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Dec 04, 2021 1:55 PM
tintin gets exiled on accident
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Valentin Saint-Martin (Tintin to his friends) is, without exaggeration or boast, one of the best journalists in Citadel space.

He's good at a lot of other things: tech, biotics, doubles skyball. He still wears the N7 jacket from his ill-fated stint in the Alliance military, sometimes. But he wasn't made for the chain of command, or for gunning down batarians too unlucky to be born into a society that isn't a heaping trash fire. So now he's an investigative journalist - the only one who could survive the stories he takes on.

But being a journalist is more of a calling than a day job. (He's a freelancer, he can't abide sitting in an office.) The rest of the time, he does odd jobs. More often than he'd like to admit, he's a relic hunter.

Currently he's tracking down a prothean orb stolen from the Illium Museum of Antiquarian Arts and Technologies. The culprit was a salarian who thought he was much more clever than he actually was, which is not uncommon for salarians. Tintin beat seven kinds of Hell out of him and found the artifact "hidden" in a fishtank in his apartment. Sighing, he reaches in and grabs it - 

- and suddenly he's somewhere else. A desert. It's dark, even with a bright moon overhead, and his eyes adjust after a few seconds of near-total blindness.

"Milou, where in the blazes am I?" he asks his omni-tool, looking around wildly. One moderately sized white moon, habitable without a suit... but it can't be.

"Downloaded star charts indicate North Africa, Earth, Sol system, Local Cluster," says his VI.

"How did I get to Earth from Omega?" he asks rhetorically. "-is there even anywhere on Earth with this little light pollution? Send a message to Haddock asking him to pick me up."

Milou hums, then stops short. "Extranet access unavailable," it says sadly.

"-on Earth?"

"Extranet access unavailable," it repeats.

He sighs, and checks himself over. He's got his backpack, which mostly just contains snacks and extra canisters of medi-gel and omni-gel. He's got his heavy pistol. He's got his omni-tool. Which is all he should really need.

He sighs, and starts walking in a randomly chosen direction.

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All randomly chosen directions are about the same, so that seems valid. The way in which they are all about the same, though, is kind of curious; North Africa seems to have a lot more dimly visible distant ruins of megastructures than his history books and/or memory would suggest, and they certainly don't look anything like, say, Ancient Egyptian pyramids or anything like that.

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...curiouser and curiouser.

Tintin course-corrects to go towards the nearest visible ruin. If it's inhabited, that lets him interface with people; if it isn't, he's got shelter and a place to sleep during the hot day.

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Nearest visible ruin is perhaps an hour's walk north.

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Tintin can walk that far; he was fully prepared to trudge through the sand all night. On he treks, weighing the pros and cons of fabricating himself a hermetic suit to keep the sand out of his shoes.

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The hissing of a snake coming from over yonder to the west will probably be heard before he has finished weighing said pros and cons. If he looks, he will see a cobra! The head of the cobra is approximately the size of his torso and the rest of the snake's body is proportionally longer.

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Tintin has a gun. He doesn't like shooting people, but a snake is not a people.

A nearly microscopic osmium flechette drills between the cobra's eyes at barely sublight speeds.

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It dies with very little fanfare.

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Tintin starts to move on, then thinks better of it and spends a few minutes with his omni-tool stripping the meat from the snake and generating a few coldpacks to pack it in. He doesn't know how much wildlife there is around here, and he's heard decent things about snake meat.

After some consideration, he also takes its venom glands. He doesn't know if this is a known species, and Professor Tournesol would never forgive him if he left potentially novel organic material to rot. 

Then he continues on. 

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There are more snakes! Most of them are regular-sized and die even more easily. There are scorpions! Most of them are regular-sized although a few as big as a large dog show up and one about as tall as a horse, too.

All of them are rather violent and actively aggressive.

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He doesn't bother butchering them after the first one; he's got enough meat already that it might spoil before he gets to it all. Idly, he revises his estimation that he's actually on Earth down a few notches. This is simply not a plausible quantity or size of venomous animals.

Fortunately, his pistol is not some antiquated slugthrower; the only practical limitation is on how many shots he can fire in quick succession before the heat dissipation system overloads. Perhaps not ideal in a military setting, where he might need to mow down serried ranks of troops, but it's more than sufficient for one reptile every few minutes. 

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Reptiles and arachnids! Gotta remember the arachnids.

As he gets farther north, the lack of light pollution lets him discern that those ruins are in fact very probably inhabited; the shifting lights and shadows seem to indicate bonfires or campfires or some other sort of fires.

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Excellent. Fire is not ideal as far as indicators of tech level go, but it's better than no fire.

He draws closer and closer. Does anyone come out to greet him?

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Nope! No scouts that he can see or that show up to greet him.

He starts hearing the sound of drums.

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Well, that's... a thing.

Tintin is beginning to have a sinking feeling about the people inhabiting this ruin. He runs a biotic barrier over his skin, casting a flickering blue glow over the closest few meters. Then he walks through the nearest archway.

"Halloa!" he says loudly. "I'm a bit lost."

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There is an amphiteater with a large wooden podium in the center. There are three people, two men and one woman, lying unconscious on it, naked except for the hyena pelts covering some parts of their body including their faces, hands, and feet. A huge bonfire is lit in the center, sending white smoke into the heavens, and a man garbed in hyena furs wearing a wooden mask is chanting and moving in weird patterns around the fire to the sound of the drums. The podium is surrounded by other people in hyena furs but, additionally, there are also some... rather inhuman-seeming people, tall and with long ears and tails and hyena snouts and long claws and all that jazz.

Whatever ceremony they are holding, it does not stop on account of Tintin. However, some of the hyena-people as well as some humans carrying bows turn to look and... don't have the friendliest looks on their faces.

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This seems like a bad.

"You all have five seconds to put down your primitive weapons and let these people go," Tintin says authoritatively. "After that, I will be forced to start breaking your legs."

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"Just who do you think you are calling primitive?" snarls one of the non-hyena-people.

Speaking of primitive, here's three or four arrows shot in his direction as some other people with spears, swords, mauls, or (in the case of the hyena-people) claws start rushing at him.

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Tintin jukes sharply to the left, not dignifying the question with a response. With a flowing motion like very rapid T'ai Chi, he casts a Singularity.

It's not an actual gravitational singularity. That would be hideously irresponsible, and more to the point, well beyond any biotic. It's an orb of warped space that alters gravity in its vicinity. Suddenly, the archers are lazily floating through the air, which is absolute hell on their inner ears. 

While they float, he goes through some more motions and releases a couple of smaller Throw fields. They zip forward and strike the two nearest hyena-people in their respective kneecaps, exploding with an amount of force between that of a sledgehammer and a pickup truck. They're calibrated to break bones and fling their targets across the room, but not to rip off limbs. 

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...okay this is the kind of sorcery that means everyone except for the shaman needs to get to their feet and stop this intruder at once. The humans howl and yowl, animalistic sounds that a human throat shouldn't be able to naturally produce, and the hyena-people join in - more than just the ones there, there are apparently other people in other camps elsewhere that were not in the ceremony but who are replying with their own howls. The hyena-people scream when they are thrown off and flung, but their bones do not break; they are soon getting back to their feet.

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"I would really prefer not to kill you!" he yells, backing up. He hits one of the hyena-people in the center of the throng with Stasis followed with another Throw, creating a massive kinetic blast as the fields interact and shred each other. The hyena-person is severely tenderized but hopefully not killed, and the humans around her are flung around like tenpins.

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Hyena-person is very hardy and not killed. Humans who are flung... less certain. Being flung around is not good for humans, especially Iron Age humans with poor nutrition, and they do not all remain conscious after said flinging.

Hyena-people and Iron Age humans start converging on him, although slowly, and more of them start trying the arrows again. The drums start going faster as the shaman realises the ritual might not complete quickly enough if Tintin gets to them.

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A couple of the arrows connect, causing an eye-hurting warp effect, and fall to the ground. Tintin is not visibly harmed.

His back touches the platform. He makes another motion, and the prisoners begin to float into the air.

"So sorry! Must run! We'll have to do this again sometime!" he says rapidly, as he takes one of the weightless prisoners over each shoulder and takes the last in a bridal carry. Then he starts sprinting away at top speed. Which, for Tintin, is very fast. Even when his aerodynamics are less than ideal.

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Now the shaman stops the ritual and very, very slowly goes "What."

Then there is another howling sound, but this one doesn't come from anyone there. It comes from above, and around, from the air itself. It's outraged, and angry, but most of all it is deafeningly loud, and even the hyenas and humans have to take protection from it, which ironically only makes it easier for Tintin to run away.

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One of the many nice things about being from space and also the future: cochlear stabilizer implants! Tintin does not have to take protection from the blast of sound, though he does stumble a bit.

What in God's green Hell was that, he does not say, because it is currently running away time and using his breath to swear would be suboptimal.

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He will succeed at rescuing his rescues and fleeing the humans and hyena-people and whatever-in-God's-green-Hell that was! Most directions include desert but the north in particular includes the ruins of a really unreasonably tall and long wall of obsidian.

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