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"Fine if you think that that you can understand them keep them close to you." Kris told Scar giving him a slight glare, she felt that they couldn't trust anyone here, not after what the warden did to them, and the fact that they were among prisoners didn't help with trusting them either, Kris knew that she would need to be on guard to make sure they wouldn't try anything.

Suddenly Scar decided to rush back into the slowly clearing smoke, not knowing where he was going Kris struggled with wanting to yell at him but held back on bothering doing so. There was a bigger thing at hand, the falcons that were bumbling around in the could now see like the rest of the group, noticing their armor, or bits of it, Kris knew her sword wouldn't be able to slice through their armor, even with it's frost enchantments on it.

The princess held the sword by it's blade, Kris knew she would have to do this the barbaric way, she charged at one of the falcons clubbing him over the head with the cross guard and putting a dent into his helmet, She slammed the cross guard into his head again bringing him to his knees and kicking him to the ground. The Princess finished him off stabbing him with the blade; in while she was finishing the guy off another falcon tried rushing Kris only for her to dodge him effortlessly.

Grabbing her sword by it's handle and keeping one hand on the blade, she precisely struck the back of his knee between the armor plates and making him fall to his knees, she swung her blade at the back of his neck putting a deep wound on his neck before pulling back for another swing and decapitating the guy with the second swing and making his body turn into a icy statue taking out another falcon.

Out of nowhere another falcon grabbed Kris from behind and tried to restrain her, but throwing her head back into his face was enough to make him let go, spinning around quickly, Kris used her momentum and aimed her swing for his knees slicing through his knees as well, the quick slice brought the man to his hands and knees groaning in pain before Kris finished him off by stabbing her blade through the back of his neck executing him. Kris ran two fingers across the length of her sword feeling the cold metal run up through her two fingers.

Looking to the cloud of smoke and hearing the sounds of combat within it, Kris knew not to jump into it or back into it, She knew Hawke was in that smoke and with that hunk of iron he was carrying around she didn't want to risk getting cleaved, she wasn't crazy like Scar was or acrobatic like Macy or half of something powerful like Diana.

Kris stood at the other edge choosing to wait for any of them that were going to creep out the other end or look for some form of escape from the smoke cloud; some of the enemy stumbled out of the smoke some probably effected by Scar's poisons and feeling the effects, they probably thought of themselves as lucky, then Kris struck.

Swinging Diin at the gaps in their makeshift armor giving them the freezing effects the sword, before finishing them off by plunging the sword in their necks. Suddenly the sound of something scraping across the floor brought Kris' attention back to the smoke, she wondered who it could've been causing that, the thought of those monsters came to her mind before she got the thought of that sword Hawke was wielding. Going against her better judgement she pushed forwards into the smoke feeling blind as she pushed through the thick black smoke and nearly tripped over one of the dead guys in the smoke.

Once she was over on the other side she noticed both Hawke and Scar, Scar of which was threatening the last of the group."Oh so you wish to stay your hand now?" Kris asked the varmint man."You sure you don't want to just, jump them and slaughter the rest of them?" She continued the questioning."Or maybe throw a fist full of needles at them?" She fixed her hair."It's obvious why they choose to be in the back and didn't run away, they were planing an attack, one of them setting up a defense just in case one of us or all of us go through their little guard, and if I'm guessing correctly one of them is the leader or second in command."
I rubbed my rag deep into the armor left behind in my quarters, staring into my reflection in the helmet old memories began flooding back into my head, my home and it's people, the war that tore it apart, everything that remained afterwards, and how I got here. Squeezing the rag, I closed my eyes reminiscing trying to find something enjoyable from the past but nothing was there that I wanted to see I huffed and tried thinking on the now but it only reminded me of my contract holder and all the debt she's been collecting.

"Koschei!" I heard her voice echo from down the ship's hall.

She soon caught up with her yelling and poked her head into the room hooking her arm around one of my own.

"Come on chitin butt let's go! I want you to see my daddums." She just couldn't contain herself and wanted to her dad, she almost reminded me of a big kid that wanted to run to the candy shop and ran off to the ramp. Slinging my rifle on my shoulder I followed after her to make sure she wasn't overzealous towards anyone or hurt herself.

The second I went knee deep into the snow, the cold wind of Arx kissed my antennae and almost blew them to the back of my skull, the cold breeze and no coat froze me to the bone and I hugged myself in a vain attempt to keep warm, just a little chilly she said, it's not cold this time of year she said. If she wasn't holding my contract I'd probably have a number of harsh words with her.

Among the white snow Verrax my contractor's green wings stood out as she unfurled them and fell back first into the snow and started wiggling on the ground at the space port. I did my best to pull her off the ground and brush off any snow clinging to her before glaring down at her." You said it would be just a little chilly?"

She cocked her head to the side."What? It always gets this cold on Arx, it's like this then spring comes, this isn't anything it's just chilly is all." She turned towards the main street and pointed to the large complex down the snow covered streets; looking around there weren't many people outside and it was probably for the best with how cold it was out here." Alright Let's get to the prison."

"The prison?" I parroted. I noticed the massive complex again, it's what she was was pointing too now and it made me slightly uneasy with how quick she was willing to go into it and how she wanted me to just follow without questioning really." Yuppers, Daddums is in there and has the best prison cell out all the prisoners there." She said it without breaking her smile.

The journey to the prison wasn't a long one, but once inside it felt like hours before we could meet with Verrax's father, the visitation room felt small in a way. Once the guard arrived with Verrax's father I was shocked, the patriarch of her family was a woman and soon my staring was answered." Is staring at people you don't know a part of your people's greeting miss? Because in some cultures it's considered rude."

Her voice was silvery as she spoke but looking deeper into her face she looked like Verrax, but more pale and with a dark vein on her neck, I shook my head and responded to the woman."S-sorry Ma'am, my name name is Koschei Ashari, but most people just call me Ashari or Ash."

The dragonoid woman had a pale smile that looked weak."Nice to meet once of your kind after the whole thing with your people. But my name is Vertex." She turned her attention back to Verrax and looked her daughter in the eye."It's nice to see at least you again hun, your sister Vertrice doesn't bother visiting and your mother practically lives close by."

Verrax practically hugged the glass window to show her affection to her mother."Well I'm trying to get my fortune dad and when I do I'm gonna buy you out of prison so mom can be happy."If I could see them, I would guess she had a confident look in her eye like she would do it.

Vertex's smile somewhat withered before she sighed." Honey bun I don't think I'm gonna be coming out of here, I think this place may be my coffin." She looked away from Verrax briefly and put a hand in front of her mouth then her reptilian eyes focused on me."Verrax, sweet heart if you don't mind could I speak with Ms.Ashari."

Nodding, the childish dragon woman put her hands on her ears, once she began humming Vertex looked me in the eye and her eyes went glassy."I really don't know how many days I got left Ms.Ashari, take care of my daughter don't let her do anything stupid or get herself killed out there in the cosmos, she never was one to do much thinking and always had a big heart."She bit her bottom lip with sharp teeth and held back tears." I'm dying." She told me.

"I got something, from my old crew after I butchered them over a bunch of damn rocks." She swallowed hard and shook her head."Now I'm in here and the ones I wanted to provide for and make a better future for are out there and." She took a deep breath."And I'm afraid, I'm afraid of it all. I'm sorry you wouldn't understand."

I didn't know what to do, I just silently put a hand out on the glass and gave her a look of confidence to reassure the dragonoid parent." I'll protect Verrax, even if I gotta protect her from herself, I promise. You got nothing to be afraid of."

Vertex smiled weakly feeling a bit better I was hoping after getting that off her chest, when she tried to speak again she went into a coughing fit and hunched over the table on her side of the glass, when she looked up several veins had sprouted up on her visage and she collapsed on the floor. Immediately Verrax slammed her fist on the window crying out for her father, the guard on the other side of the glass went to Vertex's aid calling for medics, once Vertex was gone I kept her words burned in my mind. "I'm afraid"

The visit was cut short because of Vertex's sickness getting the better of her, after we got our weapons I escorted Verrax back to her ship through the snow. The second we got back on the ship I was glad we we were gonna be off world in a couple minutes and we were gonna be back to what crazy venture that Verrax had planned for the both of us.

I huddled around the heater in my room trying to get the feeling in my fingers back before Verrax appeared." Ashari there's kind of a problem." She looked unsure to me of what we could do before telling me the problem." We're grounded and can't take off, and there are these scary looking soldiers outside." She had a worried look on her face.

I sighed and cracked my neck before we went to the loading dock and extended the gang plank allowing them on." You're letting them on!?" She shrieked, I put a finger over her mouth and shushed her like a child."I'll do the talking there's nothing to be screaming over." Vertex's words were still fresh in my mind. "She never was one to do much thinking."

"Should've said isn't too brave too." I mumbled as the cold wind froze me stiff.

Suddenly a trio of civil protection officers walked up the plank and into the ship. The one in the middle being their leader she had long flowing black hair as dark as the tunnels on my home world." Ms.Parallex and Ms.Ashari, it's nice to see you once again but I wish it was on better terms."

I was starting to remember this woman, I saw her at the founding party of Civil protection, instead then she was wearing an evening ball dress, she was dressed up in her officer uniform and brown winter coat, she pulled out her badge reminding me of her name and rank.

"We've had sightings of an escapee in the area and we're checking for stowaways on board ships, I'm not doubting you're ability to protect your mistress Koschei." She fixed her cap then looked me in the eye with a different air about her." But I'd rather we conduct a search of the ship."

The way she told me that they were gonna do a search put me on edge, then I noticed she was starting back at me, I think my own non answer was making her and the other two officers tense. I felt could take them but I would need to be quick, my first move could be my last, suddenly Verrax bumped into my back and I knew what we had to do, I chuckled and put on a false smile." Your planet, your rules right?"

She returned the smile back with her own that seemed more smug than happy. "I'm glad you see it that way Koschei." She removed her cap and ran a gloved hand through her curly hair." For your own safety why don't you wait outside or at one of the local places, I'll send one of my officers to retrieve you once we're finished the search."

"Alright captain Zaora, we don't wish to cause any trouble, we'll take some of our stuff and allow you to do your search." I grabbed some of my equipment and let Verrax grab some of her random stuff, the second we were off the ship I had Verrax spin all the way around.

"Verrax take that power thing from out the ship and hide it before we leave."


"That power thing you wouldn't stop talking about, the supply thing to power down the whole ship."

"But Ash taking it out will just stop the ship from flying is all." She shrugged.

"That's the point, it's just in case if anything happens and they try to steal the ship."

"But why-"

"Verrax just do it." I stopped her from trying to argue anymore and let her scurry under the ship, I heard a pneumatic hiss and soon Verrax was back at my side." Don't worry, they won't be able to find it."

"Alright, let's get somewhere warm before I end up freezing into a popsicle."

As we walked away from the ship I kept wondering if that was the real reason she wanted us away from the ship, I didn't see any of those hologram wanted posters up, but with all the snow covering the ground and how freezing it felt I ended not really caring much about the prisoner but worried more about not catching my death.

Out of nowhere I felt Verrax's wing come around me and cover me, for some reason she felt really warm." Hey Ash how about we stay over there?" She pointed to a bar." I don't care as long as it's not cold."

We strode through the snow to the bar and the warmth of the place almost felt heavenly, I sighed letting it wash over me before Verrax said something."Huh the place is empty?"

I looked around seeing only one other patron and the bartender." Yeah it gets that way when the snow gets pretty high, I use to get some of those guards who'd sneak off for a quick drink and mercs but they'll be here later."

Sauntering up to the bar and sitting on the stool closes to the bartender I noticed the other guy was well working on a bottle of some green alcohol and at the far end of the bar, once Verrax sat down he scooted over making me expect he was up to something before he held up his bottle." You ladies want some? I got ton of credits."

The second I wanted to tell the guy to leave us be, Verrax accepted his offer." Sure! Ash you should get some too it will make the time fly."

I sighed feeling reluctant but the bartender already had a glass for the both of us, and the guy was shaking while pouring out the last of his strong smelling liquor. Verrax quickly gulped down the drink and I reluctantly swallowed down the green liquor and it felt like I swallowed a cup of fire, my head started to spin and my balance on the stool felt wobbly.

The guy cheered telling us." That stuff will put hair on your chest. Bartender! Give us another bottle!" He yelled smacking a credit chit; one, two, three, more drinks and I was starting to feel like I was in another world with a fire burning hot in my gut. The second he offered me another glass I pushed it away noticing how Verrax was doubled over the bar counter passed out.

The guy buying the drinks leaned into my shoulder and glanced over at Verrax."So you ladies bounty hunters? You look the part but not the dragon lady."

"No, I'm just a bodyguard we were visiting her father or Mother, whatever her race has as a sire or whatever."

He looked at Verrax a second time a little more intensely like he was trying to see through her." Is." He let out a hiccup." Is her father a dragon too?"

"Yeah older looking woman, pale skin, green scaly clawed hands and a tail. Why?" The questions were sobering me up.

He leaned further into me and whispered."I'mma tell you a story, I probably shouldn't but I like guys."

The guy let off a soft belch into his fist." That girl's pappa is a bank robber and thief, their crew stole over a billion in physical money, goods, and even ships; they also killed anyone who got in their way, civilians who were too nosy, planet side cops, soldiers and everyone inbetween."

I felt Verrax's father had to do something evil to be sent to this frozen ball in the middle of nowhere. The guy took another swig of his drink and breathed out a heavy aroma of liquor." Vertex's crew finally hit the big score, a chest full of platinum 188."

He stared at me and my unchanging face,"Whaaat?! You don't know platinum 188? It's like worth more than space gold, its so valuable that you wouldn't know what to do with the money the second you got it."

He leaned on the bar's counter before continuing the story, not caring about whispering anymore." So they hit it big and got a ton of this platinum from their last job and you know what happened? Take a guess."

I cracked a grin and played along." They got caught and went to jail?"

He shook his head quickly." No no, not yet. I heard that Vertex slaughtered her crew, every member of her ship from the most fucked up members to the Mess cook, then she spaced them and got caught and thrown here." He motioned to the prison in the frosted window.

Just when I thought he was finished the story and done he picked up back where he stopped." Now before she got caught she hid the platinum here planet side."

When he said that I tensed up, and I wasn't feeling as drunk." But Civiees caught her before she could end up hiding, they didn't kill Vertex because word of the platinum spread around even to our little backwater planet. Now in jail they watched all her moves and read all of her letters, checking for any little hint to see if they could find it, but Vertex is smarter than we've thought."

He finished off his drink and wiped his mouth." She had a guy tattoo ou-there bodies in her people's dragonic symbols and runes, they way they did it was by using shitty tools and even more shittier perma body paint."

He started to wobble on his stool and fell over on the floor snoring, I got up and decided to give him a hand, but the moment I grabbed his shirt I noticed a strange marking on his collar bone. With the story still running fresh in my mind I undone some of his shirt buttons and just like the story, he had tattoos painted across his chest, acting fast I closed his shirt up before the bartender could see them.

I immediately stood straight up and grabbed Verrax trying to get her out of the drunken sleep she was in. In the same moment I felt something with my antennae and turned back to see the guy gone from the floor and rushing to the bar's back door.

"Shit!" I grabbed Verrax and threw her on my shoulder taking her with me, the guy ploughed though the backdoor and out into the snow. As the cold wind whipped past my head I wondered what was pushing me to charge like this after the guy for story, then the reason for why wiggled around on my shoulder grumbling about how they feel like they will vomit.

Soon the snow began kicking up into the air and almost becoming blinding, and the feeling of the cold started to get to me, I dropped Verrax and hugged myself and fought the urge pull my hair out."Damn it!"

All I could really do was scream at this point, I expected Verrax to be the one to get us into a situation like this, but now I was gonna have us both freeze to death because of Verrax." Ash why are we this far out into the wilderness?"

The dragoniod pulled her face from out of the snow trying to get a lay of the land." I was trying to help you Verrax, that guy was someone who had a map of your father's treasure. A treasure that would pay off all of your mountain of debt."

"Dad's treasure?" She put a finger on her chin." Ashi we should get out of the cold your getting cold stroke."

"Its heat stroke that effects you in that way, hypothermia that's gonna kill me."

"No you won't." She put her face back I to the snow and pulled her head back up." Nope, there's a creek with trees nearby that hikers use as fire wood." She grabbed my hand and led me along.

"Don't worry Ashari, winter on this planet ends soon, but it always gets to its worst before spring arrives."

I was skeptical to Verrax's whole, "Gets worst before it gets better." Then right before my eyes the shadows of trees came into view and an oddly shaped structure. As we closed in on the small structure it looked like a small cone with a blanket covering the entrance of it.

Pushing our way in we were greeted to a pleasant warmth with only a slight draft, I sat on the floor and felt a fuzzy feeling noticing the floor inside was a patch work of fur, and in the center of the room was a small fire pit with sticks scattered around the dark cone shaped room.

Knowing What Verrax could do I put all the scattered sticks into the fire pit and let her spit an ember into the pit. The entire cone began to heat up the whole cone and I felt my cold numbness melt away." Look Verrax your father didn't do good things, but they are a good person, one of the bad things they did was keep a stolen treasure and that guy that ran from the bar knew about it."

Verrax had her wings covering her body and was silent before cocking her head towards me." So I guess you want to just abandon me and go chase after my dad's treasure?"

"No." I shook my head." I'm going to protect you while we collect what's yours."

"But Ash I don't really want it." She looked away from me." I kinda want my own fortune, not my dad's money."

I groaned." Verrax, it is yours not your father's money, you're just collecting what's rightfully yours from people that would use it for worst."

I grabbed one of her wings and looked her in the eye." This platinum that your father has hidden away it would be enough for you to actually get rid of all that debt you have, to fill up your ship's tank more than just a single flight from planet to planet. You can't sit here and tell me you like saying up all night looking at the numbers and knowing that sooner or later your debt is gonna catch up to us."

She pondered the idea for a moment."O-okay Ashari, let's get that platinum for dad, mom, and even Vertrice."

I nodded and smiled."Good, your mother wouldn't want something she worked hard for to be handed over to those disgusting prisoners."I took a moment to peek outside, all I could see for miles was the whiteout we came in from, the guy wouldn't get far in this when I thought on it again."Once this blizzard passes, we're gonna go after this guy again."
The first circle

Once Ash gave her answer, I stared at the doctor giving him one the most intensive stares I've given to anyone before, while I was looking cool locking eyes with the combat medic, I was really trying to form up a plan to do all this without getting my brains eaten by those myr women down below, if they even ate human brains; after coming up with something I put my feet down and stood up, I pointed to Ash first."Ash you're gonna play defense on board the ship, I can't have you going down there with us and risk you getting eaten or ripped apart by those Myr. I also can't risk you getting infected and eating Ven's brains like your third lunch."

"Hey!" The blue haired dog woman yelled."I'm sitting right here!"

"Yeah so what?" I asked


I then turned my attention over to Ven now," Vennashire, you're gonna keep the engines warm for us just in case we gotta run off and escape fast." The Ausar let out a sigh of relief before I continued." Also it's because your a big pussy when it comes to insects and anything that has chitin and more than 2 legs." Her face twisted from relived to anger before she could yell at me I pulled on one of her wolf-like ears to shut her up and got a bit more serious." Go over the start up process with Yan a couple times and memorize it correctly so we don't take off only to nose dive into something."

Ven nodded before I pointed to Rika, before I could say anything Rika already had some form of a plan or idea of what I wanted her to do, the mummy girl had sat herself on the floor surrounded by a number of homemade molotovs." Rika I-" She cut me off by putting a bandaged hand up and playing her tape recorder." Crowd control. To first control the star ship, one must first use the proper start up sequence." She pressed the stop button. I thought about it and figured we would need the outside cleared when we got back outside and agreed with the little pyro."Y-Yeah roast a shit ton of them Mummy."

I spun around to Yan pointing at him with both hands."Yan get use to that shovel and grab your boomstick, you're coming with us and killing some of those deadites."The subhuman man sighed and rolled his eyes." Gaz this isn't some ancient b rated movie, we fuck this up, we're all dead and I don't know." He shrugged.

I got serious and looked him in the eye." Yan, you are the only one who've fought these things besides the good doctor here."I motioned my head in their direction, I pulled him in close to me and whispered." Plus, I don't see these guys as extra lives to a House of Zed videogame man, I really want to make sure we all get the hell out of here together. Also this is a bit more honorable than robbing a bank." Yan looked down at me and gave me a nod, he didn't want to go back out there, but he was willing to do it.

Once most of the others had an idea of what they were doing, Noi nearly jumped on me asking me what she could do even giving me a salute as her roller blades struggled to stay still on the floor plates, gave it some thought before snapping my fingers." Easy, you're coming with us and keeping the doc safe, if it comes to it Noi bite'em, we can always get another crazy cat girl from a pirate group." She spun up her saw ready with an excited grin.

The saw almost gave me the idea of replacing my hand with it and taking it from Noi, but seeing how she's gotten attached to the thing it would almost be a sin to do it, plus it would probably cramp my style walking around with a saw for a hand. With my little dream team together, I figured we could do this, or die horribly trying to do this and have the planet risk being nuked, yeah no pressure no pressure at all.

Before we opened up the cargo bay to get into this mess, I asked the combat doctor if the we could get infected, excluding Ash from the group." Well from what I know, it won't infect us, or has enough time to adapt to infect us, yet. I wouldn't suggest eating the mushrooms we find down there could have...Side effects."

"So, don't eat anything." I looked at Noi.

Before I hit the cargo bay doors, Ash tried running to catch up to us and put her hand on my shoulder huffing and puffing."Gaz take this." she handed me her old revolver and tried to tell me something but it was hard to under stand her with all the huffing and puffing she was doing. The red Myr took a knee trying to catch her breath before we opened the cargo bay doors. I looked at the revolver Ash gave me, it looked like a real hand cannon unlike those other revolvers that I've seen on Myrellion, I spun it around my trigger finger catching the handle in my palm and looking down it's iron sights." Damn, you might not get this back Ash." I shoved the gun into the back of my pants before we started heading down.

When our feet hit the metal plating of the ground, it was like a dinner bell, groups started to coming towards our position, Rika acted quick igniting and throwing her molotovs at the groups setting them on fire before they could get close. The smell of roasting Myr filled my nose and nearly made me gag, it was an indescribable smell, actually, it was something close to having a bowl of bugs on fire along with a pot of flesh, I nearly puked from it but held off the urge when a couple of them stumbled through the flames.

I pulled out Ash's revolver and kept it at the hip squeezing the trigger as I eyeballed my shot, when I fired my first shot I twisted my elbow best I could as my shot connected with a Myr and half the zombie soldier's head exploded; I began thinking to myself that this is kinda like house of the Zed right now, one shot to the head and nearly their whole head explodes. But before I could yell about it to Yan, the combat medic grabbed my shoulder and fired on a couple more of the red and gold Myr dropping them and pulling me with him to the main building.

When we got to the doors, I ordered Noi to cut'em open as Rika began using her molotovs and flamethrower to roast the Myr, she broke away from us and started climbing up on several of the Mushrooms catching their attention."Rika has the horde's attention, we gotta be quick so she doesn't run out of fuel."I told the others before the door broke down in on it's self.

Suddenly gunfire came from above down on the horde, it was Ash gunning down most of the other Myr I could see her light machine gun spraying down on them, she then stopped and with her barrel going hot red and reloading. The Rest of us headed inside where more fungus was growing off the walls and some of the corpses strewn about the main hall and front desk. The atrium inside this place was massive with mushroom caps lining most of the ivory walls and floor, bodies of humans, Ausar, and a couple lizard people were thrown over the front desk attached to the walls and I think there was an Ausar arm attached to the ceiling; how these fuckers attached one of the dog people to the ceiling made me wonder if the bothric were.

Soon my thoughts were answered, by the elevator at the other end of the hall there was a Quadomme botheric covered in the shit colored fungus, making a clicking noise with their mouth. All of us dived for the front desk taking cover behind it, I glared at the combat medic." What the hell man? I thought you said."

"I never said anything about the Bothrioc, they were contained along with the Quadomme, they joined of their own free will." He tried to cover for himself.

Yan looked over the desk before sharing his own thoughts."The more I hear about all of this, the more I hate about all of this."

"Same Bud." I agreed.

"Listen we did this in the name of science and furthering the races on this planet, don't judge me because of this outbreak" He tried to defend himself.

" I think it's blind we could walk right by it if we're quiet enough, or lure it away from the elevator." Yan explained.

" Throw'em the doc." I suggested." They'd be more pissed off at him than they would be at us."

" Your crew mate was right, you are an ass."

I chuckled before pulling out a one of my hammer pistol clips, I thumbed out one of bullets and flicked it over the desk, when I heard it land and the sound of the Quadomme's feet across the floor I wave the others to follow me as I crawled along the floor heading towards the elevator. I felt a bit more relived when we made it to the elevator but when I hit the button for it and the machine dinged to alert the Quadomme I groaned as it shrieked at us.

"Shit's really dim sometime."

The situation on the Myrellion outpost was worst than I expected from the air, we were lucky the myr biplanes didn't show up as we closed in on the fungus covered outpost. The Outpost was just as small as I expected, several lanky buildings covered in a strange thick fungus growing off the outpost's walls, several pacts of what looked like red and golden myr shuffle stepped together bumping into each other and the buildings.

" What is this?" I felt Ash' hand land on the back of my chair before she pulled herself closer to the windows of the ship." This doesn't look like any fungus I've seen before."

When we entered the airspace of the outpost a massive monster, probably the same one from the contract video, rounded a corner looking pissed off before making eye contact with us. Getting a better look at the beast, it's body was composed of mostly myr corpses with the fungus acting as a form of glue, its fingers were composed of a number of chitinous arms, its head a mangled set of mutilated bodies broken in half at the hip and its teeth made of the rib cages snapped to be sharp enough to eat its prey and ensure that their deaths are painful, from what I could see of its torso it was mostly fungus and gold myr glowing teat flesh, unlike the rest of its body its legs were thick stubs made of the fungus.

As we gawked at the abomination constructed out of Ash's people, the monster raised a piece of rubble over its head and flung it in our direction. I did my best to dodge it, but the debris clipped one of our engines and setting off alarms." Damn it! " Yan and I yelled.

The Ship began spinning out with the control unresponsive Yan nearly smashed the intercom button with his massive fist before telling everyone on board." Brace for Impact! "

I pulled back on the controls trying to level us out and regain control before we landed on the roof of a building and smashed what looked like the cap of a mushroom its gunk splatted on the front windows blocking all view as we drifted across the rooftop just stopping before the ledge from what I could guess. I laid back in my chair sighing and looking over to Yan." So you mind hitting those wipers for me?"

The bulky alien thumbed a button for the wipers before my suspicions of us being on the ledge were confirmed, we had a good view of everything in the outpost from our new parking spot. The monster was even in sight, but its attention was off us and onto something else a survivor armed with only a knife was taking the thing on by himself taking swings at it before hopping away.

"Survivor spotted!" Yan called out.

" Yeah, I see'em too big guy. Turn on the targeting computer."

The muscular alien turned to a different computer, just arms reach away from him and took up the controls for the main cannon." Alright, I have the target in sight when ready."

"Atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed, I have no clue what the broken button does, but I'm still pressing it. "

" Roger. " He fired the front cannon blasting a superheated hole into the monster's chest." First shot confirmed hit." He followed up with a second shot to its head vaporizing everything on its fungal encrusted shoulders. " Second shot is a confirmed hit, target neutralized."

The two of us high fived before I spun around to see Ash laying upsidedown with her ankles on both sides of her head." Hey, Chubs you still alive?" I asked the red Myr." You know you don't look that bad in that position."

"Fuck. You. Gaz" She told me slowly.

"Not right now, after this contract."

She groaned before flipping herself right side up I slapped the intercom button."Anyone not dead after that crash get over to the common area so we can come up with a plan."

"Gaz" Yan pulled my attention away from the intercom." That survivor is gonna need a hand getting up here."

I took a moment sucking my teeth before taking my hand off the button." Well, Yan go grab a weapon, some rope and get down there we'll wait for your ass to bring them back."

Ash and I left him groaning as we went to the common area. Everything was trashed and tossed around, I picked up the table and set it back up between the two circular couches before putting my feet up on the table with Ash sitting next to me reclining. Everyone else slowly joined us taking up a place next to the table as Yan returned with a tactical spade in hand behind him was the survivor of this mess.

They were a combat medic with drab-colored gear and a mask to cover their face, across each piece of their armor they had a logo of a medical plus with paired wings surrounding the logo. They looked directly at me with tired eyes asking." You the rescue team?"

I took my feet down and pressed my knuckles into the table saying." No genius, I'm the guy here to kick your ass for not knowing how to use darknet!"

" Oh funny, now that we're past the funny crap maybe we can focus on the task at hand."

Yan threw his spade on the table and sighed." He's not joking Gaz those Myrmedions out there are feral, that beast wasn't the only thing that was plaguing this outpost."

The combat medic took his helmet off saying." No shit Sherlock." He put his helmet on the table before putting his white-gloved hands on the table." Now listen up, I don't know any of you, but this here is serious business. Under the outpost here I and doctor Zackary uncovered a fungus from an abandoned section of caves that we should've left alone." He looked around at everyone.

" We thought at first it could be something we could control, something we could make into a genemod and sell off to Xenogen or even to Steele Tech if they wanted such a thing. But Zackary got some itch as she always does and then came the testing, and the groups of reds volunteering to inhale these spores to get some result She wanted."

" So she's a Quack," Ven spoke up.

" No no, she's a genius in her field, not well known, but a genius when it comes to genetics. If anything she's probably the only one who can stop all of this, we must handle this before the J.A.F catches wind of the spores and chooses to quarantine the planet."

" Wait, but wouldn't that be a good thing?" Ven asked." They could take care of the situation better and have soldiers come in on the ground."

The combat medic waved his hand." No, if they were to see what it does to myr they would purposely spread it to the main cities and claim the planet inhospitable, they already hate the war going on with the two main races and this would be just the excuse to evact, nuke, and move on." He looked Ven in the eye." Trust me I've been forced by other Governments to do much worse."

I retook my position with my feet up and hands behind my head." Shit, never thought we'd get a contract like this, doc you better have a stack of credits hidden under that outpost somewhere, because I don't put my team at risk for nothing."

He slammed his fist into my table hard enough to make the shovel fall over." Credits!"

I nodded."Yes money, cold hard cash."

He looked away before looking back to me." Damned mercs wanting nothing but money nowadays, no better than pirates, don't you see that an entire race could be wiped away with this virus?" He pointed to Ash." What about your Myr friend there? What do you think she thinks about you doing this for money."

I looked over to Ash leaning on the food replicator." I've spilled enough blood for my people and fought for what felt like centuries." She told him before taking off her armored helmet and staring at him with her black eyes." But I'd rather not see them wiped out by this fungus. We'll get paid as usual don't try to get out of it by asking me to do this "For my people." Because I've done enough for them."
Red Rock

After the last night meeting, I ended up passing out on the couch in the hideout face down in a pillow with Ash's snoring as my white noise. The moment I woke up, I went to check the darknet contracts, but the only thing I got was an empty folder I got up from my computer and headed for the shower, but when the contract notification bloorp sounded off, I quickly checked back with the contract. The moment I clicked on it, what seemed like thousands of pictures of mushrooms appeared instead of the usual audio file and text I skipped ahead hundred or so photos and the first picture I saw was a picture of what looked like a Myr soldier, but they had fungus growing out of their head.

While I scrolled through more pictures of more Myrmedions, I only continued to wonder what this fungus was and soon my questions of this fungus were about to be answered. A second bloorp popped up with another contract, probably someone who doesn't know how to use the darknet, the folder had a video attachment, I clicked the play button on it and leaned back as I watched footage from a body camera of someone holding a black light rifle. The man was rushing down a hallway filled with spores and taking a moment to look behind him he reached a door vacant of the fungus growing off the walls and hit a button with a closed fist before a screeching sound erupted behind him, the guy began firing at the darkness behind him before backing into the room he was heading for.

The video jumped ahead with the man inside of an elevator, one similar to the great one that takes people to Gildenmere; once the doors opened up to the surface, instead of seeing the usual DMZ, the doors opened to a small base with several small structures no higher than one story. The man with the body cam sighed before taking a step and made a crunch sound down at boot and robotic foot there was a half crushed mushroom, then a massive monster with heavy footfalls rounded a corner to face the guy.

The video then stopped before anything else could happen, I searched the rest of the file and found a set of coordinates when Ash stumbled into my doorway."Gaz if you're taking me to the gym again today then you're taking me to breakfast first." She tried to bargain with me then spotted my computer and the video." What's that a video game?"

"No some weird video I got in the darknet contracts, they gave coordinates to somewhere on Myrellion, I'm not sure what is in store for us, but it doesn't look like a cakewalk."

Before I knew it, there was a third message from this guy and done the right way. The guy wrote up something talking about an outbreak or something in the file briefly, then went on about how the J.A.F pulled out of the area leaving him and some Dr. Quinn behind to die, finally, he wrote that he needs people to help him get back into the under base before the U.G.C thinks about glassing the surface.

"So Gaz we're taking this one right?" Ash hit me with the question.

A lot of me wanted to tell Ash "Hell no, we're not doing that." But telling Ash that her planet was gonna be fucked over by killer mushrooms was a dickish thing for me to tell her."Well, if this guy knows of a way to stop this, then I guess we can play hero for once."

I called in the crew to the hideout and explained to them what was happening and what we're going to do.

"So let me get this straight, all of us are going to bug planet."

"That bug planet has a name Vennashire." Ash interrupted.

"Right, Myrellion, we are heading there to fight infected myr and preventing the U.G.C or J.A.F from nuking everything?" Ven repeated most of what I said.

I tightened my bulletproof vest and nodded."Yeah, I thought I cleared that up when I said it the first time."

"Okay, if you don't mind, I'll be staying on the ship for this contract then and work the info link, like always."

"Cowardly dog!" I yelled at her while she started speed walking for the ship.

Bates standing next to the door shook his head at the contract." I'm not joining you on this one." He told us and before I could ask he explained it." I have around forty-seven hours, to kill my target if I miss my window, then he will be next to impossible to find again."

"Just don't get yourself killed out there bud," Yan called out to him

Once Bates was gone we were missing a person and needed a slot to fill, sadly I couldn't call upon Akira, but then someone else came to my mind. We swung by the hospital and rushed to her room, nearly breaking down the door to their room, I burst into Rika's room while she was fiddling with something on her bed, she was still mummified and wearing a patients gown.

It didn't take much convincing to get Rika to join the team, once we hit the warp gate, and after I almost slammed us all into the ass end of a cargo freighter, I put the coordinates from the contract in, then sat back as we began to cruise to where ever it was taking us.
Know Your Enemy

The moment the Announcement was over, I called Yan, he use to be a member of their military and probably could give me info on how the Halions could affect future jobs, the both of us had to wait a while before he showed up and sat down across from us. The big guy leaned forwards and started talking.
"I heard the announcement earlier at the gym the general in charge of this sector will end up forcibly removing the P.Ks, then replace them with their own. The soldiers that will end up on the streets will be a mix of Halions, Ausar, Rask, and Askoii."

"Askwhoo?" Ash tried to repeat the word.

"Askoii." He corrected." They were the first race my people came in contact with, they assumed my people were humans at first, but after learning their language and protecting their people from pirates, both our race and theirs saw eye to eye."

"So they are the big horned people with the gray skin." I wanted to cut the big guy off before he would go on about his people's "Rich history of bloodshed."

" Yeah, they are." He confirmed." They have two fingers and a thumb on their hand, the women of their race are pretty fast runners, while the men are just like Halions, big tough and sometimes just dumb. They have these black nails on their fingers that look almost like claws, they sometimes use their horns to gore people, and yes they do lift people up off the ground with their horns after goring them through the gut or chest."
I held up my hands after he spoke about their physiology." I don't need to know about the people, just what we might have to go up against when we get some work."

The Halion scanned the restaurant with his black and blue eyes he ran a hand through his blonde hair and leaned back into the booth before looking back at us." I know how you don't like me repeating myself, we wait for everyone else, and then I'll tell everyone." I agreed with the big alien guy.

I Jumped in front of the growing line of people getting a bunch of people yelling at me and some even swearing at me before I got to Ven I told the ausar to take the graveyard shift so we all could talk about something. The dog woman fought her urge to leap across the counter to tear me apart like some rabid dog and took a moment to recollect herself then put on a welcoming smile." Welcome Mcburger world sir, how may I take your order?"

Taking that as a yes, I went back over to Yan and Ash, the big guy began telling us about the tall gray Ox people. The guy went on and on about their mannerism, culture, and physiology. While he spoke, I began to wonder how many aliens did I know in our galaxy and if they were modded or not."But most of all, they hate gene modification, the Askoii believe it's best to be yourself and not striving to remove what made you, you."

While the two of us almost struggled to hear the rest, nightfall came quick and soon the others were showing up. The moment Bates showed up, Ven made sure to lock her co-workers in the break room, when Ash asked if they would be okay Ven blew her off saying."They'll be fine, most of the time they are in the back fucking because Tiffany had to get Treated."

Yan slammed his hand on the table." Listen up, with this new change of the Hallion forces swooping in we're gonna be fighting a force a stronger than the usual Peacekeepers."

The guy took a moment before he started going over the Hallions." Okay when it comes down to off-world peacekeeping or law enforcement, there will be a couple types we will encounter during our contracts in the future on this planet."

"Okay, number one the grunts or rather frontline forces, they are mostly medium to lightly armored units that will carry rifles, and use omnidirectional mobility packs to keep up with criminals." He put up a second finger and before he could speak Noi tried to repeat the last couple words.


"Omnidirectional mobility packs." He corrected her." They are similar to jetpacks, but blast pressurized air and combined with grappling hooks make them almost impossible to escape from."

"Next is the standard shield unit, nothing much about them besides they carry shields. Third are the combat medic unit, they usually don't see the combat part and take wounded from the front lines to a place of safety while armed."

"Sounds like a normal S.W.A.T Peacekeeping unit with extra gear." Ven interrupted.

"I'm not finished. We also have Capture units, members that use non-lethal weapons similar to Rangers they mount arch casters to lasers set to stun or guns firing rubber bullets. Next, there are mech units operated by mostly Ausar."

I looked at the big guy and asked him if there was any more to them.

"We may be fighting these guys with the same tactics as the old police, but these guys will be... Better."

"I don't care how better these guys think they are." Bates lit up a cigarette." If they get in my way or if I find a reason to, I'll put them down like anyone else in my way."

I grabbed my chin and leaned back in the booth, even with the info given to me I wanted, no, I needed a little more, I needed to see how they would respond to robberies, but I didn't want to risk getting into a fight I couldn't handle or we couldn't handle.
Fast and Furious

While Ven started setting up the short cut for us and Bates disappeared decided to go around the back through the shop's employee parking lot. The cars around the back weren't as flashy or good looking as the cars inside, and I'd rather not fuck with them at the risk of breaking the stealth at the moment. I crouched down between two of the hover cars as Bates spoke into my earpiece."I found the key box." he told me before Ven spoke into the piece next." Okay the charges are set up for the short cut, what am I to do now?" She asked. I put two fingers in my ear telling the ausar."Just wait for the signal and run inside, make sure you aren't next to or standing on the charges so you don't blow yourself up." I told her.

I don't know if she felt angered by what I said or insulted, but."Do you think I'm Noi or something? I'm not that stupid." I then shushed the dog woman as I closed in on a back door and started fiddling with the lock." Don't start yelling and barking you'll break the stealth for me and Bates, and someone might come around on the block and see you, we don't need the cops arresting a crazy ausar foaming at the mouth and yelling at the sky." I told her as I unlocked the door and pulled myself into what looked like a trash room. I didn't need to see Ven's face to know she wanted to yell at me over the link, but she knew I was right and shut herself down, if I could only see her face it would've made me chuckle.

The trash room led out into a stairwell, and there was a door leading to the rest of the first floor, I began picking the lock knowing that the door leads to the showroom floor, as I heard the lock click I felt someone behind me and soon they touched my shoulder and acting quick I spun around throwing my back to the door with one of my hammer pistols drawn, but it was only Bates he wasn't bothered by me pointing a gun at him and just moved it away from his face." So that's how you got in here." He spoke casually. I put my gun away before asking him how he got in." I climbed up a pipe on the other side of the building and went across the roof."

He cracked the door open slightly to get a look at how many people were outside the showroom, he closed it quietly telling me there are mostly civilians out there, but too many for the three of us, I started to wonder if Akira was here we could tie everyone up." The box for the keys aren't that far, if we act fast and get into the manager's office we could get the keys, but we'd have to get Ven over here."

I groaned before pulling my guns out."Fuck it, fast and furious it is then." I kicked the door to the showroom down and rushed into the room, I fired off two shots into the ceiling getting everyone's attention." Alright, everyone be cool this is a-" from the second floor a guard shot me in the chest and threw me off my feet, the wind was knocked out of me and quickly Bates threw what looked like a knife at the guy's head and helped me to my feet; it was moments like this I was glad to have bought a bulletproof vest. Once I got back to my feet, Bates sprinted off to the manger's office as if his ass was on fire, and soon Ven arrived with her lame ass laser pistol, and what felt like a split second, Bates came back and threw a set of keys at the both of us.

I caught my pair, as Ven's pair smacked her in the face and hit the ground." Blow it!" I yelled to the Ausar as she fumbled with her keys, she pressed a button on her codex and the ground shook as the three of us jumped into the sports cars, we charged the hover cars through the glass and down the hole Ven made; it took us down into a series of snake like tunnels with more construction equipment sitting idle, I took up in front of the two leading them to the shipping yard. Wanting to tell Yan on how well we did, I called him up on the info link." Yan we're heading to you guys now have the containers open and ready." Instead of hearing his gruff voice on the other end I just heard static, I shrugged knowing that whatever the problem was Yan could handle. Once we came to the end of the tunnel and to the shipping yard. The first thing I spotted when exited the tunnel was a figure in some sleek gray tactical body armor, a pair of dark goggles; in one of his hands he held a black modified ZK rifle with a silencer attached to the barrel, tight in his other hand was a long dark baton; at his feet were the bodies of Ash, Noi, and Yan, all three of them taken down by this spooky looking motherfucker.

Slamming my foot on the gas, I remembered that I would need to thank Yan Later for having us steal hover cars instead of ground ones, I aimed the car for the night ops looking motherfucker and he jumped over my car as if he was clearing a hurdle or just leaping over a small gap. I hit the brakes just as he landed on Ven's car filled the hood with bullets and making her car lose control and crash into a wall of containers; I stepped out of my car as the spec-ops dude hopped from the car, and Bates pulled up and hopped out of his car knife at the ready, in the middle of us stood the guy still holding the ZK rifle in his one hand, he glanced at me, then set his sights on Bates.

If this guy was another Ranger, I would have to reconsider Bate's position on the crew, but if he was a Ranger I'd have to wonder why he has a gun; But before I could keep thinking about who he could be running with, I noticed that he threw a grenade my way. I pulled both my guns and fired at the guy before a bright flash of white light blinded me, my eyes burned like a roaring fire like somebody put a lit cigarette out in them. Tears began streaming down my face as I felt a heavy object hit me in the shoulder and make me drop like a sack of loot, when my vision came to I spotted the guy with his baton raised high about to hit me again, but right as my eyes cleared up Ven pounced on the guy's back and nearly sent him tumbling to the ground.

I took the moment to get to my feet and wanted to shoot the guy, but with Ven getting a piggy back ride, I didn't want to hit the fluffy girl, she had work tomorrow. I put the guns away rushing the guy, only to run into a kick to the face and get Ven thrown on me, the both of us tumbled to the ground with the goggled agent towering over us; then he surprised me by turning away from the both of us to be greeted by Bate's knife to his stomach.

The knife only slid across the fabric of his clothes, before Bates could even act, the guy delivered a punch to Bate's nose and shot him in the shoulder; instead of hearing the crackling of shields, the bullet from the modified ZK rifle ripped through Bate's shoulder leaving a nasty wound, he was using shredder rounds. I tossed Ven's furry ass off my back and ran in for a sucker punch, but the second I got close to both of them, he swung his baton my way, keeping the blunt weapon out towards me, but." You should work smarter, not harder." A heavily robotic like voice emerged from the guy as he slightly turned his head my way.

I tried to quickly draw my pistols ready to shoot the guy in the back, only for him to kick me, back onto Ven and put a foot onto my chest." Listen here, I've got this drum solo I've been working on!" He raised his baton high and before he could club me with his baton, or I could shoot him; Noi surprised me with her saw, she cut the baton in half with a clean slice then sliced the guy's stomach with the energy infused saw. The spec ops guy leaped away from the cat girl and aimed his rifle at Noi only to hesitate for an awkward amount of time and put his sliced baton away."Wow, that was a nice workout! I think I'll have a protein drink and hit the showers!"

Before I could shoot the guy, he pulled some weird glassy cloak across his body, the moment he disappeared, I fired several shots where he was only for each bullet to hit a wall missing him." The fuck just happened!" I yelled out.

Yan pulled himself off the ground covered in bruises."No time!" He spat a bloody loogie before telling us."Get the two cars into the marked containers, The cops could be on their way to our position right now."

Just as Kris expected, the convict's group was formed upon a fragile alliance, they weren't together working for their new found freedom but all working towards just getting free through any means; when the speaker managed to throw his arms around the golden haired princess she didn't have time to react and try to escape before both of them fell to the floor and Kris heard a sword go through the man running him through, a small bead of sweat ran down Kris' forehead as the blade's point met her armor and barely penetrated through it.

Feeling a bit of luck come over her as the others began attacking the convicts, Kris attempted to throw the dead convict off her and a slight thought appeared in the back of her mind, if they were to escape, would our group end up like this? Or would those bug beast get to us first? The though ran around her head making her wonder if this group would all get killed if she didn't think straight or if they all didn't.

Her thoughts were then put to rest when smoke began to fill her lungs, she then noticed the room was getting filled up with smoke, she wondered if Diana was to blame for this or Scar and suddenly someone pushed the dead guy from over top of her and got her to her feet, the person pulled her through the new found cloud of smoke and behind the others.

Kris cracked her neck as she was behind the others and noticed she was holding hands with Macy, she looked at the other woman nodding and thanking her before looking to the others." I think we need someone put these people on their ass, Diana get in front and use one of your shouts to knock down the rest, we can then push then capture them." Kris' eyes then went to Hawke." Big guy break a hole in the wall to the outside, the hole will rid us of the smoke but it might leave us open for those things outside flying about, do or don't it's all up to you if you want to."

As the others were fighting the bug creatures up close, Kris decided to put the crossbow she found earlier to use and launch bolts at the creatures from a far as the others would distract them with their attacks. While Hawke and Macy actually made progress against the bugs with their attacks Kris' bolts kept meeting the chitin of the large insect creatures bound on killing the group.

When she went to reload the her crossbow Firebrand decided to take their turn to attack the massive horde with their power of the voice, in an instant the dragon woman set the bug creatures alight with a shout and made quick work of the group or what was left of it and at the same time she minorly harmed two of their party members, Kris would have to remember this.

Sighing after everything Kris dropped the crossbow and put her sword on her shoulder running out of ammunition, she wondered how many of these monsters were among the tower's guard and how the warden managed to hide himself away from the monsters and possibly escapees.

The fallen princess wondered if there were secret passage ways around the tower they could use to just simply leave then the group came upon a grizzly sight; two guards, dead by their own hand, with one guard shot through the chest with their own bolt. Before Kris could investigate into this further there were a couple of the prisoners who surprisingly survived the experience with the bug people.

Before any of the party could even speak up, the prisoners claimed the floor as their own, telling the party they had to give up their gear and weapons, Kris wanted to diplomatic, but something in her fired up and just brought her to her boiling point.

Quickly hitting the prisoner in the middle with the pommel of her sword and using all of her weight to knock him down to the floor, she quickly brought the tip of the sword under his chin drawing a small drop of blood; her usually calm face was twisted into a grimace of rage and vexation.

"If you two bit, no three bit prisoners were worth your weight in metal than you were in wits then you would yield to any being that doesn't jump you first that comes from the top of this tower!" She stared into the man's eyes holding the blade of her sword to have the point run down his chin and touch the soft flesh of his neck." I didn't grab my equipment again just for some fool who's been cooped up in this tower to use it as his own! Use your brains and keep yourself from getting killed by someone half your age old man."
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