of his weapon sling and drags him after the other two. Its a good thing the siren is so strong.
There is a splatter of acid as the head comes clean off. Jackson Pollack, if he were here, would be proud enough to have it hanging on his wall. The unpleasant scent of acid eating fur and flesh fills the air, and almost doesn't seem to faze him, at least for now. Larger patches on his chest and arms while smaller patches spot just about everywhere else. Well, that's one way to get someone moving. Urus attempts struggle free for a few seconds and then just seems to look unamused. "HA, looks like I don't have to worry about you, she will." Urus continues to pester his beast from the inside.
Muradin isn't so heartless that he'd run off and leave Urus behind just like that. He's a soldier of the Alliance after all! No one gets left behind if it can be helped!
Slowing his pace for just a second, the dorf looks over his shoulder to be completely certain that Urus and Morgana are following before running faster.
These tunnels are vast and dark, almost like a labyrinth. Most people would get forever lost in the depths that is the Xenomorph hive. Muradin though, by virtue of being a dorf, a creature of the earth and stone itself, seems like he instinctively knows where to go. The shapes and designs of certain tunnels tell him that something of great importance lays deeper within.
And that's the problem. Because Muradin does in fact knows where to go.
Which means that he takes the group straight into the lair of the Xenomorph queen.
Before even facing against however, a much larger, four armed Xenomorph bursts through the upper portions of the tunnels to barr the way of the group.
Those who heard reports of the attack in the Welcome Center would recognize it.
Its the same large one that burst through the doors and escaped the TASK officers that were chasing after it.
Continued in LF Healer 4 Alien Queen