Hidden 1 yr ago 11 mos ago Post by LustForDecay
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LustForDecay Death Metal Maniac From 2010 Or Something

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The ride up the old, ill-maintained forest paths of the mountainous hillside was not an easy one, either for the ZRF scout group on their all-terrain jeep (an old Dolsilvec-era donation from back when Zanovia was a Dominion world) or the massive scielto configured into a tank-like walker form. The path winded over gnarled roots and steeping ground, huge portions gouged from dense roots down to thickly packed soil by stray artillery from ZRF and Civil Security alike. Sometimes, they'd need to drive over a massive overturned tree looking as if it was stuck in the throes of agony, body half mulched by some unseen gunfire, all the while twin-rotor-wing VTOL's flew overhead trailed by zig-zagging biomissiles.

On a huge hilly region overlooking the Rhodes Valley they had been steadily advancing higher and higher, nearer to the central line of the enormous natural structure. The higher they climbed, the more they could see past the thick cover of trees. Flashes of light soaring skywards; tracers, shells, missiles and the aircraft that whizzed in their wake, occasionally sparking from a glancing hit or a direct strike, sending out sparks and energy-shield flashes when not bursting into flame for a comet-like descent. The opposing hillside, far on the other side of the valley, flashed with bolts of pink and red whether into the valley or between its shrouded depths. It was no less of a battlefield and based on the sound of sonorous explosions echoing out, shaking the trees of their particular mountain-hill, it was no less of a dangerous position.

"You - mercenaries? Money of scielto and human-settlers not that good nowadays huh?"

The voice was a gargly froth, coming from the mouth of a tarrhaidim trooper as their jeep managed to find space to jostle up by the walking tank. There were roughly six inside - one mountaing a twin-barreled electro-spine machinegun, the others behind its windows that had recently rolled down. Four of them were tarrhaidim, irregular in their bolted-on armor and ballistic padded fatigues, faces covered in strange veiny patterns fluctuating colours and textures as they mimicked whatever vegetation they could see. The one on the gunner spot was a human as was its driver.

Both wore similar armor minus the body-bolting, their faces concealed by darker gas-mask like helmets, their lightly red tinted eyes glaring full throttle ahead... or at their allies. Older edition Intransigence tech, likely from its early days when modified mining and biohazard protection equipment had seen a military makeover.

"Seen many of you, mostly with security-scums. Maybe League bigshot, think this is easy place to rack up our heads and fatten their coffers. You can tell; good tech, good training, but no real hate in heart or lust for the fight. Like their leaders; business-person."

The jeep rumbled on a little further as the roads widened somewhat as did the intermittent flashes against the cloudy sky. Light was beginning to peer through the once grey clouds as if gouged by the anti-air lasers and ether-mortars that had been blasting away non-stop. The trail was no longer ridden with gaping holes or blasted trees; it appeared moderately maintained.

"Not complaint - observation," The tarrhaidim trooper continued. The driver and shotgun-seat passenger were pointing to a few large pushes as they moved the vehicle over, attempting to park it somewhere they could conceal it. "Just curiosity. Maybe we get a few volunteer battalions - Conglomerate, Intransigence - but they do not often last."

As they exited the vehicle, pulling various brushes and vegetation over it, the squad of six looked over to the huge tank and its deadly cargo, spreading out as they motioned not to the trail but the sloping ground it ascended past. There were footsteps notable on the ground but there was no real concern; these were their own and it appeared this was not a small scouting group but a part of something bigger.

The ZRF troopers didn't know that, but these were no mercenaries they were escorting to a rallying point. It was a miracle they had even been able to be assembled on such short notice. The Envenomed were a secretive group, one that chose its own with utmost precision, yet assembling them all in one place was not an easy task, especially one with as many League covert fleets and heavy duty air surveillance as Zanovia.

The mere insistence on using its native name instead of the scielto Artelesia was not just the Intransigence's form of respect to those struggling against colonial rule but also a reminder of their intent. One that was being expressed in a group of six now instructed to dismount and follow.

If there was one thing no doubt on everyone's mind as they advanced on foot, it was how secretive this was. The Envenomed were proffessional, cryptic, their leaders offering the bare minimum. The nature of the work was deeply unpleasant and perhaps it was a mercy its operatives were spared some of the details. Yet this had been even less than that. There had been barely any time to meet-up and get to know their fellow team members before they had been collected from neighboring systems, no real mission information beyond "our contacts will handle that, just follow the locals", and the most of a tidbit they could get was "meet the informant at the rendez-vous location then advance."

At least they'd provided the particular coms-code - something to send out once they were close enough to wherever the informant was hiding. Whoever it was, they had all the information they needed for the mission.

At least it appeared they would have some firepower backing them up. Locals, training and discipline to be determined, and the staging area at least appeared... quiet, about as quiet as it could be with the distant howls of void-artillery and deathly judgement of bolt-tracers ever flashing in the background. The view of the valley as almost hypnotizing as a creeping carpet of small incendiary infernos, flaming dead armor, and the insect-small shapes of large ground vehicles dragging themselves across the distant hell-torn earth.

Up here in the wilderness, the dense foliage tightened and darkened, opposing the scouring hunger of the afternoon sun and almost trying to veil the sight of carnage below. The path squished somewhat under their steps, the soil moist thankfully not with innards and vitals-spray - just good old moisture. The trees here were gnarled and occasioanlly arrogant enough to send their roots across the road, yet it was an otherwise dull hike. At least, until the blocky shape of corrugated metal housing and blocky, tarnished construction greets their sigh through the treeline.

The locals stopped, the lead human raising his fist and crouching as he falls in behind one of the trees. The rest spread out, prone against the roots, scanning the small settlement. A village of some sort, abandoned with the onset of violence in the region. Footsteps are present on its muddy streets but every windows is closed as is every door visible.

"Your contact, he is here. Handler, black ops, turncoat..." The tarrhaidim mused. "You... have some kind of call-sign for him? We had a team was with him... but were told to stay quiet, do not want anyone listening in. We are mere rebels; not fancy off-world mercenaries, so our coms less concealed. We are at fringe of CivSec control... so I am told."

The buildings here look dated, poorly maintained, weathered, but the squad can see along the ridged scrap-metal there's also signs of reinforced tarrhaidim biosynthetic materials. Probably a reinforcement before the conflict reached this part of the country-sector; faint bullet markings can be made out along a few of the structures, deep grooves in the soil likely from heavy boots. There's footsteps but it appears that they all lead to various structures, maybe whoever inside is merely waiting for the coms signal.

"We stay on over-watch. Curious as to what such fancy mercs do... but, would rather not be vanished the next day for being such an inconveience." The tarrhaidim joked, a few chuckles exchanged among the squad... until one of them suddenly snapped their rifle off to the right, following something as his long-barreled weapon shakes a little. He adjusted the scope, his tarrhaidim ocular-clusters notably shifting beneath the fabric covering most of his features.

"Something spooked; probably local vermin. Profile low, shaking leaves. Not our concern. Comrades, you go on ahead, we watch for any unwelcome visitors." The tarrhaidim kept his eyes peeled as the rest sweep around. This close to enemy lines, nobody wants to accidentally even hint at their own presence in the region.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Psyker Landshark
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Psyker Landshark return to monke

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Salvator Rasch


The ride over hadn't been bad. He'd never ridden in a Unztadtlige​ warform before, but it still beat a good portion of the rustbuckets he'd had to commandeer over the years. Hell, the fact that they even had a ride was more than was expected sometimes. Still, the squad couldn't stay in the tank forever. They had a job to do, and if a warform could've gotten it done, then the Intransigence might as well have sent conventional infantry.

As Rasch disembarked, he paid polite attention to the ZRF trooper, even as he briefly swept the area. If the locals were content to think they were mercs, Salvator wasn't going to contest that. Less trouble maintaining a cover that way, even if the prospect of being assumed to only be in it for the money offended him. Judging by the quality of the locals' gear, though, these were some poor bastards. Up-armored mining and hazmat gear. The bad old days.

The voidhanger simply nodded at the tarrhaidim that continued speaking, even as the squad approached the rendezvous.

"Don't concern yourself too much about us or our contact. We get fragged, not your problem." The veteran rasped in response. By all rights, they wouldn't be staying with this squad long. That said, Rasch turned to glance at the rest of the team he was saddled with.

"Taking point." Was all he said, keeping professional. Carbine raised, Rasch stalked forward, keeping to cover as he followed the footprints leading to one of the buildings.
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Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by vietmyke
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ECHO DOMAIN - PLATFORM #2884


The journey had been slower than expected, less efficient, more inconvenient. It was not entirely unexpected that the foliage in the mission zone was too heavy to allow the Warform unimpeded travel. Nor was it entirely unexpected that their ad hoc unit would be interacting with the irregular forces of the Zanovia Reclamation Front. From what the platform could tell, the ZRF had not picked up on the idea that the Envenomed were any more than just another pack of mercenaries- a camouflage that would suit their purposes well. It appeared that such deployments were doomed to be a regular thing for the Echo Platform. Though this was in fact, literally what it had signed up for- discretion was rarely one of it was known for- after all, the Echo - Platform had designed itself for conventional warfare, not the more clandestine activities of the Envenomed. Still, without adaptation, the platform was doomed to be left behind by the times, which could not do. Wars came and went, the Echo Platform stayed, adaptation was merely the tune of the music that played.

In the spirit of adaptation, the Echo - Platform had spent time developing proper fragments with which to carry out its more clandestine tasks. Though it was loathe to separate itself- and by extension the available firepower available to protect its core, this situation was perfect to test its new capabilities. While the crew dismounted from its back, the 'skull' of the Warform had opened, and to the ZRF's horror, had deposited onto the ground a smaller- if still hulking- machine body. The Endoform, was joined by two Microforms hitching a ride on the back of each shoulder as its hands hefted one of the Warforms large 30mm rotary autocannons. While not exactly discreet, it was considerably smaller than the hulking Warform, and the metal plating covering the platform shifted slightly to match the colors of its surroundings, though were still a far cry from true camouflage.

The head of the Endoform turned as one of the Envenomed spoke: Salvator Rasch, a voidhanger and soldier. He would be leading the unit towards the small village their contact was awaiting them within. As the pointman began his approach, one of the Microforms hopped off the Endoform's shoulder to begin trailing after the soldier as both backup, and ready to throw itself up as an expendable shield if necessary. The other Microform quickly advanced as well, hidden behind the underbrush and fallen trees, acting as the the Endoform's eyes and ears further out. Acting in unison, the Endoform nodded as it hunched down as low as it could go. While walking along in such a position would be uncomfortable to say the least for most humanoids, Unztadtlige did not have those same limitations.

"Echo form, advancing." Echo notified the squad as it began pushing up with Rasch, roughly five meters back and an additional five out as it fanned out behind the man.
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Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by DeadDrop
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DeadDrop Evil Arc

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πš‚πš’πšπšπš’πš—πš πš’πš— π™΄πšŒπš‘πš˜ πš›πš’πšπš’πš—πš πš’πš— πšπš‘πšŽ πš‹πšŠπšŒπš” 𝚘𝚏 πšπš‘πšŽ πš πšŠπš› πš–πšŠπšŒπš‘πš’πš—πšŽ 𝚠𝚊𝚜 πš˜πš—πšŽ πšŽπš‘πš™πšŽπš›πš 𝚘𝚏 πš•πšŠπš—πš πš—πšŠπšŸπš’πšπšŠπšπš’πš˜πš—, 𝚊 πš–πšŠπš’πšπšŽπš— 𝚘𝚏 πšπš‘πšŽ πš‘πšŽπš•πš’πš˜πšœ πšŒπš›πš˜πšœπšœ πšŠπš—πš 𝚊 πš—πšŠπšπšžπš›πšŠπš• πš‹πš˜πš›πš— πš”πš’πš•πš•πšŽπš›. π™Ίπš•πšŽπš˜ π™°πš•πšŸπšŽπšœ πš™πšžπšπšπšŽπš πšπš‘πšŽ πšπš’πš—πšŽπšœπš πšœπš’πš—πšπš‘-πšπš˜πš‹πšŠπšŒπšŒπš˜ πšπš‘πšŠπš πšœπš‘πšŽ πšŒπš˜πšžπš•πš 𝚐𝚎𝚝 πš‘πšŽπš› πš–πšŽπšŠπšπš›πšŽ πš™πšŠπš πšœ πš˜πš—, πšπš‘πšŽ πšŒπš’πšπšŠπš›πšŽπšπšπšŽ 𝚜𝚊𝚝 πš’πš— πš‘πšŽπš› πš–πš˜πšžπšπš‘ 𝚊𝚜 πšŠπš•πš’πšŽπš—πšœ πšŠπš—πš πš πšŽπš’πš›πš-πš‹πš˜πš›πš— πš‘πšžπš–πšŠπš—πš˜πš’πšπšœ πš‘πšžπš—πš πšŠπš›πš˜πšžπš—πš πš’πš— πšπš‘πšŽ πš‹πš’πš πšπšžπšŒπš” 𝚘𝚏𝚏 πš›πš˜πš‹πš˜πš-𝚍𝚎𝚠𝚍 πšπš‘πšŠπš πšπš‘πšŽ πš˜πšžπšπšπš’πš πš›πš˜πšπšŽ πš’πš—. π™·πšŽπš› πšπšŽπšŠπš› 𝚠𝚊𝚜 πš™πšŠπšŒπš”πšŽπš πšπš’πšπš‘πš, πš‘πšžπšπšπšŽπš 𝚝𝚘 πš‘πšŽπš› πš‹πš˜πšπš’ πš•πš’πš”πšŽ 𝚊 πšœπš’πš–πš–πšŽπšπš›πš’πšŒπšŠπš• πšπš•πšžπšŽ πšπš•πš˜πš‹ πš˜πš— 𝚊 πšπš’πš—πšŽ π™Όπš’πš—πš’πšπš’πšπšžπš›πšŽ. πšƒπš‘πšŽ πšŒπš˜πš•πš πšœπš–πš˜πš”πšŽ 𝚘𝚘𝚣𝚎𝚍 πšπš›πš˜πš– πš‘πšŽπš› πš—πš˜πšœπšπš›πš’πš•πšœ 𝚊𝚜 πšœπš‘πšŽ πš–πšžπšœπšŽπš πšŠπš•πš˜πš—πš πš πš’πšπš‘ πšπš‘πšŽ πš›πš’πšπšŽ, πšπš‘πšŽπšœπšŽ πš’πšŠπš–πš–πšŽπš› πš‘πšŽπšŠπšπšœ πš πš˜πšžπš•πš πš’πšŠπš–πš–πšŽπš› πšŠπš—πš πšπš‘πšŠπš'𝚜 πš πš‘πšŠπš πšπš‘πšŽπš’ πšπš’πš.

π™Έπš— πšπš‘πšŽ πšŽπšŠπš› πšŒπšŠπš—πšŠπš•πšœ 𝚘𝚏 πšπš‘πšŽ πš’πš˜πšžπš—πš πš πšŠπš›πš›πš’πš˜πš› 𝚠𝚊𝚜 πšœπš˜πš–πšŽ πš˜πš•πš πš‹πšŽπšŠπš—-πš–πšŠπšœπš‘ 𝚘𝚏 πš–πšžπšœπš’πšŒ, πšπšžπš—πšŽπšœ πšπš˜πš› πšπš‘πšŽ πšœπš˜πšžπš• 𝚊𝚜 πšœπš‘πšŽ 𝚜𝚊𝚝 πšπšŠπš”πš’πš—πš πš’πš— πšπš‘πšŽ πšŸπš’πšŽπš  πšŠπš—πš πšπš‘πšŽ πšœπš’πšπšžπšŠπšπš’πš˜πš— πšπš‘πšŠπš πšœπš‘πšŽ πš‘πšŠπš πšπš˜πšžπš—πš πš‘πšŽπš›πšœπšŽπš•πš πš’πš—. π™Έπš πš πšŠπšœπš—'𝚝 𝚊 πš πš’πšœπš‘ πš—πš˜πš› 𝚊 πšπš˜πšŠπš• 𝚝𝚘 πš‹πšŽ 𝚊 πšœπšŽπšŒπš›πšŽπš πšœπš™πšŽπšŒπš’πšŠπš• πšπš˜πš›πšŒπšŽπšœ πšœπš˜πš•πšπš’πšŽπš›, πšπš˜πš› πš™πšŠπš›πšπš’πšŽπšœ πšžπš—πš”πš—πš˜πš πš— πš‹πšžπš πš’πš πš‹πšŽπšŒπšŠπš–πšŽ 𝚊 πšπšŠπš’πš•πš’ πš˜πšŒπšŒπšžπš›πš›πšŽπš—πšŒπšŽ πšŠπš—πš πšŽπšŸπšŽπš— 𝚊 πšŒπšŠπš›πšŽπšŽπš› πš—πš˜πš  πšπš˜πš› πšπš‘πšŽ πš’πš—πšπšŽπš—πšπšžπš›πšŽπš πš πš˜πš–πšŠπš—. π™·πšŠπš—πšπšœ πš πš›πšŠπš™πš™πšŽπš πšŠπš›πš˜πšžπš—πš πšπš‘πšŠπš πšπš˜πšŒπš”πšŽπšπšŽπš•πš•πšŽπš› 𝚘𝚏 πš‘πšŽπš›πšœ 𝚊𝚜 πšœπš‘πšŽ πš›πš˜πšπšŽ πšπš‘πšŽ πš‹πšžπš–πš™πšœ πšŠπš—πš πš™πš˜πšπš‘πš˜πš•πšŽπšœ πšπš‘πšŠπš πš•πšŠπš’ πš‹πšŽπšπš˜πš›πšŽ πšπš‘πšŽ πšπš›πš˜πšžπš™. πšƒπš‘πšŽ πšŽπšŠπš›πš™πš‘πš˜πš—πšŽπšœ πš•πšŠπš’πš πš•πš˜πš˜πšœπšŽπš•πš’ πš˜πš— πšπš‘πšŽ πšŽπšŠπš›πš•πš˜πš‹πšŽπšœ 𝚊𝚜 π™Ίπš•πšŽπš˜ πšπšžπš—πšŽπš πš’πš— πšŠπš—πš 𝚘𝚞𝚝 𝚘𝚏 πšπš‘πšŽ πšŒπš˜πš—πšœπšŽπš›πšŸπšŠπšπš’πš˜πš—, πšπš‘πš˜πšžπšπš‘ πšŠπšπšπš’πš—πš πš—πš˜πšπš‘πš’πš—πš πšπš‘πšŽ πš›πš’πšπšŽ πšŒπšŠπš–πšŽ 𝚝𝚘 πšŠπš— πšŠπš‹πš›πšžπš™πš πšŽπš—πš 𝚊𝚜 πšπš‘πšŽ πšπš›πš˜πšžπš™ 𝚘𝚏 πš–πš’πšœπšπš’πšπšœ πš™πšžπš•πš•πšŽπš πš˜πšŸπšŽπš›.

πš‚πš‘πšŽ πšŒπš•πš’πš–πš‹πšŽπš πš˜πš— πšœπš˜πš˜πš— πšπš‘πš›πš˜πš πš’πš—πš πš‘πšŽπš› πšŒπš’πšπšŠπš›πšŽπšπšπšŽ 𝚝𝚘 πšπš‘πšŽ πšπš›πš˜πšžπš—πš πš•πšŽπšπšπš’πš—πš πš’πš πš“πš˜πš’πš— πšπš‘πšŽ πšŠπšœπš‘πšŽπšœ 𝚘𝚏 πšπš‘πšŽ πš™πš•πšŠπš—πšŽπš. "π™½πšŽπšŽπšπšŠ πšœπšπš›πšŽπšπšŒπš‘, πšπš’πš–πš–πšŽ 𝚊 πš‹πš’πš." π™Ίπš•πšŽπš˜ πšœπšŠπš’πš 𝚝𝚘 πš‘πšŽπš› πšπšŽπšŠπš– 𝚊𝚜 πšœπš‘πšŽ πš‹πšŽπšπšŠπš— 𝚝𝚘 𝚍𝚘 𝚊 πšπšžπš•πš•-πš‹πš˜πšπš’ πšœπšπš›πšŽπšπšŒπš‘. π™±πšŠπšŒπš”, πšπš•πšžπšπšŽπšœ, πšŠπš›πš–πšœ - πšπš‘πšŽπš’ πš—πšŽπšŽπšπšŽπš 𝚝𝚘 πš‹πšŽ πš›πšŽπšŠπšπš’ πšπš˜πš› πšπš‘πšŽ πšœπš’πšπš— 𝚘𝚏 πš πš‘πšŠπš 𝚠𝚊𝚜 𝚝𝚘 πšŒπš˜πš–πšŽ. πš‚πš—πš’πšπšπš•πš’πš—πš 𝚊𝚜 πšœπš‘πšŽ 𝚠𝚊𝚜 πšπš‘πšŽ πšŠπš‹πšœπšŽπš—πšŒπšŽ 𝚘𝚏 πš‘πšŽπš› πšπš˜πš‹πšŠπšŒπšŒπš˜ πšœπš‘πšŽ πš™πšžπš•πš•πšŽπš πš‘πšŽπš›πšœπšŽπš•πš πšπš˜πšπšŽπšπš‘πšŽπš› πšŠπš—πš πšœπš‘πšžπšπšπš•πšŽπš πšŠπš•πš˜πš—πš 𝚝𝚘 πšπš˜πš•πš•πš˜πš πš’πš—πš πšπš‘πšŽ πš”πš’πš—πšπš›πšŽπš πšœπš‘πšŽ 𝚠𝚊𝚜 πš πš’πšπš‘. π™·πšŽπš•πš• 𝚘𝚏 πš‘πš’πšπš‘ πš πšŠπšπšŽπš› πšπš‘πšŽπš’'𝚍 𝚐𝚎𝚝 πšπš‘πšŽπš’πš› πš–πšŠπš—, πš˜πš› πšπš’πšŽ πšπš•πš˜πš›πš’πš˜πšžπšœπš•πš’.
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Ilshar Ard’sabekh


The soil on this world smelled good. Lately, Ilshar had found himself jumping from one dry, dusty planetoid to another, a grainy film clogging his sensory glands with an annoying taste he was only now fully getting rid of. The humid wafts of boggy, unsettled earth that Zanovia had greeted him with had been a more than welcome change. It did not quite smell like home - nothing ever really did - but it brought back pleasant memories of boundless tropical peat fields under a hazy sun. The only irritants were the persistent smells of battle, still too fresh to have settled into a comfortable decay, and the smokestick of the human riding along with him, to say nothing of the transport itself.

He gnashed his teeth as the vast creature lurched ahead under his feet. He was still not wholly used to the idea of a living thing so tightly woven with cybernetics it was almost a machine itself, let alone an intelligent one. The mass of mostly etherically inert metal made him uneasy, not faster than light travel had the first few times. Depending too much on machines. That had never been the Alazann way. Better the simpler, more straightforward things, like the gun weighing down in his hands.

The guides’ chatter was at least a distraction from the strange mechanical colossus and its eeriness.

β€œMercenaries?” he grunted in response to the tarrhaidim’s musings, β€œCould say that. Business. Hate…” The lower rows of his ocular bulbs dissolved into his head, and new ones opened further up, looking at the sky between the trees’ canopy. β€œElsewhere.”

At last the trudging ride was over, and Ilshar heavily hopped down, some wary eyes still trained on the giant - Echo, it had been designated? - as part of it detached to follow. Maybe it was a machine after all. He gave another grunt of acknowledgement as the group’s voidhanger moved ahead, snapped on his helmet and hefted his machine gun before following into the undergrowth. He smelled the sap now, the rotting plants underfoot. Nothing out of place, their guide was probably right about that noise. Still, they were in a warzone now. If time had taught him anything, it was that it paid to always keep every gland open. Especially early on, when nothing seemed to have gone wrong yet.
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"Noted friends - have fun in there." The tarrhaidim soldier mused as he lay rooted in position, not before turning to Ilshar, his voice turning into a deep gurgle in a foreign, alien tongue far removed from English.



Ilshar, Echo, and Salvator were near the centre of the settlement.

It wasn't in the most wartorn state it could have been, hardly what one would use for a convincing charity pleading commercial. Visible trails half-obsured by the mud and what appeared to be some rain from the night before lined across the muddy paths. Some wheeled and others uniformly flattened - antigravitational hover vehicles for the latter. Most of houses had a sort of ramshackle approach to them; geometrical and sensible in their shape yet whatever symmetry or sense that might suggest interrupted by slightly-pulsing, stiffening biomass like a mixture of moss and wood.

A few bullet holds dotted them, shrapnel wounds, windows dotted with tiny holes - few signs of break in or entry. The boot-prints lead towards one partiular house in the middle, mud smeared on the front steps and the door slightly ajar. From the gap and nearby window, they could peek inside to see the light peering in from the windows further illumating the footsteps. A living room was visible off to the side yet the footsteps lead down the corridor adjacent, towards a closed door. A door large enough for the Endoform of Echo to move through; its inhabitants were clearly not human given the relative size of everything inside.

Around them, most of the windows had been tinted black, covered with bio-film from the other side, or boarded in a few cases when they could not afford glass. This was one of the few that lacked such and given by the fewer bullet-holes on it, perhaps it had simply bee a less appealing target for whatever stray fire had punctured its walls.

Off in the distance, something massive thudded and rumbled with the crackling roar of a massive artillery blast in the distance and the settlement quaked in response. Windows wobbled, doors rattled, and the door creaked against its hinge as if beckoning entry into the structure. As far back as where Kleo resided, the forest shuddered not merely in fear of the shockwave of force, but as if in fear of when the next one would fall.

Movement again; rapid shapes bestial and low to the ground, skirting around the edges of the woods opposite to the way they entered. Their allies' weapons followed; the ground they stood upon was higher in elevation.

As the reverberation diminished, a ping manifested upon Echo's comms - the signal was nearby and data-crunching combined with tracking situated it roughly 45 feet to the northwest of the house, roughly diagonally off to the left - somewhere near the front of another house. It was the faded grey-white one, a few muddy stains along its walls, patched up holes filled with tarrhaidim bio-mesh hardened in the case of blasts, and a silhouetted figure in the window who raised a hand then vanished back into the unlit, shadowed room.

The ping repeated - a series of bleeps and blips, roughly congruent with the ones the ZRF would use, though it was far away from the coms-code they were supposed to use to identify and reach out to the informant with.
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Ilshar Ard’sabekh


He was already halfway to disappearing into the brush, an odd mound of gnarled metal steadily creeping towards the open ground of the settlement's edge, when he caught the familiar tones from their talkative - by Ilshar’s standards, at least - local guide. It was not something he had heard before, not exactly. Some of the words he did not entirely grasp, and some others were unfamiliar to him in this context; back where was from, they used to say rings rather than coils… Used to say, yes, not anymore. But the meaning could not have been more clear. This planet was alien to him, its conflicts and his own role in them something he understood detachedly at best - business, he had truthfully said. And still, it was heartening to know that here like anywhere he was among fellow spores of the Nexus. In the end, a tarrhaidim was just that. Maybe the vrexul had the right of it in their own way.

Twisting back his torso, Ilshar made a gesture with one hand, a circle with sharp fingers pointing inward. Once it had been a ritual greeting, but like his spirals it had taken on a more common meaning these days, one anyone could understand. Keep within it, and it with you.

Then the forest parted around him, and the war demanded his attention again. The vrexul had it easier, he thought as he swept the barrel of his gun left to right across the outer row of buildings, ready to let out a suppressive burst. There were fewer of them, and they weren't really part of any nation. Meanwhile, if a tarrhaidim came out from one of those houses in Zanovian Security gear, he would have to shoot, brotherhood in the Totality or not. Hadn't it always been that way?

Once upon a time, Ilshar ruminated as he shuffled ahead behind the other two, he liked to think he had done it for an actually good reason.

Artillery thundered, far away but still much too close, and his skin bloomed with receptors again. Here was a trail of fresh steps, and there was motion in the woods, much like what their own group's must have been. Too far to smell what it was. He did not like the uncertainty.Β 

With a lurching step, he brought his back to the wall of the open building, putting it between himself and the opposite end of the village. If something was moving in, they were going to need cover, but still he hesitated to enter it. That footstep trail did not feel right.

"Careful," he growled, only just loud enough for the rest of the team's vanguard to hear, and motioned to the open door, "Smells like a trap. They move in from outside, wait inside, and they have us. You hear our contact?"
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Salvator Rasch


If a certain few of his squadmates survived this first mission, Salvator was running them through a basic primer of how to actually manuever around a battlefield. He knew the Envenomed were short on personnel, but would it have killed their handlers to give the civilians they pressed into combat some training? But wasn't this the story of his damn life? Running from shithole to shithole, dealing with half-trained civilians and mercs for how long now? Decades? God, but that was depressing.

His brain registered the jets and artillery screaming overhead, but decades of war caused him to barely note them, the sounds commonplace by now. If they weren't homing in on his position, it didn't matter. Salvator kept his gun steady and his steps silent as he stalked through the abandoned village, checking his corners. The aftershock of the nearby artillery blast was alarming, and he briefly swept across his field of vision, looking for any movement as a result of that. Nothing in the immediate vicinity so far, which was both good and bad. No potential contacts yet, but that meant any surprises waiting for them were disciplined enough to not break cover.

"Smells like a trap. They move in from outside, wait inside, and they have us. You hear our contact?" The Tarrhaidim in the group rumbled, and Rasch nodded in agreement as he stacked up next to the lumbering alien along the wall.

"Don't like this. Echo, you've got the best comms tech among us. Try to ping our contact, you've got the codes same as the rest of us." With that said, he looked between the other two who had moved up with him.

"If we don't get a response, I'll move in with a stealth field and do some recon. Better if only one of us springs the trap if there is one. Kid, stick with the big man and keep your head down. Contribute where you can."

@Oraculum @Syben @vietmyke
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ECHO DOMAIN - PLATFORM #2884


The more subtle tactics of war were still new to Echo. Its proficiencies had taken it mainly to the front lines, where maneuver warfare and armor tactics generally took precedent over small unit tactics. It wasn't to say that Echo was not able to perform as necessary, it just lacked the experience to make the platform comfortable leading organisms that weren't within its collective. As such, the Echo platform settled for following the lead of those that appeared to be more well versed with covert maneuvers. Its bulk put itself at the rear of the stack, allowing it to provide rear security for their element. If they breached the building through the door, the Echo platform would've been too large and lumbering to move in with speed anyway. Its Microforms, considerably smaller and more maneuverable deployed instead. One clambered onto the back of the voidhanger, attaching to him like a backpack, its arms out of the man's line of sight, but ready to spring forward to block oncoming fire, and its beam turret sitting above his shoulder, effectively rendering the fast moving man a mobile turret. The other moved to the far corner of the wall, its sensor peaking around to give Echo a better situational awareness.

"Confirmed.", while the Echo platform did not speak physically, its mechanized voice crackled through the earpieces of its squadmates, "Pinging contact with provided comms code. Standby."

The Echo platform began to ping their contact with the provided comms code, though paused as its sensors noticed a different ping, roughly matching that of the local allies. The Microform's sensor turned in the direction of the ping, noticing the house and figure within it. It appeared that they had gained the attention of someone within. Quietly, the Endoform manipulated the controls on its autocannon, unlocking its ammunition belt from its 'safe' position. It was hard to translate the concept of humanoid feelings to the Unztadtlige, but at this point in time, its host organisms processed a reaction most similar to 'unease'.

"Interrogative: ZRF-adjacent ping detected. Distance: 13.72 meters. Northwest. Grey house. Single unknown mininmum. Be advised: ping is similar to local forces, visual sensor cannot confirm friendly. Alert: We have been detected."
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π™°πš‘ 𝚒𝚎𝚜, πšŒπš‘πšŽπšŽπš” πšœπšπš›πšŽπšπšŒπš‘πš’πš—πš πšπšžπš—. π™Ίπš•πšŽπš˜ 𝚠𝚊𝚜 πšπšžπš•πš•πš’ πšœπšπš›πšŽπšπšŒπš‘πšŽπš 𝚘𝚞𝚝 πšŠπš—πš πš›πšŽπšŠπšπš’ πšπš˜πš› πš πšŠπš›, πšœπš‘πšŽ πš•πšŽπš 𝚘𝚞𝚝 𝚊 πšœπš’πšπš‘ 𝚘𝚏 πš›πšŽπš•πš’πšŽπš 𝚊𝚜 πš™πšŽπšŽπš™πšœ πšŠπš—πš πš–πš˜πš—πšœπšπšŽπš›πšœ πšŠπš–πš˜πš—πš πšπš‘πšŽπš– πš–πš˜πšŸπšŽπš πšŠπš‘πšŽπšŠπš 𝚝𝚘 πšπš‘πš’πšœ πšπš›πšŽπšŽ-πš•πš’πš—πšŽ. π™Ίπš•πšŽπš˜ πš–πš˜πšŸπšŽπš πšπš˜πšžπš‹πš•πšŽ πšπš’πš–πšŽ πš–πš˜πšŸπš’πš—πš πšŒπš˜πšŸπšŽπš› 𝚝𝚘 πšŒπš˜πšŸπšŽπš› πš‹πšŽπšπš˜πš›πšŽ πšπšŽπšπšπš’πš—πš πšžπš™ 𝚝𝚘 πšπš‘πšŽ πš‹πš’πš 𝚍𝚞𝚍𝚎 πš πš‘πš˜ 𝚠𝚊𝚜 πšœπšŠπš’πš’πš—πš 𝚜𝚝𝚞𝚏𝚏, πš’πšŽπšŠπš‘ πšπš‘πšŽπšœπšŽ πš‹πš’πš 𝚐𝚞𝚒𝚜 πš πšŽπš›πšŽ πšŠπš•πš πšŠπš’πšœ πšπšŠπš•πš”πš’πš—πš πšŠπš—πš πš–πšŠπš”πš’πš—πš πšŠπšœπšœπšžπš–πš™πšπš’πš˜πš—πšœ. π™΄πšŸπšŽπš—πšπšžπšŠπš•πš•πš’, πšπš‘πšŽ πš‹πš’πš πš›πš˜πš‹πš˜πš πšπš‘πšŠπš πšπš‘πšŽπš’ πšžπš‹πšŽπš›πšŽπš πš’πš— πšœπšŠπš’πš πšπš‘πšŠπš πšπš‘πšŽπš’ πš πšŽπš›πšŽ 𝚍𝚎𝚝𝚎𝚌𝚝𝚎𝚍, πšπš‘πšŽ πšŒπš˜πš—πšπšŠπšŒπš 𝚠𝚊𝚜 πšŠπš‘πšŽπšŠπš πš‹πšžπš 𝚠𝚊𝚜 πš’πš πšŠπš•πš• πš πš˜πš›πšπš‘ πš’πš? πšƒπš‘πšŽ πšπš˜πš›πš” πšŠπšπš“πšžπšœπšπšŽπš πš‘πšŽπš› πš›πšŽπšŠπš™πšŽπš›, πš›πšŽπšŠπšπš’ 𝚝𝚘 πš•πšŠπš’ 𝚠𝚊𝚜𝚝𝚎 𝚝𝚘 πšπš‘πšŽ πšŒπšŠπšπš‘πšŠπš›πšπš’πšŒ πš‘πšŽπš•πš• πšπš‘πšŠπš πš‹πšŽπšπšŽπš•πš• πšπš‘πšŽπš– πš’πš— πšπš‘πšŽ πšžπš™πšŒπš˜πš–πš’πš—πš πšŸπš’πš•πš•πšŠπšπšŽ. π™Έπš πš πš˜πšžπš•πš πš‹πšŽ 𝚊 πš‹πšŠπšπšπš•πšŽ πšπš˜πš› πšπš‘πšŽ 𝚊𝚐𝚎𝚜, πšŠπš‘ 𝚒𝚎𝚜 πš’πš—πšπšŽπšŽπš 𝚊 πšœπš”πš’πš›πš–πš’πšœπš‘ 𝚝𝚘 πšπšŽπšπšŽπš›πš–πš’πš—πšŽ πš’πš πš›πšŽπš‹πšŽπš•πšœ πšŒπš˜πšžπš•πš πšŽπšŸπšŽπš— πš‘πš˜πš•πš πšπš‘πšŽπš’πš› πš˜πš πš— πšŠπšπšŠπš’πš—πšœπš πšπš‘πšŽ πšŽπš•πš’πšπšŽ.

π™Ίπš•πšŽπš˜ πšπš•πš’πšŒπš”πšŽπš πšπš‘πšŽ 𝚜𝚊𝚏𝚎𝚝𝚒 𝚘𝚏𝚏 πš‘πšŽπš› πš›πšŽπšŠπš™πšŽπš›, πš‘πš˜πš•πšπš’πš—πš πš’πš 𝚊𝚝 𝚊 πš•πš˜πš  πš›πšŽπšŠπšπš’ 𝚊𝚜 πšœπš‘πšŽ πšœπš™πš˜πš”πšŽ πš’πš—πšπš˜ πš‘πšŽπš› πš‘πšŽπšŠπšπšœπšŽπš 𝚝𝚘 πš‘πšŽπš› πšπšŽπš•πš•πš˜πš  πšπšŽπšŠπš– πš–πšŠπšπšŽπšœ. "πšˆπšŽπš™, πšœπš˜πšžπš—πšπšœ πš•πš’πš”πšŽ 𝚠𝚎 πšœπš‘πš˜πšžπš•πš πšœπšπšŠπš›πš πšœπš‘πš˜πš˜πšπš’πš—πš."π™Ίπš•πšŽπš˜ πšœπš—πš’πšπšπš•πšŽπš 𝚊𝚜 πšœπš‘πšŽ πš™πšŽπšŽπš›πšŽπš πšŠπš‘πšŽπšŠπš πšπš›πš˜πš– πš‹πšŽπš‘πš’πš—πš πšπš‘πšŽ πšπš›πšŽπšŽ πšœπš‘πšŽ 𝚠𝚊𝚜 𝚊𝚝 πšŠπš•πš˜πš—πšπšœπš’πšπšŽ π™΄πšŒπš‘πš˜, πšπš‘πšŽ πšπšžπš—πš—πš’ π™Άπš˜πš•πšŽπš– πšŠπš—πš πš˜πšπš‘πšŽπš› πš•πš’πš”πšŽ πš–πš’πš—πšπšŽπš πšπšŽπš•πš˜πš—πšœ πš™πš›πšŽπšœπšœπšŽπš πš’πš—πšπš˜ πš‘πšŽπš› πšžπš—πš’πš. πšƒπš‘πšŽ πšœπš˜πšžπš—πš 𝚘𝚏 πšπš‘πšŽ πšπš›πšŽπšŽπš•πš’πš—πšŽ πšŽπš›πšžπš™πšπšŽπš πš πš’πšπš‘ πšπš’πšπš‘πšπšŽπš› πš“πšŽπšπšœ πšŠπš—πš πš˜πšπš‘πšŽπš› πšœπš˜πšžπš—πšπšœ 𝚘𝚏 πš πšŠπš›, πšπš˜πš› π™Ίπš•πšŽπš˜ πšœπš‘πšŽ 𝚠𝚊𝚜 𝚊𝚝 πš‘πš˜πš–πšŽ (πšœπš˜πš›πšπšŠ) πš‹πšžπš πšπš˜πš› πš˜πšπš‘πšŽπš›πšœ πšπš‘πš’πšœ 𝚠𝚊𝚜 𝚊 πš—πšŽπš  πšŠπš—πš πšœπšŒπšŠπš›πš’ πšŽπš‘πš™πšŽπš›πš’πšŽπš—πšŒπšŽ. π™ΏπšŽπš›πš‘πšŠπš™πšœ πšœπš‘πšŽ πš πš˜πšžπš•πš πšπš’πš—πš πš‘πšŽπš› πš™πšŽπšŠπšŒπšŽ πš‘πšŽπš›πšŽ, πš˜πš› πšœπš‘πšŽ'𝚍 πšπš’πš—πš πš–πš˜πš›πšŽ πš˜πšŒπšŒπšžπš•πšπš’πšœπšπšœ 𝚝𝚘 πšœπššπšžπš’πšœπš‘. πš„πš—πšπš’πš• πšπš‘πšŽπš— πšœπš‘πšŽ πš‘πšŠπš 𝚝𝚘 πšŒπšŠπš›πš›πš’ πš˜πš—.
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A discrepancy manifested on Echo's scans; a brief moment of ambiguity as the signal flickered and the ping distorted. Notes out of place on a melody, fingers tapping the keys a blink too late and the cohesion of a composition holding yet unintentionally altered.

It was for a flicker or two, the signal distorting as if by a fumble but that was all the sender needed. Electronic data interference manifested on the platform's HUD's and digital systems, crackling as an external presence attempted to tamper with their systems and processing capability. It was hardly the work of a digital warfare expert yet it was clear they weren't trying to cripple Echo.

If they peered past the veil of interference, they could trace the signal back to the very building the silhouetted figure was in along with another notable piece of information. The unknown entity was marking their direct location, painting them functionally.

Emanating from the opposite end of the settlement, an immense pulse reverberated not through the air but the flesh of realspace itself. Ilshar, Salvator, and Ahzahrizerahni would feel it; worming currents of power frenetic and wild as if running from the yet unseen threat, one that was near yet not immediately visible. It was not a pure ethereal current; it did not writhe and mold as a living thing mght but was rigid and logical in how it flowed and coalesced.

A triplet of THUD's emerged from the opposite end of the settlement, black football-shaped blurs shooting through the air, and slamming around the treeline where their local allies were located. While the squad was distanced sufficiently to avoid fragmentation and blast force, they could hear the buildings nearer to their allies shuddering fearfully before the explosive salvo.

Coms crackled but muted half-stutters and gargled tarrhaidim speech spilled out, too fragmented to discern. A few stray shots cracked out as their allies began to move, stumbling near the treeline as they attempted to circle around the right side, aiming at wherever the presumed grenades had been launched from.

Rapid footfalls, vegetation-hinge doors creaking, the sounds of wet dirt kicking up, the sounds subtle but not unheard amidst the longer distance engagement happening along the treeline edges. They neared, fast enough to be sprints, heavy enough to be armored.

Before they could manifest down the long, wide stretches of settlement their first glimpse of the enemy manifested in the windows. Through the curtains and the shadows, the bodies of rifles could be seen and the flat, unexpressive face-obscuring visors behind them. Three were visible, one in each the three houses facing the door they had seen the footprints on. One house directly opposite of it, another two off to its sides facing them diagonally - along with the building the silhouetted figure was in.

Immediately, they began to fire. Windows and transparent biofilters shattered and crackled as automatic rifle fire tore through. Multiple rounds slammed into Echo, violently pinging as they bounced off and flashed through the air, their energy-field generators shorting out. Even with the jacketing-fields on them, they were not enough to damage him. The others however might not be so lucky, even with the abundant cover around them.

From the house to the northwest where the silhouetted figure had been seen, another weapon joined into the symphony; this one too launching bullets. Heavy, loud, crackling suppression-sprays of bullets. The entire window and much of the surrounding walls were torn open in a spray of dust and fragments as a stream of heavier duty rounds ripped through the corner of another structure, the wall of the house they were facing, and right towards the squad.

It was enough that the bearer of the weapon could be seen, pausing to observe them after its hellish burst of heavy duty rounds.



As this hellish ambush continued, the ethereal pulse tangible to Ilshar, Salvator, and Ahzahrizerahni cased for a moment, the sensation draining as water seeping away into a hole. It was not dissipating; a flash of a second later and it flared like a ray of heat from a crackling fire. From the treeline opposite to where they had entered the settlement, a spiking burst of blue, pink, and white flared above the treeline, vomiting a massive glob of blue-white ethereal power high in the air...

Descending in a long arc of descent right towards Echo...
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π™Ίπš•πšŽπš˜ πšπš˜πš˜πš” πš’πš–πš–πšŽπšπš’πšŠπšπšŽ πšŒπš˜πšŸπšŽπš› 𝚊𝚜 πšπš‘πšŽ πšœπš‘πš˜πš˜πšπš’πš—πš πš”πš’πšŒπš”πšŽπš 𝚘𝚏𝚏 πš πš’πšπš‘πš˜πšžπš 𝚊 πšœπšŽπšŒπš˜πš—πš πšπš‘πš˜πšžπšπš‘πš, πšŠπš— πš˜πš‘-πšœπš‘πš’πš πš–πš˜πš–πšŽπš—πš πš›πšŠπš— πšπš‘πš›πš˜πšžπšπš‘ πš‘πšŽπš› πš‘πšŽπšŠπš πš‹πšŽπšπš˜πš›πšŽ πšπš‘πšŽ πšœπš‘πš˜πš˜πšπšŽπš› πš’πš—πšœπš’πšπšŽ πš‘πšŽπš› πšπš˜πš˜πš” πšŒπš˜πš—πšπš›πš˜πš• πšπš›πš˜πš– πš‘πšŽπš› πš˜πš—πšŒπšŽ πš–πš˜πš›πšŽ. "π™Ύπš‘ πšœπš‘πš’πš, 𝚁𝚘-πš‹πš›πš˜πšœ!"" πšƒπš‘πšŽ πšœπš˜πš•πšπš’πšŽπš› πšŽπš‘πšŒπš•πšŠπš’πš–πšŽπš 𝚊𝚜 πšœπš‘πšŽ πšœπš‘πš˜πšžπš•πšπšŽπš›πšŽπš πš‘πšŽπš› πš›πšŽπšŠπš™πšŽπš› πšπš’πš›πš’πš—πš 𝚘𝚏𝚏 πš‹πšŠπš›πš›πšŠπšπšŽπšœ 𝚘𝚏 πš‘πšŠπšπšŽ πš–πš’πš‘πšŽπš πš•πšŽπšŠπš πšπš˜πš πšŠπš›πšπšœ πšπš‘πšŽ πš›πš˜πš‹πš˜πšπšœ πšπš‘πšŠπš πšπšŠπš›πšŽπš πšŽπš—πšπšŽπš› πš‘πšŽπš› πšŒπš›πš˜πšœπšœ πš‘πšŠπš’πš›πšœ. πšƒπš‘πš˜πšžπšπš‘ πšπš‘πšŽ πšŽπšπš‘πšŽπš›πšŽπšŠπš• πš‘πšŽπš•πš• πš‹πšŽπš’πš—πš πšœπšžπš–πš–πš˜πš—πšŽπš πš‹πšŽπšπš˜πš›πšŽ πšπš‘πšŽπš– πšπš’πšπš—'𝚝 πš’πš–πš™πš›πšŽπšœπšœ πšπš‘πšŽ πš’πš˜πšžπš—πš πš πš˜πš–πšŠπš—, πš’πš 𝚠𝚊𝚜 πšπš‘πšŽ πš˜πš™πš™πš˜πšœπš’πšπšŽ 𝚎𝚏𝚏𝚎𝚌𝚝. π™³πš›πšŽπšŠπš, πšπšŽπšœπš™πšŠπš’πš›, πšŠπš—πš πšŽπšŸπšŽπš›πš’πšπš‘πš’πš—πš πšŽπš•πšœπšŽ 𝚒𝚘𝚞 πšŒπš˜πšžπš•πš πš™πšŠπšŒπš” πš’πš—πšπš˜ πš˜πš—πšŽ πšœπš–πšŠπš•πš• πš•πš’πšπšπš•πšŽ π™Ίπš•πšŽπš˜. πšƒπš‘πšŽ 𝚐𝚊𝚜 πšžπš™ πš’πš— πš‘πšŽπš› πš•πšžπš—πšπšœ πš›πšŠπš™πš™πšŽπš πš πš’πšπš‘ πšŽπš‘πšŒπš’πšπšŽπš–πšŽπš—πš 𝚊𝚜 πšœπš‘πšŽ πšŽπš‘πš‘πšŠπš•πšŽπš, πšπšŠπš›πš’πš—πš 𝚝𝚘 πšπš›πšŠπš  πš’πš— πšπš‘πšŽ πš—πšŽπš‘πš πšŒπšžπš›πš πš‹πš›πšŽπšŠπšπš‘ 𝚘𝚏 πš–πšŠπšŒπšŠπš‹πš›πšŽ. π™°πš• πš˜πšŒπšŒπšžπš•πšπš’πšŒ πšπš‘πš’πš—πšπšœ πš—πšŽπšŽπšπšŽπš 𝚝𝚘 πšπš’πšŽ πšŠπš—πš πšžπš›πšπšŽπš—πšπš•πš’, πšœπš‘πšŽ πš•πš˜πš˜πš”πšŽπš πšŠπš›πš˜πšžπš—πš πš–πšŠπš’πš‹πšŽ πšπš‘πšŽπš›πšŽ 𝚠𝚊𝚜 𝚊 πš‹πš˜πš–πš‹ πšœπš‘πšŽ πšŒπš˜πšžπš•πš πš™πš•πšžπš πšπš‘πš’πšœ πšŽπšπš‘πšŽπš›πšŽπšŠπš• πš—πš’πšπš‘πšπš–πšŠπš›πšŽ πš πš’πšπš‘.

"𝙸-... 𝙸 πš—πšŽπšŽπš 𝚊 πš‘πšžπšπšŽ πšπšžπšŒπš”πš’πš—πš πšπš›πšŽπš—πšŠπšπšŽ!" πš‚πš‘πšŽ πšŽπš‘πšŒπš•πšŠπš’πš–πšŽπš, πš’πš 𝚠𝚊𝚜 πš˜πš—. . .
@LustForDecay
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Psyker Landshark
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Psyker Landshark return to monke

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Salvator Rasch


From the moment he felt the ethereal pulse, Salvator knew they were made. His camo cloak activated as he crouched down and started to sweep the area, looking for where the enemy would be coming from. He heard them first.

"Contact!" Salvator bellowed over comms just before the squad started to take fire. Fortunately, his camo cloak gave him enough leeway to get to cover, and he ducked behind a different house wall before starting to return fire. However, there weren't many rounds exchanged before another pulse of ethereal energy washed over the group, and Salvator instinctively looked up to see the source.

Fuck. Whoever the enemy etherealist was, they were a direct assault type.

"Incoming blast! Find heavy cover, now!" Salvator informed the group again, already formulating a tactic as he noted the heavy gunner from the northwest house pausing for just a moment. "Squad, I'll deal with the heavy gunner, get him off your back to take out the rest of them." He murmured, slinging his carbine up over his back as he swapped out for pistol and knife instead while making sure the Echo microplatform on his back was secure.

Seconds before the ethereal artillery blast landed, Salvator made his move. He surged out from behind the house wall and went straight into a blink jump, tunneling through the open window of the northwest house that had been blown open and right next to the heavy gunner. The instant Salvator emerged from his jump, he lashed out from the soldier's flank, getting a pair of shots off aimed at the head head before lunging with his monofilament knife towards the chest. In these close quarters, Rasch had the advantage, especially considering the length of the gunner's unwieldy weapon.
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Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by vietmyke
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ECHO DOMAIN - PLATFORM #2884


"Alert: Incoming fire. Advise: Take cover." Echo's voice notified the squad- a bit unhelpfully as bullets had already began pinging off his hefty armor plating. Comms were starting to scramble as the garbled voices of their allies made it hard to establish their status-one of the reasons why ECHO did not think highly of verbal communication. Luckily, his combat forms did not need verbal communication to spring into action. In the distance, the squad could hear the sound of heavy machinery and crunching trees as the Warform began advancing on the village, beam cannons cutting down trees as it stomped forward to get an angle on the village. It would take a few moments before the Warform was in a position to fire however.

These were seconds the squad did not have, as the Endoform looked up, noticing a blast of etheric artillery falling towards it. Without a thought, ECHO slammed it's shoulder into the comparatively flimsy wall of one of the nearby abandoned houses, busting through it and into the building itself to take cover from the incoming artillery.

"Advise: Warform approaching, stand by." ECHO notified the squad as he disappeared into the darkness of the building. In the house itself, the Endoform did not have any visual information on the locations of enemy, however, its two microform, perched on the side of the building and Rasch's back provided it with plenty of situational awareness, specifically the locations of his enemies and allies.

The microform on Rasch's back lifted its combination sensor/beam cannon, watching Rasch's rear and flanks as the man attacked, scanning for targets as well as providing the other forms with as much updated location data as it could detect. The Endoform pre emptively deployed it's squad shield and the Warform quickly began to crest the ridge to gain a line of sight on the village.

"Alert: Enemy in cover. Providing suppressing fire." came the mechanical call of ECHO's voice.

From within the walls of the house, a rapid spray of armor piercing explosive living shells began to punch through the flimsy material and track towards the direction of enemy targets, excepting the location where it's microform-and therefore Rasch was. The very foundations of the house shuddered and shook dust as the loud retorts of the multi barrelled autocannon echoed throughout it at a rate of approximately 2000 rounds per minute. The Endoform focused fire towards the southern buildings, it's Microform spotting for muzzle flashes and determining trajectory for the incoming enemy fire.
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Oraculum
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Oraculum Perambulans in tenebris

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Ilshar Ard’sabekh


With a storm of gunfire and comms interference, it began. It had been a trap after all by the looks of it, but Ilshar was past the point of congratulating himself for seeing it coming. It was less of an achievement than a bare minimum for survival in situations like these. And if he wanted to cling to that life-giving threshold of performance, now was not the time for gratification, but action. Sensory organs blossomed over his exposed membranous hide, globular protrusions and spiral-sunken circles that glowed with putrid grey-green luminescence. Enhanced senses swept the tangle of houses, overlaying sight, smell and more esoteric modes of perception still. The tang of smoke and metal from projectile trails. The ill-describable, but unpleasant taste of qillatu discharge- no. The etheric blast that arched towards the gigantic Echo had come from too far away for his perception of the source to be useful to him even if he could pinpoint it.

But perhaps it could be to something else.

The human close to Ilshar called for a grenade. Not a bad idea, that, perhaps he should have prepared some. Too late for that now.

"No grenades," he growled in reply, "Keep shooting. Give cover. I'll take the ether-blaster."

Finding heavier cover, as their pointman had called out, was easier said than done when every passage between the buildings could have been a killing corridor. The best he could do was move away from the corner and towards the central point of the house he was hunkered behind. It would put him closer to the still suspiciously open door, but it seemed a more acceptable risk than sprinting across the ambushers' line of fire.

Weapon slung across his chest, Ilshar raised his arms and retracted most of his sight organs, turning his focus inward. Semi-material senses reached inward, through and beyond semi-ethereal entrails. He had sometimes heard that, according to physicists, the act of observing something could provoke a change. While he had never been one to study anything quantum, the principle rang true to him. Not because of any persuasive argument, but from simple, tangible experience. Looking into the Chasm is more than perception - it's bait.

The space between his upheld hands darkened, as if some invisible shape were filtering the daylight directly above it. Startlingly, the ground below remained clearly lit. In a moment, there was a blurring, a folding of perspective, as if the tarrhaidim and the house behind him had been a drawing on a piece of translucent paper that was being folded around that one point in midair. The suspended shadow grew deeper, expanded - and then it was gone, and something writhed in its place. A sinuous form twice as long as Ilshar's arm twisted through the air, as if swimming through water, crystalline in its transparency and yet oozingly, unmistakably organic. Smell. Seek. Hunt. The ether-worm whirled, circular tooth-ringed jaw snapping, and slid away, towards the direction where the blast had come from.

Ilshar leaned against the building's wall, dizziness coursing through him as implanted and template-bred organs fought to absorb the qillatu diffusing from him exertion. The moments immediately after reaching into the Chasm were the worst. The most dangerous. He could only pray to the source of all that churned and slithered that the rest of the team was keeping the enemy distracted enough.
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Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by LustForDecay
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LustForDecay Death Metal Maniac From 2010 Or Something

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The reaper spat and its rounds flew, shattering the tatters of structure the hefty machine was silhouetted against before biting into armor. Ballistic padding met 10mm mullets, sputtering dust-like fragments as metal bit into layered protect and bit into the metal beneath. The machine shuddered and shook from the impact, it steel body lacking blood, flesh, and nerves as it swung its mag-accelerator gun and fired another burst, ignoring the human for the massive unztadtlige.

Bolts of light and flashing sparks pinged off of a glowing dome of light, flating up as glass would reflecting the rays of the sun. Echo's shield manifested in full sight as multiple rifles joined in, heavy duty armour piercing rounds shrouded in veils of energy slamming into it, sparking as they expended their power and shattered against it. The powerful device was holding but the cyberngetic organism was wise not to test it against the globule of ethereal power descending towards them.

Salvator had blinked away before the crushing impact, the unztadtlige slamming through multiple walls, Ilshar hunkering down; just in time for the angry globule to make landfall. For a flash of a moment the realspace blurring fields that contained it bulged and strained before they finally erupted open. The wild colours it contain expanded like gase and flame, space distorting momentarily as the laws of reality consumed those of beyond, transforming the burst of power partially into an blossom of force and matter-ripping ether. The entire front of the house, the stairs, most of its frontal wall, and a chunk of its roof were devoured.

The force of the blast washed the area in smoke and scan-jamming interference, momentarily turning most of the rifle fire into inaccurate sprays at last known locations. Kleo vanished first behind the voidfire then the smoke and debris in its wake, her cover shaking and trembling as a blast-wave rocked it to the core. The feeling of little chittering sounds, not heard via ears but against her thoughts, momentarily swarmed over her as realspace quivered in the wake of the hefty blast and the strange currents that flowed beyond it skirted the edge of mortal perception.

This artillery strike turned out to be a blessing.

The gunner-automata swivelled its head just in time for its camera and vertically-mounted PDW-barrels to see space itself morph and warp and a whole voidhanger trooper emerge. The magnum spoke a second faster than the twin barrels did, two bullets rupturing a camera on their flight path through vital systems and causing the machine to stagger. Its heavy weapons swung horizontally but its makeshift cudgel was no match for the trained movement of its opponent. Where Kleo's bullets had peppered his monofilament knife now dug, easily going through armor and feasting deep into the vital electronics beneath.

The newly made cavity erupted sparks as its arms twitched and head-guns spat wildly, peppering the house opposite of them. A shaky but resolute fist raised like a hammer, aiming to slam down on Salvator's skull. Brutish machine force that wielded its normally mounted heavy machine gun with ease now prepared to reduce the operative's braincase to pulp. The microform however could detect that it was not alone; there was movement down the street where the close-quarter fight was ongoing. Three bipeds, humanoid, armored, too distant to make out if they were more automata or organic, but it was clear they were hesitant to fire upon their ally.

Off in the treeline, more high-power automatic weapon fire shot out from a crossfire position; the same kind of machine gun wielded by the gunner-automata. Armor piercing rounds slammed against the warform's body, cutting through trees with ease as they focused on the bigger, lumbering threat. Rounds that might wound vrexul however pinged off its armor, burning it at best as AP rounds jacketed with energy sparked and burnt out. A flare of ethereal power kicked up as the yet unseen etherealist on the other side of the treeline, at the other side of the village, began to condense ambient ether around itself in response to sighting the walking tank.

In the meantime, their allies fired upon the now revealed enemy heavy gunners in the treeline, momentarily silencing them. Their allies were 3/4 of the distance to the threat, tying up any additional suppressing fire. They might have been guerillas but they were no less tenacious than the Envenomed squad.

With the sole heavy duty suppressing weapon taken out of commission, that left an even heavier weapon on the battlefield, one wielded in the endoform of Echo's massive arms. One that spoke with greater clarity and power than a mere mag-accelerator HMG, the very force of its firing shuddering the already damaged structure they stood in.

Where had once been a trio of houses to the south soon became impressionist ruins.

The first house's side-wall vanished into eruptions of smoke, shattered biomatter, and plasteel. A few loud sparking pings demonstrated where heavy duty rounds hammered against infantry armor, crushing through protection rated at best for rifles, not cannonfire. A body was visible, dancing in twitching and convulsing motions, human by way of form, bisected in a flash as its tattered torso disconnected from its lower one, a rifle wildly spraying in its single grasp as a spray of bluish-purple nutrient-fluid gushed out of two wounds.

The centre and then leftmost house were next as their rifles silenced to welcome the hellish cannnon tearing them open. The former house half collapsed, its bulk slouching towards the collapsing window as heavy duty rounds vaporized walls and supports, crushing whoever was unfortuante enough to be beneath. The latter house was a little more lucky as the soldier within tossed himself out of a side door, crashing through it hard enough to toss the hinges off and slamming into the mud with a practiced roll.

He stayed prone but crawled quickly, yelling something out back as his allies finally made it to the battlezone.



CivSec soldiers, at least eight of them in total, clad in a mixture of synthetic-ballistic biomesh layered over with what looked like recent generation UCL surplus armor. It was a far cry from the scavenged, lighter, mishmashed look of their rebel compatriots and based on their movement, they were hardly demoralized by the hellish display Echo had demonstrated. Many of them were already sliding into cover, target sensors scanning Echo and the others; any counter-electronic warfare suites the squad possessed would detect multiple waves washing over them. Echo was obviously made but they lacked a coherent read on the others.

The leftovers of the ether-artillery blast affected them just as much, but the smoke and heat-like blur was diminishing. As it did so, rifles firing energy jacketed rounds spat in staccato bursts as one of them began to unload his grenade launcher, sliding in a blue-tipped 40mm of some sort. The big autocannon bastard was the threat and the armour piercer was going to do the trick.

In their focus on the hulking unztadtlige however, they did not feel the shimmering in the air like fleshy mass sliding down a wet throat. The tingling on the flesh of augmented bodies from the ether-residue was diminishing but it was enough for them not to notice Ilshar summoning something foul and creeping from beyond the mortal plane. As rifles fired, the annelid entity snaked through the air amidst the smoke and the bullets.

It was easy to find its prey; Echo's warform might have seen it and most of the others probably felt it. Yet the worm itself would see the very area where space was now bleeding and gushing out ethereal power as a luminescent shield manifested dome-like around a tall, ominous figure lurking in the treeline.

They were smart; they'd sucked out the very light such a barrier might manifest but to the worm it was little more than slightly dimming a flashlight, turning the dial down just a little. And with the bullets and grenade-blasts this dome was resisting, it was hardly hidden. It was a strong barrier, one that was taking a large part of its users power but what specifically behind it was hard to detect.

Yet it clearly wasn't human; its body was large, tall, lanky almost yet rough and almost made of coiling, overlapping sinewy muscle and bark-like material. Its arms were quite long and ending in long almost tendril like figures, its legs digitigrade and with pointed hip-bones that stuck upwards past its waist. It looked almost skinny if only from that distance; it was not fully standing, its body seemingly covered in some kind of stretched, thin, yet glowing veiny membrane.

Its head was like a pair of wide, flattened shovels inserted into one another to form a symmetrical "X". Like those of a planarian, bending backwards as little dots glowed alongside them; eyes perhaps. It was hard to tell where it was looking from a glance but seeing as it was pulling backwards slowly (even if not leaving the battlefield), it was clearly not on the worm.

The annelid itself could feel just how densely concentrated the ether was around it; the sort of power possessed by a veteran etherealist. The guerilla team was likely the only reason it wasn't concentrating that power on more offensive means at the moment.
Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Psyker Landshark
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Salvator Rasch


He hadn't taken the gunner automata down in one move. Unsurprising, but annoying nonetheless. Now he'd have to keep engaged in close combat with the robotic soldier. If this were an organic, the situation would be far different. Pain would have slowed it, if not crippled the gunner completely. Too bad that automata just powered through injuries until they were rendered nonfunctional. At least he'd gotten a camera lens. That'd impair it enough for him to have an actual advantage going forward.

Salvator wasn't quite stupid enough to try to block the gunner automata's retaliatory strike. Instead, he narrowly stepped to the side, channeling ethereal power through his hands down to his weapons as he did so. His magnum's magazine became jacketed in void energy, as did the blade of his monofilament knife. Not a proper substitute for EMP ammo against automata, but there wasn't enough time to swap out. He led with the knife first, manuevering to the side of the gunner with the ruptured camera for maximum advantage. Salvator thrust with it straight into the gunner's shoulder joint, aiming to pin the arm in place while he finished it off. His left hand brought up his magnum, and jammed it into the cavity he'd already made with his knife before pulling the trigger. Several rounds of AP-EX with ethereal jacketing ripped through the gunner automata, rendering it nonfunctional as it collapsed to the ground.

With that done, Salvator instinctively crouched down as his armor's ECM suite began going wild, an alert popping up in his HUD. A quick visual scan of the battlefield revealed why: CivSec reinforcements. Fortunately, it seemed his countermeasures were holding up for the moment, as they didn't seem to have detected him. The voidhanger grinned under his faceplate. Good. Ethereal radiation washed over himself with a wave of a hand, the stealth field hiding him from visual detection. He holstered his weapons and swapped back to his carbine, ghosting out of the house.

"Squad, Rasch." He rasped over comms, his mask automatically muffling his sound to his immediate physical vicinity. "Moving to flank reinforcements, will tag any marked over the uplink, over." Time to start hunting the hunters.
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Hidden 1 yr ago Post by DeadDrop
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DeadDrop Evil Arc

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π™½πš˜πš πš–πšžπšŒπš‘ π™Ίπš•πšŽπš˜ πšŒπš˜πšžπš•πš 𝚍𝚘, πš’πš 𝚠𝚊𝚜 πšŠπš•πš• πšŒπš˜πš–πš’πš—πš πšŠπš™πšŠπš›πš πš•πš’πš”πšŽ 𝚊 πš‹πš’πš πšπšžπšŒπš”πš’πš—πš πšπš›πšŽπš—πšŠπšπšŽ πš—πš˜ πš’πš— πš‘πšŽπš› πš‘πšŠπš—πšπšœ. πšƒπš‘πšŽπš›πšŽ 𝚠𝚊𝚜 𝚊 πšŸπš˜πš’πš 𝚝𝚘 πšπš’πš•πš•, πšŠπš—πš πšžπš›πšπšŽπš—πšπš•πš’ - πšŠπš— πšŽπšŸπš’πš• πšŸπš˜πš’πš. πš†πš’πšπš‘ πš–πš˜πš›πšŽ πšœπš‘πš’πš πšπš•πš’πš’πš—πš πšπš˜πš πšŠπš›πšπšœ πš‘πšŽπš›, πš‹πš•πš˜πš πš’πš—πš πšžπš™ πšŠπš—πš πšœπš‘πš˜πš˜πšπš’πš—πš πš‹πšŠπšŒπš” πš’πš πš•πš˜πš˜πš”πšŽπš πš•πš’πš”πšŽ πš’πš 𝚠𝚊𝚜 πšπš‘πšŽ πšπš’πšπšŽ 𝚠𝚊𝚜 πšπšžπš›πš—πš’πš—πš. πš†πš‘πš’πš•πšŽ πš’πš— πšŒπš˜πšŸπšŽπš› πšœπš‘πšŽ πšπš˜πš˜πš” πš‘πšŽπš› πšπš˜πšŒπš”πšŽπšπšŽπš•πš•πšŽπš› πšŠπš—πš πšπš’πš›πšŽπš πš πš‘πšŠπš πšœπš‘πšŽ πšŒπš˜πšžπš•πš 𝚊𝚝 πšπš‘πšŽ πš‹πš’πšπšπšŽπšœπš, πš‹πšŠπšπšπšŽπšœπš πšπš‘πš›πšŽπšŠπš πšπš‘πšŠπš 𝚠𝚊𝚜 πšŠπš™πš™πš›πš˜πšŠπšŒπš‘πš’πš—πš πš‘πšŽπš› 𝚜𝚚𝚞𝚊𝚍. πšƒπš‘πšŽ πšœπš˜πš•πšπš’πšŽπš›πšœ πšŠπšπšπšŠπšŒπš”πš’πš—πš π™΄πšŒπš‘πš˜, πš˜πš› πšπš‘πšŽ πš‹πš’πš πšπš‘πš’πš—πš πš˜πš› πš–πšŠπš’πš‹πšŽ πšπš‘πšŽ πš˜πšŒπšŒπšžπš•πš πš‘πš˜πš•πšŽ πšπš‘πšŠπš 𝚠𝚊𝚜 πšπš›πš˜πš πš’πš—πš πšŠπš—πš πšπš›πš’πšπšπš’πš—πš πš‹πš’ πšπš‘πšŽ πš–πš’πš—πšžπšπšŽ? πš†πšŠπš› 𝚠𝚊𝚜 πš‘πšŽπš•πš• πšŠπš—πš πšπš‘πšŽ πšπš›πš˜πšžπš™ 𝚠𝚊𝚜 πš™πšžπšœπš‘πšŽπš πš’πš—πšπš˜ πš’πš, πšπš’πšπšπš’πš—πš πš’πš—πšπš˜ πš‘πšŽπš› πš™πš˜πšœπš’πšπš’πš˜πš— πšŠπš•πš• π™Ίπš•πšŽπš˜ πšŒπš˜πšžπš•πš 𝚍𝚘 𝚠𝚊𝚜 πšπš›πšŠπš πšŠπš—πš πš”πšŽπšŽπš™ πš•πš˜πš  πš πš‘πš’πš•πšŽ πšπš‘πšŽ πš‘πšŽπšŠπšŸπš’ πš‘πš’πšπšπšŽπš›πšœ πšπš’πš πšπš‘πšŽπš’πš› πšπš‘πš’πš—πš.

"πš„πš‘, πšπš›πšŽπš—πšŠπšπšŽ πš™πš•πšŽπšŠπšœπšŽ!?" π™Ίπš•πšŽπš˜ πšŠπšœπš”πšŽπš πšŠπšπšŠπš’πš—, πšœπš‘πšŽ πš›πšŽπšŠπš•πš•πš’ πš—πšŽπšŽπšπšŽπš 𝚊 πšπš›πšŽπš—πšŠπšπšŽ.
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Oraculum Perambulans in tenebris

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Ilshar Ard’sabekh


For a moment, Ilshar felt as if he had fallen bodily into the Chasm. Part of his mind had followed the ether-worm as it slithered towards the treeline, an odd sensation as if some of his sensory organs had been surgically detached, altered and carried around while still somehow connected to his mind. It was disorienting, the sort of thing that could send a novice etherealist stumbling dazedly into the line of fire, confusing the oneiric creature's odd perspective and fluid airborne movement for their own. But Ilshar was no novice, and he remained firm on his feet even as those sensory angles that had stayed with him registered the approaching etheric blast. He drew his focus away from the worm long enough to right himself from his leaning position and crouch before the world around him erupted into a flash of unnatural colours and distorted perspectives.

His connection with the ether-worm had lessened the sensory shock, momentarily inuring him to this sort of abrupt shift, and his attention flowed back to the Chasmic entity as soon as he was positive that he still had at least some moments of safety. He saw, or perhaps rather felt, the potent signature among the trees, let senses that were only partly his slide over the barrier's surface. Ilshar did not see the being within as clearly as the worm would have - tall, spindly, a scielto perhaps? It was hard to say - but he could tell that it had not noticed the translucent void-predator, or at least gave no sign of it. This was just as well. As long as the barrier stayed up, there was nothing he could do to strike at the enemy etherealist, but as it was he could prepare something for when they would inevitably attack again. Wait. Stalk. Ambush. He impressed these simple thoughts onto the ether-worm's consciousness as he withdrew from it, leaving it to hover among the tree branches; if the Nexus favoured him, it would be ready to strike as soon as the prey was exposed.

Ilshar awoke to his body in time to see figures moving in through the now battered settlement. Their focus on Echo's towering bulk, evidently as unsettling for them as it had been for him, bought him precious seconds to lunge away from the now ruined building and behind a still mostly intact one across the street, praying the smoke would cover him enough. The human that had been with him seemed lost in the haze, but he had more urgent things to think of as Rasch's voice crackled within his helmet. It made sense that, as the most mobile of their team, he would flank, while the giant unzatlidge drew fire. This left it up to Ilshar to do what he did best in these situations.

"Received," he growled back into the comms, "Giving cover fire."

He leaned part of his torso out from behind the corner and raised the Ulvath's barrel. It was not a weapon built for precision, but that was not what he needed. Pressing the trigger, he sent a sweep of explosive bullets towards where the CivSec squad's fire gave away their position. A brief pause, then another burst. A pause, and another. There were not enough of them to call for a continuous automatic barrage, but these sporadic volleys should have been enough to pin them in place while the rest of the Envenomed struck home.
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