Polo Quest is an individual story arc within the larger AsteroidQuest. Chronologically, it takes place several months after the events of the AsteroidQuest Intermission, and follows the events of Polo's second mission.
|Polo Quest Stats and inventory are tracked on the wiki.|
|This article contains spoilers! You were warned.|
- 1 Characters
- 1.1 Thread 1
- 1.2 Thread 2
- 1.3 Thread 3
- 1.4 Thread 4
- 1.5 Thread 5
- 1.6 Thread 6
- 2 Ultrahives
Our titular hero, back in action. She's been lying low and training since her last mission, but now she's been assigned to an inspection team as part of a joint-ultrahive effort to search out the salikai, who are still at large.
She's also still working through a few problems and coming to terms with her unexpected celebrity as a war hero. This despite the fact that according to the official story put out, she was killed in action on the warship (a deliberate cover up to protect her from any Salikai agents).
Sadly, the dress uniform doesn't stick around very long.
Crazyface herself, Polo's own personal rival, frenemy, all around maddening person to be around, and the aforementioned source of any of Polo's lingering issues. Mercifully, she's been kicked off the planet (but nowhere near far enough for Polo's tastes) and will only be able to torment Polo in memory.
An ultrahive fleet admiral who gave Polo her marching orders and briefing for this mission.
A leader in the Neumono Coalition, and a critic of the Neumono Tree and Ultraking Az. It would seem he is still willing to cooperate in a matter of mutual interest, however.
A science hiver, born underground and a salikai slave. She took a chance and managed to escape in the chaos during the salikai's retreat and evacuation of the spire facility. Along with several members of her hive fortunate enough to be captured by and rescued from the warship, she joined Polo's ultrahive, told them everything she knew, and volunteered to join the search. She serves as the inspection team's technician.
A veteran soldier who contributed to the binding of her ultrahive, which for her included participating in 15 continuous years of war at a young age. Although she has a better attitude than one might expect from that description, and a thing for theatrics. Emotionally attached to her weapons.
Certified by his ultrahive as a top ranked survivalist, a distinction that is by no means easy to earn. The final test takes more than a year and a half, and consists of being dropped naked in the nine of the harshest environments on the planet and left to survive for a month, one after the other.
Basically a professional badass, although he comes across as amicable and laid back.
Inspector Lucera, as he prefers to be addressed. The man in charge, and the only neumono around as short as Polo.
Not pictured: specs.
The inspection team's cartographer. Friendly, cuddly, and good natured. And huge, in more way than one. Her size is somewhat unusual for a neumono, as usually their metabolism would prevent an individual from being able to put on or keep as much weight as she has.
She's also unusually adept at dreamwalking.
A soldier, and lifelong friend of Rokann. Somewhat gruff. Serves as Lucera's bodyguard.
The inspection team's translator. He's here to talk to the voklit.
He's kind of a grump.
A native inhabitant of the reservation the team has come to inspect. Like many voklit, he has a profound distaste for modern technology, and follows a code of honor that is sometimes confusing to outsiders.
Unlike many voklit, he has taken an interest in learning to speak English.
Viln's somewhat more withdrawn friend and hunting companion. He does not speak any English.
What happens when you cut out a chunk of neumono brain matter and then apply mad science to liquify it and keep it on life support. When injected into a host neumono, the two consciousnesses come into conflict and attempt to overwrite each other, while their regenerative processes both try to eat and convert the foreign biomass.
If the host does not successfully fight off this infection, the result is a clone of the donor. Depending on how thoroughly the host personality was consumed, these clones can range from obvious hybrids or chimeras to near perfect replicas of the original donor.
Naturally, the salikai needed a donor strong willed and determined enough to both survive this extremely traumatic cloning process, and reliably win the conflict of minds. It should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone they would choose Rokoa.
A more recently escaped member of the science hive, with more up to date intelligence. Technically not the real Niam, he is one of the first successful neumono clones.
He wears a monogoggle to compensate for poor eyesight, a flaw introduced in the cloning process.
The Prettiest Arkot
The prettiest little guy to ever don a bow. (Or have a bow forced upon him).
A rudimentary AI installed on Polo's helmet.
Good for managing visor overlays, cameras, and occasional incidental sass.
Another escaped science hiver, used as a test subject for an experimental cloaking bioarmor suit. Her optical camouflage, when active, renders her invisible under visible light, x-ray, infrared and night-vision. As these cloaking enhancements demand the full resources of the bioarmor, Moi's suit does not provide the protection or physical enhancements of conventional bioarmor.
Moi's suit comes with one debilitating drawback; the prototype is 80% bioarmor, well above her own PBAT score. The suit was attached under surgical conditions, and trying to remove the armor normally would be fatal. As is, any damage to the suit or even pulling back the hood or using the intended openings is intensely painful.
Her sub-specialty within the science hive is armor design, though she's not the lead designer.
The Cropped Clone
A clone of Rokoa without a shred of something worth holding onto. She's lost or cut away her ears, her breasts, her hive, her code and that perverse something wrong inside that made her smile. She is not smiling anymore.
Her empathy has been described as a walking field of terror.
A biotechnician in the science hive, and head of the cloning projects.
She has yet to appear in person in the course of the story, although she has been discussed by other characters, and appeared Inside the Quest.
A member of the hunter hive, rescued from salikai control by Biles. Serving as a door guard.
The Inner Rokoa
After being hit with a clone dart, Polo must now endure an instance of Rokoa's consciousness inside her own head. There really is no escaping her.
Mercifully, exposure to Polo's own memories of Rokoa have allowed the clone to correct back to something close to baseline- she's more the Rokoa we knew, less the damaged monster felt in the empathy of the darts and the Cropped Clone.
Not that this makes her any less aggravating. Nor has it dissuaded her from a fight to the death- there's no way one personality can survive without destroying or assimilating the other. Rokoa's going to destroy Polo's memories, eat her brain from the inside out, and take the body for herself, or die trying.
One of stronger members of Rokoa's hive in the time before first contact, and the father of the first of her children.
He hated failure, and only really liked people who could beat him up.
Rokoa's mother, and quiet possibly, the biggest neumono we've ever seen. She rivals the giants the salikai produced using artifical growth hormones.
Unusually, Rikora isn't a member of Rokoa's hive. Rokoa's unusual empathy, the way she never quite fit in with her hive, is at least partially the legacy of several rather literal custody battles where she was kidnapped first from one hive, and then back to the other, at a young, impressionable age.
An even stronger believer in proving one's self and the strength of the individual than Rokoa is. Her rather small hive considers those who need to rely on the strength of a large group to survive to be consummate weaklings.
Rokoa's father. His history with Rikora is not explained, but he believes his daughter will be better off with a strong hive she can rely on, than a super-strong madwoman living almost alone in the wilderness.
The Sniper Clone
An unusual Rokoa clone, the result of the incomplete assimilation slash conversion of Ramella, a science hiver. She possesses memories, personalty traits and genetics from both her progenitors. To say she she conflicted and confused by her own identity would be a massive understatement.
Her distress and disturbed state are readily apparent, as seen in the numerous drawings and posters she leaves lying around, and in the manner she self-defaces herself and her fearsome heavy armor with warnings and targets. She has made it very clear she wants Polo to defeat her, and considers her some kind of friend, or object of idolization.
Her nickname comes from her rather un-Rokoa-ish preference for long ranged weaponry. She isn't really sure what to call herself.
A bubbly member of the science hive's younger generation, akin to Korli, and a rocket specialist.
There's a good chance she no longer exists, as it is likely she was the host injected and assimilated to produce the Sniper Clone. She might have survived if the salikai chose to create a clone to experiment on, instead of sacrificing a scientist as a test subject.
Apparently willful enough that Rokoa couldn't stamp her personality out completely.
An arkot that, astonishingly enough, displays genuine competence. Also sports a number of cybernetic augmentations, the full extent of which is not known. Has little to no tolerance for the general stupidity and incompetence of his cannon fodder brethren.
His actual name and rank are unknown, but he appears to hold the position of a non-commissioned officer in Vanski's forces.
Recipient of genuine fondness and kindness from the Sniper Clone. He reciprocates by not actively hating her.
- Aka Biles Quest
The second hunter to be rescued, and fortunate enough to have kept most of his armor intact.
The third hunter to be rescued, and holds a position higher up in the hierarchy of his hive, close to the queen.
He's got an usually blunt face, and almost never changes his expression.
The second to last of Biles' group of wayward hunters, and probably the most reliable of the lot.
Daughter of the hunter hive's queen, and the most recently rescued member of Biles' party. Discovered unconscious, armorless and bleeding out after being beaten senseless by abusive arkots, exploiting the bugs that wouldn't allow her to fight back.
Empathically clashes with Biles- they do not see eye to eye, and she is not used to having someone else tell her how to do things.
A Pomi soldier who had the misfortune of being captured and interrogated by Biles' group.
Moi smacked him in the head with a rock.
Ultraking Az rozu Gunblocker, of the Neumono Tree.
For all intents and purposes, he's exactly the kind of crazy person you would never want in a position of authority in a major world government. At the same time though, he's exactly the kind of crazy of you need to get things done on an unpredictable frontier. An intense individual, and an intolerable madman, necessary nutjob, or awesome celebrity, depending on who you ask.
He's leading the much belated rescue mission slash attack force that finally showed up once the Tree realized something was wrong. And no, he doesn't give a damn he just deployed in army in the Coalition's territory, either.
The Knife Clone
A Rokoa clone, whose empathy came through surprisingly intact and close to her original's. Slightly calmer, and with her desire to fight Polo cranked up from "want" to "need" by Four Stripes' conditioning.
As her title would suggest, her most noticeable divergence from her original is an enthusiastic weapon preference.
- Aka Penn Quest or Unethical Belenos Quest
Our new protagonist, a Belenosian student attending university on Astreneus V and studying artificial intelligence. She's here on a somewhat dangerous frontier world and not back on Belenos at the behest of her mentor, Arza.
Kind of timid and nervous, and uncomfortable touching others.
Penn wears cosmetic contact lenses to hide weird eyes that brought her a lot of grief as a child. They've become an emotional crutch to the extent her personality is affected if she has to remove them.
Penn's roommate and best friend, and a linguistics major. Sometimes more physically affectionate, sexually uninhibited and adventurous than Penn is really comfortable with.
A relatively recent uplift, she could barely speak English when Penn fist met her. Roxie once went by the name Rak rozu Treeflayer.
Penn's mentor and benefactor, a well known AI researcher responsible for unlocking the key AI code blocks left over from the old days of the Belenosian Empire necessary to produce CAIs. He's paying Penn and Roxie's way though school.
Sometimes comes across as kind of dramatic, but he couldn't possibly be involved in anything really shady.
A hostess and child caregiver at a neumono-run farm.
Unusually friendly, extraordinarily accommodating, and sensitive to even the smallest criticism.
One of Kolliri's hivemates, who tends to the farm's Tenu snakes. These snakes are raised for egg production, and require careful monitoring as even small changes in their particular environment can put them off laying.
Shares Kolliri's deferential attitude.
A scientist participating in illegal and unethical mind control experiments on the farm hive.
Claims he fell into this life.
The predator being used to create and maintain the unusual farm hive.
Given commands in an apparent programming language derived from predator vocabulary.
Patriarch of the Su'ata salikai family, the so-called head salikai of the spire facility from the AsteroidQuest Intermission, and the mastermind behind much of, if not the entirety of, the conflict in Polo Quest.
He also controls the CAI in Unnatural Selection.
His exact plans and motivations are not known, although he appears to out for revenge against the neumono species in general, and for the death of all but one of his children in particular.
An ultrahive is a cooperative collection of hives allied with each other for the purpose of establishing a safe nexus. This association is political in nature, and not based in a shared empathy the same way the formation of a hive is. (Although obviously the member-hives of a given ultrahive must be emphatically compatible to a certain degree). From a governance standpoint, if individual hives are states, ultrahives are countries, or superpowers (depending on scale).
Ultrahives tend to have fantastically mediocre names, due to the difficulty in getting anyone to agree on anything when they are formed.
Polo's ultrahive. The Neumono Tree took in the formally independent Sealock hive following the conflict in the AsteroidQuest Intermission, as well as several recused members of the underground science hive, including Korli. If and when the rest of her hive is rescued they will likely become members as well.
The Tree is also responsible for caring for and studying Three Stripes and the tribal hive he befriended.
The total number and composition of hives in the Tree is unknown, but the Three Stripes Intermission suggests at least one other science hive is included.
The ultrahive that actually organized this inspection, and is responsible for oversight of the voklit reservation. Biles, Rokann, Lucera, Katzati, Marra and Kort are all members of different hives in the Coalition. The Hunter Hive is a member as well.