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You are a wannabe adventurer/scholar/tomb robber who has recently been drawn to the field by a string of notable discoveries in the steaming jungles of the Fantal Islands, discoveries that made those involved incredibly rich!

Now everyone and their dog are trying to get in on the action, whether they be colonial powers, pirates, criminals, shadowy occultists, freelance mercenaries, or free spirited adventurers.

But you have something they don’t.

A map.

And a plan.

Maybe not really a plan, but definitely a map.

>Pick your character and three support characters:

- Hans Wagner – Broody Belkan (German/Prussian) Beefcake
- Irene Schmid – Clumsy Gabaetian (Swiss) Mechanic
- Eleanor Fostin – Prudish Alkorian (English) Scholar
- Callista Baros – Foul-Mouthed Soukos (Greek) Bandit
- Billy O’Brien – Scrappy Lindgrubbian (Irish) Brawler
- Grubnub – Disgruntled Goblin Techwiz (WoW Style)
- Bjorn – Drunken Issbjarn (bear folk)
- Dmitri – Bigoted and Cynical Sailor from The Union (East Europe-Russia-China)
- Sakura – Sly Napanese (Japanese) Slutbag (also a shapeshifter)
- Aera Nowak – Shy Ercaenmedi (blue haired Polish-Koreans) Apprentice Mage
- Chuck Springfield – Trigger Happy Sneedian (Kansan) Cowboy
- Jasmine – Decadent Miqdaadite (Persian/Indian) Princess
- “One Eye” – Jaded Afrolian (Amazon) Guide
- Chadra – Spoiled Drow Heiress
- Brad Bradson – Semi-Feral Skyr-nadian (Canadian) Barbarian
- Amelie Janvier – Naive Nantean (French) Refugee
- Tomas McGee – Flamboyant Balorian (Scottish) Demolitions Expert
- Batu – Mysterious Dalavchtai (Mongolian) Mystic

(Setting takes place in the Autia Universe, a setting created on tg during the early months of 2021. It is basically a blend of steampunk/dieselpunk with some high fantasy concepts. There are a lot of strange and unusual details to the setting, but for now I will stick to the simple stuff. More on the setting can be found here: https://1d4chan.org/wiki/Autia)
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>>4907019
- Jasmine – Decadent Miqdaadite (Persian/Indian) Princess

Supports
- Hans Wagner – Broody Belkan (German/Prussian) Beefcake
- Eleanor Fostin – Prudish Alkorian (English) Scholar
- Chuck Springfield – Trigger Happy Sneedian (Kansan) Cowboy

I have no idea what I'm doing lets go
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>>4907019
- Chuck Springfield – Trigger Happy Sneedian (Kansan) Cowboy

Supports
- Batu – Mysterious Dalavchtai (Mongolian) Mystic
- Billy O’Brien – Scrappy Lindgrubbian (Irish) Brawler
- Sakura – Sly Napanese (Japanese) Slutbag (also a shapeshifter)
>>
- Bjorn – Drunken Issbjarn (bear folk)
--------------------------------------------------
- Chadra – Spoiled Drow Heiress
- Irene Schmid – Clumsy Gabaetian (Swiss) Mechanic
- Eleanor Fostin – Prudish Alkorian (English) Scholar
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>>4907061
Bjorn all the way baby
>>
Alright, looks like we got Bjorn as main, plus Chuck, Jasmine, Chadra, Irene, and Eleanor as support.

This is going to be a bit tricky, may have to rotate perspectives among characters occasionally.

I am going camping for the next two days, will post on Friday. This will also give me some time to figure out how the party dynamics will work.
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>>4907019
- Chadra – Spoiled Drow Heiress

- Chuck Springfield – Trigger Happy Sneedian (Kansan) Cowboy
- Bjorn – Drunken Issbjarn (bear folk)
- Sakura – Sly Napanese (Japanese) Slutbag (also a shapeshifter)
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>>4907019
Seconding this post >>4907061 and Bjorn better act like one of the armored bears from The Golden Compass.
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>>4907026
support
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--Bjorn--

You wake up in a storage space to the sound of a loud but steady thrumming.

It takes a moment to recall where you are, but then you remember, you are still aboard the “Air Sprite”, a small dirigible hired in Afrolia to take your group into the Fantal Islands, and investigate several potential ruins from Elenor’s map.

Some of your kind would consider it a bit rude that you are required to sleep in the storage hold, but you don’t mind. The living spaces aboard the “Air Sprite” are small and cramped, even the relatively large rooms occupied by Chadra and Jasmine.

You let out a rumbling yawn, stretch your limbs, then amble down the main corridor of the living space of the dirigible, passing the quarters of the humans Chuck, Irene, Eleanor, Jasmine, Chadra, Kitz, and Hilde. Though on second thought neither Chadra or Kitz are human, you are just used to thinking of them as such.

They are small and frail.

Like humans.

At the end of the corridor is the bridge, where Hilde, Kitz, and Eleanor are hard at work. You don’t much like any of them.

Hilde Engel is the captain of the dirigible, an honor less mercenary from Belka who reminds you too much of your closest companion Chuck. Her navigator and co-pilot is Kitz Noboru, a “spirit animal” of Napan, a creature too chaotic in nature to ever grasp the concept of honor. The third crew member is the deckhand Irene Schmid, from the mountains of Gabaet, no doubt up above inspecting the interior components of the dirigible. You have yet to make your mind up about Irene, she is either wise beyond her years, or just mind addled from altitude sickness.

Eleanor Fostin is arguably the mastermind behind this misadventure, it was her work with old atlases from the ancient Afzen Empire that led her to the map of ruins from the even older Khimere Empire. Despite her skill in her field of expertise, you find her insufferably arrogant.

In the mess hall are the drow Chadra and the human Jasmine, the wealthy sponsors. Although it is tempting to consider both to be nothing more than idle heiresses, you suspect that neither is completely to be underestimated.

Strange, your long time companion Chuck is not with him, you wonder if he is still asleep in his quarters.

>Go find Chuck, you are bored and he sleeps too much

>Go back to storage and open a new keg, it is too early in the morning to be somber

>Go back to sleep, Chuck has the right idea, there is little else to do on the dirigible
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>>4910592
>Go find Chuck, you are bored and he sleeps too much
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>>4910592
>Go find Chuck, you are bored and he sleeps too much
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>Go find Chuck, you are bored and he sleeps too much

--Chuck Springfield--

You are in your quarters cleaning out your newfangled revolver.

Fancy little thing, one of the inventions of the Big 300, and now increasingly widespread.

You give the cylinder of the revolver a spin, slide it back into place, then perform a quick draw.

You catch a glimpse of yourself in your quarter’s small mirror.

“Why hello there handsome” – You say to yourself.

You hear several large thumps as someone bangs on your door.

“Chuck. Wake. Up” – You hear Bjorn say in his growling voice.

You sigh and put your revolver back in its holster.

Bjorn isn’t much one for talking, but he isn’t much for mixing with others either. Usually at least once every day or two, Bjorn will rouse himself from his drinking and sleeping and engage you in a very short conversation. Not that you have anything against a good yarn, but Bjorn operates on his own schedule, and picks the strangest times to strike up a chat.

Your quarters are so small, it takes only two steps to reach the door.

“Why howdy partner” – You drawl. “What brings you here this fine afternoon”.

Bjorn has been your business partner for several years now. You first met in Kornheiseria, working as sideshows for the various sporting and gambling events popular there. While you generally performed tricks of marksmanship and quick drawing, Bjorn did wrestling and shows of strength. You joined a travelling troupe that did the rounds of southern Autia, and eventually became so successful that it became a permanent feature in Westphallica.

Despite having worked with Bjorn for several years now, you know little about his past, however, you suspect given his sullen nature and excessive drinking habits, he was somehow exiled from his homeland, or perhaps driven out by shame. Or perhaps all the bearfolk are like this, their race mostly keeps to themselves except mercenary work and certain types of merchant work.

“The sound has changed” – Bjorn grumbles.

“And so it has” – You reply. The pitch of the noise made by the dirigible’s propellers has definitely dropped, and you can sense the altitude is changing. “Looks like we have finally arrived”.

You head up to the bridge, where everyone else has gathered, except Irene, who is probably doing maintenance somewhere.
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>>4911875

Not for the first time you notice the gender ratio is unusually in your favor. Jasmine and Chadra have opted to keep the expedition small, relying on Eleanor’s maps to pinpoint the locations of large ruins and land the dirigible among them, rather than hire large numbers of laborers and fighters to try to cut their way through the jungle. As a result, the expedition only includes 8 members, only 3 of which are male (including Bjorn). Unfortunately, Irene is a bit too young for your tastes, Eleanor flips between frigid and arrogantly cocky, Jasmine seems way too experienced, and Chadra is equal parts oblivious and ethereal. You have been with Hilde a few times, but don’t particularly like or trust her.

Up ahead of the dirigible, dominating the view from the bridge’s windows, is Kushta Island, said to be the site of one of the largest cities of the Khimere Empire, at least according to Eleanor’s maps and documents. The island is a far way from any civilized community or shipping lane, and although it has likely been visited by air or sea occasionally, the hope is that no one has investigated in enough detail to locate the ruins buried in the jungle.

“Look, there” – Kitz points excitedly at a flat ridge, relatively free from trees.

The dirigible is landed and moored less than an hour later, and only an hour after that, the expedition is in a rather celebratory mood. Although buried in jungle, Eleanor is quite sure the steep hills and ridges to your immediate east are some sort of complex or small city. Furthermore, the ridge on which you are currently standing is at least partially artificial, ornate carvings and flat paving stones can be glimpsed among the vines and ferns.

However, before long, a brief argument breaks out, with Eleanor and Jasmine wanting to advance on foot to the ruined buildings and look for valuable relics, while Chadra and Bjorn urge caution and want to explore the immediate area first.

>Side with Eleanor and Jasmine, relics are what we are here for!

>Side with Chadra and Bjorn, your contract is with Chadra, not Jasmine, so a certain amount of loyalty is expected
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>>4911877
>Side with Chadra and Bjorn, your contract is with Chadra, not Jasmine, so a certain amount of loyalty is expected
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>>4911877
>Side with Eleanor and Jasmine, relics are what we are here for!
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>>4911877
>Side with Chadra and Bjorn, your contract is with Chadra, not Jasmine, so a certain amount of loyalty is expected
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>(As Chuck) Side with Chadra and Bjorn, your contract is with Chadra, not Jasmine, so a certain amount of loyalty is expected

--Eleanor Fostin--

Ugh, naturally Chuck and Bjorn side with Chadra. You suppose it makes sense since even though the expedition is a partnership between Chadra and Jasmine, Chuck and Bjorn worked for Chadra’s mother for a number of years before Chadra convinced them to come along on the expedition as muscle. You also suspect Chuck is strongly attracted to Chadra, but doesn’t have the guts to do anything about it.

You suppose you can’t blame him. Chadra is shapely and demure, everything a lady should be, though perhaps a bit too soft, fragile, and inexperienced for this sort of work. For this outing, she has worn a light black dress (rather low cut), expensive jewellery, and riding boots, almost as if she was intending to attend a garden party rather than hike through the jungle. Unfortunately, as the expedition’s main financier and organizer, not to mention only magic user, she does have a certain right to hold herself above the drudge work, you just wish she had deep enough pockets to hire a few more guards and laborers.

As eager as you are to explore the core ruins, you grudgingly admit to yourself that the Fantal Jungles aren’t the safest place in the world, and a certain amount of caution is prudent. It also rankles you a bit to have Jasmine side with you in an argument. An old frenemy from university, Jasmine was your roommate for several months, and a classmate in several history courses, where her lack of sexual morals, respect for personal boundaries, modesty, standards when it comes to partners, and ability to get you wrapped up in her hijinks, got you suspended twice, and caused significant harm to your professional and personal reputation. You only reconnected a few months ago in Westphallica, where a chance encounter led to you convincing her to convince Chadra to back the expedition, not to mention throw in a fair portion of her own wealth as well.

On the other hand though, you spent several years begging various academies and wealthy patrons to launch an expedition based on your findings, and now that it has finally happened (admittedly on a much smaller scale than you had hoped) you are eager to make the transition from a fringe academic to famous archaeologist-explorer.

Before anyone else can come up with some more second guessing, you stride boldly off in the direction of what appears to be a stone structure several hundred meters from the landing site, though still on the same exposed ridge as the dirigible. Most of the group follow you, except the dirigible crew, who stay behind to secure their airship.

Although seemingly in ruins from the outside, the inside of the structure is in breathtakingly good shape, but probably more importantly in the eyes of the others, has an obscene amount of gold and other precious metals inside...
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>>4913139

It appears to be a one room shrine or temple to some ancient form of the demon Glyce. An elaborate mural/mosaic, faded, but with a few chips of paint or colored stone still visible, depict a pink haired man receiving tribute from dozens of well dressed couriers. Elsewhere in the room are tables and basins which would have once been filled with actual tribute, but most of it has disintegrated with time, leaving just piles of coins, jewelry, and small statuettes.

“Holy Sneed, how has no one looted this already, it must be centuries old!” - Exclaims Chuck.

“Maybe there is some sort of curse protecting it” – Says Chadra. Already her eyes and hands glow with purple fairy fire, as they often do when she uses her limited magic.

“This site has been occupied on and off for millennia, but yes, it has likely been empty for several centuries” – You say.

Based on just a brief scan of the room, you can see artifacts associated with several different cultures who occupied this region during different eras, including Khimerian artifacts from several different ages, Imperial Afzen, and Sartyrian.

Jasmine sets up her camera. She has appointed herself as the expedition’s official photographer, and a couple of good photos of this place will do wonders in attracting additional sponsors. After all, a group this small couldn’t possibly haul more than a fraction of the artifacts found in this site, and the discovery of artifacts here will also increase the chances that you can attract sponsors for expeditions to other sites you have identified in your research. It is good to see Jasmine appears to have some intention of contributing positively to the expedition, rather than lounging around smoking her hookah and reading smut. She is even dressed in a vaguely appropriate manner, a far cry from her usual soft slippers, and diaphanous harem pants and brassiere (when she bothered to wear clothes at all, she seems to view it as optional aboard the airship).

While Jasmine takes pictures, and Chadra looks for magic traps, the rest fan out around the room.

“I don’t see any obvious traps” – Says Chadra.

And then she takes a step forward, and falls through the floor like it is not even there.

Chuck turns and takes a few steps towards the blank patch of floor that Chadra disappeared into, only to fall forward and disappear through the floor himself.

Your mind struggles to process what is happening.

Chuck was nowhere near where Chadra was when he disappeared. And the locations where both disappeared appear to be normal patches of floor with nothing special about them. Clearly some sort of illusion covering hole in the floor, but just how many holes are there?

“Alright, nobody move...” - Says Jasmine, having clearly reached the same conclusion you did.

This is very not good, you think to yourself...
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>>4913150

You realize you are still carrying the light weight rope you have been lugging around since you disembarked the airship, so you uncoil it, and toss the loose end over to the place where Chadra disappeared. As expected, the end of the rope disappears like that patch of floor is not even there.

You feed more and more of the rope into the magic trap, and are eventually rewarded with several tugs, indicating someone down below is pulling on the other end of the rope.

You brace yourself against a statue, and pull as hard as you can, but are surprised by how little tension is actually on the rope. Either Chadra weights a lot less than a similar sized human, or she is climbing up somehow....

Or, it is not Chadra...

A strange creature that resembles both a zombie and a tree crawls out of the floor.

It doesn’t look friendly.

>Run

>Throw your end of the rope at it

>Call Bjorn for help
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>>4913151
>Call Bjorn for help
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>>4913151
>>Call Bjorn for help
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>>4913151
>>Call Bjorn for help
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>Call Bjorn for help

--Bjorn--

Even as Eleanor calls for help, you are already springing into action.

You cross the room in one massive leap, grab the thing by the ankle, and toss it against the far wall.

You have no experience fighting undead and demons and such, but you figure a bunch of broken bones will slow it down if not kill it outright.

A second creature crawls out of a different patch of floor, then a third.

You step forward to meet them...

Then your foot sinks through the floor like it is not even there and you are in free fall!

You land in a soggy pit of mud and stagnant water in complete darkness.

You can hear scuttling and scratching noises. They seem to coming from above you, but you can’t tell for certain.

But then you see a dim blue glow up ahead, and realize it is likely Chadra using her magic to create light, though only a very small amount, and she seems to be facing away from you.

You head in her direction.

As you get closer, Chadra glances over her shoulder and presses a finger to her lips.

You stop sloshing through the water, and stand still for many long seconds until she brightens her light, and you find yourself in a catacomb-like space of many arches and high vaulted ceilings.

“There was some creatures in here when I first fell in, but they ignored me and climbed up the walls and through the ceiling” – Says Chadra. “I think they are programmed to attack those on the surface before coming back to finished those trapped down here. Or perhaps we weren’t meant to survive the fall, look at those spikes!”

Sure enough, several 8 foot metal spikes protrude from the muck in several places. Perhaps once there were more of them, and falling through the illusionary sections of floor above would have meant certain death landing on the spikes below.

“Ah” – You say, never one to use more words than needed.

She is likely correct about the zombie things coming back, which makes getting out of here even more important.

You hear a shriek, and Eleanor falls from the ceiling two arches back.

Her dress get caught on a metal spike, and pulled up over her head, leaving her suspended several feet above the water.

“Don’t look at me!” - Eleanor cries out fretfully.

Humans are strange about being seen without certain items of clothing, but you suppose you would be too if you where a fur less little runt.

Chuck arrives at this point, having likely landed in the catacombs several corridors away, and only now rejoining the group.

He seems distracted, and Chadra is never one to get her hands dirty, so you grudgingly unhook Eleanor’s dress and place her gently on the her feet, though you receive several kicks from the frantic woman for your troubles.

You are too impatient to wait for the others to discuss a plan for getting out.
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>>4916218

Leading by example is your inclination in these situations...

>Tell the others to climb on your back, maybe with a bit of coordination they can reach the ceiling and climb out one of the illusionary sections of masonry.

>Wander through the catacombs until you find a way out.

>Stay where you are and see if Jasmine and the dirigible crew can find a way to get you out.
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>>4916220
>Tell the others to climb on your back, maybe with a bit of coordination they can reach the ceiling and climb out one of the illusionary sections of masonry.
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>>4916220
Eleanor's rope is down here, right? Bjorn can toss up the end, or get a longish broken spike and tie the end of the rope to the end of it, then Jasmine can take the rope and attach it to something sturdy up there. maybe she can take the end from one hole and drop it down another hole, then Bjorn can hold on to one end while other people climb the other end. (kind of a less slapstick version of >Tell the others to climb on your back...)

Bjorn can maybe mark the traps by sticking the spike up them and scratching it against the edges or something. (depending on how the illusion works) otherwise, just stick the spike up to show where they are.

will the rope hold Bjorn if attached to the right thing?

how good are Bjorn's senses in darkness?

exploration ideas (probably not come up with by Bjorn):
if there's going to be traps sending people down here all the way, it's to our advantage to have someone below and someone above while exploring.

the people below can see where the traps are and mark them, or at least show the people above. they can also destroy any spikes that remain, we got lucky this time.

the people above can drop down a rope to evacuate people if something bad happens below. especially if Bjorn is above. they can also drop down themselves to support the people below if necessary.
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>>4916426
The rope is down there, but Bjorn hasn't noticed it yet.

Bjorn can climb the rope if it is attached to something sturdy enough.

Bjorn can see in the dark better than humans, but not as good as a drow like Chadra.

I didn't explain the traps very well, but they are basically a hole in the floor covered by a magic illusion. People who fall down end up in the catacombs, but luckily over the centuries the catacombs filled with mud and the spikes below the holes mostly rusted out and fell down.

The traps can be detected just by walking slowly and poking around with a stick, the bigger issue now is the zombies that crawled out of the catacombs when most of the group fell into them.
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>>4916220
>Tell the others to climb on your back, maybe with a bit of coordination they can reach the ceiling and climb out one of the illusionary sections of masonry.
Don’t think wandering the catacombs is a very good idea given what’s been happening so far.
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>Tell the others to climb on your back, maybe with a bit of coordination they can reach the ceiling and climb out one of the illusionary sections of masonry.

--Chuck Springfield--

“Climb up me, the ceiling is an illusion here” – Rumbles Bjorn.

“I got some improvements to your idea” – You reply, spotting the rope hanging down directly behind Bjorn.
In the blue glow of Chadra’s magic light, you see a long metal spike that has fallen against a wall.

You grab the spike and tell Bjorn to boast you up.

“Watch out, the zombies may still be up there” – Says Chadra. That's not good, but you already have your revolver in your hand and ready to go, so you are not worried.

The floor to ceiling gap was probably once bigger than now, but the thick layer of mud and soil lessened the gap to about 20 feet. Bjorn is 12 feet tall standing up, and is strong enough to support your weight in his paws with his arms above his head. He can lift you high enough that you can pull yourself out of the hole, but some of the others are shorter and/or have less arm strength.

Bjorn lifts you up, allowing your head to go through the illusionary ceiling, and look around the room you fell from.

No sign of zombies, but no Jasmine either.

However, you can hear gunfire outside the shrine somewhere, maybe Jasmine returned to the dirigible and got help from the crew.

You lift yourself out of the hole, use the spike to locate the boundaries of the illusion trap, tie the rope to a particularly large statue, then poke your head back down the illusion trap to tell the others it is safe to climb out.

Eleanor and Chadra climb out easily enough, but Bjorn isn’t sure the rope will support his weight, instead he tells everyone to get clear, then leaps partially out of the hole, and uses his raw strength to pull himself the rest of the way free.

Outside, you can still hear sporadic gunfire.

“Let’s go” – You say, leading the way with your revolver drawn.

As you approach the dirigible, you see a number of figures standing around, and worry the others have been overrun by zombies, but then you recognize that most are wearing the archaic looking black and gold clothing favoured by the Second Empire (magic using ultra-nationalist expansionists). Some wear the wide brim hats and deceptively ancient looking matchlock firearms of the Black Fleet Marines, while others wear the overly elaborate robes and dresses of the magic using elite.

You count eleven Second Empire types total, plus a Napanese spirit animal and an Issbjarn, plus Jasmine and the dirigible crew.

Several dead zombies are scattered about, it looks like most of them were brought down by the Marines.

You never much liked the Second Empire much, their expansionist designs for your homeland of Sneed are well known.

You stride over to the one that looks like the leader of the varmints, an elegant woman in a black dress and gold face mask.

"Lady Esmeralda" - She says to introduce herself.
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>>4919483

“Whad-do-you-want, clit ring” – You drawl, improvising a slur based on the Second Empire’s known fondness for body piercings.

“Rather rude, considering we saved your life” – Replies the woman.

“We had it covered” – You say.

“Well then, to be brief, our expedition has already discovered this island and its ruins, we have many more men back at the main camp. If you can’t behalf with civility, then perhaps it is best for you to leave” – She replies. “However, if you can behave, perhaps we can work out something that is in the best interests of both our parties.”

>Indicate you are willing to negotiate.

>Cede the floor to Chadra and Jasmine, since they are in charge.

>Try to start a brawl.
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>>4919485
>Indicate you are willing to negotiate.
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>>4919485
>Cede the floor to Chadra and Jasmine, since they are in charge.
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>>4919746
+
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>>4919485
>>Cede the floor to Chadra and Jasmine, since they are in charge.
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>>4919485
>>Cede the floor to Chadra and Jasmine, since they are in charge.
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>Cede the floor to Chadra and Jasmine, since they are in charge.

--Irene Schmid--

You nervously shuffle from one foot to another while Chadra talks to the leader of the Second Empire troops.

You long ago lost track of what they are talking about, and just want to get back to the rather scandalous penny dreadful you were reading back in the engine room while pretending to do some maintenance checks.

Apparently there was some big fight with some zombies, which would have been cool to see, but they were all dead by the time you got out.

Jasmine takes over talking for a bit, you don’t like Jasmine, she reminds you of a succubus from one of your penny dreadfuls, all but oozing lust and shamelessness most of the time, not that there is anything wrong with that, lust is holy after all, at least according to the writings of Gaelhalla, but too much of it makes you a bit uncomfortable.

She seems dead serious right now though, and you realize negotiations are coming to a close.

“So we help you with this little problem of yours, and we get 1/6th share?” - Says Jasmine.

Wait, what problem? You realize you might have missed something interesting.

Then you notice the Second Empire Marine closest to you is slowly growing unusually long talon-like nails.

Succubus!

Or at least according to your penny dreadful novels.

>Hit her with your wrench

>Yell out a warning

>Try to discretely draw one of your crew mates attention to it
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>>4923509
>>Hit her with your wrench
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>>4923509
>>Hit her with your wrench
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>>4923509
>>Yell out a warning
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>>4923509
>Try to discretely draw one of your crew mates attention to it
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>>4923509
>Hit her with your wrench