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Current Y'all need some Omegavortex in your lives.

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How hard are we talking?
Is there still room to join? When is this RP going to start? I might want to see how it rolls in action before committing but I am getting interested.
Rho-Hux had taken the lead as he swung into the treetops, swallowed by the cluttered bramble above and the thick shadows cast into the undergrowth the rest of the team crept and trundled. The day was not a bright one and the sunlight that did peek through had a faint, almost silvery colour to it as it peeked through the dense leaves. The ground below was its own maze but the treetops could not be said to be any better. Branches overlapped branches, bushy clusters of fuzzball like flowers competed for the thin beams of light, and dense moss and creeping vegetation colonizes where any rot on wood crept. Progress might be faster through such a path but the treacherous nature of the Sprawls spared through from its obfuscating grasp.

Traveling through the trees, a particular sensation began to creep and tug at the geatirocht’s senses. Like a faint electrical current that was woven through the air, the residual ether from the howitzer swamped the region around the heavy weapon’s firing pit, densest on the ground as Silver, Paris, and Zsresrinn moved through. Mere tendrils as opposed to the enveloping heat-wave like miasma occupied the upper levels of the wood, whispering the un-logic driven nonsense of the Abzu into quiet, unsuspecting corners of the mind. Below, the afterwash effect was fading but the three-person team, quiet as they were, would not be able to shake the feeling of the seeping, skin-crawling otherworldly power washing over them.

It was thick enough that Silver’s cloaking system was starting to gather it across his body. Invisible to sight but he would be able to feel it clinging to his armour – patches of piercing cold that dug into the skin and seemed to hum to his head. His armour naturally shielded him, even as the ether in the air slowly waned, but his cloaking system might not shroud him as much as he thought.

To anyone with sufficiently advanced scanning modules for their visors, it would appear that clumps of supernatural waste byproduct were gradually concentrating around an unseen, indefinite shape. That is not what the enormous creature on the ground noticed first however.

From his perch up high, Rho-Hux would be able to see the enormous predator – low to the ground like a crocodile slithering slowly, its gnarled arms thickening with bony outgrowths and muscle past the elbow as a squirming leech-like creature feebly thrashed against the leaves and the dirt. Gaseous hissing exited its tendril-lined maw, slithering head and serrated paddle tail writhing angrily against rows of interlocking triangular teeth slowly soaking in the blue-green of its blood. It was a large beast, not as dense as Zsresrinn but its body long and streamlined with powerful, brutish muscle and clustered of bony armour-like growth, like some enormous semi-reptilian creature.





The gealtirocht remained unseen to the creature as its attention turned towards the largest member of the party - Zsresrinn. For a split second, its jaws froze and its long tail with its four gore-drenched tips would rise over it almost snakelike, flickers of flashing red membrane around its four tooth-like prongs flashing at the approaching vrexul. Slowly it began to drag itself backwards, audibly scraping across the leaves and roots as the mechanical clunking of Paris neared.

Subtly, movement could be seen in the bushes. A scent unlike the raw and dry earthiness of the plough-head, wet and slimy like the creature trapped in its jaws. If she or the others could scan the foliage opposite to the plough-head, it was clear that its captive had not been abandoned. Clusters of quiet and creeping leafslithers lay hiding and still, their sickle like claws scraping against the ground as eyeless faces watched the grim spectacle play out before them. The dense ether in the air had marked them out, painting their skin in hues of light blue and yellow that those touched by the Abzu could easily see even through the miasmatic fog.

Were they frightened or were they enraged? They were not leaving one way or the other.

To the plough head, the Sect team wasn’t a random encounter – these were predators every bit as savage in tooth and claw as any dweller of the forest deep. The meat in its mouth, small as it was, remained its brutal livelihood; the iron-giant that stomped behind the enormous arthropod made it clear these two were in league with one another. It could feel a third, its void-receptive sensory glands detecting a shrouded presence causing its frill-plates around its head and neck to rise.

A deep, sonorous growl began to emerge from its throat, drowning the cries of its victim. Like a faulty heating unit it groaned, morphing ominously into a phlegmy, dragging growl. Too deep to merely be emerging from its mouth but radiating from its heavy body as its tail’s pincer grips grated across tree bark and its mid-limbs gripped into the dirt. It might be stepping back but with its hind legs coiled and tensed, there was no telling how it might react.

This prompted rustling in the leaves above, subtle but unheard amidst the plough head’s defensive response. Rho-Hux would hear the movements then see the leaves shift a few feet ahead of him. More leafslithers – slender bodies snaking through the clutter of branches and leaves, positioning themselves above and around the far larger predator below. One of them rose its head and froze. It did not need eyes for the gealtirocht to tell that it was looking his way, frozen still as if by command as its compatriots paused, hesitating at the sight of an unexpected presence up in the tree tops with them.

As this was ongoing, the surviving drone, re-entering the control range of Zsresrinn, had slowly hovered over the nearby hill. Image quality from the somatic link was erratic but not beyond salvation, even as it neared where the concentration was at its deepest. Sight of the insurgent howitzer pit was achieved – a deep wide depression in the earth, dug into the top of the hill and flattened out with wooden panels and morphic fungal planks. It was quite wide and large, connected to what appeared to be a small shack of some sort, quickly made with rapidly grown and maintain tarrhaidim biomass padding and infested plasteel, sporting a series of small antennae emerging from its slanted rooftop. A few trenches could be spotted around the sides that stretched off across the elevated ground to defensive positions, collapsed tents as well further to the heart of the emplacement.

The centrepiece however was the void-howitzer itself. The pit was deep enough to support this enormous, semi-cylindrical monstrosity. Its barrel had square-like protrusions apart of a normally cylindrical frame, lined with specialized ether-filtering grates that stopped an inch or so short of its wide mouth. Pointed prong-like appendages stretched out from a few inches behind, stopping over its top and lightly glowing in the dim aftermath of its recent burst. Energy modulation and projectile shaper attachments – high end equipment innocuous at first but capable of turning mere high explosive globs fired from a single charge to a hellish rain of smaller, rapidly launched shells. High tech equipment – a fairly recent invention but not the sort that typically ends up in insurgent hands.

Before the drone slipped away, it could tell that the small artillery position was on alert. A tall, powerful celaderaka encased in metal-laced carapace growled something out and a few tarrhaidim troopers got off of the artillery platform, leaving its computer systems and targeting attachments in exchange for picking up their bioelectric auto-rifles. Two more celaderaka were seen – unlike their leader hefting along what seemed to be an autocannon-derived battle rifle, these two had large and sickle-like blades attached over their left shoulders and dark green camo-patterned armour. Heavy duty shotguns were slung over their shoulders as they cackled and spoke – one of them had a bandolier of heavy duty slugs on his chest, the sort that you didn’t use for hunting, not game animals anyways.

A group of humans, roughly 12 or so, could be seen, lightly armoured by comparison (reconnaissance or security type armour, little augmentation capability) and with smaller calibre older generation rifles. Most were sitting in a circle around the artillery piece at the bottom of the pit and draped in sweat. A few were popping qillatu-diminisher pills or running checks on the still hot, smoking supernatural howitzer. Around where they were mostly concentrated were a few crates with a peculiar symbol on them – a U-shaped magnet with red and blue tips with a bullet piercing through its lowest end. A few of them were eating some sort of nutrient paste-gruel and one with a notably advanced looking visor, League tech by the looks of it, was moving over to the shed.

The growl from the plough-head had caught their attention and just before Zsresrinn’s drone vanished, the four tarrhaidim troopers had crept up over the top, rifles raised as they began to slowly advance down the hilltop. The heavy Kevlar like armour they wore and the exoskeletal servos across their arms and legs made it clear they could move quickly and hit hard if they wanted. Yet sharp as they were, the foliage was still thick enough they hadn’t caught sight of the standoff happening down below.

Given by the size of their rifles and the quiet, professional way they moved from cover to cover, always having one keep an eye out as the other three moved, it was clear it might not be long before they approach. The plough head seemed to notice but it had stopped, frozen in place, huffing coming from behind its jaws as it began to realize what was happening.

The window of opportunity was starting to diminish for the Sect team. Would they take the initiative, fall back, conceal themselves?
It took a few seconds for the humungous arthropod to detect two other presences. Soon he chipped into the com channel to get Frost on the line.

He hadn't seen the skala at first; not with his own senses. With his drones, his sensory perception wasn't relegated to his own body but distributed across multiple smaller ones, linked to the central nexus of his own conscious perception. He smelled, heard, and saw what they saw like a thousand eyes inside of his own linked to a brain already used to controlling multiple limbs, bodily organs, augmentative parasites and other such components with a precision at once naturalistic and borderline mechanistic.

"Vazyrin here. Skala group detected. Around 12 of them, no firearms. A click or so away from our position. I cannot tell if they are here to scavenge or if they are a territorial patrol. That's not all."

His drones had picked up another signature; something like a faint tingle on their waving, whispy antennae. This wasn't a scent but a strange tingling that was almost electric. Elecromagnetic in particular.

"There's something else - the pilot has gone to investigate it. I can't detect it properly from here with the atmospheric conditions however. Some sort of electronics. Someone ask them whatever it is they've made contact with."

Normally, he would have gone and told the skala to stay clear. He'd been among their kind before and this planet was not unfamiliar to him. It was a good place to hide away from Federation patrols and the locals understood that.

The problem was that getting up meant giving his positions away and with an unidentified, potentially hostile presence in the clear, that meant making himself a target in an area with poor cover and visibility.

"I can try to contact the skala through my drones. Maybe I can stall them or we can work out an agreement. What's your call?"
As Rho-Hux confronted the Sect group, the offensive through the woods raged on. Off in the distance a section of the woods burned an angry, weltering orange as vehicular weaponry and shrieking mortar shells devoured foliage and infantry forces alike. The dialogue between purple, yellow, and white weapon flashes against the blue, green and orange had momentary stalled as a partially scourged open stretch of the woods became the site of another massive firefight. Gourlan’s advance had stalled but the woods weren’t any less alive with activity than they were before.

Through the shaded paths winding deeper into the heart of the Sprawls, the parasitic drones sent Zsresrinn found a foreboding, maze-like path where the mist hung heavy and the light barely reached. Bumpy and uneven terrain forced them to travel up and down an irregular topography defined by dense roots that crept over the path and sudden ditches in the earth. Footsteps and the scents associated with them could be detected; primarily troops from what could be discerned but a closer look revealed those of indigenous life forms – clearly making usage of a pathway that was increasingly revealing itself as a connecting pathway to other hideouts in the Sprawl.

Advancing further would cause the shared sensory link with the parasites to blur; a static not electric but somatic, causing the link between creator and drone to weaken as they neared the edges of control range. It couldn’t be said that was entirely the reason as to why however. A piercing, synthetic shriek roared through the thick foliage and the vision and hearing of the creatures momentarily blanked from a bright blue-white flash of light, silhouetting trees and leaves in a bright flash. Chitters, roars, and crumpling leaves could be heard in their wake as wiry, serpent-like shapes scattered through the woods, running towards and over the parasites in a wild, frenetic stampede. The sound of the unseen weapon firing was audible and visible from the distance; an angry burst of light that crept out of the depths of the Sprawl’s darker pathways yet did not truly leave it.

The creatures however, were unheard and unseen amidst the radiance. Most of the parasites sent out by Zsresrinn had been crushed in their frenetic stampede yet it is one that was impossible to hear over the monstrous, roar. It wasn’t what most would pay attention to.

Breaking from the tree cover, an enormous globule of radiant angry blue-white soared overhead. It seemed almost liquid like, a gigantic raindrop-like mass of coalescing, fleshy, warping energy not of this world. A distant chill crept across skin and carapace alike as distant waves of ethereal radiation washed over them; not enough to be dangerous but it seemed to caress them with a tender, hungry lustfulness as the globule descended towards the armoured column.

An explosion just a little less radiant than the burst that had sent it forward erupted in the woods, flattening trees and swallowing the flashing lights of weaponfire in a horrific bluish-white. Drifting clouds of an algae-like foggy blue hung as sporadic, intermittent weapons fire from the insurgents kicked up.

Their coms began to buzz, static washing through but not overwhelming the voice calling.

<How quaint; the very void-howitzers the League sold to us are now being turned on us.> A cruel laugh broke out from Gourlan, followed by a shrieking series of weapon discharge. <I hate to demand this of our guests, but would you mind dealing with this hopefully trivial matter?>

As the wash of spectrometric strangeness began to die down, the remaining two parasite-drones would have their psycho-somatic link re-established and repaired to Zsresrinn. As the stampede had ended, sight though not scent of the strange, unidentified creatures had been lost as they scattered into the woods. Yet they weren’t the only ones moving; air pressure sensors and their other longer-distance detection measures would notice other shapes moving in the wood. Yet they only needed their eyes to see something larger and multi-limbed shambling across the hill over which the void-howitzer had fired. It was too dark to make out its particular shape, too well hidden even in this frenzied moment, but a particular fresh, wet smell reeked from its body.

More importantly, the drones had established at least the rough general location of where the howitzer likely was and as they were still active, could keep an eye on the area for beast or soldier within the area. They hadn’t been detected, at least, not the living ones.
Vazyrin nodded and immediately made his way across the snow, sinking in deep with his immense weight. It barely seemed to dissuade him as he casually sunk his claws digits into the body of his rifle, causing a wet ripping sound that teetered on the edge of completely bisecting the weapon. That's what wone might think if not for the fact that his carbine began to extend with pale, newborn biomass manifesting in the space between its elongating barrel and slimming body while its stock began to mold as if being forced into the shape of some sort of x-shaped cup-like mass, bracing against his shoulder.

"Get going and stay on the coms. Ping me every five or so minutes. If your coms go down and an emergency happens, make noise and light."

With that, the huge creature advanced and settled on some of the elevated ground, partially shoved upwards from the cratering brought about the crashed vessels. His powerful claws stretched out from underneath his raised gun, shovelling away dirt and snow as he began to burrow into ground, soon partially concealed as he shovelled snow onto the rest of his body with smaller rear legs with brush-like claw-digits.

Soon, he looked little more like a rock formation himself, keeping a close eye on the vast plains. Subtly, a group of six or so flat-bodied creatures crept out from the snowy pile. Two skittered off to the crashed ships, climbing atop for a better vantage point and the remaining four split off to form a perimeter around the area.

"I've set up my surveillance. I'll let you know if I detect anything unusual."

"We're making this quick. The Federation do not lose that much personnel and hardware without raising alarms. There may be other vultures looking to cash in on this as well. Someone stays on lookout duty." The rust-scraping voice of the crew's largest companion grated away warningly. This mission was simple but so was every battle he had been in at heart. Everything else that would happen rarely was.

As Vazyrin finished talking, a series of loud clicks, clacks, and cocking cha-chunks responded as his arsenal (that anyewhere else would be a crew-served weapon) prepared themselves for their task. The huge arthropod stepped forward as his various firearms folded up into compact modular forms and seemingly vanished into his armour. It was dizzying to watch the plethora of alien limbs, each one guided by a single consciousness but working in an interconected series of prodding, shoving, twitching motions while his enormous primary arms and legs moved in some rough approximation of a common biped. At his enormous height, he looked almost to be guarding the landing chute if not for the fact his back was turned.

"The cargo ship will be the main priority. Once we make it in main threat will be security automata; this isn't the first ship I've raided and where humans will break, they do not. That leaves the potential for flesh and blood survivors on board and if so..."

He turned his long, mandibled skull to face Vorra and Frost.

"Rules of engagement, if you please. For surviving crew and unwelcome visitors. I'll leave it to you to decide who stays on watch duty."

||| Your kind are not unknown to us. We know you are not the original inhabitants of this world and have an understanding of why. We are not here for you and our presence here is not militaristic in intent but scientific and historical. Your sovereignty is respected and we do not intend to cause problems where they are not needed. This extends to the others who dwell below; we have also been aware of them for some time. We are willing to negotiate - we understand that you are far removed from most conflicts in the cosmos. This extends to us as well. You are aware however it may only be a matter of time before said conflict finds both of us and it will not hurt to be prepared. Our fleet has supplies and we are willing to work out a variety of deals in matters of mutual interest.

We have reasons to enter the depths but we do not plan to conquer them. Just as we are aware of your variuos observation points, we do not seek hostility. There are remnants of our own in there and would be willing to request your assistance with regards to finding them. We would prefer to speak directly about them over a secure channel or in a secure meeting space with your ambassadors. There doubtless questions you may have and vice versa. These are not matters we consider secure for conversation over a datapad. We hope you can understand and we look forward to future communications. Message us back and we can work out a location and time.
|||

The mite-like entity scribbled over the tablet, its palps splitting into a variety of smaller manipuator limbs like a nightmarish tree-branch assembly of surgical equipment. Laser projectors, vibratory blade cutters, self-repairing metal-coated cutter tips - its impressive arsenal was put to the task of meticulously writing across the back of the tablet and slowly piling up small anthills of dust around itself. One could easily think it was more of a machine with its mechnical precision. They wouldn't be entirely wrong. Like the bulbous, jellyfish like constructs their features were clearer now that it was easier to watch them. They had the bumpy texture of something like a meatball crossed with a mixture of sewer gunk and a nightmarish mess of jagged, metallic spikes.

These grotesque entities were simply drifting across the chasms below, almost looking like some sort of strange wildlife that had adapted to a world where remaining terrestrial or aquatic was entirely out of the question. Unlike jellyfish though, they were far from mindless. Complex sensory mechanisms and organs were scanning below but elsewhere, the beings they had been scouting for were making landfall.

On one of the large landmasses by the chasms below, a vessel long and flattened like some prehistoric crustacean hovered down to settle onto the ground. It almost appeared at rest but within its biomechanical body, it was anything but relaxed. Hundreds of multi-jointed limbs moved in visually overwhelming, hurried patterns as the un-living ship began to activate a series of complex mechanisms and hidden systems. Huge figures that shambled and skittered with the speed of creatures much smaller moved in busied patterns, coming close to yet never really crashing into one another. Some crept up the curving and undulating walls, others through floor-holes obscured by shadows, and some walked bipedally in a near silent harmony.

This landing spot hadn't been randomly chosen. The gunships flying overhead weren't doing simple air patrols. The mite-machines jumping from rock to rock weren't just exploring. No other nation knew it yet but this wouldn't be the first time some of these crewmen had landed here.

As the belly of the ship opened, hidden from sight behind a complex composite of syncretic armour, the belly of the chitinour machine began to open. Normally this would be used for deploying space-rated combat craft but today, it was something drastically different.

After all, it wasn't often the Rozkleřešení was manifested on the vessel - a gignatic swirling spherical mass of festering biomatter and constant self repair, its very surface a living tapestry of self-consuming and regenerative complexities laced through with eldritch machinery and guided by a consciousness far beyond what what anyone in the NIRC was capable of truly comprehending in terms of scope.

Only fragments of it were ever taken for these missions but they were almost revered such as the swirling chaos-sphere that hovered in the hangar bay, a silent watcher of the enormous vrexul crew that toiled with the complex preparations of scourging the very stone and metal they lay on with precise energy tools and cutter beams. Their augmented bodies seemed nonsensical at first - grotesque and overdeveloped with complex interlocking metal and biomass plating, multiple limbs working independently of one another, fleshless heads and lidless eyes at once aware yet empty. They moved to vividly to be machines but there was an economy to their motion almost measured in execution that certainly wasn't typical of organic life.

How they could keep so calm with the ominous sphere whose very being seemed a biomechanical catastrophe encased in a very loose shape was anyone's guess. There were smaller figures present, some digitigrade and tall, others roughly humanoid. Occaisonally, their armoured heads drifted to the mayhemic mass hovering above and the squishing, chittering, rustling sound - like a thousand pieces of paper shuddering and tearing in a dusty metal vent. Even as stone was scraped, metal scourged, and the ground slowly deepened, the piercing frequencies scratched at the consciousness as much as they did the ear.

Gradually the shape of some sort of cryptic alien design became clearer framed within the ovular launch bay. Symbols hidden by stone and debris revealed - lines and depressions in the black steel beneath the stone, coiling and jutting at asymmetrical angular configurations crafted by hands more ancient than any life on this world.

It seemed a metallic sigil lay there, somehow spotless in black-silver in spite of the ravages of time and the roughness of the excavation effort. Its purpose however, didn't seem clear. Not to the simple crewmen but to the Gnosis Eater fragment, it was clear why it was there. The vile sphere descended, joined by the mixed-species research crew, kneeling around it as blocky handheld computerized devices were pulled out and the sinewy centipede-like organism limbs that crawled out like freshly born worms of the sphere descended onto the the strange formation.

Slowly, a light began to travel along the grooves of the symbol.

++++++++++


In the easternmost reaches of space, between the NIRC and the Imperivm, a series of pod-like objects drifted near the edges of Surnian aerospace. They were inert, seemingly lifeless objects but a casual scan revealed they were satellites of some sort. Primitive machines from perhaps a generation or so ago of what was once Ascendency technology but something was different. They were sending out communications to the Surnians - a simple loop with a simple message.

|| To the high command of the SSCDL, the Nexus would like to formally open diplomatic channels in the wake of a change in leadership. We are aware of the state of your nation in these precarious times. We are offering an alliance and the exchange of our technologies. Retain these satellites in their current position for ease of communication. ||

++++++++++


Southwards, on abandoned Foundry worlds, once inert factories were seeing new visitors. Amidst the shattered bodies of defective vessels and the blast-marked ground, a new force walked upon these hostile worlds. Like the gigantic lungs of heaving beasts, the great industrial centres of the machine empire were starting to breathe again. It was slow at first with the grand shuddering of mechanism and gears but with each passing day, the exhales become growls and the growls became roars. On these lifeless worlds, the organs of dominion were awakening once more but it was not the CORE who was in charge.

On one such world, the pretender's to the throne were learning that the NIRC was far, far from the same threat as their own. The defector-Foundry's machines had the same ruthless efficiency but they were not used to fighting liberated SeCI's following the directives not of rival computerized overlords but a cunning, experienced enemy not bound by their strategic directives. Heavy tanks were baited into assaulting what at first seemed to be random uprisings of service class infantry, pelted by laser beams and missile launchers. Their shells cut first into the stone and steel of what at first seemed like makeshift fortresses, gounging them out and sending smoke and flames into the air.

The enemy would go silent... if only for them to reveal the reason for such. They hadn't silenced the SeCI's - only hidden them from scans as the electrointerference of their discharging weaponry impacting hidden mines, flooding the air with static interference. Early warning systems were left unaware and blind as globs of green-white plasma flew out of distnat, concealed positions. Heavy armour shifted and turned, caught between an enemy strongpoint and unidentified rays of metal-devouring hyper-heated wrath, shells cooking off and armour deforming them crushing under the horrific globules of flame. Stones crumbled and walls fell apart as the fortified position they were once besieging erupted open and from behind it, a monstrous away of titanic constructs foreign to their data logs. Tens of legs carried forth large ovular, crablike bodies effortlessly crawling over or smashing through the debris they had created. Fields of misty green and yellow flared as ion and rail shells slammed against them in close quarters, shielding what could be both warmachine or warbeast.

A few machines tried to break formation and carry out a flank but long beams of blue shot out from distant hillsides, tearing through wheels and navigation computers, sending the defector heavy armour to a stalling halt. All the better for the monstrous constructs to raise their massive, car sized claws and drive them into the unprepared armour of the now trapped armour battallions. Reinforced and hardened to resist railguns, they fared little better as the absurd brute strength and ethereal fields of wrath-amplifyng power simply ripped them apart, exposing delicate wiring and electronics to the rest of the world. Like some vicious arthropod predators, their multiple limbs sliced, stabbed, jabbed, and swung at sometimes up to four more machines. Close-in weapons and cannons fired at point blank against the conquering horde, gouging deep wounds but only seeming to further enrage the enormous machines. As if having discovered fresh carrion, they gutted the iron battalion, viciously ripping through multiple layers of internal mechanisms and gears, scourging open weaker side armour, and sometimes nearly bisecting them with their near-supernaturally enhanced claws.

While armour divisions were being all but devoured by an enemy they had never previously faced, infantry attempting to retake rocier territories themselves suffering no worse a fate. Rigid movements of robotic forces were spotted from thousands of yards away as bioelectro-thermal weaponry fired in criss-crossing patterns, sending living rounds slamming into troops disnegaging from armoured transports. Storms of energy bolts were fired in retaliation as the advance continued, sweeping over hillsides only to be pounced upon by long-legged, savage bipeds. Gealtirocht soldiers, hidden by jamming and active camo, kicked off of the ledges they were hanging on as energy sheaths over their blades effortlessly sliced through skulls, torsos, and legs. High intensity plasma PDW's opened up, overwhelming and overloading disrupted groups of infantry while point-blank solidified energy rounds tore off limbs and staggered back even heavier troop types. Even when forcing them back, it only meant having to deal with storms of overwhelming bio-propulsed seed-like bullets. Weaker than the autocannon fire from earlier, the increasingly bogged down troops pushed through only to find landmines hidden at enfilade positions, shattering them into pieces before gatling guns audibly revved up. Cover was shredded and the countless impacts per second slamming into even their most armoured soldiers nearly knocking them off their feet.

All throughout the valleys and outcroppings, bestial roars howling over shattered, crumbling, sparking metal were a stressful constant. The pretenders to the throne had found themselves now the targets a force like few others, one that could creep beneath their fleet, obscure itself in plain sight, and that so far, treated them as little more than inedible prey.
"The walls have eyes and ears. So does the dirt. An old saying from my homeland." His response was about as casual as he could get with a voice like rusting metal and rotting wood and a body like a jigsaw puzzle of segmented biology. It was an old saying but it wasn't wrong - work wasn't always steady for a vagabond like himself. Between dodging Federation patrols and dealing with the more unscrupulous parts of galactic society, it wasn't necessarily easy for someone was conspicuous as him to get work through official channels. Listening in, sometimes where he shouldn't be, was a necessary skill.

The fact that he hadn't simply murdered anyone made it clear that he had skills he didn't mind putting to use in the service of another's goals.
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