Saturday, September 25, 2021

Eye Eye, Captain!

Nova Gangarin was, in fact, a giant eyeball floating in space. A thin watery layer covered an otherwise spherical eyeball, the size of Earth. A green eye, in fact. It stared blankly into nowhere; there was not even a star in the area, though the eye itself glowed dimly from a sheen of phosphorescent fungus. The only land was a huge platform, built to allow ships to dock. A massive submarine took them down below, to one of the many underwater cities. A hole, cut in the lens, allowed passage inside.

Blue thanked them for the ride, and headed out to get the payment she had promised; meanwhile, after harassing a drunken sailor, the crew decided they would do a bit of underwater investigation. Gleefully bypassing the nicer looking ships, they opted for Capt. Tkkktch Chaagggttpptt, captain of the Yellow Submarine. The captain was a strange, buggy sort of fellow - he communicated in clicks and pops, through a badly damaged translator. Rodney went out and grabbed him a much nicer one as a gift. He also kidnapped the poor sailor, because it was funny.

Down below, in the deep, dark sea, they toured the first of three levels - floating undersea "islands", generally gathered into strata. The first level was basically touristy - lots of lovely reefs and fish to look at. The second level was a lot more dangerous - or it would have been, if they weren't with the bug. The second level is where the bugs bred; most bugs were male, and there was a huge difference between the males and females. Males were, generally, about human sized, albeit with a hunched walk due to their lower abdomen. They could breathe in air or water just fine. The females, however, were entirely dependent on the water, and grew to nearly thirty feet in length, with huge teeth and dozens of grasping arms. The captain introduced the crew to his great-great-great grand-daughter, who was watching over the great-great-great-great grandchildren. It turns out that the captain was about twelve years old; most of the bugs came of age after about two. They live to be 15, though with care, 20. Not a long-lived species, but then again, they seem to enjoy their lives.

The third level was generally considered the most dangerous, and not just because of the high pressure - the crew (with Reggie in a full articulated dive suit) headed out of the ship to explore, and ran into some mermaids. Fairly standard? Not hardly. They had four arms, sharp teeth, and a very bad attitude. And, as it turns out, had taken up residence in an old UEA ship!

Lucky for them, the translator also translated the merpeople speech. Borrowing the translator, Reggie, Nix, and Elise headed into the ship with a mermaid, and left Rodney and the bug to guard the sub.

Inside, the king of the merpeople demanded that they face his champion, before they would be allowed to live. Elise agreed, and fought the champion; he landed a blow or two, doing some damage, but she was able to blast him full of enough holes to kill him. Reggie asked for the shield he had on his back. The king, overjoyed, asked if they'd like to fight some more; Nix agreed, and this time went up against a more lithe and nimble fellow, who used some very dangerous explosives to put some dents in Nix's power armor - but, he was knocked out, and left Nix as the winner. The king was so happy, he offered to show them to their god, which of course, Nix and Elise accepted.

The door to the bridge was decorated with shells and coral; hooded merpeople ushered the two inside... then quickly slammed the door. First, they were blasted with high-energy electricity, then suddenly, a terrifying monster appeared.

Nix read off the riddle they had gotten from the Fairy Queen, and it suddenly turned into... the ship's avatar! it seems that the poor ship's AI had been in hiding, killing merpeople, and eventually becoming a god, though not a particularly powerful one. He wasn't a fan. After discussing how he arrived - he was part of the first assault to liberate Earth, and was sent here, where he crashed, though hopefully saved his crew in the process - and settled here, where he's been for a really long time. They offer to rescue him, and he agreed.

Nix and Elise returned, gathered Reggie, and told the king that they had been given a mission to explore the back end of the ship. They entered the dark halls, and found... something. It was squishy, and mostly immoveable. Reggie poked it, then tried squeezing between it and the wall - and only managed to get himself eaten!

The creature was some sort of ameoba, and while Reggie fought to not get digested, the creature turned to try to ingest the other two. The three managed to damage it somewhat, but it split into two, and again attacked; Reggie popped an organelle, which hurt the creature, and Elise manage to damage more. Eventually, after some tense nearly-getting-eaten moments, they managed to destroy the last organelle, and the ameoba broke apart.

Quickly, they swam to the engineering bay, disconnected the AI, and managed to get out before the JumpDrive exploded. They strapped it to the side of the submarine, and headed to the surface.

Once they found a place to dock, they transported the enclosure to their ship, where another box was waiting for them - payment from Blue, a stealth system! They installed the system and the AI, gaining some valuable assistance in battle. With everything dealt with on the Eye, it was time to head out - this time on the quest Nix received, to visit the Cube.

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