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"I don't see you formulate a better name. I win."

Hubert's mechanical voice buzzed through the lass' receivers loud and clear. He would not add anymore input as she would make her choice however, and instead reluctantly follow as the evasion maneuver was employed by the intergalactic explorer. The Flag seemed to be pleasantly roaming as it had always did, focusing itself on the same area while Kiera attempted to bypass its intimidating being and avoid another potential confrontation.

As she'd proceed, there would be no change whatsoever. The eel-like animal did not appear to react too much, though its long swirls focused themselves more and more to the opposite direction of the girl. Subtle, but clear to a machine like Hubert. The aquatic organism wasn't too keen on assaulting possible 'prey', or was it all deceit? In any case, as Kiera would advance, the Flarg would remain calm in its little territory, no longer minding the distracting existence of the woman.

"Whew ... Guess these teeth truly are just receptors ..."

He admitted just as the ordeal was traversed. Looks like this little drone had been omitting suspicions, though perhaps for the better at times. It was up to Kiera to decide. For indeed, the Flag's 'teeth' served as more powerful receptor-like antennas for food it'd suck through its minuscule oral orifice. The shape of teeth could be attributed to an intimidation defense mechanism or an evolutionary quirkiness. In any case, Kiera was safe, and the Boonharks had long since abandoned their coveted meal.



As the armored adventurer emerged from the filthy bog with her drone companion, they'd bear witness to quite the astonishing sight. Covered in moss and surrounded by exceptionally invasive flora, a base with the emblems of the United Federations littered in various surfaces would be presented right before them, arrogantly serving as a stain onto this otherwise virgin land. All in all, it wasn't too big, as the base didn't expand beyond the slightly impressing complex. Chances were that it went underground, but that was up to Kiera to find out.

An entrance would be available to Kiera from where she'd emerge. A half-open, horizontal metal door that led into the dark entrails of the facility was offered to her like an appetizer fancily opened before her in a chic restaurant. This was her target, or at least, whatever it held inside was what she was looking for.

"Guess that lead wasn't such a dud after all. The fact that this is not only open, but also apparently abandoned gives me the heeby jeebies. Some crazy Area 51 shit there, Kiera. No time to be a bum."

They could approach this in a few different ways. They could find another entrance, though there weren't any guards so she should weigh the value of such an alternative. They could create an entrance, though that would be loud, and it remains unsure just what's in there. Or wait and ponder some more, hoping no Boonharks find their way here.










Whether it was wise or not to leap into unknown waters in such a reckless manner would be up to the Gods to decide, but it certainly helped at repulsing the Boonharks. They weren't frightened by the water, nor did their physiology suggest any form of impairment when it comes to bodies of liquid. It was clear that with Kiera's gear she'd have an advantage over the primitive beings in this area, but only by a small margin. Something was deterring them from going any further, as they'd instead stick to the many branches over the swamp, looming over their 'prey' as if waiting for her to emerge.

The dirty waters were difficult to see through, even with specialized visors. The cold waters mixed with immense amount natural polluants made it an overall chore to navigate. Hubert wasn't far behind the lass, his mechanical body being adapted for underwater travel just as well as airborne. A halo of light would be emitted from his orange glowing 'eye', serving as a form of beacon for better visibility to his associate. The bog wasn't deep whatsoever, barely five meters, with the giant roots of the ever present forest manipulating the levels of depth to remain irregular. It was also quite dark, and with enough depth and zig-zagging, the Boonharks would quickly lose track of Kiera.

There wouldn't be any jump scares today. They would see it right away.



It swam almost elegantly just a few meters before Kiera. A serpentine critter of at least eight meters in length, and with a head as large as the woman's, passively navigated in the murky waters of NG-449, between the accumulation of weeds and roots. Its only forward appendages seemed to butterfly crawl in a slow pace in order to move, though upon further inspection it was obvious they served little in the overall locomotion of the animal. Its whole body was moving as a serpent would, every part cohesive toward one another, in order to move one single body flawlessly through the oppressing gravity of the waters' depths.

"Dunno about you, but I'm starting to think the animals here are to be avoided, even if they look cool."

Hubert communicated via the suit's integrated communication systems, instead of vainly speaking underwater. Though he may have tried, unbeknownst to the captain of the ship.

The leech-like monstrosity did not seem all that interested in Kiera, or at least had not done anything warranting sudden reactions or closed any sort of distance. It was there, serving as a form of barrier to the easiest route. She could always go around, under roots and the such, but what else could she find? If the girl were to move forward, Kiera would be on a direct course to her target location, with very little obstacles in her way.

"Naming those things up there Boonharks. And this ... A Flarg. Wanna mess with it? It isn't like there's more than one. Then again ... You do kinda suck underwater. Your call. Pretty sure we'll get to the spot one way or another."








Kiera made the choice of severing pieces of the plant. Evidently the whole thing wouldn't quite cut it as a sample, some sacrificing was needed. If she were to take some of the strange bulbs, stem and roots, then it'd be enough for further analysis.

"Pocket it, Kiera. We'll analyze this after the task. No way I'm working this thing when ..."

He'd peer toward the menacing onlookers.

"Well it's like peeing when you're being watched basically. No way I'll be able to with these bozos. Or you."

The next initiative would be to carefully march toward the West, essentially opposite of the alpha beast's stand. Though it seemed to work at first, the ruffling of leafs would indicate otherwise. They were now being followed, prompting the bot to turn around multiple times as he'd follow the woman's path.

"Heart rates are increasing. This is strange. They're congregating. Either they think you're a meal or something's up."

He kept his voice rather discrete, as to not alert the animals that had been stalking them. The more they progressed, the more they'd notice these creatures in the trees and foliage. The pack was getting quite aggressive, and one could start to see why there'd be a general lack of fauna in the area. These Boonharks were extremely aggressive, and seemingly carnivorous. This was their territory, and they did not take kindly to intruders.

Though this theory of territorial critters would be put to question as Kiera would end up stepping on three carcasses of the same species that had been pursuing them. They were quite decomposed, but clearly mauled. From the quick glances they could take, it'd seem to fit the claws and teeth of the Boonharks.



As they would eventually have to face North, the two would notice the immense bog standing in their way. While the option of walking around it seemed plausible, even if risking meeting more of these, the pack of now nearly a dozen of the baboon hybrids was starting to become disconcerting.

GWAK!

Cried the alpha, as it grabbed a hold of two thick branches on the tree it stood upon, shaking them as the other members of the pack commenced rallying in war cries.

"Guess this is our cue to fuck off. I dunno what's their problem."

Remarked Hubert as he'd direct his singular gaze onto the bog before them. The apes were swinging about through the vines and branches, descending ever so closer to Kiera and her drone. They were undeniably hostile. Aggression would only accumulate as small stones and pieces of branches would be tossed at their direction. Clumsily, but the message was clear. Running could be an option, albeit the duo was most certainly surrounded, and by an unknown amount of assailants, given more popped out of nowhere quite often. They could also go for a swim, though one should be careful, as the branches reach down to the surface. Or, take a total dive.

It would be obvious that diving would be a risky gamble, given how the wildlife had been oh so welcoming. But it seemed to be either that, or combat. The radar would indicate that beyond this bog, the target site would be extremely close by.
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"Carry your fat ass? I appreciate the admiration for my gains, but you're way over your head there."

Both appendages emerged as the robot posed for a quick five seconds to illustrate the joke. At least he wasn't one of these boring, purely factual companions in certain other medias. Hubert would be quick to focus toward the goal, however, as Kiera would soldier on at the direction of the target location. Back to the compact form, the drone would hover barely a meter over the lass, scanning the area as they ventured forward into the mysterious woods of NG-449.

The mud remained thick and viscous, but would lose the succion power it initially had as the trees would shield the earth from the merciless nature of the monsoon-level of rain crashing onto the land. They were still drenched, but mobility would not be as hindered compared to the clearing. Vines and trees littered the area, with medium sized grass caressing Kiera's knees was she'd walk through the conglomerate of wild vegetation.

"Huh. What do we have here?"



Hubert's scanner would be directed toward an element that stood out from all the green and brown they had been going through the past few minutes. A bioluminescent, blue life form had been detected by the robot, though would have probably been noticed by Kiera just as quickly. Hubert did not hesitate to hover around the peculiar 'plant', taking his time to analyze some details before one of th appendages would extend toward it.

"It seems ... It is a plant of sorts. But composed of something definitely not like any other plant here. One of the many oddities to be found in a mysterious and undiscovered plant, I would suppose. Would you take a sample?"

The drone questioned, leaving the choice to Kiera. Would she bother to take the time, or even the risk to gather a specimen, or would she soldier on and not let anything like this serve as obstacle? Hubert would not alert her of any danger, meaning he did not assess anything of the sort, though he did not say it was safe either. It was up to her in the end.

"... Kiera."

With enough time to make up her mind, Hubert would eventually warn the lass of something else. The single, glowing red 'eye' of the assistant drone would peer at the direction that would be considered East if using their Northern target as a reference. Something was out there, and the change in tone from Hubert did not promise anything good.



A red, quadruped creature had its red, prolapsed eyes fixed onto the armored adventurer. It stood on a tree stump triumphantly, in a posture that oozed dominance. On its four feet, its height would reach about Kiera's collar, but if it were to stand on just two, it would easily be almost twice her size. Not to mention the immense upper-body bulk of this animal. Hubert wouldn't hesitate to scan, though omitted the special 'flat laser' sensor module in order to not alert the animal.

Though as they noticed this one, they'd soon find out that at least three or four more were in the area, hanging from nearby trees or hiding behind random stone and fallen bark. They did not seem to be prepping any sort of assault, but rather their movements were similar to a society of apes asserting their dominance in a territory, essentially defending their home. The fact that Kiera and Hubert were quite alien to this whole biodiversity would have likely left the animals on high alert, and even overly wary.

"No records have been found on these things. They resemble baboons from planet Earth, but with similar characteristics to K'raths* from Amaetra."

*Species that resemble wolves in Amaetra.

There were only a few options offered to them here. The 'dominant' creature they had first seen, the one standing on the trunk, would lift itself onto both its back feet and commence humming a certain sound. 'Hunk. Hunk.'

"If we were to compare these actions to other creatures ... We should perhaps proceed slowly without any sudden movements. Unless you want to practice on them, of course. Or maybe a sample? You know how much I love new data after all."

In the end, Kiera was to choose her path.
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