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Relics and Rayguns Episode 13: Jungle Bugs

The crew of the Blind Jump have found their way to the center of the strange underground moonbase and found a puzzle… six different colored flowers, with four empty flower stems lined up against one wall. The holographic plants respond realistically to the movements of the crew, allowing them to pluck virtual flowers and carry them to the stems. Lefty plucks a flower and places it on one of the stems, where it sticks. The crew figures out that they need to place the right colors in the right places, and eventually hits on a combination that produces an unusual scent in the air. At the same time, a chemical formula appears in the minds of the crew, and Whooey realizes that he has enough data to program the omniprinter to replicate the scented liquid.

The crew makes their way out of the installation and heads for the first jump node on their list of coordinates. The system they emerge in has many worlds, one of which holds life, orbiting a blue-white star; however, the crew doesn’t find any immediate signs of Founder installations. The crew begins to scan, and finds nothing at first. Eventually, Whooey tries ground-penetrating radar and locates a set of metallic caves in a low mountain on the world with life. A cave leads into the probable Founder installation.

Whooey scans the cave with the Blind Jump‘s sensors, looking for electromagnetic emissions, but finds only a very faint signal. The crew enters the cave and finds a hangar bay, with three strange platform scattered around, and a dozen large flying insectoid creatures. Shuhb reels with excitement. Binx opens fire with her needle rifle, shredding two of the bugs. Max does the same, killing two more. Whooey fires wildly with his microwave raygun as the bugs close in, but misses. The bugs attempt to sting the crew, knocking Miaulong and Whooey off balance.

Miaulong roasts a bug with his welding torch. Shuhb draws his weapons and grazes a bug. Lefty fires both his Founder pulse rayguns, spinning in a circle to fire at every surviving insect and hitting four of them, singing them all and killing one. A bug closes on Lefty and tries to bite him but fails; another stings Whooey but merely breaks off its stinger on his battle armor; and a third crushes Binx with its mandibles, injuring her. Shuhb fires his pistols again and hits a bug, and Whooey strikes one with his welding torch, roasting it. Binx fires her Founder raygun and misses, and Max busts out his cyberblades and eviscerates one of the creatures.

Shuhb punches a needle shot through a bug’s head as Binx falls back, taking another hit from an insect’s sharp mandibles. Miaulong also falls back, his power armor protecting him from the insects’ attacks, and then fires a missile at the bugs, hurling two bugs into the air with a concussive blast. Whooey swings wildly at a bug and misses. An insect bites Max, crushing through his suit to injure him. Lefty fires at the remaining bugs, but only singes them. Max stabs the bug who crushed him but his cyberblade deflects off the creature’s hard carapace.

Miaulong fires his lightning cannon and takes out a bug, leaving only one survivor. Shuhb grazes the bug with his needle pistols as it flies at Lefty, clawing at him but not penetrating his suit. Whoey gets through with his welding torch and finishes off the last bug.

Shuhb immediately starts dragging all the bug corpses to the ship to preserve them for later eating. Whoeey breaks out his Founders medkit and uses it to patch up Binx and Max, with some help from Shuhb when he gets back to the ship. Max examines a platform and decides it must be a speaking podium, but Binx determines it is a Founder anti-grav sled and manages to get it flying. “Oh, sweet, I want one,” yells Shuhb.

The crew loads two of the sleds on the Blind Jump‘s landing module and heads into the caverns. As they move into the facility, Lefty and Max notice a buzzing sound ahead – just like the sound of the flying bugs from the hanger bay, and both raise their weapons to fire down the corridor. The others, however, notice that these bugs seem to be non-hostile workers and manage to knock the guns aside as the workers move harmlessly past.

Further into the complex, the crew reaches a large chamber filled with chemical processing equipment obscured by an orange-ish smog. A Founder medkit sits on one wall, and Whooey and Lefty moves in to retrieve it. Binx, concerned about the smog, hangs back on watch, and then realizes that the atmosphere in the lab is corrosive and shouts a warning. Whooey and Lefty start running to get clear, and manage to get clear without their suits being compromised.

Binx sees some ventilation systems and considers fixing them, but is not happy about getting into the corrosive vapors. However, using her impressive improvisational engineering skills, she creates a high-powered blower that clears a corridor of vapor, allowing the crew to pass safely through the room. As they exit the room, they see a huge swarm of tiny insects. Whooey says, “Hello friends! What can you tell me about this complex?” The swarm advances towards him. Miaulong fires his lightning cannon and blasts the advancing bugs, splitting the swarm in two.

The swarms engulf the crew, squeezing through tiny gaps in their environment suits and stinging viciously. Binx swings her Founders plasma torch and splits the swarm again. Max frantically stomps the bugs without effect. Lefty flails wildly with his own plasma torch. Whooey fires his microwave raygun and hits a wall. Miaulong swings his welding torch and misses, and so does Shuhb. Max stomps wildly but to little effect.

Miaulong torches another swarm, scattering it. Whooey and Shuhb stompineffectively as Lefty closes in with his torch again and finishes off part of the swarm. Binx tries to torch the swarm and nearly cooks Whooey. Max stomps again and finishes off another part of the swarm. Miaulong jumps in and roasts another part, leaving only one small swarm remaining. Whooey starts yelling about Binx missing him with the torch and demanding why she can’t hit either him or the bugs, then drops to the ground and starts rolling over the bugs, crushing the remaining ones. The crew picks themselves up, Shuhb munching a couple of the corpses, and moves further into the complex…

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