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“TENTACLES!!!OH GODS NO! WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE TENTACLES!!!??WWWHHHYYYYYY?????!!!!!”

---Anonymous victim of an Airquid ambush

The most recent capture from the doomed colony announced her arrival with a high-pitched scream. The tentacled cybersquid carrying the prisoner was itself completely silent as it floated in through the hatch-portal. 

“Why do they always think they can get away?” The Darkwaters warrior shook her head at the dopplering scream of the entangled prisoner travelled down the length of the intake bay, before being cut off as the airquid dropped the captive into a stasis cell. Other floating cyber-cephalopods danced across the ranks of elipsoid stasis pods in the large shiphold, like attendants of some giant egg mass. Still more tentacled shapes went about their business, doing routine ship’s maintenance, replacing panels and panes, and keeping the massive manufactured cyber-organism that was the Darkwater interstellar transport working at peak efficiency at war or peace.  In this case that cyber-organism was floating in low orbit above a colony world in the Thundercloud. Its business was the removal of the endangered settlements below.

“We TOLD them the star was variable, but they ignored us. We TOLD them we could re-settle them elsewhere, but do they listen? No. And they make rescuing them all the harder.” The supercargo just shook her head as the hunter airquid jetted back down the stasis bay to fetch another forcibly rescued colonist from the shuttlecraft coming up from the surface. “Do this the hard way, we must.”

“Starship Titanicus, please be advised: you seem to have broken out with an infestation of calamari...”

‘Airquid’ E-Animal[]

Airquid
Type EcoS-KRP21
Class Robotic Warbeast

Maintenance drone

Crew Robotic Intelligence
Original Tribe Darkwaters
MDC By Location
Head Unknown
Main Body 260
Tentacle 45 ea (8)
Main Thruster 90 (2)
Eyes (2) 30
Physical Size
Height 3 ft thick
Length 40 ft tip of tentacle to tip of mantle
Width 3 ft, 4 ft head finspan
Weight 400 lbs
Physical Attributes
IQ 12
PS 30 Robotic
SPD 1 mph
Flying Speed 250 mph
Speed in Space 670 mph
Maximum Altitute 10,000 ft
Swim Speed 60 mph
Maximum Depth 4 mile
Cargo None except carried
Power System Nuclear 20 year
Other Attributes
Sensors
Standard Sensors Power Armour
Addition Sensor1 Radar 60 mil
Additional Sensor2 Enhanced Sonar
Special Systems
Cybernanite Repair 4d6 MD / 40 MDC
Special System 1 Molecular Adhesion Pads
Special System 2 Anechoic Sheathing
Weapon Systems
Primary Weapon Eye Lasers (2)
Secondary Weapon Vibro-Blades
Third Weapon Vibro-Beak
Fourth Weapon Chemical Sprayer
Fifth Weapon Tentacle-Mount Lasers Optional

The Airquid is a semiautonomous e-nimal developed by the Darkwaters as a multi-environment adjutant. The Airquid resembles a giant mechanical squid, and is sometimes disguised as a real one, but has the ability to speed through the water via supercavitation, and through the air and space via contra-gravity propulsion. The Airquid can be distinguished from a normal giant squid in having TWO siphon-thrusters, as opposed to one. The Airquid is intelligent enough to be entrusted with simple maintenance tasks on and about Darkwater ships and facilities, as well as to be deployed as a watchbeast and hunter-killer. Its multiple tentacles allow it to carry a multitude of tools for its technical tasks, as well as allow it to entangle prey and targets quite readily. It is also a cunning hunter and cyberpredator, fond of stalk-and-ambush attacks, and using its flight capabilities to move three-dimensionally to excellent effect. 

The Airquid is mainly found with the Darkwaters, who developed it, but it has also appeared in numbers in the stables of the Horrorwoods. Travelers in the rain forests and swamps of the Horrorwoods have related harrowing tales of being ambushed and pursued through the dense woods by flying tentacled monsters. Numbers have also begun appearing with the Silvermoons, Sapphire Cobras, Lost Eclipse and Clan Scelptor.

Abilities[]

Sensor Systems[]

Enhanced Sonar[]

15 mile range. Can track 24 targets simultaneously. 

Special Systems[]

Molecular Adhesion Pads[]

The tentacles of the Airquid are covered with molecular adhesion pads. 

Anechoic Sheathing[]

Composite construction, and muffled internals minimize sensor returns; -65% chance of detection by sonar or radar at ranges over 3,000 ft, drops to -30% at ranges over 500 ft, and -15% under 500 ft. 

Weapons Systems[]

Eye Lasers (2)[]

Range 2000 ft
Damage 3d6 MD single
Damage2 6d6 MD dual
Rate of Fire ECHH
Payload Unlimited

The dinner plate-sized eyes of the Airquid hide Warmount standard laser optics. The lasers are blue-green frequency adjusted for maximum penetration underwater. 

Vibro-Blades[]

Range Melee
Damage 2d4 MD

The two longest tentacles sport vibrosaber blades for cutting into targets.

Vibro-Beak[]

Range Melee
Damage 3d6 MD

Mounted between the tentacles is a powerful pair of shear-like jaws able to snip through armor. 

Chemical Sprayer[]

Range 80 ft
Damage varies
Rate of Fire ECHH
Payload 30 shots

Up to 5 different chemicals

The Airquid can also use its vibro-beak to chew holes in ship hulls and environmental body armor, while maintaining environmental integrity, then using the hole to introduce chemical agents (typically incapacitating agents) inside. The system can also be used to create distracting ink clouds(or other chemicals) in the water, smoke screens in the air, or laser-aerosol clouds in space. 

Smog Cloud[]

A dense obscuring chemical fog similar in composition to pre-Rifts theatrical ‘fog’. No damage, those caught in the fog are -4 to strike, parry, dodge, disarm, and entangle while caught in the cloud. Depending on local air current conditions, the cloud dissipates in 2d6 minutes.

(Optional) Tentacle-mount Lasers[]

Range 300 ft
Damage 1d4 SDC - 1d4 MD
Rate of Fire ECHH
Payload Unlimited

Each tentacle can be fitted with a small laser torch/projector, intended mainly for utility work(cutting and welding). Individually these lasers aren’t very powerful, but if ALL the tentacles are so outfitted, the combined effect can be devastating at short range. 

Programming[]

The Ecotroz have installed robotic AIs, then infected the matrix with a low-level Ecotroz sentience.  Typically has the same programming as the Shemarrian Wolf, plus the following:

  • Climbing 98%
  • Underwater Navigation 60% (+5% per level of experience for Ecotroz entity)
  • Track and Hunt Sea Animals 50% (+5% per level of experience for Ecotroz entity)
  • Pilot Jet Fighter 70% (+5% per level of experience for Ecotroz entity)(for maneuvering purposes)
  • Movement: Zero Gravity
  • Basic Maintenance and Repair 90%

The Ecotroz entity can also pick up one Secondary skill at levels 2, 6, and 12 of experience, though the nature of the Airquid intelligence and design is such that it is limited to skill selections from Technical: Language (understanding) and Lore, Espionage (Detect Ambush, Detect Concealment), Wilderness (Track Humanoids, Track Animals, Hunting, Identify Plants and Fruits). However, some users, such as the Darkwaters and Clan Scelptor, have been known to program quite sophisticated maintenance and repair subroutines into their Airquid, giving them programming such as Basic Electronics, Basic Mechanics, Automotive Repair, Armorer, Sumersible Vehicle Mechanics and Space: Drive Repair. 

Combat[]

Attacks Per Melee 8
Bonuses
Initiative +3 (+1 from Ecotroz entity)
Dodge +3 In flight and water
Parry +8
Auto Dodge Unknown
Strike +4 / +2 w/ranged
Roll +4
Pull Punch +2
Disarm +3
Entangle +9
Knockout/Stun Unknown
Critical Strike Unknown
Attacks
Tentacle Restrained Slap 2d6 SDC
Tentacle Punch 2d6 MD
Crush/Squeeze 2d4 MD
Body Block/Ram 1d6 MD
Power Ram (2 attacks) 3d6 MD

Although not initially built for combat, the Airquid has proven to be quite effective as hunter-killers, guard animals and ambushers.

Ecotroz Entity[]

The Ecotroz intelligence fragment inhabiting the ‘bot gives the Airquid an aura and behavior more befitting a sentient being than a robot. 

The Ecotroz fragment does occasionally need sleep/rest...though they only need 2 hours of rest/meditation per 24 hours...they can push this, going without for as many days as they have I.Q. points(most Warmounts, unless otherwise noted, have an effective IQ rating of 8; theAirquid has an IQ of 12), but will have to go dormant for 4d6 hours after such exertion.

Susceptible to Exorcism and Banish spells, but are +6 to save against such spells, +1 at levels 4, 8, and 12 of experience, and becoming IMMUNE at level 14 and up. Such Banishment causes the ‘bot to revert to its default robot programming. (OPTION: Ecotroz may become IMMUNE to Exorcism and Banishment with experience, and NEW BUILT EShemar constructs are immune to this).

Note also that the Ecotroz-possessed ‘bot can infect other bots with the Ecotroz viral-entity, by bite or sustained touch(takes 3 attacks).

Options[]

Chameleonware Skinning[]

The Airquid can be fitted with color-changing mimetic skinning, allowing it to blend in better with its surroundings, affording it a 75% chance of going undetected. The Horrorwoods Airquids, in particular, have used this to great advantage to lurk in ambush in thick forest cover. Airquid are also known to use this system to produce patterns and sequences of color for elaborate and sophisticated non-verbal communication. 

Laser-Reflective Skinning[]

Reduces laser damage by HALF. This is most common in Silvermoon Airquids. 

Multi-Tool[]

One or more of the Airquid’s tentacles can be fitted with variable-configuration multi-tool heads(Phaseworld, pg 143).

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