Session 17: Revenge of the Terrans (aka, Ashlee: “Punish me, Borris!”)
The PCs stumble into the next hallway, with a sealed door between them and the breach. As Pip heals them, Liza begins to stir, and she jumps out with a scowl, pulling out her dagger. The PCs immediately grow defensive, as they thought Liza would still remain their friend. Instead, she backs away slowly towards O’Hare and Nilima’s unconscious bodies, knife up, and demands to know where Natalia and Advotya are. The PCs try to bluff their way through the question, but Liza notices Advotya’s brutalized body, and she grows even more defensive when the PCs admit that they left Natalia in the breached hallway. Ashlee attempts to heal her, to show that they don’t want to attack her, but Liza slashes at her with her dagger. Frustrated, Ashlee turns to walk away, even though none of them want to leave Liza and the others alone. As Adriana tries for diplomacy, Sarah tries to help wake the Scots up, but Liza shadow jumps at her and cracks a chunk of rock off of Sarah’s body. The PCs finally give up and leave Liza alone, even as the ship rocks from the increasingly destructive battle.
The PCs make their way to Loki, after coming to an agreement that they can’t (or won’t, for most of them) help Borris. They find Loki in an office, sitting casually at a desk covered in holographic control panels and surveying the battle outside the ship; Joel can see the names of the humans on one panel, all in red except for the PCs, which glow green. When the PCs walk in, he turns to ask if their mission was successful. Before the PCs answer, they notice two stasis pods at the back of the room, containing two humans they’ve never seen before. On edge, the PCs try to demand answers and explain why they couldn’t kill Borris; Loki rejects their answers, using magic to force Sarah to sit down, and he gets obviously irritated with the PCs. The doors open before the conversation can escalate, and Borris walks in alone. For the first time since the training sessions, the PCs see Borris’s weapon: an energy whip, coiled on his hip. On the other side, there’s a black box with blinking lights attached to his belt. Loki doesn’t seem surprised, and instead he smirks as he stands to roll up his sleeves. The PCs all try to back away from the two of them. Borris laments that the PCs refused to trust him and help save all of the humans, but he is interrupted by Loki flinging golden energy blasts at him. The door and the surrounding wall explode, but when the dust settles, Borris is shielded by a blue energy and is unharmed. He flings himself at Loki, and the two are caught in a battle of wills, with energy swirling around them. To diffuse the situation in Loki’s favor, Ashlee blasts magic at Borris, but the spell is caught in the whirlwind and lashes at Sarah and Joel, who barely dodge in time. Sarah, recognizing the arcane arc between Loki and Borris, tells the others that they need to distract one of them to break the energy. Forgetting about Pip’s nature, she thinks aloud that maybe Pip and carry one of them above the fight to drop down from above. Pip immediately scoops her up, but he can’t get through the whirlwind, and the two end up orbiting around the fight, screaming the whole time. Sarah manages to grab onto the half wall behind Loki’s desk, and Pip tractor beams onto her just in time, as Adriana sends a wall of water to crash down on the fight. The balance shifts, but the two remain locked in the fight. As Joel and Ashlee decide what to do next, as they don’t want to risk hurting the other PCs, Sarah slingshots Pip at the fight, and he flies at Loki, letting Borris gain ground. Sarah is hurled backwards into one of the stasis pods, breaking it open and releasing the human within, who falls the ground and convulses in pain. Loki, voice distorted through the energy field, yells at the PCs to get their shit together. Similarly hard to hear, Borris shouts at the PCs to not trust Loki, as he’s been lying to them this whole time. When Loki accuses Borris of the same, bringing up the mind control powers, Borris reveals that Loki installed fail-safes in their heads, to kill them if they try to oppose them.
As Loki laughs, saying that if he wanted them dead he would have done it a long time ago, Adriana raises her hands, summoning an iron hand which karate chops on onto the fight, breaking the energy field and sending the two flying, Loki at Joel and Borris at Sarah. Loki stumbles, but remains aloft, and he turns to Joel as he hovers lower to the ground. Borris slams into the wall, coughing up blood and shaking, but he frantically checks the black box to see if it’s unharmed before checking himself for injuries. Sarah stands, leaving Borris on the ground even though he reaches to her hand to pull himself up, and demands to know what the box is. Borris reveals that it was made by Marco, who infiltrated Loki’s inner circle and learned of the bomb in their brains. Conflicted, Sarah lets Borris stands, and he continues to explain that he wasn’t sure of their loyalty, but he still wants to save all of the humans from Loki; to do so, he needs to remove the fail safe from their heads, first from his to prove his trustworthiness. Pip heals Borris of some of his injuries. On the other side of the room, Loki tells Joel not to trust Borris; unlike the Russian, he has been honest with them and he truly cares for their well-being. Joel angrily demands to know why their names are now in red on the control panel, and Ashlee and Adriana try to ask more about the fail-safes, pointing out that Loki cares for them only as resources. Loki, flying across the room to Borris, assures them that he wants them to live, and he prepares to kill Borris. Sarah tries to pin Borris against the wall to demand more answers, especially now that Loki is seeming more and more like an enemy. As soon as she touches him, his influence grows stronger, and she becomes assured that helping Borris is the only way. As Loki flies over the half wall, Joel close behind, Sarah lunges at Loki and slashes him with her obsidian arm before grabbing him. She drags him to the control panel and slams him onto the desk, and tells him to remove the fail-safes from their brains. The other PCs immediately grow defensive, especially after Sarah punches Loki squarely in the face. Joel tries to pull her off of him, and Sarah, seeing Joel as a threat to the mission, places him in a chokehold. Adriana tries to diffuse the situation, but as she walks closer, Loki lashes out in an energy shockwave, sending Sarah and Adriana flying. Now heavily injured, even though Joel had used a fire hand to soften her landing, Adriana attempts to steady herself, and Borris approaches her calmly, uncoiling his energy whip. He tries to assure her that he’s only going to help, and the whip wraps around Adriana; she convulses in pain for a moment, before feeling some of her injuries fade away, leaving her feeling better than before, and on Borris’s side. Ashlee backs away from the fight, while Loki angrily calls Pip to his side to heal her.
The PCs fight each other as well as Borris and Loki, evenly split on either side. Sarah and Adriana use the control panel to learn more about the captured humans—Loki’s other pet projects—and Adriana calls up a new pod for Borris to remove the fail-safe, though she accidentally kills the human in the previous pod in the process. At Loki’s request, Joel destroys one of the consoles to try to stop Borris, then makes his way over to Loki and Borris, a fiery corona surrounding him. As it burns Borris, Sarah feels warmth on her limbs, while Adriana feels a terrible burning pain. Loki continues to attack Borris, who tries to convince Ashlee to help hm by flinging a ball of pink energy at her. Furious, Ashlee attacks Borris, and tries to get Sarah and Adriana to stop helping him. Sarah leaps over the desk, turning an arm into a sword, and charges at Loki, slashing at him and knocking him to the ground, though he stands up a moment later and blasts both her and Borris back, while angrily telling her to stop. As he moves towards Borris, Sarah again slashes at him and grabs him to pin against the half wall. Borris uses the opportunity to sprint to the stasis pod. Everyone watches, either unable or unwilling to do anything, as an incorporeal hand comes from Borris’s hand and reaches into his head. Shaking from the pain, he pulls out the fail-safe and collapses on all four, blood streaming from the side of his head. The stasis pod begins to dent as an energy field swirls around him. Furious, Loki flings Sarah off of him, hissing that he hopes she’s happy with what she’s done, and he falls backwards into a summoned teleport. The PCs watch in horror as Borris stands, now only roughly humanoid and glowing blue, with bright white light coming from his eyes and mouth. Voice completely distorted, he apologizes to them as he walks closer.
Borris explains that this was the only way to stop Loki, though it means the complete destruction of this solar system. Disturbed, the PCs ask why, and he admits that Loki was correct in saying that a dampening device was part of the fail-safe, to stop them from achieving this form: transcending. He asks Adriana to sound the general alarm, as people can run to the escape pods and leave the solar system before he explodes, as he will open a wormhole back to their solar system. She does so, filling the room with flashing lights and screeching alarm. He tells them that he is now one with the universe, and that he wishes there was another way to save the humans from the Asgardians, but that this was unavoidable. Admitting that transcending is an amazing feeling, he tells Adriana, Joel, and Sarah that they too will eventually transcend, though Ashlee has another path in her future. Before the PCs leave, he apologizes again and reaffirms his respect for them all, especially Ashlee, though she opposed him so strongly. As they walk through the door, he calls out, telling them that the Gaia weren’t killed by the Synodans: they killed themselves, trying to transcend, and these aliens were all afraid of humans for having the ability naturally; humans must learn to control these powers and show that they can’t be controlled by other races if they want a place in the galactic community.
The PCs run for the escape pods, noticing as they leave that Borris’s form was quickly growing less humanoid and more blurred around the edges. The all get into individual pods, seeing that some have already been deployed, and jettison out into the space. The battle between the Asgardians and Synodans rages on, and they can see the escape pods all flying towards the wormhole, as if they were being guided. Through the wormhole, they can see another solar system, though it’s not clear what system it is. As they cross through, a bright and blinding explosion behind them sends them all tumbling through space, away from their own solar system into some parts unknown.