In My Daydreams

Planet in the Middle: Part 15

In My Daydreams

Rachel looked toward Cassie. “You’ve got a plan? What is it?”

“No,” Cassie shook her head. “We don’t have a plan, but I’m assuming that whatever plan we have will turn out to be more complicated than we expect.”

Shrugging, Rachel said, “That’s how plans go. I don’t want to slow you down. Let’s go find whoever it is you’re going to find. And while we’re at it, I should meet the new people.

Marcus reached back to put his hand around Tikki’s waist. “This is Tikki. She just joined the colony. She’s trained as a life support engineer and she can control time, but not all time—the time in a bubble around her. She’s more powerful than you’d think with that.”

Tikki smiled. “I’m not that powerful, but you must be. I didn’t know the Cosmic Ghosts took new members from the outside.”

Rachel smiled. “I didn’t know they existed until they showed up in my dorm room and told me they needed my help to save my brother. They didn’t explain anything until we got into space. After that, they told me a lot more—including how to speak this language and a lot of things I can’t talk about at all.”

Glancing over at me and then Rachel, Kals said, “I’m Kals. My mom is one of the colony’s leaders. I’m glad you’re here. I don’t know what the Ascendancy is doing now, but they’re probably planning the best way to kill us all. You said you flew in with the fast response team, what are they doing and when are the rest of the Ghosts arriving?”

Turning to meet Kals’ look, Rachel shook her head. “I have no idea. I’ll sense it when the main force comes through and I’ll tell you, but I’m not in on everything. I know they’ve got a plan, but it’s not my plan, so I’ll be waiting along with you.”

“Oh,” Kals looked at her the way the might if she’d been a small child and Rachel had told her that Christmas had been rescheduled.

Nodding, Rachel said, “I know it’s a disappointment, but it’s the best I can do. That’s just the way it works.”

Ten minutes later found the group walking through the woods. Rachel floated next to me as I walked. I did my best to describe what we’d been doing since we left Earth. It wasn’t exactly a short story, and I could only guess what Lee had been doing since he’d left us—though Rachel filled me in on how he’d been fighting some species called the Issakass as well as members of his own kind, destroying some planet’s moon in the process.

“The Ghosts have observers all over and almost no one knows it.” Rachel floated alongside me as the group followed Kals toward the shelter where Katuk had ended up.

She frowned. “I’m a little surprised they didn’t have anyone here. Jadzen Akri and the resistance against the Human Ascendancy are important enough that someone should be here, but maybe they went beneath the Ghosts’ radar too. The Ghosts told me that Akri’s people were good at working around powers.”

Kals turned back to look at her. “We are, but it’s because we use our motivators to keep them underestimating us and never quite sending enough people to the right places. If you get the right motivator into the right place, they’ll never know how badly wrong they are about you. We probably have people on the ships up there, but between Kamia and losing control of the ansible, communicating with them hasn’t been possible.”

The trees thinned and we ran through the woods, using our suits’ sensors to watch for Ascendancy soldiers, animals, and tripping hazards in the dark.

Kals, Cassie, Jaclyn and I ran, easily making twenty miles per hour most of the time. Marcus shapeshifted into a long legged catlike form. Tikki activated a shimmering bubble of time manipulation around herself, accelerating the time flow until she could keep up.

If I didn’t know what she was, I’d have been worried that she might age herself to death, but I knew that wouldn’t happen.

“We’re getting close,” Kals said. “It’s over there.”

She pointed at a small hill. My HUD showed that the hill was a few degrees warmer than the land around it—with a door-sized spot glowing a little warmer than that.

That wasn’t all. A growl from a nearby clump of trees made me notice the shape of Tiger, Jaclyn’s dog, which darted from behind the trees to run toward Jaclyn, barking, jumping and randomly licking her and anyone in reach.

Rachel, still floating, said, “That’s a dog?” as Katuk stepped out from behind the trees as well.

He didn’t try to hug any of us, but my implant helped me interpret the looser, less precise movement as relief.

“I’ve continued to keep my implant’s connection off because of Kamia. What is the news?”

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Semicoop

Promises promises

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A post shared by Semi Co-op (@semicoop) on Nov 10, 2018 at 2:55pm PST

It was a great joy to dive into the visual world of Root for this comic! Kyle Ferrin is an amazing artist and did such a fantastic job on Root. I had a ton of fun analyzing his art style and making this tribute. Heinze came up with the awesome slogans for the different factions and this was my first time designing propaganda posters and I think they turned out really cool. 😀

In Root, players play as different factions that are trying to become the ruler of the Woodland. All the factions have their own ruleset, making this is a so-called asymmetrical game. Playing as the birds, the Eyrie Dynasties, Root will be like a programming game. You lay down cards and you NEED to be able to do the actions or else there will be turmoil and your leader. If you ‘promise’ to battle in a certain clearing, but there is nothing to battle: that’s a faulty promise and that will cause turmoil.

Root is not an easy game, certainly not to explain to new players, but we really enjoy it. 🙂


Last Saturday, we were invited by 999 Games to visit Spellenspektakel here in The Netherlands for the first time. We had a great time and it’s great to see how many people visit such an event within our own borders. Understandably, there is a great overlap with Spiel, looking at the games, so the event was a little less interesting for us looking at the games. What we liked the most about the event was seeing friends from the industry again. And Portal Games offered us a table to organize a meet & greet! We don’t have that many readers in The Netherlands but ended up having a good time at the Portal booth nonetheless. Thanks so much for having us guys!

We also finally bought ourselves a copy of the game Ruthless! We have demoed it this year at the UKGE and really liked it. So we played it again in the open gaming area of the hotel across the street Saturday night together with Dave from TheHappyLuza, ruthlessly commentated by Roland from Roland’s Revenge, the designer and artist of the game. That was a great experience. 😉

Behind the Semi Co-op scenes, things are brewing and cool stuff we’re really excited about will be announced later this week. Keep an eye on our social media this week to stay up to date!

What’s your favorite faction in Root?

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In My Daydreams

Not Finished

In My Daydreams

I’m doing my best to get this done on time, but it’s not working. I’m not going to finish the update tonight. I will be done late tomorrow night.

My apologies. It’s been a busy weekend–the kind where I have managed to produce the right number of words on schedule in the past, but only by the skin of my teeth.

It didn’t work this time, but I’m knocking out as many as I can before my body informs me that sleep is happening whether I want it or not.

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In My Daydreams

Planet in the Middle: Part 14

In My Daydreams

Kals looked Rachel up and down. “Your sister?” Then she said, “It’s not that I’m not pleased to meet you, but how did you get here? Have you been staying on the ship?”

Rachel glanced to the right and left, barely moving her head. I couldn’t give her a full costume like I had everyone else, but I had been able to improve hers. That glance had been enough to use her HUD to check around nearby.

“This isn’t the sort of thing you should tell people about, but I have to tell you and this is as good as anywhere. You called for help from the Cosmic Ghosts and it turns out that Nick and I are indirectly descended from the Ghosts through Grandma Vander Sloot.”

“Indirectly?” I thought I knew the answer, but hoped she’d confirm it.

Rachel shrugged. “The Abominators used some Cosmic Ghost genes from when they took they took human form. Even weirder, we’ve got genes from Lee’s people in our family and they mixed with the Ghost genes. In fact, they filled in some of the gaps. So I’m almost a Ghost—not quite, but closer than I ought to be.”

“It’s weird that Lee’s people’s genes mix with the Ghosts at all,” I offered.

Rachel met my eyes. “I know. I asked them about it and they told me that the Ghosts are related to Lee’s people somehow. It’s kind of like us and Neanderthals—if the Neanderthals survived somewhere else. And it’s not like it’s the first time either. The way I understand it they were uh… cross-fertile.”

I thought about the implications of that for a second. There were far too many and they led in too many sometimes contradictory directions.

I didn’t even get very far in when Marcus stepped up next to me and said, “What are the Cosmic Ghosts all about and how did you get here? I’m glad to see you but it’s pretty weird to have you show up.”

“Tell me about it,” Rachel said. “I was in bed sleeping when they  told me you all needed help. When I agreed to help them, they showed me how to use my ability to turn intangible to fly faster than light. You know how I can slip into alternate realities? It’s like that.

“So I flew with one of their fast response teams. They’re scouts. The main force is behind us. We just have to be ready to tell them what’s going on when they arrive. They’re not always an army, but they are when they have to be. The  Ghosts think of themselves as a police force that defends against Lee’s people and whatever else shows up. I don’t think they’re as powerful as any one of Lee’s people, but they are more of them.

“I’m here because they think I’ll do a better job of communicating with you than some random Ghost.”

“Sure,” I said. “We’re more likely to listen to you than someone we don’t know.”

Marcus laughed. “You know what you are? You’re a Green Lantern. You’re part of a big police force that’s also an army. You can fly through space. Basically, you’re a Green Lantern. Do you have members from all kinds of different planets?”

Rachel shook her head. “Not really. There are a lot of us, but it’s not like everyone’s from a different planet. I think more of them are fully Ghost, but I’m not the only one from a more recent race.”

“That’s all pretty strange, but, I’m glad you’re here. We need one more voice of reason in this crowd,” Jaclyn stepped up and gave her a hug. Rachel let her, growing fully solid for the first time since we’d seen her.

Kals turned to me. “Your sister is a Cosmic Ghost and you didn’t know?”

I shrugged. “Our world has a lot of people with unpredictable with genes from just about anywhere. I feel like the Abominators were using our planet as some kind of big experiment where they threw in everything they knew how to do and waited to see what would come out on top.”

She laughed. “I wouldn’t put it past them to do that for real.”

Marcus, meanwhile and stepped in to talk with Rachel and Jaclyn. Tikki had stepped up and stood next to me. She watched Rachel with undisguised interest. Noticing that I’d seen her, she said, “She is quite close to a young Ghost. She reminds me of many that I knew before our peoples fully diverged.”

Kals frowned. “What did she say? I missed it.”

Tikki grinned and stepped forward to put her hand on Marcus’ shoulder.

I shook my head. “I don’t know. I missed it too.”

Meanwhile, from the other side of Kals, Cassie said, “Hey Rach, I’m glad to see you too, but we ought to get moving. We were going to go find a couple of people and go try a plan that we’ll probably regret immediately.”

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Semicoop

Board game injuries

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A post shared by Semi Co-op (@semicoop) on Nov 1, 2018 at 2:46pm PDT

Board games can be vicious for the human body! They make your brains melt while you’re trying to figure out what the best strategy is, they hurt our fingers with funky flicking games and then… there’s Yogi. The game that challenges players to contort their bodies in unusual ways. Roughly put, it can be considered as Twister at the table. If your gaming group is up to games like this, Yogi is a perfect, nice short and silly party game made by Bez.

It’s only been one week since Spiel and I can’t even imagine that we were walking around in the giant gaming halls only eight days ago. It feels like it’s been weeks! There’s this big pile of games laying around in our house that we took home with us from Spiel. We had hoped to tackle quite some games this weekend, but Heinze and I both fell ill (nooooo!). So, I’m afraid they’ll have to wait a little while longer.
Disclaimer: Most of the games were gifted to us by publishers and we’re really grateful for that. <3 This way, we also get to try games that we otherwise might not have played.

Speaking about gaming events, we’ll be visiting Spellenspektakel in Eindhoven here in The Netherlands for the first time! As far as I know (correct me if I’m wrong) it’s the biggest gaming convention in our country. If you’re going to be there and you see us walking around on Saturday: don’t hesitate and say hi – we’d love to meet you and maybe play a game! 🙂 We’ll be taking stickers and bookmarks with us to hand out.

What other board game injuries can you think of?

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In My Daydreams

Planet in the Middle: Part 13

In My Daydreams

I raised my eyebrow. “Because you think we’re going to fix this?”

She shrugged. “Maybe? The Xiniti and the Alliance have been fighting the Ascendancy for ages. You may not be able to find them alone, but at least you’ll be trying something different. I’m sure none of them tried making a deal with Four Hands and I’m not sure he’d have tried with anyone but you.”

“That’s a weird thought. I think you’re right because he kind of said that, but  we aren’t exactly best buddies. I feel like he’s loyal to his people and no one else—maybe even to the point that he trusted me because I might be distantly descended from his people.”

Kals shook her head. “I told you that we don’t feel like we know the four-handed or we’d have brought them into the resistance.”

We kept on walking, not saying anything as we walked through the dark, stepping around trees as Kals pointed us in the right direction even though we couldn’t see a trail.

“You want to know one more reason I’m here?” She turned to me as we rounded an almost hill size stand of trees, all of them growing so close together that we’d never have gotten through without destroying them.

“What?” I pushed a branch away from my face.

“We’ve only got one option left. If Mom gives the signal, every half-way decent fighter pulls out whatever weapons that still work and joins up to attack whatever she points them at.”

She frowned and continued to walk.

“Voluntarily?” I asked. “It’s not a command?”

“We’re not the Ascendancy. Of course it’s voluntary. It’s a waste of life—suicide with a small chance that we’ll win.  We can’t match the Ascendancy’s troops. It’s a last chance to feel like we’re doing something, but even if it succeeds, we’ve lost the people most likely to keep us alive here.

“If we run across a new animal, a hard winter, or we can’t fix the force fields, we’ll die.”

I followed her between two smaller stands of trees, squeezing between the branches and listening as Jaclyn, Cassie, Marcus, and Tikki did the same.

“What is it? Some kind of symbolic last charge?”

Kals looked back at me. “Oh no. They’re trying to be smart. I’ve asked Council members about it and they told me it was our last defense, but it can’t work. Even if you win, you still lose afterward.”

I thought about it. “It doesn’t sound like a good idea, but it could be worse. For a second as you were talking about it, I thought you might have some kind of final weapon—like, I don’t know, a bomb that blows up the planet and makes it unlivable or something.”

She stared at me. “What would be the  sense of that? That’s worse. The only good thing about it is that it would at least be cleaner than what we’ve got—a last stand followed by starvation.”

From behind me, Jaclyn said, “Your last stand might not be a bad idea now. You’ve got a few thousand people. If half of them showed up with weapons, it might be enough to kill the Ascendancy troops.”

“Right,” Kals said, her voice getting louder, “but only if the Ascendancy fleet leaves and never comes back. What are the chances of that?”

Keeping her voice even, Jaclyn said, “Good—at least if the Xiniti win. If the Alliance shows up and the Cosmic Ghosts appear, the Ascendancy won’t have much choice but to retreat.”

From behind her, Cassie laughed. “She’s got you. Now you have to get everyone together to get shot.”

Further back, Marcus groaned. “This is a lousy time to get into an argument. Seriously, it’s the worst time.”

Kals sighed. “Tell me about it. The Ascendancy might be out here. Xiniti who don’t know who we are might be out here. But those are the good possibilities. They might talk to us. There are things in the woods at night that won’t talk to us. They’ll try to eat us.”

Not sounding scared, Jaclyn said, “I think we’ll be okay, but I do think that we should think about doing a last stand. We don’t have to charge. We could set a trap.”

Kals glared at her. “We could set a trap. Let’s leave everyone else out of it. They’ve done enough.”

Not liking where this was going, I tried to interject an argument that would shut all of this down until we found Katuk. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the argument worked out before I opened my mouth.

“Um…” I began and stopped because I felt something weird. It wasn’t mental. If it had been a telepathic attack or even a contact, I would have known it. No this was different, but familiar.

A voice I knew almost as well as my own spoke, “She’s right, Jaclyn. You wouldn’t believe everything in this forest.”

With that, my sister Rachel materialized in front of us. All white in her Ghost uniform, she floated above the ground, trees visible through her. I’d have suspected that she was an illusion except that she’d appeared in my comm contact list as “active” when she materialized.

That made a fake unlikely even if it didn’t explain how she got here.

Kals stared at her and then at me. I said, “Kals, meet my sister Rachel. Rachel, this is Kals.”

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In My Daydreams

Planet in the Middle: Part 12

In My Daydreams

“I think we will leave,” I said, “but our obligation to Katuk, Crawls-Through-Desert, and uh… Jaclyn’s dog might mean it’s not instantaneous.”

Looking out of the corner of my eye at the Xiniti, I added, “Of course, we’ll go, but as I said, we can’t just leave people hanging.”

Kals smirked. “Got it.”

I pulled out the disc Four Hands had given me. “Give this to your mom when you have the chance. Even the Xiniti can be outnumbered. This will call mercenaries who owe me a favor to come and help her. Just have her explain that I’ll consider their debt to me canceled if they help her.  I’m going to guess she’ll know how to use it.”

Kals looked down at the disc. “That? Everybody knows how to use one. You can give it to her yourself, though, because I’m going with you?”

“Home?” I must have sounded as confused as I felt about that.

She shook her head. “No. To find Katuk and the others.”

We’d all let our suits absorb our helmets by then. So, I didn’t miss Cassie’s snort and found myself wondering what amused her. I hoped Kals wasn’t attracted to me. It didn’t seem likely. In terms of looks, she was out of my league. Besides, she knew about Haley.

“Okay. I’ll give this to your mom then.” I walked over to where Jadzen, Iolan, and other council members talked with the Xiniti who’d been talking with us—the unit leader.

Holding the disc in my hand, I stood next to Jadzen who stopped talking. “I’ve got one more thing to pass on. We won’t be here to help you, but if you find yourselves in a desperate situation, you can use this. Waroo mercenaries feel that they owe me a favor. I won’t need it. You can collect on that debt on my behalf. With everything going on her, you and the rest of the council will need all the help you can get.”

She took the disc and looked at me. “I don’t think that you understand the worth of what you’re giving away, but thank you. From what I’m learning about the current battle, we will need it.”

“You’re welcome,” I said, stepping backward and out of the conversation. “I’ve learned a lot from serving you.” To the Xiniti, I added, “By the way, if you didn’t know already, Kamia is here, so you can expect direct attacks on your mind and any AI in reach.”

The Xiniti nodded at me. “We are aware, but thank you for the warning.”

I murmured a few more words and got away from the group, rejoining Jaclyn, Kals, Cassie, Tikki, and Marcus. “I guess we should go get Katuk.”

Kals nodded. “I was telling everyone I knew where the next shelter is. I’ll show you the way there.”

“Is your mom going to be okay with that?” I asked.

Kals shrugged. “She won’t need me with this many Xiniti and Waroo mercenaries for backup.” Then she smiled. “Trying to get rid of me?”

“No. I’m still surprised you’d go with us instead of staying with your own people.”

Kals looked us over and then glanced over to where the Council and the Xiniti talked. “We should start going if we’re going to get there soon.”

Following her into the forest, we stepped over or around the bodies of Ascendancy troops. I hadn’t been aware of how many we’d killed. Passing one after another made me understand why Kamia and Neves chose to run instead of organizing a final charge. Noting how many lay near the shelter and Marcus and Tikki’s position, I also realized that I’d missed most of their part of the fight.

On one level, I felt like we’d done the right thing in defending them, but when I saw all the bodies, I couldn’t help but think that they’d mattered to somebody, whoever they were. If what Kals had told us about was the norm, they’d been bred from unpowered humans of a particular type and then taken away to be raised as soldiers. It didn’t sound like a great life and we’d provided them an end for it—whether they’d been looking for one or not.

I couldn’t say I was proud of it, but it was closer to the right thing to do than let the colonists get killed.

When we were out of sight of the shelter and couldn’t hear people anymore, Kals slowed, walking next to me. “You’re not going to leave even after you find Katuk, are you?”

I shook my head, “No. I was assuming everyone would want to stay until it’s all over somehow. Plus, if we’re not trying to by the Council’s bodyguards, we might even be able do something that matters in the big picture.”

Kals nodded. “That’s why I’m here.”

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Semicoop

The Unplayed

Semicoop

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A post shared by Semi Co-op (@semicoop) on Oct 29, 2018 at 5:21am PDT

We’re back from a fantastic week at Spiel in Essen! This year has been slightly surreal, there have been so many readers saying hello to us and we’ve met so many interesting new people. And of course, we met up with friends we only meet once or twice a year. Thank you boardgaming community for being so awesome! <3

This year of Spiel might not have been so much about the board games, it was mostly about the people for us. We did play some games, but not that many and… we’re totally fine with that! Some of the games that we’ve played are Men at Work, Railroad Ink, Valparaíso, Realm of Sand, Faceless, Ceylon, Arraial, Dragon Castle, Untamed and Downforce.

Although Dragon Castle isn’t a new title, we did finally get a chance to play it and we loved it. Solid game! We had a great time playing Men at Work and we were very impressed by Valparaíso and Downforce. I’m not going to review all the games, because that’s not what we do. If you’re interested, you can check out our Instagram account. We often write our opinions about a game when posting a picture of it. 🙂

Heinze and I are both back to work today! Hopefully, we get to play some of the games that we took home with us in the evenings these coming weeks. I wish there was a booth on Spiel that sold time, that would have made this all a lot easier. 😉

How many unplayed games do you have?

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In My Daydreams

Planet in the Middle: Part 11

In My Daydreams

Kals sheathed her knife. “If you think they’re going to come back, we need to get my mom and everyone out of here. I just wish I knew where to send them. We don’t have anywhere left that’s more secure than this.”

Taking a breath, Jaclyn said, “Your mom said she would have evacuated to your nearest neighbor if they had the time. Wouldn’t that be better?”

Kals frowned. “Well, it wouldn’t be here, but it wouldn’t be any more secure.” She glanced back at the shelter. “You know what? I think that’s the best we’re going to do. I’ll tell her.”

She walked toward the shelter as Marcus, Tikki, Jaclyn, Cassie and I came together in a circle. Marcus looked over the group. “So what do you think? Are we going with them? I feel like we have have to unitil they’re safe, but at the same time, we’re not fixing anything, you know? We’re waiting for something bad to happen and hoping we can handle it. This fight could have gone either way. There were a lot more of them than there were of us, but they had now way to expect that Cassie’s sword could cut Kamia’s shield or that Jaclyn would recognize Neves’ powers and have Nick shoot him.

“Now they know, and they’re going to swamp us with numbers or something, right?”

I thought about it. “That’d be one way to do it, but if they caught us while escorting Jadzen’s people, they could ambush us with less people as long as they grabbed a few hostages.”

Glancing my direction, Jaclyn shook her head. “That’s an awful and God, you’re right. Hostages would throw us off, and guess what? We’re about to escort them through the forest.”

I turned that around in my head, wondering how we’d get them to the next shelter safely and realizing I didn’t even know where the next one was. As I began to think about good tactics for walking through the forest with civilians, Cassie said, “Do you see something over there?”

We all looked. I took a quick mental inventory of my options for a fight, not liking them much. It wasn’t as if I was out of everything, but if it was Neves and Kamia leading the Ascendancy’s main force to us, I’d have to activate the disc and call in my one and only favor from the Waroo.

Scanning around us though, I didn’t see any sign of the Ascendancy and after the last fight, I knew what to look for. Adjusting the suit’s options—sonic, radar, and infrared—I didn’t see anything at first. A few adjustments in, I caught images in the trees. Even though a combination of my options plus computer generated speculation gave me transparent shapes, I recognized them. Shorter than human, but with larger heads and skinnier arms and legs, they walked between the trees in groups of six.

As they came closer to us, their forms became clearer. They were Xiniti—which didn’t surprise me. I’d known that when I saw the shape of their bodies.

One group walked up  to us and stopped. One of the Xiniti stepped up to us, his body hidden inside his sleek, silver armor. “Congratulations, young soldiers. You’ve successfully completed your mission and more. You escorted the ship back and have successfully protected the colony’s leadership even in the face of an Ascendancy invasion. Consider this mission a success and yourselves full members of the Xiniti nation. We suggest you take your starship and remove yourselves from the planet. We are anticipating a larger battle for control of this system than you’re currently seeing and don’t wish to lose promising young soldiers.”

Another of the Xiniti asked, “Where is Katuk?”

I answered, “We escorted different groups away from their last hideout. He went with a different one. We can’t leave without letting him know.”

“Appropriate,” the two Xiniti said in unison. “Find him. Notify him, but then leave him at our K’Tepolu embassy. Given the current situation, we can’t tell you to leave him with our battleships here.”

“I have an idea of where he might be,” said a voice from behind us. I checked my helmet’s peripheral vision to find that Jadzen Akri, Kals, and much of the surviving council.

Jadzen stepped up to the group. “After you asked me if I’d seen him, I told you I didn’t know where he was, but later, one of our people told me that she had seen him as well as the plant and that dog. They were with a group that was supposed to go to a shelter ten miles north of here.”

Jaclyn looked over at the rest of us. “I’d like to go. Things got busy and I left Tiger with him.”

I turned to the Xiniti. “We’ll go get Katuk. And thanks for letting us do it.”

Looking at me with his wide, unblinking eyes, the Xiniti said, “Requesting to collect a member of your unit rather than leaving him is an appropriate attitude.”

Then the Xiniti stepped up to Jadzen Akri and started talking to her. I caught a few words, but not enough. Kals stepped up to me as they talked. “So, you’re going to leave?”

I struggled to find words for my reply. I didn’t want to say so in front of the Xiniti, but I didn’t want to leave before this was over.

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In My Daydreams

Planet in the Middle: Part 10

In My Daydreams

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Cassie cut into Kamia’s shield again except this time she wasn’t alone. With Neves out of sight, Jaclyn blurred, running up to the shield and hitting on the line where the shield was reforming after Cassie cut it with her sword.

For a moment, the blue glow of the shield disappeared and I could see Kamia’s eyes widen. At the same time, she grabbed for her belt while turning to run.

By itself, that wouldn’t have done her much good against Jaclyn or Cassie. What did help was that the shield reformed around her, but much closer to her body. If that had been all, she would have died, but it wasn’t.

A bullet-shaped bolt of force from the direction that Neves disappeared hit Cassie, knocking her over. A second bolt, glowing yellowish-red around the edges, flew toward Jaclyn, but she moved to the side, avoiding it.

In that moment I felt a painful pressure in my head. It didn’t feel like when Daniel got into my head. To say that it felt alien didn’t cover it. It felt orderly and emotionless. It broadcast pain, but without any feeling of anger or animosity.

For a moment it felt as if it might try to go deeper into my head than surface thoughts. In that instant, I felt more than the smooth, almost artificial presence it had shown so far. The being on the other end of the mental connection quailed and squirmed as it pushed deeper.

Daniel had set up defenses in my head—first one that hid information from an invader and later he’d set up a trap that used imitations of Lee’s mind. One attacker had literally gone mad after trying to probe my mind. In retrospect, it might not have been so effective if Daniel wasn’t working with me—someone descended in some way from Lee’s species.

But that wasn’t the most important thing on my mind then.

In the moment that the mental presence made contact with Daniel’s trap, warped as it might be by my association with Lee and my heritage, the contact recoiled and the connection ended.

I became conscious of my surroundings again, noticing that I wasn’t the only one who had been attacked—Cassie and Jaclyn stood with their eyes glazed over as I came to and jerked into consciousness a little after I did. Behind me, Marcus, Tikki and Kals didn’t seem to have been affected.

Kamia, though, had started running and the Ascendancy soldiers followed her, aiming their weapons at us to buy time for their escape. Cassie managed to dodge behind some trees as a hail of bright beams burned the ground and trees around her, sometimes hitting her armor.

Jaclyn and I were in much the same situation except that Jaclyn could still act. Even I could see her stumble from whatever injuries she’d taken before we met up, but every soldier Jaclyn hit stayed down. Kamia retreated behind a phalanx of Ascendancy soldiers, all of them firing weapons.

Even with my armor and Jaclyn’s speed, she’d still be hit enough to get past the armor, given time. Jaclyn wasn’t suicidal, taking out small groups and stragglers that hadn’t moved fast enough to join the main group.

As they disappeared into the woods, Cassie asked, “What do you think? Should we follow them? I mean look, I know it sounds crazy, but they’re going somewhere and it’s probably to join up with fresh troops and then come back. If we could take them out before they got back there, they wouldn’t get back.”

Kals wiped her bloodied knife on the body of a dead soldier. “Could you take them out? Because if you can, I think you should.”

“Absolutely not,” Jaclyn put her hand to her head and took a breath. “Normally, I might be able to stop them by myself, but not right now and not with Neves in the group. Next time we meet them, we’ve got to try something different. He absorbs force—like that guy we fought ages ago back home—Payback, right? I didn’t know it before I started fighting him. I thought he was your run of the mill tough guy, and all I managed to was power him up.”

She looked over at me. “That’s why I told you to shoot him. Next time, you or Cassie have to take him on. I’ll go after Kamia.”

From behind us, Marcus said, “I think I could take him—at least if he didn’t have time to power up first. Tikki could too.”

Barely loud enough to hear, Tikki said, “I could have.”

“Me too,” Kals added, “if we can get his helmet off.”

Jaclyn waved her hand in the air. “Okay, okay. I get it. I’m the last person who should have taken him on.”

“Yeah,” Cassie said, “but you should have been the one on Kamia. She’s got some kind of slaved Abominator AI on her that kept on trying to break into the gun and into me through the link I’ve got with the gun.”

That explained the mental attack. Unable to stop myself, I said, “Is that what that was? All I knew was that it didn’t feel like a human telepath.”

At about the same time, Jaclyn stared at Cassie. “You should have told us. I would have swapped.”

Cassie frowned. “You saw the sword cut through her shield. I was so damn close to taking her down I could taste it.”

Jaclyn shook her head.

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Semicoop

Preparing for Spiel

Semicoop

This week it’s time for Spiel and I don’t feel like I’m ready at all, to be honest! This is the second time we’re going to Spiel and the first time that we’ll be there every day. Even on the press day on Wednesday, that’s going to be interesting. 😀 We only have a few appointments, so we can freely roam the halls most of the time. We have a list of games we’d love to try if we get the chance!

From the top of my head:

  • Nyctophobia
  • Blue Lagoon
  • Princess Jing
  • Robin Hood and the Merry Men
  • Shadows: Amsterdam
  • Treasure Island
  • Dinosaur Tea Party
  • Cryptid

(There are probably a few more that I forgot) Those are some of the titles we would love to demo, see in action and maybe buy. Mostly we’re just going to wander around and be on the lookout for things we haven’t heard of before.

But Spiel isn’t just about games, it’s also about meeting new people and seeing friends again. We’re really looking forward to that. So you are at Spiel and by any chance see us walk by, don’t hesitate to say hi! We’d love to meet your and we’ll be carrying around some cool stickers and bookmarks that we’re giving away for free. If you don’t want to leave it to chance to meet us, we’ll be at the Instagram meetup at Fritz Patrick’s at 5 PM and we’ll also be at the GamingRules meetup in that same venue at 7 PM. We’ll be taking our ‘Share the Love’-packs with stickers and bookmarks with us to those meetings as well!

How do you prepare for board game conventions?

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In My Daydreams

Planet in the Middle: Part 9

In My Daydreams

Knowing that Kals was handling herself, I could concentrate on everyone else. Cassie had made it across the gap between herself and Kamia and stood in front of her, firing the gun at Kamia’s shield.

The shield held.

I would have targeted it with my sonics, but I didn’t have a clear shot. There were Ascendancy soldiers rushing me and I found myself shooting, punching, and blasting them with the sonics, watching Cassie when I had a second. By the next time, I saw her, Cassie had pulled out her sword and switched her gun to the left hand.

With one strike, the sword cut halfway through the shield. The only thing that saved Kamia from having her stomach cut open was expanding the shield’s size and backing up.

With the sword in the shield’s sphere nearly to the hilt, Cassie had to pull it out. At the same time, Kamia fired one of her guns through the shield. My implant noted that the shield had opened when she’d fired. No doubt there was some way Cassie could use that but I didn’t have time to think it through. I found myself blanketing the soldiers nearest me with sonics with my right hand and narrowcasting the sonic on my left at a group of soldiers heading toward Cassie.

Smoke floated upward from one of the soldiers’ helmets. He threw it off his head, warning Cassie who jumped sideways, putting both Kamia and the soldiers to her left side, allowing her to fire the gun’s bright, white beam at the soldiers. They scrambled to avoid it, some of them getting burned.

Along with them, a couple of the trees nearby burst into flame, but it didn’t seem to be growing and spreading. Still, it stood out in the night.

I tried to find Jaclyn and Neves, but my HUD didn’t make it easy—though you could argue that the problem was less the HUD and more that Jaclyn and Neves moved to quickly to follow.

The HUD represented Jaclyn as a purple blur and Neves as gray. They didn’t stay in the same place, moving between the trees except when one or the other attacked. In that moment trees would crack, breaking in two or falling over because they’d been hit in the side.

As the trees burst into flame, Neves or Jaclyn threw an attack that broke the trunk of a tree in half. The upper half fell—only to be caught in the air by the density of the forest before it lost even five feet in its distance from the ground.

The gray and blue blurs in my HUD clashed again even as it fell—only this time I could see Jaclyn fly backward through the air, smashing into the side of a tree hard enough that the tree seemed disintegrate behind her. Half the thickness of the tree trunk fell to the ground in a cloud of sawdust and splintered wood as she bounced off the trunk and fell to the ground.

As she hit, I could see Neves appear next to her, driving his hand down toward the back of the neck in a move clearly intended to kill. Except then, in a move I recognized only afterward, she rolled back to her feet and instead of attacking him said, “Nick. Laser,” into her comm.

Not sure whey she wasn’t attacking herself, but confident she had a good reason, I aimed my laser at him and fired. It wasn’t an easy shot with all the Ascendancy soldiers on the ground, but at that moment I would have been okay with shooting through any number of soldiers as long as I could help Jaclyn out. She wouldn’t be asking if she didn’t need it.

The shot burned the arm of a soldier and a started a tree trunk burning before it found its target, hitting Neves in the ribs as he turned toward Jaclyn.

Knowing as I did that the laser could melt through the hull of a battleship provided I could stay next to the ship long enough, the most surprising result of hitting Neves was that the beam didn’t instantly emerge from the other side of his stomach. For a moment, I thought it had, but I was wrong. He’d only stepped back from the beam. It had melted through his armor as he gasped, leaving a wide red welt on his skin along with blackened flesh and the melted and charred remains of his costume.

I swung the beam in his direction as he backed away, and burned more trees and Ascendancy soldiers for my trouble, but not hitting Neves.

Neves had gone—which was good because I’d taken the laser’s dedicated battery down to about a quarter in that short time. If I wanted to save energy, I’d have to use it on the pulse setting.

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In My Daydreams

Planet in the Middle: Part 8

In My Daydreams

On “Three,” Jaclyn ran toward Neves, Cassie ran toward Kamia. I turned on the sonics, aiming them at the largest groups of soldiers. My initial blast of sound started as noise meant to distract, turning into sound meant for destroying technology.

As disquieting as fighting soldiers who, for all you can tell, could be cousins of your girlfriend and her brother might be, it had one good point. I knew exactly how to attack them. Lest someone read this as some sort of repressed urge toward domestic violence, I didn’t like it. It was strangely nice to go someplace where nothing was familiar and find that my enemies had the same powers I’d been fighting in training for last three years. The only major difference being that here the owners of said powers fully intended to rip my throat out.

That difference meant that for once I did not at all feel bad about exposing sensitive ears to frequencies that caused them pain.

I wasn’t the only one doing it either. Behind me, Kals opened her mouth in a scream that might not have been as loud or focused but had the added benefit of carrying a compulsion along with it.

My implant translated her command as, “Run!”

They didn’t all run. The Ascendancy had enough enemies with motivators to craft helmet tech that allowed their own motivators’ voices to get through and prevent their rivals’ from doing the same.

As my speakers found resonant frequencies in the soldiers’ equipment, about a third of them turned and ran. Others leaped forward despite crackling noises coming from their helmets, far too many of them deciding that I was the threat that had to be taken down.

If they were doing it because of my armor’s resemblance to the Xiniti’s, I wasn’t impressed, but I had a bad feeling that they’d recognized the synergy between my sonics and Kals’ voice. That, I respected, because they were right.

All of my familiarity didn’t make me immune to fear as Ascendancy soldiers jumped toward me, mouths open and filled with long fangs. I don’t know if humans’ fear of that is instinctive or learned, but whatever the origin, it comes easily.

Having spent as much time training as I had by then, the response is natural enough—fire bots from your right arm and spray sonic destruction from your left. The Ascendancy armor worked against my standard bots, but not entirely.

When the bots exploded (and this was true especially if the soldiers were in the air), they had a solid pushback even if they couldn’t get through the armor. Plus, if your armor was designed to allow you to bite people, that’s a point of vulnerability.

I’d made modifications to the standard bots’ programming during my downtime. First, knowing that the bots couldn’t penetrate, I’d set them to calculate the angle that would force them the furthest off course. That didn’t bother me, but the other one did. I’d set them to aim for the mouth if they had the opportunity. It didn’t make me feel good to do it, but we were at war here and I decided I had to prioritize the lives of the people we were protecting and my friends over the people who were trying to kill us.

So when they swarmed me, the soldiers that jumped for me found bots exploding against their sides throwing them off course and into the trees. Hitting the trees was less due to programming than the density of tree trunks here. It was harder to miss them. Less agile than Travis or Haley, more than one soldier hit the trunks and went down. More managed to redirect themselves by using a tree trunk to change direction again, but it wasn’t easy. Some of them still hit trees.

Of the two changes I’d made, that allowed the kinder possibilities—if you regarded being bludgeoned unconscious or to death as kind. You could argue that was kinder than having your head explode, something that happened at least twice in my sight.

The second time came as I began to use my helmet’s 360 degree view to check on Kals behind me. In paying attention to my peripheral vision, I let one get too close. He raked out with his right claw, grabbing me by the neck and beginning to squeeze.

I brought up my right arm, firing off a bot which whipped past the soldier, turned in a tight circle and went through the mouth opening where it exploded. The soldier died in a burst of blood and fire.

It’s the memory of images like that gives war a bad name.

At the same time, I did get to see how Kals was doing—okay. I knew that she was physically equivalent to Cassie, but tended to forget it. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see her fighting with a pistol in one hand and a long knife in the other. She dodged out of the way of a soldier’s rifle, distracting him, but not stopping him with her voice, and driving the knife into his heart. Then she stepped back, pulling out the knife and firing her gun at the next one.

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Semicoop

#WarGames are for everybody!

Semicoop
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A post shared by Semi Co-op (@semicoop) on Oct 10, 2018 at 7:10am PDT

This week’s comic is dedicated to Katie from Katie’s Game Corner! Katie has a blog that is mostly about wargames. But what we think makes Katie special is that she really tries to shed another light on wargames, to give this game genre a lower threshold and she works hard to make the board and war gaming community an inclusive place for everyone without judgment or discrimination. These are things we full heartedly support and this lead to this week’s comic.

Katie commissioned us to draw her an avatar a while back and she liked it so much, that she’s having a contest on Twitter where you can win a commissioned avatar! Check that out if you’d like your own Semi Co-op styled avatar, the giveaway ends on October 31.

Good friends of ours got us a meeple cookie cutter and we’re loving it. From now on we can serve meeple cookies at gaming nights, yeah! Now we just need to find an amazing cookie recipe. And yes, one of our cats was cool enough to photobomb the picture. 😉

It’s almost time for Spiel! Exciting times! And a little less time for playing games in preparation before heading to Essen. Last week we only played Steampunk Rally, Bargain Quest and Star Realms. This week we might play another game of Root and hopefully, we can crack our brains at the second case of Detective. On the other hand: we’ll probably play more than enough games at Spiel, so maybe it’s a sensible thing to play a little less games right now. 😀

Do you play wargames and do you have any favorites?

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In My Daydreams

Planet in the Middle: Part 7

In My Daydreams

Trenith exhaled and kept on watching as the Ascendant Guard members kept on walking through the forest, their shields keeping the flames away from their bodies. One screen showed a map of the forest. If there were any doubt they were walking in our direction, the map killed it.

Trenith’s eyes moved from one screen to another. “We don’t have long. The outer circle is mines. The inner circle is force fields and lasers. There isn’t anything else. We’d hoped to be able to evacuate to the nearest neighbor, but with all of their people coming, we just have to fight. There’s nowhere we can go that they can’t find us. So, I’d get outside the force fields and get ready to fight.”

“God,” Cassie said, “when I said ‘traps,’ I was imagining more than that. That’s practically nothing.”

Eyes wide, Trenith could only say, “It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. We were going to use the caverns for big stuff like this. This was where we’d go if one ship did a flyby.”

Jaclyn looked over at Cassie. “You’re not going to make it any better by arguing with him. We need to get out there.”

Cassie took a breath, “I know. Let’s do it. Let’s go off to the side to those trees there. Maybe we can flank them.”

Noting the trees that Cassie was pointing to on the map, I said, “We can try.”

On the screen, the forest floor fell out from under a group of Ascendancy soldiers following behind Neves and Kamia and the soldiers disappeared into a pit.

Cassie stared. “That’s more of what I imagined when I was thinking of traps.”

Trenith shook his head. “We gave up on pits years ago. We kept them up, but we decided they’d be a waste of time and we were right. Watch them.”

Even as he began the sentence, soldiers began crawling out of the pits, claws extended. Some of them were stained with dirt. A few bled from scrapes, but none of them seemed badly hurt. If they were anything like Haley and Travis, they wouldn’t be. Even if they’d fallen, they’d have caught themselves on the wall before falling all the way down.

“Let’s get out there,” Cassie walked toward the door and we followed her out into the dark.

We weren’t alone. Kals followed us out.

She wore what my implant classified as light armor—a gray jumpsuit that darkened as we stepped out into the night. I didn’t doubt that she could be useful, but given the real possibility of death, I wondered if risking Kals meant risking that Jadzen wouldn’t be able to make good decisions if Kals died.

Maybe I was being sexist, but I’d like to think that I would have been just as worried if Jadzen was a guy and Kals was his son as opposed to her daughter. Either way, I didn’t try to stop her. As a trained motivator, she might be able to stop the battle without a fight and she probably wouldn’t be as effective back inside.

I didn’t get a chance to finish my meditation on the wisdom of risking Kals. Marcus used the comm. “I’m going to stay here by the door. I’m going to be most useful if they manage to get close.”

I didn’t argue with him. He was right. My HUD gave me a visual of him lengthening enough to fit on one side of a tree. Tikki slipped into the trees near him and it made sense. They were both better off close.

The rest of us squeezed our way between the trees and it wasn’t easy. They weren’t any less close than they had been before we went inside. We pushed through, step by step, tree by tree, making our way to the spot on the map Cassie pointed out. All the while, I listened for the sounds of footsteps or the sounds of explosions.

I didn’t have difficulty finding them either. The trees were close and the Ascendancy soldiers big and broad-shouldered. When I pointed my HUD in their direction, I heard the scrape of armor against tree, creaks as someone pushed trees sideways to widen the path.

For all of Cassie’s complaints, it wasn’t a bad place for a fight if you wanted your opponent to fight the terrain as much as they did you. Of course, it’d be nice if you weren’t fighting the terrain too.

Plus, even if mines and force fields weren’t a wide variety of traps, they had their uses. The Ascendancy set off mines three different times on the way in. They had no chance of sneaking up on us.

When they finally did come within sight, they knew that the colonists knew they were there. How could they not? So instead of sneaking in, Kamia pulled a device from her belt and held it to her mouth.

“Jadzen Akri. This is Kamia of the Ascendant Guard. We know where you are and we have more than enough troops to catch and kill you and all your companions.”

Kamia wasn’t wrong. I counted 40 soldiers standing in the dark behind her, some of them stepping away from the main group to surround the building. That would be enough soldiers to handle everyone she knew about.

“If you value their lives, surrender now.”

“One,” Jaclyn said. “Two…”

When she said, “Three,” we were to find out how well she’d accounted for us.

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In My Daydreams

Planet in the Middle: Part 6

In My Daydreams

Four Hands wasn’t anywhere to be seen in the group. I wasn’t sure what that meant. It wasn’t impossible that a motivator from the new group of Ascendancy soldiers had gotten him to confess, but it wasn’t likely. If he was as he seemed, a revolutionary in the making, he might be plotting with his people now.

I couldn’t assume it would do us any good, though.

Jaclyn glanced over at Kals and the tech as they talked with Jadzen. “If they’re not coming for her, I don’t know why they’re coming this way.”

Marcus looked past her toward the screens, “We’d better do something then. We’d better go—unless you think we can take them out. I know you’re not at your best though.”

Frowning, Jaclyn glared at him. “I know. Right now we can fight or run and I don’t know where to run to. I could get Jadzen out of here, but that just means they’ll go after the rest of you.”

I thought about calling the Waroo, but that wasn’t a solution either. With the new troops behind them, the Waroo mercenaries would be a delay and nothing more. That didn’t mean I wouldn’t use their help if we needed a delay, but I didn’t want to waste their efforts—especially if they might die on my behalf.

Turning to Tikki, Marcus asked, “Is there anything you could do?”

Tikki bit her lip. “I can’t do anything big enough to affect all of them.” Then she stared at the screens.

From Jadzen’s side of the building came her voice, “There’s nowhere else to go that’s any safer and doesn’t put others in danger. We’re going to have to fight. We have defenses here. If we run, they’ll find us while we’re traveling.”

I looked around the long room. People stirred as the conversation’s noise woke them up. Though I’d missed it before, it wasn’t all of the Council members. They’d spread out some of the leadership. Beyond that, there were the Council’s bodyguards, more than a few of whom were fit, and had guns lying on their mats. It wasn’t more than ten, but that was something.

Plus, of course, they had us—which might have given Jadzen more confidence than I felt we deserved.

Jadzen stood, pulling on robes that struck me as heavier than what I’d seen her wear before. “Everyone, wake up!”

My suit buzzed out the commanding tones, but her speech had the desired effect. People sat upright on their mats, pulling on clothes.

“The Ascendancy has received reinforcements and they’ve chosen to send troops here. We all know why. This is where most of the Council is. They want to cut off the head before killing the rest. As you know, these are the last of our prepared refuges. We have nowhere else to go. On the surface, our choices are to fight or to surrender. You remember why we left and you know that surrendering means to have our minds remade in the image of the Human Ascendancy.

“So, we can’t surrender. We can only fight. That’s why I’m sending word to all of our people that we are fighting and they may have to as well. Be aware that it is not hopeless. In addition to the Ascendancy, the Xiniti have also landed troops on the planet. If we can survive long enough, we’ll receive assistance both from the Xiniti and our nearest bunkers.

“Arm yourselves if you can fight. If you can’t, go to the lower level. We can’t offer anything more now, but we will not let you down.”

Jadzen turned toward us. “Our defenses will hurt them, but unless we’re very lucky, they won’t destroy them. We’ll need your help. At first they’ll encounter our traps, but soon enough there will only room for your deeds to keep us safe.”

Cassie met her gaze. “We’ll be there. It’s not like there’s much of a choice.”

We all looked at her. “There isn’t,” she said. “I hope there’s a better plan than simply waiting for the traps to fail before sending us in. We need something better than that, right?”

Jadzen only said, “You’ll have to devise one. Our people will be happy to work with you”

If Cassie’s comments bothered her, I couldn’t tell. She turned toward one of the bodyguards—this one prematurely white-haired, but mid-thirties by his features. “Trenith, you’re familiar with our defenses. Coordinate with them.”

Then Jadzen turned toward the tech who’d been watching the screens, “Send the alert.”

In the distance, a bomb exploded and figures on one of the screens were bathed in fire. Trenith watched as Kamia and Neves stepped through the flames unharmed.

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Tieshaunn

Breaking Point 14.5

Tieshaunn

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DiL was being covered with attacks, unleashed from every direction around and above her, trying to punch through those ribbons of distortion that circled around her.

Basil saw fire, lava, lasers, distortions that suggested spatial or gravitic attacks and far more, almost half of them unleashed by the remaining mementos – he judged that about a third of them had been destroyed, at a glance, though this was probably only the first wave while the second one was being completed in his orbital base – but that none of them reached past her defensive ability.

The gaps between the ribbons were too small, and ever-shifting with their motions, and anything which even partially touched the one of the ribbons was reflected – no, redirected was a better term, as they didn’t simply travel back the way they came.

The explosions resulting from this would have been a beautiful sight in a different circumstance, as all these effects were thrown all about, some cancelling each other out, some combining, or distorting, or simply hitting the surroundings and, in a few unlucky cases, some of the defenders. Add to that the forest of crystals all around DiL’s position which were smashed and thrown up, and it resulted in a gigantic light-show, which filled up all of Basil’s field of view.

“What the hell are they doing!?” Polymnia shouted, staring at it. “Why didn’t they probe her defense fir-“

Suddenly, she cut off, as all of them shuddered from head to toe

What…

Polymnia, Hecate and Gloom Glimmer all unleashed their attacks towards DiL. Sonic blasts, eldritch green fire and spirals of a fluorescent orange liquid shot towards her, only to be deflected in random directions by her defenses.

The only reason Basil wasn’t joining in on it was because he didn’t have anything he could have fired at this range.

At the same time, they started to drop, Gloom Glimmer shooting forward and losing – or rather, releasing – her grip on them.

Ah crap.

Fortunately, they hadn’t been flying too high up, probably so Gloom Glimmer would have been able to easily dodge behind one of the buildings, in case of another volley of crystal tendrils. Still, a drop from five storeys up onto the street could not be fun for any of them – even Polymnia would likely get hurt, especially considering the sheer weight of her equipment, which eclipsed that of Basil’s own – since she had a certain amount of super-strength herself, her armor had been built to be far heavier than the average model, in spite of its rather… revealing nature.

Of course, either of the girls should have been able to mitigate such a fall on their own – Hecate could simply turn into her smoke form and Polymnia almost certainly had something amongst her manifold pieces of equipment to help.

Unfortunately, both of them seemed more focused on providing DiL with more ammunition for her mirror ribbons, and Basil couldn’t blame them, if he’d had any real offensive option he’d be-

Oh fuck.

They were just starting to fall, and his friends still focused on blasting at DiL with single-minded determination, when his thoughts clicked together.

She’s messing with our minds. Must be her third power, right now. But I’m… resistant? No, I still feel it… but I have nothing to attack with, so I can still think clearly.

And the girls are gonna smash into the ground something fierce in a few seconds, mate, cause they sure as hell aren’t thinking clearly, which would just be a waste, don’t you think? Even if it’d neatly resolve your relationship issues. Oh, and Gloomy’s prolly gonna get herself killed if she throws all of that magnificent power of hers at her big sis without thinking. You know what this means, right?

Yeah, I do. He looked around, quickly, measuring the distance to the buildings to the left and right of the street. They were in one of New Lennston’s ‘retro’ areas, which had been styled to resemble the original Lennston’s appearance – in this case, painted brownstones with colourful roofs.

He’d only get one shot at this.

He launched his grappling hook from his hip, connecting it to one of the corners of the nearest brownstone, and reeled it in just enough to swing himself towards the girls.

First came Polymnia, and he extended his line enough that it hit her first, rather than him crashing into her – her armor was at least five centimeters thick and he knew it wasn’t light-weight material it was made up of, so he was going to avoid taking that kind of impact directly – and kept on swinging.

The line pulled against her waist, making her yelp as her fall straight down was redirected, and she rolled down the line, losing some of her momentum before she crashed into his arms.

Blimey, she’s heavy. Hey, what percentage of her weight do you think is in those huge tits of hers?

Not the time!

Basil growned as he held onto her, which wasn’t made any easier by her flailing around trying to get a straight shot at DiL again, and shifted his grip, so he was holding her against his side with his left arm wrapped around her waist.

Just in time to slam into Hecate, after pivoting his body just enough to catch her with his right arm around her waist.

The blast of green fire she was just about to let loose fizzled and washed over them, a sensation like bugs crawling over Basil’s skin, though it was diffuse enough not to cause any actual damage before it dispersed.

Seeing the wall of the brownstone coming, and unable to adjust their arc, not with both of them wiggling and trying to break out of his grip, Basil held out his legs, bracing him self – and hit the second-storey wall hard enough the shock nearly made him lose his grip on the two girls in his arms.

You know, I bet there’s a lotta blokes who’d commit murder to get a chance to hold these two.

He didn’t even bother responding to that one. Instead, he abseiled down to the curb – only to immediately throw himself and the girls into the alley next to the building, as a red laser beam cut down the street and over the spot he’d just been, slicing diagonally across – and through – the entire brownstone as if it wasn’t even there.

“Oh, come on!”

He reversed his direction, his soles hitting the ground hard enough to throw up a few sparks as he all but threw the girls out of the alley, and followed after them, moments before the brownstone slid down and collapsed over the narrow gap, destroying the adjacent building as well.

The three of them found themselves lying on the ground, a dust-cloud briefly billowing over them.

“Gamoto!” Hecate cursed, coughing as some dust got into her mouth.

“Are you still affected?” Basil asked them as he stood up and rolled his shoulders – he thought he might have pulled something.

Don’t forget them ribs, mate.

Thank you for reminding me. I was in danger of forgetting the incessant pain I feel each second.

Wouldn’t be the biggest thing you’ve forgotten, now would it?

“I… I think not,” Hecate forced out the words, shuddering. “I think not.”

“Neither am I,” Polymnia agreed. “That was… a strange experience. Like… attacking her was the smartest thing to do… I didn’t even question it. But I was fully aware and thinking clearly, at the same time.” She shook her head, looking as shaken as Hecate sounded, when she looked straigt at him through her tinted visor. “How come you weren’t affected, Brennus?”

“I was affected,” he replied calmly, while keeping an eye out in the direction DiL had to be in – currently out of sight from them, thanks to copious amounts of dust and smoke thrown up by the devastation she had wrought. “But I do not have anything to attack her with at this range, nor the means to close in on her so as to make contact with my repulsor. So I was able to focus on other things.” He turned his head, smirking under his mask, though it was a pained one: “Such as making sure we do not all fall to our death.” Then he got serious again. “I am not under its effect anymore, though, nor are you two.”

“It hit us the moment we got closer to her,” Hecate observed. “Maybe we… moved out of range again?”

“No, we are even closer than we were then,” Basil replied, looking for the flashes of light and the sound of explosions within the dust cloud. “If proximity was all it took, then we would already be-“

The dust was blown away in a single blow, shortly followed by a massive, bell-like sound so powerful it visibly distorted the air around DiL, and he laid eyes on DiL again.

He almost broke into a charge, taking a sudden step forward, before he realised that he didn’t actually have the means to attack her, even if he got close. But then, what could h-

Polymnia slugged him in the gut, making him double over and retch (not like he had anything to throw up), falling to his knees.

“Polymnia! What are you doing!?” Hecate cried out, kneeling down next to him, as he pressed his armored forehead to the concrete, leaning protectively over him.

“He got hit by her power, I think,” Polymnia replied. “Cut off mid-speech and started forward – and then I remembered, I stopped feeling the compulsion to attack the moment we hit that wall together. So I theorised, you know, that a hard enough hit would break the effect again.” She was blushing as she explained this, looking both embarrassed and a little guilty. “Though, uh. To be honest, I didn’t think much about it, I just reacted.”

Basil couldn’t see Hecate’s expression, not even her lower face, from his position, but he was pretty sure she was slack-jawed.

“It is… quite… alright,” he groaned, slowly getting up – faster, after a moment, when Hecate clued in and helped him up. “You were right… I saw DiL and got hit by her power, so I guess it is necessary to both be within a certain range of her and see her for it to affect you – and when you hit me, it ceased taking effect.”

His fingers twitched, calling up his armor’s interface on his heads-up display, showing him a scan of his brain’s neural activity over the last few seconds.

There. A shift, the moment he looked at DiL. Then, another shift, when Polymnia hit him. Rolling further back, he saw the same shift when he’d first laid eyes on her, and again the second shift when he impacted the wall.

The girls could obviously tell he was up to something and so didn’t interrupt as he finished adjusting and activating a few protocols he’d built in a while ago.

“I have set my armor to deliver an electric shock to myself, should I fall under her power’s effect again. Let us see whether it works. Polymnia, please stand ready to knock me down again if this fails.”

Before either of them could agree or protest, he raised his head and looked towards DiL.

Again, that sudden shift in priorities and just as quickly-

Ow. Bugger me, mate, ain’t the shite she’s doin’ to us already painful enough? Why you gotta add to that…

Basil ignored the voice in his head and looked at the girls again. “Success. Polymnia, can you…”

“I don’t have the means to detect when I’m under her influence and I’m kind of both impressed and a little scared that you apparently just happen to have something for that built into your suit,” she said, looking at him with a slightly envious expression on her face.

He looked at Hecate.

“You know I can’t adapt my enchantments so quickly,” she replied, crossing her arms while trying very hard to both look out for incoming attacks and avoid looking at DiL – not the easiest task, seeing how any attack likely to come at them would be one reflected by her ribbons, and thus coming straight from her position. “You don’t happen to h-“

He pulled a small metallic armband out of a pouch on his belt and snapped it around her wrist. “I have copied my settings onto it.” He pulled out another and offered it to Polymnia, who slipped briefly disconnected her gauntlet from the rest of her armor to snap it around her wrist, before sliding it in again.

Hecate looked down at it, her lips twisted into a strange smile. “Somehow, I’m not surprised at all that you thought of having something like this on you.”

“It is mostly meant to serve as a tracker, actually,” he replied. “I just included some added functionalities for special occasions such as these.”

Another beam sliced down the street, but on the curb opposite of theirs, melting down the pavement and causing the buildings to sag slightly as it compromised their foundations.

“Darn it, that was Gloomy’s beam. She’s spending her powers way too quickly – if we don’t stop her, she’ll end up powerless way too soon!” An Polymnia looked towards the battle, briefly flinching as her wristband was set off.

“Then let’s see what we can do to help her,” Hecate stated firmly.

Mate, you guys are so freaking outclassed here…

***

Just one block further in, the Chaos was total. Crystal tendrils criss-crossed the street, shimmering as they broke and reflected the light that touched them, casting rainbow hues all over the street, buildings and people. Several buildings had partially or totally collapsed, some shattering attached or other nearby crystals, spreading shards all over the ground.

And then there were the corpses.

The most obvious ones were a group of civilians – a family, parents and three children – who’d apparently huddled together, the parents trying to shield their kids with their bodies, only to be pierced by the crystals. One child had been impaled with its parents, only for the other two to be slain by the spears that’d spawned from the first set, turning them into a grotesque setpiece.

They were not even the worst thing to be seen on the street. Several defenders had been slain by reflected powers, bits and pieces of two or three people littering just the area Basil and the girls were in.

Detonations were still shaking the ground, now and then – and they’d already shattered all glass within sight.

Polymnia stumbled off to one side to throw up, Hecate followed her, looking little better herself, while Basil looked closer at the crystal tendrils.

The Desolation Field was messing with his scanners, but he was able to compensate, at least to a point.

“There is some kind of energy contained within these crystals,” he observed, speaking loud enough for them to hear him as he stepped amidst the crystals. “The closer they are to a human, the more energy is in them. The statues have the largest energy density.” He compared readings from a single costumed man with the entire family that’d been fused together. “A single metahuman – or at least this one – has a bigger charge than this entire family combined.”

“Incoming!” Polymnia shouted, leaping in front of Basil and Hecate.

Basil whirled around, his force shield flaring to life over his left arm, raised to cover himself and Hecate.

It was Polymnia, however, that protected them all, raising her arms out in front of her, and pulling them apart as the speakers built into her heavy bracers and the back of her armor, on her shoulder blades and down along her spine, began to pulse.

In the moments before the four spears coming in their direction reached them, the soundwaves they emitted built to a harmonious melody, visibly distorting the air around them to form a dome that encircled their small group.

The spears impacted the distortion, sending out ripples which spread out over the entire dome, creating a criss-crossing wave-pattern – but the crystals were deflected, redirected towards their surroundings.

Wherever they hit, four new tendrils shot out, though they didn’t seem to aim at anything in particular – though nine of them still hit and were once again deflected by the sonic cage, only for each to sprout three more tendrils… each of which sprouted two more, and then just one more, before this wave had run its course.

There were so many crystal tendrils and haphazard growths from the impact sites around them, Basil couldn’t even make out where DiL – and with her, the locus of combat – had moved to.

”Is it over?” Hecate asked, a slight waver in her voice in spite of her best attempts to stay calm.

“I think so,” Polymnia replied, though she did keep the sonic cage up.

”For now, yes,” Basil replied, having the advantage of his raven flying above, looking down at the street. It was a mess of crystal growths, rubble from partially collapsed buildings and body parts, and the three of them were barely visible amidst it all.

“We should move onto the rooftops,” he added, almost absent-mindedly. When the girls stared at him like he’d been possessed, he gestured at the nearby crystallized family. “Look. Her spears went straight through the previous ones. We not only have far less room to dodge down here, we also have barely any cover – in fact, the ‘cover’ works in her favour, rather than ours. Better if we go up, where we can at least see attacks coming and have room to dodge.”

They looked at the grisly sight – and indeed, the new growths had simply gone through the existing statues, as if they weren’t there at all.

Without another word, they all made their way upwards again.

***

Seconds after they’d reached the nearest intact building’s rooftop, DiL unleashed another volley, the crystals launched in far faster and coming in far greater numbers than before.

No one had found a way to force her to change her powers, yet, and so they kept building up, and up…

But to what? They contain energy within, yet the crystals don’t do anything with it. There have been multiple waves, and yet the energy has remained unused.

Basil kept turning it over in his head, as he stepped aside, dodging one spear, then raised his force shield, bracing himself by locking his boots to the roof, deflecting one of the successive spears which would otherwise have impaled Hecate.

Ow. That freaking hurts, mate, the Man in the Moon complained when pain shot up his arm and straight into his damaged ribs.

Basil ignored them, as much as possible, pulling Hecate out of the way of another spear at the same time as she used her flames to blow yet another out of the air, preventing it from skewering them both.

They were getting both more numerous and faster over time. A good third of New Lennston had already been covered, partially merged to the crystals. And the more numerous they became, the more energy they stored, with a decidedly more-than-linear increase.

He’d already shared his observation with the other defenders, through Memento’s communication network – which, being contrived rather than real technology, was not affected by her Desolation Field – but no one was quite sure what to make of it; the most common theory was that they were meant to blow up at some point, which made forcing her to change her powers all the more urgent, considering how far the crystals had already spread and how much energy they already contained.

Unfortunately, those space-warping ribbons and the ‘attack me’ compulsion were making it nigh-impossible to strategize so far. If it wasn’t for Memento’s many selves and their immunity to Control effects, they would likely be completely unable to respond in any way, currently.

In the distance, Basil could see weird objects – floating orbs and tesseracts and pillars that were only partially composed of matter, and some even weirder ones, unloading barrages of effects – forming force-fields around defenders to protect from rebound attacks or crystal spears, warping space to redirect crystal spears back towards the already heavily crystallized areas, unleashing pin-point beams of plasma, pure light, directed matter and what Basil was pretty sure were gravitic shears.

It was the kind of display that implied its originator could conquer the whole world if they so wished – and frankly, Memento probably could have, but Doctor Despair’s masterpiece was wholly uninterested in anything but pursuing its prime directive.

Though it was a Contrivance rather than a Gadget, Basil couldn’t help but marvel at the Doctor’s masterpiece; there had been Contrivers before and after him who’d created a Magnum Opus, and there’d been many who’d unleashed a Swan Song, at the cost of their lives; but Doctor Despair, as far as he knew, was the only one who’d done both at the same time – his mummified corpse had been found by one of his rivals in his workshop, slumped over backwards over the chair he’d been sitting on, as before him his last, final, greatest creation booted up. A single machine, shaped rather like a salt dispenser as tall as a child, with a clear dome at the top and a mechanical face fashioned after Doctor Despair’s long-time nemesis, the fallen Protector, contained within.

Memento, the self-improving, contrived and contriving Seed-AI, the only of its kind and quite possibly the greatest display of Contriving ever, could have likely conquered the world, but it had been created for one purpose and one purpose only – to end Desolation-in-Light’s threat to the world, once and for all. In the decades since, it had continually expanded itself and refined its arsenal, and though it had yet to succeed, many believed it to be merely a matter of time.

Whether or not the end of DiL would lead to peace, or see it become an even greater threat, no one knew.

At least right now, it’s a godsend, Basil thought quietly, catching his breath as the wave of crystal spears and the following growth came to an end. This particular one had spread the crystal cover out over half of New Lennston. Their position was becoming untenable, the growths spread out over the rooftops, a twisted, glittering jungle. Deep within it, mostly at street level, where people had been crystallised, it was brighter still, glowing almost like a soft torch. Where metahumans had been caught, it was as bright as day.

“We’re not doing anything but surviving – barely,” Polymnia spoke, her serious, calm voice as usual in stark contrast to the way she was bent over and supporting herself on her knees, gasping for breath. “This – I’ve never felt so useless!”

”Welcome to a DiL fight,” Hecate spat, falling onto her butt, leaning back to support herself on her outstretched arms. “From what I read and hear, it’s usually like this. You run, you dodge, you survive, all the while looking for some way you can contribute; hoping that, if she does choose a set which requires your specific powers or skills to counter, you’ll be able to do so.”

“I… I guess…”

”We’ve just, got to keep each other safe. Keep as many others safe as we can, for as long as we can,” Hecate continued, trying to reassure her idol. “L-let’s just focus on that… or else I don’t think… I’ll be able to hold it together.”

Basil turned his head away just as she turned hers to look at him, focusing on the battle in the distance, occasionally twitching as his armor shocked him back to his senses, whenever DiL’s power affected him. He was tapping the communication channels, though he had to rely on the mundane ones, with all the disturbance that they ecame along with, while within this blasted field – it was half a miracle that his equipment had lasted as long as it had, he was not going to take a further risk by directly interfacing with the contrived technology Memento handed out.

Still, the channel the Dark was using to get his signal whenever he felt DiL change her powers was connected to a greater network – likely Wyrms. Though it could not reach beyond the Desolation Field, there was still some data going around within it.

No Lady Light, no Quetzalcoatl. No Severance. No Kong Long. Only Fleur and the Feral Family are here.

Meaning exactly the two members of that group who were of the least use against DiL.

To his relief, he heard Amy be mentioned, so she had to still be alive. Kraquok and Lamarr were also there, as was Daijisi, but no Dowager and the Dark was standing back, likely still weakened from the fight at the Installation, not too long ago.

Was it really just half a day ago? It feels so long ago…

He staggered, his legs buckling before he managed to regain his balance.

”Ba- Brennus?” Hecate spoke up, worried. Barely five seconds had passed since she’d said her part.

Seconds…

“Brennus?” Polymnia looked at him in worry, standing up, reaching out with one arm.

What’s wrong?

Take off your mask, mate.

He did so, and it came away with blood on it. Numbly, he raised his left hand to his face, touching index and middle finger to his upper lip.

They came away with blood, too.

”Brennus!” Hecate jumped up, catching him as he nearly fell over. She held his weight easily.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, though he wasn’t sure whom he was asking.

You’re dying, mate, the Man in the Moon’s voice somehow managed to sound both concerned and mocking at the same time. I’ve been taking the lion’s share of the pain so far, but just because you don’t feel it doesn’t mean it ain’t doing damage.

Somehow, hearing those words, processing them, Basil didn’t feel scared or angered or saddened. No, even though he felt, he knew they were true, he just felt…

At home. More than just his own voice said those words in his head.

Nothing had ever scared him as much as that realisation.

Is that why you’ve been off?

Sorry, mate. But you gotta get out of here. Whatever this field is doing, however it’s interacting with you, with us, it’s breaking down the walls.

Killing me?

In a way.

It would be more accurate to claim that it is killing the you as you understand yourself, the Blazing Sun spoke up for the first time in a while.

Mine…

If you stay here any longer, you won’t be you anymore.

He managed to stand again, righting himself as he used his free arm’s sleeve to wipe off the blood. “I, I’ll be alright,” he told the girls, using that same sleeve to clean the inside of his mask.

It came away scarlet all over, but he could put the mask on again, once more covering his face from the bridge of his nose down.

You mean we’ll… merge?

If you wanna be saturday morning cartoon about it, yeah.

Is that necessarily a bad thing? It’s pretty clear that I’m far from complete – perhaps merging back together will…

You are labouring under an erroneous presupposition.

What candle-head means to say is that you got it all back-ass-wards, mate.

I’ve never known you lot to be so chatty.

The walls are breaking down. So are our…

Fetters.

We can slip the leash a bit, because we are breaking down, piece by piece, too.

Then tell me already! Basil growled, taking a step away from the girls, his arm slipping out of Hecate’s grip. Enough with the cryptic hints! Just tell me everything!

We’re saying as much as we can. You gotta understand, it’s not you that’s incomplete.

A massive tremor shook the ground, throwing all three of them over as the buildings aroudn and beneath them shook, most of them only held up by the crystals that’d fused to their structures and were now supporting them.

Basil shook his head, trying to focus through the pain throbbing in his head – not a change of power, just… more of the same, the pain that’d been in the backgroudn slowly bleeding into the forefront.

It doesn’t matter, he thought to himself, as he looked up, his eyes widening as he saw a slim figure flying through the air, white cape billowing as she tumbled away from where the impact had originated.

Living at the mercy of forces and people whom I cannot even name.

He couldn’t say where he dredged up the strength, the focus, to force himself onto all fours, to reverse the electrostatic clamps in his boots’ soles to instead repell him from the roof with such force, he left a spreading spiderweb of cracks behind.

I already knew that.

He flew up, his path determined more by instinct than any kind of rational thought, putting him right in Gloom Glimmer’s way.

She smashed into his chest, his arms wrapping aroudn her more due to the force of the impact than any function of his muscles.

More pain still pulsed from his damaged ribs, up into his brain – but there was already so much there, it was just a drop in the ocean.

Living in a body that’s not entirely my own, with a mind that’s been twisted by factors beyond my control. Never knowing whether this moment will be my last, or not.

He reached behind himself with his left arm, aiming the repulsor. A twitch of his muscles, a tightening of his fist, unleashed a blast.

Shock travelled up his arm, nearly dislodging it out of the shoulder socket. Adding yet more inconsequential pain.

Isn’t that how Prisca’s life was, for all those years? All those years, until the bitter end.

Their flight so arrested, the two of them slowed and dropped, as he shifted his grip on her surprisingly light body, holding her sideways in his arms.

I can remember holding Prisca’s avatar like this, carrying her over the threshold of my bedroom. A stupid, silly little play-act.

But it’d made her happy to pretend, even if it’d ended up being another broken promise.

They hit the roof of a building – fortunately, a flat one, meant to be accessible to people – their combined weight coming down on his legs, bones and muscles and tendons groaning as he skidded across the rooftop, not daring to activate the clamps for fear that he’d simply cause himself to fall over backwards, hit his head and likely snap his ankles as well.

If I die, I die. But I’ll spend what time I have fighting, fighting until I can’t continue on anymore.

Why do you fight, mate? Why, why, why? Why be a hero, why be good why be Brennus why be?

He couldn’t tell. Couldn’t remember, not really. But every time he’d considered that question, what path to go down, what to fight for, what to be, he’d always remembered just three things.

First, the Rain.

Second, the Thunder.

Third, the Lightning.

And every time he did, he’d felt it in his guts, what he had to do.

Right now, he had to focus on the fight.

His heels hit the upraised rim of the roof and he barely managed to steady himself, leaning forward slightly to avoid tipping over the edge, absorbing the last of their shared momentum, slightly bending his knees to better distribute the force, rather than take it all with his joints.

For the Rain, and the Thunder, and the Lightning that comes after.

Lightning comes before the Thunder, mate.

No. The Thunder comes first. Then, the Lightning.

Where did those words come from, he wondered? A memory without any content, words without reference, emotions without source.

His Origin?

”Basil?” a soft voice drew his attention at the person he held in his arms.

Gloom Glimmer’s face was drawn, pale. It wasn’t the palor of someone who’d physically exhausted themselves, but rather, it reminded him of Prisca of all people. Someone who’d spent too much, no, been forced to spend too much, and been left with too little to continue.

“I’m so sorry,” she said, tears sliding out of her eyes, down her bloodless cheeks, and she didn’t sound like the self-assured, even cocky young heroine he’d first gotten to know. She sounded like the little girl underneath it all. “I’m sorry… I tried, but… I can’t… I can’t do anything… I wish…”

”I know.” At his arm, both communicators frizzed, trying to catch his attention as Memento warned everyone of the next coming volley, and the Dark tried to find out whether his daughter was alright.

His eyes moved from her face to her hands, where they were clenched together loosely above her breast.

A gray haze was spreading, from her fingertips down, only to flicker, the effect breaking apart.

“Isn’t it stupid?” she asked, choked. “I spent it. My immortality, my invincibility. That safe mode? I used it to try and protect others. But it wasn’t enough. They’re dead anyway, and I’m without my get-out-of-jail-free card now.” She choked, sobbing.

He nodded, looking out into the distance.

Past Polymnia and Hecate, who were just now turning away from him and Gloom Glimmer, several rooftops away, a veritable cloud of crystal spears was approaching, raining down in such numbers they blotted out the glow of the Desolation Field, and what sunlight still came through.

“You’ve got, got to run,” Gloom Glimmer begged him, wiggling, trying to get away from his grip. “I’m not sure… I can’t find anything to protect you with.”

“And who will protect you?” he asked, as he turned away from the incoming crystal death, letting go of her legs, letting her put her feet on the roof.

Huh. She’s shorter than me. I never noticed. Usually, she’s floating around.

“What are you-” she began to speak, only to blush when he put his right arm around her waist, pulling her close to himself. “B-“

He raised his left arm, putting the hand behind his head as if to scratch it, aiming the projector’s flat side that way. His raven dove down and landed on his right shoulder.

A force-field sprung up around them, an oval which wrapped around them, strongest at his back where the projector was, weakest, but still present, in front of them. It was really only meant to protect himself, but with Gloom Glimmer pressed as closely against him as possible, even if it had to be even more uncomfortable for her than for him – he wore stiff, cold armor, she wore a soft, almost velvet-like bodysuit, thicker and more modest than was common, but not particularly more protective either.

Still, this was better than getting skewered by spears and turned into crystal.

Spears rained down on them, smashing into the force-field at Basil’s back, and the rooftop all around them. Several glanced off the rounded shape of his force-field, hitting the roof as well.

From each site of impact, eight new spears shot forth, flying at them from every direction, some flying through each other as if they were insubstantial, trailing tendrils of crystal behind them.

His force-field was beset by impacts from every direction, warning sounds playing, as he looked down at his right forearm, wrapped around Gloom Glimmer, where a monitor showed him the danger – the force-field wasn’t designed to defend against prolonged, multi-directional assaults. It was rapidly approaching the point where the gadget may well short out on him, at which point they’d both die.

“It will not hold,” Basil whispered calmly, as the third wave started, seven spears from each impact site where the spears had come into contact with matter to convert. “The shield isn’t designed for this kind of attack.”

Gloom Glimmer shifted, wrapping her arms around his neck – but it wasn’t a show of or plea for comfort. Instead, she looked up at him with tear-stained cheeks and red eyes upon black sclerae. “I still have some power left.”

She reached for his gauntlet, pressing all ten fingers against it. He couldn’t turn his head to look, but his ravenbot could, and he saw what it saw on his other arm’s display, as her fingertips sunk into the metal, veins of red light spreading from those points throughout the gauntlet.

Immediately, the warning signs were replaced with error messages, as his systems detected a surge of energy from an unknown source, bolstering the field, while at the same time, pressure was taken off the circuits.

The field around them took on a reddish tint, particularly wherever it was struck by the fourth wave, which failed to penetrate no matter the direction they came from, as slowly, the two of them were encased in a cocoon crystal tendrils, no one of them thicker than two fingers, yet so numerous they were likely to encase them completely by the time the ninth and final wave was done.

She smiled at him, wetly, and he couldn’t help but smile back, even though she likely couldn’t see it, except perhaps in the way his eyes moved. “We have got to sit down and try to figure out your power, some day,” he said, before his common sense could edit the words.

She didn’t seem insulted or put off by the remark though – rather, she giggled at him. “You can join the club. No one’s figured it out yet, not even Mom and Dad.”

“Seems like a rather illustrious membership. I doubt I would fit in,” he replied, trying to take his mind of…

Actually, he had a lot of things to try and take it off of. The worry for his friends and sister, for the other defenders and the common people trapped here, the incessant pain in his head, even more pain in his chest, the questions surrounding his memory, the threat of whatever the Desolation Field was doing to his mind and the voices within, the fact that there were other voices in his head, Prisca’s fate, his many, many failures, the…

The list went on and on.

She knocked her forehead against his armored nose, gently, as a soft glow appeared where their bodies were touching, most noticably around her… chest… squished against his armor. Soft, warm golden light that seemed to flow from within her and into his body, as he literally felt his ribs mend, all the bruises going away along with the pain in his joints and the sore muscles.

“You’d fit right in. I mean, sometimes, I can’t decide whether you remind me more of my mom or my dad, but I’d bet my plushie collection that you’d get along well to great with both of them.”

“Hopefully more with your mother than your father,” he replied.

She raised an eyebrow at him, taking on a deadpan expression. “What is that supposed to mean?”

He tilted his head to the side, slightly, confused. “Well, she is a hero, he is a villain. No offense.”

Gloom Glimmer relaxed again. “Oh. Right. Yeah, that makes sense.” She blushed, averting her eyes.

Are all girls so confusing?

Seriously, you don’t get what she thought? the most irreverent of his inner voices asked, with laughter in his otherwise pain-filled voice. She probably hears comments like that a lot, and not meant in the way you did.

I do not get it.

I know you don’t, mate.

Before he could ask what was going on, though, reality reasserted itself, as the final wave of crystal spears were deflected off his shield.

Gloom Glimmer pulled her fingers out of the gauntlet, slumping against him as her strength left her, and the gadget finally broke down, pushed beyond its limits. Sparks flew and some smoke came out, and the readout on his other arm just confirmed that it’d need at least some basic maintenance, if not a full rebuild, to be usable again.

But it had done what it was meant for, and then some. They were safe, for now, though surrounded by crystals.

We won’t survive another wave like this.

“We won’t survive another wave like this,” Gloom Glimmer echoed his thoughts. “We need to find Polymnia and Hecate, and get far away from h-“

“Hush,” Basil interrupted her, looking at his sensors’ readouts on his gauntlet.

Not that he’d needed to, because light was beginning to spread through the crystals covering a vast portion of the city – some tendrils had flown out so far they even extended beyond the Desolation Field. As it grew in intensity, so did the readings he got in.

That energy density…

Gloom Glimmer laughed, a weak, small sound, as she slumped against him, hugging him earnestly now. “It’s going to explode,” she said, as she cried softly. “Fuck. Fuck you, Bree. You just have to prove me wrong at every turn, don’t you?”

Basil didn’t know what to say. He could only watch as the crystals swelled, nearly liquifying in places as they grew brighter, and brighter, cutting off any avenue of escape they might have had; not that they could have gotten away quickly enough to escape an explosion of such magnitude – extrapolating from how much energy was contained within the local cluster of crystals, the whole mass of them, spread out throughout New Lennston, had to be enough to hit with the force of at least a dozen kilotons; likely more, since metahumans seemed to provide far more energy when crystallised, and there weren’t any such victims nearby for him to get a reading off of.

He sent his raven up, up and away towards the East. It was unlikely to survive, but if he was to die here, he at least wanted that bit to get away.

He’d written up some routines to go off in any of his ravens that happened to survive him, just in case. To contact the United Heroes, lead them to his lab, if it was still left after this, give them copies of his notes and files… a meaningless gesture, perhaps, but one he’d been intent on making.

The crystals swelled, as Basil stood there, holding the crying Gloom Glimmer, watching his raven fly towards the rising sun that shined through the Desolation Field…

Wait a minute.

He blinked, focusing his tired eyes into the distance.

The sun isn’t supposed to rise in the afternoon. Nor is it supposed to be white.

Before he could process that, the distant sun pulsed.

A massive, massive wave of light, like a pure white tsunami, blazed through the Desolation field, and drowned out the world as it flowed over New Lennston.

Light so bright it should have blinded, yet it did not; a pure white blaze which reflected off of everything, turning the whole world a pure white, yet without hurting his eyes.

It reflected off of everything. The rooftops. Gloom Glimmer’s hair. His raven, in the distance. Capes and cowls he could see on other rooftops, trying to get away from the incoming explosion. Telephone masts and other things.

Everything turned pure, solid white, the glow so powerful it erased their outlines, made it all solid.

All, except for DiL’s crystals. They seemed to absorb the light, fully, casting them in utter black, so dark it smoothed out their shapes, made them seem two-dimensional. Like the shadows of branches, drawn with ink upon white paper.

The wave of light moved on, there and gone again, moving on over the rest of New Lennston.

Wherever it touched, the crystals were rendered inert, their built-up energy simply… stilled.

They crumbled away into nothingness, not even dust left behind.

Gloom Glimmer raised her head, looking over her shoulder without a sound.

The second sun approached and passed through the Desolation Field and as it did, her aura blazed forth, like the sun’s own warmth, turned up to a level Basil had never even heard of, reaching at least as far into the area as Basil stood, and lightly further.

Wherever it touched the defenders, Basil saw shoulders straighten, people standing taller, more energized.

When it reached him and Gloom Glimmer, he felt her straighten up, making a soft, tender sound, a note of glee not unlike that of a small child being lifted up and enveloped by loving arms.

Basil felt it seep through him, taking away the weariness and smoothing out the pain in the back of his head. Even when DiL changed her powers, finally, what he felt was not a spike of white-hot pain, but merely a dull ache.

Hey… mate… something’s… I… we…

The voices in his head, the presences, grew weaker, as he felt something change. As if a weight had been taken off his shoulders, one he’d carried for as long as he could remember, and thus had never noticed, thinking it to be natural, normal.

For the first time he could recall, his thoughts felt light.

The second sun advanced, flying past his raven faster than its sensors could track her, straight towards the locus of battle, as the re-energized defenders rallied, calls coming through the communication lines, voices rising up around him as well, cheering, at the sudden turn of the battle.

Lady Light had arrived.

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In My Daydreams

Planet in the Middle: Part 5

In My Daydreams

I thanked HAL for the message, adding, “Tell me if any of them land near us.”

The group of us all had mats next to each other on the floor. The mats were both thin and surprisingly comfortable despite the fact that we were in a small shack with hard floors. I want to describe them as hardwood, but who knew what the materials were?

I glanced over at the holographic screens showing 3D representations of the world around the hideout. I saw animals, but no people. I wasn’t the only one looking at the screens either. Cassie, Jaclyn, and Marcus had all been woken up by HAL. Tikki slept on the mat next to Marcus’ mat. Whether she was truly sleeping was an open question, given her true nature.

Kals, though, had taken a mat between Jaclyn and me and she was awake by the time I opened my eyes to stare in the direction of the screens. “What’s wrong?”

Jaclyn and I looked at each other. I said, “Well, the good news is that the ship to ship fighting has moved away from the planet. The bad news is that Xiniti and the Human Ascendancy both dropped ground troops to the surface. I’m assuming the Xiniti are here to protect you and Ascendancy is here to kill all of you. The thing is, it doesn’t really matter what they’re here for at all. What’s most likely to happen is that they’re going to end up fighting each other while all of the colonists try to stay out of the way.”

Kals nodded. “That sounds about right. Do you know where they’re landing?”

“I can ask, but the information’s coming from our ship and it’s hiding, so it may not have all the information we want. I’ve asked it to tell us if they’re landing nearby, though.”

I sent the ship a request for pictures of where the landings were and got back a picture that showed dots that centered around the landing field and the open area next to the colony. They weren’t too near us, but since we weren’t far from the colony, they were too close.

In a different picture, I noticed one more detail. Some of the dropships were leaving the planet. While Ascendancy dropships’ main purpose is to land on a planet and take control, they can leave a planet. They aren’t as good at it, but they can do it.

On the way up they’re slow and don’t have much of a range, but they can get soldiers back up into space for pickup. From what I could tell by examining the series of shots, they were sending the wounded soldiers up into orbit.

It was better than I expected of the Ascendancy, but I supposed they were human and humans care for their people. At any rate, a totalitarian society needed to care for their troops. Without their loyalty, they can’t keep their citizens in line. Motivators couldn’t be everywhere at once. They had to create some level of real loyalty.

That was the rational way to look at it. I couldn’t believe that was all of it. Someone in power there responded with a basic sense of decency. It didn’t make me like them better, but it made it hard to view them as simple, unrelenting evil.

I told Kals. “They’re landing in the big open areas—the landing field and the areas between the settlements. Oh, and they’re also landing around the spacer settlement, filling their dropships with the wounded and sending them back into space—which means that if we head over there the camps won’t be full of the wounded anymore. They’ll be full of able-bodied soldiers.”

“Are the Xinite firing on the dropships?” Kals watched me as I clicked my palm, flipping through the shots.

“There’s no sign of it. Actually, my implant says the Xiniti and the Ascendancy have some kind of arrangement where they don’t fire on each other’s noncombatant wounded. I guess that extends to ships.”

She shook her head. “I should have known. The Ascendancy’s leadership said that they killed everyone. Painting the Xiniti that way made it easier to hate them. Even the resistance fears the Xiniti. We’ll take their help, but we don’t trust them.”

“Huh. Well, it looks like we’ve got plenty to worry about just from the healthy soldiers. From the pictures, the camp’s now turning back into a staging point for whatever they’re planning to do to the Xiniti and ultimately, us.”

Four Hands wouldn’t be much help now that he wasn’t running the show.

Even in the dark, I could see Kals frown. “Then we’ve got to tell my mom.”

She got up, walking down the side of the room, tapping the man assigned to watch the screens on the shoulder and having a whispered conversation that I didn’t overhear, but I didn’t need to. He pulled his hands away from the computer interface and clenched his fists.

Then they both walked further down the length of the building, stepping around people sleeping on their mats.

From the mat on the other side of Jaclyn, Cassie said, “We’re fucked. Look at that.” Then she pointed at one of the images on the screen. A camera on the edge of the forest had picked up a group of Ascendancy soldiers, all of them in clean, undamaged armor, passing into the trees.

Comparing the camera’s position to the implant’s maps of the forest, it was clear they were coming straight for us.

It didn’t take much to guess what had happened. Four Hands probably knew where at least some of the forest hideouts were. He could avoid going after us when he was the ranking officer of a force that was mostly wounded, but that wasn’t true anymore.

Even worse, I recognized the people leading the group. Neves, massive and hugely muscled walked next to Kamia. The soft glow of her force field hinted that they didn’t see stealth as a major concern now.

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Semicoop

Behind the Filter

Semicoop

 

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A post shared by Semi Co-op (@semicoop) on Oct 7, 2018 at 9:10am PDT

We don’t actually have a board gaming room and often just play games at our kitchen table, but this is often how it goes, right? And not only in board gaming, people make a pretty picture and you have no clue what kind of mess is going behind the camera. And for fanatic board gamers, there’s the ‘issue’ of newly acquired games that’ll need a place on a shelve since they can’t stay in an evergrowing stack somewhere in a corner. Luxury problems, really – but probably recognizable for some readers of this comic. 😉

In other news: we’ve got a new design up in our merchandise store! We’ve already received a sample of the tote bag and we’re loving it. As we speak, we’re having a little contest on Instagram in which you can win a $10 voucher for our store with no minimum and it lasts until October 31. You just have to follow us on Instagram, like the post and tag a friend in the comments below the Instagram picture. We’ll pick a winner tonight at 8PM CEST. We’re also having a (pre)-Essen Sale right now that lasts until October 31, so if you’re looking for fun board game themed tote bags or shirts, you might want to take a look.

And there’s another contest going on that is related to our comic! On Twitter, KatiesGamesCorner has a giveaway going on in which you can win your own personalized avatar drawn in Semi Co-op style, by me! Click here to check out how you can join in the contest, which ends on October 31. If anybody is interested, you can always send an email to info[at]semicoop[dot]com if you wish to commission an avatar drawn by me.

Semi Co-op – Share the Love (promotion pack)!
We’re looking for people that are coming to Spiel in Essen and would like to drop off some of our bookmarks and stickers at their favorite local gaming spot. This could be on the counter of your local gaming store or at your board gaming cafe (with permission of course). We always leave a stack of bookmarks and stickers at our FLGS and we have to restock them every month and we thought it would be fun if we could spread them around the world! Every pack contains 50 stickers and bookmarks. If you’re interested and are coming to Spiel: please leave a comment down below so we can estimate how many we should order before Spiel.

If you like our comics and would like to support the work we do, we’re now on Patreon! Being a monthly patron gives you automatic entry in the seasonal raffles we hold on Patreon, in which you can win fun prizes like things from our merchandise store, sketches and more!

Do you have a dedicated board gaming room?

The post Behind the Filter appeared first on Semi Co-op.

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In My Daydreams

Updating Late

In My Daydreams

I’ll be updating about a day late.

Sorry to spring it on people, but I’m having a small surgery on Monday and running errands that had to get taken care of first ate into my writing time.

EDIT: Home from surgery and writing under the influence of painkillers. Hopefully, this makes sense.

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In My Daydreams

Planet in the Middle: Part 4

In My Daydreams

In a maneuver that felt choreographed, the Xiniti ships all moved to the right side of the bottom of the Ascendancy battleship, firing bright beams at a spot three-quarters of the way down the battleship’s side.

Flame burst from the spot and the back of the ship. The battleship’s nose turned downward, aiming for the ground and hitting it, throwing up dirt, rocks, smoke, and flame.

The ground moved as it hit. It wasn’t hard enough to make anyone fall over, but it was hard enough to feel. Along with the shock came a series of booming noises accompanied by the screech of hard surfaces scraping against each other, finishing in a final thud.

It was long out of their screens’ view by the time that was over, but one screen showed the side of a large hill. The forest cascaded into the small valley below and then up the hills on the other side. Past them rose a great cloud of black smoke in the distance. Chunks of the top of several hills had been ripped off, destroying the trees and exposing dirt and rock, leaving mangled pieces of the hull, some of them still glowing in spots, making thin trails of smoke in the air above where they touched the trees.

I hoped that they weren’t hot enough to start a forest fire. That could be worse than fighting the Ascendancy. We had a hope of winning against them in a fight, but we weren’t prepared to fight fires.

I thought back to Larry’s “Rhinomobile,” a tank-like vehicle he’d designed for combat, but included hoses in case he started fires. Judging from stories my grandfather told me about Larry, it seemed wise. He did seem to do more damage than you’d expect.

That said, Grandfather’s claim that Larry had something to do with the volcanic eruption of Mt. Saint Helens seemed unlikely.

I had a moment of wondering what technology I could get out of the ship, but I knew better. Assuming the technology survived the fall and the explosions, the ship was too hot inside and possibly radioactive.

On the bright side, if this could be considered a bright side, any people inside were dead—which meant no reinforcements for the planetside Ascendancy troops.

Well, not until the Ascendancy decided to send a landing force down. It wasn’t likely until the battle was over or close to it. According to the Xiniti implant, Ascendancy dropships were relatively easy targets if you knew they were there. It was when they dropped at night and outside of a battle that they became useful. In that situation, they reached the ground quickly and then you had to deal with ground forces.

Whatever I knew about the Ascendancy forces, the colonists must have also known because they all watched the smoke, but they didn’t seem scared.

Jadzen Akri put the best possible face on it. “That’s one more down. If the Xiniti can keep that up, the Ascendancy ships may not survive the night.”

On the screens that showed the sky, Xiniti ships flew upward, disappearing into the blue.

Turning to us, Jadzen asked, “Do you know what the situation is in space? Are the fleets large?”

Jaclyn looked her in the eye. “I don’t know how many there are, but right now there are two fleets—Xiniti and the Ascendancy. We don’t know who’s winning.”

I spoke up too. “There are at least five Ascendancy battleships—one less now, but I’d be surprised if that meant there were only four left. I got the impression that the ships I was seeing were only a small part of the fleets. The Xiniti didn’t have as many ships, but they had enough to be roughly equal.”

Another thought pushed its way to the front of my brain. “Have you seen any sign of Katuk or the plant?”

Jadzen shook her head and then looked around the room. “Have any of you seen them?”

A few people said, “No,” while others said nothing—an answer in its own way.

“You’re welcome to stay here,” Jadzen said. “Our best chance for survival is to remain here out of sight until the people above us are finished fighting. We have hundreds of hidden retreats. The plant and the Xiniti could easily be with any of our groups.”

I turned to Jaclyn, “What do you think?” Noticing Cassie’s scowl, I added, “What does everybody think?”

Cassie leaned forward, “I think that Katuk’s out there alone, he’s going to go after Kamia and die. He practically said he would when he first found out she was here.”

Marcus sighed. “He kind of did, didn’t he? She killed a bunch of his people. I don’t have the faintest clue how we’d find him though, not without opening up our implants to the world and getting Kamia’s attention ourselves.”

Jaclyn frowned. “I don’t like the idea, but I think we should stay here. We can’t do much out there except attract attention to ourselves. If we do that, we’re either going to die or accidentally reveal any colonists who happen to be nearby.”

“That’s probably the best idea,” I said. “I agree with Jaclyn.”

The discussion went on longer than that, but that was what we settled on. After that, there’s not much to be said. We had a meal of the Ascendancy equivalent of an MRE and sat there in the dark, listening to the chirp of the insects and the howls and screams of distant wildlife.

We hoped it was distant, anyway.

A few hours into the night, HAL woke all of us up with a message, “The battle has shifted away from this planet, but that’s not all. Though the main bodies of both fleets are fighting further away from here, the Ascendancy and the Xiniti have both released dropships on the planet, all of them heading for the colony.”

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Semicoop

The Blinding

Semicoop

 

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A post shared by Semi Co-op (@semicoop) on Sep 30, 2018 at 10:30am PDT

Board games have gotten so creative! And Nyctophobia is certainly one that deserves a mention. It’s also a game design with a story, it was designed by Catherine Stippell, who wanted to have a game she could play with her blind uncle. In this game, there is only one player who can see what’s going on on the table and he or she is a crazy hunter with an ax. The other players wear blackout glasses and can’t see what’s going on. They can only feel the game board while they are trying to make their way out of the maze and reach the safe zone.

We haven’t played the game, but we’re certainly intrigued by the concept of the game and the story behind it and we’re hoping that we can check it out at Spiel in Essen this year. 🙂

This weekend we also tried the game The Climbers at our FLGS. We only had a vague idea what to expect and it was a fun game to play! To us, it scratches the same itch as Santorini and Junk Art and therefore it’s not a game we will get for our already very big collection – but I do see us playing it at the store while enjoying a nice cup of tea. It looks fun and has a nice light strategic element to it. After playing a game called The Climbers we totally felt like climbing ourselves and went bouldering at our local bouldering hall. 😉

What’s your favorite horror themed board game?

The post The Blinding appeared first on Semi Co-op.

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In My Daydreams

Planet in the Middle: Part 3

In My Daydreams

I couldn’t tell whether the Xiniti or the Human Ascendancy was winning. The Human Ascendancy had more ships when you considered their fighters in addition to their battleships, but the Xiniti’s ships (even their battleships) were smaller and changed direction with no warning at all.

They’d turn on an angle, target an Ascendancy battleship with a large part of their firepower, inflict damage and change direction again, putting another battleship in the way of the first’s return fire. It didn’t always work out. Xiniti ships exploded too, but not as many as Ascendancy fighters. On the other hand, there weren’t as many Xiniti ships.

If the fleets had been roughly equal in size, I’d have bet that the Xiniti would win, but they weren’t. While the Xiniti ships were harder to hit and harder to damage when they got hit, the Ascendancy did pick them off one at a time.

The Xiniti did the same, but from the short clip of the battle that played in my helmet, I didn’t dare try to predict the end.

“Where are you?” I asked HAL.

“I’m on the planet and hidden from view. I’ve set up a stream of information from the ansible that allows me to monitor what it can sense and am using my own sensors and ability to simulate battle to fill in the gaps.”

I stopped walking, glancing over at Kals to see if she’d noticed. She had, and stopped, turning to look at me. “Is something wrong?”

To her, I said, “Yes, but it’s complicated.”

She took in a breath. “Great. I love not knowing if I’m about to die.”

To HAL, I said, “Are you close enough that we could use the ship if necessary?”

“Yes, but while the chance that the Ascendancy will detect me is currently low, it goes up as the battle moves closer to the planet. If you’re considering joining the battle, joining the Xiniti fleet gives a small improvement to their odds of winning in the most probable versions of this fight. If the Ascendancy sends a landing force down to the surface, your presence increases the chances of the colony’s survival.”

“Good to know,” I said. “Keep me informed if the battle changes enough that our presence is likely to help.”

The connection ended and images of the battle disappeared. I looked around to find that Jaclyn, Cassie, Marcus, and Tikki had caught up.

Even as I began to turn toward them, Jaclyn asked, “Did HAL show you the fleets too?”

“Fleets?” Kal looked over at her and then back at me. “They’re here already. It’s not just the Ascendancy, right? Someone else came through too?”

“The Xiniti,” Cassie said. “I didn’t see anybody else.”

“Yeah,” I said. “Alliance ships are pretty likely, but I didn’t see them or the Ghosts. Maybe they’re on their way? I have no idea.”

Kals took a breath and pointed ahead. “My mom needs to know about this.” Turning back to look at the rest of us and back at me, she said, “You made a deal with Four Hands. If the Ascendancy wins, he can’t do much of anything for us, assuming he was in the first place.”

“I know,” Jaclyn said. She stepped over a small stump, pushing between the trees which were growing ever closer to each other as we went higher. “Where’s your mom?”

“Over here,” Kals pointed up the hill.

We followed her up and over the crest. Between the number of the trees and the small distance between them, it felt like we spent the entire climb squeezing between them and finding good spots to put our feet as we walked.

On the other side, we found them. The woods were just as thick and overgrown, but at some point in the past, someone had cut down enough trees that they could put up a long, thin shed. It wasn’t a beautiful work of carpentry, but it stood amid the trees without falling down.

Following Kals through the door, we found Jadzen, the surviving members of the council including Iolan, spouses, children, and their unofficial bodyguards. At least that’s what I interpreted the men with guns to be. None of them were unmarked by their escape from the caverns to here. Most had scraps on their skin, a few had bandages wrapped around their arms, and one man’s arm hung in a sling.

Iolan stood next to him with some device, asking questions and feeling the arm.

As we walked through Jadzen stepped away from the table next to the far wall where she’d been sitting to say, “Thank you,” to each of us as we stepped inside.

When the door shut, she said, “We have monitoring equipment hidden in the forest, but we can’t see very far beyond it. What’s been going on outside?”

We began to explain what had happened to us and what we’d done, but as we did something distant exploded and screamed in the air above us.

Everyone’s eyes went to a series of holographic screens set up along the walls, most of which showed the forest, but a few showed the sky. Far up in the sky, one of the Ascendancy’s cylindrical battleships fell, burning, but still firing beams back at the Xiniti ships attacking it.

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Crying Grumpies

Sekigahara, Samurais, Bloques, Cartas y Niebla de Guerra

Crying Grumpies

Sekigahara-Crying_Grumpies-4

Durante muchos años cada vez que iba a Gigamesh y veía una copia de Sekigahara quería llevármelo a mi casa, pero nunca era el momento adecuado. O no tenía pasta o iba comprar otra cosa, y las veces que iba a darle un nuevo hogar en mi estantería ya se había vendido la copia que tenían. Así que cuando GMT lo puso la lista de P500 me apunté a la espera de la reimpresión. A todo esto Sekigahara es un wargame de bloques ambientado en el Japón feudal con la lucha por la reunificación como tema central. El juego llegó el día antes de salir hacia la Selva Negra de vacaciones, con lo que durante el viaje me estudie las reglas, y lo probamos un par de días después de que Arqueo volviera de su viaje por las tierras del Imperio del Sol.

Sekigahara-Crying_Grumpies-1

Sekigahara es un juego para dos jugadores, uno comandará las fuerzas de Totoyomi Ideoshi, el bando imperial, mientras que el otro liderará los ejércitos de Tokugawa, el rebelde Shogun. El juego esta ligeramente emparentado con los Card Driven Games pues como la gran mayoría de ellos utiliza un mapa con sistema point to point y nuestras acciones se resuelven jugando cartas. El ligeramente es debido a que aquí las cartas no tienen habilidades ni puntos sino que vienen con los mons, escudos de armas, de los diversos clanes presentes en el conflicto. Estás cartas nos permitirán mover los ejércitos sin importar el mon que tengan o en las batallas activar los bloques que se correspondan con el mon de la carta jugada.

Y es que las batallas del juego son interactivas, rápidas, devastadoras y muchas veces con resultados inesperados. Los ejércitos que movemos por el tablero están formados por apilamientos de bloques. Estos apilamientos nos dan el primer nivel de niebla de guerra. El segundo nivel nos lo dan las cartas que tengamos en mano. Cuando dos ejércitos rivales se encuentran el mismo lugar ocurre una batalla pero no todos los bloques van a contribuir con su fuerza. Los jugadores empezando por el agresor se irán turnando para poner nuevas unidades en juego jugando cartas, juegas una carta de Tokugawa pones en juego un bloque Tokugawa. Los bloques que pertenezcan a clanes que ya están en la batalla obtendrán un bono a la fuerza. También hay dos tipos de unidades especiales, caballería y arquebuceros, que en el caso de ser jugados junto a una carta especial obtienen un bono a su fuerza.

Sekigahara-Crying_Grumpies-5

Sekighara es un juego muy sencillo que te mantiene en tensión constante. Con los juegos de bloques si tienes buena memoria y estás atento es relativamente sencillo seguir la pista de las unidades del rival y se pierde esa niebla de guerra. El añadido de las cartas en este caso nos aporta una incertidumbre constante. Conviene medir las fuerzas y conservar cartas clave pues en nuestra primera partida uno de mis ejércitos desapareció del mapa por no tener en la mano las cartas adecuadas para responder.

Sekigahara-Crying_Grumpies-2

Lleno de decisiones cruciales pero con un cuerpo de reglas muy asequible creo que es un gran segundo paso en el mundo de los wargames. Ideal para comprar cuando tengamos el Memoir superado pero no nos vemos con el cuerpo preparado para algo como el Triumph & Tragedy o el Day of Heroes. Las partidas tienen una duración relativamente corta, un par de horas y su entreturno es bastante corto. Sekigahara es un grandioso juego que ha llegado para hacerse fuerte en mi ludoteca y ser jugado con asiduidad.

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Semicoop

Not the sound of silence

Semicoop

Hi there, I’m Pepijn van Loon, the designer and publisher of Heroes of Tenefyr and owner of Broken Mill.

I’m super excited to be launching my first game on Kickstarter, and I couldn’t have done it without the help of some wonderful people. Mainly the 4 amazing artists that I’ve found: Frank Attmannspacher, Emanoel Melo, Manolis Frangidis and Jimmy Nijs. It’s been a great working with them all.

You all know the other two artists who have been very supportive of me: Semi co-op. They even helped promote my game a bit at UK Games Expo! I actually met Rachel from Semi co-op about 14 years ago, back when we were all hyped about the Lord of the Rings movies. It’s a crazy coincidence that we both ended up in this industry after all these years.

Heroes on Tenefyr is live on Kickstarter right now!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/brokenmill/2049614510?ref=571676&token=64a6e30d

It’s a cooperative deck-building game for 1-4 players with some push your luck elements.
The bard is actually a lot more competent in the game than in the comic, but his style of music is an acquired taste. Personally, I love some good bagpipe music, especially when it’s combined with folk or metal.

I’d like to close off with a big thank you to Rachel and Heinze for this, and all the other wonderful Semi Co-op comics that brighten our Mondays and Thursdays!

What’s your favorite fantasy class?

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In My Daydreams

Planet in the Middle: Part 2

In My Daydreams

Nick, Hideaway

Hal didn’t know exactly when the fleets would enter the system, but he promised to keep me informed. I passed that on to Kals who sighed and said, “We’d better get moving.”

With that conversation over, Kals led me to where everyone else was waiting. It was only a few hundred feet further into the woods next to a thick clump of trees that stood so close to each other that only Marcus would have been able to make it between them.

Jaclyn looked over at Cassie, Marcus, and Tikki. “Are you ready?”

Cassie shrugged. Marcus nodded and glanced over at Tikki who chimed in with a chirpy, “Yes.”

Something about Marcus seemed a little off. I couldn’t put a name to it. I wondered if Tikki had told him, but then I’d have expected him to be more depressed. Though you never knew, maybe a cross-species relationship with a massive age difference could work.

It did for Bella and Edward, right? I never watched the movies or read the books, but that’s what I’m assuming. That said, the idea that a vampire represents a different species is arguable, and the age difference between Kee and Marcus would be billions of years instead of hundreds. Anyway, forget I mentioned it.

Kals pointed deeper into the forest. “This way. And Nick, could you walk ahead with me and scan? We don’t want to be surprised.”

Cassie raised an eyebrow as she looked at me. “I guess I’ll scan behind us then.”

“Good idea,” Kals said and took my arm, leading me forward with her. As we walked through the forest, Kals kept her voice low, asking, “Did something happen between them? When I first saw them, Tikki seemed a little quiet and Marcus didn’t seem to know what to do.”

I frowned. “It’s a little hard to explain. Actually, I’m not allowed to explain. Tikki told me not to. When she tells Marcus, we’ll all know.”

Kals glanced over at me. “That kind of secret? I’ll wait.”

Part of me wanted to explain that she couldn’t possibly have guessed correctly, but that part of me was quickly silenced by the larger part of me that knew that this secret wasn’t the kind you talked about.

We walked through the forest, not following a path, stepping on thick, brown leaves that tore under our feet. “What does your mom want us to do?” Waiting for her answer, I watched through my HUD, not seeing any sign of other life and understanding a good point of hiding in a forest. All the big animals were too big to be comfortable.

“I don’t know,” Kals said. “She wanted to make sure that everyone got out and was safe. You’re included in ‘everyone,’ but I don’t know if she’s got a special task for you. I think she just wants you all nearby in case something comes up. Even though they didn’t think much of you at first, everyone’s impressed with your group now, native Xiniti or not. I don’t think they quite dare to find out what would happen if we faced down the rest of the Ascendancy without you.”

“The good news is that we might not have to even if the fleets I mentioned do show up. If we’re lucky, that whole battle will take place in space and we’ll only have to deal with the Ascendancy forces that are left here and those guys might not want to fight at all. Jaclyn told you about that, right?”

She stared at me. “No.”

With that, I went through the whole story of what happened after we left the caves, starting with the giant images meant to get our attention (“Well of course we saw those, but we didn’t know you’d gone through with meeting them.”). We drifted back to the death of Agent 957 and Marcus’ near death (“Shit.”), but I skipped Tikki’s revelation Then I told her about meeting Four Hands and the deal where he promised to leave the colonists alone and I gave him a couple killbots (“Your last ones? You trusted him?”).

Though she couldn’t see it through my helmet, I pursed my lips. “I did—up to a point. I gave him the killbots which went halfway through Kamia’s shield, but I didn’t pass on my sonics. They actually took Agent 957’s shields down. Anyway, he did seem to trust me and I didn’t see a downside. Does the resistance recruit four-handers at all? The Xiniti don’t seem to think you do, but I’m figuring you might know more.”

Kals shook her head. “We don’t. It seems stupid now that I’ve heard your story, but I don’t think anyone ever thought it would be possible. With the exception of that guy—whose real name can’t be ‘Four Hands’—they run from combat and they switch sides to work for the winner. Plus, they don’t live on planets. You almost never see them off a ship. I’m sure no one in the resistance thought we could trust them.”

“Maybe it’s worth a shot in the future.” I checked behind us. The others were keeping up, but they weren’t directly behind us.

“Yeah… If we pulled them in, we’d have access to every big ship in space. By the way Nick, we’re almost there. It’s just past the hill we’re going up.”

It was hard not to notice the hill. Thick with trees, I wasn’t sure when it started or where the crest would be, but we were definitely going up.

I was about to reply to Kals when I received a communication from HAL. “They’re here.”

With it came an image of ships pouring out of holes in space, small Xiniti ships zigging and zagging as they fired on the Ascendancy’s giant cylindrical battleships.

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Semicoop

#superBlessed

Semicoop

 

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A post shared by Semi Co-op (@semicoop) on Sep 23, 2018 at 1:43pm PDT

From the few times that we played D&D in the past, this is something that happened to us and probably to others too. The DM is setting up a scene at the beginning of a session and players are enthusiastic and immediately react to – anything that could be important for an upcoming quest. And when players are convinced that something is up, there can be this typical chaos at the table of people looking up if they can do certain things or asking if this or that is possible. I have nothing but respect for DM’s in these kind of situations (overall respect btw, being a DM is hard work!). 😀

But so much for today’s comic! In case you missed it, we’ve launched a new thing last Thursday! Sponsored comics, meaning that game designers/publishers or whoever has a cool board game related project can commission us to make a comic about it! These sponsored comics will be published on our website as an extra comic and will not replace our weekly comic on Mondays. So that means more content for our readers and a way for us to produce more content. We already have another fun comic in store for you this coming Thursday, so keep an eye out for that! If you’re interested in commissioning a comic, you can always contact us through social media or send us an email at info@semicoop.com and we’ll send you more information.

Back to board games! The few spare moments that we’ve had last week, we’ve spent on playing Root. There is so much to discover in that box and we want to get a grasp on all the different factions before we start playing it with friends. It’s an exciting game and so far we’re having a lot of fun with it. And I can’t wait to make Root character fanart of our cats, I love the art style. :’D

What’s the biggest misunderstanding you ever had during a game?

The post #superBlessed appeared first on Semi Co-op.

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In My Daydreams

Planet in the Middle: Part 1

In My Daydreams

Lee, Excursion Keep (Artificer Ruins), Forbidden Space

It was over. They’d fought across millions of lightyears and at least ten different alternate universes. He’d killed Bakanan, using the device Kee designed to channel his power and so much more into a burning beam that crossed universes and expanded into more dimensions than the material creatures of this universe understood. The beam hit Bakanan’s true form, destroying him everywhere.

And now, Lee knew, there was one less of them. There hadn’t ever been very many by comparison to the short-lived races he’d been hiding among, but now there was one less. He couldn’t say he felt bad about killing Bakanan, but he did feel a twinge about bringing his species one step closer to extinction.

That thought led him to Halas.

He shook his head. With all the fighting over, he’d settled into the form he’d used when he was last here—his “dust dragon” form—the one he’d used for faster-than-light travel when they were young.

He stood if it could be called standing, in the middle of a wide circle. In the middle of the circle, a blue dome glowed. The circle sat in the middle of broken buildings, all of them made from materials that no creature in this universe so far had words for. At its height, Excursion Keep had been a city that covered half of a planet, sheltering his people as they began to explore the universes, their allies, and visitors from this universe as well as others.

He remembered the lights, the crowds, the parties that never seemed to end. He’d left one to find it still going ten years later, and that was far from the longest he’d heard of.

When he’d first arrived here, he’d been learning what he was and what he could do. After a time where they’d learned the basics, he’d left with Kee, Halas, Nataw, and many others.

Now he was back here with Halas except Halas wasn’t doing much. Halas floated inside the blue dome in his own dust form. After he’d called in Bakanan to attack Lee, he’d watched from outside the fight offering small assists to Bakanan, but nothing that put himself at risk.

After Lee had killed Bakanan, Halas traveled here. He’d planned ahead, using a trap he’d set for Lee or maybe for someone else long ago.

They’d materialized and a stasis field activated, aiming for Lee. He’d been lucky. Kee had made similar traps years ago and he knew how to avoid them. Before the field fully engulfed him, he’d moved it toward Halas who didn’t have time to move.

Now Halas floated within the blue field as a cloud of dust, unable to connect to his larger self and be released.

Lee considered killing him. It wouldn’t be hard. If he used his full abilities, he could destroy Halas before Halas knew what was happening.

He found that he didn’t want to. Well, that wasn’t quite true. Halas had tried to kill him and if he ever got free, he’d try again. He wanted to avoid that and killing Halas would be the most efficient way. In this spot though, thousands of years worth of memories of Halas poured through his mind and not all of them were bad. If he was honest with himself, most of them were good.

He frowned at the dust in the blue dome, knowing that he wouldn’t kill Halas today and wondering what the real reason why was. He couldn’t deny that he missed what he’d been when he’d started out in the universe, but he’d killed Bakanan. Bakanan had been around back then too.

He knew that he might have been changed by living among the humans for so long. Leaving a defenseless enemy alive seemed like the kind of thing Nick or his grandfather might have done.

On the other hand, he knew these traps. This one would operate for at least one hundred thousand years based on the power it had available. By then, he’d be long done with the Earth project one way or another. Earth would be fighting the Destroy faction 10,000 years in the future at most.

Halas might easily wake to a humanity that could handle him, something Lee wouldn’t mind seeing.

And that woke another thought. With the Issakass and Halas handled, he’d gotten what he wanted out of this. It was time to find out if Nick and the others had done as well as he thought they would. He concentrated and accessed the nearest ansible. Excursion Keep had a few and it didn’t take much work to attach one to the Alliance’s network.

A few minutes later, Lee cut off the connection. He couldn’t determine everything from public news sources, but what he could find showed that the Cosmic Ghosts were on the move. That was an interesting non-coincidence. If that weren’t all, he’d found news that Xiniti, Galactic Alliance, and Human Ascendancy ships had been seen jumping away from K’Tepolu.

He supposed he ought to start heading in that direction himself. Given the distance, he suspected he’d miss the main action, but being around for the aftermath might be fun. It would be interesting to see how the kids handled a multi-fleet battle.

He began to float away from Excursion Keep, taking one last look at the city while readying his form for faster-than-light travel. It had been nice to see it again.

Noticing the blue dot that held Halas one last time, Lee decided that former friend or not, if Halas reappeared before this was all over, he’d kill him and he’d enjoy it.

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Semicoop

Never a dull moment

Semicoop
sponsored comic 1: The networks

Hi folks, my name is Gil Hova and I’m a board game designer, publisher, podcaster, and teacher living in lovely Jersey City, right across the water from New York City. I’m best known for my board game The Networks (pictured above), but you may also have gotten to try my game Wordsy, a rare word game that benefits longer words.

I started designing board games in 2000, because I ultimately wanted to be a video game designer. As I researched board games, I discovered that I actually preferred them to video games, and it’s been downhill ever since.

I formed my publishing company Formal Ferret Games in 2014 as a vehicle to self-publish my games, and ensure that every detail was done correctly (if not quickly!), and I’m working on my next two releases – Bad Medicine, my first self-published game, will be re-released at the end of the year, and my new game High Rise will be on Kickstarter in February.

I’m also a podcaster! I am co-host of Ludology with Geoff Engelstein, and I co-founded Breaking Into Board Games with Ian Zang and Tony Miller. My first job out of college was working in sound post-production for film, so podcast editing is something I’m pretty comfortable doing. Dirty secret about podcast editing; as you get better at it, you don’t get all that faster at it. You just wind up editing more stuff out.

And yes, I am the proud owner of two ferrets; I’ve owned various ferrets for over 20 years, and I have to say they’re my favorite animals around.

Thanks to Rachel and Heinze for letting me take over their wonderful webcomic for a day! Next time I do this, I hope to work more pets into the strip.

A little message from Rachel and Heinze:
We’d like to thank Gil for commissioning a comic and we’re proud to have this as our very first sponsored comic. Sponsored comics is a new thing that we’re really excited about! Whoever does something board game related can commission a comic which we will publish on Thursdays, so as an extra comic besides the usual weekly updates on Mondays. This is a way for us to make more funny comics to discover and share new games with our audience. For more info, check our Info page or send us an email or message on any social media platform. 

What is a show you love but everybody hates?

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In My Daydreams

Unhidden: Part 18

In My Daydreams

“What did you do for them?” He asked as I put the disc into a pouch on my belt.

I looked up. “We fought, but I paid for the medical bills of one of their people. I didn’t know that they knew. If anything I was expecting them to want to hunt me down.”

He gave a quick nod. “Why did you help them?”

Shrugging, I said, “I don’t know. I didn’t see any reason to let one of them die because they couldn’t pay when I had the money to help. It seemed better than letting someone die pointlessly.”

He watched me for a little while then, not saying anything. “That’s not how the Ascendancy would have handled it. Your treatment of your enemies is unusual and I’m sure some would say it’s naive. It’s helped you here, though.”

I thought about that and the fact that I’d given him my last two killbots out of the five that I’d brought. I couldn’t argue that people accusing me of naiveté were wrong. Four Hands had enough power to prevent the Ascendancy from chasing us for now, but not if their fleet arrived.

I looked out at the tents again. A few spacers and soldiers talked in the rows between the tents. Others moved from one tent to another, looking inside and then sometimes opening the door.

Our meeting was basically over-which led to another thought. “What are you going to tell your men?”

He shrugged. “It doesn’t matter. They’ve been manipulated for so long that they’ll believe anything anyone in authority tells them. The ones I have to worry about are Neves and Kamia and for now they’re willing to let me talk to you. They’re willing to put off hunting you if I can convince you to hand over your killbots. They don’t know who the bots will actually help, and I have many ways to make sure they get to my people and not the Ascendancy.”

“Okay. I should probably get out of here then.” I gave the camp 360 degree check with my HUD. People weren’t arming themselves and rushing in. Nothing had changed from the last time I’d looked.

He gave me a small bow. “Though you’re not truly one of us, it’s my hope that you and your friends survive whatever comes next. As for myself, I’ll be doing everything I can to free my people. May you stay clear of gravity wells and stay clear of the Artificers in your explorations.”

The implant pegged that last sentence as a reference to a formal blessing the four-handed used among each other.

Not knowing what else to say, I told him, “Good luck. If you’re against the Ascendancy, I hope whatever it is you’re planning to do succeeds. Please don’t take this wrong, but it’s always a danger for revolutionaries to turn into the people they revolted against. At least that happens on our world. I hope it doesn’t happen on yours.”

Then I activated the rockets and took off, passing above the camp and the rows upon rows of tents. Anything he said in reply was lost to the sound of wind and the roar of rockets.

I aimed myself toward the forest north of the camp and the settlement. My HUD showed that Jaclyn, Cassie, and Marcus were there. I deliberately flew past them, staying low and landing alongside the forest. Assuming they only had visuals, it wouldn’t be precisely obvious where I was going.

The walk gave me time to consider whether or not I’d done something stupid. In some ways, I was tempted to answer yes to that question. I’d traded my bots for peace with the small, damaged remains of what was left of the Ascendancy’s forces on the planet. It wasn’t a terrible trade assuming Four Hands stuck to it, but there wasn’t anything forcing him to.

On the other hand, based on the Ascendancy history that the implant gave me and what I’d seen of Four Hands, I was willing to believe he might be a revolutionary waiting for his moment. Tikki’s support of him gave me a little more confidence in that direction too. I could only hope that Tikki had been speaking as Kee then and not as Tikki, life support specialist, Marcus’ girlfriend, and figment of Kee’s imagination.

I ventured deeper into the forest, disappearing from the sight of the camp. The underbrush crackled and cracked under my feet as I aimed toward the signal in my HUD.

Only five minutes into the walk, I noticed a group of bushes next to a tree. By itself that wasn’t unusual, but the HUD’s thermal imaging showed a human-shaped heat signature behind them. Before I decided on a plan, a voice said, “Don’t shoot. It’s me, Kals.”

She stepped out from behind the bushes. “I caught up with the rest of your group. We’re going to join up with my mom. We’ve got scattered above ground hideyholes that we can use for a little while. If we play it right, we can stay out of the Ascendancy’s sight until they starve or leave.”

I found myself smiling at the sight of her. It was good to know she’d survived. I hoped the same could be said of Katuk and Crawls-Through-Desert.

Before I could say anything though, HAL’s icon glowed green in my HUD. “With the destruction of the Ascendancy’s ships, I’ve spent time off-planet using the system’s ansible. Data I’ve gathered indicates that we can expect at least two fleets to be entering the system in minutes if they aren’t here already.”

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In My Daydreams

Unhidden: Part 17

In My Daydreams

Into my helmet, I asked, “Why?”

Cassie paused before answering. “I don’t know. We don’t really know this guy. He’s buttering you up, trying to make a connection because his people do tech stuff too?”

“To be fair, I did kind of ask him to butter me up.” Then I turned my attention to him. “Can you prevent your people from going after the colonists?”

His eyes narrowed and he frowned a little. “I can here. As long as the colonists keep up their disappearing act until our people come here, I’ve got a good chance of persuading people it’s not worth the trouble of finding them. I’m sure they have people who know how to hide from our equipment. If our people have any whiff of them, I won’t have any choice in the matter, but whatever you’re doing now is working.”

Over the comm, Jaclyn said, “I’m tempted to give him a chance. If the Xiniti show up first, it won’t matter what weapons we have, but if the Ascendancy shows up first, we’ll need him.”

“Seriously?” Cassie’s tone couldn’t have made her doubt more obvious.

Marcus cut in. “Tikki thinks you should listen to him.”

“I do.” Tikki’s voice sounded distant—which it would. Even if Marcus had his helmet open, I’d designed the microphone to record as little as possible beyond the user’s voice.

Then I thought about what she’d said. If Tikki were just Tikki, I might not have given it too much more thought, but given that Tikki was Kee, avatar of what amounted to one of Lee’s childhood friends, I had to give it more.

I looked Four Hands in the eyes and said, “Okay. I’ll do it.”

I released the final two killbots and let them roll out of the compartment under my forearm and into my left hand. I’d deleted the software first, figuring that even if I was willing to give out the hardware, I wasn’t willing to allow someone to try to figure out every detail of the system.

Then for the at least the next twenty minutes, probably more, I described how the bots worked, including key details that explained how it had managed to get as far past Kamia’s shield as it did.

He got it. He even suggested a couple ideas that might get the bots further through an Abominator shield. Assuming they weren’t red herrings, they were worth an experiment or two when I got back home. The only bad point being that I’d have to grab an Abominator force field on the way out and for all that I always wanted to grab new technology, it never seemed to work out.

The rare exceptions seemed to be alien tech. I was still getting ideas out of the alien robot we’d grabbed. So, it wasn’t unreasonable that I might be able to grab a force field to experiment with.

When Four Hands appeared to have grasped the basic concepts involved in constructing the killbots, I asked him. “Do you know if there are any spare Abominator style shields that I could experiment on when I get home?”

He shook his head. “They’re closely held pieces of hardware. The only one I have easy access to is mine and I’m going to need it when I make a run for it.”

I couldn’t deny he had a point there. And anyway, the sonics were even more effective against shields and I knew I had no intention of passing that on. We’d need that advantage if the Ascendancy’s fleet appeared.

“Understood,” I tried to think if I had anything else I wanted to ask him before we all disappeared and hid. “So what are you going to do if Kamia and Neves track us down?”

He frowned and clasped his (upper) hands together. “I’ve been thinking about it. I’ll do my best to avoid fighting you. You’ll have a better chance against them when I’m not there. I can’t do much more than that except to miss more often than normal if you’re in my sights. Well, that and what I said earlier. If you don’t give us a good reason to search for you, I’ll do what I can to keep everyone here.”

“That’s something,” I glanced down toward the dead firepit and then out at the tent city around us. “I can’t ask for much more than that.”

He grinned suddenly, “But I can give more than that. My people have a relationship with the Waroo. You fought them on K’Tepolu. They’re enormous beast-like mercenaries. We hire them when we need muscle. There’s a Waroo ship in the system and they’re looking for you.”

“Oh,” I said, “if you could manage to not mention that I’m here, that would be great.”

“No kidding,” Marcus said over the comm.

Four Hands laughed. “It’s better than you think. I’m not sure why, but when I talked to them, it sounded like they felt like they owed you. They told me to give you one of our distress calls. You can call them once and they’ll perform a service for you. If it’s an extended service, you’ll have to haggle about details, but if it’s simple and short, they’ll do it without argument.”

He held out a metal disc and I stared at it. “I’m not trying to trap you,” he said. “I wasn’t going to tell you about this if we couldn’t come to an agreement.”

I took the disc. I was already trusting him with the killbots. In for a penny…

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Semicoop

Decision Tea

Semicoop

Tea Dragon Society and Dinosaur Tea Party are two games that are on our ‘Need to check these games out at Spiel’-list! They are two totally different games, but they share the same incredibly niche theme. 😀 We can’t wait to organize a high tea game day with these two games and of course Marrying Mr. Darcy. We will totally cramp up our pinky finger because of holding it up in the air while sipping tea for so long. CAN’T WAIT. Preferably in cosplay. We’ll post a picture on Instagram when the time comes. 😉
We noticed that the list of games we want to check out on Spiel is growing rapidly. Luckily we will be there for the entire convention this time, so we might actually be able to look at all all the games on our list in real life. This is probably a terribly naive thing to think – we’ll see!

For those who don’t know, every week we try to post something extra on our Patreon page (https://www.patreon.com/semicoop) with the weekly comic updates, like the sketch of that week’s comic or other sketches I’ve made. By becoming a patron and you’ll receive a notification when we post something new so you’ll never miss anything!

And this coming Thursday we’ve got a surprise and an introduction of something new here on the website for you all! Definitely check back later this week, we’re excited because we’ve been working on this for quite a while already!

Dragons or Dinosaurs?!

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In My Daydreams

Hoping to Update Tonight

In My Daydreams

Last night at about 3:40am, a bunch of cars pulled up in front of our house, blasting loud music. When people got out, there was a lot of shouting with someone obviously being threatened by another person.

Someone called the police and eventually the music stopped and the people left.

I was up until 5am, watching and listening. As such, I am tired. I’ll be writing, but I can’t promise I’ll finish tonight.

Where are supers when you need them, eh?

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