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- Posts: 554
- Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:25 am
- Gender: Male
- Species: Jackrabbit
- Location: Your Basement
This would not last. The sky begun to darken, taking on, at first a deep blue hue, then one of almost infinite blackness. Shadows had formed from the wheat below, slowly but surely approaching him. He was frozen. Try as he might, Adric could not move. Soon, they were upon him, raising their dark, paracausal swords.
He would awaken inside of a ruined spacecraft, half-buried underneath a mound of grass. Wherever he was, it seemed that he had been here for some time.
Adric could feel his bones pop as they moved, cracking back into place as he pulled himself out of the ancient rusted cockpit. The sun glared in his eyes as he emerged from the dark, holding his arm up to shade them. He was wearing some kind of form-fitting glove, a component of an orange flight suit, dulled and worn from the passage of time. As he stepped off of the wrecked vessel, he would get a good look at himself through a nearby puddle of water.
A name was emblazoned on a patch at his breast: Wyman. His name was Adric Wyman. He took his first tentative steps, stumbling like a child. His body was weak, but he could quickly feel his strength returning with every step. Something beckoned to him in the distance, past the grassy plains he found himself in. He’d turn towards it, and begun to walk.
He did not know why he was going in this particular direction, or what exactly was calling to him, but he was determined to find it.
There was a nip in the air. It was getting cold as the sun begun to dip underneath the horizon. He needed to find some shelter. Adric would soon find himself inside of a large canyon. In the shadows, he could see very distinct shapes moving about along the canyon walls. Something was following him. Something dangerous.
A cave! There. Adric took a quick glance around, before stepping inside. Hopefully, whatever was following him hadn’t seen him enter. Night had fallen. His eyes adjusted to the black surrounding him, and soon, he would spot a glint of metal not too far into the cave. He followed it, and would eventually find its source: a soldier of some kind. They were long dead, their flesh had long since returned to the earth, leaving behind little but their weapon and the worn remnants of a chest rig.
These would be useful to him. Not so much their original owner: he was dead, after all. Adric slowly removed the chest rig from its original host, pulling it onto his shoulders and clipping it in. There was a slight heft to it, and he’d find that it was stocked with four magazines for the weapon that was left behind.
How he knew this was beyond him, and as he went to pick the weapon up, his body seemed to operate the device purely on instinct. The weapon, upon closer inspection, was a standard combat rifle, battered and worn thanks to the passing of the ages. Its magazines were loaded behind the trigger, rocking it into the magazine well front-to-back with a secure clunk. He brought the weapon to bear, pushing the buttstock firmly against his shoulder and aiming down the pair of ironsights that the weapon was equipped with. This would be useful indeed.
Slowly, he would draw back the weapon’s bolt, chambering and readying it. Just in time, as well: the eerie quiet was disrupted by the sound of a rock falling from its perch. Someone was here. He turned quickly, bringing the rifle to bear towards the mouth of the cave. It was nothing. The rock had tipped over on its own, presumably after a gust of wind had blown it off-balance. Adric let out a long sigh. “Worried over nothing.” He muttered to himself. Still, he could feel it. Something was watching him.
Adric needed to move. He would be in more danger if he stayed. The same could be said if he went out the way he went in. Whatever it was that had been following him was surely waiting at the entrance. He would need to travel deeper into the cave. Slowly, he would turn towards the cave’s depths, tentatively making his first steps into the dark.
His eyes had so far not quite adjusted to the inky black before him, forcing him to feel around with his free hand, groping at air and then damp stone in front of him. Ahead, however, he could see tiny dots of yellowish light in the distance. As he neared, Adric had begun to make out what the source was: string lights! He didn’t see any way they were being powered from inside the cave, the only logical conclusion was that there was a power source somewhere at the end of it. How long had he been following this cave? The cold air from before was slowly changing, turning just slightly warmer as he followed the lights.
The whistle of a soft wind sounded through the rocks. It was clear that this wasn’t just a cave: it was a tunnel. With renewed determination he pressed on, now moving at a brisk jog for the exit. Finally, he saw the other end of the tunnel and through it, more lights. Night had fallen, but wherever he was, it had been illuminated by an array of lamps and string lights.
A town had seemingly grown out of the clean-picked skeleton of a crashed starship like moss, nestled in a small wooded valley. Even during the night, its inhabitants moved about from place to place. No one seemed to mind the new arrival as Adric slung his rifle behind him to enter the town through its main gate. A sign was posted beside the gateway: Zhedrin’s Hold.
Sakura was climbing a trail in the mountains. She'd been here before, many times, at least she thought she had. It all seemed familiar. She continued to follow the trail, further up the slope through the forest. In the distance she began to hear it, running water. As she continued to climb, the sound got louder, and louder until she crested a ridge. She stood on bare rock, and nearby a river plunged through a hole in the rock down into a pool. The spray was cool, and the rock was slick with water as she carefully made her way closer to the edge of the hole. She stared down into the pool, feeling like she had done just this many times before, but something felt different this time. As she stood there debating diving into the pool, she slipped. She tried to regain her balance, arms pinwheeling as she did. next thing she knew she was falling, watching the light disappear above as she fell toward the pool of cold water below. There was a splash, and the cold washed over her.
She opened her eyes, and sucked in a huge breath of air as she tried to fight the disorientation. There was a pressure bearing down on her. there was blackness all around and she found it hard to move. She summoned all her strength and pushed the rubble off of her body. She looked around, there was a dim light filtering in from just above her. She seemed to be in a tunnel of some sort, and she shook her head as it seemed it had at some point collapsed on her might explain why she felt like she'd been hit by a truck. Well, it was time to leave now.
She scrabbled her way up the debris pile and out onto the streets of what appeared to be an ancient city that had been abandoned at some point. Collapsed ruins stood all around, and the gaping holes of ancient windows and doorways stared out at her. She couldn't help feeling that there was something watching her from those darkened voids. She wasn't sure if she was hearing the occasional sounds of movements flanking her, or if she was just imagining it. Either way, she didn't want to tarry, just in case it actually was something following her. She picked up her pace to a decent jog as she continued to make her way out of the ruined city.
On the outskirts of the city there appeared to be an ancient battlefield. Armored vehicles, and aircraft laid wrecked and strewn everywhere. The bones and tattered uniforms of ancient soldiers left where they died littered the area as well. Sakura noticed that one nearby had a weapon nearby that looked to be in miraculously usable condition. She picked it up, and checked the chamber almost as if her body were running on muscle memory. Disappointment crossed her features as she noticed it was empty, magazine as well. She scavenged the area a bit more, and came up with a few magazines with what she hoped was still usable ammunition. she also had enough luck to run across a heavy plate of armor that she managed to strap across her chest.
She heard the scrabbling around her again and she whipped her head around, the weapon coming up so she could look down the sights as if it were second nature. It looked as if a shadow moved, but she couldn't tell for sure and she had too few rounds to be shooting at shadows. so instead she turned and started jogging again.
She had no idea where she was going, but she knew she needed to keep moving. Some time after nightfall, she found it. A town nestled in the bones of an ancient crashed starship; the first signs of living civilization she had seen since she woke in a pile of rubble under the ruins of an ancient city.
Not this time.
The lid was thrown open and Nyulotha tumbled from a barely-intact containment cylinder, accompanied by a spill of acrid-smelling blue fluid. Wires parted from her form with small snaps, the current or data they carried long dead like everything else in the abbatoir that was once a laboratory of some sort. In places the metallic tiles of the ceiling had fallen in; in others the concrete floor was cracked, shattered into frozen waves of stone. Not a trace of the blinding light from before was in evidence now. The only light was from the rapidly-evaporating blue fluid spilling from the tank. There was nothing here worth anything, so Nyulotha began to search those doors that were open.
Even in the pitch-black of the lab-tomb, Nyulotha could see ever so faintly, outlines of things rather than the things themselves. The first room she searched contained nothing but a desk, some withered ruins that might have been documents once, and a fleshless skeleton in the tattered, decayed remains of a labcoat. Nothing useful there.
The second door was a hallway, collapsed beyond passage without the use of machinery that Nyulotha did not possess, nor did she possess the desire to find it. A third door proved slightly more useful, a navigable passageway leading to something like a locker room. Most of them were open, empty, useless. In one closed one, a decently preserved set of pants and a shirt. That was better than the pathetic sportswear that it covered; at least it made things slightly less cold. A flash of color in the otherwise colorless interior caught Nyulotha's attention and she went to investigate it. What was still legible of the sign suggested it once said "Security." That was promising. She reached out and dug her fingers into the door, pulling it open to see what was beyond. Once she could squeeze through, she moved to peer inside. In a locked case was a shotgun, a box of shells, and a dilapidated but still serviceable bandolier. She loaded the weapon, then stowed the rest of the box in the bandolier, slinging it around her shoulders.
Beyond that, there was nothing else to find. The lab-tomb had apparently been swept clean in all the places that looters could reach. Even some of the metallic panels on the wall and ceiling had been pried away to get at the valuable copper wires underneath. As she traveled, Nyulotha realized that it was growing lighter. She could see, but the light was still not the blinding one that awakened her before. Before her stood a security door, pried open long ago. She squeezed through and emerged in a cave. Stepping outside, she surveyed the remains of a long-forgotten battle and a twinkling of lights in the distance.
Descending to the ground, Nyulotha began to make her way through the battlefield. Something about it put her on edge. She began to hurry, going to the settlement, to the light.
- Posts: 554
- Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:25 am
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- Species: Jackrabbit
- Location: Your Basement
Adric watched with great interest, carefully examining the group, which he’d later learn through overheard conversation among the denizens of Zhedrin’s Hold, were ‘Reclaimers’: adventurers who ventured out into the untamed wilds in search of wonders from the ancient past. As he moved closer to inspect the impressive array of treasures moving through the crowd, he would be approached by a pair of the Reclaimers to his front. “You! Long-ears! With the orange flight suit.” Almost immediately, his attention would shift towards the adventurers, stepping forward. A short fennec fox, whose head was mostly covered by a large, hooded poncho, moved to approach Adric. She was considerably shorter than he was, though despite this, she carried herself with an air of confidence befitting someone twice her size. “Haven’t seen you around before. And trust me, I know my Reclaimers when I see ‘em. Where’d you come from, and where’d you get that gear? You’re no civilian, I can tell that much.” Another Reclaimer stepped forward, looking Adric up and down. This one was a tall wolf, clad in heavy-looking, angular plate armor, though a large jacket could be easily seen underneath the metallic plating. She’d let out a small huff. “Something tells me he’s someone you should be taking up to the Nest.” The wolf turned about, following the procession of treasures as it processed towards a large warehouse-like structure nearby. “I’m gonna get a good look at our haul. Didn’t have time before, not since those Nereid were on our tail. You ought to thank Kyeema for the air cover later, Mir.”
Many names and terms were being thrown about without context for Adric, things that he’d really need to ask about later. It seemed that the fennec, Mir, was in charge.
Sakura would be met with the procession as it entered the warehouse, no doubt catching idle chatter. “Man, this haul seems pretty promising. I really hope those Labarre Labs boxes are full of more than just those nutrient blocks. Maybe they’ll have some useful tech.” A small group of Reclaimers followed close behind, spotting the dragon as they passed.
“What’re you lookin’ at?” one of the adventurers called out, a weasel clad in a knee-length coat underneath a sawtooth-shaped chest plate strapped diagonally over his body. A too-large sniper rifle was magnetically attached to another plate on his back. Given his height, the tip of the weapon’s muzzle brake almost scraped against the cobblestone below. “Oh, wait. You’re a fresh face. Look ready to go, too.” He’d give Sakura a small smirk. “If you need to get your bearings, I’d say head up to the nest, maybe we can… get to know each other up there. Us Reclaimers oughta trust each other if we’re gonna be out there in the field.” With a small snicker, the weasel would head into the warehouse with the others, seemingly disappearing behind a stack of crates.
Meanwhile, as Nyulotha approached the edge of the Hold, a single armored truck came to a stop beside her. Painted onto the side of the vehicle was a symbol, a square diamond suspended over a pair of chevrons, one thicker than the other. The window rolled backwards, revealing its driver, a large bear clad in vaguely knight-like armor, save for the painted stripes of bright blue and the green-lit LEDs strewn across the plate. “You look lost, Reclaimer. Or did you lose a bet with your Fireteam and win the opportunity to walk home?” he’d let out a small huff. “Get in, we need all the firepower we can get. We’re rallying for a strike on a Nereid hideout. It’ll be big.”
Adric let out a small huff while the fennec in front of him crossed her arms. “I guess she’s right. Okay, Wyman. Meet me up in The Nest, we’ll talk when I get back.” The hare tilted his head slightly, furrowing his brow.
“How do you know my name?” he asked, to which the fennec let out a small laugh.
“It’s on your suit, pal.”
Adric would be pointed to a tall tower at the center of the old starship’s superstructure, leading up to a large structure built around what was supposed to be the ship’s bridge. The tower held a cargo elevator that led up to the building, which Adric would correctly assume to be The Nest. He took it up, entering the structure.
The large, rectangular room was filled with computer consoles, while still more Reclaimers moved in and out of several rooms at each side of the main chamber. A large window flanked one side, overlooking the town and the valley it was situated in while a set of landing pads were strewn about outside, connected to The Nest by a series of platforms and catwalks. Compared to the town below, The Nest appeared considerably more advanced, with textured metallic floors and sophisticated holographic panels contrasting the rugged, lively sprawl below.
The skeletal lizard stood there, it's gaze turning to meet Uthix's in a stare he could not avoid. Only slightly at first, Uthix heard this annoying beeping in his head. It was akin to a warning tone often used in vehicle computers. He didnt understand, something wasn't right... t-this pain in his chest and lack of breath, it became worse and worse - almost enough to forget about the 'bone creature' who stood there with a toothy grin as it lowered it's hand back to his side. The feeling in his chest and the noise, it was splitting pain. His eyes closed tight as it worsened, feeling slowly coming back to his entire body enough to barely move.
"Gaaasp!" Uthix took in a deep breath, his eyes shooting open as the aquatic lizard held the sides of the ships cabin. The beeping returned within moments and it was loud, Uthix could barely breath, even as he gasped for air. There wasn't much time left for him, Uthix thought quick with clouded judgement, he located the cockpit release and smashed his fist into it. Popping noises, but the cockpit was stuck closed, even though air hissed in. It wouldn't be enough of a hole. Uthix pulled the belts off of himself, pushing himself up in the tight cabin. As soon as his right footpaw touched the ground, pain struck through him and he instinctively lifted it up. With his other footpaw secure, he heaved himself against the glass door, pushing his back against it with all his strength. Every second it slipped more and more till Uthix could feel the oxygen in his lungs, his strength returning to him within moments. Continuing to push, he could hear the popping at the side of the cockpit, one after the other before it left the pressure on his back and slowly whined open.
'Alive...' Thats all Uthix was capable of caring for as he leaned back against the stiff chair, laying against it in an uncomfortable way. The area around his ship was a wasteland - wreckage everywhere including his own, the remains of a battle long over. It didnt take Uthix more than a minute to recover, he realized that getting somewhere safe was vital to his own survival. Pushing himself off the chair, he maneuvered his paws to the edge of the cockpit and pulled himself out onto the dry ground, his foot sending a jolt of pain as he stood on it. Uthix leaned against the side of the fighter, thinking for a moment. He took his claws, pressing them against the straps of his damaged suit. It probably wasn't space-worthy with all the holes inside it, so he unbuckled it. It didnt take much, the suit clanked as it hit the ground, various buckles and parts flying off. Uthix did the same with his helmet, which suprisingly still had glass, however it broke when he dropped it back into the cockpit.
He scoffed at this, rolling his eyes with all the luck he was blessed with. As for cloths, Uthix had a tight black wetsuit that was mostly unscathed, It formed to the fins that ran down his back to his tail that stuck out. The scales were mostly grey, including his fins which were a tad lighter, except for an interesting black tiger stripe pattern that ran about most his body. On his head stood a small set of curly ram horns, firm and white with barely any damage from the crash. These fins seemed to run from his head down to the tip of his tail, even the sections between his feet and paws were webbed with fins, suggesting he was quite the avid swimmer. His eyes were the shade of clear ocean, a beautiful blue which accented to his grey quite well.
After a quick rest, Uthix pulled himself along the ship, minding his right footpaw. It was quite the surprise to find the cargo bay torn open, a large scar that looked like laser damage had struck the metal and left a black burn in it. The Cargo door had been badly damaged, so much so that it didn't need to be opened in order to pull anything out of it. It was... Well, would have been useful if there was anything other than a medkit and a sidearm case along with tons of other blackened items. With what Uthix had, he'd make due though... Pulling them out and sitting against the ship, he examined his footpaw, wrapping it and forming a weak splint with what he could. He wouldn't be able to walk on it without a lot of painkillers though, he dug through the kit and read through each of the labels with anything that had tablets or pills inside of them. Tons of strong drugs, all for different purposes. Painkillers... Uthix was relieved, reading the dosage he took more than recommended.
It took a while to take effect and Uthix was back on his feet, handling a .45 APC. The box had a couple loaded mags, a reflex and flashlight attachment and a bunch of papers under the foam. Thankfully Uthix had a holster which he made use of after loading the gun, racking it and setting it to safety. Sitting with the ship, Uthix figured it would soon get dark... He'd not have enough pain killers to stay out here for long and it seemed kinda risky with the off-chance there was someone else out here who also survived. With a direction picked, the site of a crashed starship which seemed to have working lights that Uthix could make out from a distance, he started off with a hobble. It was too much work to take anything else from the crash site, so he left his medkit and the remains of the gun case. Night hit quickly and he could barely see without the flashlight attached to the gun, Uthix was desperate for help, but he kept on at a steady pace.
Apparently her gaze had fixed on somebody as she lost herself in thought. She was brought out of those thoughts as a weasel called out to her. "Oh, sorry, I'm honestly not sure what I was looking at." She replied, a little embarrassed that she'd let herself fall into such a pitfall. She gave a small smile when the Weasel's attitude shifted. She nodded when he mentioned she looked ready to go. "Make it work with what you got." She commented in reply. She nodded when he mentioned heading up to the nest if she needed to get her bearings. "Yeah, probably a good idea to head there..." She replied, looking up in an attempt to locate the nest as the weasel continued to talk. "Sure, that sounds good." She continued at the suggestion that they get to know eachother better, and that reclaimers should trust each other. She tilted her head curiously, and opened her mouth to say something to the weasel about the thought that there may have been a double entendre in what he just said. She looked for him, and couldn't find him as he seemed to have disappeared.
With a shrug, Sakura turned away from the spectacle in the warehouse and headed for the nest.
- Posts: 554
- Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:25 am
- Gender: Male
- Species: Jackrabbit
- Location: Your Basement
Eventually, the truck came to a halt at the base of a large elevator directly underneath The Nest, where it parked beside a group of other similar vehicles, each bearing a distinct paintjob. “Nomads, dismount.” Sloane ordered. “You too, rookie. Head on up to the Nest and get outfitted, I’ll be up there for the briefing soon. Gotta check on these Ramblers first before we roll out.”
The elevator leading up to the Nest was a large cargo elevator designed for moving supplies to and from the structure. Nyulotha and Sakura would arrive at the elevator tower at around the same time, along with a group of Reclaimers, their supplies, and the Nomads that the canine had previously met. The group waited somewhat impatiently, idle chatter drowning out the low drone of the elevator’s heavy duty electric motor.
-o- Adric paused for a moment to take in his new surroundings. Certainly different from the town below, but the same quaintness seemed to shine through the metal and glass: strings of colourful flags were strewn about, and various banners marked with odd symbols adorned the walls. Before Astra had left him, she’d instructed him to get some equipment for ‘a job that was comin’ up’ and had directed him towards the armory. A pair of large double doors underneath the grated catwalk floor would lead him to an open-air terrace built in front of the bridge structure. Various stalls and storage sheds dotted the terrace, which was surrounded by a series of landing platforms, where small, single-passenger vessels would come to dock and get sorted away into several hangar bays in the side of the ancient ship by a set of cranes and industrial robotic arms. This was the reason it was called the Nest.
He perused the stalls, which seemed to vary widely in purpose: some were food stalls with seating at the front, while others seemed to be selling various pieces of distinguished apparel. At the very back of the terrace, raised by a set of stairs and built into the back wall was a large stall, where weapons and armor of all sorts was on display. The armory. Adric hustled over towards it, locking eyes with the proprietor, a distant-looking rat who appeared to be tinkering with a streamlined rifle. Slowly, the hare approached. “Someone named Astra told me to come here. She said you could give me some equipment.” He explained.
The rat stared at Adric, looking him up and down while muttering “Astra…” He put the rifle down, walking over to some kind of cutting machine, where he’d station himself in front of a small terminal. The machine begun to move, printing two vaguely torso-sized pieces of some kind of metallic substance. It would take a few moments, but eventually, the rat put on a pair of gloves and pulled the pieces from the printing surface. He brushed his hands over the material, sweeping away any flash from the printing process before handing it to Adric. “Fieldplate, R02. Body and shoulder, limited resources. Lightweight.” He said.
Adric seemed dumbfounded by what had just happened in front of him, staying quiet as he pulled the armor he was given onto his body. After a quick adjustment to the straps, he shifted about in place. Some kind of membrane attached to the armor begun to move, fitting to his body almost perfectly before hardening. “Uhh… thanks.” He remarked.
-o- All the noise Uthix had made to get free of his vessel had attracted a fair amount of attention. In the darkness around him, he could make out the outline of vaguely humanoid forms rushing about, low to the ground. They were getting closer, and now he could see tiny wisps of orange light moving about in unnatural ways. As he progressed, more and more of these humanoid figures would appear, surrounding him on all sides. Where once they moved erratically, they now stood stone still, those eerie orange lights like eyes stalking him. If he dared shine his flashlight on one of the figures, he would find a strange suit of armor, seemingly made of stone, making a loud screech as it recoiled from the light. Almost immediately, the strange figures would surge forward, shambling at incredible speeds toward him.
Pushing himself off the rock, Uthix righted his stance, pistol pointed at the ground as the figures surrounded him almost like a pack of starving wolves. Fear struck hard, almost like poison flowing through his body. Uthix hesitated for what seemed like hours - the eyes staring into him like knives. With a movement of his claw, he moved the safety to off, light still shining at the ground. "W-What are you freaks?..." He spoke under his breath, moving the flashlight over them. Terror ran through him as it screeched, the lizard stumbling back against the rock. Instinctively, Uthix pressed the trigger, aiming at the creature caught in his light.
She was quiet on the ride up, still trying to figure out just what had happened to her. As the elevator reached the top, she stepped off and immediately went looking for a vantage point to try to get a good look out at the land beyond. The small city below was lit and easy to make out, but the landscape in the darkness beyond was difficult to make out at best. She sighed and leaned her elbows on a railing and chose instead to look out at the stars.
On the elevator, she continues to keep herself apart, seeming just a bit restless. She constantly shifts from foot to foot, almost anxious in her behavior. Every few moments, Nyulotha flicks a glance upward, as if wanting to be out of the elevator. Perhaps she does, or perhaps she's simply impatient.
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- Species: Jackrabbit
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However, just moments before the strange creature landed and surely made mincemeat of the reptile, a loud crack echoed through the air. The report of a rifle as its own shot found its mark, striking the creature in the abdomen, specifically on a large glowing dot at its belly. Almost immediately, the creature’s body seemed to dismantle by itself, and with a thick splatter of that strange orange slime, the now-inert pieces would land on Uthix, scattering to the ground with a hollow clatter. In the distance, a pair of white lights shone over the immediate area, very quickly growing in size. The roar of an engine punctuated its arrival as it revealed itself to be a large, armored truck of some kind, painted with a distinct black-and-orange stripe camouflage. A pair of rifle-clad figures sat atop the vehicle, or more specifically on the large bed while they hung onto handlebars built into the roof. Their weapons roared with automatic fire, deep yellow muzzle flares lighting their silhouettes while they dispatched the wave of creatures that had descended upon Uthix. As it neared, its headlights revealed that the reptile had attracted an immense number of the creatures, several of which the truck ran down as it skidded to a halt just in front of him. The vehicle’s occupants hooted and hollered as they begun to open fire at the horde of monsters through its side windows. One of the two occupants on the bed of the truck held onto a handlebar at the side of the truck, leaning out and reaching for Uthix’s hand. “You musta caused some racket to attract this many Husks! Grab my hand, let’s get outta here! Quickly, quickly!”
As soon as Uthix grabbed on, the truck would rev to maximum, spinning its massive tires and kicking up a cloud of dust as it begun to speed off through the horde of Husks. They were in the thick of it, with several of the creatures attempting to grab onto the vehicle, only to be dislodged by a short burst of automatic fire from one of the truck’s passengers. “Grab one of those spotlights!” the person on the roof yelled, gesturing Uthix to a small cardboard box filled with a set of large orange devices. “They don’t like direct light, and we don’t have enough bullets to shake them on our own!” The truck bounced over the terrain at full speed, which seemed to be easily matched by the Husks that pursued it. “Come on!”
-o- The elevator came to a stop inside the ‘bridge’ of the Nest, its occupants shuffling off to do their own thing. Seemingly unattended palettes stacked with crates begun to move on their own, beeping and chirping as they rolled off in different directions.
At the center of the Bridge, a group of Reclaimers gathered around a large, rectangular table, where a holographic display of some kind of terrain acted as the center of attention. Sakura and Nyulotha could vaguely make out the conversation, one female voice in particular standing out. “The Nereid don’t do surprised, Sloane. You of all people should know that.”
A familiar bear in red-striped armor shuffled in place, crossing his arms over his massive breastplate. He looked more like a medieval knight than a contemporary soldier, with his shoulder cape and brightly-polished armor. The impressive fur collar around his neck masked the lower half of his face. “I know they don’t, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still take advantage of them while they’re unprepared. They take time to group up, just like any other fighting force there ever was. If we strike fast and hit hard, we can take them while they’re still scattered.”
The bear’s conversation partner let out a small snicker, curling her lips into a smirk. “Yeah, but you’re also walking into the middle of their hive. That’s their territory, and one slip-up might mean disaster for the whole thing, even if we play our cards right.” Before she could say anything further, the apparent leader of the group, a boar clad in white armor stepped forward.
“So we don’t slip up.” He’d pause, waving a hand over the holographic map, which moved according to his motions. “As long as Strike Team Oboe moves in according to the timeline and performs a joint attack with Trombone, the other teams will have plenty of room to maneuver. Once we’ve secured the perimeter, we’ll send a detachment into the hive and locate their Queen to take it out. Once we’ve done that, their numbers will thin out.” The boar moved his hand downward, and the hologram reverted to a familiar symbol: a square diamond paired with two chevrons below. “Operation… ‘We’re Sick and Tired of These Damn Worms So We’re Gonna Do Something About It’ … will commence one week from now at 0500 hours. Inform whatever Reclaimers are available, and send out communications to our teams in the field. Dismissed.”
The group dispersed, and Sloane would turn to see Nyulotha, pacing towards her. “Good to see you, Rookie! Welcome to the Nest. This is our command center for planetary operations.” His attention turned to Sakura, whom he’d beckon to. “Right, let’s see if we can get you geared up and oriented, a lot’s gonna happen this week.”
Suddenly, a loud crack echo'd through the night, the sound of a high caliber rifle shot snapping on the top of the boulder. One single moment passed, before Uthix was struck with a slimy orange liquid, followed by the limbs of a now inert creature. As disgusting as it was, Uthix was relieved to see a barrage of lights rush forward from the distance. Perhaps it was time for this nightmare to finally end. Yet it was still so real... Uthix pressed against the rock he leaned against, the thought of survival motivating him despite the exhaustion working against his body. The lizard got plenty of glimpses of the truck and he wasn't going to wait on more of the Husks to close in. At this point they were everywhere, swarms of them closing in even as Uthix limped over. His paws gripped against the side of the truck, the reptile only glancing at the figure for a moment before he took their hand. Relief flowed through him as he was helped up the side of the truck, pulling up over the rails with his other paw. Throughout this, Uthix simply held onto the rail, his labored breathing was the only noise he made.
His mind raced too fast to ever think of opening his mouth to talk. He only watched the husks as the truck rev'd. As it reached full speed, the creatures followed - they were still not ready to give up. It was hundreds upon hundreds that swarmed and they never seemed to wane. Even the injured ones seemed to keep a steady pace after the truck. Suddenly, a familiar voice snapped him out of his stare. Uthix kept hold on the rails, but he quickly maneuvered over to the cardboard box as the truck bounced around. Unfolding the top, he dug one of the orange devices out, glancing at it. The design of the light was not familiar to Uthix, but he simply pointed the bulb towards the ground and ran a claw against the side, trying to find a switch or button. Seemed simple enough.
She listened, and observed as the conversation continued. It seemed there was some sort of large scale operation being planned, and she found herself wondering if she would be called into it as well. The stakes seemed high, and some deep part of her found the prospect exciting. She drifted slightly closer as some details were gone over. As the conversation ended and many of the participants dispersed, she noticed a boar she'd caught a glimpse of earlier was waving her over. She looked down at herself when he mentioned getting her geared up. It seemed she'd gotten an answer to her earlier ponderings. "I suppose some better gear wouldn't hurt." She replied as she made herself ready to follow the boar to wherever said gearing up would occur
"So we don't slip up," said one of the three up at the map. Nyulotha places a hand to her forehead with a tiny sigh. Famous last words. She'd heard them before, somewhere, and they generally did not bode well. She raises blue and black eyes to watch the conclusion of the debate around the table with its holographic map. The name of the operation causes the wolf to lay her head back against the wall with a wry chuckle and a groan.
At Sloane's approach, Nyulotha raises her head again. "I would appreciate something more approaching armor than these threadbare rags. The only thing they protect at the moment is my dignity. They aren't even proof against a stiff breeze." This last line is accompanied by another dry chuckle and a slow shake of her head.
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