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 Post Posted: Wed Oct 27, 2021 3:12 pm 
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"If you can ensure," says Piper, "that the Seeker dies in every possible future from now onwards, then Azash's visions of the future will not avail him. And -" she turns to Arkady - "no, the Seeker is not immortal. In fact, it is the larvae of its species."

"The larvae?" asks Talen. "So, it's going to grow up one day?"

"I... don't think it will," muses Piper. "If it was going to grow up, it would have done so days ago."

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 Post Posted: Wed Oct 27, 2021 7:31 pm 
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"Hurn... So, what? Is Azash manually preventing it from entering the next stage of life? Why would he do that?"

Felix thinks for a moment.

"If we hit it from every angle, each of us producing a different effect that harms or hinders it, we might be able to prune all future paths so that all roads lead to the Seeker's death."

Felix looks at Roger.

"I think I can rig something up. A weak laser gun that doesn't immediately kill should be simple enough to jury rig. I'll need all hands on tools to MacGuyver several different means of attack."

Felix eyes the truck with the mounted .50 cal, and ponders how difficult it'd be to mount a microwave cannon there instead.

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 Post Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 3:06 am 
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"An adult Seeker is like an adult mayfly," says Piper. "No mouthparts. Can't eat. Not even Azash can stop it from hunting desperately for a mate... for the one day it can survive. And... there is only the one. Which is good, because if there were two adults that could breed then there wouldn't be anything else left for long."

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 Post Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 4:23 am 
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"Huh. So if Azash is preventing it from becoming an adult and becoming an adult renders it relatively harmless, would there be a way to disrupt his control? Let it continue on it's natural life cycle so it ceases being a concern for all parties involved? How fast does that happen, and could we exploit some kind of hormone or instinct to set it on course and render the process irreversible?"

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 Post Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2021 11:53 am 
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Arkady looks thoughtful. "It is looking like Azash has a pet and is still playing with time. But perhaps that is a useful thought; Azash is looking at death as a threat, so maybe we can try life instead." He looks at Piper: "You once were saying that if the insect ever wanted to get rid of Azash, then his control could be broken. You also said that the insect is not sapient; it looks that way because Azash is using it as a puppet. So the only reason it could want Azash gone is if he denies it something it is programed to want. So if we can remind it somehow that it is programed to want to undergo metamophosis and become an adult, then we may be able to cause a break between the pet and it's owner. Once that happens, the insect is not much of a threat. Well, it is not much of threat to us."

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 Post Posted: Sat Oct 30, 2021 2:55 am 
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Piper blinks. Then blinks again. "Y-yes. That... that should work." She thinks about it a bit longer. "Yes... the Seeker will want to grow up. Azash will want to block it... but that is one case where it will almost certainly refuse. And it doesn't die, so Azash won't try to pre-emptively avoid it... yes, that might really work. ...I'll need to be uninterrupted while the spell works. We'll probably only get one try at this - if the spell is stopped or interrupted then there will be things that Azash can do to prevent me from trying that again. I'll need a little time to prepare, but as long as the Seeker doesn't ambush us that shouldn't be a problem..."

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 Post Posted: Sat Oct 30, 2021 3:18 am 
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"Assuming things don't go well and we do indeed get ambushed..." Felix says. "About how much time do you need? Will physical contact with the bug need to be made?"

Felix moves to get a crate out of the truck.

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 Post Posted: Sat Oct 30, 2021 11:29 am 
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Arkady asks: "And how long would it take Azash to get the two adults it has hidden somewhere to produce another useful grub?"

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 Post Posted: Mon Nov 01, 2021 3:51 pm 
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"Physical contact, no," says Piper. "I'd need to get close enough to the Seeker... maybe twenty or thirty metres? Hmmm. I think I'd need maybe an hour or two to work most of the preparations - I can do that right now - but then after that, about a minute's warning before we actually hit the Seeker. Based on... on certain previous incidents... I expect that Azash would need to take a minimum of three or four weeks to get a new Seeker; by then, of course, you would have the Blue Rose, and the Blue Rose can deal with the Seeker no problem."

Meanwhile, Felix throws together a small flying drone, attaching an infrared camera. It can't carry a payload (the weight of the camera and battery are quite enough) and the picture is a little grainy, but it'll allow him to get a good view of heat sources from above.

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 Post Posted: Tue Nov 02, 2021 1:34 am 
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"Sounds like we've got the makings of a plan or two," Felix says. "Let's get that prep work out of the way. Infrared should pick up on anything trying to hide so long as we're actively looking. I doubt most locals would be able to account for it."

Felix will offer to let Talen control the drone and do the active searching, since he seems like he'd have the best attention for detail of the group. He'll show the kid how to control the drone and how to discern heat signatures from background thermal, then get working on a grab bag of assorted anti-Seeker devices.

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 Post Posted: Tue Nov 02, 2021 6:25 pm 
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Arkady shakes his head. "Another reason to find the Rose, then. Are you knowing how long it takes the grub to become an adult? If we can get it back to our doctor alive, she may be able to make an antidote to its toxin. That might be useful to anyone that doesn't have their own Blue Rose with them."

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 Post Posted: Tue Nov 02, 2021 8:55 pm 
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"Well, once Azash gives up on the creature and stops protecting it from death, it might be a simple matter to just rip its poison sack right out as it starts to gestate," Felix says.

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 Post Posted: Wed Nov 03, 2021 8:08 am 
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Much to Felix's surprise, Talen has next to no interest in piloting the drone.

"I can't hear through it," explains the boy. "I can't smell. Look, I know how to look for people who are trying to hide. And how to hide. This thing? I don't know how to use it right. Yes, you've explained the controls, and it could be very useful if I had a few days to learn it properly, but... well, my instincts are wrong. I'd be more useful with my own eyes and ears."

Kajin wrote:
"Well, once Azash gives up on the creature and stops protecting it from death, it might be a simple matter to just rip its poison sack right out as it starts to gestate," Felix says.


"No!" objects Piper. "That would kill it, and for this to work, Azash has to not foresee the death of the Seeker!"

To Arkady, she adds "How fast it takes to become an adult depends on how much food it finds. It eats people, and animals, and in a well-populated country like this, it could be a week or two?"

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 Post Posted: Wed Nov 03, 2021 6:08 pm 
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"Well, that's a pretty strong flaw. We can't make an antidote if we don't have a good amount of the poison to work with, but getting the poison in all situations would be disastrous to us."

Felix sighs.

"We might have to abandon the idea of an antidote entirely. I doubt the mayfly stage will still have an intact poison sack and the only way I'll let anyone near the thing is without the ability to bite. I suppose we could always glue a small tracker to its carapace and dissect it after it dies of natural causes. Hope for the best."

Felix nods at Talen.

"Gotcha. I'll keep an eye on it myself, then. Best of both worlds, hopefully."

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 Post Posted: Thu Nov 04, 2021 5:26 pm 
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"I can pilot the drone, if you like. Oddly, I fear the troll more than the seeker. Which reminds me, Piper if you could remind me to put on a helmet when we get to brick-to-the-head range that would BE LOVELY."

He comically rolls his eyes as if to swoon; then pats her on the head and gives her a hug.

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