• Nobles of Null is a forum based roleplay site where sci-fi and magic collide. Here, Earth remains fractured and divided despite humanity reaching out to the stars. Worse still, the trans-human slaves of one major power have escaped, only to establish their own Empire, seething with resentment at abuses of the past. Even the discovery of aliens, though medieval in development, has failed to rally these squabbling children of Earth together with its far darker implications. Worse still, is the discovery of the impossible - magic. Practiced by the alien locals, nearly depleted and therefore rare, its reality warping abilities remains abstract and distant to the general populace. All the while, unseen in the darkness of space, forces from without threaten to press in. For those with eyes opened by insight, it is clear that an era is about to end, and that a new age will dawn.

Day in the Life: Aos Si Ruins on Jing

"Fascinating." Gwaed, as was typical, was not hiding in anyway. Sure the drones were programmed to defend them, but they alone stood between him and the machine. He and they had killed the last one, and this one seemed even smaller. He pulled his weapons out, waiting for the machine to move. "Perhaps they were custom made, servants or military units, fitting various criteria or merely the design tastes of the creator." He gave a thoughtful hum, staring at the machine. "I would prefer to know if we could capture one before trying, to minimize risk to ourselves and our equipment. We can always research their remains."
 

Foxen

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"Can either of you or one of the drones get a good scan while it's inert?"

Fioda knew a number of non-lethal takedowns. Most of them were for other people but a couple took advantage of the relatively linear way most androids or robotics moved.

She could probably get rid of a few pesky tendons and render it immobile but the last one had done a number on Gwaed's suit and Fia was disinclined to grapple something that could take away her life support.
 
"Hm," Shen grunted as they moved into the new area. Another construct. She wondered just how many there were down here.
"Let me see," Shen mumbled over the comms as a drone slowly flew closer to the construct, getting a few feet away before beginning to scan the robotic figure over in a harsh blue light.
 

Ray of Meep

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The drone stabilized itself in mid air using its cold thrusters, before metal legs shot out from underneath, firmly holding its body to the ground. Two drones flanked it with additional sensor equipment, and collectively prodded the construct from a distance more aggressively, now bombarding the surface with a mix of elemental particles to get a deeper view underneath.

Preliminary scans showed a unusual mix of carbon, iron, titanium, and platinum and traces of Wofleonium that ran through the construct's body like neurons, concentrating the most in the forearms and the head. Upon the aggressive bombardment of particles, there were small, nearly imperceptible movements in the construct's body, but nothing more after the deep scan. Further understanding would require a touch based, full body scan and material sampling.
 

CadetNewb

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Amisra tensed.

Her custom bodysuit had comfortably hugged her before, but now it almost felt like a grip threatening to suffocate her as she waited. The Aos'si woman's ear twitched as she held her weapon close in cover, eyes fixated on the magic machine. For there was no other proper description for it. This was a machine, made not with science, but magic. This was forged using the birthright and inheritance of her folk, one that they all thought long lost, relegated to tiny tricks and exertions of will over reality under a lab's microscope. It promised so much, and yet it felt so out of their grasp.

"We are fighting against time, are we not?" the redheaded CEO questioned, her eyes barely visible behind her visor. "It stirs," she hissed tightening her grip on her shotgun. "We must delve deeper before time expires, and right now, I cannot help but ask if I am a fool who can only see one solution." Amisra wanted to capture it so badly and learn all of its secrets. And yet, it was out of their grasp! Or was it? "I fear we must destroy it," Amisra admitted, a leaden weight growing in her gut.

It was as tantalizing as it was dangerous.
 

Ray of Meep

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The construct wobbled considerably at the strike to its left knee, as the bullet tore through, breaking several fragile components and bundles of metallic fiber. Unlike the first construct, this one made no attempt at self healing. Instead, as the right knee was also ripped through by the fire, the construct completely lost balance, the moment of the two bullets causing it to lurch forward, before falling to the ground completely with a faint thud only audible through the floor.

Behind it was the room that the wall engravings supposedly led to, beautifully decorated with depictions of nature, the sun and sky, all molded into the door, along with some indiscernible symbols and ancient Aos Si text.
 

Foxen

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Fia stood still for a few seconds more, waiting for the construct to move. When it didn't, she advanced upon it slowly to verify the damage. Once she had, she looked back over her shoulder.

"That work for you?"
 
Gwaed gave a sigh, and walked forward. "In due time, my dear," he said to Amisra, "There will be time enough for research later." With a swift movement, he brought his blade down to decapitate the machine. "There we go. Now I feel better." With the issue dealt with, he motioned the drones to move forward, willing sacrifices should anything else come from in front, and began to move to the room that was so well decorated.
 

Foxen

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No kill like overkill.

Still, as Fia looked down at the decapitated construct, she couldn't help feeling a little out of place here. She had kneecapped it to prevent it from coming active and moving around easily, and could have easily done what the swordsman had - just blown its damned head off. Fia reflected perhaps she had gone soft for the CEO behind her.

It wasn't that she didn't care about the potential benefit to her people; Fia just had different priorities than these two did.

Habitually she checked the magazine on her rifle, then snapped it back into place and moved on into the room after him, letting him lead.
 

Ray of Meep

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The lively, decorated door parted, revealing a large room of apparent death. Humanoid shaped sarcophagi formed neat rows and columns, seventy-two in total, laid flatly on the ground. Each had a tablet on a stand placed next to them, pipes coming out from the bottom edges of the sides, leading to glassy tanks of goopy, stale-looking liquid placed at the walls of the room, now frozen, covered by thin walls of frost. The sarcophagi themselves were completely opaque, each decorated with nature wrapping around unique Aos Si forms, male and female, short, tall, slim, stout, all adults, all depicted having their hands clasped over their chests.
 
A drone approached one of the tablets, scanning it.
Shen finished off another bulb of coffee. "What's in these tanks? Some sort of embalming fluid? Or maybe life-support?" She muttered out-loud half to herself as the drones buzzed about the room.
 

CadetNewb

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As the gun sounded, Amisra's eyes went wide in shock, far more so than if the statuesque sentinel had sprung to life and charged them. However, as the metal and polymer golem toppled over, she couldn't help but grit her teeth, just waiting for it to get back up. But it didn't.

"Even so, I cannot help but feel disappointed," the Ranger-turned-CEO flatly replied, displeased at the fallen guard. She racked the slide and checked the shell within the chamber out of habit and to center herself more than anything else before proceeding with the rest. She didn't so much as shoot Fia an angry glare or a nod of approval however, her mind ruminating on the turn of events. "It must have been truly out of mana then," she noted, more to herself than anyone else. "Otherwise it would have kept fighting." Giving the fallen statue one last look, she walked past it after the others to see the room itself. "These feel reminiscent of sleep-pods." Looking close, she tried peering in. "Are we able to scan inside?"
 

Foxen

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Fia had wandered her way over to one of the opaque caskets. She wasn't an archaeologist but a certain familiarity with popular media, which often depicted creepy supernatural shit, had started to come up in the back of her consciousness to remind her that something felt off about a bunch of graves in an archeological digsite.

A certain number of corpses? Sure. But people - Aos'si - didn't bury their dead next to giant, technological marvels, to Fia's understanding. This agitated her. She went to dust off the face of one of the caskets, before she noticed the pervasive chill and stopped herself.

Quietly, she stated her suspicion.

"Cryo, maybe? This isn't a tomb."
 
"Maybe a mana-based hibernation, or..." Gwaed walked around, looking for danger but his eyes were brought to the cold caskets around them. "Perhaps, when power faded from the world, they hid themselves away. Awaiting it's return perhaps? Seems a fool's errand," he added. looking for controls of some sort. The tablet on a stand, he approached one and looked for some indication it had power.
 

Ray of Meep

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The caskets seemed to be well protected against radiation: initial scans bounced off the surface, the covering blocking any probe into the contents. However, Shen was at least able to glean from the data that it was made of some sort of carbon fiber mesh, layered with aluminum. The contents of the tanks, meanwhile, were much easier to discern: a frozen solution of urea, salts, carbon dioxide, broken proteins.

The tablet Gwaed inspected had no power, and no immediately apparent way to provide power. However, he did notice that the edge of the casket closest to the tablet had a line of clasps, analog locks that kept it all sealed up.
 

CadetNewb

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"The humans of the 'West' would say that 'great minds think alike' in a situation like this, wouldn't they?" Amisra pondered, noting that they had all come to the same conclusion. "Stranded here, and without a way to return to the world below, they must have gone into these tubes hoping that mana would flow again. At least, before they too passed." Pausing on that note, the crimson haired woman held up her hand and closed her eyes, reaching out with her very core. She felt Fia and Gwaed, and reached past them towards the hushed caskets.
 
Gwaed gave a disappointed huff, looking back at his fellow Aos Si, about to speak but watching her focus. He nearly chuckled, stifling a smile by looking back at the unpowered console. She hadn't had need to focus like that for... centuries. It reminded him of older times, better times. He closed his own eyes, hoping to reach out and feel that mana connection, if only once more.
 
Shen was about to make a remark when she caught the faces of Gwaed and Amisra on one of the drone cams, deep in some meditative stance she couldn't begin to understand. She let the silence permeate, and for some reason Shen's mind flashed childhood memories of her wàipó bowing before the small ancestral shrine in her family's home. Shen would sneak into the living room during the quiet hours of the morning and watch her grandma pray, the smell of incense thick in the air. With her eyes closed, face set in that relaxed yet focused expression, as though listening to someone miles away and inches close all at once, Shen always thought her grandma looked like a spirit herself.

Shen shut her eyes and bowed a little to whatever spirits were in this room -- or something like that. Hell, she wasn't even sure she was doing this right.
 

Ray of Meep

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The three Aos Si could feel their hearts race as Amisra placed her hand on the casket. An addicting adrenaline rush flowed through from the palm of her hand, through her arm and chest, to her heart, keeping it in place, despite her suit's protest of an unknown, unauthorized electrical discharge. Lines of glowing text appeared and faded across the face of the casket periodically. Somehow, even Shen could feel her heart skip a beat, but it was unclear if it was just a placebo of the emotional atmosphere of something more physical. Regardless, as the seconds flew by and Amisra's suit pressure straying close to barely breathable, the locks on the casket silently opened in the vacuum, the lid swinging up and away to one side. For a moment, life was present in the room.

The body reeked of death. It looked to be male, tall and lanky, pale, fragile hair tied up in a bun. The Aos Si's face, his only exposed skin, was withered and covered in frost, his eyes ever so slightly open. He wore a skin tight suit laced together in neat, geometrical patterns, underneath an elegant, still colorful robe of gold, white, and green. His arms were locked frozen, pressing against the lid of the casket that was now swung open. A patch of ice also covered his groin, tainted yellow and brown.
 
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