- Vulpecula, a Feraxi, played by @TGM - Duncan Elrin, a Human, played by @DruSM157 - Russell Kintredsten, a Zejiniko, played by @Datadogie - Zhiti Ayajjai, a Rhaayan, played by @Lemons - Sango, an Altered Human, played by @Helios J Mears
16-22 | Species | Gender | Profession/Position/Role
Trying something new. Please write a sample post detailing a significant event in your character's life, preferably around three to four paragraphs minimum, showing what set them on the path they are now on. This section will replace your character's biography, personality, and other such sections typically found in a character sheet, so it would be worth putting effort into filling it out.
1) TBD later if accepted. Do not fill out. 2) TBD later if accepted. Do not fill out.
The whizzing sound of lasfire flew through the air, crackling like lighting as they struck their targets. Bloodshed was the price the Kucarroan slaves were to pay to earn their freedom; family and friend being cut down like mesaeax against a vibroscythe. It was only by sheer luck were a couple able to escape and climb aboard the smuggler freighter breaking them out—Zana being one the lucky few at the cost of her parents' sacrifice.
Zana doesn't like to remember what happened, but it isn't something she can simply forget like a piece of broken, useless technology. The barcode tattoo, forever etched in alien text on her arm. The nightmares of a child born in a slave encampment, terrified of what might happen to them. The wounded pleading for death, their injuries half-treated in the ship quarters she now slept in. She remembers all of it, each event left forever scarred in her memory to be replayed over and over until the end of her days.
She was going to get her revenge—to free her people across the universe, to find their lost homeworld and to punish those who inflicted so much pain on those that just wanted to be left alone—no matter if it killed her or not.
"Now, Zana," a coarse, tired voice spoke, "I know what you want. I know you don't want to give—"
"No buts! Listen to me for once, Zana. We're tired, tired of chasing ghosts and rumors of a place that no longer exists." The man explained. "You know space travel isn't good for Masi and I's baby, and Vonga—as stubborn as the man can be—struggles to walk on his own two feet since the explosion on back on Shahar. We've been talking, the three of us. We've decided we want out; to start a new life for ourselves, here, on Alkonost."
A wave of anger, seething at the apparent betrayal, roiled within Zana. Her fists clinched at the thought of her longtime companions planning behind her back, seemingly so eager to cut ties and leave her with naught but the cold void of space. Yet one look—one simple glance—at her friends was enough to settle her rage. By what right did she have to drag an expectant family and an old, scarred man on a potential wild goose chase?
"I understand." Zana replied. "But how will you survive? All we've known is... slavery and your ship. And you, Calaex, how do you expect to take care of them by yourself?"
Calaex chuckled, placing a hand on Zana's shoulder. "You know I still have a few tricks up my sleeve. Don't worry about us. But listen, kid," Reaching into his pocket, Calaex pulled out a small, glowing cube. "I know how much the search for Kucarro means to you, so I want you to have this. Vonga and I managed to sweet talk a Scrattith into giving us this antique awhile back. I'm not sure how much help it'll be, but I want you to put it in the holodeck on your ship, and see where it takes you."
Zana blinked. "My ship?"
"Yes, your ship. If you're going to go down in the history books as 'Zana Merneeks, the famed explorer that found the lost planet of Kucarro'," Calaex replied, tacking on extra emphasis and excitement as he spoke. "Then you're going to need a ship. I'm certain the Arcona will serve you just as well as she served me, even if she is a little rough around the edges these days."
"I... I don't know what to say. But I can't just take the Arcona like that! It's like an extension of yourself. It'd be wrong of me to take it."
The smuggler sighed. He understood well enough where she was coming from, but he knew what needed to be done. "Look, our space-faring days are over, kid, but yours are just starting. Take the ship, find yourself a crew, and go explore the stars. We'll just slow you down."
For a moment, Zana considered the idea. Back in the slave camps, her parents had always told her stories of great captains flying among the stars, one of the few forms of entertainment possible. And now here she was, being offered the chance to be one of those captains herself.
"It still doesn't feel right, but... thank you, Calaex." She said, wrapping her arms around him in a farewell hug. "Tell the others that I'll miss them, will you? That I'll stop by when I can."
"You know I will, kid. Now get going, you're going to have a lot of exploring to do soon."
Zana nodded with a smile, desperately trying to hide tears of her own. Taking the star map from Calaex, she finished her goodbyes, and left to board the Arcona. Climbing a ladder to the upper deck, Zana approached the bridge and inserted the star map into the holodeck.
I hope you're watching, mom, dad. Zana thought to herself as she started up the ship's engines. I'm going to have enough adventure for the three of us, just you watch.
Vulpecula — After a rough scrap with space scavengers, Zana was forced to flee to Eios, her ship badly damaged resulting from her inability to fire back while piloting the vessel. It was here where she met Vulpecula, who offered to help with repairs in exchange for a place on the Arcona, or at least somewhere off-world. 2) TBD later if accepted. Do not fill out.
1) Molnet T-37A blaster pistol 2) Comlink device 3) Ancient star map
“Your thermal couplings are bad.” The feraxi girl blinked as the spanner in her hands met with the engine coil. “You’re lucky your ship stayed in one piece on re-entry. Your shield batteries are warped. Nearly dead.”
The pilot laughed. Not at her, but it was enough for the feraxi to question their intelligence. She didn’t make a joke. She merely informed them that they were lucky to be alive given the state of the parts she had been tasked with monitoring and, to the best her ability, repairing.
But there was no fixing bad couplings or warped batteries. The pilot needed new ones or he was going to have to enjoy the shithole that was Eios.
The ship wasn’t a completely lost cause, but finding fresh batteries and couplings or… half-fresh ones was going to be a challenge. Eios was a scavenging planet as it had been for the last few generations. Its once beautiful desert was a graveyard of metal and plasma, a result from a skirmish that occurred five decades ago. You were lucky to find parts that worked, let alone were right off the manufacturing line. If you wanted something new you needed to warp to a core world. If you could. Chances were if you were stopping on Eios looking for parts you were in need of an emergency stop in the middle of nowhere. If you needed repairs on Eios you were trouble or trouble had found you. That was just the facts and the feraxi knew it well.
“Not sure I can fix the batteries or couplings. Give me a few hours. I’ll see if I can find ones that work."
“Thanks, Ula. You’re a lifesaver once again.”
She sighed as the human pilot referred to her informally.
Not surprising. Her name was a mouthful. Vulpecula was long enough without going into the feraxi nature of conjoining breeds into the family name. Not that her family name mattered. Her father got shot in the head when she was thirteen by a drunk pirate who didn’t want to pay for his repairs. Her mother left home when she was taken by slavers while she was hiding under the floorboards not long after they had buried her father. Before she was fourteen years old she had to find a way to survive and the only skills she had were the skills her father had taught her. The architecture of interstellar warp drives. Basic mechanics. Fundamentals of ship construction. She had been good at it and when she was younger she thought she was going to go to a great engineering school on a core world. But who was she kidding? The only way she was going to leave Eios was in a cage or by joining a crew.
Neither had happened yet. Though she had her close calls.
“You owe me.” She remarked to the pilot before leaving the docking bay.
She put heavy emphasis on the word ‘owe’. There was little left for her on Eios. But she didn’t have enough credits to buy into a crew. It seems every time she had enough to get away from her life and start a new one that she needed to pay out of pocket for something. She was hoping the pilot knew someone who was hiring a mechanic or engineer. Needed a tech specialist. There always seemed to be someone and maybe this time she could force her way onto a crew. She shrugged as she returned to her shop. She need to check how many credits she had on hand, see if there were any other orders for repairs. Check her list for batteries and couplings.
It was a disheveled place. Spare parts were scattered underneath her mattress as an old hovercraft sat underneath an old synthweave tarp. The national flag of Feraxas Prime stood on the rusted scrap-metal walls, though it had certainly seen better years. It had been her home since, well, she had sold the family apartment to help keep the shop afloat during dry spells. Besides, the old apartment just… didn’t feel right to her since her mother had been taken. Slavers and debt collectors were still problems, but Ula had found herself quite capable at avoiding trouble for the most part. She hadn’t been forced to shoot many people. And thank the stars above for that. Ula didn’t much care for firefights, though she held little remorse for the people who aimed at her with their crosshairs.
“Hey Ula.” A voice called out to her as she dug through her file cabinets, an old paper list in her hand.
“Cal.” The man insisted, “Anyway, I’m here to tell you to find a new runner. I’ve got a job with a mercenary troupe. Don’t know if I’ll be back.”
“You won’t.” She commented in a dry monotone, “When do you leave?”
“Soon. Before nightfall.”
Ula placed the notes in her hand on a nearby desk.
Cal had been the only hired help she could afford for the last year. Maybe it was longer. Runners who asked for a low return on their cut of a part needed for a ship or building’s repairs were rare. Rare was it to find a decent person on Eios. She supposed this was the final nail in the proverbial coffin; a sign to tell her that it was time to leave. Her only friend was joining a crew and life on Eios had not improved. She still hadn’t found information about the crew that took her mother outside of what she already remembered about their iconography. It was a bad situation.
She crossed her arms, “Don’t get killed. Got it?”
“Let’s head to the cantina for old time's sake. I’d hate to leave without a proper send-off.”
She sighed. Didn’t have the credits, but she couldn’t resist Cal’s request given the circumstances. She had to ask around about the parts her client needed anyway and the old cantina was the best place to start asking. She faintly smiled as Cal turned, expecting her to follow him. Idiot.
1) TBD later if accepted. Do not fill out. 2) TBD later if accepted. Do not fill out.
1) Engineers’ Kit 2) Personal Blaster Pistol 3) Utility Tool
Nicknamed “The Scorcher” by Calloway Brelmos, Vulpecula’s personal firearm is a heavily modified TC-55 Thermal Defense Pistol.
As with any basic TC-55, The Scorcher is a microfusion-based weapon that fires thermal energy blasts from its protected energy coil that can eat through unshielded armor quickly with moderate precision. The microfusion reactor completely sustains the weapon indefinitely, though it requires thermal clips to maintain functionality without risk of damage to the interior mechanics. Vulpecula’s modifications include several repairs to the hull, and an ion conductor that allows the weapon to have the option to switch “modes” and fire ion blasts to disrupt shields and robotics. The pistol’s handle is heavily wrapped as well.
Duststorms were typical on Veros. The boy had been born and raised on the planet, one of the first children born of the young settlement that had been chartered before the conflicts of war began to envelop the galaxy. His parents had died of rustlung only a year into his birth, but luckily it was the old Marshal, his grandfather, that had stepped in to raise the boy. Duncan, or Dun for short, stared out the thick window to the outside, while his grandfather sat at his desk, rifling through a stack of papers.
Marshal Gale Elrin was not a gentle man. His skin resembled coarse leather, his hair was greasy and unkempt, and the man’s face had not seen a razor blade in years. He’d been chosen by the settlement during the chartering as their choice of Marshal due to his experience in the Border World conflicts as a well regarded Colonel, and his years as a well-regarded marshal in the inner ring systems. He’d been the man who brought in Beltrix Gespard alive, after all, after the Truvelian had killed ten other marshals between Tervix and Brousal. For the Marshal, Veros was a chance to retire in quiet solitude and peace away from the hustle and bustle of the inner system. He’d grow fat and old and die in his sleep. He didn’t expect that the planet’s constant dust storms to be extremely hostile to humans; and in the first three years settling the town of Burgess Claim, over half the settlers had died of disease.
“Grandpa,” the boy said, walking over to his grandfather’s desk, “when’s the storm gonna pass?”
“Probably won’t pass til tomorrow morning,” the old man replied, “Go read a holostory for now.”
“I’ve read all the holos in the house,” the boy whined. “When are you going to teach me to shoot like you?”
The Marshal raised a thick eyebrow, eying the scrawny boy up. He’d just turned thirteen, and some of the colony boys had started learning to use a rifle even earlier. They’d had to, with so many of the original settlers buried in the ground.
“Come with me,” he grunted, walking leading the boy downstairs. With the environment so dangerous, the Marshal had set up his own shooting gallery across from the holding cells; which besides the weekend drunk, had remained unused for most of the season. On the far wall, the Marshal had set up several targets. He stood the boy at a taped mark on the floor, and fumbled in his jacket, before producing his sidearm: a heavy Rigel-V Duster. The models were heavy, unwieldy, and hit heavy for a kinetic firearm. The Marshal handed the boy the revolver and stood behind him.
“Now, you want to hold it like so-” the old man helped the boy wrap his fingers around the grip. His small hands barely fit. “You’ll grow into a gun like this,” he remarked and helped the young boy line up the sights. “Now, don’t yank the trigger. You want to squeeze it. Kinetic guns like this-”
The boy squeezed the trigger-
The Duster erupted in an explosion of sound. Standing fifteen yards away, the large Grix smuggler who’d only seconds earlier had been holding a small holdout pistol pointed at Fiona Miles, the local merchant’s daughter, crumbled onto the ground, gasping for air. The man stood over the smuggler as the girl quickly pulled away from the large hairy alien, half-in shock from momentarily being a hostage and half in shock that the young Marshal had the goddamn gall to shoot the smuggler while he still had her at gunpoint!
“Of all the stupid, lowdown, worthless lawmen I have ever had the misfortune of meeting-” she spat venom at the man, as he simply sauntered over to the Grix, the red-haired alien’s barrel chest heaving up and down. “Enough of the drama,” the young man said, kicking the alien in the side. “I hit you with a concussive shot. ‘Nuffin that’d kill your sorry hide.”
Duncan Elrin stood above the Grix, his shadow covering the alien’s torso. He’d grown tall and broad, with strong shoulders and sharp eyes, both traits hammered into his body by his grandfather’s lessons. On his hip sat the ragged leather holster that Gale Elrin had worn for thirty years. Dun had made sure to put the old iron to good use during his time as the settlement’s Marshal.
The Grix was only able to force out another pained moan, as the Marshal pulled the alien up. In the two years since his grandfather had passed, Dun had taken up Gale’s position as the town Marshal. As Burgess Claim slowly grew in size, it had become an important trader in ore and red sand, enough that the local port was constantly abuzz with merchant ships.
And with trade came crime. The Marshal’s office was constantly filled with smugglers, thieves, dealers, and other surly types. The fact that Dun was constantly flashing his iron at anyone that smelled rotten was bad enough that the constant threats on his job had finally come to fruition on that day. As he carried the Grix into his office, he stopped, dumbfounded by the three men waiting for him.
The mayor was the one he recognized. Hillock Burgess was the namesake of Burgess Claim, after all. He’d survived the years to become a well-connected man for the rim-side colonies, and with his stake in many of the local mining organizations, he’d become wealthy quickly. The two men standing at Burgess’ wings were not locals. One was older, dressed like many of the Rim-side settlers. The younger man was dressed nicer and had a shiny leather jacket covering a pressed-blue shirt. Both men wore Marshal badges.
“Mr. Elrin,” Burgess began, wiping his silver spectacles with a handkerchief, “we at the colony appreciate the years of service your grandfather gave to the town. And we are in your debt for carrying on his legacy after his sudden demise. But-”
Dun’s face flushed deep crimson. “You weedy sumbitch-” he growled, moving towards the mayor before the two Marshal’s quickly grabbed him, pulling him back.
“As I was saying,” the man continued, “you are not a licensed Marshal. You’ve been acting under the Deputy Statue of the Marshal’s code, acting as interim Marshal, but as of today you are relieved of your duty.” “Where the hell am I supposed to go!?” Dun snarled.
“It’s not my problem, Mr. Elrin.” The mayor sighed. “Your effects have been boxed up for you. I’ve taken the liberty to pay you a handsome sum for your family’s stake in the colony. Out of kindness, of course.” He handed him a small sum of credits. Handsome indeed. “It’s enough to charter passage to wherever you’d like to go. A chance to start a new life.”
Those words were the executioner’s fatal swing against any hopes Dun had. His weekly brawls and shootouts had made him few friends in the settlement, but he was doing as his grandfather had tasked him: he was protecting the colony. Of course, others saw it as painting the colony in a darker color; a hothead like Dun walking around, ready to draw iron at anyone who toed the line, was not healthy for business; and it was business that was keeping Burgess Claim alive now.
Dun pictured countless words and actions against the mayor. Shoving his iron down the old man’s throat, punching the spectacles off his fat little nose, or just saying something with enough bile and vitriol to start a brawl with the two hired tin stars. But there was no fight in his heart with the understanding that this was no longer his home.
Chartering a flight didn’t take too long, and a night sleeping on the bench of the port wasn’t the worst sleep he’d had. The morning before his departure, he trekked down the dusty paths to the local graveyard, kneeling down at the Elrin plot. Three dust-weathered gravestones sat there: Bren Elrin, Jess Elrin, and Gale Elrin’s names marked their resting place. Dun took the wethered old Marshal Star from his pack, placed it on the red dirt of the graves, and covered it with a handful of the rest dust.
He gathered his things and left the past behind.
1) TBD later if accepted. Do not fill out. 2) TBD later if accepted. Do not fill out.
16 | Cyborgised Robot | Female | Purser/Encyclopedia/In-charge of everything bureaucratic and boring
Do Organics Dream of Biologic Sheep? Towards Human-Like AI by Integration of Modified Nervous Tissue and Electronic Brains No. 28 Government College (Central) Aaron de Oliveira-Trác, K C Amali, Kumi Kusiwaa, Muhd Tulimaq bin Tropril, Shaw Hui’en Marie-Pierre
Abstract: Nervous tissue was cultivated from human embryonic stem cells and subsequently modified by biochemical and surgical processes according to eight experimental protocols found in the literature and three novel procedures. The modified tissue was integrated by an innovative technique into the electronic brains of baseline SiliCo Ne-124KM Corundum model service robots using factory default AI. Performance in intellectual tasks was measured by administering an augmented EnMY-B test and compared with a human test group (n = 234). The results show that enhanced creative and cognitive abilities are displayed by…
A high-pitched, almost squeaking voice. That was Amali’s signature. And besides, she was the only person Aaron had ever met who butchered his name—surname, more precisely—like that. He looked up and waved at the two girls. No, they were women now, just as he was a man. “Hello. The paper’s going well, and no, I don’t need any more caffeine today.”
It was hardly clairvoyance on his part if she asked the exact same thing every time. A look of disappointment came over Amali even so, as if she hadn’t all but known what would happen. “Wow. He can still read your mind even now. Aaron, at least give her the chance to begin,” chuckled Marie-Pierre, giving her oh-so-transparent friend a comforting pat on the back. “Tulimaq, Kumi, and Tamka are coming soon. Maybe, like, five minutes? Or…”
“…maybe right now.”
Two shrieks and one resounding crash followed as Aaron practically tossed his computer to the ground. Amali stopped just short of smacking Tamka in the face, a privilege not afforded to Tulimaq. He proudly ate a right hook without so much as flinching, as Marie-Pierre spun around, a mix of surprised and livid. Kumi, however, had picked his target well — he was safely out of the line of fire, looking at the screen of Aaron’s tablet. “Hey, isn’t this our report from way back?”
It was obvious that the answer was ‘yes’. Everyone soon gathered around, filling with old memories and nostalgia as they read the screen.
“I can’t believe we managed to get this published. Oof, it looks so bad…” Suddenly Marie-Pierre let out a gasp, too late to catch herself. “A-ah, sorry, Tamka! You’ve always been amazing.” Tamka didn’t mind. She had seen the report herself — it, and all other papers relating to her development, were stored in her memory drive. It was certainly of inferior quality compared to Dr Shaw’s latest work. In fact, Tamka would have been rather miffed if all the long hours and clock cycles they had spent together as tutor and students had somehow come to naught.
Today was part reunion, part farewell. It would be the first time in quite some years that the whole gang had come together in person, all six of them. Perhaps it was a bit jarring, emotionally-speaking, or should have been. But the mood was instead totally positive, even as she walked up the boarding ramp onto the shuttle.
“Call us if you ever need anything!”
“Or just to talk! Tell us about your adventures in spaaaace—!”
Tamka looked down through the windows. She didn’t say anything, but perhaps they could still hear her sentiments echoing in the synthesis of mechanical pumps and living neurons that was her heart. Each of the five had gone on to lead successful and fulfilling lives: a pioneering engineer, rising stateswoman, enterprising entrepreneur, lauded artist, and a respected neurobiologist. There was an odd parent-child duality in their relationship. Perhaps it would be best to say that they all learned and grew from each other? Tamka was as proud as any parent to see them enjoy their lives to the fullest — she had practically mentored them throughout university, after all. But in some ways, they were like her own parents, now seeing off their adult daughter as she entered the wider world. Although…
Weren’t they a little too happy to let her go?
She would ponder that for the next few hours, as the smuggler ship took off and sped into the starry sky. Skirting around the checkpoints and patrols, evading the security forces’ watchful eye, away from home and towards ‘freedom’.
1) The first engineer Tamka met off-world offered her a paltry sum for her organs. The second didn’t even try to bargain. The third was Vulpecula. After having a significant portion of her biomechanical body parts forcibly removed and ending up dumped onto the streets, it had been the feraxi who had helped her. They were still only strangers then, and at first Tamka had thought she was about to undergo further disassembly. Instead, the third engineer took the grievously injured robot back to the Arcona for repairs, delivering her from death’s door and nursing her back to health. Tamka was left with a debt of gratitude and a newfound liking for Ula’s feraxi fluffiness. And with nowhere else to go, coming aboard the crew didn’t seem half bad. 2) Tamka has never been to a bar before. Legally, she’s only sixteen, and bouncers at even the seedier establishments are prompt to turn away someone who they see as a little girl. And of course, there’s her own fellow crew-mates. Russell is in quite a similar situation (it can’t exactly be called a predicament if neither minds that much), being simultaneously too young to drink, yet also the Arcona’s designated driver. As the ‘babies’ of the crew, the pair often get left behind during the regular cantina reconnaissance missions. So when the power went out all of a sudden one fine evening — taking the life support systems down with them — it was up to the young’uns to face the emergency by themselves. Through their combined efforts, they managed to restore the power in the nick of time. Since that incident, nights when the adults are out have never been the same. Who needs alcohol, anyway? 3) It’s far more usual for a human to be turned into a cyborg, rather than for a robot to receive organic components. But despite having quite different architectures and anatomies, Tamka finds it easier to confide in Sango in matters of their biomechanical bodies. She’s also the only other member of the crew who can happily scarf down silkworms and cicadas for supper, although so far her attempts at insect farming on the ship haven’t gone too well. 4) Duncan and Tamka come from very different backgrounds: a frontier world where the only law is whoever draws first wins, and a ‘civilised society’ which has surrendered violence to the sole domain of its government. With private ownership of weapons severely restricted on Tamka’s home planet, it was from the ex-lawman that she first learned to shoot. On the firing range, she does excellently — but whether that will translate to performance on a real battlefield, with real lives in play? That’s still something not even her instructor can answer. 5) Zana’s love for adventure sometimes clashes with Tamka’s cautiousness. In Freudian terms, Tamka is the Superego, and Zana the Id. More often than not, the captain gets her way and things just so happen to work out. But once, the purser absolutely refused to budge on a seemingly minor legal issue — and the Arcona’s crew narrowly avoided getting locked up by overzealous border guards on suspicion of smuggling.
1) Paradyne Pulsar tablet computer: powerful and practical, the pragmatic professional’s preferred portable work device, until a newer model was released last year. A hand-me-down from Aaron. Some of his old files are still on here. 2) ZTM Ultra OU, an Omni-Use™ desktop computer. Comes with more functions and software suites than a single person could ever reasonably need. What do half of these even do? It was a pain to lug up the boarding ramp, but Amali had given it as a parting gift. “Learn something new up there!”, or so she said. 3) A container. Bears the logo of one of Kumi’s businesses, Kumi-Ko Logistics. This alone is proof that it is one the best boxes on the box market. The Nokia phone of boxes, the Kumi-Ko Kataklysm Kontainer is known for its extreme durability. The survival of its contents is not always guaranteed, however. Not meant to be luggage despite its trunk-like appearance. 4) An album, in both senses of the word. Years of photographs, drawings, and recordings are stored in this little book, both in physical and digital form. Tulimaq had to go through a lot of attics, basements, and storage closets to dig up some of these. There’s space for Tamka to add on her own contributions too. Maybe she’ll get to show everyone, some day. 5) Yet another container, albeit a rather smaller one, labelled ‘Tamka’s spare parts’. Courtesy of Dr Shaw’s lab. It includes electronic and mechanical components as well as organic scaffolds and frozen stem cells. Marie-Pierre has so many of these that she could probably build a small army of Tamkas. But they wouldn’t be the same, of course.
20 | Altered Human | Male | Gunner/Security/Handiman Character Post
The wind blew sheer and cold against Sango's face that night as he sped along the moonlit trackway. Whistling currents raced past his unguarded ears, and he relished the sensation of his pale hair and long, red scarf being buffeted by the slipstream. The engine of his Grav-cycle whirred an hummed beneath him, its almost ethereal coils illuminating the rough-hewn earth a pale, ghostly blue, and yet still he pushed it harder. Despite the circumstances; despite everything that was on the line, never had he felt more alive than in this single, endless moment.
He cursed, and urged the throttle further, the Speeder's whine rising to a whirring scream, and with a streak of blue light, and the clunking sound of mechanisms deploying its windshield, he and the vehicle flashed closer towards the mountain. Towards... them. "They're beautiful, aren't they, Nii-San? All those stars up above us." The girl regarded blank, unfeeling lenses, and grinned. "We're gonna go out and see them one day, Sango. Together. Just you wait!"
Beneath its chitinous helm, the being known as Sango pondered. Had it the ability, it would have smiled. "Cam..."
A sudden flash erupted over the horizon, blinding white, trailing electric blue behind it, and Sango's heart almost stopped. Moments later, a vicious shockwave swept across the landscape like a bulldozer, towing a cloud of dust thick enough to blot the sun, and the Grav-cycle very nearly bucked the young man from its saddle before he could pull it back under control.
"Cam... Professor... I'm nearly there! I'll save you!"
The world slowed. He felt it all; the dying vegetation, the crippled fauna, fires raging across mountain wastes. The Wind.
"I am with the wind, and it will guide me." Heedless of the speed at which he was travelling, Sango crossed his arms over his chest and breathed deeply. At his waste, a small compartment at the centre of a large belt slid open, the fan inside now allowed to spin freely and wildy in contact with the air.
For a single, fleeting moment, the pain of his biomechanical body tearing itself apart overcame him. The Professor looked over the vaguely insectoid lifeform that stood before him with a small frown and a thoughtful hum. This was the first time he'd seen Their technology up close before. Frankly, they were fortunate that little Cam had got to it first; had it been him, the thing would most certainly be dead by now. Regardless, there was work to be done. With a flourish of his augmented arm he donned his goggles, and set about his examinations... The scene that greeted Sango as the Cyclone ground to a halt was grim. Dozens of black-suited puppets laid strewn around the entrance to the Mountain Lab, fires flickering and lapping around them and glowing a luminescent green. The metal bulkhead doors had been blown out, great shards of twisted alloy jutting from furrows metres away. Heedless of the flames, he charged into the complex, rushing to the inner sanctum, where, so many times before, he'd been greeted by the smiling faces of his... his family.
More and more lifeless puppets accumulated as he advanced, heaped in grotesque, flaccid piles. Footsoldiers and generals alike were discarded like common waste, and Sango couldn't help but pity them. Finally, he came upon another bulkhead, dented and buckled but still holding fast, and with herculean effort he pushed his hands between the doors and heaved them apart, blindly dashing into the room beyond.
The Sanctum was a mess. Its towers of intricate machinery had been ripped apart, wires and odd parts scattered across the floor in haphazard piles. The emergency lighting shone an ominous red, casting long shadows over the savaged laboratory, almost as though to shepherd him towards the room's centre. There, tinkering hurriedly with a monstrosity of technology and loose wires, was-
"Hello, Nii-san." Cam's breath caught, and she hacked briefly in an effort to expel whatever detritus she'd breathed in. She was a mess, her hair frizzy and poorly tied, her clothes scorched and ragged. Sango stood for a moment, basking in the knowledge that the girl was asafe, before his mind clicked back to the moment at hand.
"Cam, where's your father?" His tone was as flat as always, modulated slightly by his mask's vocal tract, but the concern was evident nonetheless. The girl cast her gaze back at him once again and gestured dispassionately at the Sanctum's far corner, and the pile of rubble that lay there. What looked like a rhino beetle's horn protruded from the centre of the mass, and Sango's heart dropped in his chest. "A General?" He needn't have asked. She hummed in acknowledgement nonetheless.
So they stayed, for a while, content to sit in silent respect for their fallen father. Cam's tinkering was seemingly endless, and in the warmth of the burning complex, Sango remained almost unmoving, unbidden thoughts flitting into his mind almost as quickly as he could file them away. Eventually, however the silence became uncomfortable, a strange, shifting mass of nothing that loomed over the pair.
"This machine is a transmat. One way. Papa stole it from them." Sango snapped to attention, red eyes focused squarely on the girl. His antennae quirked, betraying his attention, but he remained stoic, waiting for the inevitable continuation. "There's only enough energy in the compound for one trip." She coughed, red spattering onto the concrete floor, and he rushed to her, moving to support her should she collapse, but she brushed him off, leaning against the machine even as she began to stagger. "And only enough then for one passenger." Sango stiffened.
"Don't, Nii-san." Another cough. More red. Yet less strength in those waifish arms. "We both know I wouldn't last. I'm doing this for you!" Her left arm fell, useless, to her side, and she clutched it painfully. Staggering, she forced herself to a table on their right, and tossed him a cylinder which he caught easily. "There's an updated Cyclone in there. Supposed to be your birthday present." She smiled a wan smile and fell to her knees, dragging herself back to the transmat. She pointed harshly at the opening, and Sango entered after only a moment's hesitation.
"This isn't the end, Big Brother." Sango's breath caught, and he found himself wishing desperately that this face could cry. "One day, somehow, I'll find you. Just you wait!" She laughed, weakly, and he found a chuckle rising, unbidden, from his chest to join her. She pulled a lever, and the world suddenly seemed... light. Through the fading haze, she grinned.
"Live, Nii-san! No matter what happens, Live!"
And as the world vanished into lurid colours, Sango yelled back into the void.
"I will, Little Sister! Always!"
Even through the thoughtless abyss of the transmat beam, he was sure he could hear her laughing.
1) TBD later if accepted. Do not fill out. 2) TBD later if accepted. Do not fill out.
1) Cyclone Cylinder: A modified Anti-Gravity Cycle which can be folded into a cylinder roughly the length of one's forearm. Responds only to Sango. 2) A simple stun baton for close combat.
Standard issue weaponry from the army of Sango's original creator, heavily modified to be untraceable and far more powerful by the Professor. Launches heavy bolts of plasma that strike hard, but dissipate into gas quickly.