Caves below Aliso City
It had been a long shift for Thrance Orsus, and the end of it couldn't come soon enough. Exploring the cave system below the city had seemed like a good way to make a few credits, and the Dread Lord, whoever it was at the time, always paid well. After he and his team of rock riggers had done their part helping set up The Circle with their asteroid facility, the promise of leaving zero-g behind and working planetside for a while had held a certain appeal.
"Yeah," he grumbled to himself, "and if my grandmother had repulsors she'd be a speeder."
Long days underground, never seeing the sun, made him a bit nostalgic for the stomach churning sensation of freefall. At least out there you got to see the stars. Working this far under the surface, however, meant that it was often better to simply set up a camp where they were. But, at least, the job was almost complete.
"Hey boss, think we found somethin' over here," called out Jacin, the team's XO.
Crossing over to where the other man stood, Thrance looked at the readout. The rock before them, while appearing no different than the solid surfaces to either side, was actually less than a meter thick. There was an open void on the other side, but the sensors were having a hell of a time seeing what was on the other side.
"Think it's the all the topaline that's interfering with the sensors?" Jacin asked.
"Probably," Thrance decided. "Better blast our way in and do a visual inspection. And here I thought we were nearly done with this one."
"I hear that," Jacin said, then turned to gather the rest of the team. "All right, you rock crawlers! I want blast points here, here, and here. We need to take this wall down without compromising the integrity of the chamber. Move it!"
The other men set about their tasks, and after a few minutes the team was safely behind a large outcropping of rock. Jacin smiled as he held the detonator in his hand.
"Blow it," Thrance ordered.
The dull whump of the explosives was followed by the sound of falling rock fragments as dust from the explosion billowed out from the newly blasted hole. Pulling his goggles down to protect his eyes, Thrance gestured for his men to move into the newly exposed cavern. Following the other three members of his team, Thrance took stock of his surroundings.
"Boss, this look natural to you?" Jacin asked as his helmet's light moved across the stone walls of the chamber.
"No," Thrance answered. "Maybe it was part of a planned expansion the Seps never got around to finishing.
Suddenly, the cavern was filled with the blood curdling scream of one of his men. Turning around, Thrance and the rest saw that Tillmun's pack and helmet were lying on the ground, but there was no sign of the burly Gotal.
"Tillmun!" Jacin yelled into the darkness.
As Thrance raced over to where his man's gear sat, Keller called out in alarm from behind them. Turning around, Jacin's light just caught the man's legs flailing as he was dragged quickly into a side corridor leading out of the chamber.
"Emperor's black bones, what the hell is going on?" Jacin demanded.
"I don't know, but stay close. Back out the way we came," Thrance ordered.
Before the men could move, two bright red blaster bolts leapt out of the darkness. The first struck Jacin in the face, killing him instantly. The second burned into Thrance's gut, dropping him to the ground as he keeled over backwards. Feeling the life ebbing out of him, Thrance tried to cling to consciousness as long as he could.
The sound of metal feet striking stone reached his ears as he struggled to stay alive, finally seeing a pair of skeletal, dark rust colored droids enter his field of view as they stood over him.
"This one is still alive," the first droid, his head and chest decorated with yellow markings, observed. "Terminate him."
The other droid raised his weapon, aiming directly at Thrance's head. "Roger, roger."
The initial fiction update above (brought to you by myself, Abadeer, and Arden) has the pleasure of kicking off the next event for Clan Plagueis: The Enemy Below. This event will be structured much like past events, with 8 competitions per week over three weeks. The first round competitions open at 12:00 midnight site time on March 20th, which means later on tonight for our US based members!
As you saw (because you all read it, of course) in Arden's Rollmaster report, the summit and I have divided you up in a somewhat interesting fashion: Odd pin numbers vs even pin numbers. There's already been some good Odds vs Evens rabble rousing in the Plaguies channel as people beging to figure out who their temporary allies and rivals are, and I even created a Telegram sticker set so everyone could show their team spirit:
Our hope with this team alignment that people end up working with some people outside of their houses. Both teams have one member of each House summit (the Quaestor of one House and the Aedile of the Other), so one the House leaders will be there to work with all their subordinates.
Laren Uscot, Malice, Anakin.j.r., Azmodius Equesinfernum, Balis Umada, Dacien Victae di Plagia, Doku Rivendare, Eiko, Jai'de Serpens, Kadrol Hauen, Kryy Vitaan, Malacath, Mears Hiorte, Octavia Morgan Obrie, Oric Ral, Pollus Paratus, Ra'gnar, Remurr Hijaa, Ronovi Tavisaen, Zanet Xox
Furios Morega, Kelly Mendes, Bal Demona, Brimstone aka Seabr'imsto'nedansr, Kalon Tsucyra Entar, Kul'tak Drol, Lexous, Misium, nash himura, Obsidian, Qormus Aquila, Silent, Taranae Rhode, Teylas Ramar di Plagia, Tra'an Reith di Plagia, Va'nia Drellik, Vanessa Rhode, Zuser Whuloc
The main competition can be found here, and all the various competitions can be found there. I think we've got a nice assortment of activities this time around, Fiction, Flash, and Fpuzzles (The F is silent in that last one). The summit and I also made sure to listen to feedback from the membership regarding the competition lineup found in our most recent Winter Trials competition: namely, we made sure that members looking to do ALL THE THINGS won't be buried deeper and deeper under writing as the rounds go on.
The scoring system for The Enemy Below will essentially be the same as has been used in the past. Each individual will earn five points per event they participate in. Participation is defined a valid submission for an event. Simply signing up for an event or uploading an unqualified submission will not count. You have to put in the effort in order to receive the reward. Participation will earn 5 points.
Additionally, the top three individuals in each event will earn placement modifier points. First place will earn 4 points, second place will earn 3 points, and third place will earn 2 points, and all other entries will earn 1 point. Events themselves will have modifiers based off their perceived difficulty/level of effort required. For example: the modifier for fiction will be 3, modifier for gaming/graphics/poetry will be 2, and no modifier will be added to puzzle/trivia/flash events.
Grading formula: (Placement Score * Event Modifier) + Participation = Event Score
At the end of the competition, the individual scores for all three weeks will be added up, and the top three individuals will earn crescents for the overall competition.
Much like our Plaguies Pro Bowl event from last year, there's more than just crescents, merit medals, and bragging rights available for the winners of The Enemy Below. The top three overall scoring members will be earning one of our N64 Prize Packs and walk away with digital copies of some of the best Star Wars games of the 1990's. Both of these titles were games that I wiled away many an hour with as a teen on the N64 game console, and they're still a kick in the pants to play today. Rogue Squadron and Shadows the the Empire both will go to the member who earns the top placement, while second place will chose one from the two titles to win, and third place gets whichever title remains.
If you've never played either of these titles, don't miss this chance to get one or both of them for free. If you did play them back in the day, stop blowing the dust out of your cartridges and live the convenience of having them on your computer all the time!
I want to repeat something that Arden said in his Rollmaster Report:
I do want to emphasize one important aspect of events like this, particularly for our newer folks. Large events like this are a rare opportunity to do large numbers of competitions in a short period of time. Not only is this a chance to get a number of promotion requirements in terms of competitions in a rather short time, there other benefits as well. There will be a number of competitions in the event a offering Clusters of Ice and Clusters of Graphite. In addition, those who participate in a large number of events frequently are awarded merit medals. Thus, this in an excellent chance for our newer members to advance quickly.
I cannot emphasize this enough. I know that as a Novitiate or Journeyman it can be hard to stack up enough activity for a merit medal before you get promoted, but these sorts of big Clan events are the best way to do it. There's so much available to do in such a compressed bit of time that it's much easier to line up your activity for a merit than it might be otherwise. Even for those above those ranks, don't forget that at the end of the day the single most important metric for advancement/medals is going to be competition participation. It's the easiest and most accurate metric to use in gauging a person's activity, so don't let this opportunity pass you by. Get out there and make your Clan proud!
Adapt, Ascend, Avail
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