Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by R31GN
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R31GN Hail to the King, Baby

Member Seen 5 yrs ago

Following suit of the others, Jesse stepped out into the unknown planet, looking surprisingly less out of place than one might've expected. Though he still wore the bright pink dress shirt and pristine white suit pants, a dark grey ballistic vest adorned his chest, scrounged from the armory. Around his arm was wrapped a length of thick cord, found in the same location -as loath as Jesse was to admit it, his personal weaponry choice was a bit lacking in the stealth department. This makeshift weapon would have to do in the meantime.

On first exiting the ship, Jesse first noticed the intense cold, and promptly regretted his choice in attire. Though his body was racked with shivers, he did not comment on the temperature, instead choosing to grit his teeth through the numbing frost. As they trudged towards the base, Jesse occupied himself by focusing in on his cybernetic eye. Routines within the artificial organ ran, highlighting the weaponry carried by his partners in crime, as well as keeping a track of their distance from him. The marker over their heads blinked red when he strayed too close to either Scarleth or Callum, which he was careful not to do.

"Nice of them to leave the door unlocked. Shame they couldn't leave the heater running, too." Jesse muttered before entering the research lab with the others. He spent little time admiring the hangar, though he took mental note of the four small ships scattered about. Be it for a hasty escape or an improvised explosive, he thought it might be wiser than not to have them in the back of his mind should everything go south.

While Callum himself stepped over the corpses that littered the floor, Jesse took his own time to study the dead security personnel. He moved past the one who had appeared to be running toward the hangar, and instead knelt near the leftmost of the pair of armed guards on the floor. He took a hold of the dead man's weapon, then aimed down the sights, away from the hangar. "What have you naughty kids been up to?" He thought to himself, as he silently mimed firing off some shots, then falling dramatically to the floor in a position identical to that of the dead guard.

As he laid still on the floor, his eye worked double time, recreating the event. Though no hard data was formed, Jesse at least had a vague idea as to where the attack that killed the guards came from.

Jesse huffed out a breath as he stood to his feet, staring at the dead bodies for just one more moment. Shrugging, he took the weapons from the dead guards -one he placed just in front of the door leading to the hangar. The other, he held onto for the moment, turning the weapon over in his hands. His head perked up as he noticed a beckoning from his peripherals. He stalked over to the terminal at which Scarleth was working, mentally disabling the blinking warning his eye prompted as he approached the assassin. Though prepared to make a witty comment, he decided against speaking when Scarleth signaled him with a finger over her lips.

Gently placing a hand on the woman's shoulder, Jesse guided her aside before taking a wide stance at the terminal. From the captions across the screen, he could tell that she had been attempting to access the personnel logs of the scientific base, certainly a bright idea. As much as he'd have liked to type a line of code and crack through the security regarding these logs, hacker was not in Jesse's job description. Instead, he chose to navigate through the computer system for other clues, weaker security. He moved leisurely throughout the interface, before something caught his eye -the server used to manage messages sent to and from the base was extremely similar in composition to that of the email servers of his father's business, something with which he was very intimately acquainted.

Both through memory of his childhood lessons on the base code of this server, and assistance from his augmented eye, he pried through the messages sent to and from the base. As his cybernetic furrowed through the results, the other processes began shutting down -highlights on weapons, distance measuring, and identification tags all faded from his view as more power was diverted to the search. Soon enough, a promising result was found, and Jesse reached out to get Scarleth's attention.

"My dearest beloved... blah blah blah... ancient artifact of unknown origin, yada yada, buried away in a nearby cave... et cetera et cetera... we have been studying the object and it's properties, boring boring." Jesse read mentally, highlighting the important sections of text as he read along for the benefit of Scarleth. Though he considered calling out for the attention of the others, he did not find the idea of disobeying the assassin in such close proximity to be a beneficial one. Instead he simply gave Scarleth a pointed look, before motioning with a finger in a wide circle to the others. His other hand nervously fidgeted with his length of cord as his cybernetic eye slowly restored his previous functions.
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Esoteric
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Esoteric Coquette

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"Everyone going on the mission will go armed and ready for a fight, but we won't charge in guns blazing."

"What about bombs 'a-sploding?" Taka asked. Receiving no answer, she figured that it was definately a maybe.

Taka followed the lead of most of the others, scampering off back towards the rooms to retrieve their gear. She hummed impatiently, tapping her foot against the resounding metal floor of the elevator with excitement, a mission was always exciting. Back in her room she quickly shuffled through the parts and pieces on her desk, shoving a few essential items into her backpack, before turning towards the now nearly empty metal crate. Lying over one side of it was her gear, which she hastily swapped out with her regular clothes. One Honey Badger and Law Breaker later and she was ready and raring to go. On her way back to the first level, Taka checked the settings on her goggles, adjusting the light filtering until the levels of brightness were automatically adjusted to a comfortable level. Not that the goggles typically ever left her face, as the Gladius could be quite bright at times, but she hadn't thought ahead to adjust the auto settings. Satisfied with her work, she waited for the elevator to come and take her back up to the bridge.

Henri made her way to the armoury, having not collected her belongings previously. Her crate stood alone in the room. Inside, a pistol, her standard armour and a glistening red mask. She had felt no need to collect them since boarding the Gladius, her mechanics being enough protection. She changed quickly, sliding the mask over her face. There was no need to conceal her identity anymore but there was something satisfying about being suited up. Her energy began to rise, she bounced on the balls of her feet in excitment. It didn't matter that it was a frozen wasteland down there, it was still something.

Lastly, she picked up her pistol distastefully, checking it was set to stun. So, she wasn't a fan of guns. Others had said she lacked finesse but they had soon stopped that when she had brought a fist to their faces.

Back on the bridge, most of the crew (if that's what you could call their little gang) wore serious, dour expressions. All that is, besides the excitable Nohvan who seemed to be radiating what Henri was feeling. Henri turned to her and grinned so widely it almost fell off he planes of her face.

Taka returned the smile, checking the holster for her pistol and ensuring the strap on her automatic was, well, 'strappy'. Taka rummaged around in the bottom of her pack, pulling out a wrinkled plastic baggy and turning to the smaller woman, "Want one?" She asked, taking a cube from the bag and plopping it into her mouth.

Henri eyed the bag. Something at the back of her mind told her to cautious- there's a reason she's here, remember. She quickly crushed the voice and reached into the bag with a "Thanks!" and popped a cube into her mouth. Immidiately her face twisted into a grotesque charicature of itself.

"Is that salt!?" She cried, "Man, you Nohvans have some interesting tastes. Remind me to show the delicacies of my people one day." She vaguely wonderd if Nohvans liked chocolate or if it would kill them like dogs.

She finished the cube with a grimace, and stuck her tongue out at the other woman as if to prove she had. This elicited a giggle from Taka, "You're supposed to suck on it silly!" She instructed.

The ship shuddered ever so slightly, before finishing its docking procedures. Taka and Henri followed the others of the ship, and into the chill of the desolate hangar. Taka watched as Scarleth broke away from the group to examine the ships, but quickly lost interest and instead hopped up towards Callum just as they reached the doors to enter the facility.

"Nice of them to leave the door unlocked. Shame they couldn't leave the heater running, too," Jesse complained.

"Oh man, not much of a welcome committee huh?" Taka asked, nudging Henri and motioning towards the bodies sprawled on the floor.

"I don't know," Henri smiled, swallowing her unease at the holey, bloddless bodies, "They look like the life of the party."

Ahead of them, the enigmatic Scarleth and cocksure Jesse stood at a computer terminal, seemingly engrossed in what was on the screen. She understood their mission depended on stealth, the eerie, suffocating silence made that perfectly clear, but Henri was crawling out of her skin, standing around like this. There was something wrong about this place. She reached out to Taka, who she knew would respond, and whispered "Hey, you wanna explore a little?"

"Oh gosh, do I ever! This is like, the best game of hide and seek," Taka answered, excitement thick in her speech, "You think we'll find anybody hiding in their rooms?"

"Oh boy, you're one sandwhich short of a picnic huh?" Henri said, not unkindly, "Come on then, quietly now."

They crept behind the rest of the group, down a desolate corridor, the only sound their breaths and the gentle hum of the heater. This was the setting to a horror film the part where the two girls get dragged off by the ankle, screams echoing in futility. Wow, calm down imagination, Henri thought. Taka paused at an intersecting corridor, looking down the hallways. Off to one side the hall stretched on, it's sleek metal walls interupted at intervals by several doors.

"This way!" She chimed happily, taking Henri by the hand and skipping down towards the doors, "I bet you these are the bedrooms." Taka stopped at the first door, rolling the salt cube around in her mouth as she crouched next to a body. A woman was slumped against the door as if she had been locked out.

"Man, she must not be very good at hiding, she's full of those holes that don't bleed, see?" Taka said, pointing in the general area of the woman's torso. "I bet we'll find somebody behind this door," She deduced.

"I'm not sure I want to find anyone else." Henri retorted. The body count was really racking up.

Taka stood, dusting off her hands for no real reason at all, and pressed the button to the door—Nothing happened. She pressed the button a few more times, just to be sure—Still nothing. A frown formed on her face as she stared at the door, "You think exploding it will work?" Taka asked, turning to her new friend.

"No doubt," Henri said, imagining the noise and debris that would cause, "But- do you mind if I try something first?"

Taka shrugged and made a motion as if to say 'go ahead', so Henri picked up her left leg and placed her foot on the door. She felt her leg hum as it charged before releasing like a piston and warping the door thoroughly, leaving a hole large enough for the two to clamber through.

"Sorry Taka," She smiled up at the Nohvan, "I'll let you blow something up next time."

"Wooah that was awesome! Taka stated, eyes wide with awe as she stared at the warped metal. She poked her head through the hole, looking around for a minute before slithering through the hole rather awkwardly. She landed on the other side with a thud. Inside the room had a pretty standard layout. A bed pushed against one wall, the sheets in disarray. The other wall held a desk with clutter strewn about haphazardly, and a tipped over chair with a body splayed out next to it. Taka reached back through the hole, offering Henri a steadying hand as the smaller woman ducked through the hole with a bit more ease.

Together they approached the body, Taka kneeling next to a puddle of congeled blood on the floor. "Looks like he wasn't having a good time," Taka noted, gesturing towards the pistol lying a few inches from the man's limp hand. Apparently he'd either locked himself in, or become trapped. Taka nudged the corpse with her toe, "At least he's not a zombie," she said, approving of the body's unwillingness to rise from the dead and feast on her delicious flesh.

"Meet a lot of zombies, do you?" Henri said, covering her mouth and turning away. What could drive a man to this? Did she want to know? She imagined Taka would face off whatever it was with teeth bared and a smile in her eyes. Glancing around the room, Henri spotted holopad lying on the floor, she picked it up gingerly. The screen stared back at her, dead. Lifting a panel on her arm, Henri plugged the tablet in and watched the screen flicker to life.

"Oo' What's that? Did you find treasure?" Taka asked.

"I might've."

The tablet flickered to life after a moment, showing a generic logo as it powered on. The device's interface looked relatively simple and contained a handful of folders, obviously cenetered around some sort of research. Taka leaned down, peering over Henri's shoulder as the smaller woman navigated through the folders. She tapped away at the device, scrolling through pages of notes and graphs before something caught her eye—

I can feel it calling me. It haunts my dreams, I can feel its presence through every waking moment. It always beckons, a warm feeling deep within my brain, a euphoria I can't understand. The Artifact, what is it? What does it want? I'm not sure how long ago we found it, I'm not sure of anything anymore, the only constant is that beckoning, like my mother's embrace, always at the back of my mind—But it's getting stronger, I think.

We're not sure who, or what made it yet. But something is definately wrong. I've brought my concerns to the director but my emails have gone unanswered. It's definately not of human origin, that much I can. God dammit, get out of my head!

It looks like a small pyramid, no longer than my forearm, and no taller either, it's relatively as big as my desk fan. But it's so powerful, why won't it leave me alone? I get strange sensations around it, comfotable, but also wrong. As if my body senses something unnatural, but my mind is too clouded to see it clearly. Warmth, always there, always present, it never stops. But I still don't know what its purpose is, I regret the day we found this thing.

It's evil... but its not, really, is it? It doesn't open, it doesn't close, it doesn't whir or hum—Not that I've found. Yet. It just, calls me, I want to go back to it. To feel the sensations it gives me, nothing else compares to it, I just—No, I must fight it. Things have become so surreal, it's like I'm in a dream. A warm, cozy dream that's constantly pressing around me—I can't escape it. I fear i'm going to lose myself to it—That's what it wants, right?

Henri let out a breath she didn't know she'd been holding, so they might be trapped in a horror film after all. Except instead of a monster they'd be picked off, one by one by a menacing... pyramid. What a joke. Still, the fear in that recording was palpable.

"Wo-ho-hoah, spooky."

"Yeah.. Yeah it is." She turned to Taka, "Come on, we better show someone more qualified for this shit."
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Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Morose
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Morose ✨Snips ✨

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Scarleth "Ruby Red" Pevensey

Scarleth grinned when One Arm followed her request. She had half expected the man to make some comment about her body, and if he had, she wouldn't have had an issue with cutting his throat to maintain the silence. When fighting the shadows, it helps to play by their rules. Running around and screaming only draws out attention, the last thing that the ragtag crew of criminals needed. As Jesse began cracking into the personnel logs, Scarleth pointed up, aiming to divert his attention for a moment. If he had half a brain, which she hoped he did, he'd realize her warning.

As far as Scarleth was concerned, they weren't alone. The hostiles could be hidden anywhere, perhaps even with camouflaging technology. She'd know, after all. Image refractors helped her eliminate her targets on more than one occasion. However, Jesse's hand on her shoulder caused the assassin to tense up. Had she not summoned him over, she likely would have flipped him over her head, and crushed his skull into the ground.

He'd look much better with just one arm, Scarleth thought to herself. She couldn't deny that the man was aesthetically pleasing. Now if only he'd show some competency and get the results they needed.

Her eyes scanning over the personnel records, Scarleth nodded curtly. Ancient artifacts never turned out to be what you thought they were. An ancestor of hers had nearly been killed over one on Earth, one of the few surviving records about the Pevensie family, or as they were known back then, the Ashworths. Plastering on a fake smile in thanks of One Arm, she touched his neck lightly.

Confident that he would understand her proposal, and even more confident that he'd comply that evening, Scarleth stepped away from the terminal. Putting her fingers on her lips, she whistled once. Getting the attention of everyone would be the quickest that way, as well as the least likely way to be noticed. They didn't have any sort of vibration signal to group up, so it'd have to do. Scarleth then settled to wait patiently for the others to join her and Jesse. She figured that they'd find the scientists in the cave, likely gone delirious over the artifact.

It'd be a normal day.
Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Firecracker_
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Whispers of gusting wind from outside the ship were the only sound that greeted Max's ears on the frozen planet, and the same wind cooled the lifeless hangar to bone chilling temperatures, but Max's jacket and pants provided ample warmth. Callum, Priness, and the rest of the group cautiously moved in front of him, as he played rear guard of the group.

Less pairs of human eyes on his back this way, he figured.

One by one, the group slowly dissappeared into the dimly lit hanger through the air lock. Before anything else, it was the smell that hit Max, and following Callum farther into the base, he saw the source. Dead and mutilated guards. Full of bloodless holes, something that Max hadn't seen in the past. Sure, sometimes bullet wounds didn't bleed, but three bodies full of dry wounds made no sense. The others seemed to share in his disbelief.

After giving the cold coprses a close inspection, Callum led the rest of the group forward, through a doorway leading them to the main area of the lab, with warmer air that was just as filled with death as the hallway. Trying to ignore the lifeless body at his feet, Max took a few extra moments scanning and memorizing a layout of the base, as the rest of the group continued further. The group made it to the main lab, which was devoid of any sort of life, or any signs of death. As if everyone left instantly, at the same time. The room gave Max the chills, even with the warm air pumping out of the vents around him. Superstition, which didn't come naturally to the Nohvan, washed over him, and his legs burned to run back to the ship, leaving whatever was let loose on this base to continue wreaking havoc in peace.

The seven of them stood, peering around the labratory, until Callum suggesting splitting up, to which the rest of the group responded to by scattering in all directions. Maxamillian, content to stay in the labratory, where it was warm and free of dead bodies, stuck around with the Pirate King. He felt some anxiety leaving Princess to her devices in, for all they knew, was a facility filled with monsters the like of which the universe had never seen, but, seeing her walk off with the woman armed with three bionic limbs comforted him slightly.

Not wanting to stand around and be usless, Max began to scour the room for clues, something, anything that could tell him what had transpired. Hidden doors along the walls, open vents along the ceiling or floor, extra doors that led to closets or new hallways, Max searched for anything he could, but his efforts were sadly fruitless. A sigh of discontent flowed from his nose, and he finally turned and broke the eerily silence that had set in when the rest of the group left.

"Hey Callum," he spoke in a low tone, "You find anything on that computer yet?"

"No, nothing that could help us figure out what happened here. There are just files about their research, the animals they were studying and the enviroment of the world." Callum replied as his eyes were focused on the computer screen.

"What about you? Anything?" He said as he turned towards Max. They didn't have anything to go off of.

No, nothing- Max paused as he finally noticed something. Something shined in the corner of the room farthest from him, reflecting the harsh flourescent light that covered the lab. A surveillience camera. "Scratch that, actually. Tell me what you see in that corner, Callum." Max said, pointing to the corner of the room farthest from them, near one of the exits.

"I see it, that's a security camera. That might be a lead." Callum affirmed as he looked at Max then towards the camera. He recognized the Nohvan from years ago. The man had a reputation. The Black Stars used smugglers, he wondered if they had gone through him.

"We need to find the control room, hopefully whatever killed the scientists forgot about the cameras." Callum said as he walked out of the research lab back to where the base layout was displayed. The control room was located on the opposite side of the facility.

"It's on the other side of the base, let's check it out." Callum said to Max with a nod.

Max follwed suit, passing Callum as he looked at the map.

"Way ahead of you, dude. He said, slightly amused.

With Callum in tow, Max turned the corner to the hallway that led to the Control Room, seeing a few more dead, bloodless bodies sitting near the door. Dry holes peirced their armor, while blackened holes pierced the walls around them. Limbs and necks were bent in unnatural angles, as if something came around after their death and broke them. The looks of fear and pain that were on their faces when they died remained cemented, as if a freeze frame of their final moments. The light above the doorway to the control roof had broken, and the light coming from the control room was flickering, giving the corpses an unsettling presence. Foreboding of some evil force that still lurked, Max gave his head a quick shake, raising White Wolf and giving his arm a quick stretch before shouldering the stock.

"I'll take point, just make sure I don't get bit in the ass." He said, slowly beginning his approach to the door. He could see the barrel of Callum's assult rifle out of his peripherals, and he felt a bit more comfortable knowing it wasn't pointed at him.

Still a human, though. He said, remembering the ill feeling in the back of his head. It had been a very long time since he had worked alone with a human, and he didn't like it even then.

The pair neared the door, with Max and Callum putting their backs against the wall. They shared a nod, and wordlessly, Max pivoted around the door frame, and crouched, with Callum pivoting and standing above him, rifle pointed over Max's head.

Standing in the door way, with barrels of weapons pointed in the same direction, the men scanned the control room, revealing more of the same. Littered across the room were perforated bodies, some in heavier armor than the ones before. Necks and arms contorted, looks of horror still plastered on the faces of the dead men and women, Max felt something in his chest stiffen. Everytime the light above would flicker off, the blue glow of the computers around the room would, for a moment, give the dead faces look straight out a horror movie, as their frozen eyes stared at Max, screaming for him to leave. He'd seen his fair share of dead bodies, but nothing like this. Trying his best ot shove his fear and anxiety to the back of his head, Max returned to his feet, lowering his gun, but keeping his grip on it tight.

Callum shuffled in behind him, beginning to root through drawers and cabinets, but Max's attention had become fully glued to the surveillence computer that had given the corpses their grim glow. He had begun to rewind the security recordings, and it wasn't long before he rewinded back far enough to see the facility working normally. He skipped forward a bit, and landed as something began to go wrong at the entrance to the hangar. Guards and scientists were scrambling around, faces twisted with fear and confusion. Men and women in guard armor started handing guns to one another, and tried to herd some of the scurrying scientists to safety. Max switched the feed to the cameras in the laboratory, and the situation there was different, yet still foreboding.

Leaving their workstations and computers, the confused men and women clad in white jackets were all crowding around the doors and exits, all looking up and down the hallways, apprehension and fear written in their expressions. Suddenly, on the side of the room farthest from the camera, a security guard squeezed their way through the scientists, shouted a few sentences to the room, and exited through the door nearest the camera. Many of the researchers followed suit, scrambling to shove themselves out the door, leaving their work and research strewn across tables and desks, same as it had been when they were still doing their job. Like a herd of cattle stampeding away from a thunder clap and lightening flash.

Switching back to the hangar camera, Max was granted with the view of a few guards already laid upon the ground, a few of them still writhing in pain, taking in their last breaths. They sat in the same positions that they had been found when the team entered the hangar. Max's fingers scrambled to rewind the video, but it only rewound for a moment, before it turned to static. When the static ended, the guards were back standing, alive, preparing for something that was coming towards them. One of the guards near the front, a blonde haired woman in a face mask, began to fire her assault rifle, but, as the muzzle flashed, the static took over the screen, lingered for a few moments, and then returned to the view of the dying and dead bodies. Max rewound and replayed the tape over and over again, aggitation growing everytime the static appeared, and staring for a few moments too long once the injured and dead reappeared, living out their last moments over and over again. Max fianlly paused the tape, staring deep into the eyes of security guard whose final death throe twisted his head far enough up that his eyes met their resting place staring at the camera, and straight into Max's eyes.

The Nohvan's breathing began weaken as his chest shook, losing the strength to break his staring contest with the corpse on screen. The glow from the screen burned his eyes, and the more he tried to fight staring at the screen, the more his teeth gritted against eachother, and pain flared in his temples.

"What's wrong, man? You see a ghost?" The corpse spoke.

Max's head jumped up, as the tunnel in his vison broke away, and the hum of the electronics in the room reentered his conciousness. To his left, Callum stood, looking Max up and down, a suspicious look on his face. He turned to the screen, looking over the screen.

"You've been staring at this for quite a while. You see something I don't?

Max's view left Callum and returned to the screen, only to find that the corpse that he had been staring at was instead stared at the ceiling, his arms and legs broken in angles that would make a contortionist jealous. His eyes widened, and a bit of panic began to set in before Max could calm himself down.

"No, no." He said said, shaking his head as he looked away from the screen. "I was just thinking, whatever attacked this place must've been some sort of fucking monster. Check this out." Max began to start replaying the section with the static, but Callum brought a hand up, signaling Max to stop.

"Yeah, I know, I saw. I kinda noticed that you started replaying the same part over and over again. It's fucked up, but you're also starting to act weird." Callum said, eyeing Max up and down. He had too been shocked by the sights he had seen, it made his stomach twist. No soldiers could have done this, it was too brutal. This was the work of something else, something terrifying.

Max sighed. "Yeah, I know. Just, something about this place doesn't feel right. I don't want to get all scary movie on you, but this is by far the most overbearing place I've ever been in. Something fucked up is going on here."

Puncuating the end of his sentence, a low, dull scratching sound came into earshot, and both Callum and Max instantly readied their weapons, both pointed at the door. As the noise grew closer and closer, the two took postions around the room, Callum throwing a body off a table and overturning it, Max taking cover behind a support column farther back. Both weapons remained pointed at the door, as the scratching grew nearer and nearer, before the source of the noise finally crossed their field of view.

One of their crew members shambled past, dragging in his wake one of the mangled bodies of the security crew that had been littered around the base. Callum turned, giving Max a look of incredulity, as they both moved from their postions, walking towards the door, weapons still readied.

Max left the room first, then Callum behind him, and their sights trained on their crew member as he kept his slow shamble moving forward. The duo caught up quickly, slowing their pace to keep distance before speaking. Callum stared, utterly confused by what was transpiring.

"Reaver!" Callum barked. His weapon still clenched. "What the fuck are you doing, man?

Reamaining silent and facing away from the duo, Reaver stopped, still gripping onto the collar of the dead guard. Max, being closer to the man, slowly took a few steps forward, as Callum sat behind, gun trained on the man. Taking a deep breath, Max reached out with his left hand, placing a firm grip on Reaver's shoulder, giving a gentle tug to turn the man around.

Without much resistance, Reaver turned, dropping the dead body, and taking a few stumbling steps before steadying himself again. His face was hauntingly blank, and his stare bore straight through the two men pointing guns at him, like he was staring hundreds of miles ahead. His face had turned a pale white, more like a ghost in complexion than a man. A cold sweat dripped down his cheeks. His hands were shaking, they took with sweat.

Callum spoke up. "Mask, back the fuck up."

Max obeyed, and slowly walked back, and as Reaver came more into view, the man dropped his knees. His stare was now downwards as the tremble in his limbs became more apparent. Max's chest tightened again, and his grip on White Wolf tightened, as he took a few more steps back, standing aside Callum. Reaver remained errily quiet.

Callums voice was a bit lower, filled with apprehension, as he spoke. "Reaver, what the fuck happened to you? What did you see?"

Slowly, Reaver's downward stare found it's way to Callum. The gaze sent a chill down the Ex space pirate's spine as he felt as if a dead man was looking at him. No person did this, no way in hell. He wondered if he had ended up in a real life Hollywood horror movie as Reaver's jaw dropped and spine tingling words uttered from his lips.

"The voices never stop talking, do they guys? They just fuckin' yap and yap and yap, as soon as we walked in this place. They just. Don't. Stop." He muttered as more sweat dripped from him.

"What voices? What are they saying to you, Reaver?" Max spoke up, a bit unsure of himself. The question aroused a questioning glance from Callum.

"That's the thing, I have no fucking idea. There were so many voices, all talking over each other. I can't understand a single one of them. They just kept talking and talking, I couldn't give them what they wanted. Then they all went silent, I thought that was it. N-no, there was another. Deep, visceral with each letter it spoke I felt my bones rattle. It won't stop, please God, help me, please." Reaver replied as his words became more difficult to comprehend, tears had formed in his eyes and he brought both hands to his face as he cried into them.

"Please God, make it stop!" He nearly screamed.

"And how the hell do we do that? I don't hear anything, neither does Max. Callum asked, looking down the sights of his weapon, apprehension becoming a bit clearer in his voice than before.

"Kill me. Reaver said as he sprawled forward slowly,using his hands to drag himself towards his fellow crewmembers. Blood was on his face, spread by the tears. At that moment Callum noticed Reaver's fingers were leaking blood, he had been running them against a surface in his insanity. With each movement more crimson drops stained the metallic floor.

"That's the only way." He added, desperation and terror the only emotions on his face.

"Ah, you know we can't do that. That would mean us dying, too, remember? Callum advised. As he lowered his weapon to show he wasn't going to comply with the crazed man.

"I can do it myself. The voi-ices they have to s-stop. I can't fucking take it." He said, drawing his revolver from his holster. His fingers shook as he grasped around the weapon's edges, it was loaded. The barrel rattled against his jaw as he pointed it upwards towards his brain.

Max and Callum tensed up,then aimed at the deranged man.

"Woah, now, Reaver. You don't have to do all that, now. Just put the gun down, and go back to the ship." Max said, aiming at the man's head.

Reaver stood and stepped forward, lessening the already short distance between them. Max and Callum stepped back, barking for Reaver to keep his distance, but he didn't listen. The deranged man continued approaching, and the duo kept shouting at him, but to no avail. The revolver shook in his hands with each step. It's butt inked with blood.

Reaver inhaled, then released a bloodcurling scream, more akin to beast than man. He suddenly twisted the revolver around towards Callum and Max then squeezed the trigger with animalistic furiosity. Three shots rang out, but Max was unable to tell who fired first. Both Max and Reaver recoiled, Reaver from the bullets that struck his hand and arm, severing a few fingers and destroying his weapon. Max felt his head jolt back, as the bullet struck the upper left part of his helmet. The shock stunned him, and he stumbled back, his arms getting limp. Callum rushed over and grabbed Max by his shoulders, shaking him, shouting words that Max could not clearly understand. He grabbed Max's head, checking for penetration, and looking into Max's visor, trying to shout him out of his stupor.

Both the men were jolted from their feet, and pounded to the floor, as Reaver piled on top them in a crazed tackled. Max sat pinned under both, as Callum stuggled to elbow Reaver, who sat atop both of them, trying to wrap his hands around the Pirate King's neck. Blood dripped onto Callum's visor with the rapid movements. Max, knocked out of his daze, brought his bionic arm under the duo, and shoved both the men off of him, and the both tumbled to the floor on the right side of him.

Jumping to his feet, Max stepped over a Callum struggling to get off the floor, and delivered a kick to Reaver's ribs. Reaver tried to catch Max's kick, but the momentum made Reaver fall back down, and roll onto his back. Max's metal hand found it's way around Reaver's neck, and began squeezing, as Reaver began to writhe and wiggle, desperately trying to pull Max's grip off his neck. Something yanked Max off of Reaver, and threw him to the floor on the opposite side of the hall.

"Mask, are you fucking crazy?!" Callum shouted. He began to say something more, but they were inturrupted by another of Reaver's scream, except this time, it was a scream of agony and pain. Both men jumped back, Max pulling Vagabond from his holster, taking aim, and Callum doing the same with his sidearm.

The two men watched as Reaver nearly tore the hair out of his head, writhing in pain. The only sound within his head that overtook the voices was a siren sounding that only he could hear. He gripped his skull, and kept screaming, his voice breaking, until the screaming was inturrupted by a ear shattering pop. Which sounded through the narrow halls of the facility. In an instant, Reaver's head disappeared, turning into a red rain of brain matter and skull chunks. A sickening crimson mist filled the air, Callum inhaled some of with a fit of coughs. Reaver's now lifeless body slumped to the floor, resting in a growing pool of blood.

The two lmen were showered in gore, Max's mask thankfully served to keep any of it from hitting his actual face. Callum, on the other hand, wasn't so lucky, as a piece of brain matter stuck to his cheek, and other smaller chunks rained on him. His face was stained with blood that was not his own. Neither of them were really concerned with the mess that had been made, as the explosion that caused it had given their ears quite the bust. Max stumbled back into the security room, falling over to the ground, hands desparately trying to get his mask off, slipping on the coating of slick blood. Callum simply fell over on the ground, a few feet away from Reaver's red-stained body, clutching his ringing ears and head in pain.

After a few moments which felt like painful hours, the ringing stopped and Callum could hear his thoughts, only his own. He opened his eyes, then used one of his hands to wipe a deadman's blood from his face. He sat up, let out a deep breath and looked towards Max.

"Max, are you okay? What the hell just happened?" Callum exclaimed as his words turned from caring to sheer surprise and shock. The horrific last moments of Reaver's life before the bomb in his head went off flashed through Callum's mind. The feds were not lying, they had actually done such a thing.

Max simply lied on the floor and let out a sickened groan. "Yeah, I'm fine. Jesus, those Federation guys weren't lying. They really put a fucking bomb in our heads. Max stood from where he sat on the floor, and walked out to the hall to take a full survey of the horror. The walls and floor around Reaver's limp body were all showered in a healthy coating of deep red blood, with grey matter scattered all over the place. Even the ceiling wasn't spared, covered in blood and bits, sometimes dripping down on the two men, which Callum quickly learned to dodge.

Callum and Max themselves had gotten a healthy coating of crimson and brains, too. Max's jackets had a light red hue all over it, and Callum's face was still marked red, same as his armor. Max fought back the jumping in his stomach, puking wasn't the best thing to do while wearing a mask. Pointing at Reaver's body, Max spoke up again.

"We might as well show the rest of them this guy. Not only to show them what kinda shit is lurking here, but to remind them not to fuck around with the blasting cap in their cranium. Max's stare lingered on Reaver for a moment, before he began trying to wipe his sleeves off to no avail. The bits rolled off, but the blood still stained him.

Man, this is my favorite jacket, too.

"Agreed, let's drag him back to the others. I'm sure they heard all the noise that 'incident' made, probably want to know what the hell happened," Callum muttered as he walked towards the nearby corpse. The sight might not have been the worst part, he had forgotten the stench of death. He grasped the headless body by the legs then looked at Max.

"You get to carry the other side. You didn't get any of his brain matter on your face, think that tradeoff is fair." He said with an actual smirk. Dark humor was always some of the funniest to him.

Max chuckled in the form of a sharp exhale of his nose, and bent over, grabbing the body by it's arms, lifting it all the way off the floor.

"This certainly isn't that bad for our first date, hm?" Max mused, as they began walking down the hall.

"A little too explosive for my tastes. I don't usually end up in someone's bodily fluids until the third or fourth date." Callum joked back as the duo slowly made their way back to the rest of the criminal team. Both were careful to avoid slipping on the blood splattered on the metallic floors. He hoped their now dead squadmate was the only one who had heard 'voices' in their head and gone mad from it. He really didn't need to see a repeat performance from anyone else.

"Do you think whatever was fucking with his head explains what got rid of the scientists? Or the guards?" He asked with a raised eyebrow, maybe whatever had made Reaver go off the deep end had its sinister fingers intwined with the people that had been in the facility for much longer.

"Oh, no doubt. I imagine it's the same thing that was fucking with me when I was watching that securtiy camera footage. Something a bit more fucked up than 'wild animal' is going on here. But I wonder, if it can make us go insane, what's with it making swiss cheese of all the guards at the front? Max said, adjusting his grip on Reaver's arms. The two rounded a corner, getting closer to the Labratory that the group had split up at. Max's arm began to tire, as Reaver was heavier than he looked.

"I have no idea. Maybe it wanted the guards to serve as a warning? But then why the disappearing scientists? Nothing makes sense here. This place is nothing but bad news." Callum said, he was no coward but he wanted off this world. He was sure some of the others would be thinking the same once they saw what happened to Reaver.

"We're almost there." Callum added with a grunt as he too was straining to carry the dead man.

Finally, the two men made it back to the labratory, where they sat Reaver down in front of the doors that they entered in. Max took a deep breath, and leaned against the wall, slowly sliding down to sit on the floor. He let his head fall back, resting on the wall, and sighed.

"Please, just call the rest of them back here so we can get the fuck out of here. Max remembered he hadn't wiped any of Reaver off his mask, but considering everything that had happened, he didn't much care anymore. He just wanted off the desolate ice planet, and away from whatever it was that had been messing with his mind.

"Will do," Callum said then clicked the comms device on his wrist. He spoke into it. "Everyone back to the main lab now, we need to talk. You probably heard an explosion and gunfire."

The tired Pirate King then took a seat in a chair, crossed his arms and waited for the rest of the team to show up. Hopefully not driven insane by mysterious voices.
Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by R31GN
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R31GN Hail to the King, Baby

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Jesse, as loathe as he might've been to admit it, couldn't help but fixate his gaze on Scarleth, especially when she caught his attention with a point upwards. Rather concerned, he looked up momentarily from his work to the ceiling, expecting to find some alien creature drooling acid from just above them -an expectation that was very thankfully not fulfilled. He gave her a genuinely confused look, before turning back to the computer screen, hoping to find more specific information.

Though he found nothing more of fruition, his work was rewarded in Scarleth's not-so-subtle message, and a smile that Jesse recognized very well. Many a woman gave him that same exact smile when he told them just how rich he really was. The feeling was bittersweet, really, a toss up between flattering and disappointing. He shrugged the conflicting batter of emotions off, resolving to simply accept it at face value.

Jesse stepped away from the terminal, echoing Scarleth for a few steps before stopping to reboot his cybernetic eye's former functions. While he tapped his foot silently waiting for his augmentation to load it's protocol, he looked up in time to see Scarleth put fingers to her lips before letting out a whistle. Jesse snapped to attention, whipping his revolver from it's holster in a heartbeat and raising it to head level as he scanned the room for any hostiles who might've heard the sound. After a moment of no adverse reactions, Jesse holstered the revolver, and looking to Scarleth.

Jesse certainly understood the need for the whistle, but he still gave her a condescending look, with an over exaggerated finger to his lips. A grin slid across his face as he lowered the finger, pacing around the room as the two waited. Eventually giving up on the pacing, Jesse took a seat on the computer terminal, stretching out his muscles one by one. "Y'know, I bet this whole 'bomb in the head thing' isn't even real. Feds are just fucking with us, playing mind games -they couldn't kill us, after all. Can you imagine what the public would think if we were executed, and didn't have to sit out our sentences?" Jesse mused, as he leaned back. His relaxation was rather rudely interrupted by the sound of gunfire, then an explosion. Jesse sprung to his feet, once again whisking his gun from it's holster, and aiming it in the direction of the noise.

"That's... not a good sound..." Jesse muttered, walking slowly forward towards the source of the noise. "Maybe we should make sure the others aren't making too much trouble." He muttered, lowering the gun to his side. If Scarleth dignified Jesse's ramblings with a response, he neither heard nor acknowledged it. A cacophany of voices echoed in the head of the gambler, making him double take. He stretched his head back, eyes rolling upwards towards the inside of his skull as he tapped the tip of his revolver to his temple in a slow rhythm. "Shut up. Shut up. SHUT UP." He thought to himself, silencing the voices that distracted him.

As if on cue, Max and Callum entered, dragging with them a headless corpse that Jesse was relatively sure belonged at one point to their comrade -Reaper or some similarly 'wannabe-badass' name. Jesse looked expectantly to Callum, who addressed the group as a whole through a comms device.

"Everyone back to the main lab now, we need to talk. You probably heard an explosion and gunfire."

Jesse strutted over, sliding his weapon back into the holster. He looked at the two gore-drenched men, and slowly took a step back.

"Damn straight we need to talk. What the hell did you two do to True Grit over here?" He muttered, nudging the corpse with his foot. "If he didn't before, he sure as hell puts the 'Ugly' in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly now." He spat, head jerking just slightly to the side as he heard voices surfacing again in the back of his head. His hands flexed and twitched near the grip of his pistol, but he didn't grab the weapon. In a more serious voice, Jesse turned to Max. "This wouldn't happen to have anything to do with some mysterious artifact bullshit these scientist dickbags dug up, would it?" He mumbled, as he reached out to wipe some of the gore from Max's helmet.
Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Morose
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Morose ✨Snips ✨

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Scarleth "Ruby Red" Pevensey

Rather than the rest of the crew quietly gathering at the terminal, the sounds of gunfire echoed throughout the facility. Scarleth's nostrils flared, her eyes burning with rage and anger. The cracking of the communicator furthered it, with Scarleth letting out a deep and controlled sigh. Jesse's exaggerated finger to his lip certainly didn't help to improve her mood.

Fuck it. There's no more point in trying to stay silent. The crew had the discipline of a rabid dog, as far as she was concerned. She frowned deeply.

"I honestly doubt they'd let them know if we died," Scarleth observed, raising an eyebrow at Jesse. "They certainly aren't going to tell the public that they freed us and allowed us to die, and they won't say we've been killed. They'll say nothing, and they'll continue to assume we're imprisoned." Rolling her eyes slightly at his jump, Scarleth softly pulled her own weapon, as relaxed as humanly possible. It didn't help to be stressed. "You are rather adept at stating the obvious," Scarleth coolly observed.

Her eyes fell on the corpse for a moment. She made a mental note of it, a soft smirk on her face. "I believe this proves your theory incorrect, One Arm," she commented. The manner of death for Reaver, a quieter member of the crew, was hardly similar to the deaths of the guards. While those had been bloodless, this one was anything but. She slid her weapon away quietly, before returning to scan through the logs Jesse had brought up. She hardly trusted One Arm to have caught everything of importance, but a tool was a tool.

"Aside from not knowing the difference between its and it's, the scientists had little idea what they were dealing with," Scarleth surmised, mostly to aid Callum and Max. "An unknown artifact in a neighboring cave appears to have been the centerpiece of their research. Have either of you found such an artifact?"

Reaver's corpse on the ground hardly unnerved her. She had expected that someone would have to die, in order to knock some sense into the others. This situation, as much as she wished to be entirely bored with it, did have some points of interest to it. The deaths of the guards and the artifacts on the terminal. And judging that Reaver's bomb had been detonated, she deduced either in-fighting, paranoia, or something more dark had occurred just moments before.
Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Aziraphale
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Aziraphale HBIC

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A shrill whistle echoed down the halls of the base, moments later followed by the sounds of gunfire, alarming Henri.

"So much for stealth. Probably being attacked by the Pyramid of Fatal Death." She said to her companion.

"Everyone back to the main lab now, we need to talk. You probably heard an explosion and gunfire." Callum's voice crackled over the comms device on their wrists.

"We better get a move on..." Henri stalled, realised she'd never been introduced to the explosive Nohvan, "Uh, sorry, what's you're name?"

"Oh, that's right you never heard mine huh," Taka affirmed, crouching once more next to the hole and looking towards either direction in the adjoining hallway, "It's Taka—But everybody just calls me Princess, She replied rather blatantly, as they climbed back through the hole.

Princess? That's... interesting. Henri thought before saying, "Nice to meet you Princess. My name's-"

"Little Henri!" Taka interjected.

The outburst startled a laugh out of Henri, "Yeah. That's me." Back on the ship she was a witch, here she was Little Henri. She was starting to like this.

The pair retraced their path through the long cooridors, Henri with the holopad tucked firmly beneath her arm and Taka rummaging once more in her bag. She procurred another cube, plopped it into her mouth, and offered the bag to Henri who tried her best not to grimace.

"No thanks, I'm watching my blood pressure," She refused.

"Oh sorry, I didn't mean to make it rise," Taka replied offhandedly, putting the treats away.

They entered the main lab just in time to overhear Scarleth, "An unknown artifact in a neighboring cave appears to have been the centerpiece of their research. Have either of you found such an artifact?"

"Did someone say murderous inanimate object?" Henri chimed in, determinedly ignoring their freshly beheaded companion,"You may want to take a look at this." She threw the holopad, video open, to Scarleth.

"Holy Frijoles, looks like he just can't seem to get ahead huh?" Taka commented, glancing towards the body on the floor. The scene sparked a memory, but she ignored it and turned to face Scarleth, looping an arm around Henri's shoulders.

"So did we win yet?"
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by KaiserElectric
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KaiserElectric Spaghetti Enthusiast

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Tesra wanted to get out and stretch her legs more then anyone, of course. Infiltrating a research base to snoop around was old hat for a thief like her, and she would have loved to get the opportunity to brush up on her sneaking skills and warm up her neglected hacking software. Still, someone needed to guard the ship, and though it pained her to remain, she solemnly volunteered to stay behind and guard the ship so that it would be safe for their return. It was a burden to be so honorable of course, but staying behind on a nice warm ship and trying to re-beat Shovel Knight while her team ventured out into the bitter cold was a sacrifice she would be willing to make.

"Such a saint is she who would forgo glory for the safety of her brothers in arms," Tesra recited dramatically, waxing poetic as she reclined across two chairs in the briefing area dressed in her full gear, her rifle sitting in her lap and her fingers furiously working the buttons on her LanuPlay. "This Lanun, with a bravery and vigor matched only by the allure of her stunning bod, who so resolves to keep watch and remain behind so tha-OH FUCK YOU MOLE KNIGHT STOP KILLING ME!"

Sigmund, curled up in a ball under the second chair she was sitting in, twitched his ears and looked up in alarm at the sound of her shouting before deciding it wasn't necessary to move from his comfortable spot and drifted off again. Grumbling, the Lanun thief mentally prepared for the grueling journey back to the Boss fight when the comms device Tesra attached to her arm went off, causing her to flinch and sending the heroic knight down a bottomless chasm again with a chorus of colorful Lanun swears.

"Everyone back to the main lab now, we need to talk. You probably heard an explosion and gunfire."

"There's GONNA be explosions and gunfire if you get me killed again," Tesra grumbled at an absent Callum before she stowed the game away and leaped up, letting the rifle slip off her lap. She attempted to catch it with her foot and kick it back into her hands to swing it around and mount it on her back, only to smack herself in the face as she awkwardly grappled the gun with both arms to stop herself from dropping it.

"Note to self, only do that when no one's watching..." Tesra reminded herself, stowing the rifle and straightening out her hood. "Right...thermals on, guns loaded, software updated, clean underwear...time to get sneaky!"

Dashing out of the ship and into the hanger where the ship was docked. The cold hit her like a solid wall, only barely held back by the thermal heater in her suit. The built-in heater was a trick she picked up when she was breaking into the Yuulcorp data banks on the ice world of Hurk a while back. The Lanun were well known for their inability to cope with dry heat, but the cold wasn't that nice to them either, and as she learned the hard way on more then one occasion, extreme cold tended to hamper her mobility. The thermal rigging wouldn't keep her at a comfortable temperature, but it kept her spry and allowed her to work in the cold at least. Confidently striding up to the hanger doors, she contemplated them for a minute before shaking her head in disgust.

"Everyone always goes through the front door," she said somberly. "What good is an infiltration mission if you can't be subtle? If anyone's in there still they'll have seen them coming a mile away. Granted if they're shooting and blowing stuff up already sneakiness is a moot point, but still, SLOPPY!"

Tesra instead turned her attention to a ventilation shaft on the nearby wall, flush with the ground and leading directly inside. "Ahh, nothing like the classics," Tesra reminisced as she started to break off the screws holding the covering on. After a moments work, the grating fell to the ground with a resounding 'clang' as Tesra zipped into the ventilation system, humming her own theme song yet again.
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Heat
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Heat Hey, nice marmot

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"We didn't do anything to him. He did it to himself. Started to go on about 'voices in his head' that drove him mad. He put one of his guns to his head, we tried to stop him and he turned them on Max and me. Jumped us like animals," Callum explained once the group had all assembled in the lab. "Then his head blew up like a ripe watermelon against concrete, as you can see. The fucking feds weren't lying."

"I'd say the artifact seems like the best idea of what drove our friend mad. Nothing makes sense, what happened to him was like out of a horror movie. Eyes that looked like there was nothing behind them, ghostly white skin and the stare he gave us both. I won't be forgetting that anytime soon." Callum added, his words with a somber tone to them.

He barely held back showing any signs of fear or confusion, his cool exterior persevered. The still blood covered man watched the holopad be handed off, then looked it over with a quick read. It had to be the artifact, the way the scientist described it in an almost frightened manner. whatever it was, no human could have made it. He'd have bet Reaver would have given a similar description to what was going on in his mind if it was still all there. The people on this world must have stumbled upon it and began studying it, it fucked with them like it did Reaver. They had to find it, it wasn't far and they had no other leads.

"It has to be the artifact. I don't know what happened to the scientists, or the guards, but my best guess is that artifact has something to do with it. It's not far from here, we need to investigate it. We need answers." Callum exclaimed as he glanced around at his crew, he had no idea what they would find or if the artifact would still be where it was found. But they had no where else to go.

"Come on, there might be something we can take as transport in the garage. I don't know about any of you, but I don't feel like walking through Antarctica to get where we need to go." Callum added then walked the opposite way where the ship was located, two capable people had stayed behind just in case.

The garage doors were unlocked, conveniently enough. Near them were more bodies of guards, three spread around like all the ones they had discovered before. As Callum and the rest of the group entered into the garage they discovered one vehicle left, a large metal transport more akin than a tank to anything else. On each side of it were treads, perfect for traversing the snow covered world. There was enough room for all them. The one drawback being it had no weapons, but all those that would be aboard it did. The door out of the garage was already open, the powerful gusts of wind blowing snow inside. The scientists must have left this way.

"Come on, everyone aboard. Let's get moving." Callum said as he was the first one to enter the vehicle, popping the double doors in the back wide open as he hopped inside. In the back of the transport were twelve seats, six on each side. At the front were two more seats, the driver's seat and another. The keys were on the dash, the Pirate King scooped them up then pressed them into the socket. The engines lit on as the large contraption rumbled to life, ready to continue the adventure.

Once all of the group had gotten onboard, Callum wasted no time as the vehicle rolled out of the garage into the seas of snow. The wind hollowed in the air outside them, a light snowfall fell from the grey clouds. Glacies was a beautiful world in certain ways. Massive mountains sat in the distance, huge glaciers littered the world near long frozen oceans. The site of the artifact was not far, they'd reach it in less than ten minutes.

As the imposing transport and its crew sped away from the research facility, something stirred inside of it. Two of the criminals had elected to stay behind. They were not to alone for long. Throughout the building the corpses of the dead guards began to twitch in the most unnatural of ways. Their beaten, broken bodies twisted and convulsed as their bones realigned.

Their eyes shot open, as did their mouths, but their former selves were not there, something far more frightening had taken over. A piercing blue emitted from their eye and mouth holes. Their limbs extended, fingers turning into claws, teeth into razors. Those that had lost body parts regrew them, their scars still remained as they rose to some twisted form of life. Then the undead shambled around as they sensed prey was near. There were a dozen of them, perhaps more. Reaver's formerly dead body also reanimated, even without a head it was once again active.

All of them let out deeply unnatural moans and roars, alerting the two living in the base to their presence. They would not stop, they were driven by madness. Those closest to the hangar moved towards the Gladius, these monstrosities proceeded to scratch and bang against the ship as they tried to claw their way inside.

Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Heat
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Heat Hey, nice marmot

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The transport rumbled towards its destination with intent. Those in it eemed to be focused on the mission, some perhaps preparing themselves for what they might find at the cavern which contained the artifact. Ice cracked and split underneath them as the vehicle kicked up snow with each movement. Callum was no ace pilot, but he knew how to drive fast and that was what they needed. The snowfall only picked up, as did the winds. The powerful gusts of wind could be heard outside of the vehicle.

Back at the base, the strange monstrosities continued to stalk the metallic interior. Several of them crawled all over the Gladius as they looked for any way into it. One moved towards the windshield but was angered to see it had been covered in a thick metal shielding once the vessel had deactivated. A great design addition for this type of situation. In the halls and various rooms of the facility the beasts moved restlessly. Some scaled the walls as they dug their claws and climbed like ants. Two stared at the vents in the hangar, neither of them could squeeze inside, but there was prey moving around in there.

Through the front windshield of the transport something could be seen as it stood out amongst the long stretches of snow covered land and glaciers. A downward slope, littered with snow like everything else on the world. A small compass near the front of the transport marked it as the site of cavern, where the mysterious artifact sat. Callum slowed down his stride with the vehicle and approached the descent with caution. The last thing he needed was to crash and practically trap them in all of them there while a blizzard stormed on. As they all went downwards the transport went through the entrance of the cave. The cavern was wide and clear of any snow. It seemed the artifact was the centerpiece of it, there was nothing else of other than some crates, chairs and artificial lights the researchers had placed around it.

Those lights illuminated the corpses of all the scientists, dozens of them dead, no signs of movement or life from any of them. The most peculiar part of the scene was the lack of blood from any of the bodies. It was the total opposite of the visceral scene they had all been greeted by at the research base. Callum quietly exited his seat after parking the vehicle away from the carnage, pulling his eyes away from the sight of so many corpses. He slid his helmet on, not making the same mistake as before. Then they all exited the transport, as Callum spoke out.

"What the hell happened here?" He said to no one in particular as he approached the nearest carcass, Callum knelt down next to it and gave it a long look. There were no signs of trauma, no wounds of any kind. All of the bodies in the cave had that same trait. They notably lacked the gruesome holes that covered the guard's corpses from before. This mission just kept getting more strange. As he rose to his feet his gaze turned towards the artifact in the center of the cavern. It was perched on some kind of rock pillar, even as he looked at it from a distance it gave him a strange feeling. He unsheathed his assault rifle slowly then walked towards the center of the cave, carefully stepping over the many corpses. It was against his better judgement but he needed a closer look.

Then he fell to his knees as a loud ringing emitted from the artifact, it lit a bright red and Callum moved his hands to his ears. His rifle clanked against the ground in the motion. The cavern seemed to shake as the ancient object screamed out towards the crew in its proximity. Even with his hands to his head the ringing did not subsist, it only intensified as it raged into his and everyone else's ears. Then Callum's life flashed before his own eyes, visions taken from points in his life flew by in an instant. His alcoholic of a father punching him in the jaw all those years ago, the first real fight he got into, his mother shooting up on heroin, these were just some of the sights. It only intensified as his space pirate life became the focus. Him selling people into slavery, beating a disrespectful gang member to death with his bare hands, an assassination attempt on his life, all of these moments and more seemed to be on the negative side of life. The last sight he saw was his capture, imprisonment then jailbreak.

Callum started to breath heavily as the vision ended, around him his crew experienced the same sensation. They too relived the past in an incredibly intense way. The ringing finally subsided as the artifact continued to glow, then began to pulsate heavily. A voice could be heard in all of their minds, deep, coarse and very dark. Every word seemed to send shivers down each of their spines as the artifact spoke directly into their heads.

"Primitive creatures of flesh, bone and blood. Have you come here for death? I brought these you see before you here, ended their fragile existences. I toyed with their thoughts, twisted their speech and deified myself before them. They discovered this artifact, aspired, begged to learn more. I gave them what they seeked, it was too much for simple minds. I absorbed their memories, accumulated their rumination to then cleansed this world of further filth. Now you have come, all of you of ill repute and sin. All of you failed mutations and creations. You stand, now kneel before me."
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by R31GN
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R31GN Hail to the King, Baby

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As the ragtag group of criminals, low lives, and general neer-do-wells reconciled, Jesse relaxed, somewhat at ease as the scum of the earth gathered around him. He leaned back low against the computer terminal, using the barrel of his revolver to keep his head propped up in a somewhat upright position. He frowned as he listened to the others speak. Henri, Taka, Scar, and Call each seemed to have something to say, normal enough, but another voice he couldn't quite put his finger on joined in on the chat. He was almost certain he didn't recognize the voice, and he couldn't really tell where it was coming from. Jesse frowned, tapping lightly at his ear with a free hand while he passively watched the others.

"We didn't do anything to him. He did it to himself. Started to go on about 'voices in his head' that drove him mad. He put one of his guns to his head, we tried to stop him and he turned them on Max and me. Jumped us like animals, then his head blew up like a ripe watermelon against concrete, as you can see. The fucking feds weren't lying." Callum said, recounting the tale in brutal detail. Jesse frowned at this story, and rubbed at the base of his neck nervously.

Following Callum's direction, since he was as lost as the others, Jesse jumped aboard the transport. On the thankfully short ride to the location of the artifact, Jesse sighed with frustration. "Damn feds. They just send us out to some icy asshole of a planet to get fucked over by some mind-control artifact thingy? Like we're some kinda "Self-Destruction Team"? He complained, turning a laser cartridge over in his fingers.

On their arrival in the cavern, Jesse took note of the bodies scattered across the floor, but paid them little heed. He was far more focused on the artifact, the source of all their trouble. He frowned, looking up and down the pillar on which it was perched. Walking just a few paces in front of Callum, Jesse stumbled back when the artifact assaulted his mind with an onslaught of ringing and light. Jesse felt sheer agony ringing out through his ears, and took it as a cue to push on further. As he approached the artifact, he felt an intensely powerful urge to raise his pistol to his own head -a feeling he had to put all of his effort into as he fell to his knees.

On his knees before the artifact, Jesse felt his mind race through images he had tried so hard to forget. It seemed every time he had been hurt took this opportunity to resurface. In amazing clarity, as though being taken back to the moment, he relived the pain. Fifteen lashes across his back. Stabbed in the shoulder. Shot in the knee. Jesse rose up higher. Head smashed through a table. Arm twisted too far back. Broken nose. Jesse was now on his hands and knees. Overdose on stardust. Head smashed through a TV. Shrapnel in his eye. Jesse shakily rose to his feet, and leveled his weapon at the artifact. Somehow even clearer than the others, he was taken back to the moment -the moment she left him.

"...never want to see you again."

Jesse let out a gurgle of a shout as the last vision hit, sending him back down to his knees.

"Never want to see you again...

Never want to see you again...

Never want to see you again..."
He repeated, over and over, hands clawing at his own face before his voice broke, falling into a wheezing, desperate laugh. As the ringing subsided into a steady pulse, Jesse lowered his hands to look back up at the artifact as he stood onto shaky feet.

"Primitive creatures of flesh, bone and blood. Have you come here for death? I brought these you see before you here, ended their fragile existences. I toyed with their thoughts, twisted their speech and deified myself before them. They discovered this artifact, aspired, begged to learn more. I gave them what they seeked, it was too much for simple minds. I absorbed their memories, accumulated their rumination to then cleansed this world of further filth. Now you have come, all of you of ill repute and sin. All of you failed mutations and creations. You stand, now kneel before me." Spoke the artifact.

Jesse frowned, as his cybernetic eye put a highlighted outline around the artifact, and a label reading "Asshole". Breathing heavily, jaw hanging just slightly ajar. "Blah blah blah, blah blah. You going to make us kneel, or just try and talk us to death?" Jesse spoke, dipping down to grab his revolver. In one fluid movement, he took a pivoting step backwards, cocked the revolver, leveled it, and fired a single shot at the artifact. Bloody red light flooded the cavern for just a brief second as the weapon disharged.
Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Morose
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Morose ✨Snips ✨

Member Seen 3 hrs ago

Scarleth "Ruby Red" Pevensey

Scarleth nodded, not feeling the urge to make a sarcastic bite at Callum. After years of not speaking, of letting herself wither away and plotting an escape, all of the social interaction had proved tiring. She wordlessly moved among the killers and thieves, observing the death and carnage that seemed to greet them no matter where they went. At Callum grabbing the controls of the transport, Scarleth shuddered, seeing his tattoos vanish for a moment. She shook her head, feeling like the young child she once had been, when she had been sold to the Pirate King.

She stared into space as the transport carried them across the snow, mentally going through the dance routine the headmaster had drilled into them. They were supposed to mirror the elegance of death, to be as beautiful as they were wicked. And above all, they were not supposed to give into feelings, into emotions. As cold as death and just as heartless--the ideal killer. Keeping her mind focused on it, Scarleth moved with the others off of the transport ship, feeling disconnected with the world. She observed the trampled scientists, all void of blood, just as before. She saw the artifact on a pedestal, and she stared at the Pirate King and Jesse as they fell to their knees.

And then, she truly was the eighteen year old girl again.

In plain sight in the capital city of Notrurn, a small gathering appeared within the Etiquette and Culture School for Young Ladies. At the surface, it was no different than a ballet recital, with the graduates dressed up in the finest silk, and paraded across a stage. The audience members consisted not of adoring family members, but of some of the most notorious game leaders in the galaxy. Representatives from the Black Stars, the Shepherds' Guild, the Golden Arrows, and many more were in attendance. One by one, the girls showed off their talents, brutally and yet artistically killing the poor souls fetched from the gutter of society. A polite applause followed each performance, along with an introduction of the assassin in question, and the commencement of the bidding war.

"Next up, we have Miss Scarleth Pevensey," the headmaster announced gruffly, as a petite brunette walked up to the stage. And rather than show off any sort of fancy knife throws or aerial kicks, rather than do what each other candidate did that day, Scarleth merely gestured for the audience to turn their attention to Zyettie Marx, a bulky girl that all of the gang members were desperate to recruit. And practically on cue, Zyettie began to cough up blood violently, before keeling over. Scarleth hardly even blinked, taking a bow. "Let's start the bidding for Scarleth, shall we, folks? Do I hear....one million credits?"

"Right here, one million!" A bulky man exclaimed and shot one of his tattooed arms up. Below one of his eyes was the small insigna of the Black Stars. He glanced around the room at the others, hoping they'd be smart enough not to try to outbid them, they were a newer gang but a fiercly determined one.

A thin wiry man grit his teeth on the butt of his cigar, his eyes passing over the crowd trying to gauge their reaction. So far, it seemed the dainty little thing had caused quite a stir. He coughed, taking the cigar from his lips and brushing a lock of raven black hair from his eyes. Covering the right side of his face was the insignia for Vulture's Gate. He smiled and scoffed, "Two million!" He called, shooting his gaze towards the first bidder. Little fish should go back to their pond.

The Black Star shot an intense glare at the man that outbid him. They could go as high as need be, he was impressed by this girl. The boss did send him to the world for a reason, not just to get drunk and dance with some floozies. The last thing he wanted to do was anger such a man.

"Three million credits." He muttered with a look towards the headmaster then to the Vulture's Gate welp. The headmaster, of course, couldn't have looked happier. His face was stretched into a wide grin, watching as the two gangs butted heads over Scarleth. Truthfully, he hadn't seen all too much potential in the girl, but the cut of the credits he'd receive from this contract? He'd be able to retire early! Not that he would retire of course. He loved money far too much to part with earning it.

A few tables over the sinewy man sneered, attempting to hide his growing concern behind a glass of scotch. He could feel the other members figedting behind him, loosening collars, dabbing at sweat. He didn't have time to think it over properly, this fat little man thought he could keep pace did he? "Five, Million, Credits," He pronounced, a smile stretching across the side of his face as he gazed back at his competitor.

The Black Star clenched one of his fists, yet did not give off this motion as a sly smile slipped onto his face at the other gangster's large offer. They made five million in a hour or two a day.

"Six million credits." The headmaster practically fainted at those words, fanning himself with a few hundred credits. "Do I hear ten million?" A slight panicked gasp rose up from the audience as the lanky snake of a man flipped the table in front of him with rage. Dishware and the like went hurtling into the crowd as he shot one last, heated look at the Black Star Member. "Don't think this is over scum, you should have stayed where you belonged—Beneath the heel of my boot," He gave one last sneer, before storming out of the auction all together, seething with rage.

"Sold for six million credits!" the headmaster called out breathlessly. He motioned for Scarleth to clear the stage, and the eighteen year old obliged, walking over silently to the Black Stars member. The next girl then took the stage, Scarleth all but forgotten.

"I'm Ruby Red," she introduced, her face void of expression.

The automatic doors came open as the duo walked down a hallway of the space station. On one side was a window which showed the exterior of the station, a small orange planet in the distance which the station orbited. The sounds from the inside only grew louder as the two walked, at the front was the bulky bidder who purchased the young assassin. They reached another door which shot open right as someone was thrown out of it, covered in booze. The bidder stepped over the drunk then entered into the room with 'Ruby Red' in tow.

It was more akin to a bar than anything else. Some very old metal music blared over the stereo, smoke was in the air, the stench of hard liquor also there. People stood all around the room, many of them obvious gang members. Many were humans but there were aliens there as well. The Stars were not racist, they accepted the very best. As a guitar solo began in the song, the bidder walked across the room and past a pool table surrounded by gangsters. Many in the room gave glances towards the brown haired assassin, yet none made any moves towards her. They knew better.

On the far side of the room were more people, several scantily clad women and more important gangsters. The most important of them in a chair which resembled a throne more than anything else. His hair was shaved on its side, but long on top, a light stubble on his face. His eyes had followed Ruby Red as soon as she entered the room. On this man's left side sat a heavily tattooed bald man, a cigar in his mouth, a needle in his hand as he worked hard on a half finished tattoo.

"This is the assassin I purchased, she's worth every credit." The bidder said as he gave a bow to the leader currently receiving a tattoo. The seated man didn't even flinch through the pain. Behind him a gorgeous black haired woman gently massaged his back, her gentle fingers finding each knot.

"You paid a lot for her. You'd better hope she is worth it, she doesn't look like she can even lift up a rifle. We could've hired six great assassins with those credits." Callum said with a glare towards the bidder, then an equally imposing one towards Scarleth.

"Have anything to say for yourself, Ruby Red?" The gang leader asked the girl, one eyebrow raised. As he said her name in a near mocking tone.

Scarleth had hardly batted an eye, listening to the entire conversation. She remained where she was next to the bidder, her hands neatly folded behind her as she counted the seconds. She had heard about Callum, the infamous leader of the Black Stars. Despite being new among the gang lords, he'd already carved out a decent reputation for herself. It wouldn't hurt to show off to the boss a bit.

"One thing," Scarleth replied simply, glancing up at Callum. "You may want to hire better security." She glanced back over at the bidder, counting in her head. Three...Two...One...


"Will that suffice?" she inquired, her voice a monotone.

As the bidder dropped dead the room went silent. Many, many of the gangsters drew sidearms and leveled them at the girl. None squeezed the trigger, but the wide array of different models of handguns were something to behold. Callum didn't flinch at the sudden death, the tattooist paused to stare at the now deceased gang member. The pretty lady giving the massage rose a hand to her mouth to cover a scream.

The leader simply stared at Scarleth, not saying a word for several long drawn out moments. One motion and she would be gunned down in a flash. He didn't want to go that direction, that'd be six million down the drain for nothing. Finally he spoke.

"Clever, poison. He was a loyal man, was probably going to beat him a bit for spending such an extravegent amount on one young, girl. Guess that matter is taken care of." Callum slowly stated, adding a rare smirk to his words. The room was still silent, then he motioned for someone to drag away the bidder's body. The two grunts that did the dirty work keeping their distance from Scarleth.

"Are you afraid of death?" He asked her, the guns in the room still raised and the tension still high.

Scarleth had made a note of all of the guns aimed at her, of the expressions of shock and horror. It had all ceased to bother her, ages ago. From the very first memory she had, she had been taught to compartmentalize and to repress. Feelings were a sign of weakness. Caring was surrender. Love was a defect of the losing side. All of it had been drilled out of her, leaving what she believed to be an emotionless and cool shell.

"No," Scarleth answered plainly, raising her eyes to meet those of the Pirate King. "Are you?"

"Of course not," Callum replied calmly, then rose out of his seat as he took a step towards Scarleth. Then another. Practically right in her face. "I thrive off death. No one should fear something that will happen to everyone." He added as he looked her right in the eyes, locking the gaze.

She didn't blink. Her gaze held steady, she stared directly into Callum's eyes. Some said that eyes were a window to the soul, but all Scarleth saw was her own reflection. It wasn't the first time she had been lectured by someone in power, and she was certain it wouldn't be the last. "Am I acceptable to you?" she asked simply.

Callum did not answer right away, he broke the locking of their eyes as he returned to his seat. The former dive bar like room was still dead silent except for the assassin and the pirate king's chat. The massage resumed, as did the tattooing.

"Well I can't exactly say no. Spent too much money on you. Only time will tell if you're worth the steep price," He said right as the woman began to massage the back of his neck. The tension in the room died down and the previous atmosphere resumed. The heavy metal music blared, drinks were poured and chatter started back up. Callum's eyes drifted to one side of him, towards two men.

"You don't want to know what happens if you're not worth the price." Callum stated as one of the men lunged towards Scarleth, a dagger in hand, the other followed suit.

Scarleth's augmentation alerted her to the movement before they began. She kicked her legs up, flipping backwards. Whilst in the air, she pulled her two concealed daggers from her boots, landing on top of the first goon. She quickly targeted a key pressure point with the blade, rendering the man immobolized. If he showed any sign of movement, she would go for the spinal chord. The next goon that charged towards her, Scarleth allowed him to come at her, before diving to the ground at the last second. She slid underneath him, her knives tearing through his Achilles' Tendon. And then using her momentum, she began to roll into a cartwheel, kicking both goons on her way. Rolling to the ground, Scarleth came up in a crouch, her knives concealed once more, and her pistol at the ready. Her augmented eye informed her of the distance and angle for each shot, giving her a success margin from this range.

"Shall I kill them?" she asked emotionlessly, the two goons in a heap in front of her.

Callum watched the brawl end as quickly as it began. Those two were some of the best hand to hand combatants on the station, yet both were bested by a girl. She was something special, perhaps he would not have given the bidder such a harsh beating after all. He seemed to have made a solid business decision, or he got lucky. But it didn't matter, he was dead.

"No. They're no use to me dead. Show them mercy, do not dwell on that as it is one thing you will never show your targets." Callum replied.

She put her gun back in her holster, and nodded at the Pirate King. She figured that the first goon was no use to him paralyzed, and delicately pressed the pressure point to undo the damage. She then backed away from the goon once more, hardly minding the blood on her hands. "Of course." Had her face not been blank, one might have caught a smile, the feeling of satisfaction filling her. Her boss had accepted her after all, she surmised.

"Glad you understand, now get out of here. This is no place for a young girl. You'll get your first mission soon. Be ready, Scarleth." Callum calmly said with a smile.

Scarleth came to, finding herself on the ground. Her hands were covered in her own blood, and it had smeared onto the ground as well. Over and over again, the assasin repeated Callum's words. "I thrive off death...I thrive off death...I thrive off death...I thrive off death...I thrive off death...I thrive off death." As Jesse fired a round towards the artifact, the sudden noise appeared to snap Scarleth out of it, and she pulled herself to her feet. She pulled out a gun, avoiding any eye contact with the Pirate King. She didn't dare think of what else she had muttered.

"No one kills me but me," Scarleth shouted, aiming at the artifact, and firing a bullet off as well, even with the meetings she had with Callum as a young girl flashing through her mind.
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Esoteric
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Esoteric Coquette

Member Seen 5 yrs ago

Taka's face feel into a state of contentment as she listened to the ongoing discussions, mostly Callum explaining the elephant in the room, or rather, the headless elephant. She rolled the salt cube around in her mouth with her tongue, feeling quite pleased with the treat, and herself. So the fed guys had really put a bomb in her head, not that she had ever doubted them—It wouldn't have been the first time Taka had the sanctity of her cranium threatened. She wondered idly if she could get around this one, disable it, but after what had happened last time... she was rather hesitant to try. Maybe if she had like a frog or something, that's what people tested on right?

Callum gave the signal to move out and Taka obliged, fully willing to let somebody else lead. If she was the princess, then Callum had established himself as king, and she had no desire to try to ascend to the throne. Kingly duties weren't her thing anyways, she wasn't one for bossing people around. He could smile once in awhile though, she thoughts as she followed the group back to the hangar. Callum led them through the frigid air to a vehicle that looked appropriate for this type of climate. She climbed in the back, a smile on her face—

"Oh can I drive?! I'm a good driver!" She stated. However, Callum seemed quite clear on his intent to do everything, and failed to respond to Taka. She sat with a huff and pout, crossing her arms over her breasts. "Jerk.." she murmured, setting her back down between her feet.

"Damn feds. They just send us out to some icy asshole of a planet to get fucked over by some mind-control artifact thingy? Like we're some kinda "Self-Destruction Team"? Jesse grumbled, taking a seat as well.

"We're probably the best they got," Taka giggled, stretching her legs out, "And if you die, well, who cares right?"

Jesse looked over to Princess, raising an eyebrow. "Well, I'm sure Call wouldn't be too happy he didn't get to finish me off." He muttered, somewhat disgruntled by the glee with which Taka had made the comment.

Taka shot a glance at Callum's back, "King Callum has it out for you huh?" She asked curiously.

Jesse's gaze shifted amongst the criminals gathered in the transport. "Who doesn't?" He asked, almost thoughtfully, before leaning in closer to Taka. "I don't play well with others." He whispered with a wink.

Taka chewed on the statement for a moment, almost literally as she bit her treat in two, "I think you'd make a fine subject for a princess," She stated, nodding to herself.

"I'm flattered, Bubbles-"

"Princess" Taka corrected.

"-You're just warming up my little heart." Jesse commented, not giving any heed to the correction.

"And his heart grew three sizes that day," She said with a laugh, finally noticing the somber mood of the other passengers.

"That it did..." Jesse murmurred absentmindedly as he looked at his crewmates, eyes narrowly watching their dull expressions. As if snapping from a trance, his eyes widened as he looked to Taka. "Don't these jokers know how to enjoy their job?" He asked almost incredulously.

"Probably worry about 'splodin," Taka explained, tapping the side of her head for emphasis.

"Don't worry about that," Jesse said, tapping the side of his head with his revolver. "Mind games." He reminded the Novahn cryptically, before diverting his attention elsewhere. Taka followed suite, leaning back and closing her eyes. She hummed softly, listening to the howl of the icy winds and the creaking of the vehicle shaking over uneven terrain. Before she knew it they'd arrived at their destination.

"First a temple now a dungeon? I hope I get an epic!" Taka exclaimed, her voice drowned out even to herself by the wailing of the oncoming blizzard. The grouped work their way through flurries of snow towards the mouth of a cave. Taka pushed her goggles up onto her forehead, looking around with clarity in what would be darkness for most of the others. However, it didn't seem there were any hidden loot cashes in the darkened corners. The only things of interest were the lights illuminating the corpses, bright even to makes her eyes water and her vision blur. Other than that there was a strange little pyramid of metal. Taka walked closer to it, reaching her hand up towards it—

"I wonder if this is-" She began before a shrill ringing split through her skull. Her thoughts melted into incoherence, becoming only aware of the pain inside her head. She cried out as the ringing intensified, blinded by the its pulse of light. She fell to the ground, writhing, seeing only a bright white canvas of blindness speckled with flashing spots. The comfort of darkness washed over her, pulling her away from the terrible sound. Into the abyss of her own mind.

An bewildered face was looking down at her, from so high up. Onimani blinked, unaware of how to properly form words but answered with a gurgle of light, childish sound. Next to her a twin pink form sat slumped against the wall, a happy look plastered on her face despite her physical limitations. The larger figure laughed, scooping the children up in both of her arms, "I think we'll see a celebration the likes of which this city hasn't seen in a long time," she said with a laugh. The small pink nohvans mimicked the sound, feeling the joy of it. Onimani blinked—

She was running. Down an alleyway. "Come on Taki!" She cried, looking towards the exit and back to her sister frantically. The other nohvan was shambling along, using a pair of braces connected to her forearm as a crutch to help support her improperly developed legs.

"I'm going," She huffed, "As fast as—I can."

"C'mon Taki, get on!" Oni ordered, kneeling before her sister. The other girl smiled, wrapping her arms around Oni's neck. Oni help the crutches steady, so as not to bang herself up, and took off at a lumbering jog, fueled by her sister's giggles. The duo rounded the corner and emerged into a street already full swing into celebration. A hunter had killed Dhumandi in a legendary act of bravery, or so the elders had told the two small girls. It was being hauled out of the water and the girls were determined not to miss it. Oni laughed with her sister, closing her eyes for just a joyous moment—

It was dark, Oni was afraid, terrified. She crouched, hidden behind a stack of smelly crates full of fish and other sea life. Taki was crying next to her, one of her crutches broken. A pair of boots crept closer, thump.. thump.. thump. Oni pressed her hand over her sister's mouth, "Ssh" she whispered. A wide eyed Taki looked up at her nodding. The two terrified girls huddled together in the silence, ears straining for their assailant.

"Well what do we have here?" A rough voice said, peering over the top of the crates with a sinister sneer. The girls screamed, Oni squeezing her eyes shut with fright—

"Hey you little tramp, get off me!" An angered voice commanded, connecting a boot with Oni's head. She was older now, and attacking one of the members of High Octane.

"YOU DON'T EVER LAY YOUR HANDS ON TAKI AGAIN!" Oni shrieked, throwing herself back at the man, trying to bite him. They were well aware of what her fangs could do, and she found the butt of a gun jammed into her mouth.

"I'll do whatever I fucking please to that sweet little bitch of a sister of yours, you got that you little shit? You're here on my good graces, next time you do your job and you do it well or you'll find yourself in the first whorehouse I can drop you off at. You got that you little bitch?" The man sneered, kicking Oni across the floor once more. Tears streamed down her face, ones of helplessness and despair. She sat up, rubbing her fists against her eyes—

"Hey Oni?" Taki's melodic voice asked, looking up for a workbench littered with hundreds of components, her tool in mid turn against the project she was working on.

"Yea?" Oni replied passively, running a greasing rod through the barrel of her gun.

"I think today is our birthday, that makes us thirteen now, right?" Oni asked a bit sadly, her mind depressed at the thought of what could have been.

"Yea probably," Oni grunted, moving on to cleaning another piece of her weapon.

"I got you something," Taki said, using the joystick of her wheelchair to roll closer to Oni. She tapped the side compartment, build into the wheel. Oni quirked an eyebrow, but opened it for her. Inside was a small container, wrapped in dirty red cloth and tied with a bit of colorful wire to make an impromptu bow. Oni smiled, she only ever smiled around her sister now, Taki was the only one who could make her smile anyways.

"Oh sis.." Oni said, unwrapping the gift and pulling out a small pastry cake, "How did you?"

"It wasn't a lot, I promise, besides we may not need to save money anymore," Taki explained, rushing forward before her sister could question her too much, "I think I can turn them off, I promise I'll be safe about it okay?" She pulled at the metal collar around her neck for emphasis, her sister nodded, trusting Taki's judgement. Oni smiled, tearing the treat in two and sharing it with her sister. A hopeful laugh sounded from both of them, Oni's eyes closing with a pleasure she hadn't felt in a long time—

Oni fixed the goggles over her face, a simple piece of headgear with darker lens to help combat her sensitivity to the lights on the ship. Behind her the quiet hum of Taki's chair rolled behind her. Oni held up a fist, signaling her sister to stop. Around the next corner a door opened, footsteps echoed on the metal tiles coming from the hangar. A tall, thin man walked around the corner, a clipboard tucked beneath his arm.

"Were you going huh sprite?" He asked, stopping in the two girl's path.

"Ship needs some color, and a tag change," Oni explained with her best poker face.

"Both of you?"

"Does she look like she can paint you moron?" Oni growled impatiently, anxiety building in the pit of her stomach.

"And your dumb as rocks, got it, get on with it then before you get a spanking kid," The man replied with a laugh, walking around them.

Oni grit her teeth, motioning her sister to follow. Once in the hangar she gave the same story two more times, before helping put Taki up in the cockpit, second seat, where she would pretend to do the tag changes on a computer pad. Oni hopped down, approaching a pair of workers fixing up another space craft.

"Where's the paint she asked?"

One of the men turned to answer her, and found a barrel in his face, "What the FU-" the resounding bang echoed off the walls, splattering the insides of his head across the ships hull, and his coworker. The other man whirled, fumbling for something large to hit her with—Oni squeezed the trigger a second time, hitting him in the shoulder. A third time, his chest, twice more she shot him, the final round embedding itself into his head. The hangar's alarms sounded, causing Oni to let out a curse she barely understood the meaning of. She ran for the ship, where Taki was already engaging the thrusters.

A man coming around the back of the ship leveled his weapon at Oni.

"Drop it kid, the boss would hate to lose the money he could mak-Hey what the fuck you little shit," He cursed, Oni had pulled the trigger to her gun halfway through, but it only let out an empty click. The much larger man stalked forward, a sneer on his face as she backhanded her. Oni fell to the floor, tasting blood. But it was Taki's startled cry that shot adrenaline through her, overshadowing it with determined rage. Her attacker's food was raised, ready to deliver a kick to her head. She rolled around it, moving with the nimbleness only a kid could have. She sank her teeth into his ankle, holding on for dear life as he tried to shake her off. A few moments later and he collapsed to the ground, his paralyzed form failing to scream anymore vulgarities at her.

The girls laughed with relief as Oni fired the heavy blasters, blowing open a hole in the hangar. The vaccuum of space rushed in, sucking out tools and the responding High Octane personnel. The thrusters engaged and the two sisters blasted their way out of the station.

"I can't believe.." Taki wheezed, her lungs failing to supply enough oxygen throughout all of the excitement.

"Neither can I," Oni laughed, hugging her sister from the seat next to her. The girls didn't say anything else for a few minutes, they just laughed and cried together, the swirl of emotions refusing to pick a steady course. The jubilant sounds of triumph were only disturbed by a quiet beeping. The girls fell silent, Oni's eyes widening with terror.

"Oh my god.. Taki!" Oni yelled, she tried to get back to the controls. Tried to turn around, to take it all back. But her body froze and stiffened as Taki's collar detonated. The splash of wet plops sent chills down her spine, she didn't want to turn around, but she did, and the dead of space was only broken by her constant, continuous wails.

Taka huddled on the ground, curled into a ball as the scene continued to replay in her mind. The bang, the plopping sounds, the noises. Every single detail painted in perfect clarity. She body shook as it was wracked with the power of her sobs.

"Taki.." She cried, pulling herself to her knees. She stared at the ground through the wall of disheveled hair hanging in front of her face. "Taki.. please don't leave me,"

"I won't Oni, I won't," a haunting voice chimed, airy and melodic. Taka looked up towards the voice, her wails only increasing as the visage of her sister hovered just at the edge of the light. A pink skinned nohvan, with pale hair and coral colored eyes. The visage smiled at her, her eyes staring into Taka's soul. "I won't leave you again, I promise."
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by KaiserElectric
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KaiserElectric Spaghetti Enthusiast

Member Seen 4 days ago

Shimmying through the air ducts like a Candorlian tetrapede, suddenly got the feeling that something was very, very wrong. Coming to a stop, Tesra listened carefully before something became audible over the distant winds outside. With an ear finely tuned to pick up the soft sounds of a guard's footsteps, the Lanun began to hear a great mass of movement with shuffling footsteps and low murmuring groans, accompanied by an occasional wet squelching sound that made her stomach turn. Moving so as to not make a sound, Tesra shifted over to a vent to take a peek and nearly cried out in shock.

Words seemed to fail her as she saw what was happening to the bodies that were lining the hallways. Tesra looked on awestruck as the dead eyes began to glow an unnatural blew. Their flesh crackled and popped as limbs regrew from fleshy, discolored masses growing like blisters and their teeth and fingers distorted themselves into vile looking weapons. Shaking so hard that she was worried about rattling the walls of the vent, Tesra mouthed a single word as the creatures began to move almost as one towards the Gladius.


The sensible part of Tesra knew that there was no such thing, of course. The actual Samshi were horror stories told to frighten and amuse young Lanun. They were said to be the corpses of the Lanun Precursors, reanimated into monsters by their dead Gods, their flesh twisting and crawling as their claws wrapped around their victim's arms, dragging them to the bottom of the oceans, never to be seen again. Tesra had long grown out of those old tales of monsters, having learned their are worse creatures out there then undead ghouls, but her stomach still gave an unpleasant lurch at the sight of them. Partially because those old stories still gave her the creeps once in a while, but it was mostly because, with her light armor and precision focused weaponry, she was woefully unprepared to be fighting creatures like this.

Which of course made things complicated when a pair of them looked upwards and trained their glowing blue eyes right at her.

"Uh oh..."

Tesra abandoned all semblance of care and caution as one of the creatures that spotted her let out a piercing, guttural shriek, followed by the thundering chorus of footsteps that meant they were bringing friends along. The vent shook as the creatures began to pound against the sturdy metal covering, pinpricks of light showing through as the metal began to crack open in some places. Breathing heavily as she desperately tried to keep her head, the thief crawled along the vent as fast as she could before something hit the bottom where she was crouched over so hard that her whole body jerked upwards, slamming her head on the top of the vent. Spots blinking in front of her eyes, Tesra tried to focus and ignore the growing din of shrieking. Stumbling forward, the shrieking was joined by the harsh sound of ripping sheet metal somewhere ahead of her, followed by the appearance of that ethereal glowing blue. Desperately searching for an escape route, Tesra spotted a branching off vent shaft and followed it, praying to as many ocean deities as she could think of that it wouldn't drop her in the middle of a crowd of not-Samshi. In her desperate scramble, she was caught by surprise as the vent suddenly declined sharply, losing her grip as she slid into a metal grating with a painful thud. Hoping that the room beyond was safe from those creatures, she engaged her shiv and quickly pried the grating off so she could tumble into the room.

Landing on her rear, the master thief took a few moments to look around and try to get her bearings. The red emergency lighting overhead didn't reveal any more of the not-Samshi lurking in the corners, but it did reveal quite a few control panels and darkened monitors lining the walls. Taking out her LanuPlay and turning the backlight on full, the impromptu flashlight gleamed as it reflected off the silver gun rack next to the security door. Tesra grinned like a child who discovered where the Wave Festival treats were being kept.

"The Security room," Tesra announced, rubbing her hands together deviously. "Or at least a checkpoint. Either way, this should be VERY useful." Darting over to an undamaged console, she immediately went to work breaking into the system. Without main power on the console was very much dead to the world, but this wasn't Tesra's first time dealing with a blackout, and she knew that rerouting some of the emergency power into the main system again could be enough to circumvent the dead console and plug into the mainframe itself. A few minutes of furious, rough electrical work later and a shower of sparks from the exposed console innards indicated the power supplies had been crossed over. Plugging into the system with her bionic arm, the Lanun's face lit up as her Neural User Interface confirmed a connection. She was in! There was just one teensy problem...

"Oh fuck me, not this stupid Cryllic shit again," Tesra moaned as she recognized the blocky human lettering. "How the hell do humans even use this to code?" Tesra rubbed her temple with her free hand to soothe her already frayed nerves. "Okay okay, focus...alright that's a word I know, activate...operational...shutdown...alert...bear...vodka...turrets! Yes, that's it, we want the base turrets to go on! Activate!"

Tesra jumped as something heavy slammed behind her, which turned out to be a security hatch for the vent she just came out of. "Okay, vents. Shut the vents. Which would have been SUPER helpful a few minutes ago but still, baby steps." Grumbling, Tesra continued to work intently with the difficult system, not noticing the unnatural blue hue that the lighting seemed to take on.

"Still working this late Tes?"

A chill ran down Tesra's spine as the faint voice echoed through the room, almost like a soft breeze. Putting it out of her mind, the Lanun returned her focus to the task at hand, attempting to discern which Cryllic phrase was supposed to be the auto turrets. Besides, that couldn't have been real anyway...

"Keep that pace up and you're going to hurt yourself, you know..."

Tesra froze in shock. That voice. The saccharine charm. The lilting Vaxir accent. But...he was dead. Gone. Never seen again. It couldn't have been him of all people.

"Or you might just end up dead again."

Slowly, Tesra looked up. She could see her own reflection in the thick glass between the console and the hallway beyond. Retracting her headgear and lowering her hood to reveal her own terrified face, she glanced at the other figure reflected in the mirror, a Vaxir in a snappy business suit standing just over her shoulder, a bemused smile on his charming, handsome face.

"L-leave me alone Cardaleer, I'm trying to work."

Cardaleer Echass Zadra chuckled darkly, a sneer crossing his clever face. "But we're a team, remember Tes? We started this together. That's always how it is at the beginning."

"C-come on, where's that file..." Tesra said, her voice shaking in terror.

"So young, full of ideals and great plans for tomorrow, for the future," Cardaleer continued in the same sickly sweet tone of voice. "So easy to work with. So easy to manipulate..."

"Can we talk later, I have some crazy mutants to deal with," Tesra snapped, wincing as the wires attaching her to the computer went taut with her sudden movement, causing her pain receptors to go off.

"It was all going so well too," Cardaleer went on wistfully. "But I guess all good things come to an end."

"Shut up..." Tesra muttered impatiently, trying to redouble her focus and failing utterly, her hands shaking too hard and her mind too unfocused for precise control. She blinked as her eyes started to water.

"You did everything right, and you still lost everything," Cardaleer taunted, leaning forward slightly as the quivering Lanun tried to regain the interface she lost. "And it all started...with a bang."

"This is for crossing the Switchblades, bitch."

Tesra screamed and clutched at her head as she heard the gunshots ring out. Six shots, each louder then the last, each bringing back to memory the sharp, unbearable pain in her chest. The console lay forgotten as she stood there whimpering, tears flowing down her cheeks as distant voices echoed in the wake of the gunshots.

"...this court finds you guilty on all counts..."

"...can't believe she sold out her clients like that..."

"...we all trusted her..."

"...do you really think you're welcome here anymore..."

"Such a shame, to lose everything...to lose everyone like that..." Cardaleer went on with fake sincerity, placing a hand around Tesra's shoulder in a comforting gesture. "You got me back in the end though. You started over...but I wonder..." The Vaxir leaned in close to sensually whisper in Tesra's ear. "How long until you lose everything this time?"

"S-shut up..." Tesra repeated, the hint of anger rising in her voice.

"All these friends of yours, this team that you've become a part of..." Cardaleer went on in that same snakelike tone. "How long until you lose them too?"

"Shut up," Tesra said, a little more firmly this time, shaking with rage rather then fear or despair.

"Nothing lasts forever..."


With a burst of anger-induced adrenaline, Tesra roughly shoved Cardaleer back, ignoring the brief fuzziness as she disconnected from the system and turned to face her old partner, drawing the Eastwood in one fluid motion. Fury welling inside her, she aimed her gun at Cardaleer only to find that he had vanished. In his place stood a fair-skinned human girl with unkempt brown hair, smiling innocently at Tesra despite the gun leveled at her head.

"How long until you get me killed, Ghost?"

Someone was screaming. It took a moment for Tesra to realize it was her. By the time she realized that she was shooting, the clip in her gun had run dry, leaving her helplessly clicking the trigger over and over again. As the hallucination subsided, Tesra realized she had unloaded her gun not into Henrietta or Cardaleer, but a human corpse in a security uniform, not unlike the other mutants she encountered earlier. Unlike those mutants, this one did not have the same claws or distorted features, instead emitting that blue light from its body more intensely then the others, so much so that even its skin was glowing. Finally lowering her gun, Tesra looked on in repulsion as the corpse, still glowing despite its head and upper torso being in tatters, twitched as though it were trying to get up. The gun falling from her hands and hitting the ground with a clatter, Tesra dropped to her knees and vomited all over the floor. As the heaves subsided, Tesra tried to weakly pull herself back up before giving up and sitting down again. Still shaking, Tesra wiped sweat from in front of her eyes as she heard the distant shrieking of those mutants again. Grimly determined to make it out of this alive, Tesra climbed back to her feet and began to reenter the system with her NUI.

"Not going to get me that easily," Tesra declared with grim but fierce determination. "Come on guys, don't let me die here trying to translate this stupid Cryllic..."
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by dragonmancer
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dragonmancer Oh No

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Jackal in his boredom, crawled around the ship, trying to get his bearing and memorizing the general layout of their 'magical' home. He didn't bother with the lights either, as his own eyes provided the illumination necessary for vision. He would continue for what seemed like hours, until a variety of banging came from outside the Gladius. Jackal would approach the hanger of the ship, going silent as he continued to hear the desperate banging of moaning of creatures outside. Jackal wished to investigate, but there weren't any windows in the current room to see, the only way to find out was to open the door. The issue came of course, the Jackal wasn't sure how to open the door. Sure he saw his allies leave through there, but he couldn't remember how. The giant reptilian shrug as he saw a pad filled with buttons and pressed one. "lucky guess" he'd think to himself as the door to the ship's hangar opened.

His crododilian eyes widened at the sight that waited for him. Dozens of humans with glowing blue eyes immediately tried to get onto the ship. Despite their urgency, their movements were sluggish and limp, unnatural, Jackal could only describe it as like a puppet. Additionally, the next thing he noticed were many bore fatal wounds and scars that would surely cause death, yet they still remained animate, and they didn't speak, only moaned and other similar sounds.

One of them stood out from the crowd as being the first to reach Jackal, in which he tried to grab and bite the beast. Unfortunately for the 'creature' he bit onto the hard outer scales of Jackal, which would shatter much of his teeth due to how unrestrained the creature used his bite force. Jackal was barely harmed by this, and he would grin wickedly, or at least, attempted to with his saurian lips and monstrous teeth. Just as the corpses were driven by the sole purpose of whatever that was possessing him, Jackal too, was possessed, enslaved by the thirst and instinct for bloodshed. Jackal gave his 'reply' of his own by biting down the neck of the blue-eyed assailant. Lifting it into the air until the head snapped from the neck, His hands would catch the head as he was rushed by another pair of these creatures, which both arms would slam the two attackers into the metal floor of the hangar's door. A third limply followed, which would be impaled directly by the tail of Jackal, right through the chest. They were soft and lacked any sort of coordination or sense of danger. To jackal's surprise, the corpse on his tail continued to move and try and claw and bite at his own tail, disgusted at what he muttered as 'the undead' he used his tail to slam the struggling corpse against the metal surface several times until its body was reduced to pummeled gore. He lifted the other two creatures that were clutched in his hands and rushed back and the swarm of these limp bodies that were pooling into the hangar. Using the two initial, and still struggling, corpses in his hand as weapons as he began to swat them back and fourth at hoards and hoards of their fellow blue-eyed bodies, which continued until one of them finally broke free, granted severely crippled and bruised from Jackal's abuse. Jackal quickly leaped back to avoid being bitten again.

He would stretch up his neck and open his jaws to breathe in oxygen, then he would slowly start to exhale gas from his lungs in a much more sustained breathe, and that released gas wasn't just C02, but the bio-gas his fellow fire-breathers could exhale. With a click of his forked tongue, his mouth suddenly became a 'forge' of utter flames, one could describe it like a small engine or firey vent (Hence "Ventmaw" -cough-) of a ship, as a line of fire trailed from his mouth as he lowered his head, and sprayed fire down upon the still growing horde of the blue-eyed creatures. The sustained breathe lasted for about a minute, in which time he would help bathe the flames over the hoard that were all condensed from trying to fit into the large hangar door, making it easy for him to 'mow down'. The creatures however didn't initially fall, they still continued to run despite being on fire, it wasn't until the intense heat broke down their body into an immobile state did they start to pile down in charred husks of human bodies. Jackal panted, quiet literally out of breathe as he watched the last of the first wave of these creatures collapse in smoldering corpses.

There were a few survivors of the flame bath, which tried to get up from tripping on falling over burned bodies, which Jackal approached and consumed like an animal, there were only three of them and being scattered gave him the time to 'safely' eat at each of these animate bodies. A couple hundred of 'bodies' or at least, what was left of the animate corpses, covered both the bottom half of the hangar ship and the floor around Gladius. And yet, Jackal could hear more moaning in the distance, as evidence as he barely even eliminated a fraction of their 'forces'. The Hellkite continued to pant as he walked back up to the ship, he couldn't recall if anyone was with him or not back in the ship, and he also wondered if the others were alright out there. As he thought this, he also realized how cold it was outside of the ship, with the burning corpses providing little heat, Jackal would start to make a pile of bodies up in the hangar room, and would burn a corpse, one by one, as if starting a camp fire made of corpses. What pieces of flesh that stopped burning he took to eat instead. He kept the door opened in hopes his allies will return in a hurry, while also keeping vigil of it in preparation for another wave to strike. After the first corpse was completely burned into a charred skeleton, Jackal took the skeletal remains of the other yet-to-be-burned corpses and began to remove pieces of their skeletons, which served two purposes. One, it helped him understand the layout of bones in a human body, secondly, and more importantly to Jackal, he began to fashion a primitive weapon out of hair fiber and bone material

Thats when he heard movement again. He stopped building his weapon of bone, in which was difficult due to the poor quality of the fiber to tie it together. He took his silent motion to listen as he heard something crawl in the vents, and also, from the walls outside. Another mob, albeit smaller then the last, seemed to have been busy crawling to the top of the ship, when they heard the hangar open, it took some time to get down, but they did, and were now faced with Jackal. The Gorgas was still exhausted from his previous fire breathe, so he charged, his tail acting as a spear to stack two bodies against each other. As he fought, he now noticed how far from human they were. It wasn't just there difficulty to kill even with mutilation, but their limb proportion was off as well, much longer then humans he recalled. They were fanged, had claws. They were the very definition of an abomination.

As the two corpses struggled to free themselves of Jackal's tail-spear, He would bite down another creature by the neck, taking off its head. It still moved, as if it didn't even need a head, so Jackal kicked it to the ground to allow other sprinting creatures to trip over it. A tremendous roar echoed from Jackal's mouth, so loud, with the help of the metal walls and hallways of the facility, it would echo throughout the entire building and beyond. This didn't phase the creatures, but Jackal's war cry was always something he loved to bring out. As the creatures struggled to get up, Jackal would flap a mighty beat of his wings, sending a tremendous amount of pressure to knock them off of their feet again and tumble down the ramp of the hangar door. As they tried to recover, Jackal enjoyed himself to the two creatures stuck on his tail, taking off limbs one by one with his mouth and the claws on his wings, and happily consuming the torn bits, continuing to do so until they stopped moving. Jackal turned to meet a claw strike his face, some of it hitting the weak scales of a scar he was still recovering from, as well as slashing his very eye. Jackal screamed a roar even louder then the last in both pain and anger as he would press his horned head against the creature and would charge into him, full sprint while carrying him against his horns and forehead, until they left the hangar of the ship and hit the metal wall of the facility. The force was so great that the very wall in front of them was gravely dented. Jackal had his injured eyes closed, the mangled corpse of the creature now had a huge hole in his torso with a destroyed rib cage and half of a spinal cord. He tore off the corpse from his head and turned back to the charging hoard of creatures. His wings would spread and he'd take off into the air, a few meters above the hoard, he then swooped down on an angle, his feet catching the head of one of the creatures as he brutally dragged it across the metal floor until flesh and later bone ripped off the corpse in a trail of gore. he dropped and turned, flying back into the remaining hoard of creatures, with three hands, his two main arms and one from his wings, took hold of three creatures, while his feet kicked away the last two before landing. He would smash two of the creatures together before holding them with both hands of his wings, and held their mangling bodies in place as he ripped one of his main hands into the chest of a third creature, tearing it apart until he found the spinal cord, which he ripped out without hesitation or remorse. Dropping the mutilated corpse he would pin the two other creatures ontop of each other. At this point the two remaining creatures were trying to dogpile and claw away at his back which he ignored for now, his back scales were the strongest and most durable anyway. With the two other creatures stacked against each other on the ground, he would ram a sharp end of the spinal cord through both creatures, he then reached back to grab one of the creatures clawing at him and would take the other end of the spine, spearing it through him and forcing it down until he was stacked with the other two. The last one was smart enough to reach around and tear at the soft scales of his chest, the massive claws of the creature tearing away two chunks of meat from the giant lizard, in which another painful and enraged screech emerged. Jackal threw back the creature a good distance away, then charged onto him with all fours like an utter monstrosity, tearing away at limbs and flesh with 4 arms and a mouth to follow, until the very corpse itself was in bits. He turned to the stacked bodies of the 4 creatures, still alive and trying to separate themselves from the spine. A torrent of fire met their struggle to an end soon after.

Jackal, bleeding and coughing up blood, would start to gather the fresh corpses, taking out their spinal cords and spearing them to the ground. He would set it up much like his days in a tribe, with mutilated corpses stacked on spinal cord spears with a severed head on top. He made about a dozen of them around the ship.

Jackal crawled back to the campfire, holding his bleeding wounds with heavy panting. He could still hear more of them move in the vents, however to the echoing sounds the vents make, he wasn't sure if they were nearby or further in the ship, if there was anyone else in there they might be next. Jackal decided to wait in the hangar again, still with the door open. He was gravely injured but he could survive for now, he could still fight albeit he was tired beyond any exercise he had done before, he could only hope his crew was alright.
Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Aziraphale
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Aziraphale HBIC

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Henri remained silent as the bleak, uninhabitable landscape rolled by during their drive. Rubbing her neck unconsciously, she couldn't help but think back to the grim site of the headless corpse they had left behind. It's not that she was afraid of death, not even one as horrifically violent as that, but to be forgotten so easily? She grimaced. Reaver's body would remain there now, never buried or burnt, the people who had sent him here would never acknowledge his death and half of the remaining crew had likely already forgotten his face. Henri wouldn't go that way, she refused. She clapped her hands together with renewed determination as they approached the cave.

"Alright!" She called as they disembarked, "Let's get this artifact and get out of here before anyone else dies."

The mouth of the cavern welcomed the group with the pale, bloodless bodies of the scientists which littered the floor. And in the centre, the Artifact waited. Somehow threatening in its silence. Henri approached it cautiously and, seemingly possessed, brought a metallic finger up to stroke one of its faces. As she did, the material seemed to breath, expanding and contracting until cracks appeared and it glowed a bright, hot red.


Henri was flung backwards by the force of the explosion, left on her back staring up at the roof of the cavern. It's great curved windows showing the stars and metallic beams looked suspiciously like the deck of The Gauntlet, the flagship of The Black Stars. The ship she had traveled on as a child.

She felt numb.

"Henri! HENRI!" Someone was calling her name with a desperate kind of fear laced in their voice. Surely none of the crew could sound like that?

"Daddy?" Henri found herself whimpering with the voice of a sixteen year old girl.

A familiar face appeared above her, kind grey eyes set into worn, wrinkled skin. Her father smiled down at her sadly, "I'm here kid. Hang in there."

"What's happening?" She asked groggily. She was just so tired.

"Missiles got through the shields."


"Shh, it doesn't matter. Just try and stay awake for me."

Something's not right here. Something's not right. She thought, trying to lift her head. When she finally does, the first thing she saw was the blood. She wondered how she could have missed it before. It had soaked everything; her clothes, her hair, her skin. It covered her father's shaking hands where he was trying to hold her. Next comes the pain. The left side of her body was burnt, that she was sure of, the skin crackled and hissed in her ears like a pig on a spit. But her left arm and both legs, she's not as sure. The pain is indescribable.

The last thing she can remember is screaming.

Henri expects to come to in the med bay of The Gauntlet but when she open her eyes, drained and disorientated, she is standing in the workshop of Constance instead, another ship belonging to the The Black Stars. This old boat had replaced The Gauntlet after the attack that had taken her arm and legs. Speaking of which.

"Please, daddy." Henri pleaded, pouting a little for effect. She had been begging for better prostheses for weeks now, her childish insistence slowly wearing him down.

"You've had enough enhancements Henrietta." Lars said firmly, although his words lacked any real conviction. He was bent over an old engine part of the ship, hands and face greasy as he attempted to fix it, "You're a teenage girl, not a terrifying cyborg."

"But I could be. You're stifling my development." Henri sighed dramatically, "And, frankly, I think you're being sexist. Right now you say that teenage girls can't become dangerous machines but the next thing you know I'll be expected to do the cooking or-"

Lars chuckled, "I don't think there's any fear of that, I've tasted your cooking. Get out of here kid. We can talk about it later."

His tone was not harsh, in all the year Henri could remember hearing that voice it never had been, but it left no room for more complaint. She blew him a mocking kiss as she left the workshop. As she walked away, deja vu rolled over her weakly like an ebbing wave. I've had that conversation before, haven't I? Walked away like this before?

Henri turned to look back down the hall. Outside of the door, the Artifact hovered in it's menacing silence. Like before, it began to throb and glow as it moved into the workshop towards her father.


"DAD!" She screamed.

But it was too late.

They had told her later that the part Lars Jorison been working on had been unstable, had blown without warning and killed him instantly. An underwhelming and forgettable death. But, despite remembering this, in that moment she could only think to run towards the flames, screaming for her father. Just as the heat began to lick at her, skin and metal heating and warping, the flames died away.

She was back in the cavern, her desperate cries bouncing from its walls.

Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Heat
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Heat Hey, nice marmot

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The cavern was lit with activity, some of the criminal operatives inside of it discharged their weapons at the malevolent artifact. Others still reeled from the vivid flashbacks each of them had gone through moments before. A flash of red erupted from the sharp dressed man's handgun, then a follow up shot was launched by the female assassin. Both attacks were ineffective as at the very last moment before they would have hit their mark on the artifact, a forcefield caught both shots. It shimmered the same red as the ancient object, then disappeared from the naked eye's view.

Callum grasped his assault rifle tightly, almost as if he was pressing it into his body. He was still recovering from the all too intense vision. As the tattooed man blinked himself back to reality, he watched as two point blank shots taken at the artifact did nothing.

What the hell is this thing?

"So prone to violence, that is one of your greatest faults. A failure in your evolution, a vicious reminder of the past. You answer with violence? I shall retaliate with my own. Filth needs to be cleansed." The artifact spoke into each of their minds, it's tone deathly serious.

Then suddenly the ground at the back of the cave began to rumble and move. A mechanical four finger hand emerged from the dirt, then another. The ground in the area was shaking and shifting as more hands emerged, then finally a robotic head. The buried machine pulled itself from its grave and stood on two long, metal legs. It was a lean creation, wires hanging out in spots, rusted metal splattered along its form. It had two arms on each side of its body. Its right lower most arm was no hand, instead a large cannon was crafted onto it. The three 'eyes' on its head then lit the same red as the artifact.

It shambled forward towards the group of organics as the ground continued to shift behind it, quickly six more of them emerged. All identical to the first, once all had removed themselves from the soil they marched forward, then leveled their arm cannons at Callum and others. He lifted up his own weapon, and aimed towards the old machine horde coming towards them.

"Get back, there's no cover her. Get behind the transport!" He exclaimed as he squeezed the trigger, a rapid burst of bullets slamming out and into one of the machines' leg. The limb tore off, dropping the menacing robot to the floor. Then in a surprise move, old gears shifted inside of the robot as it stood back up, using one of its fingered hands as a makeshift leg in tow with the remaining leg. The head was now towards the left side, the arm cannon raised above its form.

"Bullshit." Callum muttered to himself, mostly in anger, and partly in surprise. The machine he had nailed just adjusted itself like nothing. He was going to kill every single last Fed if he got out of here alive, they had to have known something. This was unnatural, absurd, utterly alien.

"We need to get out of here!" Callum roared as he fired his rifle once more, bullets knocking one of the robots over. They had begun to return fire now, the arm cannons making an almost screaming noise as they fired out blue bolts, comparable to lasers. One of them nailed the ex-pirate in the leg, doing a number on his shields.

As he bite his lip in frustration, his helmeted eyes noticed small cracks in the ceiling above the artifact. He had no time to mention this as more shots barreled towards him, two missing nailing him right in the chest.

The console Tesra was hacking into continued to light up, as the moans of the approaching undead grew louder they were overshadowed by a computerized voice speaking from the hacked console.

"Defense systems on line. Unknown hostile lifeforms detected. Any non-evacuated personal are recommended to head for either of the two safe rooms. Emergency security drones are being deployed to clear the area."

Around the facility ceiling tiles folded open as five drones emerged from them. Each of them shone flashlights as they glide in the air, constantly scanning in front of them. The first one to find one of the twisted undead could be heard speaking to in a dry robotic tone.

"Alert, alert. Identify yourself or stand down." The undead monstrosity glared at the floating drone, then lunged towards it, missing by a foot as the machine glided above it.

"Hostile lifeforms must be eliminated, the area must be secured." Then a laser emerged from the bottom of the drone as it opened fire at the undead creature. Rapid bolts of red crashed into it, sending it to the ground then swiveling down the hallway as the drone continued firing.

"Alert, head for the safe rooms, alert." The console's voice stated to Tesra, the screen showing a map of the facility with both areas lit up by markers. One was not far from her current location. On the floor near the Lanun was a keycard connected to a chain. An employee ID.

Noise could be heard outside of the ship's hangar, more of those things were coming. Something was different. They seemed to know what was inside the ship. A group of six huddled together, then their skin shifted and molded together. Six came, now they were merging to form one massive monstrosity. The process was sickening to watch, for a moment there was just a blob of limbs, clothing and bones. Then it took a somewhat humanoid form.

Then two thick legs emerged, closer to tree trunks than limbs, each four feet in length. An arm shot out from each side of the monster's frame, long, heavy instruments which formed crude hands at the end of them. They gave off the appearance of muscles. Finally a head emerged, it was like two skulls were glued together, both faces scrambled together as the mouth gaped open. The twisted, disgusting monster's 'skin' jutted with bent bones. It was a good ten feet in height, bulky like a bodybuilder.

The same shriek that the undead were making before came from this new creation, it seemed to only be amplified in loudness. The monstrosity shambled towards the ship, then up the hangar. It paused at the bottom of the door as it glared at Jackal, then let loose an unnatural roar, flexing its barrel-like arms.
Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by dragonmancer
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Clash of the Titans

Jackal watched by the fire of burning bodies as a new horde gathered in the hangar, and meshed together in a grotesque fashion that even made Jackal slightly unnerved of its transformation, then his single usable eye watched as the new-formed beast shouted its loud screech. Jackal was impressed, as if whatever was the source of their control had forced its flesh toys to evolve to match Jackal in almost every way. Bony plates sticking out in rows like plated armor between cracks of matted loose flesh, intense muscle growth that formed a large hulking mass of a humanoid monster, and its movements was much more brutish then limp. Overall, it was designed to be a challenge. Jackal, the warrior that he is, could never back down from what he thought as a gesture of an honorable duel, this thing's creation, and the gorgas runt himself. Even in his injured state, he got up anyway, and once the monster was finished showing itself off with its flexing and wailing, Jackal too, made a terrifying roar, spreading his wrings about and extending his neck to its full height to try and give the illusion of him being bigger, granted he was still about 3-4 inches shorter then the flesh behemoth before him.

The two monsters charged at each other, and clashed directly against each other, the behemoth was stronger then Jackal had expected, as even with his full charge Jackal was being pushed back. The two monsters had their arms locked against each other in a pushing contest, however Jackal started taking advantage of his other limbs. His two wings arms would arc over and claw onto the back of the monster, while he would kneel his head down to ram his horns into the torso of the beast, and his tail would slither around the left leg. He continued to try and put leverage onto the chest with his horns, but even still the monstrosity started to overcome him, Jackal was started to lean back as the beast continued to push against the already injured reptile. The flesh monster would then pull back, and shove Jackal back at least a foot way, and due to his tail caught against the beast Jackal would fall onto his back as well, unable to take the beast with him the tail would simply slide off, then the beast would charge and grab hold of Jackal, and would sprint into the nearest wall. In a flash, Jackal was pressed up against the wall with violent force, the impact was brutal, but Jackal's natural armor held despite the pain that sparked through his body, and the blood gushing from his previous wounds. Jackal then realized that it was about to employ a tactic he had used once before on their kind, that was to repeatedly slam the target against the wall into their pulp, the reptile could feel the bitter taste of irony just before the second slam against the wall caused him to momentarily 'blank' in conscience due to the force of impact and the immense pain, his eyes turned white in shock before he slowly regained conscience, which would go blank again as he was pounded against the metal wall a third time, there was now a huge dent the size of the reptile within the reinforced metal wall, and his armor couldn't last forever, as a few of the scales on Jackal's back started to crack and chip.

Be it being forced into an conscienceless state, the deja vu of being overpowered, or the artifact finally reaching into Jackal's memories from afar, but a memory began to play back in his state while being unrelentingly pulverized.

"I'm not a runt!" Growled Jackal as his hands grripped onto the arm of the flesh monstrosity. At this point, he was pummelled 16 times against the metal wall since he passed out, the scales on his back and side of the face were almost all bruised and chipped, various sections of that side, especially his face, had gashes of bleeding tissue exposed with broken scales and skin. Yet Jackal was still breathing.

After the 17th time he hit the wall, Jackal's eyes were milky and darkened from being barely conscience, the left eye was still wounded severely with blood pouring from the bottom eyelid, his feet were now pressing against the wall to keep him from being slammed again. The fleshy monstrosity would screech a horrifying sound as it tried to smash Jackal again.

"I'm not a runt!" Jackal shouted a bit louder and adrenaline pumped through his body, he was actually starting to push against the massive arm that was pressing him against the wall. The beast would go to punch him through with his spare hand, But jackal would catch it it with his other hand, which at first, pressed him against the wall again, but after being slammed for the 18th time, Jackal began to press back against the beast in full force.

"I'm not a runt!"

Jackal would tackle the flesh bag that was larger and heavier then him onto the steel ground despite the difference. Overcoming the beasts strength Jackal would roar, some of the teeth on his left side were broken and his gums were bleeding, but his fury was clear enough regardless. Despite the nearly broken body he had now, He ignored the pain to ensure that whatever it was before him was destroyed. He would bite down on one of the two fused mouths of the grotesque amalgamation of heads, and with a click of his tongue flames violently erupted out of his mouth, and sent into the body of the armorers flesh beast. The fire would violently seek a way out of the monster's body, flames sprouting from patches of skin and burning the monsters slowly from the inside out. Still though, the creature remained intact and seemingly unphased if not momentarily distracted, and punched Jackal across his saurian cheek, sending him sprawling across the ground.

But Jackal was not done, he refused to be done. He had to protect the ship, even if it meant death, he would not fail an ally, or allies rather, a second time. A third memory flashed, a recent one of his brief conversation with one of his new allies, Henri, he recalled, for a moment, Jackal was lost at the kind thought of it as he got back to his feet. The very thought of loosing that memory only furthered Jackal's rage as he sprinted back to the beast that was also standing back up. Its body was still evidently burning from within, its mouthes and eyes were bright red with heat and leaking smoke, various patches of its skin and flesh would start to chip and fall away like clay that had been in the kilm for too long. Jackal rammed his horns into the torso of the beast, which sent it flying into what was now a whole through the wall into another room from where Jackal was being pummeled. Due to its massive body it would be stuck.
Jackal Grabbed its right arm that was sticking out, and pressed his foot against the behemoth, and would pull. Pull so hard that in minutes despite the armor and muscle still intact that were resisting the fire, the massive arm would sever from its body.

"I am not runt!" Shouted Jackal as he slammed the severed arm into the burning behemoth, so much force was delivered in Jackal's enraged, adrenaline pumping state that with the help of the massive arm that belonged to the monster he'd send its owner straight through the metal wall, as well as making a massive Hole that lead into a hallway in the facility. Jackal Roared, the look of his eyes and the monstrous growling that continued as he dragged himself and the arm towards the burning monstrosity that Jackal himself looked to be nothing more then a wild monster. The severed arm was still animated, despite being seperated from the body, and it would grab hold of Jackal's neck. Jackal screamed seething rage, residue trails of flames radiating from his jaws as he let out a more high pitched yet still enraged and terrifying roar as the hand tried to choke him. The monster got up, many of its outer bones were becoming charred and burnt, and even without an arm it continued to lash back at Jackal, slamming straight into the dragon. Jackal fell to his feet as the flesh monstrosity attempted to take hold of him, jackal rolled out of its way, causing it to fall flat on its ugly face. Even with the arm Choking him, Jackal bit down on the back of the armored behemoth, tearing out a chunk of flesh and bone-plated armor to lift his head. In the hallway behind him, another small horde of the animate corpses were assembling. Jackal Looked back and ripped the massivce arm from his neck, the beast behind him getting up again. Jackal tossed aside the arm and turned to grapple the beast that was still somewhat larger then him with his two primary arms, and would toss the behemoth into the horde that was rapidly approaching him. Due to its massive size, it would crush the entire horde of a dozen or so bodies. they all tried to scramble to their feet as soon as possible, but Jackal would breathe another jet of flames at their direction. Thanks to the condensed hallway there was no where for the horde to escape the flames, while the behemoth stood as a barrier for most of the flames they were all quickly set ablaze. Jackal turned and started to walk back towards the ship, he didn't see the behemoth get up, but when he heard its massive feet charging forward, it was too late. Jackal would be picked up in the beast's charge straight into the hanger of the ship, taking another massive impact of damage to his back which caused him to screech out in pain. The monster was utterly engulfed in fire, inside and out, ironically the heat radiating from the beast at least gave Jackal a more comfortable temperature. With a bloodshot eye Jackal's tail would wrap around the remaining arm of the behemoth, and began to constrict it and pull it away from his body. With enough room gained, Jackal pushed back with the horns on his head, sending the monster sprawling backwards on its feet as his tail twisted and attempted to dislocate the arm, though this failed. Still, the tail let go and Jackal immediately leaped over the behemoth, slamming both of his claws onto his shoulders, and his feet into the chest, causing the beast to tumble down the ramp of the hangar. Before impact Jackal leaped off and attempted to fly, but his left wing was broken, which he found out too late, as he fell flat onto his face nearby the behemoth that was already recovering. Jackal turned, and met the fist of the behemoth with his two claws, Jackal would have been sent flying, however he kept a tight grip onto the behemoth's massive arm. He then leaped onto the chest again,digging into his chest with both hands to tear apart bone-made armor and muscle within its burning flesh. The gorgas' tail would lock against the remaining arm of the behemoth, preventing him from taking Jackal off as he continued to burrow into the chest of the amalgamated monster

"Not a runt!" Shouted Jackal again, blind with fury as he continued the process.

After tearing a massive hole into its torso, Jackal turned and began to rip off its arm, Pushing off of the now collapsed and burning monster as with some struggle pulled the arm out of its body, tearing apart tendons, bone, and muscle that was still burning. Jackal in the center of the burning corpse looked down at it as it was still animate, trying to get up with its two feet. He'd vomit up his own blood before he could attack it further, and the beast took the distraction to his advantage as it sprang up, using what was left of its torso to slam Jackal onto the ground and apply great blunt force to Jackal's head. Jackal picked up the arm and used it to smash into the torso of the behemoth again, then tossed the arm aside as he would bite off its massive deformed head. He held the head in his mouth triumphantly, holding it up in the air like a trophy as blood, both his own and of the head's, trickled down his throat, gums, and jaws, dripping from his chin and passive over his eyes. The head was so large that Jackal had to stretch out a wide angle of his jaws to fit it in his mouth.

The dragon panted. "Not a..." blood continued to trickle from his mouth, the side of his body, and the gashes in his chest. "runt." A thin fleshy piece that was once an arm flailed with Jackal's arm gripping it.
"Not.." Jackal began again, lifting his arm, this time he could no longer prologue his body's condition. staggering back a few feet Jackal fell on the bottom of the hangar's ramp. His eyes white and he lost conscience again, this time from blood loss and exhaustion. The head still remained in Jackal's mouth despite passing out and falling over. In front of Jackal's unconscience body was the remains of the massive behemoth he fought, including its massive arm and legs. Past that was the hordes of bodies Jackal decimated.

Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Esoteric
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Esoteric Coquette

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Taka's body shook, with her head bent towards the ground before her and her fingers clutching almost painfully at the damp cave soil. For the moment, she was oblivious to the scene around her as she stared fixated on the ground. A steady stream of moisture emptied from her eyes, running it's course down her face and falling slowly from her chin. She felt so far away, as if the cries uttering from her own mouth weren't hers but some other strange, unfamiliar sound. Her arms trembled as a moment of clarity washed over her, one of pain and remembrance. A steady, whining beep played over and over again in her mind, only broken at timed intervals with a squishing eruption that made her shudder. The hollow pain inside of her stomach grew until it encompassed everything she was, pain, hurt, loss.

Beep... Beep.. Beep...

A moment later it all wasted away into a dull ache, she was somewhere else again. She wasn't here, she was back in prison, dreaming. No, she was back with Taki on the criminal's ship. Or was she at home, on her planet, sleeping soundly in a smoothly polished shell bed, wrapped up comfortable in sea-cloth woven blankets next to her sister. Her sister... and just like that it came back, flooring over her. An insurmountable pain she couldn't explain, that she had no words for. A pain so strong it physically hurt, why did she have to remember these things. It was cruel, forced to relieve those experiences, the kind of loss you can never come back from. It was as if a piece of her own soul had been taken from her, she felt cold.

Taka struggled to her knees, her trembling arms shaking as she fumbled for her "Law Breaker". Such an innocent name, playful even. How had she blocked it out, all of this overwhelming agony. Somewhere in the distance a mechanical voice droned on, leading to an escalation of shouts, but she didn't hear any of that. There was only the total, all consuming silence, and suffering. "Taki.." She cried, her hand shaking as she pulled back the hammer.

"Taki.. why Taki.. you said... you.. y-" her mumbling was caught off as the sobs came back with renewed vigor. She choked down air in between the forcible wailing, sucking in a breath as she could manage. Everything hurt, but it felt so dull to the pain of losing Taki. It was so strong, so intense.

"Stop-it-stop-it-stop-it-stop-it!" She cried, moving the gun violently towards her skull. It made a resounding thud as it cracked against her head, but that pain was trifling compared to what she was feeling. She swung again, chanting her mantra of insane distress. Pleading, begging for it to go away as if it were some evil spirit that had beset itself upon her. Taki was dead. She was gone forever. Her remains were burned. Yet she lives on through the stains unable to be erased from the ships interior, forever a part of that awful place. Forever trapped in a dark world, all alone, and Taka had let her go.

"NO MOOOORE," She shrieked, shoving the cold steel between her teeth, it rattled with the intensity of her shaking hand. She didn't want to hurt anymore, She wanted to be with Taki. Yes, she promised they would be together forever, that nothing would keep them a part. This pain was a reminder of that broken promise, how Taka had let her sister down. If only she'd been better, waited like they were supposed to do. If only.. if only she didn't feel this way. Her finger hovered over the trigger, her mind oblivious to the events transpiring around her. Shouting, commotion, pain. Only pain. Taka squeezed her eyes shut, her muffled sobs barely audible over the roar of gunfire and yelling.

"Oni please," A sweet voice pleaded. A small, childish hand fell over Taka's own, it felt chilled, cold like death. Taka opened her eyes, staring at the apparition.

"I'm right here so don't be so sad okay? The child asked with a loving smile. Taka slowly removed the gun from her mouth.

"B-but, but.." She blubbered incoherently. Taki was dead but... Taki was right here.

"You have to get up Oni, there are bad things here," The young girl said worriedly, vainly trying to push her sister up.

"But.. you.."

"Oni, pleeease!" Taki whined, her little legs digging in the dirt as she tried to budge her sister.

"Oni, pleeease!" The same voice echoed, an echo of a memory long since past. A young child, confined to a wheel chair begging her old, able bodied sister to retrieve a wrinkled purple fruit from a tree swaying in the breeze. "Pleeease Oni?!" The girl asked again, her eyes seemingly on the verge of tears.

Taka stood, earning a frantic smile from her sister, "We've gotta leave! Away from the thing that hurt you!" Taki declared, continuing her attempts to push her sister towards the mouth of the cave. Taka stumbled towards the opening, seeing the faces of the others, locked in a duel of man versus machine. Lasers ripped past her, and mechanical bodies rose and fell around her, and yet she just stumbled towards the snow flurries dancing in the mouth of the cave. 'Is it cold?' her mind wondered passively. Taki skipped in front of her, taking one of her hands and dragging her off to the side of the cave. Taka's mind didn't process the turn adequately, and she collapses in the snow instead.

"You should show that metal meanie your toys!" The child version of her sister said with vehement excitement. Taka nodded absentmindedly, shrugging off her backpack.

"Oh no, your gun!" Taki exclaimed, skipping back into the fray of the battle. Taka's head shot up, her eyes wide with worry. However, a very slight smile curved at the edges of her lips as she watched the tiny form dance through the danger, seeming ignored, or unseen by the others. But that would be silly. Taka let out a quiet chuckle as she reached into her backpack and pulled out the fat block that was the Pow-Pow Charge. She began assembling integral functions and attaching wires, careful not to disturb the mixture too much as she connected it to a live wire.

"Here ya' go!" Taki said, holding out a gun that was much too large for her small hands. Taka smiled, taking the weapon and holstering it easily, before turning back to her work. A bit of Taka's tongue remained clenched between her teeth as she worked.

"Is it going to make a big boom?" Taki questioned with utter excitement as she peered over Taka's shoulder.

"..uh.. yea.. totally," Taka responded, attempting to match her sister's energy. Taki skipped around her, crouching in front of the device.

"Is it gunna' be pretty?" She asked, staring at the internal components with wide eyes.

"The prettiest," Taka answered once more, though more of her focus was devoted to her task.

"Oh! no-no-no! That one goes here see?" Taki said, pointing a thin strip of blue sheathed wire. Taka paused, examining the suggestion. Taki was right. Taka let out a soft chuckle, she had near prematurely detonated the device. The blast wouldn't have been anywhere near as big, but it would have been enough to turn them both into chunks. Taki laughed with her, her tone devoid of any underlying tones of worry or nervousness. Taka's otherwise nervous laugh, turned into one of mirth simply from the pretense of her sister enjoying herself so much.

"Not much longer now, your friends are doing a good job!" Taki stated, still crouched in the snow.

Hidden 5 yrs ago 5 yrs ago Post by Morose
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Morose ✨Snips ✨

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Scarleth "Ruby Red" Pevensey

Scarleth raised a bit of an eyebrow, hearing the voice of the machine inside of her mind. Violence was in her nature, it was what she had been bred for. Without it, she would be nothing more than a porcelain doll, a shell of a person. It brought her life, it brought her meaning, and it brought her purpose. Taking her own knife, Scarleth thought back to the seldom used trick. They were taught it as a last resort, as it would harm their beauty. But if clarity was needed, so be it. "You're a rusty son of a bitch," Scarleth spat, anger seething into her voice. With her knife, she sliced her left arm horizontally.

Before she could do much beyond take cover, she heard Taka's insane ramblings. Throwing a glance over, her augmented eye zoomed in on the object in Taka's hands, and Scarleth glanced around the cavern, attempting to pinpoint some slight weakness. The stinging sensation from the open wound had forced clarity to bubble to the surface, yet a scar would be left behind by the marks. She spotted a slight crack in the ceiling of the cavern, and her eyes flickered back to Taka's bomb.

"Pirate King!" Scarleth called out, void of any bitterness or resentment. "Like on Corandel? Charge on the ceiling!" It had been one of her more crude missions. She had been assigned to eliminate an entire chamber filled with public officials, and using a bomb, she had caused the ceiling to crush them all to death. Scarleth didn't even consider them in her official hit list, lamenting that the concrete structure had done most of the work. It lacked her traditional charm.

Dashing over to Taka, Scarleth held her hand out, twitching her fingers quickly to indicate urgency. "Big motherfucking boom, yeah? Give. Now." She didn't have time or patience for dealing with Taka, and improvising wasn't her usual method of choice. She enjoyed long and detailed executions, selecting a method from a pile of plans that she made in her spare time.

But this, this would have to do. "Haul ass and get out of here," Scarleth added. "I got this."

However, she then noticed that there was a slight flaw in her plan. The charge seemed to be incredibly immobile. She frowned a bit, attempting to piece together whether or not Taka could be trusted. The woman was unhinged to say the least, unpredictable to the very end. "Do you know what you're doing?" Scarleth asked simply. If Taka could make her plan work, so be it. If not, when the rest of the team was killed by her careless actions, Scarleth wouldn't feel the slightest bit of remorse.

Not even for Callum.
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