1209: Legendary Adventurers, Futuristic Saviors – Chapter Eight, Part ThreePosted: October 17, 2015
~Aboard the Team Paragon Stealth Airship “Excellion”, cloaked and hovering 20,000 feet somewhere above the Atlantic~
Grey: We have a team name, do we really all need to be individually named in the “critiqued by” field?
Goldie: On the possible off-chance that someone might be reading who has no idea who all the members of Team Paragon are? Yes.
Ozzy: There’s only five of us, how hard is that to memorize?
Cas: Memory has nothing to do with it, it’s the idea that new people will walk in, see “Team Paragon” and go, “Who the hell are they?” It’s annoying to have to introduce ourselves constantly, so individually naming ourselves is a better option than writing “Team Paragon” and going through the process of lengthy introductions every single time.
Rose: But how am I supposed to have dramatic entrances if people already know I’m gonna be here?
Ozzy: Why would you want a dramatic entry in a riff?
Goldie: I’ll let you guys mull that over, I’m gonna get started on this riff before I lose my nerve to get to work.
Not Far from the Caravan
Goldie: Oh my God, we’re still here. This chapter is such a damn drag and I don’t know why because it’s been nothing but action scene so far.
Grey: How do you make a fight boring? Literally, how?
San had watched in absolute horror as her wolven mother plummeted head-first over the cliff.
Cas: Is this going to become Stone-Man85’s new “Asian descent” thing? We get it. Moro is a wolf. You don’t need to keep telling us every couple of sentences.
“MOTHER!” she screamed with a mixture of terror and rage, feeling the tears begin to build up in her eyes.
Ozzy: I’d be pissed if my mother got punched out by a fucking Sue too.
Rose: That’s of course assuming a Sue could punch our mother out. And, you know, keep her punched out.
Ozzy: Well, yeah.
She then leapt on to Kiba’s back and gripped his fur tightly, “Quickly, we have to go to her, she might be dying!”
Cas: She got shot once, lightly burnt, and beaten up by a punchabunch arm. I mean, I’ve had worse done to me, easily. And I’m certainly not on any godly level. You lads remember that time where I got punched through a wall whilst trying to protect that Decker who was hacking a megacorp terminal for any dirt he could send back to his mates?
Goldie: Followed by a blast from a minigun, several grenades, and then some really pissed off megacorp-employed cyborg tough guy cut you in half with a sword. Not to mention they killed the Decker. Yeah, I remember. Cyberpunk was not kind to you.
Grey: Then some prick went and hacked his account dry, which I think was really just petty on their part.
Cas: Long story short, that’s the last time I willingly take on work in Shadowrun.
“Right!” The large wolf growled and darted down the mountain with all his strength. Though he and Tsume had been never ones to openly show hurt or fear, deep inside they were more terrified for their mother’s life than they had ever been before.
Ozzy: Dat awkward wording, tho.
Though Moro may have been a God, she was still a living creature. And sooner or later, all living creatures eventually die.
Rose: Kind of ironic, given the accepted image of gods being indestructible powerhouses that can snap the universe in half by blinking.
In the Forest
Goldie: I can’t believe I’m saying this, but please let this be Alex…
Alex tromped through the damp forest, his cloak pulled over him, and the hood pulled over his head.
Goldie: Oh thank God.
And his Isaac-filled supply sack slung over his shoulder.
Cas: Aren’t we…?
Goldie: Hmm? Oh, yeah, we’re supposed to yoink Isaac from the fic. Well, let’s get that done and dealt with, then.
*Goldie snaps his fingers, and a Device very similar to the one SC used recently for Momo materializes in the room*
Grey: …Aaand what’s the difference between this one and your mum’s?
Goldie: Mine doesn’t have a chance of horrifically gibbing us.
Rose: Oh, so a considerable difference, then.
Goldie: Very. Now get me a read on Isaac- oh, wait, what the hell am I saying? His name’s right there. Nevermind, just stand back.
Ozzy: I thought you said this wouldn’t gib us?
Goldie: No, but it’s a fairly powerful vacuum, and standing too close could still cost you a limb.
Cas: Well, he’s right about it not being gibbing.
*All collectively take a step back as Goldie pulls the trigger; the disgusting person-inhaling-with-stuffy-nose sound erupts through the room, followed by a ding*
Goldie: Really wish it didn’t make that sound, but I guess even I can’t fix all the bugs. Now, let’s see what we’ve got, here…
*Goldie opens the container, and all peer in curiously; Isaac, memory wiped and slightly dazed, glances back at each face in turn curiously*
Ozzy: ‘Sup. Hey, is Zack a cool name for you?
Isaac, now known as Zack: I guess I’ve had worse.
Ozzy: Cool. Hey, wanna see who you used to be?
Zack: Should I be worried?
Zack: …Fine, but I’m snuggling in that chick’s fur lining before I do. For protection or something.
Goldie: You’re just looking for an excuse to hang out on Rose’s shoulders, aren’t you?
Zack: I need an excuse?
Cas: He’s got you there, mate.
Rose: Ah, what the hell. I’m a sucker for cute things. C’mere, skipper.
*Zack hops onto Rose’s shoulders and snuggles into her neck*
Goldie: Okay, if you’re not ready, you’re never gonna be, because we’re continuing onward.
He looked up and gazed at the sky through the thick canopy of leaves.
Ozzy: Quick question: can the DRD hit us here, while we’re cloaked and systems are on standby for defensive action?
*Alarms blare; several screens flip to radar imagery of DRD attack ships homing in on the Excellion*
Goldie: Short answer: yes. It’s fine, the systems should be engaging right about… now-ish.
*The Excellion rumbles from the force of several hundreds of cannons being fired off in quick succession; the DRD dots disappear from the radar one by one until the radar is clear, at which point, all systems revert back to standby and a computerized voice which sounds suspiciously like Benji deems the threat neutralized*
Goldie: And you jerks said I was dumb for loading Benji on the guns instead of Grey and Cas.
Grey: We would have made it interesting.
Rose: You would have fucking unloaded the Skysplitter!
Cas: Right, we’d have made it interesting.
He was relieved to see that the clouds were now pulling away from each other leaving openings for blue sky and warm sun to seep through.
Grey: And if it’s anything like UK weather, that’ll be for like two seconds and then never again for the rest of the year.
Cas: Welcome to “summer.”
“Well, it’s about time,”he said to himself and wiped the wetness from his face. His attention was suddenly ripped away from the sky by what sounded like a bellowing ‘moo’.
Rose: Could you, like, not?
“What the… ?” the youth said cocking an eyebrow when the cry came again. Following the strange but vaguely familiar sounds, he ran through the forest, splashing in soggy mud puddles and pushing himself through water-logged bushes. It didn’t take to long for him to find the source of the cries.
A large, black ox was frantically pulling against its harness which had become snagged on the thick branches of a tree. The horned animal bellowed again and jerked its head from side to side.
Cas: I’d like to take a moment and focus on an ox harness, just to give an idea of how thick that tree branch would have to be in order to keep one snagged in spite of the attached ox’s strength and efforts.
Cas: You might have noticed that, above all else, an ox harness is a LOT of straps. Thick leather, if I had to put forward a guess, as anything else would either badly hurt the beast or snap like string. And then you might have noticed that there’s quite a few wooden or metal bits as well, depending on the technological and resource allowances of the time. Muromachi Japan likely used a lot of wood by their point in history, as metal was a precious resource that was short in supply as compared to countries like Britain or Italy, where metals could be easily found in more abundance, and as a result, it was reserved mainly for currency and Samurai armaments, or any particular group where a weapon and armor would make sense to have on hand. Eboshi, in the movie, used it for her guns, so she certainly wouldn’t have metal braces on her caravan’s ox-driven carts. But in any event, the point I’m trying to make here is that ox harnesses are big, thick, and heavy. Add to that the raw power of an ox, most commonly used to carry loads heavier than itself, and you’d have to imagine that this tree branch is probably as thick around as the ox in question in order to keep it stranded. Furthermore, oxen have incredible stamina – they have to, traveling long distances or working long hours. So that bugger’s probably got enough fight in him still to badly wound Alex, even though the lad is probably trying to help. All this in mind, we can probably guess that Alex is about to do something that, without this background information, would otherwise make sense, but now doesn’t because of the information. Which seems to be a common issue with this author: if it makes sense in his head, he doesn’t bother to check his details to see if there’s any hitches in his giddyap.
Goldie: This has been a Cas-Style Infodump, ladies and gentlemen. The lesser known take on the SC-Style Infodump.
“Now that… ,” Alex said with a wide expression, “… is what I call a really big chunk of hamburger.”
Cas: Another big issue this author has is constantly having Alex drop terminology and references that only makes sense in the time period that they exist, and for some reason facing no or hardly any reaction as a result. Literally half the shite that spills out of Alex’s gob should be garnering weird looks, but nothing ever bloody happens. And it’s something SC has addressed multiple times before, so I’ll just reiterate his usual message here: Knock it off, Stone-Man85. It’s not funny, quirky, or cute, it’s annoying.
He slowly approached the frantic animal, holding his open hand out in an attempt to show that he meant no harm. “It’s okay,” he said softly taking a few more slow steps towards the ox, “I’m not gonna hurt you. That, and I was joking about that hamburger crack.”
Ozzy: That ox has seen some shit, and has likely been stuck there for a few hours by this point. I don’t think you’re going to get very far, here. Animal minds, for as smart as it’s been week recorded that they’re capable of being, tend to lack certain abilities of human minds that allow us to think rationally even after having faced something awful that has us on edge, so that ox being attacked by San probably has it forever terrified of any other human it sees, regardless of their intentions.
The ox’s large eyes filled with the boy’s image causing it to draw back in fear. It then made a low pitched wail.
Ozzy: Like I said: I don’t see this going far.
“Shhhh. It’s alright,” the youth said quietly and held his hand towards the frightened animal’s wet snout. “Just take it easy, now.”
The ox reluctantly turned to face him and sniffed at his hand. Alex tried to hold back his laughter as he felt the ox’s damp nose brushing against his hand. “There you go,” he said with a smile and began to gently stroke the animal’s head, “See, I’m not such a bad guy, now am I?”
Rose: …Uh, even though I know that’s the method of calming animals like oxen down, it should have taken a LOT more effort than that, considering what the poor guy’s been through.
The ox ‘mooed’ in response, “You must’ve wandered off from the rest of its heard, or something.”
Cas: Oh my, have we run across the Ox God? Why can this guy suddenly speak?
Grey: And if we have run across the Ox God, Moro has some explaining to do for unloading on him and that caravan he was helping.
Goldie: This, ladies and gentlemen, is why we do not splice actions in with dialogue if they do not relate to the same character.
Isaac, who had been asleep for most of the time,
Ozzy: Oh by the way, this is you, Zack.
Zack: Uh oh.
jumped out from the warm safety of the supply sack and landed on the soggy ground.
Zack: What, I’m just randomly hanging out in a bag? I have legs, I can walk. And besides, I feel safer being carried in someone’s arms anyhow.
Rose: The more he talks, the cuter he gets!
Goldie: That is pretty endearing, not gonna lie.
When he looked up at the towering ox, his ears twitched as did his nose.
Zack: So what? They always do that. I’m a fox-squirrel, for crying out loud.
Cas: Yes, but this fic follows the rather foolish idea that every twitch of a nose is imminent danger or discovery when it comes to animals. Even though literally any animal in the world will just sniff the air for mundane reasons at some point, or flick an ear to get rid of a fly or something like that.
Rose: Animals exist for drama, Zack, didn’t you know?
Zack: I feel so enlightened.
Keeping his grayish eyes fixed on the bulky mass of the ox’s body, the fox circled around, sniffing at the air.
Grey: Much intrigue.
Ozzy: Many suspense.
Goldie: Wow so mystery.
He stopped when he reached the animal’s right hindquarter and asked, “So what’s with the heffer? We havin’ steak tonight?”
Zack: …Oh. Oh criminey. Do I seriously make quips that stupid? Please say no.
Goldie: All the time.
Zack: I’m probably gonna be sick.
Rose: You’re probably gonna be getting the hell off my shoulders, then.
Ozzy: If it’s any consolation, part of the reason we snatched you out of this mess is because you pop off with enough gems to counter your shit.
Zack: Minor consolation.
but then his ears perked up as he looked towards the river.
“Isaac?” Alex asked as he freed the ox’s harness from the tree branch, “What is it?”
Cas: So hey, remember when we discussed how thick that ox harness is, and the likelihood that Alex would do something that makes sense only if you don’t have the proper information on hand? Well, there we go, he somehow just freed an unstable ox of however many tons from a tree branch that ostensibly is as thick around as it is in order to have kept it trapped for as long as it did. I’ll let you do the maths as to how bloody impossible that is.
“Something’s amiss with this bovine here,” Isaac stated as he looked to where he was.
Zack: As I looked to where I was? I already know where I am! Why do I need to look to it?
Goldie: But what if you don’t know where you are?
*Rose hums the X-Files theme*
Zack: I don’t get it.
He moved around the ox, patting its wide belly and stopped where Isaac was sitting, “Come, Isaac, don’t tell me you’ve never seen…a…”
Grey: What the piss? When’d Alex start talking like a professor from Cambridge?
Cas: I’ll bloody shoot myself if he suddenly picks up the accent.
Ozzy: Wait, Grey, how could you know what a Cambridge professor sounds like? You’ve never been there.
Grey: It’s Cambridge, mate. It’s not hard to guess. They’re only the most prestigious institution of education in the UK as of this year and probably many years before if I bothered to check. I’m sure you can find a number of blokes there who talk like that.
The young outlander’s words escaped him when his saw the blood dribbling down the ox’s leg. “What the hell…” His eyes followed the stream of red up the animal’s leg until he was looking at the rump, “…is this?”
Buried deep within the black hide was a double-edged dagger.
Ozzy: Oh hey, this is that ox that Sannabe stabbed for no good reason like a douchebag!
Rose: Yeah, and then she gave a similarly douchey reason when questioned about it after the fact.
Zack: Wait, I thought she hated humans? What’d the ox do?
Ozzy: According to her, it was helping humans, so it was free game.
Goldie: Which really IS douchey. The guy was already hauling rice on a mountain path, I’m pretty sure he didn’t deserve that ass-stabbing.
Alex carefully examined the wound, and gently gripped the blade’s handle. Biting his lower lip, the youth tightened his grip and pulled the dagger cleanly from the wound, receiving only a small yelp from the ox.
Cas: Didn’t the author try to claim at one point that Alex had some manner of medical ability?
Goldie: To much ridicule from SC, yes.
Cas: He’s just ripped a knife out of an ox’s arse. Let’s see how he’ll deal with the bleeding, eh?
With a sickened but curious look, Alex examined the dagger he held in his hands.
Cas: And he does precisely nothing about the bleeding! Terrific!
“Man,” he murmured, “Talk about you’re weirdo weapons.”
Grey: It’s a dagger. What is weird about a dagger. Explain that to me.
Ozzy: I can only assume he means that Sannabe’s dagger being unique-looking aesthetically is what makes it weird. But it really doesn’t, if you’ve ever seen her dagger.
Goldie: Oh, by the way, full disclosure: all of Team Paragon uses swords. Even Grey and Cas, despite that they have their mother’s gun-summoning ability. Even Rose, though she prefers her axe. So there’s that.
He dunked the blade in a puddle of water, washing away the blood,
Goldie: Oh, dude, NO! You wipe the blade! Wipe! You don’t dunk it in water! Blades in the 1500’s weren’t made of stainless steel, nor did they have hydrophobic qualities that would prevent liquids from sticking to them! Water would rust the hell out of it! What are you doing right now? You’re damn lucky than Sannabe’s weapons are probably bone or sharp stone and don’t rust, holy hell!
Zack: What’s with him?
Rose: Poor Goldie picked up his dad’s sword obsession when he was little. If this keeps on like it’s started, he’s gonna have an aneurysm.
Zack: Ah. Well, that’s no good.
then continued to examine it. It was like no weapon he had ever seen. Not even that swords and knives show on the home-shopping network had sold anything like it.
Grey: And, what, that’s supposed to be some kind of shining endorsement? Unless that late night shopping channel is the Cold Steel lads, I’m not sure it’s even worth mentioning that they don’t have a dagger like Sannabe’s.
The blade was an oddity all on its own. Two, razor sharp edges joined at the tip which formed the dagger’s semi-round triangular shape.
*With a pained groan, Goldie shifts uncomfortably in his seat*
Ozzy: All manner of blades are wedges, kid. How “round” the blade looks depends on what kind of wedge it is.
*Goldie stiffly holds up a picture of San’s dagger*
Ozzy: …And that, sir, appears to be a lenticular wedge. Lenticulars are almost oval-shaped, which is as close to “semi-round” you’re going to get with flat blades like this. I should also point out that your wording suggests that San has something more akin to a diamond, which is incorrect. Here, I think this chart will show you my point – excuse the pun:
On the flat of the blade there was a pair red slash marks.
Cas: They’re not slash marks, boy, they’re Vs.
It was truly a strange, but marvelous piece of weaponry.
Rose: It’s a bone dagger. What’s so special about it? My axe stands about half a foot shorter than I do, the blade was forged with a super-strong material that apparently doesn’t exist on the periodic table, and that material vibrates at super high frequencies when in motion, so it makes musical noises when swung through the air, which is more than just flare because it also makes the blade cut way easier. My axe is a “strange, but marvelous piece of weaponry.” That’s just a dagger. Whoop-dee-doo, dagger.
“Doesn’t look like something a samurai or bandit would use,” he said to himself. “Nor anyone else I can think of for that matter.”
Grey: …You’re joking, right? A Samurai, fine, I can’t see them using something like Sannabe’s dagger, but some dirt-sucking bandit or your typical run-of-the-mill peasant with hardly any means of self-defense wouldn’t be caught with a weapon like that? Really? You’re a barmy one, mate.
A sudden chill passed over him, causing his skin to break out into tiny goose-bumps.
Goldie: Goosebumps is one word. Also, thank God we’ve moved on from the weapons now.
Zack: I noticed you starting to look a little uncomfortable, there.
Goldie: “A little?”
His arms and chest began to burn and rippled. He clenched his teeth, fighting the urge to cry out. The pain only lasted for a few seconds, and soon washed away from his body like a fading dream.
Rose: Now that’s as sure a sign as any that he needs to go take a shit.
Ozzy: From his chest cavity?
Rose: Well, where else would you expect a Stu to take a shit from? Their ass?
Cas: Generally speaking, yeah.
Rose: Man, y’all motherfuckers is stupid.
Goldie: I should like to remind the audience that Rose is as white as a piece of paper.
Alex breathed a sigh of relief. When he stood and turned around he was struck by a scene that literally left him dumbstruck.
Ozzy: So you say he was-
Grey: I will bloody shoot you if you say it.
Ozzy: …STRUCK DUMB?
*Grey summons a gun and shoots Ozzy to death with it*
Grey: I told him I’d do it. He didn’t listen. Can’t just not own my threats, can I?
Goldie: That seems like sound logic to me.
While the youth had been busy examining the dagger, Isaac had found himself a comfortable spot on ox’s back. The ox for the most part didn’t seem to even notice the smaller animal’s presence and just simply lumbered about, chewing on the leaves of a shrub.
Cas: Yes, while actively bleeding. You know, most animals, thick hide or no, tend to want to do something about that, I’ve found.
Zack: And apparently I’m okay abusing any parties I so choose for a nap.
Rose: …Remember where you’re sitting?
Zack: I said “any parties,” not “any willing parties.”
Ozzy: Still counts, bud.
Zack: Wait, shit, hang on, I know what I meant to say…
Alex, shook his head and laughed, “Isaac,” he said, “You are quite the lovable mooch, aren’t you?”
The little fox-squirrel shot him a sly grin and yipped, “And proud of it.”
Zack: Hey, for once we agree on something.
Goldie: …Oh, hey, the riff is over. Well, I guess that’s that, then.
Cas: You think SC’s up yet?
Rose: If he’s not, he’s the slowest sobering individual I’ve ever met.
Ozzy: Hey, should we do a sign-off, or…?
Grey: Does it involve Cas and I firing the Skysplitter?
Rose: Yeah, no.
Ozzy: Definitely no.
Zack: I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I’m going to assume the correct answer is no.
Grey: Well then, piss off with ya!