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 Post Posted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:14 pm 
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Nate: Survival: +4 Roll: +2 Total: +6

Giving the man a brief once-over shows that he's in reasonable health; however, there's an odd welt on the side of his neck. It looks almost like an insect bite - except that it's far too large, as if he's been bitten by a man-sized insect.

A quick look at the other four shows that they all have a similar bite, though not all in the same place - it's generally in the head or neck region.

"It's the Seeker," says Piper. "One of Azash's creatures. In the Countess' vault, that thing whose image Azash summoned to protect the idol - the cloaked figure with the green glow? That's what the Seeker looks like."

"Under that cloak it's a giant insect, the size of a man. That greenish glow can be hypnotic at close range - that's how it lures its victims in. And its bite, it, it kills the personality while leaving the body alive. It paralyses its victim's willpower - anyone that it bites will do exactly what it tells them to do. It doesn't care about them - it'll throw a thousand people at one warrior to bury him under force of numbers - and its victims don't stop until they physically can't continue."

"There is no cure. If the Seeker told those five to kill you, then that's exactly what they'll spend the rest of their lives trying to do."

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 Post Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:41 pm 
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Arkady looks at her for a second, then shakes his head. "Magic wasps." He turns to look at Sir Ulath. "Is this something your Church would be having views about? Such as how to deal with the victims of this?"

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 3:32 am 
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Sir Ulath grunts. "It's not their souls that bear the guilt for what they did under the Seeker's influence. Piper, you know of no way to cure them?"

Piper shakes her head.

Sir Ulath turns to the Terrans. "You seem to have an astonishing ability to do things that other people decry as impossible. Do you think you could save these fellows?"

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 6:03 am 
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"I don't know. Maybe? Brainwashing and deep plant hypnosis are one thing, they can leave scars, but this sounds like full fledged amnesia to boot. Sometimes it goes away, and sometimes it doesn't, and there are consequences either way."

Nate sighs and sits back on his heels.

"By the sound of it we'd have to purge out this venom first, and I can only guess as to how to do that without causing more damage. Then we would have to de-program them, a tricky proposition with someone who isn't trained to resist mind control in the first place, and then comes the amnesia. Inducing a seizure sometimes works to reboot the brain, but usually it's just a matter of surrounding them with the familiar and hoping and waiting for everything to come back to them. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, sometimes it only partially works."

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 6:22 am 
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After he finishes Arkady comments: "There are insects back home that are doing something like this. They take over other insects that they sting and lay their eggs in them. The victim becomes the host for the larvae." He shrugs. "It could be that someone was studying how this works back on Earth and that we have records of it. It could be that we can figure out how to purge the control, or write over it to force them back to themselves. Of course to try to do that we have to be bringing them home with us to study and experiment on. And we need to be waking up more people to do it."

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 Post Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 9:40 am 
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"So," summarises Sir Ulath, "even if a cure is possible, it would involve taking these five back to your Ship and doing a long-term study. Even with your trucks, that would add almost a week to our journey, we don't have a decent way to transport five prisoners who won't and can't surrender, this 'Seeker' can replace them quickly, and as long as they're alive these five are a clear and present danger to anyone who comes by."

He turns to look at Arkady, answering his earlier question. "In this situation, the Church's view on how to deal with these victims is to give them as painless a death as possible, bury them, say a prayer over their graves, and then find and destroy this 'Seeker' as soon as possible. Because it's not going to stop at just one group of victims and we do not want to give it time to replace these."

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 Post Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:26 pm 
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Felix moves to drag the victims off the road towards a site that looks like it'd be good for burying.

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 Post Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 4:01 pm 
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After a couple of seconds Arkady says: "Wait a moment, Felix." He turns to Piper. "Can you be putting them into a permanent sleep? A coma or trance of some kind? We can be doing it with drugs, but it's dangerous."

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 Post Posted: Fri Dec 14, 2018 10:29 pm 
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"Not without danger," admits Piper.

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 Post Posted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 12:47 pm 
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Arkady sighs. "Piper, right now they are doomed. Danger is a step up. And if it were me or my family I would be taking the danger; at least it is a chance."
He turns to look at Sir Ulath. "It sounds like it will never be easy or simple to get any of the victims back to our ship when one of these Seekers shows up. But I am thinking any chance is better than none, and we will need living victims to find a cure."

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 Post Posted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 1:41 pm 
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"Danger to yourself or danger to everyone else?" Felix asks.

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 Post Posted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 2:05 pm 
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"Both myself and everyone else," says Piper. "Keeping them down for more than a few minutes when they don't want to stay asleep is like... is like wrestling, and I don't have that much strength, I'm still little. If I tried - they'd wake up unpredictably and without warning."

"There'd be no danger to them. The danger is that they'd wake up."

Sir Ulath doesn't say anything in response to Arkady's words - but, at the same time, neither does he raise his axe, apparently content to wait for the discussion to be over before doing anything.

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 Post Posted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 5:45 pm 
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"If Piper can't keep them asleep then I don't want to endanger the colony by bringing them to it." Felix resumes dragging the victims off the side of the road out of sight. He hasn't killed them yet, but presumably will shortly if someone doesn't stop him.

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 Post Posted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 6:56 pm 
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"Hold up a second. Before we do anything drastic I want to take some blood samples and run a few tests. If this thing uses a venom rather then magic, we might get lucky with one of the standard antidotes, maybe one from the blood bees or manticore. It's worth a shot."

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 Post Posted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 9:14 pm 
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Arkady shakes his head. "Felix, we can induce a coma too. We have the drugs to be doing it, we just need to be using them wrong." He looks back at the truck. "Well, let's call the ship. They may be able to help us, one way or the other."

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