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Meesei examined the horn she was holding for a few moments longer, but even with access to her own magic, she could not feel anything particularly exceptional about it. She tossed it aside, among the pile of Indrik bones, then laid herself down on her side in the grass as well. "I do not think I will be overruling anything. I would not mind some more...peaceful time together. I think tomorrow will have plenty of excitement for all of us."

Kaleeth, though slower to decide, did follow Janius' lead once he went for the water. Rather than dive in as he had, she slinked in under its surface quietly, for a creature of her size. She stayed under far longer than it took for Janius to surface, perhaps just enjoying the water while she waited for the soreness of her tongue to fully subside. Since they were staying put, Lorag decided to linger around the bones of the Indrik, occasionally taking one to clean off the remaining scraps of meat while they spoke. Ahnasha, meanwhile, laughed subtly to herself, leaning herself over Fendros and holding him tight, while using one hand to rub his stomach as one would pet a dog.

"So, Sabine..." Meesei began. "...have you had any thoughts on the final members to induct into your pack, or have you been saving those thoughts for after the battle?"
Eri ‘Moram - Dxun





While she had not delayed it as much as she had perhaps hoped, Eri was able to roll out of the way of the Tarentatek, and into the chamber. The beast was fast on her heels, and when she recovered from her roll and was back to her feet, she turned back and was face to face with the creature before her. However, she was far from alone.

In addition to the blaster fire from Jerius, all ten of Eri’s team finally had their sights on their quarry. Eri was still too close for high explosives, but everything else was quickly thrown at the beast. In such an open chamber, everyone had an angle to be able to fire at once. A volley of carbine fire, needles, and automatic plasma weapons barraged the beast from all sides. It was met with the explosive bursts of the rest of the concussion rifle ammunition they had remaining, and an overcharged plasma pistol shot from one of the Unggoy. The veritable light show of all of the weapons fire at once was enough to be blinding by itself, much less with all of the high-energy plasma, piercing needles, and sheer kinetic force assaulting it. Eri added in her own shots as well, aiming at its head and firing her beam rifle to the point of overheating.



Vael ‘Virisusai - Aboard the Taris




“Without truly knowing our enemy, it is difficult to say.” Vael answered to Erthos. “We know Anubis is a liar and a false god, but a clever enemy can take many approaches. Infiltration, corruption of those who are already present, or simple surveillance could lead them to betray our secrets. Accidentally or otherwise. Taking on any ally is a risk, but…one that may be necessary. To start, we may simply speak with them, learn of them, and determine how much they cherish their own values. That will tell us how resistant they will be to adopt the values Anubis seeks to spread through this galaxy.”

Regardless of his own concerns, Vael was ready to proceed with the negotiations. For now, he was ready to follow Erthos, being that he was the most familiar with this planet and its people, as well as the general etiquette expected in this galaxy.



Thaz - Nal Hutta




In spite of being on an overwhelmingly crowded planet in a different universe, Thaz did not feel too out of place on Nar Shaddaa. Even in the short walk to the cantina, she saw people of more species than she even knew of in her home universe, but the general feel of the city was almost familiar. Even among the advanced technology that made the city function, Thaz could see that hardly anything was cleaned or maintained with any real degree of care. There was refuse in the streets, and every being they passed acted like anyone else might jump them at any moment. It was a kind of anarchy that Thaz was perfectly familiar with in the places that Kig-Yar tended to frequent back home.

As Thaz and Samus approached Jerus’ table, the Kig-Yar was looking with quick, keen eyes around the establishment. “Hmm, ‘honest’. Sounds boring. Still, reminds me of this place back on Venezia.” She remarked as she took the seat next to Jerus. “I remember this drunk Human bet me I couldn’t down a whole bowl of this…curry stuff at once. He acted like it was burning his mouth from the inside out, but it didn’t do a thing to me. I didn’t get it. Still don’t. Anyways, he wouldn’t pay up, so I bit off his finger.”
Falul ‘Taham and Dr. Fiona O’Connell - The Immaculate Aegis





Falul gave a long glare and a soft growl towards the view screen as the situation rapidly developed. Though, any frustrations he had were directed more towards potential…external factors. To have the Aegis accidentally arrive here, in just this place at just this time, seemed far too convenient. He wondered if Elizabeth had a hand in this as well, but that would be a concern for later. The Aegis’ AI soon returned the comparisons of the sensor scans to their archived schematics of local ships. Providence-class carriers, Munificent-class frigates, Lucrehulk-class battleships, this was clearly a fleet belonging to the faction known as the “Separatists.” Falul recognized the name. From what he had been reading, they had been waging a war against the Empire’s predecessor.

In any case, the arrival of the Imperials complicated some matters, and simplified others. “Acquire new targets and have strikecraft prepared for launch. Target two of the weaker ships, here and here, with the torpedoes and ventral lance.” Falul ordered, pointing out two of the Venator-class star destroyers on the holographic display in the center of the bridge. He was aware that the larger class of Imperial ship was more dangerous, but targeting the weaker ships first served several purposes. Destroying the Venators quickly would be the most efficient way of reducing the amount of incoming hostile firepower, especially if they could be destroyed before they launched their own strikecraft. From the technical specifications of the local universe’s ships that Falul had studied so far, their turbolasers had a more limited range than the Aegis’ primary weapons, so they could fire upon the Imperials before they could return fire. Secondly, if the Aegis could potentially cripple or destroy a Venator in a single shot, that would make both their allegiance and value in combat crystal clear to the Separatists.

“Once we have fired upon the Imperials, attempt to fall into formation with the local fleet.” Falul ordered before soon turning his attention back to McKay. “I want this ship ready for, at minimum, a combat jump.” Compared to normal slipspace usage, a combat jump would be easier to keep stable, as the borer would only need to be active for a small fraction of a second, once the portal was established.

With as frantic as she was being, Dr. O’Connell clearly was not accustomed to the stresses of battle. Still, there was at least one useful thought that came to her mind that she had the courage to bring up. When it came to ship-to-ship combat, there was always one single advantage that the UNSC had that could actually, legitimately be considered an advantage. “Shipmaster, I…I think Isaa-, um, the UNSC AI is still aboard. If you let it plug into the ship, it could run cyberwarfare far more effectively than this ship’s AI.”

Out of all the information that had been presented to him, Falul took the most time to consider Fiona’s proposal, even if it was only a few seconds. “Very well, but it may only work through the ship’s spirit, and must be contained from core systems.”

In the hangar, the Spartan team would easily notice the rapid bustle of activity as the pilots scrambled to their Seraphs and Banshees, though it took less than a minute for Dr. O’Connell to contact them on their comm channel. Or, more specifically, Isaac. “Are you still on-board, Isaac? An Imperial fleet just dropped into the system, and it’s looking like there’s going to be a fight. The Shipmaster just gave permission for you to take over cyberwarfare for the Aegis. You'll have to go through the ship's AI as an interface, but you still should have access to everything you need.”
By the time the pack was through with the Indrik, its carcass was hardly more than bloody bones surrounded by antlers, bits of fur, and feathers that had been cast aside. Meesei was sat on the ground next to the bones, and after Janius' comment, picked up the horn that had once been at the center of its head and began to look at it closely. "That may have been more dangerous prey for less...experienced hunters. I have to wonder how much of a fight it would have put up had we not ambushed it so quickly. A deer that can teleport, and use frost or shock magic...I may have to spend more time in Summerset after this."

"Hmm, more prey does sound tempting..." Ahnasha remarked. She had been one of the last to finish eating and was currently laying in the grass, picking between her teeth with one claw. "It is so rare to get the chance to eat a Daedra. Most of the time, they are just banished upon death, but here, their bodies will remain."

Kaleeth was likely the one most satisfied by their hunt, and was now even more lucid than when she had first transformed that evening. She was looking off towards the nearby river for a while before finally speaking, slowly and carefully. As long as she was deliberate about how she spoke, she was now intelligible. "Maybe we can...relax a while, first? This forest is a beautiful place."
Kaleeth was quick to lose any focus as to what the others were saying. Being that her beast was not one with pack instincts, she was not one to wait long to eat, nor to abandon her feast once she began. Meesei, on the other hand, only ate a small amount, including the heart itself, before stepping back and allowing the others to join in. Since she had no need to satisfy her beast spirit, she did so more out of custom.

"I doubt we are the first mortals to hunt here." Ahnasha commented, just before moving in beside Lorag to sink her teeth into their prey, once she was allowed to do so. Although, it did take a while for her to elaborate. It was during hunts, and especially consuming the kill, that she most often allowed her beast spirit to freely influence her thoughts and actions. As such, it took a few minutes of allowing it to eat before her cluttered thoughts returned back to the topic. "I remember, even long ago, reading stories of mortals who had the honor of hunting in Hircine's plane. Back when I was first learning about Hircine. I guess it's hard to say if they were just stories, though. It's still something I've dreamed of doing since I was a child."

Lorag gave only a quick moment to speak. "Hmph, I just want to know if there's something bigger to kill."
Thaz - Nal Hutta





Regardless of Samus’ cautious words, Thaz still felt more relaxed than she had been on their way to the planet. They had done their job and would be getting paid. Especially since they were already leaving the planet, it was not as if the bodyguards would be catching up to them. There was an audible hiss as Thaz unsealed her helmet and set it aside next to her beam rifle, finally revealing her face for the first time since they had met. She approached beside Samus, leaning herself up against the wall just beside the control console.

“I don’t know about this whole ‘war’, but I’m going to get my pay, get some tech from this universe, or some other ones, and sell it back home when we figure out how to get back. I’ll make enough to retire rich.” Thaz commented.
Falul 'Taham - The Immaculate Aegis





While Dr. O’Connell was frantically going through the readouts in search of the source of the error, the bridge crew of the Aegis was quick to react to the situation. Falul’s attention was placed immediately onto his own readouts, and the view screen of the space ahead of them. Whatever words Falul might eventually have for the scientists, his foremost priority was the potential threats ahead of them.

Falul had the sensor data sent to his own display, and it took just a few seconds for him to start making his decisions. “Are our shields at full strength?” He asked to one of the Sangheili at a console off to his right.

“Yes, Shipmaster. Only the borer was interrupted by the error.” The crewman answered.

With that information, Falul’s orders were decisive, and came quickly. “Power the reactor to full and focus all spare output on shields. Acquire targets, but do not yet power weapons." He began, turning his gaze directly to McKay. "You, assist with transferring slipspace control to the secondary borer and get this ship ready for an emergency slipspace jump as soon as possible.”

Falul paused just a moment, leaning back in his chair as he observed the fleet. “These ship configurations are not Imperial… but this is a military fleet. Cross-reference sensor scans of their vessels with all of the known local ship configurations Erthos provided us. I want to know who they are. And broadcast this message on an open channel.”

“This is Shipmaster Falul ‘Taham of the Immaculate Aegis. We have arrived in this system unintentionally, with no hostile intent.” Falul announced.

After he broadcast his message, Falul turned briefly to Uril. "Get a message back to the fleet. Inform them of our situation."
Kaleeth turned her head, moving her gaze between the others laughing around her. After a moment, she huffed and let out a short, low growl. "Shill noff..." She began, but ended up growling again in frustration. Meesei moved to help, but before she could actually do anything to assist, Kaleeth turned away and snapped her jaws down on the Indrik's stomach. She tore it open with hardly any effort and began feasting on its entrails.

Meesei, meanwhile, shrugged and chuckled lightly. "She will be fine. For a werecrocodile, that swelling should go down shortly. Meesei explained. On Meesei's part, she decided to start tearing into its chest, as the heart was her goal. Meesei wondered if there was any part of an Indrik that was inherently magical in some way, though it would hardly be worth stopping the feast in order to find out.
Dr. Fiona O'Connell - The Immaculate Aegis





"I have been thinking about that as well, actually." Dr. O'Connell commented. She continued keeping an eye on the readouts, but with everything being within normal parameters for the moment, she continued to speak, somewhat quietly, to McKay.

"I've been a bit busy myself to be able to go in-depth into the technical data we have on the other ships, but the prospect of being able to study technology from other universes is beyond tantalizing. My entire job back home is to study and reverse-engineer alien technology, so this is exactly my sort of work. I have to think that it wasn't an accident that, what was her name...Elizabeth chose the Aegis just when myself and Narak happened to be aboard." O'Connell reasoned. "And I don't think you'll find much argument from the Shipmaster. Like I mentioned before, the Sangheili were of the warrior caste of the Covenant. They would love to know how all of their technology works. Shields, power systems, weapons, either small arms or ship based...I would be willing to bet that Falul will let you study it all to your heart's content. The only condition would be that you share any results you might find with them. And you wouldn't be starting from scratch, either. Narak and I have been working with Forerunner technology more recently, but I have put years of research into reverse-engineering Covenant technology, and I still have all those notes. Between all of the scientific knowledge of all of these universes, we might be able to make a breakthrough."
Meesei took in the scent of her singed fur as she glanced down at her arm. "I do believe I have read about Indriks before, at some point...perhaps I should have paid closer attention to that book." She commented, walking around behind the head of their lifeless prey. She knelt down and quickly tore out a large chunk of the Indrik's throat, if only to make sure it was actually dead, and would not have any more surprises for them.

Ahnasha, much like most of the rest of the pack, was already staring hungrily at the corpse. But, even as her beast spirit had her salivating, she could not help but to notice some strange behavior on the part of Kaleeth. The werecrocodile was sitting on the ground next to the Indrik, lightly snapping at the air periodically for no apparent reason. "There...something the matter, Kaleeth?" Ahnasha asked.

Kaleeth tilted up her head towards Ahnasha. "Mmysthtongthishore." She replied back in an almost entirely unintelligible slur.

Kaleeth now had some of the others' attention as well, while Ahnasha tilted her head in confusion. "Um...what?"

This time, Kaleeth slowed down and tried to put more emphasis on each word. "Myyth...ffongue...shlocked."

Now that Ahnasha was looking closer when Kaleeth spoke, she could see that there were some burns in Kaleeth's mouth and her tongue was quite swollen. Her jaws had been latched down on the Indrik when it let out its shock, and that jolt had probably went right through her tongue. She doubted that Kaleeth could feel her tongue at all at the moment, and after a brief pause, Ahnasha could not help but to start letting out a deep laugh. A fearsome werecrocodile slurring words like a drunk was simply ridiculous enough that she could not resist.

"Noff...fummy." Kaleeth tried to answer back, but the attempt only made Lorag start laughing as well.
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