It was a questionable decision, but there was no easy or obvious way to dissuade the others, and there were some potential upsides to blowing the cover to the secret PDC base, so we went.
Eliot flew us in our latest acquisition. While it positively oozes machismo, and is cooler to use instead of a generic TOAD transport, the smell of wet fur and wolf urine was going to take a long time to adjust to (evidently, those scents are absolutely soaked into the interior at this point).
The flight was quick and uneventful, the passengers, representatives of the outpost we had liberated, were pleasant and thankful. We soon located the PDC base, helpfully marked by our stolen SHERPA from the Tequila Sally. As a possible reserve force for our little expedition, we brought along ‘Digger’ (Eliot’s latest toy), who had been upgraded with some sort of heavy duty shovel/mining laser? Don’t ask, the explanation would take way longer than it’s worth.
The base was surprisingly dark and defenseless. It didn’t take too long to find out why. Giant insectoids had the run of the place, and were mostly clustered around the presence of a strange, pyramidal relic.
Sponge did a great job sneaking over to a set of controls, but was spotted on hir way back. As everyone was making a run for it topside, I stayed back to cover Sponge and try to discourage the pursuit. The military grade weaponry the raiders had left us did the trick quite well. It was like using a hot knife to cut butter, but at range. Carving up the largest and most aggressive Chiggers did the trick, and the smaller ones mostly milled around aimlessly.
The next thing I consciously remember was noticing Sponge hit the ground in front of me, having finished making hir way to the exit. Right. Some sort of invisible pulse had emanated from the artifact after power was put back. No apparent effect, not even dizziness, just a sort of tingling, like the hair on my arms were standing. It wore off soon, everyone seemed fine, other than one of the passengers who had passed out on the way to the exit. Hopefully that pulse didn’t scramble their brain too badly.
Everyone was very excited after we got out of the base. The representatives of the outpost were excited about the chance to acquire the artifact and the chiggers. But I knew right then they were bad news. Paradigm and the other megacorps play for keeps, and we’d be fools to let our names get out there. Slipping under the radar is tough enough for one, and impossible for more…