A Castle on the Sand

May 28, 2016:

Back in ancient Egypt, during the reign of Pharaoh Hatshepsut, the Outsiders attack Kang's hideout to draw away the attention of the time-travelling villain from the Egyptian army.

Ruins of a bandit hideout at the west bank of the Nile

On scene

Characters

NPCs: Sandman Trickshot

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

The Outsiders (and Nathaniel) spent most of two days day walking on the desert west of the Nile. Fifty miles was considered a safe distance to ‘beam down’ as Nathaniel didn’t think Kang would have bothered with a broad detection system.
Unless, of course, the older man knew the Starfire’s capabilities. Which he might, since he is probably responsible of the ship being here. But why?
Trying to figure out how his older self thinks makes Nathaniel paranoid in extreme, so he tries not to go too far in that line of thought. Kang should be preparing for the battle between the Egyptian armies next dawn, but it is barely midnight. They have six hours to make sure the Pharaoh will have a fair fight ahead.
The town Nabu marked in the maps has been abandoned eight centuries, so it should be little more than a few adobe walls around an oases, but it is not. There is a pretty huge fortress here, and I certainly has not been eight centuries abandoned. Maybe two or three, but the walls are solid, made of monolithic blocks of stone, too big for this ancient time. The gate is long gone, though.
The Egypt army intel was wrong in some regards, but not in others. There are a couple Egyptian-looking guards at the town gates, but the spears they have are solid steel, not wood and bronze. Definitely anachronisms.
Suited up but for the helmet, Nathaniel is trying to raise a 3D holomap of the area, but getting little but fuzzy static light. “My armor sensors are going haywire, there is a cloaking field around the whole town, and a strong tachyonic interference. Nabu got something right, there must be a powerful trans-temporal complex here. Big enough to pull a whole starship out of the time-stream.”


Lunair is totally worried about the Egyptians. She really is. Any civilization that worships cats is a-okay. Or something. "It must be pretty serious," Lunair muses. "Wait, they don't have iron yet in this time stream, right? Err, steel?" Lunair is a bit puzzled. She can't do much about giant time anomalies, but…


"I dunno my Egyptian eras, but I think I've seen mostly bronze or copper. Maybe some iron but I didn't look closely," Roy answers Lunair, eyes focused on the cloaking field, trying to discern it. "But the guards are definitely not using bronze or copper, so that might be iron or steel."
Shading his eyes to look closer at the walls, Roy grimaces. "Those walls aren't like the ones around the village. K'tten might have more luck scanning those fortresses… have we gotten any results yet?"


Reese, really doesn't have an opinion on anything. During their time of walking, she's kept up with the water shares and stores, offered up replenishment where needed. But magic aside, one really couldn't replace the feel of the water upon the tongue. She could 're-moisturize' in a sense, but rehydrate? It's complicated.
But once they arrive at the temporal distortion, her hand lifts up as she takes a step forward, her head canted to the side as she tries to use her natural sensitivity to feel out just how far the disruption goes. It stings, just a little, right before she even touches it. So her hand immediately drops down with a slight frown.
"Are they expecting us to sneak? Because I think we shouldn't. Just go all out or go home." Someone has been hanging around the Green Lantern too much.


“No, those are shock staves. Nothing that should be built on Earth the next thirty centuries,” he glances Roy. “I don’t think there is a visual cloaking, it is long range scanning what is difficult.” K’tten does confirm so from the spaceship.%r%r“We have to move in and see what there is beyond those walls. Hmm… eventually we shall go ‘all out’ to draw Kang here. But if we can take out his guards and automatic defenses first our chances to make it out alive would greatly improve.”


Lunair looks to Nathaniel, and looks thoughtful. "I imagine Kang won't be thrilled if we get in to those walls, so we should be aware of that probability," Lunair comments. She nods at Roy. Then a look to Reese. "Thank you," She offers quietly. "This timey wimey stuff is so far beyond my paygrade… But let me know if I can do anything to help you guys in, too. I can make some random noises." Distraction!


"Well then, if your goal is to lure them out, it'd probably be better to just make it look more natural. Like a fire. Make it look natural…" Roy ponders. "Lightning storm, right?" He peers at Lunair. "So, got a rainmaker? Make it thunder already. Then we might be able to set some sort of fire to lure the guards out. That work for you?"


"You obviously do not know who I am, Nathaniel." Says Reese. "There is no may. There is no might. If I am around, there is only will." Cue someone saying a Japanese proverb. But she smiles in Lunair's direction, and quietly agrees with her. In her four hundred years, she's kept herself off of the path of technology and remained a hermit for a reason. But now, she was thinking that it wasn't, really a great idea.
"Just let me know when I can be of use too."


Nathaniel hrms, “making rain here would draw some attention, but I am not sure it would lure the soldiers out of the town.” Can Lunair make a thunderstorm in the desert? It would make for great cover. “In any case we need to get closer to see what there is past those walls. Or fly over them, but then we might be detected. Going by land would be easier and we can spot sensors.”


Starfire sat with K'tten. Not only narrowing down possibilities with strategy, but with that of the newcomer. This was family, and she would freeze before she would let them all bake under blessed sun for a hoax in gold and red armor of an icon. Silence despite K'tten's permitted return information and that of the readouts of the base as well as protection.
Tact, attempt at peace? But would they get the came in reciprocacy? From what their new ally said, the answer was no.
"Orn, prepare the weapons in the hull, mount them, mount up. Image inducer. Llama."
"Depalo." A pause by the insectoid looking man as he stands from his seat beside the Captains in the HMSS. "Dominate. Priest."
"K'tten." A pause by her mohawk'd mirror image and Starfire smiles, extending a hand - one that is taken and in an instant the image inducers shifts their appearance to not change history, features becoming more felinistic for both despite the natural alien heritage for lineage already laced in DNA.
A beam down and Orn - the llama is sitting there beside the priest - Dpalo, holding his reigns… who gets spit on.. Just before the gate. But from the light a sudden bleed of silver from moonlight bleeds out in a flash to solar energy where Starfire and K'tten hover jut above, the glow of perse blastd to the entry and the guards, an eruption that…
…Leaves a crater.


Lunair shakes her head, "I can't. I have fire works, but…" She smiles to Reese, seeming sympathetic. She is quietly concerned. And then suddenly, Starfire does the zot to end all zots. The laser that could. The crater casbah (that was then rocked).
She manifests a microphone in her hand.
And then she drops it. "… well, that - happened."


"Well, if Lun can't make it rain…" Roy begins, before turning his attention towards the sky, and a whistle. "… I guess Kori can make it rain lasers."
With the cratered gate, Roy is already moving, crossbows in hands and shooting, aiming to keep the people inside off-balance long enough for him to stop and use his main longbow to clear up space for Lunair. Kori could handle herself from above just fine… and as for Nate…


The arrival of the Starfire’s crew by teleportation wakes up the ancient fortress pretty much instantly. They must have triggered some alarms. Of course, they have also taken out the guards at the gate in a flash of energy.
As the Outsiders rush to the gate, they can see half a dozen other guards moving to intercept them. Like the ones before, they are clad like ancient Egyptians, but wield advanced energy weapons that only superficially resemble Egyptian spears. As soon as Kori makes herself visible, they start firing lightning bolts to her, and then to Roy and the others.
At least for a second, because suddenly they switch targets and aim only to airborne heroes, ignoring the ones on the ground even when Roy hits one of them on the wrist with a crossbow bolt, forcing him to drop his spear.
The reason why becomes apparent when the sand shifts in front of the heroes, forming itself into a ten foot tall sand humanoid. “Well, and who the hell are you? You aren’t primitives for sure.” But he doesn’t seem to care too much for answers, since he aims a huge sand fist at Roy.


Some may not be too concerned for Starfire and the crew… But they are here for -their- crew… Their family. Lunair, Roy, Reese… Nathaniel. Apparently things have been decided.
Orn is a Citadelean, wits and smarts are stolen for his race, but brute strength and durability… That's legit. The sand fist aimed for roy suddenly hits a Llam devoid of it's priest, the Dominator in disguise, and from beneath his robes a neural device is dropped at the gate and detonated to neutralize…
From above Kori and K'tten in their felinistic foms clad in Goddess attire eminate a heated glow, one that wavers with each blast of electrical force, but oes not stop them from slowly descending and moving forward, that perse glow fading to one of a shade of the suns rays over time, the mic dropped by Lunair plucked up by Starfire (who is "Basts" effigy) and handed back to her with a small smile.
"Make it hurt."
But while Star lingered with her friends, K'tten struck forward, attempting to blaze past the gate and inward, sand erupting in waves around her speed-throttled flying form…


Lunair does care about the crew. She doesn't always understand people, or aliens. But she tries. Sometimes. She accepts the mic, letting it disappear. "Okay!" Yay kitties. She apparently is quite happy that there is AN ENTIRE CIVILIZATION that loves cats. It's good times, nonstop.
And then suddenly, EEEEEEEEEEENTER SANDMAN. "Oh hell." She's going to have to help the ground pounders. Time for a flamethrower! Sand melts! She's going to give the sandman a hot foot. Hot feet?


"That's weird, they don't seem to be aiming for us, just for the fliers…" Roy begins, before the large sand-man emerges from the ground. "… oh terrific." No, the freeze arrows probably weren't going to do much good here. Explosion…? Not unless he could generate -really- high heat, which these weren't going to do. "Kori, love…" Roy whistles. "Don't suppose you can melt sand?" Because if she (and K'tten) could, the explosive arrows might actually work. Until then, though, it was time to steer clear, take out the soldiers nearby that were aiming at the airborne crew, and -avoid- getting pulped by the Sand-Man.


Orn is sent flying by the impact of the Sandman’s first, but he is big and tough, he can handle it. Then he shoots a blast of sand at K’tten, sending the woman crashing against the ground. But Dapalo’s neural disruptor nails him, he has some kind of neural system despite being made of sand.
His shape waves, “what the hell was that-kk… damnit!” The sand giant flails, losing some tons of sand. He was recovering just when Lunair flamethrowes him. He doesn’t quite melt, but at the intense heat some pieces of him crystallize.
“Owowow. Dirty trick, but it is not going to work, we are in the freaking desert. I have enough sand to rebuild a thousand bodies!” And he is trying to do that, while moving away from the flamethrower.”
Meanwhile several guards have fallen to Kori’s blasts, and although more pour out of an Sphinx-like building in the middle of the ruined town, they scatter to seek cover. One of them, though, is not armed with a spear, but carries a modern composite bow. He shoots and arrow to Starfire, and it explodes a few feet from her.


This was the Land of the Nile and at the prime of Ra. Sun Worship. Kori does that in her own way, as the skin now induced into a darkened sun-kissed tone of almost down covered limbs expands out, and with it fingertips of feline claws tipped in gold. Rising at Lunair and Roys request the kick back of sand and air from K'tten ruffles the white gauzey strips of fabric bound at her hips by beaded and gold plated belt. Abdomen is bare and chest is covered by the same strips up and over shoulders, criss crossing at her back and laden with lapiz, as well as a few precious metals and semi-precious stones that bear similarity to the bands around arms and at ankles. From her back a scepter is pulled, at first a rod and then expanding where power builds..
The explosion at her front for a moment rockets her back, the air-lift interrupted as the glow at the scepters peak is interrupted as the hand-held weapon expands…
K'tten is tossed to the side, a tsunami wave of sand heralding the sideswiped landing, sweeping her in a canal forging press into Orn-the-Llama. But as Orn is struck the inducer flickers for him, the sand huen llama staticing into a white mountain of creature that rises with tusk shapen teeth bared, clutching K'tten to him while he sneers and gingerly sets the limp form aside, ROARING his charge into the fray.
Starfire slowly picks herself up, the slightly angled features of Bubastis suddenly covered in a coating of a gold masque, the eys glowing akin to that of the sun-charged burst focused into the scepter like she had once done before…
And in one strike f the sandy ground the scepter draws a divet into the sand beside her as she charges forward, focusing the energy into the handheld weapon that now sweeps low and then upward in a burning strike for the Sand creature, seeking to sink it deep and force-feed him a heated eruption from the inside out.


Lunair just likes the cats. And all the bling. That's how she do. "I really hope it doesn't ask us riddles," She remarks. Nevertheless, she's going to do her best to keep pressure on the sand guy, her power armor Egyptian themed now. It seems like the thing to do.


"Then we'll just have to keep you -there-…!" Roy exclaims. Shifting to try and get the sand giant closer to the aqueduct while it's trying to avoid being melted, Roy waits for it, hoping the others catch on… at least till he can fire an explosive arrow. Wet sand, that's fine. Might hurt a bit, since it'd end up being more like quicksand, but that would be all right, because the -next- thing to follow the explosive arrow would be a -freeze- arrow.


Sandman tries to counter-attack by blasting sand at Lunair and Starfire, but Nathaniel joins the heat party blasting with the plasma cannon in his chest, and the Sandman screams in pain, the heat slowing him down until he becomes a big crystal statue half human and half pile of sand. On top of that, Roy freezes a couple tons of water.
Meanwhile the remaining soldiers rally behind the archer, that is firing arrows at dazzling speed. Another explosive at Orm, a sonic screamer at Starfire, a EMP-pulse at Lunair. The four soldiers left shoot energy blasts to Roy and Nathaniel.


Deapalo, the simple lowly priest he is, is slowly meandering towards the Spynx, and all the while a small electro-magnetic interruptor of a scarab is pulled from his cloak to set down and aim for the entrance of the Spynx. go on, step on it, you know you want to… But as Depalo turns around, a forgotten silhouette, the cloak comes away and from beneath a vial is pulled and the chemical mixture shaken, activating to a light glow while fingers pinch rows into the sand, melting it, forming it into spears that liquidize and then harden as he picks them up. From behnd, the archers now have another enemy.
Orn willingly takes the heat of a blast with an eruption of yet another quaking roar, one that skids his planted feet back in a force that leaves him almost knee deep in the divets of sand formed by the force.
K'tten is still down for the count, but Orn surprisingly (or not) has still kept himself between her form and the attackers. When she wakes she's gonna be pissed.
Starfire and the sonic scream in tune and beyond keener senses makes her clench her eyes, stopping in her tracks while the Sand-Monster is suddenly blasted, frozen and reformed just above her. Dizzying nearly as she keeps a hol of the freezing staff, fingers blistering beneath the sudden temparature shift and her loathe to let-go.
But from a clench and the pinched fatures beneath the mask a hand rises and from the tanned palm a blaze of explosive solar rays eminate towards the sonic intrusion, and likely the frozen beast towering over her and Lunair.


While it -was- tempting to explode the frozen Sandman, it was far, far easier to keep the Sandman where he -was-, and move on towards just storming the citadel. "Ok, Kori's got things pretty well handled… anyone get a handle on where our target is?"


Lunair is going to stop with the flamethrower, as the sandman is - well, Koriowned. She is going to take flight, although she gets blasted and goes FWUMPH hard on her back. Her world spins, before having to shift her armor back into place. "Rude!" She calls. She'll pick herself up, getting back into the combat.


Nathaniel’s armor seems to take the shock-spear blasts without difficulties, and he sweeps at the guards with a long stream of force. But the archer, Trickshot, jumps over the blast and shots an adamantium-tipped arrow at the young man. It goes right through his armor and left shoulder, several inches protruding through his back. Then he races back, trying to get inside the Sphinx-building and avoiding Dapalo’s spear.


Starfire is there beside Lunair and Roy, nevermnd the fact that her hearing is incredibly dulled and one ear is nothing but white noise. Her actions are a bit more scattered, a bit more based on sight and feel of her surroundings, bt then again her defenses are higher now and rising into the air above with Lunair she remains back to back with the woman ( not voicing her weakness) but keeps the vantage and the feel of her partners motions to know where commotion she cannot hear is while she handles what she can see and keep Roy covered beneath them.
However, sad news for Trickshot…
Orn is pulling himself from sand, and when he looks back to where K'tten had fallen, the impostor Sehkmet is standing, that mane of mohawk'd red like a blaze around her face, those green eyes narrowed and omitting a glow of a creature stalking in the shadows just before she take flight forward in a blast that leaves a crater where she had lain as well as an echo that even gets Kori's attention.
Fisted hands rise and even as she approaches behind Trickshot she does not slow… She'll go right on through the building with him worn as a hood ornament…


That shooter certainly wasn't -native- to this time, based on the arrows he was shooting with. Roy motions for the soldiers behind him to keep searching for Kang, turning his attention towards the anachronistic archer.
Making it easier for Kori to catch the archer off guard, Roy aims a few arrows in the archer's bath, steering him into the Tamaranean's path.


Lunair is - thankfully, protected from noise. She is grateful for the others there, but she is worried. She tries not to giggle as Trickshot becomes a hood ornament. And there's time to bother a few people with the shockwave staff to keep paths clear.


Trickshot is very much aware he has a lot of enemies behind him, so he ducks as he reaches the door of the Sphinx, to avoid Roy’s arrows. He is still rolling through the floor when K’tten smashes on him, and both fall deeper inside the building.
Nathaniel limps forward with the arrow through his shoulder forcing him to move carefully. It kinda hurts a lot, you know? Even with the medical systems of the armor working on it. “Let me go first, I can identify the security systems,” he grunts.
Lunair finds most of the soldiers unconscious, but a couple were trying to stand up and pick their weapons, so they get tasered back to the ground.
The Sphinx building is completely different inside than outside. Polished steel and ceramic corridors illuminated by lines of light on ceiling and walls. There are sliding blast door and consoles for holographic computers. It feels very advanced even for the spacefaring members of the Starfire. K’tten and Trickshot have managed to knock each other out, though. They are both pretty badly bruised, but not seriously injured.

Next scene: The Outsiders versus Kang (the old one!)

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