Imaginary Space

[>> Second Home - Yoka.]

A transfer pad in the middle of the vast NAXA network lit up as it received a single incoming program; a glowing humanoid shape formed rapidly before its light receded, and Terra dropped onto the pad. The landing seemed slightly delayed, and her movement felt somewhat floaty, thanks to the simulated reduced gravity. She opened her eyes, and took in the scenery of the glittering stars around her.

"Wow..." Carbide's voice echoed inside of her head. Having been left behind on Terra's previous excursion to the NAXA network, her first sight of the area captivated her, and Terra was happy to entertain her charge's wonder at the spectacle. Scoping the surrounding area, they seemed to be on a small moon of sorts, with various gleaming pathways extending out to other areas.

Choosing one at random, Terra started to follow alongside it. The sound of her boots clanking along on the metal path was the sole source of noise that she heard for a while, as Carbide seemed to be staying surprisingly quiet for the moment. Eventually, however, she broke the silence with a question. "Hey, Terra, how do you process all these data signals coming in all the time?" her voice asked in her mind.

"...? What do you mean?" Terra tilted her head at the unexpected query.

"All this pretty stuff all around is a lot to take in already, but then you're also taking in everything from under you... There's so much of it. It's way more than I can sense on my own. It's really cool, seeing it all go by, but like... all the time like this, it's kind of unnerving in a way. Like I already feel kind of small next to you, but all this data makes me feel like a tiny speck."

Closing her eyes, Terra continued walking, relying solely on the senses that imbued her with strength from beneath her feet. Within her mind, the metal pathway she was walking on turned into a gleaming river of a vast bundle of multi-colored data streams, and she herself as a bright mote of green light skating along its top. Around herself, she saw a smaller bluish orb orbiting her.

She let out a small chuckle as both of them traveled along the "river", most likely looking quite strange with her eyes closed. "All that data moving along is made up of lots of little data packets, and each and every packet of data has its own purpose. Something it needs to do as it travels the world at lightspeed. It could be the tiniest packet, carrying the most important data in the world, and nobody would ever know. All I do is watch it go by, and pick up one or two at a time, just to ask what it knows. There's a lot you can find out sometimes."

The data "river" then split up before her, with the main line going further forward, and a smaller line filtering off into the side into small, fragmented layers, descending down like stairs. On a whim, she took the smaller path, hopping along the layers like a game of hopscotch with her body slowly floating down with the reduced gravity.

"Hmmm... I guess that's one way to see it," said Carbide. "It's a lot different from what I can sense, so it's pretty cool to like, swap perspective like this."

"I'm glad," replied Terra, as she continued to descend down through the steps that she could "see" through her closed eyes.

"Your steps feel really light here, too... Everything's floaty." Carbide's mental comment trailed off towards the end. Suddenly, Terra felt her body's control shift again, and her hands suddenly lurched towards herself.

"Even these! Hahaha!"

"!!" Terra's eyes opened again, seeing that her hands had abruptly started to fondle her own chest, which had been lightened from the network's gravity. Beyond them, she saw what she had been walking on this entire time. A fragmented asteroid field spread out beneath her boots, spiraling downwards like a precariously high pathway. At its end, a large rock with a deep hole floated by itself in the middle of the deep space background. The hole pulsed with a bright golden light. Her hands froze momentarily, and Terra felt her control restored once more, which she took to remove her hands from her chest.

"W-Whoa, we're pretty high up..." said Carbide. "Wonder what's that rock have that's glowing so brightly?"

"... Hm, let's go and see," said Terra. From her senses, the datastreams fragmented more the closer they got to the lone asteroid. It wasn't difficult to land on, though, given the reduced gravity, and so Terra jumped off the last asteroid fragment closest to the surface. As soon as she landed, however, a sudden wave of energy radiated rapidly up through her body up from the ground, its intensity like a solid punch to the chest.


Both Terra and Carbide recoiled from the sudden radiation, and Terra's legs shook slightly from the impact. She felt a cold sweat as she read the immense amount of energy coming from the ground as well, and looked quickly around the area to see what was exerting it. The massive hole in the asteroid spread out before her, emitting the energy in huge, periodic waves.

"What... what was that?" asked Carbide, her tone slightly shaking.

[Terra.EXE: 170 HP. Wood/Ground: Preserver/Tectonic Shift. Equipped: FloatShoes.]
[Cybeast Riccio Battle - Ready.]
Moving along the flowing river of data streams, listening only to her other senses, Terra's journey followed narrower channels as the stream split and split again. The sounds of deep space filtered through to her from all around, though each distant noise was marked only by the yawning silence that surrounded it on all sides. Feeling Carbide's fresh wonderment at the expanse might have been a small comfort unlooked for, but either way, it wasn't until the young one's curiosity took hold and drew Terra to opening her eyes properly that she saw anything more of where she had wandered.

The space was far from any recognisable structure; a scattered asteroid field drifting in space, with only a single large, gas giant planetoid, in the distance, to break up the expanse of space beyond. Further of, sprays of colour made beautiful patterns, but Terra would know enough to be aware that those distant nebula were truly distant beyond comprehension. Here, there were only the rocks, drifting, and a faint sense of something pulling in the now thoroughly fragmented data streams that had made their way to this forgotten space and found unintended terminus.

The streams, once scattered and diffused, converged slowly but surely towards the single, largest space rock in the spread of asteroids. It looked like it may have once been an independent moon, cast off from its home and shattered apart into the hazardous chaos of rocks that surrounded the central mass. The glow of light from its core drew the pair to inspect, but as Terra touched down, the answering pulse of energy that met her was nearly overwhelming.

It swelled, like a slow heart beat, and ripples of light filtered out from the depths of the hole, shining between the cracks in the strange asteroid. It was broad and misshapen, scattered with space junk and broken technology. Sections of metal, or sparking magnetic panelling dotted the rocky surface, and there, standing out in its odd juxtaposition, the burned remains of a single tall tree. As the ancient rock drifted and rotated, and the rays of a far-distant sun crept over the edge of its surface, however, Terra's main focus was drawn inevitably to the pit in the centre of the rock.

The pulse of energy that spread through the ground was mirrored by a deep glow in the darkness, waxing and waning with each beat. The sound of something breathing... large and heavy, just barely reached her ears. The pulse quickened, a fresh rippled spreading out through the rock faster than before, and the ground beneath Terra's feet rumbled. One heavy impact, followed by another; the sound of something shifting in the depths. From here, all she could see was the glow of light... but there was definitely something massive down there, alive and waking up.
"Wait, wait, come on, you're not going in there, come oooooon, Terra, nooooo, c'moooon!"

As if a moth drawn to a flame, Terra found herself walking ever so slowly towards the crater. Undeterred either by the deformed, machine-studded terrain of the asteroid, nor by the secondary resident in her mind calling her to turn back, she listened to the faint breath that she could both hear and sense. Waves charged with energy radiating from the source of the breathing, she felt herself tense up, hair on end, as she stepped forward. Her exploratory step was met with a heavy impact that shook her footing, and the two hearts that shared her body started beating ever more quickly. With any amount of good sense, she should be retreating at this moment, and waiting for her operator's support.

Yet something within her bubbled in excitement, thrill, and a somewhat mysterious sense of desire to consume. To consume what was currently shaking the entire ancient rock beneath her feet, and conquer it. Her eyes glowed brightly with life, though one might have assumed that she had gone quite mad as she forged onwards, closer to the crater in front of her to see what awaited her inside. Then, her body suddenly halted, in a sense that she had felt before; Carbide was now sharing control over her body, after all.


"C'mon! Can't we go exploring somewhere that doesn't feel like it's going to defibrillate everything in a mile radius?!" her mental roommate screamed out, as her body started making backwards tracks.

"Carbide, please put up your shield."

Internally, Terra heard a defeated whimper as she regained control of her body, and a familiar-looking tower shield of grey rock manifested itself on her right hand as she had requested. "It's just gonna be a... a puppy or something... A big, electric puppy, yeah, that's what it's gonna be..." the little voice said to itself, as Terra resumed walking forward, her boots scraping against the dusty terrain.
As Terra moved forward, dragging the worried Carbide along wit her, the ground descended in an ever-steepening inclined towards the pit. Step by step, her footfalls began to fall into sync with the beating electric pulse. Every few steps, another ground-shaking impact shuddered through the rock.

The glow led Terra further down, until she almost had to slide the last ten feet into the centre of the massive asteroid. The sensation of data filtering inwards, being drawn from errant lost streams and wild fall-off energy of the net continues, flowing around her and inwards. The landscape down here was similar to the exterior of the rock; solid stone and earth, but riddled with broken pieces of technology, ranging from satellite parts or whole sections of metal panelling that came from who knew where. Further on still, Terra found it at last.

The heart of the glow, and the centre of the energy pulse shifted with heavy, sluggish steps as it came into view ahead of her. At first the details were hard to make out, between the dazzling brilliance of its light, but before long she could see its shape, and pick out its details. The first feature was its size: the beast, whatever it was, was large enough to almost entirely fill the tunnel ahead of Terra – a tunnel that easily reached thirty or forty feet across its rounded diameter.

A short, low snout faced her, peering out from a low-slung body that seemed made of metallic parts; clawed fore-feet gouged at the ground as it stomped forward. The rest of its body was covered completely in a dense forest of bristles and spines, each crackling with electricity and emitting a portion of the beasts blinding light show.

It next thundering step brought it to within thirty feet of Terra, and it paused to peer at her for a drawn out, stolen moment. Something wasn't right about this. It was hard to tell where the thought came from exactly, but it drifted up in amongst Terra's other thoughts. Further flashes of memories surfaced, unbidden and unasked for. Memories of other image she'd seen in her mind, in a different place, where a storm of lightning danced amongst city spires. Something was wrong.

Seeing the creature before her, Terra might be able to recognise it based just on looks alone – reports of a terrible and great cyber beast that had tormented and endangered the NAXA networks, responsible for the deletions of countless navigators. Reports also spoke of a daring group of navigators that had finally challenged the creature, and reportedly destroyed it, yet here it was, or something like it. The Riccio of the stories was grand and terrifying, and this creature certainly was as well, but its body looked... pieced together.

Its claws were long spines of twisted metal, clearly from some other prior purpose. Its limbs contained metal gantries, piping, twisted arcs of steel and whole sections of complicated-looking machinery, broken apart and put back tougher and forced to work as electricity bound it all together. The spines on its back were a mass of constructed parts – lighting rods, electrodes, bolt generators and spark plugs, all bristling with erratic charge that skittered in wild bolts between the creature and the metal plating scattered across the walls and floors of its home. In every gap between the mangled and reassembled parts of its body, traces of glitched, buggy mass made up the darkness between the lightning. When the beast breathed out, it sounded... tired.

She could feel the creature's presence like a pressure in the air around her; the sense of it might well be overwhelming for some navigators, just by proximity alone. Sparks jumped and streaked between different parks of the creature and its cave while its electric glow swelled and throbbed. The brief stillness of the stand-off broke as the electricity pulsed again, and the massive beast before her stamped both of its fore-claws on the ground, then bellowed a roar that shook the whole asteroid, sending bolts of electricity searing out in random directions, to bounce and reflect off the electrical equipment embedded in the walls and ceiling. One bolt blasted Terra's shield clear off her arm and drove her feet back hard against the ground. The beast didn't want any visitors, it seemed.

-=Deep-Space Terraformer=-

Terra.Exe: 170Hp [Normal]

-=Lightning-Spined Menace=-

Riccio: 5000Hp [Metal]

-=Lost Asteroid=-
30% Metal
  • Cannot be Broken or Cracked except with Geddon/PanelShot, cannot be Burrowed into.
  • Elec attacks: +100% Source Damage.
  • 100 Damage Aqua attacks: Change terrain hit to Cracked.
  • 100 Damage Fire attacks: Change terrain hit to Furnace.
  • PanelShot: Imbue Elec + Break.

20% Magnet
  • Non-Elec Elementals get -30% Evasion, and 50% (+/- 25% RP) chance to fail movement off the panel.
  • Only Elec Elementals can burrow.
  • Wood attacks: Change terrain hit to Normal.
  • PanelShot: Imbue Elec + Seeking.

20% Cracked
  • Changes to Broken when stepped on, chance to fall in when triggered.
  • Burrow: Change terrain to Broken, Null 50 to burrower.
  • Panel Crack attacks, >100 Damage Break/Impact/Drop attacks: Change terrain hit to Broken.
  • PanelShot: Splash1.

30% Normal
  • No effects.

Area is a pseudo-subterranean cave system within a massive asteroid. The tunnels are very wide and broad, but divert in different directions and odd angles, with the potential to become somewhat maze-like if chased blindly. Most of the rocky ground is solid, but it is riddled with metal paneling in random places, as well as scattered sections of broken technology.

-=Battle, Start!=-
As the waves of electric charge radiated out from the core of the asteroid, Terra's footsteps followed it further in, cautiously holding the tower shield in front of her. While the shield did mitigate the more noticeable effects of the electricity, each wave still made the shield waver slightly, though not entirely due to the electricity itself. Her boots brushed against more and more bits of technological detritus along the way, enough that she was a bit more aware of them to not step on any errant screws.

Eventually, the pulsing glow shifted into a blinding light, forcing Terra's eyes nearly shut. Her tectonic senses weren't much help either, overwhelmed by the radiant energy that came with it. The only thing that was clear was the lurching steps that thumped closer every few seconds. Her steps stopped, and her hand gripped the shield she was holding so tightly, she could feel it dig into her palm past her glove.

As the beast revealed itself bit by bit, Terra's sight adjusted slowly to the bright light, to a point where she was able to make out the form of the creature that they were facing. Its breaths sounded labored; something felt wrong about the encounter. Before she could inspect it further, however, it turned to her with a gaze that seemed to freeze her in place.

An image of a dark storm-wracked city entered her mind, with arcs of lightning illuminating the tips of spire-like skyscrapers. Déjà vu assaulted her senses, along with a feeling of mesmerization; the scenery was eerily familiar to her, but for some reason she wasn't able to exactly recall any time when she had visited any such place. It felt like she could get lost in the mysterious city before her...

"Terra! Hey! Snap out of it!"

Thankfully, a voice yanked her out of her momentary reverie, and she was once more face-to-face with the massive Cybeast. Uncountable variants of twisted metal riddled its body, so much that it was difficult to make out even what kind of beast it was meant to be. Once she stopped focusing on the forest of steel on its back, she was able to see that it somewhat resembled a hedgehog. She started to step forward, trying to approach it.

Suddenly, the beast slammed down its massive metal claws and let out a roar that shook the area so strongly that she nearly lost her footing. Thunderbolts blasted out in all directions, their illumination robbing her of her sight. One of them arced in her direction and immediately tore her tower shield from her arm, blowing her backwards from the sheer impact energy. Before she could even properly dig her heels in from the blowback, she felt her body suddenly lighten, and her body turned away to flee away from the Cybeast, unbidden.

"Carbide! Hold on!" she spoke out.

In her head, the response she received was immediate, its tone very panicked. "No! Hold on my ass, this time I can drag us both out and there's no way I'm not doing it!!"

"What about before?"

"That one didn't fire out lightning as a greeting!!"

While she watched the tunnel around her speed by her against her will, chunks of rock and metal began to cluster towards her from the loose ground around her, swirling about her forearms. The bits of matter began to diffuse into a mist of grey, which began to spark against the waves of pulsing energy coming from the Cybeast. Right before she was about to turn a corner, she turned her head to take a glance at it from behind her, and clenched her fists.

Terra then assumed direct control, suddenly digging her heels into the ground, which flashed brightly under her. Suddenly, the metallic paneling around the area had all vanished, and gathered underneath her. Her front foot stomped onto the freshly formed paneling, and the tower shield formed itself once more, this time of her own will. The rocky spires on her back rapidly spread over her upper body, and a dim yellow sphere of light covered her entire form.


The grey mist that had been around her forearms then suddenly solidified into a massive grey cylinder, which seemed to be shaped like a log cut from a giant tree trunk, with all manner of twists and knots on its surface. Floating in the air briefly in front of her, Terra took a sharp breath before delivering a palm strike to its bottom end. The strike made a deep thump as the log was immediately launched towards the Cybeast like a missile, aiming to skewer it with its massive kinetic energy.

// Summary
[Te.1] Sig: Terraskill (Archiver): Vigilance of Will: Haste 2 + Dodge (Haste2: Evasion+20%)
[Te.2] Act: Run away from Riccio: Movement
[Te.3] Act: Buster Charge
[Te.*] Sub: Tectonic Shift @ Normal/Metal
[Te.4] Sig: Terraskill (Archiver): Persistence of Will: 30HP Planar Barrier + 30HP Planar Casing + 1-Hit Planar Shield (Metal: Elec)
[Te.5] Act: Buster Charge
[Te.6] Act: Charged Buster: Wood 600 @ Riccio
The moment of shock and confusion spurred Carbide's presence to get them away from the massive monstrosity as quickly as possible. The broad tunnel curved away to one side and sloped downward – somehow they had ended up not running back the way they had come, but instead chased deeper into the asteroid, metal and magnet, rock and soil gliding by beneath Terra's feet in a blur.

Behind them, the glow of light dimmed, at least as far as its reflection on the errant pieces of metal plating and machinery they ran past, but a crackling, grinding sound grew from the static background into a rumbling roar that swiftly caught up to the fleeing pair. A last moment glance behind was just enough warning for Terra to throw herself out of the way as the entirety of the beasts form tore down the tunnel. It filled the space as it rolled out, broken spines and twisted electrodes shrieking with sparks and grinding against the metallic elements of the walls. It crashed into one side of the wall with enough force to bring chunks of metal sheeting and broken satellite parts crashing don from the ceiling of the tunnel. Terra's burst of speed let her avoid the beast itself and weave between the falling debris, though one jagged edge still managed to clip her as she split away down a diverting tunnel branch.

Looking back, the beast that had once been Riccio uncurled and roared again, heavy, static breath rasping before and after while it shook itself off. It turned on her, spines bristling with lightning as it focused its gaze. The sense of wrongness flickered again from somewhere within Terra. The beast had presence and pressure, and a destructive majesty to it, but it definitely didn't feel the same, or even on the same level as her last encounter. As energy shifted around her, Terra's own abilities shifted and changed the tunnels around her, drawing the metallic elements to the surface beneath her feet, and away from the enraged creature a scarce twenty feet from her.

Electricity raked between the twisted forest of spines on its back and the creature flexed; its glow swelled as it lifted and slammed its fore legs in the tunnel, sending more vibrations through the asteroid. The dark, glitchy mass between the metal parts of its body sunk into the ground and from it, tracing out in erratic angles, electronic circuitry began to race outward across the hard rock, consuming another patch of it; it crept up the walls and across the ceiling above the beast as well; a large piece of some kind of space-monitoring structure dislodged as the rock holding it was converted, but the dark matter caught it in the same process and the circuitry rapidly consumed and assimilated the foreign technology.

The glow swelled and burst a moment later, accompanied by another violent roar; lightning arced and exploded out from the creature, dancing off the fallen structures in the tunnel and skittering from one chunk of metal or circuitry to the next until the tunnel resembled a deadly, reflective laser grid of lightning all around them both. Barely in time, Terra raised her own defences against the assault; one wild bolt of electricity tore her shield away for a second time, but she managed to avoid the rest of it, for now.

Across from her, as the lightning faded, the creature breathed, a crackling draw and push that made its whole body move. The creeping dark had receded into the cracks within its body again, almost as though the bursts of lightning kept it inside. The creature shifted its feet, bracing itself and taking afresh stance in the place where the tunnel split. It heaved and thrust one shoulder of its body forward at her, causing a massive column of metal gantry-work around a thick shaft of jagged steel, to tear free of its body and lance towards her.

The 'needle' was easily twice the width of Terra's form, but she answered with a skewering spike of her own in the same moment. The two projectiles met in the space between, and Terra's wooden ram shattered through the beast's metal spine almost without effort; broken and twisted shards of rent metal scattered across the tunnel as the grey shaft shot through without slowing, to pierce into the creature with a tearing impact. It staggered, slammed back out of its stance as the log tore into its body, ripping through pieced together machine parts metal plating alike, to leave a deep rend in its left side. Just an echo. Once more, the subtle thought drifted up in Terra's mind, unbidden and unasked for. Once destroyed, now discarded, unwilling to let go.

The great beast rumbled and growled as it righted itself, scraping at the ground and the ceiling with the uneven spines protruding from its body and sending showers of sparks skittering in every direction as it prepared to assault her again.

-=Deep-Space Terraformer=-

Terra.Exe: 160Hp [Metal][Planar Barrier (30)][Planar Casing (30)]

-=Lightning-Spined Menace=-

Riccio: 3800Hp [Magnet]

-=Lost Asteroid=-
30% Metal
  • Cannot be Broken or Cracked except with Geddon/PanelShot, cannot be Burrowed into.
  • Elec attacks: +100% Source Damage.
  • 100 Damage Aqua attacks: Change terrain hit to Cracked.
  • 100 Damage Fire attacks: Change terrain hit to Furnace.
  • PanelShot: Imbue Elec + Break.
[Directly around Terra]
60% Magnet
  • Non-Elec Elementals get -30% Evasion, and 50% (+/- 25% RP) chance to fail movement off the panel.
  • Only Elec Elementals can burrow.
  • Wood attacks: Change terrain hit to Normal.
  • PanelShot: Imbue Elec + Seeking.
[Directly around Riccio]
10% Normal
  • No effects.

Area is a pseudo-subterranean cave system within a massive asteroid. The tunnels are very wide and broad, but divert in different directions and odd angles, with the potential to become somewhat maze-like if chased blindly. Most of the rocky ground is solid, but it is riddled with metal panelling in random places, as well as scattered sections of broken technology.
"What... what happened while I was asleep?"

Carbide's voice sounded a little dumbfounded as the stone trunk crushed the metal needle that the beast fired head-on, causing a grievous wound on its left flank. Sure, Terra had been quite strong in her previous explorations, but a large part of her offensive capability was due to Scarlet's very capable operation and Battlechip arsenal. Terra's own strength mostly amounted to changing the landscape around herself, as well as defending herself by making use of those changes.

This time, there was no such assistance, yet even the sheer impact that succeeded Terra's attack was stronger than anything Carbide had seen prior. This was abnormal; there was something wrong about all this. Had retrieving her strength really given Terra this much?

In front of her, the massive grey log jutted out of the asteroid inner wall, a web of cracks snaking out of the point of impact. Next to it, the beast pulled itself upright, its growling mostly drowned out by the screech of metal against metal of its own body.

"... An echo," Terra muttered, seemingly lost in her own world as she stared down the beast.

"Echo? What-- Shit, move!" The expletive reacted to a shower of electrical sparks coming from their adversary, followed by Carbide forcing some rapid evasive movement onto Terra's body. Her hand started clenching and unclenching rapidly, as if trying to grab at something that wasn't there. The tower shield was gone from her grasp; it had been blown away by the omnidirectional storm of lightning that had assaulted them earlier.

"What the hell are you talking about? What echo? Terra! Hey! What... I can't, let me control my shield! Terra!"

Once more, the grey mist started to gather around Terra's arms from around the area, while she stood her ground against the spiny monster.

"Okay, okay... she seems to be stronger now. That's a good thing, Carbide. We can win, just let her do her thing, breathe--okay, I can't do that in here... Is Terra even breathing? Can't even tell, this mist smells kinda funny. Whoa, incoming!"

The little voice yelled out in response to another attack, and launched Terra's body into a side roll to avoid it. Her arms continued to gather little chunks of the land around her. This time, they were reconstructed into a rough bundle of what appeared to be thick vines, complete with grey leaves of rock sprouting outwards. As Carbide leapt to the side to move out of the way of another attack, Terra's hand balled up into a fist. The vines suddenly exploded outwards into a spinning greyish twister, and lashed out at Riccio like a whip with frighteningly destructive momentum.

// Summary
[Te.1] Sig: Terraskill (Archiver): Vigilance of Will: Haste 2 + Dodge (Haste2: Evasion+20%)
[Te.2] Act: Buster Charge
[Te.3] Act: Evade incoming attack (Haste2: Evasion+20%)
[Te.4] Act: Buster Charge
[Te.5] Act: Evade incoming attack (Haste2: Evasion+20%)
[Te.6] Act: Charged Buster: Wood 600 @ Riccio (Element Weakness: +100% Source)
As Carbide tried to comprehend the change in her Navigator's seeming power level, the tunnels behind Terra provided plenty of space to back off or run away. Terra, however, wasn't moving. not far away, the massive beast continued to dominate the subterranean tunnel, and it rumbled and bristled with energy in loud, screeching huffs and bellows. It was furious and angry, clearly, but as it held its ground and clawed at the magnetic panels beneath it, tearing gouges in them, it was also obviously favouring the flank that Terra's first strike had wounded.

Behind it, the grey stone log had begun to slowly spread out growing vine tendrils, snaking their way through the cracks in the asteroid with a subtle tenacity. There was no time to appreciate the lingering growth, however, as lighting coursed form the beast's spines and it charged towards Terra a second time, trailing a web of electricity behind it to arc of the scattered metal debris. Carbide's attempt to move Terra's body out of harm's way were only partially effective. As the beast came on, it attempted to rake and shred the tiny figure before it, at least barrelling into another spine-laden ground roll, but though Terra stepped back and re-positioned, it seemed only to be in order to reset her stance.

The behemoth struck against her barrier and ground in a wash of blinding sparks and arcing bolts. Terra's feet were driven backwards, as it pushed her down the tunnel, but Carbide didn't seem to have broken through the odd calm that Terra was approaching the situation with. Her stance held and her footing remained firm as the battle thundered down the tunnel and deeper into the asteroid. Her barrier held, an almost insignificant bubble of force holding back the creature on the other side. For all its size and power, it slowed, and slowed further, then ground to a halt, uncurling with a last pair of slashes that clawed desperately into the barrier. As Terra's heels came to a standstill once again, the continuing slashes managed, just barely, to compromise the energy field surrounding her but the beast itself had come to the end of its rush and subsided, its foreclaws slamming into the ground in front of her as the ozone scent of its laboured breathing washed over the unflinching navigator.

It slammed one paw, then another into the ground, letting out infuriated roars with each strike, and the blackness between the constructed parts of its body began to leech into the ground again, spreading more black and gold circuitry out from its form in all directions. As Terra watched it, the creature reared up at last, its spines scraping great gouges in the ceiling of the tunnel and tearing open a new pocket above; cascades of broken satellite parts showered down, clattering to the ground while delicate solar panels shattered and scattered. Sparks began to fill the space, flitting through the air as the arcing from the beast's spines grew ever brighter. With a roar that shook the stone around them, the beast slammed both claws down again, tearing into the magnetic panelling as though it meant to break the whole asteroid apart. The ground shook and rumbled, and then everything was falling.

Terra could feel the ground beneath her, and in that moment, the myriad of tunnels and small pocket caverns lacing through the asteroid; as the ground broke away and fell apart, she was away of the drop below, and how far it would be before they reached the cavern floor again. The fall seemed to last for longer than it should have. Chunks of broken stone and fragmented metal feel all around her, while, close by, the blinding glow of the patchwork cybeast fell alongside her. Her armour flickered away in the intervening seconds, but Terra and Carbide were still able to twist away from and injurious falling fragments. The flickering sparks filled the air more and more, the beast across from her becoming a plummeting star of light in the darkness, while the air all around thickened with ozone and electrical haze.

Time caught up as they all hit the ground with a deafening crash, amidst the cacophony of crashing rock and metal. Terra landed easily, her small form touching down on the ground below without harm. Riccio hit with much more impact, and for a moment it felt like the asteroid rocked and began to twist. The ground here was rock and stone, but not enough natural energy to restore her armour. As her feet touched down, however, the scene around her seemed to change. A glimpse, like a memory but not quite, faded across her thoughts.

The beast before her, but standing; its body was whole, clad in smooth armoured plates and a nest of uniform bestial quills growing from its back in a forest of energy and light. Other navigators all around it, fighting, while it dispatched them one after another, spraying the field with electricity. Terra's momentary reverie was drawn to its eyes as it spun about and lashed a struggling navigator with a body full of spines and destroyed her. They glowed with a brilliant topaz yellow, and the wild shape in the stormy city came to mind. Form, memory, name... but no more. Strength, power, fury... but no more. It came again in different form, and different name, and a different place.

The moment passed, and the intrusive thoughts with it, though the sense of calm certainty remained and lingered. Riccio rolled to its feet, shaking its body out. The chamber around them was full of static now, and the individual metal protrusions here and there were crackling like sparklers from the current in the air alone. It was harder to move effectively, but Terra could feel the energy in the space tangibly enough to make it her own as well.

Across from her, shaking off the fallen rocks and batting aside the twisted and torn chunks of metal gantry that had settled between him and Terra, the beast arched its back and glared at her. Electricity exploded from all of its spines at once, igniting the room with wild electrical bolts in every direction. Carbide sought to help Terra avoid the storm of electricity, but wasn't quite fast enough, despite her efforts. Arcing bolts of lightning found the navigator and struck through her with a fierce current of devastating power. In the moment, though, Terra couldn't help but notice the creature's eyes, almost as if her gaze had been momentarily drawn there. They glowed and sparked, but only as pinpoints in the inky gaps left by its constructed body. The brilliant topaz light from her memory was absent. This form would be put to rest.

The electric shock could have been worse, really. She'd probably felt worse, at some point. Despite the powerful blow and the static filling the air, Terra lashed out in response. The sudden growth of stone vines lifted out of the rock, leaves growing even is it twisted and loomed y the side of the creature. The beast barely had a moment to realise what was happening before the force of vines struck hard, lashing the massive creature with enough force to topple it and send it crashing across the space to slam into the far wall. It fell away from the impact, and lay on its side for a few moments while the asteroid lurched. Against the wall, broken pieces of space junk bore sticky black markings from where they'd punctured into the creature's body, and a slowly spreading patch of black and gold circuitry began to form beneath it where the blood settled. Riccio heaved itself back to its feet, unsteady for a moment, and Terra could see black blood trailing from wounds along its back and side as well. The vine had struck the same side of its body as her first strike, and now the massive monster limped as it righted itself, one side of its body clearly crumpled and damaged.

-=Deep-Space Terraformer=-

Terra.Exe: 60Hp [Normal] (Planar Casing (30) Deactivated!)

-=Lightning-Spined Menace=-

Riccio: 2600Hp [Normal]

-=Lost Asteroid=-
10% Metal
  • Cannot be Broken or Cracked except with Geddon/PanelShot, cannot be Burrowed into.
  • Elec attacks: +100% Source Damage.
  • 100 Damage Aqua attacks: Change terrain hit to Cracked.
  • 100 Damage Fire attacks: Change terrain hit to Furnace.
  • PanelShot: Imbue Elec + Break.
[Scattered tiles at one edge of the chamber]
10% Magnet
  • Non-Elec Elementals get -30% Evasion, and 50% (+/- 25% RP) chance to fail movement off the panel.
  • Only Elec Elementals can burrow.
  • Wood attacks: Change terrain hit to Normal.
  • PanelShot: Imbue Elec + Seeking.
[Small where Terra slammed him against the wall]
80% Normal
  • No effects.
[Most of this cavern]

It feels like you've gone far enough through the asteroid that you might be close to another surface.

Field Effect: Laden Ozone: Static in the air inhibits movement and reduces dodges by one rank for non-elec-types. All combat participants gain one buster charge at the start of each turn. Elec-types gain two.
Terra was having a bit of a rough patch, as it appeared. She was watching her body get tossed about and bearing the brunt of a terrible series of attacks, that she was somehow still equipped to handle. However, from the moment that she had fired off the first attack that fired off the solid grey faux-tree trunk, it was as if her body tapped into a well of energy that slipped entirely from her grasp. She could feel a strange presence invading and numbing her mind, as if her consciousness was being filled with a slow, hazy opaqueness, like a sedative.

From then on, her body moved on its own without her consent, and it would not respond to any of her attempts to restore control. She could also "hear" Carbide's internal yelling quite well -- in fact, it was starting to wear on her a little -- but she could not respond, much to her dismay.

Then, just as she was about to sink into the abyss, whatever had its grip on her mind loosened, and she felt suddenly herself falling, amongst a din of noises and lights about her. The most prominent was the blinding glow of the Cybeast, falling alongside her, along with a veritable mountain of debris besides them. The sharp scent of ozone filled the air that they passed through, even as they were hurtling down at a seemingly high velocity. As her overly long ponytail billowed upwards, she rotated her body around to see the cavern floor below rapidly approaching. Without delay, she forced her energy into an angled burst of air to slow her descent, as well as draw herself away from the gigantic beast next to her.

Thanks to her quick reaction, she was able to stick a rolling landing, while Riccio's fate was much rougher, striking the ground with such force that the entire area seemed like it would break at any moment. Sustaining some momentum as she rolled away from the beast, Terra sustained relatively little aside from some scratches. As her landing slowed down, however, the mental invasion started once more, and the forced calm and sedate feeling she had earlier resumed. She then watched as the battlefield before her started to warp subtly. A different field forcibly superimposed itself in front of her, before it faded away just as quickly.

Her body moved without her volition again, counterattacking and dodging about with vigor, but it wasn't quite enough. A thunderstrike from Riccio landed. All at once, she felt her body return its control to her, and the mass of electrical energy tensed up her body like a surge of adrenaline. The energy manifested quite visibly, as her terraforming protocol involuntarily activated, erupting forth from where she stood as a massive deluge of dark mud. Her consciousness was cleared from the artificial tranquil.

"Whoa, what, hey! That is way too much!" came Carbide's panicked inner voice.

"I'm trying... to hold it back!" exclaimed Terra, while she tried to reel in the runaway terraforming process. She could feel the quiet presence in her mind creeping back in again, while the mud slowly receded in its spread.

"What do you mean--Oh! You're back! What happened?"

"Something was controlling me, I'm not sure what happened," explained Terra, as her armor reformed from the her being back in her element, and a translucent green honeycomb sphere surrounded her.

"I knew this was a bad idea! Is it this spiky hedgehog thing? Ugh, shield, where's the shield..." argued Carbide. Terra quickly found the rocky tower shield affixed to her arm once again, as it moved by itself to face forward against the beast. Terra's eyes narrowed slightly, observing the strange circuitry that leaked from the beast's wounds. What was strange was that she couldn't feel life from it, as she did with the encounter she had in Okuden. It was like comparing a fully powered device to one that was barely hanging on to life, discharging its last capacitors.

"I don't think so... From the energy around here, it's just lashing out now, like a wounded animal. We can try to keep a distance," she said. The static field about her was providing her with energy, but it was also restricting her movement quite a bit as it involuntarily tensed her body up periodically.

"Well, whatever it is, let's get outta here!" replied Carbide emphatically. It was about time Terra listened to some reason. Yet, even though they were following her recommendation to leave, or at least keep further away from it, Carbide couldn't help but feel a slight sense of unease. Not voicing it out, she hoped she was wrong.

Gathering her strength, Terra raised her hand and repeated the same forced energy burst from her earlier descent, this time directed at Riccio in order to propel her away. Her body was launched away, though she kept herself grounded and bent the mud under her feet to her will in order to gain some footing in case it launched a counterattack at her.


However, once she was starting to clear a distance away from Riccio, she realized that the electric field may have been inadvertently protecting her as well, as it grasped her mind once more, and the mud under her feet switched from assisting her evasion to swirling around in a rage. Sloshing about like the surface of a stormy sea, Terra felt her body manipulate the mud, unbidden, into a tidal wave of earth. Just as she had done before with Scarlet's assistance, the murky tsunami was a force to be reckoned with, heading straight for Riccio's wounded body.

// Summary (Field Effect: -10% Evasion, +1 Buster Charge)
[Te.1] Sig: Terrascape (Archiver): Raging Landslide: Stage Change (Mud
  • Non-Wood Elementals get -10% Evasion penalty and reduced movement speed, 25% (+/-25% RP) chance to fall or get stuck (1 action to get free).
  • Automatically triggers Aqua Boost for appropriate chip attacks.
  • Wood attacks: Change terrain hit to Soil.
  • PanelShot: Imbue Wood + Slow1.
) + Strengthen(20) (Planar Casing: Reactivate, Preserver: Mud)
[Te.2] Sig: Terraskill (Archiver): Persistence of Will: Planar Barrier(30) + Planar Casing(30) + Planar Shield(1) (Mud: Wood)
[Te.4] Act: Buster Charge
[Te.3] Sig: Terraforce (Archiver): Force of Disaster: Microburst @ Away from Riccio
[Te.5] Sig: Terraskill (Archiver): Vigilance of Will: Haste 2 + Dodge (Haste2+FieldEffect: Evasion+10%)
[Te.6] Act: Charged Buster: Wood 600 @ Riccio (Element Weakness: +100% Source)
In the metal-pierced cavern within the crust of the asteroid, Terra's opponent fought to regain its feet. One side of its body was crumpled and ruined, the patchwork of parts that made its construction rent and torn, barely recognisable as an animal shape at all any more. The blackness within its form ran to the stone in thick rivulets, spreading black and gold circuitry beneath it, which danced with light and sparked against the electric ozone filling the air. The beast laboured, long, cracked breaths creating a low reverb that sounded like a distorted electronic growl now.

The other side of the creature's body hadn't escaped damage either, punctured and impaled by the protrusions on the wall Terra had thrown it against. It swayed as Terra reacted to its previous strike back, setting their jagged lighting chamber awash with fresh natural mud; around it, the black magnetic circuitry was pushed back, briefly resurfacing again where the beat's inner fluids continued to seep and spill, but nevertheless losing ground until only an island of black and gold surface remained beneath the beast's body, amidst the flooded cavern space. Terra's defences came back online, stronger than ever now, but as the mud soothed her and reconnected the Terraformer with her element, the weighty presence observing through her eyes returned.

It was gentler this time, but still overbearing to the point that Terra could barely tell what were her own intentions and what were its. The beast had to be destroyed; that much was certain. An impression in her mind showed images of great dead creatures, sinking into the soil as plant life grew up through the husk, feeding on it and sprouting new, green saplings until the shell of the creature was entirely consumed. A small seedling grew stronger, taking what remained and turning it to its own life force.

Riccio lurched and shifted, bracing itself on its good front leg and thrusting its back and shoulders forward as metal shrieked and tore within it. Its wounded side moved in response, something like a shoulder-check, but it didn't quite go right. The shoulder thrust forward, but metal struts and cobbled together machine parts ripped and tore, twisting with sickening sounds. One thick shaft of metal, something like the arm of a weather station, burst forward from somewhere on its crumpled back and lanced towards Terra. The beast howled, shaking the cavern now as its garbled electronic vocalisation vibrated through the ionised air. The metal strut met Terra's first line of defence and shattered against the green honeycombed field of energy, crumpling into twisted fragments that sank into the mud at her feet; it truly seemed to lack the force she might have been expecting.

The coating mud seemed to insulate the sparking, exposed electrics in the chamber, cooling the charged air gradually; in places where the mud had only just reached, Terra could see earthy, vine-like growths crawling up the walls and covering over parts of the exposed electrodes, beginning to consume them.

As Terra tried to get a little distance, the wounded beast stumbled forward at her, the dark, erratic sparks in its eyes focused on the tiny figure in front of it. A broken, distorted reverb sounded again as it opened its mouth, not a roar now, so much as an electronic sound of rage and pain. It moved as though to roll again, but its damaged side gave way and the beast tumbled forward into the mud with a crash. Everywhere that its wounds met with the mud, the black and gold circuitry fought for dominance, seeking to spread itself into solid ground, but Terra's terrain held it back, maintaining control of the ground while slim vine tendrils reached out to begin attacking the circuitry that remained. As the vines crept further up the walls, beginning to cocoon the chamber, the feeling of grounded certainty pervaded; the natural progression was inevitable; it would be returned to the soil and become new life afresh.

Wallowing in the mud, the beast half rolled, half charged as it righted itself again and lumbered at Terra, throwing itself bodily at her as lighting crackled through its form and jumped madly between its extremities. It landed with a crash, throwing mud everywhere and making the asteroid rock and shift again; stone cracked somewhere beneath the mud as a storm of lightning danced across the surface of the liquid, but Terra was faster; with ease, her quick retreat thrust her away from the beast's war path, her small form almost goading the great monstrosity like a matador. Still the black blood spilled from its injuries, threads of golden metal trying to spread, but still the land that Terra now controlled consumed and converted it.

As she moved away, the calm certainty that she was in control of this situation returned. The creature heaved up again, turning to face her as its good foreleg slipped and staggered. It tried to take a step and bared the jagged metal shards that made its mouth towards her, just as Terra struck back. The wave of mud that rose up from her was enough to lift the entire massive beast and slam it back against the wall again, crushing its other side against the remaining metal protrusions with force. As it slammed against the wall of the cavern, crushed to one side, vine tendrils lifted from the body of the wave and lashed into the beat's form, pulling and tearing pieces away from it. Another ear-piercing static screech escaped the creature, as a sudden glow and burst of electricity bathed the cavern from within it, covering everything in a stormy explosion of energy.

Terra felt, more than saw through the blinding light, the sensation of electrical bolts shuddering against her shield, but after a few seconds it died away again. The shield was spent for now, but it had born the explosion of force sufficiently. As the light faded, Terra got a view of starry space, through a freshly fractured hole in the asteroid. The blast had ripped open the crust again, and the injured beast clawed its way over the lip with its remaining good leg. Mud and scattered rock, along with metal debris, had been thrown clear, and fragments of it now drifted in the low gravity space beyond. The beast seemed to be struggling to find solid ground on the outside of the asteroid again, but it hadn't quite disappeared from her sight yet. Even so, Terra knew it had nowhere to go, particularly; the asteroid was large, but it wasn't infinite. Its time was past; life would soon return to this place. Around her, the mud continued to spread and claim sections of the cavern, creeping up towards the tear in the ceiling that they'd first fallen through. Around Terra's feet, small blooms of new moss started to peek through the mud.

-=Deep-Space Terraformer=-

Terra.Exe: 60Hp [Mud][Planar Casing (Wood): 30Hp]

-=Lightning-Spined Menace=-

Riccio: 1400Hp [Magnet]

-=Lost Asteroid=-
80% Mud
  • Non-Wood Elementals get -10% Evasion penalty and reduced movement speed, 25% (+/-25% RP) chance to fall or get stuck (1 action to get free).
  • Automatically triggers Aqua Boost for appropriate chip attacks.
  • Wood attacks: Change terrain hit to Soil.
  • PanelShot: Imbue Wood + Slow1.
[Most of the cavern]
20% Magnet
  • Non-Elec Elementals get -30% Evasion, and 50% (+/- 25% RP) chance to fail movement off the panel.
  • Only Elec Elementals can burrow.
  • Wood attacks: Change terrain hit to Normal.
  • PanelShot: Imbue Elec + Seeking.
[Behind Riccio, where he landed initially, and the section of the broken lip where he is climbing out]

A huge circular hole has been blown in the wall of the chamber, leading back out to the surface of the asteroid.

Field Effect: Low Gravity: Movement effects travel further, and Movement and Feint actions have 10% increased evasion. Accuracy of thrown and lobbed attacks is reduced by one rank.