Qi was warm, and the sightseeing spots and patio cafes were crowded – with unattended bags! I helped myself to a few and scored a few shins and some new makeup. I spotted the Dracogen’s mage Azir. We exchanged nods. Suddenly his expression changed, and I knew something bad was approaching from behind me.
I spun around and saw robe-wearing men with conical hoods and scythes closing in on us. It looked like they were wearing rough leather armor, so I struck with my dagger. It did no damage, so I knew their armor was more than it appeared. I decided to do what I do best and escape. I melted into the crowd. I felt the heat of fresh blood on my skin and heard the cries of people behind me. Suddenly I remembered the stories I’d heard of the blind assassins, sightless creatures who somehow lock onto their prey and advance toward them at all costs. I knew I had to face the assassins so they wouldn’t kill the entire marketplace. Luckily Pulse happened to be nearby, and he, Azir and I defeated the assassins. Unfortunately, the first time I used my new monofilament whip, the artifact completely discharged.
Badly injured, I took some shortcuts to the Dracogen’s lair, where I knew I could get medical attention. The Dracogen had his people patch me up as he rather gleefully informed me that my comrades had also just been attacked by the blind assassins. Hmph. He better patch me up, because that meant they were seeking retribution for our last job for the Dracogen – going to the crystal platform – and not some deceptively important bag I’d snatched in the marketplace.
The Dracogen sent for the others because he was ready to send us on our next mission – the one that meant Azir and I were no longer indebted to him. He had everyone healed and reactivated our devices, including my whip and Hugo’s chain sword.
The job was to recover a revitalizer, a healing device, from some business partners the Dracogen had lent it to. He told us to go to a large warehouse in the lower wards called “the hovel” and ask for a man named Russell at the door. He said to be diplomatic at first but do what needed to be done to retrieve the revitalizer.
I suppose because Johnah Hammer wasn’t with us, Jake Denon came along. We were walking to the warehouse, and Hugo mentioned he needed to look into his lady friend’s new investor. Jake Denon said matter-of-factly, “It’s the Dracogen.” Hugo did not look pleased.
We arrived at the warehouse and were directed to Russell. Like many of the guild members in Qi, Russell’s attitude was “I’d like to help ya’s, but -.” He explained – at length, repeatedly offering me a murky black beverage – that this was closer to a mining operation that a warehouse. The workers and their security escort were attacked by big bugs and left the revitalizer behind when they fled. They’d blown up the tunnels behind them to trap the big bugs, trapping the revitalizer, too. Russell warned us they’d found no way to damage the big bugs and that the numenera they’d found in that area were weird and alien. He said the researchers studying those numenera insisted, “The doom: it’s coming again,” before killing themselves.
Well, time to go. After all, this would get us out of debt with the Dracogen – if it didn’t kill us. The miners blew open the tunnel ahead of us. The material actually melted into an ooze rather than behaving like soil or rock. Jake Denon and I walked in front of the others. Soon, we heard a trilling sound. Dameris seemed to recognize it. She said, “They are intelligent bugs who love to drain people of their blood.” Great.
We actually managed to defeat two of them!
We went through a chamber filled with dead human parts. Dameris talked to one of the dead heads. “How many creatures?” she asked.
“So many! So many! They came from above!” the still-frightened man replied.
Dameris tried another, fresher-looking head. She asked where the revitalizer was. This head said, “The doctor ran down the hallway with the infernal blue circles,” with the revitalizer. Nothing here resembled a hallway: just tunnels.
Jake pointed out a tunnel going upward at a 45-degree angle. We followed it and found a hallway. When we stepped into the hallway, blue circles lit it up.
We reached a room at the end of the hallway. Jake tried to open the door. It hurt my head each time he tried. Finally we all pitched in and got the door open. Inside the room, the ceiling looked like the night sky: black with white stars, spinning in a dome. Something in the darkness was writhing toward us. I was hurt so many times, I hardly remember what happened. But we managed to kill it, and someone found the revitalizer nearby. We used it to heal ourselves and got out of the tunnels before the big bugs returned.
We took the revitalizer to the Dracogen, and he said we were freed from his service. He then insisted on showing us something on one of his video windows. It showed Reese Rollins leaving Qi earlier that morning. The Dracogen informed us Reese was supposed to have come with us. I guess this meant Reese had walked out his debt to the Dracogen, but I didn’t really know the guy enough to care.
Azir and Drugah Voss had found some cyphers in the tunnels, and we split these up. I wound up with a Sheen device and a Sonic Hole. I decided to hide my extra cyphers in Hugo’s lab.